contact with mixed company: forging respect

Everytime I try to edit this post, WordPress does not let me. I have tried to edit it many times… even before my first comment. This is my last attempt.
Now my computer has crashed again and I forgot all of the great inserts that I had made. I guess, I will have to try to remember the good parts and move on. I thought that my last edit was quite good, but, as I said, it is stuck on another broken computer. If all of those broken computers could talk… … …

I have read many intercultural blogs and I have not read much about the differences in male/female relationships. I have read about one woman’s husband who is a male feminist. But, rarely do people talk about opposite sex interactions. So, I suppose that I must assume that either
1. everyone has very understanding husbands who have assimilated to American values when it comes to opposite sex relationships:
or
2. The wives have surrendered to their husband’s’ views concerning opposite sex interaction.
or 3:
No one feels comfortable talking about such issues and they prefer to act as if they do not exist.
Of course, Possibilities 1 and 2 might have happened in a few cases.
and, if one partner converts to Hinduism, Christianity or Islam(or neither are of any religious affiliation at all — or at least a quite liberal one), their values might change also. I realize that rules about gender interaction are wrapped up in religion as well. A conservative person will have some strict rules about regulations and roles of each gender. Thus, when both are the same religion, there may be “few” conflicts in this area. Also, if both are rather conservative or rather liberal, there may be comparable views about interactions between genders.
Are we the only ones?
I was a pretty conservative Christian and he is a somewhat liberal Muslim. Yet, I must admit that Imran and I have talked extensively concerning this very thing. We had different views on interaction betweeen the genders.
For example:
Dancing with people from the opposite sex is common in america. From Ballroom to Step, dance has been a way of opposite sex socialization.
Yet, he would never go to a dance. Now, I am not asking him to salsa or step? I am thinking ballroom or square (how lame is that???)
But, he has strict rules for himself about physical contact between the genders. Even if it were just dancing with me.
“Let’s take a ballroom or swin dancing class?”
1. he would not want to dance with me in public some of this could be because he feels awkward learning to dance and is afraid that he is getting it wrong. But, some has to do with the personal nature of dancing.
2. he certainly would not want me dancing with other men. no explanation needed.
Now, many feel that there is no harm in dancing.
But, that kind of physical contact and closeness between men and women, he finds just inappropriate in public.

