I tuck my dress into my underwear.
Its that time of year.
The time of year when my face is perpetually shiny and light-colored clothes turn yellow in high sweat spots. The time of year when my hair never seems to dry (in about a month, the air will be so dry my skin will crack and bleed. Please don’t say: yes, but it’s a dry heat. People who live here don’t say things like that. Its 122 degrees of dry heat). The time of year that candles melt without being lit and tires explode and gum turns into liquid in the bottom of my purse. The time of year when sweat drips down my cheeks and back and butt simply from standing in front of the wardrobe and choosing the least hot bottoms, the least yellowed-armpit shirt. The time of year when sometimes I feel like crying but stop myself because its too hot.
This is the time of year when I tuck my dress into my underwear.
Because, at home, I wear a shiid. A cotton Somali housedress, mumu-style and brilliantly colorful. Shiids are billowy and loose and thin. I’m supposed to wear a golgorad underneath, a floor-length polyester slip, but that defeats the purpose because, well, its polyester. Hot. Sticky. If I leave the house in my shiid, I’ll pull on a golgorad. Shiids are fantabulous because they double as hand towels for drying, rags for wiping tables, aprons, and in Somalia at least, they doubled as Kleenex. Wrap finger in shiid, insert into nostril, dig around. Or, farmer blow onto the floor and wipe leftovers with shiid. Who me? No, never.
Shiids are so billowy and loose that I could fit two or three of me inside one and they drag on the floor and trip me up, get caught on toy cars or thorns. But they aren’t meant to be worn frumpy and straight, they are meant to be tucked up under the waistband of the golgorad.
But wait, I’m at home. I’m not wearing a golgorad. Ah, but I do have a waistband. Voila, I tuck my dress into the waistband of my underwear.
Somali-style hips in place, I can now practice my sway. Now my house helper says I look beautiful (it helps that by sheer luck, I purchased a quite fashionable material for my new shiids, usually I’m a few years behind Djiboutian fashion trends). Now I have easy access to material for wiping my shiny face or butt sweat. Now, I have a dress tucked into my underpants.
What time of year is it where you live?