Yesterday walking up Market street, my friend and I encountered a group of middle eastern people. They were obviously tourists, blocking the sidewalk while in deep discussion about where they were doing to go, or do next. Now I don’t speak their language, but when you live in a tourist destination you just know these things in time, having observed thousands of tourists in a similar stance.
In the group or maybe 10, the men looked typical, one or two in regular dress shirts and pants and the others in full on white tunics and trousers, looking all regal on the sidewalk. The whole party was like a real life cultural dress display, I was fascinated. Not that we don’t see the one or two people dressed this way, but in the true fashion of my people we usual just pass them by, they are after all just people.
But two things really stood out to me: some of the women, and the reaction of some of the locals.
Now there were three women in the group, in full Hijab etc, only their eyes to be seen. And even only seeing their eyes we could tell so much about them. One was obviously older, and look at us with a fair amount of suspicion, which I can fully understand, nobody likes to be a spectacle, she obviously just wanted to get moving. The other two women, where young and pretty, both looking at the passing crows with sharp curiosity in their smiling eyes. One even smiled at me when our eyes met.
To me this was perhaps the sexiest thing I have ever seen. Being a part of this society where flesh is almost always too much on display, I was just taken aback by the beauty I could see, just by looking into their eyes. My male walking companion made the comment out loud, how he found the same thing. The mystery of these women, the expressiveness of their eyes, just their eyes….oh my.
But there was a small crowd gathering to look at the group, Yes they were quite the spectacle, blocking the sidewalk as they were, and the locals looked on both curious and amused. One woman commented.
“Me never see nothing so, them all cover up”
A child in his school uniform commented, “But that one look so nice, why she hiding?”
His friend said. “That is just how they are, part of their religion or something. Them look nice ent it?”
It was both sad, that my people knew so little about these people despite the thriving middle eastern community here, and heart warming, to watch the mutual curiosity, not hostility, we just wanted to know more about each other. I for one, just want to get a few hijabs of my own, not for everyday, but maybe for when I perform one of these nights at poetry night, to add a little mystique and some sexiness to my poetry.
Now I’m off to read up on the people who wear Hijabs on Market street.