Friday, February 19, 2010


Women in the frum community cover their hair after they get married. It's halacha (Jewish law,) the explanation of which is longer than I want to get into right now, so let's just acknowledge this as fact. Orthodox women cover their hair.

They use scarves, hats, wigs, and (ugly) snoods. Depending on the community, some wear only scarves, only wigs, only hats, and even only wigs with a hat on top. I never understood that one - it seemed kind of deceptive to me to be wearing a hat on top of a wig, which could be mistaken as the real hair that the woman is trying to cover with her hat.

Personally, I like hats. Not for covering my hair (unless you count bad hair days) but just because I like hats.

That doesn't mean that when I get married I'm going to wear hats to cover my hair; in fact, I plan to wear -- very expensive, very authentic-looking -- wigs when I get married.

But you can't say, "I like hats," in the frum community without getting a barrage of comments about covering your hair for marriage.

Case in point: I visited some cousins in Israel during the summer a few years ago and happened to be wearing a hat. It was sunny and the hat was cute, so I wore it. As girls tend to do, I asked my cousin, "So, how does this hat look?" and instead of telling me whether she liked the hat, she said:

"Don't wear it. You look married."

Seriously? I'm supposed to give up wearing hats because someone might mistake me for being a married woman? Oh, the horror.

I haven't given it up, and neither have the double-takes that people I know give me when they see me wearing a hat. Just a few weeks ago I was wearing a hat in the supermarket and bumped into the husband of a friend of mine. It was raining hard that day, which should have been enough to keep him from standing there blinking at me owlishly, but it wasn't.

"Did you get married?" he asked me.

"Nope. It's raining. I like wearing hats," I answered him. "And that's hat discrimination!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bring in the Firemen

We had a bit of a scare last night and wound up calling the fire department to come check out what turned out to be some burning food.

Embarrassing? Very.

But what horrified me even more, as I watched three firetrucks, one ambulance, and about a dozen firefighters invade my neighborhood and home, was the feeling of, "Omg, you really need a guy to deal with things like this."

In retrospect, it seems irrational - there was nothing about the situation that I shouldn't have been able to handle by myself. But in the moment, circumstances (the smell of gas, smoke coming out of the vents, a kitchen full of smoke...) made us women panic and call 911 where a guy would probably have just thrown open every possible source of smoke, careless about the fear that "something" might happen, and discover that it wasn't anything major.

The truth is that, given the circumstances, I know we did the right thing in calling the fire department. Better safe than sorry. But that doesn't make me feel any better knowing that these "circumstances" included the fact that we females were just too panicked to handle it on our own.

I'm left struggling with the question of whether women really are more emotionally fragile than men. My feminist side is yelling, "NO WAY!" while this other voice is poking at me saying, "Um, remember last night?"