"T, you will never guess what we saw when we visited my cousin," An observant friend told me. "A girl, my daughter's size, clearly a teenager at the very least, who went out into the streets of Ahwaz in a tank top and jeans. No scarf. No manteau."
"No scarf even?"
"Ahmadinejad," her daughter laughed.
"Maybe she was only 9," I commented.
"She'd have to be even younger," the daughter said.
Among the Tehranis and Ahwazis in K's family, the girls wear as little of the hijab as they can until they are given a warning or picked up by the police. The girls in his family have a fortunate girlish look that belies their years. This is totally unlike the unfortunate daughter of a friend who is extraordinarily tall for her age, and, as if that were not enough, has entered puberty early. "She absolutely refuses to wear a scarf," my friend told me. "I had to send her to a boarding school in England. I could not keep her here."
Recently, a man I met told me how heartbroken he was about Iran. "I am a nationalist. I am Islamic. My wife and I both pray 5 times a day. The other day my nine-year old daughter asked me if she could go live with her uncle in England. I asked her why, and she told me that she does not want to wear the hijab. I told my uncles who are clerics. 'How could you do this to my country?' I asked them. 'How could you do this to the religion I love? How could your rules push my daughter away from me?'"
Fashion in Tehran: Giant scarves and tiny manteaus. Hemlines are just below the ass. The scarves are huge, flowered, and fringed, and look like your grandmother's tablecloths.
That's what I really wanted to write about. It's never that easy is it…? Over and over again I have tried not to make hijab an issue, but it is. It was over 110 degrees here for 3 weeks! In a headscarf. And a manteau. It's hot in that frigging outfit.