Friday, April 03, 2009


As I washed my hands in the women's toilets today something happened that felt pretty special. Perhaps a novelty, perhaps a statement, perhaps nothing out of the ordinary at all really. A girl came and stood next to me. This girl works in the labs were I am, I've spoken to her many times, shared equipment, said hello almost every day. Like many of the girls in the lab she is muslim and wears a hijab and veil. It's not occurred to me that I now this girl without knowing her face at all before.

So as I stood washing my hands and wiggling my nose as if to prove it was mine (it's a strange habit) she began to take off the veil. It was perhaps the most beautiful process I've ever witnessed. She placed each piece of cloth on a hook next to the sinks and when she was finished she looked me straight in the eye with hers, and with smiling eyes she said 'this is the first time?'

'I guess it is the first time', I said with a wide hazy look. And there we stood, for perhaps a moment or two, face by face, visible to only each other.

I've heard it said that the cover is to separate men from their inherent weaknesses, to purify their thoughts through segregation from thought and desire. I'm not so sure I agree. Perhaps it is not about men at all, perhaps the purpose is to unearth some deeply lying bond between women, to make it so that we can see each other for the first time, in the women's toilets, in a lab, on a friday afternoon.


onewild said...

"So as I stood washing my hands and wiggling my nose as if to prove it was mine "

Are you sure you're not just a witch?

Jane petal said...

Well I've not drowned yet, it's almost conclusive.