Boxie knows what I've been reading and she's my travelling partner for when we go to UAE, Oman, Yemen (inshaAllah) and Morroco, and in UAE she plans to wear niqab too, and since she never deals well with the heat, she's been practicing wearing niqab when we go eat, experiencing what it is like to eat out in it (tonight we went out for thai). AND she's been getting used to the people that think ou lose your hearing when they can't see your face. Like you become an object. First, a man tells us, this is Canada, we don't have to "wear that here". We say, we know, we're Canadians, we choose to wear it, we like it. I mention it is a respectful symbol of my feminity, that I am to be taken as a woman but not judged for that and all the things a woman is supposed to be. Boxie mentions it is way more comfortable than high heel shoes. Fellow says, "but I am sure you two girls are beautiful under there." We say, yes, we are, and that is why we cover. Every woman is beautiful, but the beauty that counts can't be covered by any piece of cloth. The man seems to nod in agreement. "So that way you are judged for your minds and not your bodies." He seems to give us his blessing and dispearses. The woman sitting next to us seems happily surprised.
The next bus ride and more ignorant kind of man seems to say ``Didn`t know it was halloween yet. That isn`t necessary in this country`` and this is the kind of man it isn`t worth talking to because he is talking about you, not to you. But Boxie does. She says, `excuse me, I`m Canadian. This is my country too. I`m French, English, Scotish and Native. I choose this-`` ... The woman behind her says, ``So you are a true Canadian``. Everyone on the bus starts to glare at the prejudiced man. He stammers ``I didn`t know you were ``real muslims``. I though it was some kind of halloween costume.`` He only says that cuz he`s about to get a smack down from a group of people who won`t tolerate his kind of behaviour.
A bunch of women ease drop on our convos. They smile at us, and seem to realize we are not as limited or ignorant as they suppose. We like fashion, we speak Canadian politics, we travel, we understand pop culture references, we like to laugh at ridiculous social behaviors. Some girls ask us where we buy our abayas. They a ren`t Muslims, but they have dated Arabs, and want to learn about Islam. We exchange phone numbers and plan to meet for coffee, inshaAllah.
We run into some Saudi sisters, pray together, then are offered free icecream from a friend of my husband since he owns an icecream shop. I couldn`t eat another bite. I leave. Boxie encounters one more ignorant comment from some drunks that call out `derka burqa`` but she isn`t wearing a niqab anymore. If I was there I might have gone up to them to explain what a khimar is, what a niqab is, what a burqa is, what an abaya is, ect... so at least if they want to mock something, they know what they are mocking. But I have gone home.
Next day, we encounter no ignorance till some group of drunk skater boys tells us to go back to our country. Boxie and I chase after them. We tell them we are Canadian and Boxie`s part Metis-Native American (we leave out the rest of her mixie-ness) so she`s more Canadian than they are. The girl that`s with them tells them they are embarrassing her, and one of the guys tells his friend to stop being so prejudiced. Then the same one that spoke the first time tells us to get our own culture, that we`re white. Well duh. He says Boxie shouldn`t be wearing Keds sneakers. What about all her vinatge Converse I`m wondering. She can probably skateboard better than you... His girl says just what I`m thinking: ``He`s just upset that you`re wearing Keds.`` LOL Can`t a niqabi skateboard... PindZ (aka Boxie) in her 80s pink rimmed sunglasses, black Saudi strong niqab, skinny jeans, punky t-shirt, and too-short abaya over top.
Below is what I`m wearing. Of course, skirt and short sleeves under abaya. I get on my bus and the bus driver asks me where I get my clothes from. This one, I say, is from London. My answer surprises him. I go on, it is common with the Pakistani community there. But I rush to add, I wear clothes from all over the world, as long as they are modest. I say I love bright African prints, black Gulf abaya, and then he asks me about Western clothing. I say I wear Western clothing under my modest clothing most of the time, and that I love designer coats from Jacobs, and long maxi dresses from Guess but that most of the time Western clothes are designed too hot. That loose robes are lighter if you want to wear girl tighter clothes underneath. He asks me if I ever cover my face, and I say yes, if I am wearing too much make up to be modest otherwise, or if I feel safer that way. He asks why I wear make up in the first place and I say that I am going to an all woman`s party where we girls dress the way we like to. I tell him I also like to dress up for my husband, and even to go pray. He asks me where our Mosque is, why men and women are seperate there, why I like a seperation for men and women in the Mosque.... He practically stops the bus to ask me when and if he can come to see the men`s mosque and ask some of the men some questions.
Niqab actually gives me more oppurtunities to speak about Islam. Yes, ignorant people are drawn to those who wear it like a magnent, but aren`t those the people that need the truth the most... Afterall... I was one of those once.
BTW, Boxie and Megan, I had fun and am sooooooooooo full. InshaAllah we can keep a look out for the bus driver on friday!