by June 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


Trusting hand. (Luis Gomez Photos)

I’ve always been very independent when it comes to men. I don’t trust easily and it’s not because I’ve been so scarred for life, but because I feel like every time I begin to trust one — I get let down.

The fear of vulnerability outnumbers any desire to take a risk.

And I’m actually quite okay with that for now because I truly haven’t met anyone that I can see a future with. So it’s really out of sight out of mind for me… until I realized that there are different degrees of trust in any type of “Romantic” relationship:

  • You trust your partner to stay committed.
  • You trust the guy you are having sex with to refrain from (figuratively) screwing you over.

Regardless, trust is always going to be an issue in any relationship you might have — whether it’s professional, friendship, relationsh*T, etc.

But how do you determine what makes a person trustworthy?

My friends always say “trust is earned”– but how do you know when someone finally earns it?

  • They bring you lunch everyday for a week and you decide that you trust them?
  • Or they put on a condom without you having to ask therefore, you trust them?

I don’t really buy into the notion that “Trust is earned,” I think trust is a feeling. When you “click” with someone it’s because you feel comfortable with them (whether it’s a friend or a lover).

If someone rubs me the wrong way within five minutes of talking to them — it’s likely that I will never be open to trusting that person.  But if I can be comfortable with someone and hold an enjoyable conversation — then I’m likely to trust that person in the future. Make sense?

Of course a lot more plays into my instant reaction to trust or not to trust. Or am I just relying too much on my emotional connection to a person?

Are we all just constantly proving ourselves to each other as a trustworthy counterpart or can someone tell that I will keep their secrets just by looking at my face?

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by June 12, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


My protective dad. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Despite living across the country from my family, I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m not as disconnected as I thought I would be. I talk to my parents regularly (without a choice, really) and, as I’ve gotten older, our conversations have transformed.

Now — instead of only lectures — my dad likes to debate and, apparently, I’ve become someone worthy of his intellect.

My dad and I have great debates because we think so differently. I listen to his advice now, but for most of my life I’ve done what I want. And, therefore, we have a different belief system.

Our most frequent debates center around my life decisions or my opinions regarding Islam and Iran.

My dad rarely talks about Iran, if ever. His childhood stories come in random spurts and when they do it’s like a glimpse into this side of him that my family and I barely recognize.

Don’t even get me started on his reaction when we discuss Islam. He just gets a scowl on his face and says, “This is a ridiculous conversation topic, Islam is ridiculous — I don’t vant to talk about it.”

I’m the opposite — I obsess about Iran. I stare at pictures all day, I talk about going back all the time, much to my dad’s dismay. And when it comes to Islam, I emphasize my opinion that people have the right to choose their beliefs.

I thought my dad’s “disdain” toward Iran was because I had chosen to focus on it so much in both my identity and in my professional goals. I thought his aversion to all things Iran really had a double meaning — and that secretly, he just didn’t support my desire to pursue any field affiliated with Iran because I would never become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

I thought my dad was being negative and not supportive, but it didn’t take me long to realize that he thought he was protecting me.

Our (my) parents came here to live the “American Dream” — they came here for more opportunities and to provide their children with those same opportunities that weren’t offered to them when they were our age. I feel like, when I talk about wanting to go to Iran or visit new places like Egypt, my dad feels like I am keeping myself from achieving the American Dream: The promised American life without conflict or danger.

And frankly, my dad carries a lot of bitterness toward Islam, it’s what many of our parents blame for what Iran has turned into. While I think the blame should be more targeted, I get it. There’s an underlying sense of resentment.

My dad came here for equal opportunity — the ability to become successful and have access to freedom. Sometimes I think that maybe my ambitions threaten his sense of security. Like I’m about to screw myself of all the opportunities that he worked so hard to obtain for me.

Or maybe I’m just over analyzing my control freak of a dad.

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by May 29, 2013 at 11:00 am 3 Comments

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.

