Un/Covered

A Mennonite bonnet, a Muslim hijab: Why do many of us feel differently about them?

A Toronto, Muslim, assimilation-assisting group recently brought an assortment of hijabs, niqabs, and burkas, and installed them beside bonnets, caps and snoods, in the local Mennonite Museum, as a prompt for debate and discussion, with the above question.

As with so many other things, each of these sets is far more than what it merely appears to be, women’s head-coverings.  Each of them is representative – a sort of visual shorthand – of an entire subculture.  Here in Canada, we have had 200 years to accustom ourselves to what Mennonites are, peaceful, law-abiding and reserved.

Sadly, after 50 years of immigration, the same cannot be said of all Muslims.  There is no Mennonite jihad – a drive to force the world to obey its tenets.  There is no published agenda to establish a Mennonite Caliphate.  Mennonites don’t put people in cages and drown them, or throw them off tall buildings, or burn them alive, or blow their heads off with explosive cord.

In many people’s minds, these actions and attitudes are represented – at least condoned – by these head coverings.  If you come to Canada to be Canadian, don’t continue to wave the bullfighter’s red cape that reinforces the Us and Them stance, and expect to be accepted.

Like many Muslim women, Conservative Amish and Mennonite women wear an bonnet in obedience to the Biblical commands given in 1 Tim. 2:9-15, 1 Peter 3:1-6, and Titus 2:3-5 that a Christian woman should be discreet, chaste, modest, sober-minded, in subjection, (Emphasis mine) meek and quiet, and shamefaced.

A local Mennonite lady took offence at the printed statement that such headwear was a symbol of oppression.  Her Op-Ed letter read, “I read with interest the article by the female columnist.  I am a Mennonite woman who wears a head covering, and I was disappointed the real reason we wear them was not explained.  Mennonites are Bible-believing Christians, and we believe the head-covering is a God-ordained requirement for a Christian woman.

I find it offensive that the Mennonite head covering is seen as a symbol of oppression.  There may be some such cases, but I am convinced that the majority of Mennonite women feel very secure and protected, and not oppressed.

In society, it is perfectly acceptable for businesses to have people with different levels of authority, from CEOs, down to janitors.  A business functions best this way and we believe that a marriage also functions best when we follow God’s pattern for it.  This is for the man to have the leadership role, and the woman to be his helpmeet.  My head covering is a symbol of that headship order.  I find it unfortunate that the Mennonite woman’s head covering is so misunderstood.”

I don’t think that there’s much misunderstanding.  This just an updated version of The Scarlet Letter.  I feel badly for her.  I respect her – just not her beliefs.  From an objective, external viewpoint, this has all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship.  She might be accepting, even happy, with the order of things in her (religious) life, but probably because she’s undergone the Stockholm Syndrome conditioning..  She may have been convinced, or convinced herself, that this mind-set is valid.


Only children’s bonnets may be bright and gay.
Those of mature women must be plain and drab.

Even if it were, like the displays of burkas, etc. just flaunt the I’m-better-than-you, Holier-Than-Thou belief, she’s setting up another Us vs. Them situation, and doing neither group much good.

***

A Spun Fibbing Friday

Last week, Pensitivity101 asked, ‘So, what spin can you put on the following?’

  1. What are fish nets?

They are the piscatorial equivalent to the human Interwebz.  They are constructed using fiber-optic lines, so that water doesn’t short them out.  To prove that fish are smarter than some people, they don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or Tik-Tok.

2. What is a teddy?

He’s my emotional support animal.  He’s so cool that he has his own diminutive teddy – although the little traitor drinks Coke, instead of the proper Pepsi.

3. What is cross stitch?

So….  I stumbled over the dog’s new chew toy, startling him, so that he jumped against my ankles, completing my fall.  I banged my forehead on the corner of the coffee table, and bled like a stuck pig, but I was more than irked when the wife insisted that we spend almost five hours in the hospital Emergency department, waiting for some young intern to apply one suture, and a drop of Krazy-Glue.

