Thursday, 24 November 2011

Overnight Conversion

We are meeting friends we haven't seen for ten or twelve years and suddenly Islamic head-to-toe covering seems a highly appealing idea. Greying streaks of hair, forehead criss-crossed with two-inch deep indentations (also known as wrinkles), all rendered invisible by forgiving folds of hijab, (or burqa or whatever the correct term is - I'm sure I've got it wrong, but I don't really care), only the ever youthful personality still on view.

What lies beneath the intriguing layers of fabric can still be constructed by the imagination of the viewer, who one hopes will be kinder than daylight. Mind you, it is that element of Islamic garb that always seems to me to defeat the thing's purpose - my impression is that, in earlier days, when women's dress was much more modest than it is now, almost anything became erotic, because forbidden. I suspect there is something far more alluring, tantalising and all round exciting about a woman's form that you can only picture in fantasy than there is about one whose body - or reasonably large expanses of it - is revealed for all to see.

1 comment:

  1. I thought that presbyopia was the proper palliative for wrinkles and so on.

    In one of the essays collected in The Leafless American, Edward Dahlberg makes the argument of your second paragraph, recounting the story of his mother's assistant barber Catholic Mary, whose concern to dress as modestly as possible inflamed a neighbor's imagination rather than quenching it.