Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Head Scarves at the Water Park

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.


erlybird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
erlybird said...

I actually wish sometimes that I could get inside the heads of those men too. Imagine telling your wife that she will bring shame on you if she shows up in public anywhere, let alone the water park, showing any skin except for her face, and THAT is showing a lot. Imagine being that man and thinking that the SHAME WILL COME and that all the other men at the water park would think so badly of him if his wife were to disobey that cultural rule. Then imagine going up to that man and just telling him that no one would care and no shame would come to him or his wife if she were to wear something more comfortable. And he would say, "Thanks, but I have no desire to have my wife parade around like a whore as your does." Imagine what would happen in that man's mind if his wife wanted to do something as SICKENINGLY WHORISH as to go JOGGING in the morning by herself. He would think she was suggesting going out to a gang bang.

But then you are right. Mormons walk around thinking something bad will happen to them if they spend the day lounging in the sun. I knew some missionaries who thought that illicit sex would jump out and grab them were it not for their protective garments. And the SHAME a Mormon man would feel if he met other members of his ward while out walking with his wife and she was wearing a TANK TOP!!! That could only mean one, no DON'T SAY IT!!! SHE WASN'T WEARING HER GARMENTS!!!! AUGHHHHHHH! Oh, man, I have so much to say on this...I had better go rewrite that piece.