4. What is a basque?

This is when you can finally afford to holiday in the French Riviera, and you decide that you will return to Old Blighty with a tan, or die trying.  So you risk offending the Gods of Cancer, and slather on sunblock lotion like you own an oil well, and lie out in the sun until you sizzle and crackle like a haddock filet in a fish and chips shop.

5. What are daps?

They are a series of quick, almost subliminal actions that a young female performs to entice and arouse the interest of a suitable male – a hypersonic application of lip gloss, two damp fingertips rapidly redefining already carefully plucked and shaped eyebrows, a tug on bra straps to nicely display her best points.  Older women don’t generally care that much.  Often, they’re searching for the human equivalent of roach powder or termite poison.

6. What are culottes?

They are slices of lean veal or pork, that I dip in egg, coat with breadcrumbs, and fry in olive oil.

7. What are pedal pushers?

Guys who sell stolen bicycles.

8. What are trews?

They are a Canadian soft-pop band who advertise as being rock and roll, when the closest they get to Rock is in the Bentwood on the front porch.

9. What is a gym slip?

It’s an excuse note, from the school office or nurse, to the P. E. teacher, explaining that female students may sit out the physical class while they have their Monthlies.

10. What is a feather cut?

During the Middle Ages, paper did not exist, so scribes didn’t get paper cuts on thick, soft vellum, but if they weren’t careful, they could get a nasty gash while using a dull knife to carve their quills.

He Is Not A Pleasant Fellow

I am not a very pleasant fellow – as certified by my wife.

The son often reads Quora, an online discussion forum, which has the recurring theme, “Was I The Asshole?”  I did it again – or did I??!  You be the judge.

The wife and I entered a small variety store – think Wal-Mart-Lite.  As many stores do, the entrance aisle was narrow.  Ten feet in, the store had put clothing racks on either side, narrowing traffic even more.  Two corpulent women stood, examining clothing on one rack.  Their shopping cart was crossways to traffic flow, with its nose buried in the far rack.

We, and the couple behind us, could not proceed.  I reached ahead, and moved their cart parallel to the aisle.  We all started forward.  Just as we passed, I heard one woman complain, “He’s not a very pleasant fellow, is he?”  Despite the fact that the wife insists that I need hearing aids, I heard her mutter, “No, he’s not, is he?”

Now, some of my readers might be surprised, but being voted a pleasant fellow by a random idiot bunch of total strangers is not on my list of desired goals.  Then I started thinking about the encounter.  Just what would I have had to do to be considered pleasant??!  What did I do, to deserve such denigration?

I didn’t scream or yell.  I didn’t raise my voice.  I didn’t demand.  I didn’t curse and swear. I didn’t insult either of them.  I didn’t say a word.  I didn’t even require that one of them actually move the offending obstacle.

I could have put a smile in my big, stertorous, public-speaking voice, and sweetly asked, “Could someone please take their inattentive and exasperating head out of their Fucking ass and move this piece-of-shit cart, so that I can get into this God-damned store??!

But no!  This was more like a good day at work.  No-one actually died.  There wasn’t much blood, and the flames were quickly extinguished.  What does a fellow have to do to be declared polite and pleasant, and not get voted off the island?

Now it’s your turn to vote.  Was I the asshole??  Or just a pleasant, if not totally innocent, bystander?

I’ll tabulate the ballots on Friday.  No Fibbing.  😉

And Now For Some MATH One-Liners

MATH stands for….
….Mental Abuse To Humans.

I put my root beer in a square glass….
….Now it’s just beer.

Do you know what seems odd to me?….
….Numbers that aren’t divisible by 2

Why should the number 288 never be mentioned?….
….It’s two gross.

What are ten things you can always count on?….
….Your fingers.

How can you make seven an even number?….
….Just remove the S.

My girlfriend is the square root of -100….
….She’s a perfect 10, but imaginary.

I knew a mathematician who couldn’t afford lunch.
….He could binomials.

