We watched with interest, my friend and I, a group of sharply-dressed young Iranian men dancing to the popular song “Oh, I am so drunk tonight!”. They danced closely, smiling and winking at each other, leaning into each other, bumping hips and shoulders. They shouted out the lyrics
–Oh! I am so DRUNK tonight…
Disco lights played over them, picking out their glistening teeth and eyes. They were laughing, but it wasn’t an ironic comedy dance. They were enjoying themselves like crazy, but they weren’t making fun of themselves. I remembered ghosts of Iranian parties in the past, watching the men dance with same verve and abandon in front of their moms and grandmas and wives and cousins.
I nudged my friend. “See. You’d never see Canadian men dance like that.” She nodded in agreement. “Never.” The music was too loud for us to delve into the cultural reasons into why Iranian men were happy to dance sensuously in public together while Canadian men were not, but we were thinking the same thing: Canadian men would be too afraid of being seen as homosexual, whereas Iranian men are pretty sure that noone would seriously label them gay. Homosexuality is a bit of a joke, for mainstream Iranians. The men feel confident enough in their heterosexuality to jive and sing out love-lyrics to each other in public. Whereas poor Canadian men can hardly have their hands graze against each other without sniggers and comments about “bromance”, and so they treat each other as white hot metal.