October 26, 2011

Secret Hijabi Confession: Sitting Next to Men on the Train

Filed under: Secret Hijabi Confession — hijabeng @ 5:06 pm
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I need to reorganize this blog but seeing how it’s a braindump for me, eh. It’ll live without being organized. But something I realized recently led me to create a new category which I’m hoping will be interesting to readers and if not, oh wells. This new category is “Secret Hijabi Confession”, or the Thoughts That Run Through My Head Anyway But Just More Specific, or This Blog in General But More Specific. You savvy?

So today’s episode of Secret Hijabi Confession is that sometimes, I love sitting next to men on the train. Yes, this is a weird thing to say. But hear me out. Muslims are supposed to be gender separated. Men associate with men, women associate with women, keep that distance between the sexes on purpose. I can ramble on and on about how different cultures have interpreted this into keeping their women at home with no outside contact but blah blah blah, we can cry that river another time (dang, sometimes I’m just so irreverent…oh wells).

Basically, I’ve interpreted this to mean that throughout my daily and never ending commute, if there’s a seat open next to woman and a seat open next to a man, I should pick the seat next to the woman. I will have literally separated myself from the man, see? And many times, I do. And I’m all religiously at peace with myself that I did. Yeah, Islam really pervades all aspects of a Muslim’s life and I suppose it could be seen as neurotic but I’m ok with whatever anyone thinks, what I think is what really matters (yeesh, defensive much?).

But sometimes, I choose sitting next to the man, dun dun dun. Sometimes, it’s because the woman seems snooty (actually, it’s true a lot of the time but religious satisfaction is important, see above), or she has her 18 purses all over the seat and I don’t feel like hassling her and usually, men are conditioned not to mind a request from a woman. They will happily accommodate the woman sitting next to him. But the best part about sitting next to a guy, even the one who hogs more than his seat or spreads his legs too wide or keeps jabbing his elbow into you or whatever is that men are heat generating machines. Even the super skinny hipster dudes. It’s awesome.

I find air conditioning to be intolerably cold. Super duper cold. I’m fine in the winter, really. Summer feels too hot to me. I’m so warm that when I used to go the mosque on weekends to get my religious learning (or Sunday school, whatever, it was on Saturdays and Sundays), when the girls would whine about how cold it was, I’d shrug and say I was fine. Which I had to prove. So they’d touch my hand. Find out that it was burning hot. And they’d pull off my coat (because it was cold inside, heat was off all night), pull up my shirt sleeves and warm their hands on my arms. Weird, but FACT.

Even in high school and college, my gal pals would routine hold hands with me while walking to warm up their own hands. I don’t wear gloves either. I’m just superwarm, I guess. At home, my family routinely comes to me to warm up. This is very weird but getting back to the point, I’m FINE WITH WINTER. But air conditioning, good grief. I feel like I’m in a fridge. At work, my coworkers start laughing whenever they see me because I wear this superwarm puffy fleece jacket we’re provided with for field work.

But no matter how cool it can get at work, it is NOTHING in comparison to the arctic chill of trains and commuter rail. SO DOGGONE COLD. You could leave food on those trains and they wouldn’t spoil. And so, to mitigate the situation, I wear sweaters and blazers during the summer, not winter, and also sit next to men who are natural furnaces. But if you need natural heating in the winter, I’m your girl.

God, I’m so weird. Peace out.


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