So, I forego dancing in public.
Now, this does not bother me much. I was never a “dancer.”
Sure, ballroom dancing and square dancing were fun. And, I must admit, it was a bit exciting to dance with a guy: even if it was only taking his hand or feeling his arm loosely around my waist. So, I understand about physical contact.
But, honestly, before Imran, I didn’t dance much.
Would I love to learn more complicated ballroom dancing and to swing dance?
YES. … … especially if Imran and I were to learn it together. But, this activity is easily replaced with something else which is equally enticing to me. We have many other activities that we can share together that stimulate our minds or that provide some exercise.
So, this only slightly annoys me — on a bad day.
Yet, I can see that it would annoy others, if someone enjoys the dancing scene.
(yet, the blogosphere is silent)
Or,
Let’s take swimming for example.
I remember the scene in “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” where the main character, Changes, is witnessing his love Erica sunbathing topless on the beach. He swims with her also and later with some hesitation and patience, enjoys the freedoms of having an unrestricted relationship. . Later, close to the end of the book, he daydreams of her being in Pakistan with him. Of course, it has been suggested that “Erica,” is not only a beautiful girl, but a metaphore for “America,” and in that vein he will always miss and daydream about America, even when he is in Pakistan.
But, in reality, if the daydream had materialized, the situation would unfold quite differently. I imagine cultural values would clash and he would find her boldness about the removal of clothing quite embarrassing. The main character, Changes, does not touch on changing values of respect, transformations about modesty and if, in fact, although he enjoyed her boldness in the matter, he still would find it “inappropriate for a real lady.” The one thing that we do get from the book is that cultural expectations and values collide.
_________
I’m an American. I am use to swimming in a swimsuit without any regard to others in my vacinity. His comments:
“Even if guys don’t try to touch you (and I am sure that it is hard for them not to do so), they want to. They think about it. In their mind, they are thinking about what it would be like to do so. And, they are not just “looking” They are ogling (and although blind guys can’t see you, thus, can’t “ogle,” they have an active imagination) and wonder what it would be like to touch…. etc. Why would you want someone imagining you in such circumstances? Don’t you think that they are fantasizing about you… … just a bit? And, doesn’t that make you feel uncomfortable to know that someone is imagining what it would be like to make love to you –(and have sex would be the more appropriate term) or at least touch your body?” I’d like to say: “I am certainly not the subject of some lurid fantasy!” I’d like to argue with him on this point: but, I can’t. I can’t tell him that guys are desensitized to women in skimpy clothing and that they no longer care. He would trod out the media and how sexual advertising has become. He would remind me of all of the strip clubs and “hooters,” that are around America. I’m up for a good debate as much as the next woman; but, I want a reasonably good chance that I can win. And, Lying has never been my strong suit. Honestly, I don’t think about guys’ fantasies much. I just want to enjoy the water and swim. Yet, the fact that I don’t want to think about the fantasies of others does not mean that they don’t exist. It just means that I ignore them. I did not have a reply for this except:
“so, if you saw Rachel (a friend of mine) in a swimsuit, you would start fantasizing about her????” He wouldn’t respond and I let it go. The best that I could get out of him is that he would not put himself in a situation where there would be scantily clad women (Rachel included) around so that he wouldn’t be tempted to fantasize. — [good answer, but I think the answer to my question is an indirect “yes”]. But, even if he would be tempted, he circumvents the entire situation. Maybe he does not want me to know that he might be tempted by another woman. But, actually knowing that you might be tempted and circumventing (sorry for the same word twice, but I am not thinking of vocabulary) the situation is even more admirable.

and further, I say, “I don’t care what they are thinking. I just want to enjoy the water and as long as they don’t touch, then, they can keep their thoughts to themselves. But, even this is a bit incorrect. I really don’t want them imagining such intimate situations with me. and, I do say that I am sure that they try to control themselves. Yet, bikinis make it quite difficult. The water feels awesome against my skin. Besides, if I curtailed my innocent enjoyment just because they could not keep their desires in check, then, I might not come out of the house or speak to them ever. Where do the regulations end? Should I not talk to men because my voice might titulate them?”
I do make some valid points.
But, when it is all said and done: “NO, I don’t want guys ogling me in such a way — or in the case of blind guys: wanting to touch … etc… (just a quick brush against the breast — whoops, sorry it was an accident).”
And “blind,” does not mean “all the way blind,” many blind guys are partially sighted and can see what I am not wearing up close. So, even if we stayed within the blind population; there are still problems. It is not just the “seeing,” per sey, it is the imagination. I still have my feelings about it being the guys’ responsibility to keep his fantasies in check. And, why should I sacrifice my desire to feel the water and enjoy the coolness of swimming just because guys don’t have self control? After all, you don’t see me wondering and fantasizing about the guys in their swim trunks. and I reassure him that I don’t. It doesn’t even pop into my head. Of course, he reminds me that guys are more visual and even blind guys have a visual imagination. he should know, he is one of them!
Yet, I don’t want to overstimulate them. I have to set the boundary between my freedom and enticing others.
I must admit that swimsuits (even the one piece modest ones with an accompanying skirt that i wear) — (wore) do show lots of skin and that can entice guys.
In addition, he still feels uncomfortable knowing that other guys are seeing me with very little clothes on and having such thoughts.
when all is said and done, I have agreed to either
A. swim with females only — or
B. swim with the clothes of a Muslim woman (minus the head covering).
I did find a “muslim Swimsuit,” at
www.ahiida.com
This is made by an australian woman.
But, it is quite expensive and other muslims say with distain: “not necessary.” because you can just swim in light clothing.
(shakes her head and lifts eyebrows: how cumbersome is that — heavy clothes on your body?)
Would I feel a bit odd doing so? Yes. But, I will get use to it and eventually, I would relax. Besides, I will still be enjoying the water. I don’t actually “swim” anyway. I just float and enjoy the feel of the water. Yet, I have considered swimming and or water walking to get back into shape because there is little pressure on the bones. So, I am not sure how to navigate that one — unless I find a women’s only group who water walks