Night out: Friends and Boys. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Night out: Friends and Boys. (Luis Gomez Photos)

All men are dogs. There are the purebreds and the street dog/mutts. Purebreds can be trained. They are keepers. Mutts are for the streets.

When I graduated high school I didn’t think about the pressure of finding a nice guy who is responsible, well suited for dad, and treats me well (aka a purebred). Back then it was all about whether they were hot or not.

In the early days of college, going out was about meeting boys and either bringing them back to our place or making out with them at the bar.

We went out solely to meet boys. Our night’s fun was dependent on how many times we gave our number out and whether we kissed anyone.

During my sophomore year of college, I lived with my four best friends under one roof and it was a mess. We went out maybe four times a week. We pre-gamed, dressed up in our sluttiest outfits (back when it was “cute” to wear lingerie tops to the club), and set up a buddy system so that one of us always had a “wing-woman.”

And shockingly, we weren’t the only group of girls (or guys) who did this. At the end of the night, we would grab drunchies (at your local Jack in the Box) and retell our shenanigans.

Regardless our night’s success was based on d*ck at a time where we were still too scared to actually do anything with the d*ck.

But we were uninhibited — and we had just joined a world where these activities were perpetuated through a series of experiences… mistakes… and downright fun — we were young, sleazy and free.

I had a year of fun, excitement, and stupid, harmless mistakes — then one day, going out wasn’t just so I could meet boys… going out became something where I could go, drink, and have fun with my friends.

Our success was not reliant on whether we made out with anyone or gave our phone numbers — our successes were based on finding good bars, laughing, and no one getting sick at the end of the night.

There’s a very real difference between going out to just meet boys and going out to just have fun.

My “bar outfits” are no longer put together to attract guys — they’re put together for me. Whether I choose to wear a sexy top or just a plain white tank top — whatever is more comfortable for me.

The best ending — to a night is not finding the hottest guy and taking him home to my bed, it’s when I end the night stuffing my face with a burger and laughing about some random drunken nonsense with my best friend.

There’s nothing wrong with going out to meet guys and having fun that way — but there is something very wrong with not valuing how much fun you can have without meeting a guy.

It’s the fun nights spent with our closest friends that we will remember — not the names of all the guys we kissed. (Take my word for it).

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by May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am 1 Comment

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


Damsel in Distress in a world of man’s. (Luis Gomez Photos)

I have a bone to pick with my fellow female counterparts — while I’m sure many men have similar qualities, I’m taking a little break from men right now (or rather, they’re taking a break from me…).

Women are continuously referred to as bossy and more emotional — we’re constantly fighting against the stereotype that our actions are somehow weaker than men’s.

Yet despite these arguments, there are so many times that we embody the exact version of ourselves that we claim not to be.

The Damsel in Distress

These dames aren’t just asking for help — they’re whining for it: “Can you do this for meeee?”

Omggg I can’t figure out what’s wrong with the printer… Help meeee.

I’m guilty of asking for help with the printer. Why can’t it just work all the time?

Personally, I think damsels are lazy people. Are you telling me that you can’t read an instruction manual?

I ask for help with the printer only because I know it will take longer to read the directions. You’ll never learn if you’re always asking someone else to do your work for you. The whole “fake it till you make it” thing doesn’t always fly in the long run.

The Drama Queen

Ladies if your boyfriend cheats — then yes, who wouldn’t be livid? There are certain life events that transform into such a big deal that a little drama is unavoidable. Those aren’t drama queens.

Drama queens are the girls who still cry about things they’d cried about in high school. The “omg she’s dating my crush” shenanigans that really makes me cringe.

If I crushed on every man I thought was attractive and added them to my imaginary “list,” believe me, there wouldn’t be anyone left in DC for my friends to date (not a lotta fish in the sea, you dig).

Why are we wasting energy on the less important aspects of our seemingly vast lives? We’re not victims, so we shouldn’t be getting upset over things that are not worth our time.


It’s unfortunate that women have to prove themselves slightly more than men do. We live in a man’s world and frankly, we’ve succumbed to the rules (in some ways more than others).

