Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Prelude to Day in a Burka
This is the burka I wanted. The one I'd always dreamed of wearing one day. Skimming over my head and body, leaving nothing but my hands and feet exposed. Not even my eyes. The intricate embroidery, hand toiled in a a remote village somewhere in the mountains, I imagine. Made by women. For women. This is not the burka I got.
As I said in the post Day in a Burka, burkas are not common here in Morocco. So finding a burka was the first challenge. My friend and I went to the medina in search of one. We stopped and inquired at shops that sold djellabas. We stopped at scarf stores. Everywhere the answer was the same. If you want a burka, you must make one. Or a couple of guys offered to make me one for the low, low price of _______ dirhams.
This was the first indication that I wasn't going to get that hand embroidered burka made by a women's co-op up in the mountains. Damn it. I didn't bring my sewing machine with me and I've never embroidered a day in my life, and I don't want a man to sew a burka for me. Is that sexist? There was only one thing to do. Search the internet.
Surprise! You can find a lot of burkas on the internet. Surprise! There are some really freakin' expensive blinged out burkas. And I'm on a burka budget. After all, I'm planning for this to be worn once, kinda like a wedding dress. But yet totally nothing like my wedding dress. Because I didn't wear a damn thing on my head, no veil, no flower. But, I did have really big 80's hair that needed a zip code of it's own. I wonder if there are special wedding burkas. Would they be white? Have a train? Poofy sleeves? It would obviously already have the veil. Ok, I'm getting totally off track here...
So, after lots of internet perusing on several different sites, I decide to order from ebay. Because even while they don't have the best selection of burkas, I feel confident I will not get scammed. And I'm a little gun shy about internet purchases after our internet apartment scam on our recent trip to London. So, I go to order and realize I have no idea what size burka to get. The one I chose doesn't come in sizes like small, medium and large. It comes in sizes like 54, 56, 58 and 60. Um, ok. So I figure that must be inches. But is that head to foot or shoulder to foot? Pick a number. Any number. Click. Done.
It takes over a month to arrive in the mail. It's not hand made or embroidered. It's polyester and factory made in India, of all places. Probably by the guy I called about my credit card fraud last month. Furthermore, the head covering doesn't look like the picture and I thought it was all one piece. What I got was two pieces: a square of fabric and a veil to cover your face. This is going to require research, which I like. And skill, which I seriously lack.
So, back to the internet. I searched burka images. And guess what the first picture is that pops up. Yup, a naked woman. Well, not totally naked, her head is covered. This answers the question of whether or not burka porn exists. It does.
The first thing I learn about hijabs is, that I'm supposed to wear an under cap over my head that the scarf goes over. Which, I don't have. Second, there are lots of ways to tie a hijab. And I'll need to choose.
First is the ever popular turkey gobbler, I named it after the drapey neck portion. Pretty self explanatory right? There are two problems with this one though. There's too much of a gap, so you can see my hair without an under cap. And my black scarf is too big so it doesn't work well. (I modeled one of my other scarves that is actually too small, so you could get an idea of what this looks like.)
Then I became totally obsessed with women's head scarves and started staring at women on the street to determine how they folded their hijabs. Stalking local Moroccan women, I noticed this wrap, which I think is really chic. I call this one the ninja hijab. But, the tie around my neck looks and feels like a noose. Plus I'd be tempted to carry Chinese stars with me if I wore this.
Which brings me to the gap wrap. Named not for the huge gap of outlying hair, but the fact that I think if The GAP started selling hijabs it would be this model. It's simple and casual. But, I think it would be in t-shirt fabric for comfort. And I'm sure they'd call it favorite hijab, you know like the soft comfy favorite tee shirt line they have.
Ok, I've tried them all and none of these are going to work without a skull cap. And Day in a Burka day is almost here. It pops in my head that there is a head scarf shop near my house, so I hop in the car, sure they will have exactly what I need. Except, I get there and the store is no longer there. It's now Steve and Barry's or something. Ok, it's not actually a Steve and Barry's, but it is a men's clothing store. Symbolic though right?
When the day arrives, I come up with my own head wrapping. Which requires a lot of pins and not moving, that I'll find out later. My hijab is a catastrophe. But my husband doesn't care. And much to my surprise, my husband thinks this is kinda sexy. I'm not quite sure how to respond...
Option number one: Great! Now I'll get more than one wear out of this burka!
Option number two: Jerk! Looks like I might be getting another wear out of my wedding dress after all...
The polls are open. Vote now. Either way it goes, I've got the dress for the occassion...