August 15, 2008


So the reason I came home now, and the reason I've been furiously making this afghan, is because a good friend of mine from high school is getting married this weekend.

And it's not just any wedding, from a blogger's standpoint: it's a Muslim wedding. A chance for learning. And pictures!

At the beginning of the week, I went to my friend's house to borrow some of his mother's clothing for the events. We had a little fashion show in her bedroom, and my friend's father said that I looked beautiful and then joked to his son, "How did you not marry this one?" My friend's mother then quipped, "You know he can have four..." We all cracked up. I thought it was an honor that they even joked about it; later when I told my husband, he grumped, "He can't have four in this country!" He didn't think the scheming to steal his wife was as funny as I did.

Last night I went to the first of the events, the Mehndi celebration. It's a party where the bride shows up in her bridal henna, and after dinner the men get kicked out and the women dance the night away.

But no one told me about keeping "Pakistani time." The invitation said 6 PM, so I showed up at 5:50. Yeah, no one was there yet. In fact, the thing didn't kick off until about 7:30. Wow.

After all of the traditions for the bride and groom, one of the ladies asked if I'd like some henna. But she didn't have the special henna tools, so she did the best she could with a toothpick. Later someone else showed up with the tool, but by that point my ink was already setting, so they did what they could to encorporate the first design into the second. Which turned into a funny spiderwebish design. I've been laughing that they made me into Pakistani Spiderman.


I loved looking at all the different traditional clothing last night, and the get-up I had on was actually pretty comfortable. Except for the scarf, which I was wrestling like a python all night. One woman actually thought I was Pakistani, but I joked that a real Pakistani wouldn't be choking on her scarf.

I also found the celebration fascinating when the men left and the women let their hair down...literally. I realized that all I'd ever seen of my friend's sister was her face and hands; I'd never even seen her ears before! I thought a lot about the headscarf last night, and I think in the end I gained a better appreciation for it and simultaneously came up with more puzzling questions about it. I was fascinated to see the most demure and covered woman pull off her scarf and shake her Shakira hips as soon as the men left. The juxtaposition was something to behold. And after all the shaking and the dancing, they wrapped their hair back up and said goodnight.

I know the headscarf is supposed to keep the woman's beauty for her husband alone, but I found it just made me insanely curious. Perhaps men in that culture are just used to it, but every woman I looked at, I was just dying to know what she looked like under all that cloth. It made me more curious about the women, not less. And I'm a 30 year old woman, not a teenage boy; it must drive them batty. Is that a good thing?

Of course, last night I was having a bad hair day, so I would've given anything for a headscarf.

The Mehndi was a lot of fun and very interesting. I am looking forward to the wedding this weekend. I am leaving for Chicago in about an hour, so more when I return.

(See also the wedding and the Walima posts.)

Posted by Sarah at August 15, 2008 10:04 AM | TrackBack

“He didn't think the scheming to steal his wife was as funny as I did.”

Yea, “jokin” about stealing one’s wife…no, not so funny. If you were in Pakistan you probably WOULD be his new wife, ha hah ha…

I was wondering Sarah if you could ask your Muslim friends about the rest of wonderful ways they subjugate their cattle…err women.

Peace be upon you, (unless you’re an infidel, then I’ll kill you.)

Sorry Sarah, we’re in complete disagreement on this one.

Posted by: tim at August 15, 2008 12:23 PM

Sounds like a rare glimpse into a culture we don't get to see with its hair down. I'm glad you had fun and are sharing your experience with us. Have a great time this weekend.

Posted by: Butterfly Wife at August 15, 2008 12:39 PM

Tim -- It might not be funny if anyone but my friend's family said it. But first of all, he'd never marry me in a million years because I'm not Muslim. So no worry there. Second of all, his family is the last best hope for Islam. My friend was Army for 8 years and Special Forces at that. He's a good guy. That's why I'm at his wedding.

Posted by: Sarah at August 15, 2008 01:04 PM

Of course he or any Muslim won't marry you or any infidel. They don't view you as equal, yet that's not insulting to you?

What do you think "Islam" means? The answer -

Sorry Sarah, there is no hope for Islam.

Not gonn'a argue it with anyone anymore, I'm tired of the charade that that religion is.

I thank your friend for his service, but I cast a jaundice eye upon ANYONE of that death cult, special forces or whatnot.

Ask them how the feel about this:

Dhimmitude is the status that Islamic law, the Sharia, mandates for non-Muslims, primarily Jews and Christians. Dhimmis, "protected people," are free to practice their religion in a Sharia regime, but are made subject to a number of humiliating regulations designed to enforce the Qur'an's command that they "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29). This denial of equality of rights and dignity remains part of the Sharia, and, as such, is part of the law that global jihadists are laboring to impose everywhere, ultimately on the entire human race.

Posted by: tim at August 15, 2008 02:35 PM

I do wonder about the sexiness of being completely covered. Remember the Victorian's supposedly took delight at a peek of ankle, yet some of the breast showed as much cleavage a now.

Posted by: Ruth H at August 15, 2008 03:55 PM

Tim, we can agree to disagree on this one. I view my Muslim friend the same way I view my very Catholic neighbor: an active and devoted practitioner of his religion, but no threat to me or anyone else. To me, there's no difference there; they're just both religions I don't practice myself. To me, in this individual case, they're equivalent.

And there are lots of Christians who wouldn't marry a Jew or a Hindu. If your religion is very important to you, it makes sense to me to want to share that in your life. My friend has never made me feel like a dhimmi or an infidel. And, to be honest, he is so devout that I would be the one who probably wouldn't choose to marry him, simply because I don't share that religious devotion...regardless of whether he was Muslim or Catholic or whatever. I have no problems that he wouldn't want to marry me on religious grounds because I wouldn't want to marry him for the same reason.

Look, I'm as wary of Islam as the next person, but I have nothing but respect and love for my friend. And I don't feel like I have to point out "but he's a good person", any more than I want people to say "Sarah's a Republican, but she's a good person."

I'm not going to condemn a good and upstanding person, a man who loves the US and has fought and even killed in her service, because he follows a religion I don't believe in. I refuse to lump him in with the crazies, and I refuse to be prejudiced against him and his family because of Islamofascists. They're good people; end of story for me.

Posted by: Sarah at August 16, 2008 11:24 AM

Hey Sarah- sucks when they start calling you a traitor for expressing your perfectly valid perspective and living your life with the thoughtful morals you know are right, dont it?

We're not of the agreeing type, you and me, but i'm truly heartened to know that your stand against facism isn't hollow, and that you back it up, everyday, whether it be overseas or right in the backyard of your gated community.

Posted by: Will at August 17, 2008 05:24 PM