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It's Supposed To Be "MODERN Love"
The New York Times' Modern Love column goes pre-Enlightenment for a little change of pace. A woman named Saba Ali writes about what it's like to look for love while adhering to primitive, evidence-free religious beliefs. Well, at least she gets to keep the headscarf and the evidence-free beliefs. An excerpt:

For scarf-wearing Muslims like me, premarital interaction between the sexes (touching, talking or even looking) is strictly controlled. Our mosques have his and her entrances and stairwells. Men and women pray, eat and congregate separately. At private dinner parties, women exit the dining room so the men can serve themselves platefuls of spicy curry and kebabs. Family celebrations are segregated: boys sit on one side of the hall, girls on the other, and married couples in the middle.

When out in public — at school or the mall or the movie theater — interactions with non-Muslim boys tend to be less constrained but still formal. A playful push from a boy would bring an awkward explanation of how touching is against my religion.

(And we wonder why these guys will blow themselves up for 72 virgins -- even if it's possible this was mistranslated and they get 72 raisins instead?)

Ali writes of why she wears a headscarf:

Covering was a choice I had made in high school, partly out of a need for identity, and partly out of fear. The fear came from what I had heard at Muslim summer camp. Instead of ghost stories, we had “judgment day” stories about the terrible things that would happen if you strayed from God, which scared me enough to start covering and praying.

Anybody ever see those terrible things happen to anybody? Experience those terrible things? So...in other words, Ali has no more proof terrible things happen than that wonderful things would happen if she not only (gasp!) held hands with a guy, but proceeded to throw off her headscarf -- and a whole lot more -- then pose for Hustler while revving up a big, whirring silver dildo.

Posted by aalkon at October 7, 2007 10:17 AM

Comments

Amy - you're just never going to get it, are you.

It isn't just stupids who need to cling to the certainty of order that religion provides.

Humans spend their entire existence asking questions. And most are really uncomfortable with unanswered ones.

And the single biggest question is "why am I here". And accepting the answer "complete random chance" is really troublesome. And when the answer to the question "what is my purpose" comes back "you have none", well, you can predict what happens.

"You are a fluke of the universe. You have no right to be here. And, whether you hear it or not, the universe is laughing at you behind your back."

Posted by: brian at October 7, 2007 4:59 AM

Covering was a choice I had made in high school, partly out of a need for identity, and partly out of fear. The fear came from what I had heard at Muslim summer camp. Instead of ghost stories, we had “judgment day” stories about the terrible things that would happen if you strayed from God, which scared me enough to start covering and praying.

Translation - Covering was a choice I had made in high school, partly out of a need for identity

(because I was too weak willed to think for myself and found it easier to follow a herd),

and partly out of fear. The fear came from what I had heard at Muslim summer camp. Instead of ghost stories, we had “judgment day” stories about the terrible things that would happen if you strayed from God

(and we were shown exacly what our "peaceful" members would do to us and themselves out of fanatical devotion to something we have no real proof of),

which scared me enough to start covering and praying.

(I was brow beaten into submission out of fear for my life and I am so much happier being a mindless, souless, spinless peice of proprety to a religion supported by terrorising its members into complete and total submission)

You know, I grew up mormon. Traditionallly mormon chidren are baptised at 8, I put it off till I was ten, my reward for trying to take my faith seriously was two yrs of constant manipulative conversations about what was wrong with me, and why I didnt have any faith. Thats kind of some fucked to shit to lay on a 3rd grader. So I can only imagine what sort of indoctrination muslim children go thru. But you know what - I dont care, if you are willing to surrender you free will, if you are willing to simply surrender and live under tyranny rather than fight back you deserve no sympathy what so ever.
Even with all the crap people go thru in life, everyone who isnt a sociopath knows the difference between right and wrong, and if you choose wrongy simply because it its easier or more expediant, you're nothing but a fucking coward. It isnt that hard to stop for 5 minutes and THINK something thru

Posted by: lujlp at October 7, 2007 5:59 AM

What disturbs me about this piece is its mere existence. I guess they thought they'd be real forward-thinking (by publishing backward-think in column in the Sunday New York Times), but the more it becomes "normal" and "diversity" and all that to be accepting of women wearing headscarfs, the faster our society will go backwards...until we're dead, in dhimmitude, and/or living under Sharia law.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 7:28 AM

And morality seems to be hard-wired into us:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/18/science/18mora.html?ref=health

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 7:34 AM

"So...in other words, Ali has no more proof terrible things happen than that wonderful things would happen if she not only (gasp!) held hands with a guy, but proceeded to throw off her headscarf -- and a whole lot more -- then pose for Hustler while revving up a big, whirring silver dildo."

