The sign, “Water pipes may not be served to women” vanishes beneath the smoke of young women. Indeed, 37% of young Iranian women have smoked a hookah (water pipe) at least once. For this and other reasons, the head of the Association of Women decided to established special cafés. This plan is fiercely opposed by the internal security forces.
The air is filled with smoke and the bubbling sounds of the hookah. On each bench, there are two or three people, sitting, talking and smoking. This café even allows women who are not accompanied by a man to smoke, and it is filled with girls who love spending a leisurely afternoon chatting with friends and smoking a hookah. The sign that said, “Water pipes may not be served to women” has disappeared behind the young women’s smoke. This cafe in the center of Tehran is not the only one that will give a hookah to young women who are not accompanied by a man, but are they aware of the aforementioned numbers? The café at Valiasr junction, 3:00 p.m: In the main area of the cafe there is no sign of women smoking a hookah, even though all the tables full of people smoking, but at the end of the compound there is a small rear area where unaccompanied women sit and smoke a hookah. Also many of the restaurants along the rivers in the mountains of Tehran are good places for those women who did not want to be accompanied by a man while smoking a hookah. Elham is a receptionist there and she claims that hookah cafes that serve women are a healthier environment than others, which do not encourage a women to actually come with an accompanying male. She wonders where single girls can find a male escort and then notes there are websites that offer them the opportunity to rent an accompanying man for USD 25. According to Zahra Sg’adi, Vice President for Family and Women’s Affairs, some women in Iran follow Western culture blindly, and it is the enemy’s plan to remove women from their main role, undermine the family unit and encourage them to use drugs.