We’re constantly proving our capabilities and our willingness to get things done — whether we’re stay-at-home mothers or an executive at a major company, we all have responsibilities at which we want to excel.

I find that there’s a lot of corruption in life — I read about it in our politics, business corruption…something is always going down. But I’ve realized that the truth always comes out. And if that’s the case then we should always be honest about ourselves. Be upfront about who we are — none of this taking credit for someone else’s work or joke or idea — instead offer the strengths we already have.

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by May 1, 2013 at 11:00 am 2,990 1 Comment

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


Three’s a crowd. (Farrah Joon)

I was taught that independence is defining. “Be your own woman, Farrah. Never let a man make decisions for you.” Those are the words that my mother repeatedly emphasized for as long as I can remember.

When my parents divorced, my mother’s emphatic cries only became more frequent (and slightly more extreme), “All men are scum. You have to be able to take care of yourself.”

And I agree — I believe that it is important to be independent and that I shouldn’t have to get married to ensure safety and comfort for myself. Then again, I also believe that my dad should live forever so I can continue to depend on him (but that’s a story for another time).

I always thought that my parents would back me up on my decision to put off relationships (specifically commitment to another person) until I felt ready and settled in my professional life. But then, I turned 26.

At 26, I’m straddling the line between young and “torshideh” or pickled (if directly translated). In the Iranian culture, once you begin to “pickle” then you can forget about any and all marriage prospects. It’s every Persian mother’s nightmare for their daughter to be pickled.

By your late 20’s, if an Iranian man hasn’t claimed you yet then forget about it.

On the day of my birthday — my grandmother called me from Iran and said, “Farrah, I have found you a husband.”

Say what?!

Even my mother, the independence promoter, has essentially sent out a “husband request” to all of her friends who have eligible sons (meaning doctors, lawyers or engineers).

“Farrah, he bought his last girlfriend a Meeeer-ceh-des. He is very good. You should date him.”

I’ve never met this man you speak of.

I feel torn. I don’t feel pickled, or rotting, or past my prime as my grandmother would “gently” put it. But at the same time, all this talk of finding a man before it’s too late terrifies me. That little voice in my head is constantly nagging me that I better start my search before I’m too torshideh for my own good.

And I resent that. Screw this BS that a woman is somehow less worthy because she doesn’t have a man standing by her side. If I don’t have children or a husband, will that somehow define my value as a woman?

And if so, then why? Because it’s “normal” to have a husband and a family? How can we define “normal” these days anyway? Living in the 21st century, our images of a “happy family” have dramatically changed (if you’re educated at least…).

My point is — normal doesn’t exist. Everyone has their own image of what a normal life is like and, frankly, I don’t think that attaching myself to a man to define me is normal. It sounds like a prison sentence. I would much rather a man had to attach himself to me instead.

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by April 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm 3 Comments

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


We should be living in a man=woman world. (Farrah Joon)

For the first time in what feels like forever, I can go outside without a jacket. Thank you, Mother Nature.

By the looks of things, I’m not the only one soaking in the spring sun. Women all around the world are baring their money-makers to make a statement. (You should all urban dictionary “breasts”… chesticles anyone?)

Femen is a feminist Ukrainian-based group who protest issues like sexism, religion, etc., by letting it all hang free. What better way to catch attention — show men what they would usually pay for either with dinner or at the strip club.

They’re definitely making headlines, for obvious reasons. And with their latest display against Islam — women all over the world are responding to Femen’s message.

I believe in the right to protest, to voice opinions. I do not believe I have to screw your morals to earn equality.

Feminism is an interesting concept — if we speak against sexism or discrimination, we’re feminists. But “feminist” is another label that segregates women from men. We’re not just men and women — we’re men, women and feminists.

It’s ridiculous that we have to be labeled as radical when compared to other women because we push for issues like equal pay and reproductive rights. Even in the Iranian culture, sons are “doodool-talas” (golden penis) and daughters are “torshideh” (pickled). 

