Tuesday, August 22, 2006


While researching the novel I'm writing, I came across a great deal of information and none more titillating than the Turkish Delights in Cairo, Egypt.

Let me set the scene. Close your eyes and picture this. Walking down a maze of alleys, your senses are attacked by the smell of exotic spices mingling with the pungent little cups of Turkish coffee that small boys carry as they weave their way through groups of veiled women busy shopping.

The muezzin is still calling worshipers to prayer and the sounds of Allah hu Akbar compete with the shouts of vendors trying to sell their olive wood camels and busts of the ancient Kings and Queens of Egypt to the ever eager tourists.

A few steps from the Sayyidna al-Hussein Mosque, in the heart of Islamic Cairo our group of veiled women stop in front of a cart bearing a mound of brightly coloured cloth. One woman reaches into the pile and comes up with a scarlet bra with strategically placed gold tassels. And what's that her friend has found? A flaming red G-string complete with a matching skimpy see-through nightie. Ya Eini..oh my eyes! It's you, Fahima. It's you!

Yes. Not far from the Mosque is a sexy underwear shuk that would put Victoria's Secrets to shame. But here you can easily get everything in your size Fahima. We have up to XXXL and all the colours you want. Boggles the mind, no? XXXL G-strings?

Who are these women? Perhaps belly dancers buying new work clothes. Let’s look at them carefully.

Even in the blistering hot sun of the mid day our beauties are covered in shapeless chadors...floor-length, black coats worn over their clothes. Not one traitorous hair dares to escape from behind their tightly tied headscarves. Only two eyes and two hands are exposed to the light of day.

But these are not professional women. They are professional wives. Mothers and daughters out for a day of shopping. Well, well Fahima! Naughty, naughty.

I thought about Fahima and her friends a lot after that. And I have to admit my imagination ran wild.

Then I took a walk down the little streets in Mea Shearim...the ultra orthodox part of Jerusalem. And as much as I looked, I couldn't find one sexy underwear shop anywhere. What? Are my religious women less exotic...less adventurous than yours? Is that Yeshivah Bocher really a Chippendale in disguise?

Shame shame shame on you, I thought, and went home to wash out my mouth and my eyes.

In the middle of the night I heard them. "Ya Allah! Oh my God!" they shouted in delight as their tassels shimmied in circular motion.

And then I understood why we of the western world would never understand the Muslim mind. See, we have nothing to hide. We are the Chippendales. And, those fortunate enough to look good in them, wear their little string bikinis proudly on the beach. What you see is what you get.

But Fahima will never be a Betty Grable. And Achmed will probably get his friends and family to stone her to death if she ever tried.

So, now when I see a Scotsman dressed in his kilt I still wonder, is he or isn't he?

And since learning the truth, whenever I come across a poor Muslim woman covered from head to toe in that shmatteh, I can only see her little G-string disappearing beneath her mounds of flesh.

But, when I see my Rebbitzin or a nice Mormon, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Playtex Cross My Heart and Fruit of the Loom...standard white. Exactly as it should be.

Oh, by the way...if you want to check it out…the sexy lingerie business in Egypt brings in tens of millions of American dollars every year. And for this I went to college to be a teacher?

Like sushi, where you have a restaurant without a kitchen...now we have underwear from your old shoelaces. What a world!

I know, Fahima. It's red. How much did it cost you? How much?!?

The only thing you can get from a pushcart next to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is a paper kippa for the men to cover their heads and babushkas for the women on their side.

Never having the pleasure yet of getting to Italy and visiting Rome, I somehow believe that Giovanni is selling nice bibles and crosses around the corner from the Vatican.

See what we’re missing? Tell the truth...you won't look at those women the same way again either, now will you?

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.


At 1:00 AM, Anonymous the guv said...

Years and years ago, I worked with Sister Delia, a young, beautiful nun who came from a small town in rural Quebec, originally. We worked together as nurses in a large hospital in Montreal.

In those days, nuns still wore full habits. Sister Delia's was powder blue and white, and, in my humble estimation, she wore the most gorgeous wimple ( head piece ) I had ever seen. And, to be honest, I considered myself a maven on the subject. Growing up in Montreal, over the years I had seen dozens and dozens of different habits. You see, there were ALWAYS groups of nuns walking about. ( And, by the way, they NEVER walked anywhere alone. Always in groups of three, or four, or more.) Most of the "street walkers" wore raven-black habits. Nursing sisters, I later discovered, wore white ( Or, in the case of Sister Delia , white and powder blue ). No matter what colour they wore, however, you could count on two things....The only visible parts of their bodies were their faces. AND, they didn't have feet. They seemed to float gracefully above all surfaces without ever touching down. An aside: Interestingly, in all those years, I never saw one of those women stumble or fall. Or accidentally bump into a fire hydrant.

But, back to Sister Delia with her beautiful face, gorgeous wimple, and stunning habit. Sister Delia didn't glide or float. She bopped and swayed and bounced when she worked on the wards. She moved to her own beat. Or, that's what I first thought. In fact, after we became friends, I discovered that she was moving to the beat she heard through the tiny earphone her wimple was concealing, that was attached to the transistor radio that her voluminous skirt was hiding, that was tuned into a local Rock N' Roll station.

When she played tennis, Sister Delia kept her spare balls in one of her secret pockets that were hidden from the public eye. When she attached roller-skates to her white shoes, she kept the key tucked safely into her wide, powder blue sash. Living in residence, when we nurses were hungry after hours, Sister Delia raided the main kitchen and on her way back she always covered the purloined food with her ample, bell-shaped sleeves.

Gosh, way back then, I wish I had thought to ask her if she wore "Frederick's Of Hollywood" under that religious garb !! Now it's too late.

The Guv


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