Last year at Dragoncon I had occasion to speak briefly with Traci Lords, the former porn star whose career started while she was underage. To believe the braying from tabloids and pulpits everywhere, she should be dead, rotted from the inside by a combination of drug abuse and venereal diseases brought on by a vengeful God. Well, this being, who had the power to stop her beforehand according to thumpers, apparently enjoyed the show. I was surprised and delighted to find a beautiful and articulate person.

This is anecdotal, of course - but there's your proof that there is no invisible, omniscient thing in the sky ready to punish us. Unless God is a manly man serious about Traci...

It has been my sad experience that overtly religious people thrill to the imagined power of their deity to defeat others with whom they disagree. This desire to punish others, through the mechanism of a deity based on personal opinion, is a real sickness.

Few extend themselves so far as, say, Amy's plan to speak in schools about practical matters of success.

I have a suggestion to make concerning the observation of the devout, of whatever stripe: see if in order for them to win, someone else has to lose. That will let you take the true measure of their concern for others.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 7, 2007 7:52 AM

I was surprised and delighted to find a beautiful and articulate person.

Love that story, Rad.

And the teacher (whom I spoke to yesterday) says she can get the kids permission-slipped so we can do video of the session, which (unless I completely suck) we'll put up on YouTube, and then you all can give me suggestions about how to improve it. I can't wait to start -- the teacher just has to figure out the best date with one of her colleagues.

Something similar may be a helpful in these societies -- experiencing people who live in free, democratic societies -- but I'm not sure, how, exactly we'd accomplish that (getting people in to speak to people who live in repressive societies).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 8:16 AM

Over the past few months I have listened to interviews and commentaries on the wearing of Hijabs and veils by Muslim/Islamic females. I support these women's ability to embrace their culture and religious preference, something many Americans have begun to view as un-patriotic or un American. One of the aspects of being American is the promotion of its "freedom" of expression and religious practices. Today, one has to wonder if we still hold this cornerstone aspects of America valid. America was founded on such "freedoms", but you would not know it today by the numerous discussions over women wearing hijabs and then going so far as to put these women on trial who chose to wear the hijab or veils.. The conversations around such "freedoms" make me wonder if we as "Americans" still believe in our choices and rights or not.

I have yet to hear of anyone bringing any Catholic nuns before our court system to explain their Hijabs! We have witnessed Catholic nuns for centuries wearing their religious hijabs which promotes the Catholic religion without public outcry or rejection. How is this different from Muslim women wearing theirs?

The recent objections and public hearings are simply oppression tactics to continue to tell women what they can and cannot do in the world. Shame on America for pretending to be tolerant but actually becoming more oppressive daily. All women will need to listen to these conversations and wonder what aspect of woman will be chosen as a "hunt" next. Women in America must continue to respect our religious preferences and choices even if others don't. We must not be "handled" and used for politcal gain and religious oppression that areobviously growing in our "free" society.

Reference the beginning foundation of country. Remember that we use to hold dear our "freedom" to practice our chosen religions. Abandon FEAR and the wellorganized oppression of women their choices.

Posted by: Annsih Serud at October 7, 2007 8:41 AM

The recent objections and public hearings are simply oppression tactics to continue to tell women what they can and cannot do in the world

Until Muslims manage to institute Sharia law in this country, and force all of us to join them in primitivism, I'll continue to speak out against the ridiculousness of fearing an imaginary god.

The difference between Islam and other religions: You don't see rabbis or priests standing up before their congregations and suggesting that true righteousness means converting or slaughtering people who don't think as they do. You don't see Jews blowing up German restaurants (borrowed that one from Wafa Sultan).

I rail against the backwardness of all god-believing, but of all religions, Islam is the most dangerous and backward. Christians and Jews are just annoying, and sometimes somewhat worse (when they seek to legislate their morality on the rest of us).

We're still free, in this country, to criticize people's choices. Until the Islamists take over here, that freedom should remain.

Look at women in Muslim countries -- can't drive, have the rights of dogs, etc. That's real oppression. My horror at seeing women wearing hijabs -- being mental slaves to a god there's no evidence exists, and bowing down to the men who keep them mental slaves...that's a good thing. I proudly criticize this primitivism and slavery and urge more people to follow my lead.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 9:03 AM

Read the link to Satoshi Kanazawa's journal article on why most suicide bombers are Muslim, and tell me Islam isn't a sick and damaging thing:

http://www.jsecjournal.com/JSEC_Kanazawa_1-2.pdf

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 9:06 AM

going so far as to put these women on trial who chose to wear the hijab or veils.

