by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter AAbaya: (n.) a full-length, sleeveless outer garment worn by Arabs.

One of the true signs of prejudice is our incessant belief that our particular selection of wardrobe is fashionable, while all other garments range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

If I was born in an Arab land, I might wear one of those sleeveless tunics. I think what would bother me most about the abaya is that I would have to go through a season of lifting weights to make sure that my biceps looked muscular instead of flabby. Of course, in the process of lifting weights, I might get other parts of my body to become equally as fit and trim. At that point, I would certainly not want to hide these muscular abs under a loose-fitting tunic. So I probably would come up with some silly rendition of the abaya–where there would be a hole cut in the center to exposed my flourishing six-pack. This would, of course, evoke scrutiny and possible criticism from other abaya wearers, who would find it completely inappropriate to ruin the fashion statement by showing off skin.

I would recoil from their criticism and stop wearing my abaya, which would make me feel alienated from society and soon I would stop my exercise regimen, begin to overeat, develop heart disease, and one day be waddling through the market to purchase chocolate-covered dates and fall over dead from a heart attack.

As you can see, an abaya is not for me.

I just want to make sure that I don’t criticize a Middle-Eastern “look” just because I find it questionable.

This may be the best road to peace–if for one week each culture that was ready to go to war just simply had to wear the clothing of the opposing culture, perhaps enough sympathy could be mustered that we would be forced to the peace table.

The nice thing about an abaya is that you could put on ten pounds and no one would ever know–as long as those “chubbies” didn’t show up around your jowls. Then you would have to wear an abaya with a turtleneck, which would probably also be considered inappropriate–even though I’m not sure the goats in the herd care one way or another.

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