Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Fashion Nightmare

One of the classic worst nightmares you can have is where you dream you have shown up somewhere naked. No, I didn’t show up naked. But I can tell you that it was the next best thing, and there was nothing I could do. And I survived it, and I never had that bad dream again.

The priest in our church had asked me if I would take a visiting nun around to show her some of the local spots in Qatar. She was doing work in Afghanistan, getting schools up and running for Afghani girls, and I was eager to hear about her work, and show her some projects in Doha. I had gladly agreed, and had a plan outlined for all the places I could take her.

When I arrived at the church house, wearing my rattiest jeans skirt and cover-up shirt, so as to be inconspicuous as we visited various places in the poorer sections of town, the priest came out and said the nun would be out in a minute, and why didn’t I come in, that there had been a “slight” change in plans and that another woman would be coming too, and she was taking us to a Palestinian project.

I don’t hold it against the priest. He lived in another world, a world so full of God and his glory that he didn’t really have any understanding of the world of women.

The other woman arrived, and she was gorgeous. She was wearing Issa Miyake, she was perfectly and subtly made up, and we were not going to a charitable project, but to a charitable fund-raising breakfast. I had thoughts of killing the priest.

The nun arrived, and she was dressed in a decent pants and shirt; neither of us appropriately dressed but off we go, to a clubhouse filled with dressed-to-the-teeth women and their daughters, raising money for popular causes on a Saturday morning. We were severely underdressed. All we could do was hold our heads high and pretend we didn’t notice. Inside, I was torn between laughing and crying.

Our hostess didn’t seem to see the fact that we were poorly dressed, and was very gracious to us, and in future days, the two of us became good friends. We often laughed about the priest, his goodness of heart and his blindness to some of life’s realities, like giving fair warning of what you are doing so you can dress appropriately. It all turned out OK.

When people come to me and tell me something terribly, horribly and publicly embarrassing that has happened to them, and ask me how they will survive, I tell them what I believe to be true – that most people are so absorbed in their own lives that they barely notice much about others, and that people have short memories. What may seem to be a huge deal today, will be yesterday’s news by tomorrow, and barely remembered in a couple months. By the time a year has gone by, some people will even think it might have been someone else who committed the faux pas.

On the other hand, in the small German village where I lived, there were two families who never mixed because their grandmothers had a huge fight many many years ago (people can’t remember exactly what it was about) but the legacy lives on.

So I wonder, how does it work in Kuwait?


December 18, 2007 - Posted by | Adventure, Community, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Humor, Living Conditions, Qatar, Random Musings

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