July/ August Wrapt

 

Enroute to Australia, with time to kill at the airport I walked into this chic store (not to be named and shamed but it’s the only one selling a curated collection of high fashion at the airport). I walked in through the front, navigating myself past the clothes to the back of the store to where the wall of bags stood. And on my way there, I walked towards this fabulous (mature aged) shop assistant standing in the center of the store, she looked at me and I looked back at her, as women often look at each other and I smiled and said hello. My hello was a hello of recognition- acknowledging her acknowledging me and of course a recognition of her style and presence. So I said hello and she, well, she looked at me and walked away. 

And as I continued my walk to the wall of bags, I wondered had that actually just happened to me?! Had I just been Pretty Women-ed? Rebuffed? Snubbed? How high school? What about me screamed that I am not a purveyor of fashion? It couldn’t have been my designer shirt or casual chic Zara pants? Or my svelt new croc sneakers or designer tote? Still grappling with what had just occured I reached the mirrored wall of bags and saw in my reflection that I had my sons backpack on, could it be that? A practical and comfortable solution for a long haul flight, or could it be my head covering that said to her that this store is obviously not going to suit this woman. And as I continued to look and touch all of the clothes, mainly as a point to see if any of the other staff would approach me, (spoiler! They didn’t), I thought about how normally I would be pleased about not being harassed by the staff but this time I was left wondering if this is the reason so many modest women choose wigs (sheitels/ pe-ah) everyday? So that they can actually be seen? Not to be typecast, boxed and shelved?

I’ll admit, I have no doubt been at fault for the same crime, it’s human nature, however I am not so sure I have ever had the self-certainty or indifference this women had. And ill add that I didn’t engage with this shop assistant about her behavior and so I can’t be 100% positive of the fact or that this wasn’t all my very own projection, but in the 11 years of covering my head I can honestly say I had never felt more perplexed about the act of wearing a piece of material on my head. For the next 18 hours of my multiple carriage flight my mind wandered back to the many conversations I have had with peers and friends over the years about reasons for or against head covering. About how sometimes they just don’t want to be seen as ‘the other’ so they wear a wig, or that for them it’s just an easier option, or that they are over the feeling that they are wearing a ‘shmutter’ (rag) on their head. It’s not that I didn’t understand how they felt it’s just that I hadn’t felt those things before. Maybe it’s my self-confidence, or my personal reasons for covering my hair that gifted me respite from these uncertainties or insecurities or maybe it’s the fact that I believe my outgoing personality has never afforded me a moment of prejudice because I couldn’t be boxed. And yet, there I was, in that moment, not only boxed, but also shelved.

It was less than a ten second engagement, it was all in the eyes and the body language. So, what’s my take away here? Will I quiver in self-doubt? No, I know myself too well. Will I be angry about someone else’s prejudices? No, because quite frankly who has the spare emotional energy for that!? Will I choose the wig next time? Unlikely, she is gorgeous but on a comfort level it has nothing on my scarf. Instead, I spent the rest of my trip acknowledging everyone I crossed paths with direct eye contact and the warmest smile I could muster. This was just going to serve as a reminder of what one can accomplish in ten seconds and I was going to try my hardest to fall of the right side of it. I was going to take ten more second to tell the woman in the changeroom next to me that those pants look great on her, on asking the person in front of me if they need help or having a chat with the women sitting next to me on the plane. I was going to take ten more seconds to read the full story or ask the question I would have previously ignored. I will try to put down my paper ten seconds earlier so that my child doesn’t feel he has to work so much harder for my attention. I will try to spend ten seconds longer on myself if I need it, or ten seconds longer thinking first and breathing deeply before I say or do anything. I can ask more of myself but I’ll start there and see how I go.

Annnnnnnnddddddd, speaking of reasonable expectations, we are starting the July- August holidays here in the northern hemisphere and since this magazine is run entirely by the efforts of mothers we will have a real ‘skinny’ issue this month. Think the December- January (Christmas/ New year) issue of any magazine you have ever subscribed to- it will be slim!!! So apologies if you were looking for some meatier content to get you through but we can only do what we can do and what we can do this month is a list of top 5 Israeli summer hits by the talented Shirat Starkman and some TV and book reviews to help you navigate your downtime and the much sought after Swimsuit Issue! I kid, because its modest swimwear and there’s nothing sexy about it, or shouldn’t be or is there!?!?! I am kidding!!!! Or, am I??? You’ll have to wait and see!

Much love and wishing everyone a wonderful holiday, long or short, north or south,

Chav