And, this was a big thing for him. It is more of an issue for him than it is for me. If I swim, it is probably two times a year. A female friend has offered her pool to me and I might take her up on it; but there will be no guys present. They are all out working!
I am a part of organizations where there are many men. I go to conventions, conferences and events without Imran. He tends to worry lots. It is not “jealousy.” Ok, maybe a bit of Jealousy. But, I have seen him do the same with his sister. He asks that I call when I arrive and if I am going to be late for our routine chat. At first, it felt as if he did not trust me. I can’t say with certainty that this was not the case. But, I can say that we have had to work out a system that makes both of us feel comfortable. I have agreed to call him when I arrive and call him each evening before I turn in for bed. I will send him my agenda and tell him my plans for the coming days. I enjoy doing this and have no difficulty in doing so. It comes up in conversation, anyway. It is not as if he has dictated such strengent commands. I want to share my day and all that happens in it. Much of my next day’s agenda just comes up in conversation.
He has agreed not to worry, not to call my friends asking why I have not called or if I am ok because I have not called yet.
He will wait for my txt or phone call. He does support me in the things that I want to do and wants me to succeed and excel. He talks about being this way: even when his father went to work or when his mother was out.
1. while socializing, if I am invited to dinner or such by a male, I should not go alone (preferably both males and females will join us). There should be four to eight people at dinner. The more and the more diverse, the better.
2. i don’t go to bars unless the entire group that I am traveling with is going and strongly insists. I do not drink alcohol. I made this decision before Imran, so I am not sacrificing alcohol for the relationship: per sey. But, I realize that others do drink alcohol and sometimes their judgement is a bit hazy. Their judgement might effect their reactions toward me, so I need to be on my guard at all times. Of course, I find the women in the group and stick close to them. I enjoy finding and talking to women. I am not a flirt by nature. So, this is quite acceptable to me. And, I try not to stay long. this does not mean that I don’t talk to the guys. This just means that I am careful and don’t put myself in potentially dangerous situations… but, within reasonI don’t shut myself up in a hotel room because I might have a dangerous encounter, either.
3. Only women are permitted in my room. That is, of course, unless the men are family members — my sons or father. Of course, if Imran is there, then, we can invite a group over. And, if there are my sons or father, then things are a bit more laxed, but still care needs to be observed. Yes, I usually get a room by myself.
4. when a man does make a pass or cross the line, or when any of these other boundaries have been compromised, I will truthfully tell Imran. It won’t result in blaming me. Now, you all have seen at least one picture of me. It is not like I am a model or even close. I don’t want to give the impression that I am always being hit upon or that men find me extremely attractive. And, I try to be quite modest in my dress: not drawing attention to my appearance. I did this before Imran. In fact, we talk about such circumstances before they might happen and I tell him my strategy for minimizing such happenings. But, he can’t blame me if a guy does step out of line with his comments. And, I will firmly put him back in line. I have promised to tell the truth, but in return, he has promised not to hold me responsible for the thoughts and actions of other men. These things are quite complicated and I will admit that most women will think that I am being crazy and either
1. allowing Imran to impose restrictions on me
or
2. imposing restrictions on myself which are not necessary.
I want to say that if Imran were Christian, I would behave similarly. Of course, there are some residuals of Islam, but most of my behavior was decided before Imran had come along.
I try to be modest in my dress and speech and try not to give the wrong idea about my intentions. I believe that flirting is not only dangerous, but suggests (even for a microsecond) something improper. Before Imran, I had not thought about the swimming issue. I suppose that I was modest by American standards, but probably quite liberal by Pakistani standards.
I know American women who are married to American men who don’t tell their husbands the truth because they are afraid of the backlash.
I think that many American men feel as …. … let’s say, Pakistani men … do.
I mean, they might not want other men to see their wives/sisters in skimpy clothing and they might feel uncomfortable when their wives flirt with others. It is just that they believe that they should not feel this way, so sometimes they suppress it.
These men are afraid to show their emotions because they are afraid that women will call them cavemen. And, no one’s freedom should be compromised for someone else’s feelings.

