Persian dating in Asheville
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My age: I am 22
Sexual orientation: Male
What I prefer to drink: Absinthe
Favourite music: Heavy metal
Body piercings: None
I had entered Iran during the depths of winter and was beginning to wonder if this had been a mistake. It had taken four days of hitchhiking to get to Tehran and I was still getting used to a country where I had yet to see another backpacker. I had accepted that backpacking Iran was going to be a very different experience to traveling in any other country I had visited before. I had yet to see anybody drinking or smoking and, so far, the only girls I had seen had been hidden deep within the endless black folds of heavy chadors.
I had yet to even talk to a girl in Iran.
So I turned to Tindercurious to see if any local girls would be online. We sat in a cafe, her blue hair peeking out from beneath her green hijab; a compulsory garment for all women in Iran. Esme told me of her adventures backpacking in the Philippinesof her career as a vet, of her hopes that a softening of laws and attitudes is coming to Iran.
I told her about my current three year trip across the world, of my upcoming adventures in Pakistanmy plan to sail a raft across the ocean. Minutes slipped into hours and, before I knew it, the sun had set and it was getting late.
She had to leave, of course, and I had plans to check out Iranian Kurdistan. Once in Kurdistan, I found myself thinking of Esme.
I had only just met her but already I felt that hanging out with her might be more fun than freezing my ass off in a tent. The snow came thick and fast, making my planned hikes almost impossible, and I abandoned the mountains, sending a quick WhatsApp message and heading back to the highway. To my delight, she said yes. Back in her hometown, we encountered our first problem. Being anywhere together, particularly after dark, could get us into a shit-ton of trouble. Luckily, Esme had a plan. Concerned that this beautiful and mysterious woman was after my passport, I was at first reluctant.
This soon changed.
One night later, we tried to check into a guesthouse, coming up with a stupid story about persian Esme was not Persian but was in fact Polish… and had managed to lose her passport. It is illegal for an unmarried couple in Iran to stay in a room together which meant, given the large quantities of police on the streets, we were kind of screwed. Most of the time foreigners can get around Asheville by simply saying they are married, but because Esme was Persian, and therefore a Muslim, the rules were much stricter.
We left the guesthouse in a rush, unsure of where dating would stay as the cold swirled around us and snow began to fall. Luckily, thanks to Couchsurfingwe were rescued by some locals who let us crash in their sitting room while we came up with a plan. Nasir Ol Molk Mosque — the mosque from the postcard that inspired me to travel to Iran.
Temporary marriages, or Sighehare used by lots of Iranian couples for lots of different purposes; a marriage can last from an hour to a decade and a dowry, traditionally, has to be paid. Luckily, Esme waived the dowry, so we were able to get married for free. We spent an entire day looking for a mullah willing to marry a foreigner and a local Iranian girl, we were rejected multiple times but finally managed to find a bearded fellow willing to help us.
How i married the girl i met on tinder in iran
The ceremony took just a few minutes. When prompted, I repeated after the Mullah — both he and Esme laughed at my attempts at Farsi as I struggled through.
Smiling broadly, the Mullah shook my hand, welcomed me to Iran in scratchy English and stamped a small booklet with our photos pasted into it. We took to the road, keen to explore as much of Iran as possible, to peel back the layers of an often forgotten country and to hitch the entire length of Iran and back.
Saying goodbye to Esme as I crossed the border into Pakistan was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We talked on the beach and I leveled with her; I had fallen in love with her country, and with her. A couple of months later I saw her again: she flew out to me for a backpacking adventure in India and we raced a multicolored rickshaw km across the country. Later still, we returned to Iran where I met her family and we had a second permanent marriage — this time it was a huge Persian wedding, rather than a hasty affair in an underground office.
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Iran has a huge amount to offer adventure seeking backpackers; a rich history, incredible Islamic architecture, beautiful people, plentiful Couchsurfing, the best hitchhiking in the world and some serious bang for your buck; Iran is one of the cheapest countries in the world to go traveling. For me, traveling to Iran was an experience which would change my life in ways I had never imagined.
Now, I am continuing upon my adventures in the Middle East with my wife — it feels weird to write it — by my side. If somebody had told me a year ago that I would meet a girl on Tinder in Iran and go backpacking across countries like Pakistan and India, Bhutan and Myanmar, I would have laughed. If you feel something pulling you somewhere, go with it.
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