Why was the equal sign so humble?….
….She knew that she wasn’t greater or less than anyone else.

Why did Pi get his drivers’ licence revoked?….
….He didn’t know when to stop.

Are vampires good at math?….
….Not if you Count Dracula.

Why is math codependent?….
….It relies on others to solve its problems.

How can you stay warm in a cold room?….
….Huddle in the corner.  It’s always 90 degrees.

Why was algebra so easy for the Romans?….
….X was always 10.

What did the zero say to the eight?….
….Nice belt.

Did you hear the joke about the statistician?…
….Probably.

He got soaked crossing a river….
….because it was one foot deep on average.

Why is statistics no-one’s favorite subject?….
….It’s just average.

When you keep missing math class….
….It really starts to add up.

Why didn’t sin and tan go to the party?….
….Just cos.

What did the triangle say to the circle?….
….You’re pointless.

What shape should you always be careful of?….
….A trap-azoid.

Who’s the King of the pencil case?….
….The ruler.

What do baby parabolas drink?….
….Quadratic formula.

What do you call an angle that’s gone through the garbage disposal?….
….A wrecked-angle.

Swimming In The OCD Ocean

I can’t dress myself!  Oh, I can put clothing on my body – but pick what to wear??  Shortly after I got married, my wife proved to me that, like many other newly-wed men, I was incapable of choosing acceptable attire.  I haven’t bought myself a piece of clothing in over 54 years.

We have agreed on black jeans for normal, casual wear.  For the mix-and-match polo shirts that go with them, her system for choosing to purchase seems to be based on – Ooh, I love that color – Ooh, I like the collar on that, and – Ooh, they’re on sale.  We’ll get one in all four colors.

She was doing laundry one day, and asked me to check my closet for any empty hangers that would be needed to hang them up after drying.  I opened the closet, and it was FULL of polo shirts – How many??! – 32!!  How can I possibly have 32 shirts left, on the day she’s doing laundry??  Not having done laundry in two weeks, she had another 10 in the wash.

When she buys me new shirts, she says, “I’ll throw out all the old, threadbare ones to make room.”  With 42 shirts in the rotation, how would any of them become threadbare?

I was wearing a particular shirt one day.  She commented, “I haven’t seen that shirt in a while.”  I responded, “You should see it every couple of months.  I put shirts into the closet on the left, and take them out to wear, from the right.”  “Wellll… You’ve got some shirts that I don’t like, so I go into your closet and move them around, so that you won’t wear them.”

Wait!!  You do what??!  You purchase all my shirts, and there are some that you don’t like??!  No wonder I can’t choose any that she likes.  She doesn’t even like the ones that she picks.  Must be the ones with the OOH collars.  And she goes into my closet and curates my clothing??!    😯

She does throw out threadbare shirts – right when she shouldn’t.  At the old auto parts plant, the windows were one short step up from kitchen sieves.  During a winter cold snap, temps on the floor could drop into the 60s, or even 50s F.  I had 10 thick, warm work tee-shirts – 5 each for two weeks till she did laundry.  In the summer, with no A/C and lots of hot vinyl, many days I worked in the 90s F.  I had 10 thin, threadbare shirts.

As cold weather approached one winter, I put away the thin, summer shirts.  At our first heat-wave in April, I went to pull them back out – but couldn’t find them.  “Honey, do you know where my summer tee-shirts are?”  “Oh, they were all so thin, and they had little holes and picks in them, so I just threw them all out.  Just wear the good, thick, heavy ones.  They cover you better, anyway.”  I can’t even go out and buy thin, cool shirts.

The poor dear probably doesn’t even notice what she’s doing, and does it with the best of intentions and my welfare and best interests at heart.  A guy could die from all that love.  I’ll be wearing a clean shirt when you return in a couple of days – solid colors only – no stripes, spots, or Canadian plaid.  Tell me if you like the collar.   😉

Fibbing Friday – III

My teeth are like the stars.  They come out at night.
With a smile and a wave to Pensitivity101, and The Usual Gang of Idiots who compose these lists, this is my most recent chance to lie through my teeth.  I just blow gently, as they sit beside my hot chocolate.
1. What is a tie dye?

