Book Writing Adventures

Is Your Rainbow Man Secretly Having You Fitted for a Burqa?

Me, happily NOT in a burqa.

The picture you see to the left is a backdrop of the Mexican Riviera. I recall the scenery was beautiful–except for those Aztec temples where they threw the heads of decapitated futbol players down from the top of those pyramid thing-ys like in Apacalypto. sheesh.

I also remember a young married couple that we often ran into on the boat and on-shore excursions. They stand out for me because of how odd I thought it was that the wife–a pretty Middle Eastern woman–wore a head cover, one short sleeve shirt over a long sleeve shirt, and long pants and sneakers, despite the temperature hovering around hot-as-hell degrees. The husband? Oh, he sported shorts and a tank top with snazzy sunglasses. He and his buddy dressed in similar fashion, chuckling over whatever they thought was funny, while his wife maniacally snapped at her shirts, trying in vain to dry that bird bath of sweat accumulating between her breasts.

Even while we were on the beach snorkeling, her husband put on the wetsuit and had his fun while the wife sat on a towel with sweat beads this size of pearls dripping from her forehead, holding tight to a smile.

I kept elbowing my husband, hissing about how that jerk* stayed cool and could enjoy the sunshine without the threat of heat stroke while his wife veered on the brink of one. Unless that girl had a pretty severe case of psoriasis, she wore all those clothes because she was expected to.

Now I’ll admit I have a really hard time understanding this, so that’s why I brought in Faizal Sahukhan, a psychologist and author of Dating the Ethnic Man: Strategies for Success. Regardless of what race the girl an ethnic man is dating, he wants to present her as quiet, modest and subservient. “In ethnic cultures, it is the women who are responsible for the husband and his family’s honor,” he said in the book. When the wife carries herself modestly and virginal, it augments the status of the husband and the entire family.

That may be all well and good if that is how you are raised, but what if your rainbow man met you in a miniskirt but wants you to wear a burqa when his parents come for a visit? As a modern Western woman, this may become a very real point of contention as a relationship becomes more serious.

But don’t be so quick to think your boo has suddenly been possessed by the Taliban–Dr. Sahukhan says that men often react in such a manner for reasons that are “often out of his control.”

So there you have it. It certainly seems that one culture will have to bend and compromise, or else, how can it work? I don’t know– I suppose I could wear a burka once a year on grandma’s birthday, but I’ll be damned if I give up ALL my miniskirts.

What say you? Have any BB&W members faced cultural pressures related to modesty? How the heck do you deal???

*Eh, chalk it up to my Western superiority complex

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