We live in a man vs. woman world when we should be living in a man = woman world. And while we may be progressing (slowly) toward the end goal on a national scale (I can only speak for the United States), we need to address equality on an individual level first.

No law will make an impact if the people think it’s BS.

See: Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain… do I need to continue?

Unfortunately, we’re not all naturally blessed with the mental capacity to believe in the obvious reasons for equal rights. But that means that we need to work harder to talk about it. We all have a voice and we deserve to share it. 

When we shock people with our message, we lose the value of the words we’re trying to get across. Who’s reading our banners and listening to our chants when they’re staring at something else?

We don’t need to take off our underwear, we need to band together as equals.

Pay me what I deserve because of my experience and not because of my v*gina. I have the right to resort to Plan B. I vote because I have a unique voice. Don’t hit me because we disagree. Lines should never be crossed because I am not as strong as the person on top of me. Respect me because we are equal.

This post appeared first at SEXANDFESSENJOON.

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by April 3, 2013 at 11:00 am 1 Comment

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


Anytime networking?. (Farrah Joon)

Every moment has the potential to be an opportunity. In DC, everyone means business. We’re hardwired with a competitive nature. Just attend a networking event.

I’ll admit, I’ve networked my a** off: in line at the bathroom, on the Red Line, walking home. Time is money — and my time was dedicated to establishing a lasting impression.

Of course, all of that changed when I got a job I enjoy. Now my time on the metro is spent blasting Persian rap through my headphones with a “don’t talk to me” look plastered on my face. While I ditched the network-and-metro gig, I always have my game face on for happy hour. You have to be down to network (and work hard… obviously) in this city if you want to excel.

And we carry that networking attitude with us in most of our interactions — remember, time is money — meeting new friends, coworkers, and potential dates.

Almost every interaction I have with a guy covers the following bases within the first few minutes:

  • occupation
  • hometown
  • education

I’m on a date interview before I’ve even decided if I’m interested in the position. The mystery goes down an entire notch by minute four. After one conversation, I know whether my parents will approve of him as my boyfriend. If the conversation is this generic, my parents will likely be bored with him, too.

The Best Kid

We ask because (1) we want to make sure the person is not a whack-job and (2) our competitive nature is coming out to play. We want to know how the person levels up to us. When we’re networking or making a pass at someone, we’re attempting to create a memorable image of ourselves within seconds.

I’ve been programmed to do this. In the Iranian community, our livelihood relies on our image. My mother constantly criticized me for having lower grades than the other kids and bragged about the success of my piano recital to parents. Since my report card didn’t earn bragging rights, she had to get creative. All of the kids were placed in a “Who’s The Best Kid” competition.

As I got older, my family in Iran began asking different questions – my cooking abilities, cleanliness, marriage prospects. My non-existent rice cooking expertise and the overdue laundry in the corner of my room forced my mom to be creative again.

“Farrah vas a virgin for a very long time. She vasn’t like her Ah-mer-ee-kan friends.”

Thanks, mom.

The urge to create an image exists in every aspect of our lives and sometimes that never-ending competition gets exhausting. Sometimes the pressure to be the best just leads to insecurity and frustration — who wants to deal with that?

When it comes to networking, pick a time and place — walking out of the bathroom stall is not preferable. As for dating, we should probably stop judging people on their hometown. My mother is a whole different story.

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by March 20, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT], follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon.


The most beautiful Haft-sin. (Farrah Joon)

This is my favorite time of year. It’s starting (or was) to warm up, layers will disappear, flowers will bloom, and it’s the Iranian New Year: Norouz. It is my favorite holiday of the year for a number of reasons: For one, it’s right after my birthday and aside from the “gift” of money we receive, I love that I’m overflowed with family (for just a few days).