Silly woman, braying this from a comfortable seat in a free western society. Real trials of women are what you find where Muslims rule. This is simply criticism.

As I wrote on another entry:

Walter Benn Michaels' book, The Trouble With Diversity...points out that religious beliefs are simply beliefs, no different from Republican beliefs or Democratic beliefs -- contrary to the notions of those who equate being against somebody's beliefs with racism.

Those not enslaved to the nonthink and irrationality that is god-belief do a little better in making logical arguments. I suggest you drop your Koran and start reading Aristotle, Epictetus, and Albert Ellis, just for starters.


Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 9:11 AM

A nun's habit has a somewhat different connotation from a hijab, although no less nauseatingly ignorant and primitive. It's supposed to signify that the wearer is a "bride of Christ" (ugh!) and completely unavailable for reproductive purposes.


Self-evidently, wearing of the hijab does not withdraw the woman from the gene-inheritance game. Instead it signifies that she -- willingly or unwillingly -- does not have the freedom to choose her own mate with whom to reproduce.


As a man I find the nun's habit ridiculous and the hijab insulting. It seems to me to send the message "If you could see my beauty completely, you would not be able to control your sexual urge, and rape would be the result". Pure vanity, actually.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at October 7, 2007 9:29 AM

Right on, Stu.

And FYI, eating disorders are MORE prevalent in Iran than in the USA, per Satoshi Kanazawa's recent book, Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399533656?ie=UTF8&tag=advicegoddess-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0399533656

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 9:35 AM

Hijabs are a sign of mind control, and their wearing is tragic.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 9:36 AM

Why all the ruckus about a nun's habit? It's not vanity; vanity is a personal statement not expressed by wearing a uniform. Those people have a choice. They are not forced by family and neighbors to hide, lest they be the actual cause of violence perpetrated by men literally insane with lust.

Nuns also have a history of erudition. Show me how the woman under the burka thinks.

Hide your face in the USA, and the reason is that you really, really do have something to hide. That makes you a threat, not an asset.

-----

It might be useful now to point out a meme, expressed as "clothes make the (wo)man". A completely different state of mind is induced by the assumption of different apparel. Whether you don motorcycle roadracing leathers, a business suit or a wedding dress, your clothing is a constant reminder that you have chosen a particular mindset, and that you should act accordingly. This idea is often lost in the observation of how others people react to how we are dressed.

Posted by: Radwaste at October 7, 2007 9:59 AM

And quite frankly the only incidents of hijab wearers being "persecuted" is when athorites were trying to determin identitey in the few cases where women were also covering the entierty of their faces

Posted by: lujlp at October 7, 2007 10:04 AM

It might be useful now to point out a meme, expressed as "clothes make the (wo)man". A completely different state of mind is induced by the assumption of different apparel.

Absolutely right. I experienced this recently, when my luggage was separated from me for five days in Italy. I wore the pants I wore on the plane, plus alternating teeshirts and sweaters and my boyfriend's shirt...as opposed to my usual evening dress and a jeans jacket and fabulous earrings and such that I wear even to pick up my dog at the groomer. I felt down in the dumps and not myself. When my stuff finally arrived, I put on a slinky black dress and beads and tassel earrings, and strode through town listening to Hedwig and The Angry Inch on my Nano, and feeling more "me" than I have in eons. (It was bottled-up me exploding all at once, I think.) Anyway, foot traffic literally parted. People stared after me. It was like a commercial about a woman who wakes up from a year's sleep.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 10:16 AM

> I support these women's
> ability to embrace their
> culture

As you would support the "ability" of a slave to be lashed by a whip?

> and religious preference

I looked it up. Preference means that "that which is preferred; choice." So I guess you're saying they don't have to believe (and practice) if they don't want to. Which is good to know.

> then going so far as to
> put these women on trial
> who chose to wear the
> hijab or veils.

Yep. Her identity means more to us than her faith. She's hiding in there, and we won't stand for it. The debts and rewards of western life are often delivered in proportion to individual achievement, and she'll not be permitted to claim fulfillments she hasn't earned.

> How is this different
> from Muslim women
> wearing theirs?

They don't wear veils.

