Every morning when I board the metro, I impulsively begin analyzing the components of the outfits surrounding me. This research is part of a long term “going native” “project” in which I construct an Egyptian wardrobe (or at least a few articles of clothing) that will ideally allow me to further blend in; sometimes business pants and collared shirts just enhance the foreignness of my features. I have always wanted a native wardrobe, but inevitably I get used to wearing the same clothes/run out of money/stop caring about blending in. Not so this time! I would rather starve than wear my t-shirts for the next 11 months.
The variety of clothing is endless. Every girl wears her hijab in a different way (about 9 out of ten or 12 out of 13 women cover their hair), and the rest of the outfit is always color coordinated. Imagine every combination of tier skirts, tight jeans, long shirts, tight long sleeve shirts with tank tops over them, bangles, colors, sequins, cartoon characters, gibberish English, gaucho pants, layers, cardigans, t shirts, bows, buttons, heels, flats, bejeweled sandals, abayas, niqabs, and almost everything else except for tie dye shirts, cargo pants, and whatever the Americans are wearing in general.
As we stand humidly on the metro and my eyes wander from ensemble to ensemble, I’m almost overcome with despair. I want it all! -especially a shirt with cartoon characters and or/teddy bears with sequins on them and a tier skirt . My goal is to go so native that the only clue I’m not Egyptian will be my predilection for peanut butter and the fact I prefer to eat meals in front of my computer instead of with humans. Here in Egypt I will be able to fully indulge my love of gaudy color combinations and obnoxious patterns: color goes with color, as I always say.
Today I finally embarked on my nativ-ication project and had great success. I purchased a blue long sleeve spandex shirt to go underneath other clothes…when I later tried this on in my home (there was only one size) I realized it breathes only slightly better than a trash bag. Part of my going native outfit might have to be the tissues everyone carries around to dab the sweat beading on their faces. I also purchased a long shirt-like thing that has stripes on it. I could have gone tackier—no sequins, bows, obnoxious patterns, or animals today—but there will be chance in the future, I believe.
Both my roommates saw the bottom of my feet today and were disgusted/charmed by how dirty they are. What does this mean?