Thursday, March 05, 2009

Perspective

I have lived in fairly conservative countries for almost four years now. During those four years now I have made an effort to dress in such a way as to not cause any raised eyebrows. I hadn’t realized how much “covered up” had come to be my definition of normal until last week when I saw this photo on DRL’s blog Daily Life in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


My first thought at looking as I gazed at the people in the photo was, “These people are naked!” I know they were there to celebrate Carnival but that sort of attire – or lack thereof – hardly seemed appropriate.

That’s when I realized they were all wearing shorts and tank tops. Everyone was dressed in perfectly respectable clothing. No one was naked.

A few years ago I would have thought nothing of seeing men and women dressed like that. Heck, most people I know dress like that – just not here. Here everyone tends to cover up a little more.

I think I need time away from the Middle East for a few weeks so can get my perspective back. People wearing shorts aren’t naked. I’m almost positive of that.

25 comments:

daisigirl said...

It is great that you get to experience things like this! You should write a book on your travels! :)

Lydia said...

We were watching a movie and a girl had a spaghetti strap top on, my oldest 9 yo daughter said, "Oh! Is she wearing THAT in a public store?" I told her that where we are going, most people dress that way most of the time and that if she said that in the states, people will understand her, too!

Bluefish said...

I dress differently when I'm in Taiwan...it seems like no one really wears revealing clothes unless one is a celebrity or goes to clubs.

When in Rome, do what Romans do...I guess.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Oh, honey, come back to the U.S. for a while...maybe even journey my way to California. Then you can really see what the naked freaks are wearing these days.

-Francesca

Connie said...

I grew up in Florida. If I wasn't in shorts and tanks, I was in a swimsuit. I have grocery shopped in a swimsuit... more than once, and not been the only one in the store wearing one! I am fairly sure boys are not issued shirts until school age, and then they only wear them at school or work. I may be exaggerating - but only a little.

My kids however, have pretty much grown up in Egypt. We went to Florida for the 1st time when they were 3 and 5, and yes, we had to explain about all the naked people!! :D It is funny. Such dress was NOT ever remarkable to us. Ok, there were certain lines of what was acceptable or obscene, but it was hot and (unlike Egypt and other very conservative areas) VERY HUMID, wearing sleeves, pants, or (ohmigawd) socks was simply foolish. You would melt.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that if you make a visit to Canada at this time of year you would not be very comfortable in tank top and shorts!
merthyrmum

Debbie said...

It is just that the adult people here that tend to wear those clothes are the very ones that shouldn't even own them!

Kathy B! said...

It's funny, over time, how subtle shifts in your perception come about. It's great that you're observant enough to see them and analyze them.

There's always a guest bed for you in NC!

Protege said...

Isn't it strange how what we view as decent and indecent can change so quickly?
Even in our western culture, fashion and what we are allowed to bare has changed over centuries, even decades.
Still, it must be strange for you never to be able to wear tank tops and shorts, particularly as you are - after all, in a warm climate.

lizzy-loo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lizzy-loo said...

it is funny how you adjust to where you are. living in brasil i would think nothing of seeing a man in a speedo and flip flops grocery shopping. i can only imagine coming from a society that is very conservative and having that be in your face. very difficult.

nice to be back and glad you are as-well. missed you during your travels

Sturgmom said...

Isn't it funny how things can become a "new normal" for us depending on our surroundings and culture. Interesting thoughts!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Come to Hawaii. It is difficult to not weat shorts and tanks, unless you like sweating.

NicoleB said...

Grin, I know what you mean. I had a similar reaction after only 1 year Kuwait. :0

Caution Flag said...

My mom is 80 and certainly would agree that those people are indeed naked.

Dash said...

oh god shorts! I cannot wait to get back to summer in Australia! PLEASE LET ME WEAR SHORTS!

To make matter worse, I'll get back in the middle of winter.

psychoknitter said...

Hehe, I'm like that too. I still have a very hard time wearing shorts at home after living in "women don't wear shorts" countries for so long...

By the way, I am very curious to learn how you and hubby met and married!

AndreaLeigh said...

that's so funny. I might as well be naked in shorts... but that's because i'd rather not show my cellulite and spider veins to the world. capris and pants for me!

Fruitfulvine2 said...

Very interesting! Traveling does broaden our view of things.

honkeie2 said...

That is how I dress all summer too! Which reminds me I need to start running.....

Wifey said...

I have that same reaction when I see teenagers at the mall! Shocking.

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

DRL said...

Thanks for the shout-out! Did you see my later post with the half-naked Carnavale pics?

I'm sure you have read about this on my blog but I totally get how we become so accustomed to a certain way of dressing - I never would have guessed I'd be adjust so easily to the Brazilian swimwear - even while pregnant!

Dina said...

Haha, how true! This happened to me too when I moved to where I live now. There must be a happy medium somewhere, when it comes to clothing.

Ashfaq said...

I like ur blog, it is really nice .. i like the articles .. and specially the title of ur blog.. :))
i will add you to my blog roll

Feel free to add me too :
http://ashfaqblog.blogspot.com

cheerz,
Ashfaq.

Boy Mom said...

Wow, what an exciting life you lead. I'm popping over from Misplaced Americans.

Fun reading, I'll have to check out the videos when I have time.