Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bathroom Monologue: The Empress Could Use New Clothes

Alfred waved Mahmoud in. When his friend entered, Alfred looked around the streets, and sure that no one had seen, closed the door.

“What is this newest amazing invention?” Mahmoud asked sardonically, looking around the apartment. There were drop cloths and electrodes everywhere. On the left wall were a series of shower curtains and aluminum plates. “You’ve been up to something peculiar, I’m sure, but I can’t be away from Adeela long. The new ban talk has stirred up the old bigots.”

“This invention is precisely for the ban! I’ve been thinking about it on the weekends for months. You know I do my best work on the weekends. I want to support the Muslim community, though I myself am a pantheist.”

Unable to figure out all the materials in the apartment, Mahmoud shrugged. “Is your support a shower curtain that can wrap leftovers?”

“No, no.” Alfred waved for Mahmoud to follow. “Let me display it for you.”

The two walked into the vacant center of the apartment until Mahmoud brushed into something. He instinctively pulled back and looked for what he’d struck; it felt like stiff cotton, but there was nothing there. He reached out and fondled the air, following what felt like a sheet of fabric all the way to the floor.

“What is this?”

“It is a full body covering.” Alfred rocked on his heels, the same way he’d shown pride since childhood. “Better than the traditional burqa, it even covers the eyes.”

Mahmoud bunched it up in his hands. It felt like cotton, but difficult to bend. Struggling to bend air was very emasculating.

“Why can’t I see it?”

“That’s because it’s made of invisible material. Hence why the eye covering is not a problem, and why it won’t be a problem for bigoted police. They’ll think she’s not wearing the cover, when actually her skin will be entirely hidden.”

Mahmoud scoffed and dropped the ‘garment.’

“Hidden by something anyone can see through. Who would want this? This protects no modesty.”

“There are other ways to dress that protect modesty. This ensures they can continue to wear the veil without being harassed, and even if they are, it’s bulletproof. I wore it myself for tests yesterday. A woman would not feel so much as a bruise even if she was, say, stoned by an angry crowd.”


“I think it’ll be just as big a hit in Iran as in Belgium. Don’t you?”


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