When thinking of our regulations on opposite interactions, These are actually common sense rules and I have no trouble with them. But, I need to admit that we have had to have many conversations to arrive at this dialog. Would I have had the same conversations if I was in a relationship with an American or christian man? … … maybe!, but then again, probably not.
The american man would value freedom above all else and since we have grown up in skimpy swimsuits, etc, he wouldn’t have a problem with such situations.
and, if he did, it probably would take him longer to admit that he had such a problem.
Or, he might handle it by doing a bit of “interacting” of his own.
Now, according to American standards, I am quite modest in my dress. But, there is a gap between conservative Americans and liberal Pakistanis, sometimes.
You can’t just assume that your guy (especially if you are in an intercultural relationship) has the same values that you do when it comes to interactions with the opposite sex, responsibilities of the opposite sex and modesty when around the opposite sex.
I remember when I first read:
“In the name of Honor,” by Mukhtar Mai.
This is a telling story about a Pakistani woman who was gang raped and took her rapists to trial.
This book got us talking about
how women handle rape in Pakistan, if a woman is ever partially responsible for a man’s actions, the differences in American and Pakistani legal systems, why women would commit suicide if they were raped, the fact that many women would rather die than be violated in such a matter, men’s reaction to a woman if they know that she has been raped and many other women’s issues surrounding sex, violence and their rights. I must admit that our discussion did not yield total agreement. … But, as we grow, we both conceid some points.
{I love reading books and talking about them with Imran. We talk about many social issues and flush out all of the possibilities! That is one of our strengths — but that does not mean that we always agree and this fact doesn’t make me a harlet or him a cave man!}

