One of my favourite things about editing is that you get to learn about all kinds of weird stuff that you never would have otherwise. It’s kind of like being back in university, if all of your courses were completely random, really specific, and only lasted about two weeks.
I thought I’d start a regular feature where I share some of these random-but-interesting tidbits. Today: dor-dor.
I recently completed a copy and stylistic edit of an M.A. thesis about public space, or the lack thereof, in Tehran, Iran. Due to repressive Shariah laws, public spaces are intensely policed; men and women aren’t allowed to fraternize in public, and the so-called “people’s militia” are always patrolling for offences against Shariah, like visible hair on woman heads.
In response, the teenagers and twenty-somethings of Tehran are like “whatevs!”
The term dor-dor comes from the Farsi word dor-zadan, which basically means to make U-turns. Unable to get inappropriately drunk and hit on people at nightclubs, the way us Westerners do, Tehrani youth pile into their cars – in single-sex groups, of course – and drive around, windows down and music blaring, intentionally creating traffic pile-ups so that they can stop and talk to each other.
The author of the dissertation argued that dor-dor proves that public interaction is an essential human need, and that if space is not provided for it, we’ll figure out a way to make it happen.
Though not explicitly intended as such, I think dor-dor represents an effective protest against the police state and demonstrates the essential futility of what the government of Iran is trying to accomplish. Stop teenage girls and boys from flirting with each other? Hahahaha ok sure.
You can learn more about dor-dor here.