> Shame on America for
> pretending to be tolerant
> but actually becoming
> more oppressive daily.

Yes yes yes, we know that Chomsky is all the rage over there. It's almost cute the way Middle Easterners believe the tartness of liberalism can be juiced from our media and spat back at us.

But liberalism shames you. In embracing the Western resistance to nature's horrors --whether in the formerly uninhabitable sands of Dubai; in the life-extending, Ohio-educated surgical theaters of your hospitals; and perhaps most obviously in your pitiless maneuvers through modern energy markets-- you've cast your lot with modernity. The Middle East wasn't exactly forced to accept all these blessings into its cultures, but you did. I think you've made the right choice, and want to tell you something about what your future holds.

No single word describes a bigger piece of the richness of my life than "feminism." Aside from the warmth its brought to all my intimacy within family and without, feminism has brought half of humanity's brilliance into play in all our fields of endeavor.

Every western laboratory, church, factory and gymnasium has a whole class of competitive players demanding just as much fulfillment as their brothers enjoyed. But not only are they eager; their minds work differently in fundamental ways, so their tactics seem endlessly novel.

Their genius is now part of the refinement of every American enterprise. Every bolt on a car, every tube of toothpaste, every x-ray plate, every note of music, everything we make is a little better nowadays because women were contenders in the competition for market share. The the markets are improved, the vendors are improved, and everybody got richer by having to be better.

Specifically, our wealth is not dependent on a happenstance of geology which our own culture wouldn't have had the science to detect and exploit.

The mechanics of capitalist democracy churn so steadily that their grinding sometimes isn't perceptible, even to us. I'm certain that these workings are particularly mysterious to you. But you can trust me on this, because we have the shiny new border fence to prove it: No corner of humanity better represents the aspiration of the human heart the United States. In the contest between our culture and yours, we can't lose, and we won't lose.

But in the centuries ahead, you must never regard the ruthless destruction of your culture as dispassionate. I hate you, so this is going to be fun.

Posted by: Crid at October 7, 2007 10:59 AM

Ok, so I followed the link, and I misjudged this person's gender and heritage.

Yes, it's embarrassing...

But it's nice to have one's buttons pushed on a Sunday morning.

Posted by: Crid at October 7, 2007 11:28 AM

You pushed back so wisely and eloquently, too.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 11:30 AM

But when was the last time anyone saw a nun in full get up? Sister Janet Turner, who runs the writing program in Juvenile Hall, looks like most old ladies--short grey hair, sweater vests and black pants, flat shoes. Anyway, nuns aren't whining about why the rest of the world doesn't accept them, unlike women in chadors who want driving permits.

Posted by: KateCoe at October 7, 2007 11:37 AM

Someone else nailed it -

The hijab/jilbab/burqa/chador is an imposition, forced upon women who are convinced that they are accepting it willingly.

The habit is a uniform.

Posted by: brian at October 7, 2007 11:51 AM

Wow, Crid, that is very nicely written! No kidding!

Posted by: Radwaste at October 7, 2007 11:59 AM

Brian, that's true, but as a matter of policy we're never going to be able to get into women's heads adn decide whether they're wearing the fashions we want them to wear for just the right reasons. Few on this blog would support their Catholic nuns on that basis.

Here's the rule (thinking out loud here): In the west, in many commercial and public contexts (specifically transportation zones), your right to privacy is weaker than the public's right to know who you are.

Posted by: Crid at October 7, 2007 11:59 AM

The argumentum ad bacculum used by the religious of all faiths is nothing new. Some would present atheists with the argument that goes something like this, "If you're right, then I've lost nothing by holding to my beliefs, but if I'm right, you've lost everything."

What a wonderful way to invite non-Christians to the bosom of your "loving" God! Just threaten them with the idea that he's going to throw you into hell for all eternity where you'll suffer for all eternity. Makes God seem all nice and cozy, doesn't it?

Yet this is what most Christian denominations preach. Indeed, sermons like Jonathan Edwards' Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God are lauded.

So, the way to bring people to God is to scare them into it? Not say, by realizing that if we lived by such noble teachings as the Golden Rule and the two great commandments, the world would be better for it? No, it's just do it, or else.

And such exemplary people that would be on the "right" side of the fence as far as personal beliefs go. They would like nothing better than to spend all eternity in the "blessed" company of the Almighty, tsk-tsking to their heart's content at those wretched suffering. Perhaps they would periodically shake their heads, "Oh, well. We did warn you. You did have a Bible. Nothing to be done for you now."

