The company sponsored an outing at an excellent water park yesterday for all of the employees and their families. I took the wife and kids and we had a great time. One interesting thing was to see the families of some of the Muslim employees. The men and children were dressed in typical western swim attire, but the women wore concealing middle eastern clothes with long sleeves and pants and head scarves wrapped tightly around their heads concealing everything except their faces. In Texas. In August. At a water park. Their families were having a great time, but somehow they didn't seem to be really enjoying themselves.
The little girls wore regular swim suits and romped and played and had a grand time and I wondered at what point they would notice their mothers and wonder when they'd have to start concealing themselves. At some point do they begin to dread the transition from carefree childhood to confinement? Is there some right of passage ceremony like in mormonism or does someone decide one day that they are no longer children and must hide their body as it blossoms into beautiful adulthood?
My wife commented on the poor women in their head scarves. I wondered what the difference was between that and having to wear clothing to cover garments during the heat of summer. While everyone else wears sleeveless shirts and comfortable shorts in the heat, mormons are wearing sleeved shirts over an undershirt and shorts extending below the knees. The head scarves are obvious. The garments only when their lines show or when they peek out below the hem of the shorts. But the clothing mormons wear is definitely atypical for the Texas heat.
It was somewhat poignant for me because during my teenage years I dreaded the day when I'd have to go through the temple because it meant I'd have to abandon my typical summer attire of tennis shorts and nothing else. I never like wearing garments and even the mesh ones were very uncomfortable in the heat. Somehow wearing two layers of clothing, no matter how thin, is going to be worse than wearing one, or better yet, none.