My best memories are picking flowers from my mother’s garden and painting eggs for her haft-sin table. For Norouz, Iranians decorate their dining room tables with the prettiest tablecloth they can find (likely a traditional handmade piece of fabric from the motherland), spring flowers, and the seven “sins:” rose-water (symbolizing water), goldfish (animals), painted eggs (humans/fertility), mirror (sky), candles (fire), apple (earth), and wheat/barley sprouts (plants).

My mother’s sole mission is to have the most authentic and beautiful haft-sin table out of all her friends (happens every year). To this day, we leave Norouz gatherings and her first response is, “My haft-sin is so much better. Even their tablecloth wasn’t from Iran.” In our culture, everything is a competition.

As tradition goes, the eldest must give to the youngest. In my circles, this means that all parents give the children money (I’m still a child, clearly). When we attend family gatherings for Norouz, the hosts better give me my money. *Disclaimer: Amount ranges from 25 cents to five dollars (unless it’s MY parents).

Once I reached high school and the dreaded age of hormones, I was disinterested in painting eggs and picking out goldfish for the table. On the night of the Norouz family gathering, my parents left me behind while I invited three super cool jocks to my house to watch TV. (At that age, I really did invite them to just watch TV).

When my parents got home that night, my mom came into my room, introduced herself to my prepubescent guy friends, and gave them a hug. She then pulled out a stack of one dollar bills and said, “Happy Norouz” as she handed them out. My friends looked at me with an expression of confusion, but they slapped each other high-fives and left.

In that moment, all I could think was that my culture and my family were embarrassing me in front of the cool kids. These traditions made me different because my peers had no idea what it meant to kiss on both cheeks or to receive a gold coin for Norouz.

Luckily, it didn’t take me long to realize how wrong I was — how amazing it is to be a part of a culture that I’m proud of and excited to share. Iranians have an extraordinary history filled with old traditions that we remember and celebrate on a spring day like Norouz. That’s why it’s my favorite. Plus, my grandmother calls from Iran every year. I don’t need any painted eggs as long as that phone call keeps coming. Happy Norouz!

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by March 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm 0

From Farrah Joon. Check out her blog, sexandfessenjoon. Email her at farrah[AT] and follow her on Twitter @Farrah_Joon


Learning about sex. (Courtesy Farrah Joon)

I’m an Iranian-American woman, born and raised in the US, a first generation immigrant. I am Muslim by birth, but not by practice. My family and I have gone to Iran almost every year of my life.

My Iranian heritage has played a monumental role in my upbringing. I was taught to abide by a set of standards. In our culture, image is everything — we flaunt what we deem well-accomplished and shun anything different.

I was taught that I had to take one of three career paths: doctor, lawyer, or engineer. I chose none of these.

I was taught that sex is for marriage. I disagree.

With these “standards,” there is one stipulation: if you do not follow these rules, we will never talk about it.

All of that “don’t do this,” or “never talk about that,” only resulted in my constant defiance, my need to be different than what was granted to me through birthright. Screw my medical degree, I choose sex.

In high school, I wasn’t really concerned about a career — to me the no-questions-asked attitude towards sex only encouraged my curiosity. I was embarrassed to talk to my Iranian friends because I thought they would judge me. My non-Iranians didn’t get why virginity was a big deal.

I developed the mindset of “I’m going to do whatever I want.” Imagine my surprise (age 15) when I learned that I had a second hole (down there) because I went to second base with my boyfriend.

No sex education, no discussions regarding sex, and banned from using tampons (because clearly, tampons have penis-like functions) caused me to learn by trial and error.

I didn’t learn because I was taught, I learned because I tried.

No matter how conservative or open-minded someone is, dialogue is the only way to promote acceptance.

In my culture, my struggle with sex isn’t unique. My lack of knowledge is shared among many Iranian-American women.

Therefore, my friend, Saaghi and I created — a place where people can come and share their stories (religion, tradition, sex, guilt) without fear of judgement from our parents. Who cares what our parents think? If we expect our community to evolve, then we have to start talking about things that make us uncomfortable, like sex. Tradition isn’t law and our parent’s upbringing can’t mirror ours.

That is my story.

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