Wouldn't that get a little boring after the first billion years or so? Makes you wonder which version is hell.

Posted by: Patrick at October 7, 2007 1:30 PM

Crid -

To extend your thought - The nun's habit does nothing to hide her identity. It serves to identify her as a nun. Nothing more, nothing less.

The hijab, if it only covers the hair, likewise does not hide the identity. But the idiot bitches suing DMV to have their license picture taken with the full burqa on, well that's different. The purpose of the burqa is to hide the woman completely from view.

Although I have my doubts on the official story, and I am far more tempted to believe that the enforcement of the burqa upon women is to allow male criminals a disguise that completely hides their identity and does not stand out at all in their locale.

Which is a far more reasonable explanation for why they push the acceptance of the burqa in the West.

Posted by: brian at October 7, 2007 1:34 PM

Although I resent the hijab, as aforementioned, I have never beaten, whipped or razor-slashed a woman because she is wearing one, and I never will. Meanwhile, as we all well know, women in Iran, Afghanistan, and even moslem districts of certain European cities, are commonly treated that way for not wearing head-scarves. By young men who proclaim that they act in the name of "the religion of peace". So don't lecture me about religious tolerance, please.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at October 7, 2007 1:34 PM

Damn Crid. Nice post at 10:59 above.

In the west, in many commercial and public contexts (specifically transportation zones), your right to privacy is weaker than the public's right to know who you are.

This strikes me as a workable rule.

Posted by: justin case at October 7, 2007 1:43 PM

A reasonable approach (and I know it's utterly unreasonable of me to suggest this vis a vis how people behave in reality) would be for them to say, "Gee, I have these religious beliefs that don't really fly in the USA" (like getting a driver's license photo taken while wearing a big black tarp over one's head)...maybe I don't belong in the USA if I can't play by the rules?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 1:58 PM

I seriously hesitate to 'prejudge' anyone, but from my own experience of the culturally different but emotionally similar... has Saba Ali considered that she is probably lesbian?

(NO, that is not snark or insult. Modern culture imposes so many conflicts that often women are not 'certain' of why they don't 'work it out' with men until their 30's.)

Posted by: Annie B at October 7, 2007 2:06 PM

Good question. I don't know about "probably" -- but I'm reminded of a woman in the news recently who made some kind of pact with god to remain celibate. (I think she was Christian.) I saw a picture of her and her sister, and let's just say, I wouldn't be shocked to run into them at Girl Bar.

http://www.girlbar.com/

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 7, 2007 3:11 PM

Goddamn, but you guys are beautiful today. Especially you, Crid. Your post was brilliant. And Amy? Loved the shout-out to the Hedwig soundtrack. "Wig in a Box" is permanently stuck in my head.

I'm sure "Annsih Serud" is long gone, but your words, Crid, should live on. There is no freedom in hijab. To imply otherwise, and use liberalism (American, political, or otherwise) as an excuse for tolerating sexism and bigotry is monstrous.

I'm a devoted liberal "big D" Democrat, as many of you know, but I have a lot of trouble with some of my fellow political travelers when they stand up for a woman's right to...veil themselves. As much as I argue that the veil is a primitive way of signifying second-class status for an entire sex, and is on a continuum of oppression that ends with female circumcision and death (in the form of "honor killings"), rarely will anyone agree with me. They're too worried about image, support, and wanting to be completely tolerant--at the risk of tolerating people who want them dead, or at the very least, veiled.

No thanks, "Annsih Serud". I don't want to accept your idea of freedom, because what it means, essentially, is the end of my freedom as a woman, and, most importantly, as a human being.

Posted by: Rebecca at October 7, 2007 3:44 PM

Couple of other points about nuns (because really, Crid has said everything else I might have said, and done so much more eloquently): There was a time when becoming a nun was one of the few decent alternatives to becoming a baby factory. Would I become a nun today? No, but if I had been born in a time when that was the only way I could avoid being married off at age 14 to a guy four times my age who liked to slap women around when he got drunk, I would have been going into religious paroxysms at the drop of a hat, believe you me. And I would have wanted an outfit that clearly and convincingly marked me as a "bride of God," instead of, say, a potential bride of man/rape target/what have you.

