Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thou Shalt Not Wear Black?

The store is a small one, but it's close to my house, conveniant, and just my style. The clothing they sell is expensive, but if you shop at the right times, you can get $80 dollar sweaters for ten dollars. And, while it's not a company who's merchandise any MP would admit ownership of, it is a well known brand. That means the quality is good, which is the factor I care about. See, the better the quality the less frequently I need to shop.

Anyhow, I discovered this store a couple of years ago, and have shopped there for the majority of my warsdrobe ever since. I've also brought a number of friends there. You can therefore imagine that the night time manager knows me pretty well.

The manager in question is a proud, though unaffiliated Jew, and loves to discuss her Jewish background with me. It was probably my second visit to the store when I learned that her grandmother was orthodox, her mother was conservative, and she is just not religious.

We've discussed many things, though theology is not often on the list of topics...until my most recent visit.

I was shopping with my mother, and, in a desperate attempt to find something and be done with it, I walked into the dressing room with a huge pile of sweaters. Almost all of them were black.

I stepped out of the dressing room to display the first sweater, when I heard my friendly manager shmoozing with my mother. "I'm nervous to ask, but I just have to..." My mother nodded, urging her to go ahead. She looked hesitant, but continued. My ears perked up, as she said, "does Judaism have a rule about ladies wearing black?"

My mother looked down at her green sweater and cringed. I looked down at my black sweater and grinned. Our friend wasn't finished though. "I mean," she continued, "I don't know...maybe only the girls have that rule?"

At that point, I couldn't control myself. I burst out laughing. She looked confused, but then again, so is my mother. "Black and black," mom always proclaims "looks awful." But there we are, her very own daughters, looking awful. Day after day after day.

I pointed triumphantly to a sweater I had tried. "Look! Grey!" But then I took pity on her; I attempted to explain. And that is when I really started to sound stupid. After vehemently denying a law about "thou shalt wear black," I started mumbling about styles and conformity, weddings and flattering colors, and I sounded dumber and more confused as the minutes went by.

And the friendly manager still had questions. "But when my grandmother was orthodox, they didn't have this law yet, did they?"


grinfish said...

lol. hooray for black!
truthfully, i like wearing black..
but i do find it awkward that EVERYONE wears black.

NYC Girl said...

This reminds me of a joke I once heard-
A group of Jewish women were on their way to a wedding when they got pulled over for speeding. The police officer peers in the window and says "I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were on the way to a funeral."

Sefardi Gal said...

$80 sweaters for $10? I want to know about this store! I'm usually that person who buys things right before they go on sale. :(

That's pretty funny though, ablob. I would've told her that it seems to be a trend in the community, but not a law. I happen to like the color black because it's slimming and easy to match with.
Oh well.

Do you really do the black on black thing?

Mushkie said...

HAHA! I'm cracking up. I walk to shul with friends every friday night and a friend's little sister once asked me while we were walking, "Mushkie why are all the girlies wearing the same color?" She was resplendent in pink and green, i was equally so in pink and black :) but i try avoid black really

Data said...

My mother LOVES black. My niece brought a friend over and my mother overheard her saying, "I TOLD you my Bobby ALWAYS wears black."

What hue is so slimming?

jkl; said...

wow! which store is this???

Anonymous said...

After organizing my sweaters on my shelf and having to pull out all the black sweaters just so I could find THE black sweater that I was looking for, I realized it was time for a change. My closet is still mostly black, but I've thrown in some purples, deep blues, greens, and pink. Besides for being pretty, my colorful sweaters are much easier to find in my closet!


harry-er than them all said...

i second NYCgirl's joke. When at weddings I have been tempted at the chuppah to ask when the coffin is coming out. Everyone is so somber and wearing black.

When you notice old photographs of women who nowadays swear by only black, its amazing to see how they wore blue, green, and shocking RED.

Something Different said...

Grinfish- yeah, and it's sad that at a wedding a girl feels out of place for wearig (gasp) GREY!

NYCG- lol, I heard that joke as a true story! I could see it though...

SG- I told her that's it all boils down to style, but it doesn't make all that much sense...
And yeah, I wear exclusively black skirts (I think the last non-black skirt I wore was in high school) so if my top is black 70% of the time) I'm wearing black on black. And I mostly wear black shells, plus in the winter nothing but black socks/tights and black shoes so...

Mushkie- omg, little kids picked up on it? Yikes...

Data- lol about your niece, and isn't black the only one?

Jkl- can't say. Lol.

Chan- that's overwhelmingly practical! Lol.

HTTA- maybe they knew something we don't... Notice they didn't have a shidduch crisis bacK then... ;-)

J.A.P. said...

Once, I spent a summer in Austria in a real country town that probably had never seen a Jew.

That summer, the hotel I stayed in kashered and there were tons of Jewish families there, many of them chassidish and very conservative.

A few townspeople asked the hotel proprietor why everyone was wearing black. The hotel guy (an Austrain goy and total comedian) told them that Jewish custom entails one person in each family to wear black as a symbol of mourning for the beis hamikdash. He told them in all seriousness that we tend to pick the ungliest member of the family for this job.

One of the confused townspeople said it seemed like 90% of us were wearing black, it oculdn't be it was just one per family.

So the hotel owner tells them, "Well, the Jews are very considerate people and dont want to make that one ugly family member feel bad so they all do it."

So the townie adds- "Or they just had more than one ugly person in each family!"

I kid you not... :-)

Something Different said...

JAP- Awesome story! Lol!! Though I gotta say, non-Jews seem to find our customs so bizzare that I dunno why they shouldn't believe that one. ;-)

itsagift said...

I'm the colorful one! I barely have any black clothing - the sweaters I wear are pink, purple, green, grey (ohmy! that's pretty close to black!) and white for Rosh Chodesh. :-)

So if you see someone walking down the street and she's not wearing black, you may be bumping in to me...