Saturday, March 3, 2007

When She’s Hot, She’s Hot-or Not

When She’s Hot, She’s Hot-or Not

As the summer draws to an end I can’t help but think back at the hot weather this season. From coast to coast there were some pretty steamy days, and nights. It was one of the hottest, steamiest summers that I can remember. I know that because of my energy bills. I also know that because strangely enough I found myself obsessing over Frum women. Seeing them in the streets or buzzing in around in their cars I couldn’t help but wonder how they were faring on those very hazy days considering they were wearing their sheitlach. I couldn’t help but wonder what it must feel like for them to be wearing a sheitel. It must be hotter than hell under that extra layer of hair synthetic or not. What incredible Yiras Shamaim, and what incredible Messiras Hanefesh, I thought.

Wearing a wig isn’t comfortable-it never is. It’s something you have to get accustomed to. I can say this because I’ve tried them for fun on many occasions and I could never wait to get it off because they were confining, unnatural and too hot. Hot is the operative word. A wig is hot, but a sheitel is even hotter because they just can’t come off if they get uncomfortable. A wig can just come off, but a sheitel is worn because it’s a Mitzvah. More than that, she is Metzuvah to wear a sheitel, at least d’rabanan. Imagine a hot, humid day when the sweat is pouring off and you’re not even exerting yourself. Now put on a sheitel – the heat and sweat must be staggering. On those hot days when the whether advisory warns you about being out in the heat too long they also caution you to wear light cottons among other things. I wonder if the sheitel might not be worn due to Pichuach Nefesh.

I also wonder if the sheitel lost its purpose and has morphed into a meaningless and self defeating mitzvah. If I’ve got this straight, women’s natural hair according to Talmud is Ervah, a word difficult to translate, so we’ll just call is sexually provocative. Because it is provocative it needs to be covered. Hence-the tichel, snood or sheitel. The tichel or snood is the most honest of the approaches to covering the Ervah because it accomplishes what it set out to do. It turns the women into a tsnius, less desirable woman. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the sheitel has become a marked improvement on women’s looks. That, together with a little help from Victoria’s Secret makes some of our Frum women extremely desirable. Following this observation, it would seem that the sheitel doesn’t really work in covering this Ervah.

One of the problems with this particular Talmudic ruling is that it isn’t understood within its cultural setting. To put it another way, this Talmudic concern defining women’s hair as Ervah is today applied without consideration of the wider cultural context by which this rule was first addressed. When a woman is mostly covered, for example, in a Burka than the slightest exposure of any part of her will be provocative. Exposing her hair will certainly be provocative. It is sort of like the length of a skirt. If the legs are totally covered including the ankles with only a bit of shoe being exposed than seeing the ankle by chance could prove to be sexually explosive. However, if having the ankle always exposed because the style is to cover the leg mid-calf than the ankle losses its sexuality per say. So, what is provocative is relative. Hanging out all day in a nudist colony isn’t provocative. What becomes provocative is the body language, or the look in her eye.

The hair too falls into this same line of reasoning. Women in western society do not cover their hair. Hence, hair isn’t any more provocative than a women’s ankle, elbow, nose or lips. As a matter of fact I can’t remember the last time I got turned on by looking at her hair, lips, elbow or ankle. I may find her hair attractive, but I also may find her bone structure attractive. That doesn’t make her provocative.

What makes her provocative isn’t her hair or body parts but her body language, demeanor, attitude and most important her eyes. Ought her eyes be covered with a veil? After all, the eye is the window to the soul!! What can also be provocative is the total picture of a woman in a tight sexy dress to accent her enhanced figure, her stiletto heels to give the illusion of long sleek legs, topped with a beautiful blond sheitel in the latest style fashioned after a trend set by a Hollywood slut. Often times I’ve been stunned by the appearance of some of our Tzniusdike women.

It has been said that subconsciously women fantasize about being prostitutes. It’s true if one were to judge by the appearance of some of these Frum women whom on occasion I see at weddings. Whenever I’m invited to one of these celebrations my senses become heightened as the date approaches. Anticipating a gathering of women in their sexiest sheitels and stiletto heels is like being in “men heaven”. For if women subconsciously wish to be prostitutes men subconsciously wish to be with them. It’s quite a turn on. But then reality hits me as I face another sweltering day, when the heat advisory is warning people with compromised health to visit cooling centers. The only image that pops up in my mind is the sweat pouring out from under that sheitel and wandering what is cooking in there. What a turn off!!