‘Mehmooni’ in Persian means ‘party’. Oh, and what a party it will turn out to be. Another thing we need to clear up is, ‘t’aarof’ in Persian means ‘excessive hospitality’ . In other words, it works like this; they offer, you refuse at first, it will be offered again, you refuse-they offer- this may go on a while- finally they serve you. This is protocol for all the offering and receiving. So make sure you refuse to eat, always. So we’ve come up with four people you need to watch out for at a Mehmooni.
1. The Plate Watcher
This person has been seated next to you for a specific purpose- he may even be seated at plate level. As you may have guessed, his job is to keep a close watch at your plate. He will watch you eat like a cat watches fish, and when he sees your plate even the slightest bit empty, he will call for another round of whatever you were eating. So polish off- but polish off slowly- and beware.
2. The Insist-er
Everyone else in the world insists. Persians take it to the next level. Even taxi drivers in Iran will take money only after you insist- try telling that to your local rik, tuk-tuk or auto driver.. But let’s forget your insisting skills- merely because they are no match. Coming to the insist-er, this person has been handpicked to purely, insist. Yes, that’s right. He will take insisting and turn it up so high, you might just cry. Try telling him you’re full, sick, or dying- your plate will be piled up so high- you might just pass out.
3. The (re)Filler
Getting really tacky with the names, aren’t we? Getting distracted? Oops, your plate is full. Looking at the cute kid in the corner? Plate full. Busy saying ‘no’ to something? Plate full. Checking mail from the office while you eat? Guess what? Yeah, plate so full, the moon’s got a complex.
4. The Innocent
The Innocent (mostly, you) is sitting there at the Mehmooni, thinking “Oh, I’ll eat a little bit of this and a little bit of that and I’ll be all happy and I’ll walk home.” But I’m sorry Innocent. Let me translate that: “You can never eat ‘little’ of anything (not even water), you will never, ever be able to walk anywhere, leave alone home.” So try faking a sickness/allergy, telling them you’re too full, playing with your food, making conversation, doing a dance- all the food on the table in front of you is coming your way; The End.