A Veiled Meeting
Yesterday I went to meet a friend whom I had contacted on the net. I had not met him before, nor had he met me; we had no pictures to go on. Nor would we recognise each other ever again, for we spent the whole meeting being heavily veiled. There was no ulterior motive other than to try the experience of being so shrouded for ourselves. Perhaps, only in childhood, does one have opportunity to interact (usually quite spontaneouly rather than as planned) in this way.
We met at his rather spacious flat, and the ground rule we set ourselves was that every part of us was covered, face, hands, everything. I was very anxious that a stranger might see me wearing a niqab at his front door, and be shocked into believing that a burglary was about to take place, but I need not have worried.
He was not English, and my hearing isn’t perfect, so, practically speaking, conversation from my point of view was not altogether easy given that also, throughout, he was talking through a niqab. We talked about my home country and his, in between giving little fashion parades to each other. Somehow it didn’t seem in the least tense or unnatural talking to someone who you couldn’t see very clearly and who couldn’t see anything of me. The situation was akin to a telephone conversation, except that intimacy and romance (!) is usually there completely lacking. Unlike many people one sees, on television particularly, who use their hands in conversation, I use mine very little, and I think that at one stage he found it a little disconcerting to be conversing with an almost unmoving heap of cloth.
His wardrobe appeared to be limited to a generous abaya and full niqab, all black with black gloves; I brought a selection of niqabs, shaylars, silk and chiffon scarves, a burqa and a cloak known to most as being almost identical to that worn by the ‘Scottish widow’ in advertisements, and some of these I shared with him. The burqa is almost black, has a rectangular face grille and is floor length, without armholes, and the cloak is black velvet lined throughout in scarlet satin, and with an enormous hood that can easily pull down to cover the face. I recommend such a garment to anyone; it is soft, snug, very luxurious. For most of our meeting I wore this with a variety of veils and it gave me (as it usually does) a great feeling of relaxation, comfort and fulfilment. Neither did I ever feel that it impeded my conversation.
My friend was most civil and agreeable; never once did he make me feel embarrassed, even when I accidently broke the ground rule of exposing one white hand!