Fortunately, these days, I have many more options. But these days, nuns typically don't wear their habits in public (or in their driver's license photos). They may wear them when teaching school - but then the purpose is intimidation. They also wear them to certain religious ceremonies and other times, but those are largely low-key and/or private. The face of a nun today is not one surrounded by a habit. Whatever other issues I may have with the Church, nuns have evolved. I see no such evolution in the mindset of the writer in the NYTimes - couldn't the paper have found someone who didn't cite fear as a reason for wearing the hijab?

Posted by: marion at October 7, 2007 7:01 PM

Social change like that's been cited as a cause for the recent molestation scandals in Catholic churches. Back in the day when life was tough, a young man entering the clergy traded his sexuality and a few other knickknacks for three squares a day, a roof over his head, and lifetime employment. But in postwar America that deal wasn't so attractive, unless you were the kind of guy who wanted to be in a position of intimate authority around a bunch of trusting children. Good help is so hard to find....

It's embarrassing to have flown off the handle like that for Serud, who's apparently a housewifey type in that most American of cities, Saint Louis. She defeats her own argument: She's made a clear choice about the culture in which she wants her children raised. (Zappa once wrote a song about a GoogleSaint Louisan who transfixed us with Middle Eastern exoticism.)

And Katecoe was right about the nuns not whining thing, I wish I'd said that.

Posted by: Crid at October 7, 2007 8:15 PM

Bungled the link! Here it is.

The tune is this one. Zappa died before the truth was known, but had the good sense to call bullshit anyway. Our lesson is this: Be suspicious of mystics from the banks of the Mississippi.

Posted by: Crid at October 7, 2007 8:20 PM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 8, 2007 12:05 AM

A cached version of the woman's Myspace page:

------

Wow. If she wants to put a bag over something, she can start with that idiotic page. Talk about perpetrating thoughtcrime. Yikes. Scary in its ignorance, brutally stupid at its best.

Posted by: Gog_Magog_Carpet_Reclaimers at October 8, 2007 8:50 AM

Women's fashions never makes any sense no matter what country or culture.

I don't really care what Muslims wear, as long as the face is uncovered (a veil is a mask). People have the right to dress modestly IF THEY CHOOSE TO.

I have a lot of problems with Muslims, but I couldn't care less how they dress.

It should be noted that even in Western countries women are legally required to cover more parts of their bodies in public than men.

Posted by: winston at October 8, 2007 10:14 AM

Seriously, what's the big deal with the scarf. What about the hasidic ladies that don wigs post marriage? Noone talks about that. The concept we should be debating is the one about what we would consider a small thing (holding hands)- and how to her it represented -- note the word--represented-- something bigger. A comprimise of sorts.

Posted by: MandM at October 9, 2007 11:44 AM

Since the original idea was that this woman was looking for love...I don't know what kind of love she expects to get, maybe the fondness one would have for one's dog?

Posted by: Chrissy at October 9, 2007 3:39 PM

I actually thought that column was a nice change of pace from the usual relationship-that-didn't-work-out-in-Brooklyn crap. (Not that any of the relationships I was in while I lived in Brooklyn worked out. But still.)

The closest experience I know of is a friend from childhood who is now an observant Orthodox Jew (note to MandM: women cutting their hair after marriage is not limited to Hasidism). She had three dates and no touching with her now-husband. They have two kids (at least) now. It's not something I could have done, myself. But if it hadn't worked out, they would have cut it off at the third date (and this actually did happen several times with her brother before he met his now-wife). Dragging it on for ages-long phone conversations and unchaperoned movies would make it harder to keep the relationship all-or-nothing in terms of the physical, I would think.

Also, I would imagine that the gentleman she dumped -- the observant Muslim radiologist who doesn't like the headscarf and has non-Muslim friends, living in New York -- is going to get snatched up but fast.

Posted by: Jessica at October 9, 2007 6:34 PM

Gross had an interview with a guy who broke away from an ultra-Orthodox background the other day.

http://urltea.com/1pkl

Most poignant moment: "I resent you for telling me that we were a happy family." I bet that sentiment often appears in the painful growth that comes at the end of a bad relationship.

PS- Can anyone tell me where in the Catskills one finds the New York town of Muncie? Google has no answer, and it's the first time it's been stumped in a long while.

Posted by: Crid at October 9, 2007 9:11 PM

I couldn't find it. And thanks for the Auslander link. Have to listen when I actually wake up.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at October 10, 2007 7:13 AM

she not only (gasp!) held hands with a guy, but proceeded to throw off her headscarf -- and a whole lot more -- then pose for Hustler while revving up a big, whirring silver dildo.

Now that's religion!

Posted by: homer at October 16, 2007 7:11 AM

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