I have had these discussions before in very integrated settings: both inside and outside of academia. Imran suggests that when men and women casually and openly talk about such intimate subjects, they cut out the “special ness” from the activity and are just left with a physical act that yields instant gratification. If a man or woman shares such details such as personal body dementions, specifics about previous sexual experiences, the number of sexual partners etc, then he/she really has nothing to share with the current partner that has not been shared with everyone else. He wonders why people are so cavalier about talking about such an intimate and personal subject that should only be shared between two people. Imran admitted that he would never (in a normal Pakistani situation) talk about such issues as “sex,” in mixed company. Pakistani women would not feel comfortable and frankly, neither would pakistani men.
In fact, parents don’t talk about sex with their children, either.
(But, that is an entirely different post). In the beginning of our relationship; when we were talking and learning about each other; I brought up women’s issues, sex and all sorts of contraversial topics(drugs, prostitution, pregnancy out of marriage, euthenasia, ethnocentrism, racism, sexual freedom, church&state, child rearing, alcohol, white privilege, feminism, clubs for men, caring for the elderly, piercings&tattoos, accountability (individual and collective), contraception, law enforcement, GLBT, polygamy, legalizing marijuana, the prohibition on alcohol, societal norms, individualism verses collectivism, differences in sexual expectations, disability&independence, gender roles, equality verses equity, pornography, extended families, child marriages, masturbation, patriotism, house husbands, intercultural adoption, self defense, begging&dignity, capital punishment, what is included in the definition of adultery, circumcision, etc). I ask Imran later if he thought that I was too bold for delving into such topics. He says that he just expects this from Americans, so he didn’t think twice. But, he does not talk about such subjects with others…. not even some of his guy friends. Sometimes, he says that he has not thought about things in such depth. He just accepts things the way they are. But, I notice that there are differences in American and Pakistani guy talk.
1. while they might talk about sex, they don’t seem to make it personal.
2. they never kiss and tell.
3. They never talk about contraversial issues in mixed company. (I am not sure about patriotism, Islam and/or war).
4. when I ask about guys and their personal relationships: Imran just doesn’t know. “How is Salman’s engagement coming? Is he looking forward to finally being married? Has he talked with you guys about his anxieties about marriage (I was not specifically referring to sex)? How is Shahzad’s wife’s pregnancy coming along? Is he worried about having his first child?” “What about Atiq’s sister? Would he want her to come with him to study? What does his family think of his stay in America?” Imran just doesn’t know. He does not talk about such things. I have tried finding out all sorts of things about his friends’ wives, sisters and families and have hit a brick wall. So, even same sex relationships and communication is a bit different between americans and Pakistanis. The men just don’t talk about their families. I am not sure whether this bothers me or not. But, it really doesn’t matter because it is not going to change.
and, as a girlfriend/fiancee I must accept this fact and move on. “yes, they do know about me.” So, it is not that he is keeping me a secret. I have talked to his friends and he has skyped them when he was visiting.
_______
To be honest, there are still sometimes when we are in mixed company, that he misunderstands my interactions. And, if the truth be told, I misunderstand his. He is quite quiet and reserved and I am worried that he is not enjoying himself. So, I try to include him. Or, sometimes, I think that he wants to keep a low profile and he really wants me to be more inclusive.
I might be interested in a man’s subject matter or admire a man’s specific qualities; but, it makes him feel rivaled.
There are also times when men make an offhanded flirtacious comment and I choose to ignore it(and sometimes deny it), but he knows that they are being flirtacious which bothers him. Similarly, he is much more understanding than he use to be when I respond to men in mixed company. He does not assume that I am interested in them as a partner. He understands that I can admire a specific quality; but that does not mean that I am comparing Him to the man in question. Yet, it is embarrassing to him if I were to praise another man too much.
We admit that there are some qualities that we admire in others that we don’t see in each other.
He can certainly find American women who cook better Pakistani food and who speak much better Urdu than I do.
In his defense, he never verbalizes it. Sometimes, it seems that it is not very important to him. Yet, I know that it is when I do it. I am the one who notices it and remarks. “Wow! I admire her Urdu skills. I wish that I could speak so fluently!”
But, I have learned not to so openly admire the quality of another man because it does make him feel uncomfortable doing so.
He has learned that if he has a problem with my speech or actions; he can calmly come to me and talk about it. He does not need to assume that I want or am fantasizing about this guy just because I find his abilities or character admirable.
I have learned to try to be more reserved in my expression and praise.
We both want to make sure that we are not compromising too much of ourselves; yet, we are compromising “partially” so the other feels more comfortable.
This is a balancing act and is always in progress.
Sometimes we fall! Sometimes it is me and sometimes it is him. This process requires respect for the other person put before our own desires. If I told him that his feelings were unwarranted or that he was overacting and I would continue acting as I have always done – then, he would continuously feel as if his feelings are not as important as my desires.
and, if he demanded that I do things his way, I would feel stifled and as if he didn’t trust me to make good decisions in mixed company.
There are probably those Americans who would say that I am too submissive and I need to reassert myself as an independent woman. They will worry that I have compromised too much of myself.
Similarly, there will probably be those Pakistanis who will want to tell him that he is playing with fire. If he is not careful, I will walk into a situation that disrespects him. And, I probably don’t respect him because I am not yielding to his strong suggestions in such a sensitive area. If I don’t respect him in this, then, am I going to respect him in secret?? (I know the implied question).
Yet, he is comfortable in his stance.
And, I am, as well.
When I start sacrificing my activities and my abilities for his happiness, then, I am sacrificing too much.
