What’s with all this black nylon?

This  is my third summer in Cairo  and being tall blond and Irish with a slightly freckled skin I stand out.  I dress modestly not for any religious reason, just because it makes sense. I save a fortune on sun cream during the day, and mosquito repellant at night, so a no brainer really.

As the temperatures heat up I usually adapt the loose linen trousers and colorful tunic look, very comfy and cool,  covered wrist to ankle,  air circulating freely, but……..when I look around ……..WHAT is this non sensical penchant for black nylon?
There are acres of it on display and it is in total contravention of the laws of physics. (well maybe not physics but one of those science subjects I was rubbish at) I clearly remember as a child being told that in the hot Summer months you should wear light colored fabrics in a natural material eg cotton etc. Why this fact lodged in my brain is anybody’s guess as it was completely irrelevant and superfluous to any summer  growing up in Ireland, bar 1973 I think
Now being a woman,and a mother and all that, I can see the attraction from a practical viewpoint, rather in the way little boys in football kit makes sense, from a quick wash, drip dry, non iron kind of attraction. Other than these easy living bonus points well quite frankly it’s pants!
I am surrounded by women swaddled in black nylon,  with beads of sweat dripping through their khol and mascara,  usually with a toddler on the hip or shoulder, depending on where you are, carrying a heavily laden bag of cucumbers and tomatoes why oh why do they do it?

Now I get the modesty stipulations in Islam no problem, but does it have to be black? What about a pale grey or a fabulous duck egg blue or pink? The options are endless.

I am convinced that one day I am going to see a woman with her abaya melted to her skin at the very least, or quite possibly, and I live in dread, they will start to spontaneously combust!!

Even if it does have to be black (although I doubt it ) it definitely does NOT have to be nylon, purely from a historical analysis viewpoint, nylon simply cannot have been specified in any text.

So come on ladies show off your new found Egyptian pride and adopt some fine Egyptian cotton apparel


2 thoughts on “What’s with all this black nylon?

  1. The Londoner says:

    Standing in a queue in HSBC in London during a particularly warm summer, donning a black abayah, hijab and face veil, I was asked the classic, “Aren’t you hot in that?”
    I replied, “No” for the very reason that I wasn’t – as you said in your post, the looseness is a saviour. 🙂

    Now, I’m not sure about the extent of nylon being the main fabric used here for abayahs (and I must say that many Egyptian women are moving away from abayahs in general), but the ‘black is hot’ concept isn’t the only reason why these women are dripping with sweat (and my gosh isn’t HOT in Cairo!). Even the non-abayah clad women are dripping.

  2. maireadhoey says:

    Ramadan Kareem
    And yes it’s HOT, I’m heading back to Ireland for a weeks break and am picturing the rain, getting splashed by passing cars, umbrellas being turned inside out and washing my boys muddy rugby kit so give me dripping with sweat anyday!

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