Friday, July 15, 2005

My Eishes Chaver and I spent the last 24 hours on a mini-vacation. We were at the kind of getaway place where you go to do nothing and the biggest decision you need to make is dry shvitz or wet shvitz. No kids, no cellphones. After one day there I'm so mellow I'm in danger of lapsing into a coma. The greatness of the place is that you eat like a pig but they also serve a lot of lettuce so you feel virtuous doing it.

Anyway, it's the kind of place where a bunch of strangers, some frum and most not frum, are thrown in together for an extended period. This doesn't really happen that often outside of an airplane. So everyone needs to send subtle bonding signals that identify them with their own species.

Apparently, some people's affiliations require that they expose more flesh than the state of their bodies would seem to call for. Now, I'm no tzenius nanny. In fact, I have no quarrel with a pulchritudinous nekeivah who wishes to be mezakeh the tzibbur with an opportunity to make a boruch shekachah lo beolamo. But when we start edging into meshaneh habriyos territory, I just wish I had a big sign that said: DEK DICH TZI.

Their opposite number, of course, are the women bopping around in robes and snoods, as if they were sitting down for shalashides in Luxor Manor. Let me be clear about this. I'm not crazy about any of the head-covering options. Sheitlach, berets, tichels tied in whatever funky or Hungarian-shviger fashion, stylish and not-so-stylish hats, each have their own advantages and disadvantages. But as for snoods, listen up head-covering-women because if your husbands haven't told you this it's a sure sign they're scared of you: SNOODS ARE VERY VERY UGLY. Unless you're French or Belgian and have learned the art of applying makeup and other fashion accessories directly from Coco Chanel herself, you should never ever wear a snood.

Finally, there is the frum men bonding thing which usually consists of the single secret password: d'youdaven? This is closely related to the slightly accusing: D'you arrive today? Didn't see you at shacharis. Or the more polite: thinkwecangettogetheraminchah? Gentlemen: First of all, lomich tzuree. Second, you don't have to work so hard to label yourselves. You're the ones whose wives are wearing snoods.


Blogger daat y said...

You are sooo right about snoods.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous said...

Are the men who go "thinkwecangettogetheraminchah? " on a vacation the sames ones whose wives change from a sheitel to a snood in the airplane bathroom? And why is a snood not appropriate for the airport lounge, check-in and duty-free, but is Ok on the plane? and also, I have never noticed but do all the women who change from sheitel to snood on the plane change back before landing?

2:01 PM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Benny, I'd say that a word no one actually uses (save the occassional stripper here and there) is not actually a word, but onec you're showing off with it, spell it right for chris sake!

"pulchritudinous" - having or being a collection of finely shaped pulkies

7:23 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Fixed. You know I love you but you really need to get a life.

It depends which direction they're flying.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous daat y said...

Of course you spelled wrongly

1:00 AM  
Blogger mnuez said...

Yes daasy, but with the exception of 'chris' which was drawn k'machashava, the others are my way of showing that I don't bother to spell check. It's part of that endearing style I've been working so hard to cultivate. Benny however is generally far more punctilious ( - and possibly pulchritudinous, I don't know).

8:00 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...


On the snood point: Totally agree. A much cooler and attractive solution for snood-situations is a bandana.

On the flesh issue: For the past ten or so summers, we who work in Manhattan face the issue you refer to. As dress codes have gone from business to business casual to casual to beach, more and more women are displaying more and more skin...often without regard to the reality of their own situations. As a friend once said, wearing spandex is a privilege, not a right. The same applies to short skirts and bare midrifts. In any event, it ain't easy being a yiras shamayim working in manhattan in the summers.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous said...

Does this mean that it is now halachically permissible to go to a mixed beach - or impermissible to work in the city?

12:51 PM  
Blogger Thoughtfullcare said...

9:02 AM  
Blogger HaJew said...

You remind me of Marc Weiner's line - "Next time I eat a Shabbos meal in a home where the woman wears a robe, i'm going to show upinmy pajamas."

4:38 AM  

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