For example: If I was to sacrifice my …
volunteering or career or time with family , just because it made him uncomfortable, then, he would be taking away a very important part of my being.
He knows how much communicating with others, being productive, family relationships and serving the community means to me.
So, he would never request that I discontinue because of his insecurities…. if he had any.
But, if I don’t recognize, understand and modify my interactions out of respect, he will feel disrespected by the very one who is suppose to lift him up. He will begin to wonder if I have alterior motives for my actions.
If I know that something that I do makes him uncomfortable and I continue to do it; then, I am telling him that my freedom is more important than he is. Yet, if he were to treat me like a child or his property, then he would be degrading me to the status of an object. This he would not do, either. So, we reach for compromises. we don’t “Throw the baby out with the bath water,” so to speak.
I must also admit here that there are no double standards. If Imran feels uncomfortable with me doing something, he does not do it himself. If I feel comfortable doing something, I expect Imran to do it also. If he does not want me skinny dipping with men, then, he must not swim naked with women. And, if I think that it is perfectly acceptable to go out drinking with men, then I should not compllain when he shares alcoholic beverages after the workday with his female colleagues. Of course, I am going to extremes, but my point is made.
Ok, rereading this post, it makes me sound like a bold flirtacious flaunter and he as a tyrantical insecure foreigner. That is not the case. Yet, there are still some gaps between our views and ones that need to be addressed and navigated through.
I am still amazed that no one else has written on this topic.
Nonetheless, as vulnerable as it makes me feel: I want people to know that this does happen and this is the way that we have handled such things. I notice that the majority of women have probably grown up as I have and I am certain that not all Indians/middle easterners/Asians/Africans/Pakistanis adopt western mindsets when they come to America. Culture is woven into the fabric of who we are and can’t be changed just because another wants it to be. This is true specifically for cultural ideas about relationships and gender roles. I’m not Pakistani. I’m not ever going to similate a Pakistani woman’s actions, responses, values or behaviors. At first, I tried and thought about changing to act more “Pakistani.” (or better termed: less american) But 1. it just won’t happen. I will never measure up. And, shouldn’t he like me the way I am? After all, this is who he fell in love with and although we all change a bit; if one person is trying to make significant changes to the other, then, there are problems. and 2. I can’t. it is not good for me to change that much… … especially when I would just be doing so out of respect and not because I actually valued such things. With the swim suit issue: as much as I don’t want to admit it: he is right. So, I have radically changed, but not because he said to do so: because he makes good points and I have changed my stance because I do feel that he is correct on this issue. He knows and accepts my american-ness — most of the time. And, he knows that he can’t always prove me “wrong.” (as in the swim suit issue). . But, I feel that I have to walk a line between respect and freedom. Sometimes, I don’t even see the line and at other times, I might feel as if I am walking a tight rope. It is easier to put respect before any freedom if you know that the other person is also putting your happiness or desires before their feelings sometimes. I don’t want him to always feel disrespected and uncomfortable, either. I must also realize that he is modifying his views, also. I know that there are times when he is unsure, yet he yields. . BTW., he has never put any restriction on my socializing. He tells me his discomfort and we find some kind of compromise. That does not mean that we can’t come to an agreement. But, we have to scrutinize our actions and our feelings behind such actions. We have to evaluate our culture and our values and discuss the feelings that surround these values and analyze what it would mean for us ithese values were modified. Sometimes that is just tiring. It takes lots of thought and energy. Sometimes, we just want to act and react without evaluating ourselves. So, I know that this is easier said than done. It also requires that we try to look at another point of view and that we know that we are not always “right,” or that we will get everything that we want. There are times when we just want to be stubborn. (Or, should I use a singular pronoun here)? This balance and this compromise is much easier to talk about than it is to achieve. We seem to only want to compromise when the thing that we are giving up is of little importance to us. But, in the end, at the end of the day, if you can struggle through it, it is worth it!
We also analyze assimilation and those who have either gone too far — or who seem to be stuck in their own culture; oblivious to the culture that surrounds them. I realize that Imran, himself, has to keep that balance between his Pakistani culture and the American culture.
I joke with him that he is becoming “american,” because he wants the air conditioner on. when he visits: I want to keep it off to save moneyand he wants it on because — it is too hot and humid in Indiana. When he first got here, he would ridicule Americans for thinking that 80degrees (f) is hot.
He says: “it is not the heat, but the humidity.” “I say Yeah, right, I’m not buying it! … … he is freon dependent and he knows it.” Now, it might be the humidity, but I’m not ready to give this one up yet. (smile) And, he can’t use the computer as a scapegoat either. (“It is just not good for the computer to be over 75degrees F.”)
Sorry about the digression.
The main point is that: All is a work in progress.
We would love to hear your stories and how you have handled interacting in mixed company.
Here are some questions:
1. Has there ever been a time when you and your partner’s views about modesty have collided? when? Do you mind sharing your story?
2. Have you changed your views or your habits about interacting with the opposite sex since you have been with your partner? Has your partner changed his/her views? What concessions have you made?
3. Do your rules surrounding such interactions change with the company that you hang with? This means: if you are hanging with Americans or westerners, do you instinctively change as opposed to hanging with your Indo/pak/nepali/Asian/African/middle Eastern company?
4. Were there times when you and your partner have disagreed about boundaries in mixed company?
5. Have you had to set some boundaries? What has led to this? Do you mind sharing your personal experiences?
6. Do you have any advice to give to others in similar circumstances?