That’s what might happen to me, if I try to self-accessorize.  My wife, the Mistress (or is that distress?) of circumlocution says, “Are you wearing that?” – which means, ‘I may have to strangle you with that tie, because I would dye of embarrassment if you went out in public with it on.’
I quickly reply, ‘This??!  Uh, no!  This must have been right beside the one I should have picked.  Why don’t you grab it for me, Honey?’
2. What is a raglan sleeve?

That’s what’s on some of my older gently-used tee-shirts.  I don’t want to say that I am old – and cheap – but I’ve watched silent movies in some of them.  Now, if I don’t keep an eye on them, the wife makes them into muscle shirts by ripping the sleeves off, and using them to dust.
3. What is seersucker?

That was the last suit I purchased, before we were married.  Seers Sears sold it, and a sucker bought it.


4. What is meant by a dropped waist?

All those stops at the French fry trucks had to have some consequences.  The doctor told me to watch my weight…. so I put it out in front, where I can keep an eye on it.  I put a roof over the tool-shed.
5. What is a yoke collar?

See number 1, above.  Wifey says, ‘You think you’re going to wear a tie with little dollar signs and dollar bills to the funeral of a Catholic nun who swore an oath of poverty??  Is that some kind of yoke joke?’
6. What is meant by pigeon toed?

That’s the hottest, most recent, culinary trend, already replacing smash-burgers.  Instead of the usual turners, cooks are using three-prong garden scuffles to flip patties.  It leaves a birds-foot-like impression, and three holes that cheese can melt and sink into.
7. How many pleats are in a kilt?

I don’t know about you, but I just need one big one, in the front.
8. What is bias binding?

That was an explicit BDSM passage from 50 Shades of Grey.  And then he put a blindfold on her, and fed her strawberries as she lay on the floor….  No, no!  That was from 9-1/2 Weeks.
9. What is Velcro?

I’m not sure.  Why don’t you stick around while I do a bit of quick research?  Don’t tear yourselves away.
10. What is twill webbing?

That’s an adroit, multi-tasking Scotsman, surfing the Internet while playing the bagpipes.

 

The Jokes Just Suit Me

The fellow was being sold a very cheap suit. “But the left arm is a lot longer than the right arm,” he complained.

“That’s why the suit is such a bargain,” the sales clerk explained. “Just cock your left shoulder up a little, like this, and tuck this left lapel under your chin a bit, like this.”

“But the right leg is way too short,” argued the customer.

“No problem,” the sales clerk answered. “Just keep your right knee bent a little at all times, walk like this, and no one will notice. That’s why this suit is only $30.”

Finally, the fellow bought the suit, cocked his left shoulder into the air, tucked the suit’s left lapel under his chin, bent his right knee, and limped out of the store toward his car. Two doctors happened along and noticed him. “Good heavens,” the first doctor said to the second, “look at that poor crippled fellow.”

“Yeah,” answered the second doctor. “But doesn’t that suit fit great?”

***

An employee went to see his supervisor. “Boss,” he said, “we’re doing some heavy housecleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife asked me for some help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff.”

“We’re shorthanded,” the boss replied. “I can’t give you the day off.”

“Thanks boss,” said the employee. “I knew I could count on you!”

***

“What’s that piece of cord tied around your finger for?”
“My wife put it there to remind me to take a letter to the Post Office.”
“And did you mail it?”
“No, she forgot to give me the letter.”

***

I was desperately trying to get my wife’s attention.  So I sat down on the couch, and looked comfortable; that seemed to do the trick.

***

A wife walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a flyswatter.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Hunting flies.” he replied.
“Oh, kill any?”
“Yeah!  Three males and two females.”
Intrigued, she asked, “How can you tell the difference?”
“Three were on a beer can, and two were on the telephone.”

