Friday, April 29, 2011

"Take that thing off your head because no man will want to marry you as long as you're dressed like that!"

Any excuse to include a picture of chocolate
If I had a Lindor truffle (my preferred currency) for every time an older, "wiser" woman said this to me, I'd be a little more than pleasantly plump. I can't say that this kind of thinking comes as a shock to me. Nonetheless, I always find it disappointing. I think the fundamental difference lies in who you're trying to please. These types of women are aiming to please men, essentially people. I, and many others like me, are aiming to please God.

This post is not about religion; nor is it about wearing hijab versus not wearing hijab. Rather, it is about knowing yourself and avoiding the self-betrayal that often results when we look to others to define and validate our success.

Regardless of one's degree of spirituality, it cannot be denied that striving to please people is the quickest route to unhappiness, frustration, and very often failure. You will never make everyone happy. And what's more, even if that elusive feat were somehow possible, it would not bring along with it satisfaction. True satisfaction is the product of strong convictions reinforced by corresponding actions. In other words, you need to know what you want, what you believe and live in a way that manifests your principles.

Back to the point: If my goal in life were to "catch a man," I would have long ago traded my flowing fabrics for something a little less subtle. That is not to say that I intend to remain single for the rest of my life; but I refuse to believe that in order to attract a man I must make myself so irresistible that he has no choice but to marry me. (Anyway, that's a bait-and-switch if you ask me, but that's another story.) Furthermore, there are plenty of things men find attractive that have nothing to do with appearance. Yes, intellect and insight actually count for something.

So, what about those men that supposedly won't give us a second glance because the first was nothing to write home about? Well, needless to say, those guys aren't even on my radar. I do believe that it's possible for a man to respect me for my choice rather than write me off for it.

And what if he doesn't exist? What if the old women are right? What if I become a crazy cat lady? That's life. More than anything, I will be content knowing that I stayed true to myself and my beliefs. The outcome is irrelevant.


  1. Proud of you my green Sherien. :))

  2. Amazing mashaAllah! That's ma girl!!! You tell em ;)

  3. Wow! Sherien! Great writing, very admirable!

  4. Asalamu Alaykom,

    While I totally "get" what you are stating in this post, I still think that keeping a balanced view in everything is best. Egypt is more about dressing up and showing off your best assets than in the States. That doesn't mean dressing slutty or being an object for men to view. It means being that really sweet lady on the inside and JUST MAYBE wrapping yourself up in dazzling red like a Lindor. Notice how they care about how they present them. If those delectables were carelessly wrapped in drab and unappealing paper, I don't think we would all give them a shot. So, really do consider how to step it up a notch in Egypt. Why not? You've left so much behind! Be the most beautiful woman you can be in a country which appreciates beauty.

  5. Walaykum assalam,

    I wholeheartedly agree! I'll be the first to admit that my hijab isn't perfect and I probably care a little too much about my appearance as many women do, but my concern was just with the idea that you have to change yourself (physically, philosophically, or otherwise) to earn someone's love. Anyway, don't worry. I take pride in my appearance and have enough Lindor-styled hijabs to prove it ;)

    You're right: Balance is key!