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7 Responses to “contact with mixed company: forging respect”

  1. computerguy Says:

    an interesting post indeed. You seem to be quite focused on what you are compromising in this article. Is it because you are more troubled by what you are giving up? How has your experience been with male company, to be more specific prior to the relationship and even during the relationship?

  2. jamily5 Says:

    hi, Well, let me say, first that I thought that most people (most not all) who would be reading this would be women in such circumstances, but I am not trying to say that it is only myself who is compromising. In fact, he has compromised quite a bit and I was hoping that this came through in the article. you ask: how has my interaction with males changed? — Well, I am much more careful. I am much more analytical about my interactions. I have my guard up more often. And, I never want to give him the impression that I am interested in someone else. I understand that “respect,” means something different for both of us and I want to make sure that he feels respected. But, that does not mean that I am bemoaning my changes.

  3. computerguy Says:

    are you happy or at least content with the changes you are trying to make? Keep writing!

  4. blonde.bahu Says:

    Hi! There’s a LOT in this post, so I’m only going to respond to a little bit of it. I’m a Catholic married to a Hindu. Though they aren’t as strict about modesty as Muslims, one rarely sees a Hindu female over the age of ten or twelve going swimming. I’m sure there are exceptions in the world of sports, but at the beach in India I’ve only seen men get in the water. Ladies might wade in, or if they’re feeling bold, walk in wearing a salwar kameez, but that’s it. Hindu school girls often wear a knee-length swim-suit. Last time we were in India, I compromised by wearing a surfer’s rash guard with half-sleeves and a high neck and a mid-thigh length swimskirt from Land’s End. When I wasn’t in the water I generally wore an ankle length sarong. Though my outfit was still considered skimpy and scandalous by some, it was a good compromise. I was able to swim and didn’t feel encumbered, but I also didn’t burn my shoulders, which was pretty great.

    • jamily5 Says:

      Hi Blonde Bahu, I think that I will have to try your suggestions. Right now, it is too cold and swimming is the last thing on my mind. (smile) But, it won’t be in nine months. My version of “conservative dress,” is not his version. But, at least in America, we find a good medium. Thanks for your response!!!

  5. blonde.bahu Says:

    LOL! I’m originally from the midwest, so I know what you mean about the swimming–you’re probably more worried about finding your cordoroy trousers in your closet right now. I was going to paste the links to the top I bought, but Land’s End only seems to carry the men’s and kid’s versions at this time of year, which is odd.
    On my second trip to India I brought a an ankle length linen skirt with me. I thought it was incredibly modest, but my mother in law freaked out when she saw me wearing it. I’m still not totally sure what was wrong with it!

    • jamily5 Says:

      haha about that modest thing. I probably will have the same problem when/ I ever go to Pakistan. I’d like to see that top, so let me know if you ever see anything like it again. I saw a Muslim swim suit (made in australia) but it was quite expensive. THX.

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