***

Playing golf with his buddies, my grandfather had to make a slick 25-foot putt. As he lined it up, he announced, “I have a dollar bill that says I can make this putt. Does anyone want to bet?”

His three friends eagerly agreed to the wager. My grandfather missed the putt by ten feet, and his friends gathered around to collect their money. Granddad pulled out a dollar bill on which he had written, “I can make this putt.”

His pals are still trying to collect on the bet and grandpa is too.

—–

My drama queen teenage daughter was recounting to my seemingly uninterested husband what she deemed a near-death experience and concluded the story with, “And I think I saw my life flash before my eyes.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, my husband replied, “Wow! That must have been a sad short story.”

—–

Just helped my neighbor throw a rolled up carpet in the dumpster…
Her boyfriend would have helped but he is out of town.

Damned Amateurs – AKA Snowflake Meltdown

OKAY, BOOMER

I recently encountered an MSN article titled, “40 Things That Baby Boomers Think Are Still Cool – But Aren’t.”  It was an amusing little nothing of an article, good only for hanging advertising links onto – as fluffy as RuPaul’s feather boa.

It was apparently composed by some Millennial Snowflake – probably to the sound of great applause.  I thought that only achy, arthritis-afflicted, grumpy old curmudgeons like me would compose such a compilation of complaints.  I figured that the author of this would be too busy, polishing his brand-new, red BMW.  Maybe MSN threw in a gold star for his sticker album, and a participation medal.

Snowflake

Snowflake: Slang A person who is considered to be overly sensitive or too easily offended, especially as a result of believing himself or herself to be unique or special – with the accent on flake.

I don’t know if the author was serious, or if this was just an exercise in being a published author.  There were some things that he ranted about that even I, as an old Boomer, would object to, while others made me think that, even if it were raining gold coins, he’d complain about dents on that BMW.

The list was eclectic and varied.  Among others, he hit on visors, shag carpet, Yahoo, Jell-O salads, fossil fuels, fuzzy toilet seat covers, bar soap, meat loaf, encyclopedias, and malls.

I don’t know what his objection to visors was.  I don’t like wearing hats, but when I was younger, and my hair was black and absorbed solar energy and heat, I wore them to keep my brain from boiling.  (So, that’s what happened!)  Now that it’s as white as the driven snow, all I need is something to protect my eyes.  That’s why God invented Ray-Bans.

I always thought that shag carpeting was a bad idea, and didn’t sign up for Yahoo.  Instead I waited till Google was available for free.  I rather like Jell-O salads – both vegetable, and fruit.  I never miss a chance to scoop some up, the few times we hit a restaurant with a buffet.  It was a cheap food that the wife’s family of nine kids had to endure, so she won’t make any.  I’ll eat it, but I won’t make it.  Like tossed salad, I feel that the enjoyment-to-labor ratio is too low.

I think that ‘fossil fuels’ was just tossed in for virtue signaling.  I don’t know any Boomer who thinks that they’re “cool”, but, until some smart-ass Snowflake comes up with an affordable, reliable alternative…. they’re indispensable.

Fuzzy toilet-seat covers, aside from being a germ-sponge, are a vicious trick, invented by Women’s Lib.  They turn a two-handed job into a three-handed one.  When a guy tries to do what he needs to do, he has to open the front of his pants with one hand, and withdraw (hopefully) a handful with the other.

Fuzzy seat covers placed the center of balance of the lid forward, so that they would not stay up on their own.  There was a lot of shuffling around to the side, and holding the lid up with a knee.  The ones where the lid stayed up for a few seconds, and then came crashing down in mid-stream were the most dangerous.  I almost didn’t have to pay for a vasectomy.

Ah, Millennial instant gratification!  Since I’m not obsessed with Zumba, or Hatha Yoga, I have time to work up a lather with a bar of soap.  I purchased a box of 12, Chinese, musk-scented bars at the Farmers’ Market.  Most of them are secreted in various dresser drawers, helping to make my clothes smell like Not-Me.

