Sophia's Peace Work

Saturday, September 25, 2004

My "disguise"

Yesterday I needed to go to the Internet Cafe, so I donned my hijab (the headscarf worn by women of the Middle East) and walked down Karrada Dakhil. It was Friday, a holy day. Many of the shops were closed, the traffic was light and all in all it was pretty quiet.

Have I mentioned how much a hate wearing the hijab? We are past the worst heat of summer (which thankfully I missed out on ... spending my summer in the much cooler Hebron) but it is still too hot, in my opinion, to wear the blasted thing. How do Iraqi women do it!?! Some misogynistic Iraq man once told me, "Oh, they're used to it." ('Yeah right, buddy,' I thought, 'let's see you 'get used to it!'')

Anyway, there are innumerable ways to wear a hijab and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics but with just a few basic styles. I have a greenish one ... a long rectangle with fringes on the ends that my translator helped me to pick out months ago. Still I haven't mastered wearing it yet.

Yesterday, after many hours of observation learning how Iraqi women arrange their hijab, I figured that I had finally mastered how to put it on properly. Wearing the hijab and some respectable Iraqi clothes: a long skirt, long-sleeved top, and sandels - I figured that I wouldn't be noticed. Yeah, I'm a little tall for the average Iraqi woman and yep, a bit pale too ... but still quite within the realm of reason ... or atleast so I'm told (most people tell me I look Iranian. Go figure.)

I walked the short distance to the Internet cafe but found it full, so I sat down to wait for the next free computer, feeling rather self-satisfied that I was blending in quite nicely.

Then the Iraqi man sitting next to me leaned over and said in a soft voice,

"Nice disguise."

I laughed the whole way back to the apartment that day.


Post a Comment

<< Home