Sunday, February 14, 2010


posted Fri, 05 Aug 2005

It took me a while to realize I was about the only woman around who was showing the skin between the knees and the ankles. I thought I was dressed conservatively in a knee-length skirt, but I guess it wasn’t conservatively enough. Not that I have been hassled, but you feel it when you are the only floozy around.

I did say in an earlier post that I had seen one woman in a see-through blouse. Well, she was it. The only one. Now that I have started really looking, I notice that although the women in Rabat might be wearing tight clothing, they still don’t show much skin. There have been a few wearing sleeveless blouses – but again, only a few. We did see a woman yesterday with her thong underwear peeking above her blue jeans, which I think is a tacky, trashy, sleazy look anywhere in the world and I’m sorry it’s come to Morocco. But for the most part, women here are covered.

This is what most of the women in Fez were wearing. Many of the women in Rabat dress like this as well. They show their faces but cover their hair. The two women on the train back from Fez explained it to me. “Your body and hair are for your husband only. To show them to other men is to incite lust.” Apparently, that is what I have been doing in my grand tour of this country – inciting lust. Great. (But they didn’t say it me in a mean way – I guess they figured I wasn’t really much competition.)

The morning that Steve and I left for Fez, which is far more traditional than Rabat, I was wearing a very short skirt. (Yes, it is a good idea to try on all clothes – the ones you bought at the Junior League Thrift Shop the weekend before – before you pack just to make sure they are appropriate for the country you are visiting.) Steve asked Suad, Henry’s 20something nanny, if she thought it would be OK for Rabat. “Oh, sure,” she said airily.


We got to Fez, where I discovered that almost all the women were wearing djellabas and scarfs. Steve told me that he noticed men sneaking glances at my bare legs. I kept tugging the skirt down. I felt quite uncomfortable.

The next day, I discovered that my t-shirt wouldn’t stay closed at the neck. It flopped open to expose my bra straps. Great. Just reinforce all those stereotypes of slutty American women. (And those American women who sleep with any guy they meet while they are abroad do not help the rest of us, either. Stop it. I mean it. Stop it right now.) I didn’t have a safety pin, which was highly unusual, as I usually have at least three or four in my arsenal, but I didn’t have my purse with me. I bought a tiny shell-shaped barrette and used it to hold the shirt closed.

Problem is that unless I want to buy a new wardrobe – or one new item to wear every single day, I am stuck with what I have. You travel with the wardrobe you have. Oh well.

Megan and I leave for Marrakesh in an hour. We’ll be there until Sunday afternoon. Finally, I will be able to poke around the various shops at my leisure! I will be with a fellow shop-poker-arounder! Steve is a great travel companion, but it’s just not the same.

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