I don’t know what the author had against meat-loaf – except that it wasn’t a kale smoothie.  It’s comfort food, and us old fogies need all the comfort that we can get.  The article served to remind me that we had not had meat-loaf in over a month, so I had it on the menu by the end of the week.

The article came on 40 pages that had to be clicked to.  Each one came with a photograph, ‘cuz our old Boomer eyesight ain’t the best anymore, don’tcha know?  Aside from the general, dismissive, know-it-all premise, the two things that irritated me the most were the photos of ‘encyclopedias,’ and ‘malls’

Encyclopedias

I welcomed the electronic advent of Wikipedia.  Google and Bing are my friends.  Paper and ink encyclopedias are archaic anachronisms – antiques, and collectors’ items.  The Internet knows everything – if you can sift out the fake news.  The photo provided for that page seemed to be of a library Rare-Book shelf.  They’re old, and they are hard-cover…. but not one of them is an Encyclopedia.  Bing images provided me with pictures of lots, as I composed this post, including the first, and possibly the best – Encyclopedia Britannica.

Polish Reception

Malls have had their day.  All hail Amazon and E-Bay!  Etail is the wave of the future.  The only thing that malls are good for are the food courts, and the girl-watching – and the air conditioning means that they are wearing far too much clothing.  Someone didn’t work (or think) too hard with these photos.

Since the article is in English and apparently intended for the American – or perhaps Canadian – market, it would seem to be a good idea to get a picture of an English-speaking mall.  Even a cursory examination of the above photo shows that it is of a Polish one.  Recepcja = reception.

I think I pulled a groin muscle, ranting about some young whipper-snapper ranting about old nothings.  I’m gonna rest up for a couple of days.  See you later.  😀

WOW #54

Boustrophedon

Here’s another in a long line of words that you’ll never use in polite company – or in any company, I would imagine.

BOUSTROPHÉDON

Languages that are written in the Greek, Cyrillic, or Latin alphabets, are written from left to right. It only makes sense. 90% of people are right-handed, and the right arm moves away from what is being written. Asian languages like Chinese and Japanese are written from the top down, vertically. At least they’re getting out of their own way.

Forgive me for being un-PC, but languages like Hebrew and Arabic are just stupid. Both cultures – Arabs worse than Jews – make a big deal about being left-handed. Somehow it’s evil, allied to Shaitan, The Devil. Yet these languages are written from right to left. It’s only in the last 75 years that technology has partly rescued them, with instant-drying ballpoint ink, and word processors. Before that, writers’ arms covered what had just been written, smudging or smearing the pen or quill ink.

Cuneiform

Boustrophedon is a Greek name for some of the much earlier Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform type of ‘writing.’   This was just wedge-shaped marks, pushed into soft clay tablets. Back and forth – to and fro. Since there was no ink to smudge, a line would be entered from left to right. Then the writer would just drop down a line, and enter the next one from right to left.

The word originally just referred to that form of writing, but the meaning, in Greek, is “oxen turning.” Nowadays, the very few times that it is used, (always by a licensed professional) it can refer to things like the back-and-forth pattern of tweed, or the appearance of an agricultural field which has been plowed – fortunately, with tractors, not oxen – back and forth, up and down, leaving a visual difference between alternating rows or strips.

Flash Fiction #171

Adam and Eve

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

What kind of tree did you say that one is??  A fig tree??  Nah, that can’t be right.  A fig tree should have leaves as big as palm fronds.

Well, in the Bible, it says that Adam and Eve were naked and ashamed, so they made clothing from fig leaves, and covered themselves.

I don’t know how well…. endowed Adam was, but those leaves wouldn’t cover a beauty spot.  Make concealing clothing from those tiny leaves?  I don’t really think so.  They’re more like the sequins on a high school girl’s prom dress and they’d cover just about as much.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Friday Fictioneers