Emunah Threat Level: Through The Roof
My leg muscles hurt. They get chafed and I get a lot of mild to moderate leg-aches (I'd say daily) particularly between the hours of 7AM and 6PM Monday through Friday. As much as I'd like to blame the speakerphone abusers (CUT IT OUT! I HATE YOU! OK?) around my office I don't really think it's their fault. I think it's my skirt/dress that's doing it. Having something tight (or loose for that matter) flap around your calves for more than a few hours can be quite uncomfortable. I'm a very animated person by nature and the strain caused by unlimited movement of my legs because of my skirt/dress (often without realizing it) causes my legs to get chafed and sore.
Pants, it seems, is the way to go.
I know that I'm not the only woman who feels that way – Z.R. (who you may remember from my collapsing sukka stories) complains of a "skirt leg-ache" nearly every time we drive home together. My mother-in-law also wears pants, unless she is in Shul. My sister-in-law told me that she asked her about it (something I would NEVER dare to ask, but my SIL is sooooo
gutsy) and heard the following story:
When my MIL was first married she had daily leg-aches, and she asked a Rav (no, I don't know which one but I have a sneaking suspicion his initials are GH-TAFKAPP) who told her that she could keep wearing pants! I had never heard a story like that before and I can't imagine that this psak is standard issue, even if you live in the 5 towns.
All this "enforced suffering" reminded me of a gripping short story by Dr. Seuss which many of you may be familiar with, called "Hop On Pop."
It's a hyper-realistic tale of a world where people know no boundaries. In this utopia, average citizens are always playing stretching the limits of their personal relationships with their communal structure.
Oh just read the story.
Euphoric, and short.
Anyway, it got me thinking. While I understand many aspects of religious modesty, having to only wear skirts/dresses has me baffled. In this day and age, when wearing pants is considered the norm and skirts are considered far sexier than the average pair of corduroys (which make that fwoop-fwoop noise when you walk, which I HATE, but that's another post), sticking to skirts seems counter-productive.
Plus nowadays women can wear tunic tops over pants that stretch down far below their lower-waists for modesty purposes and still enjoy the comforts of pants. Is the forcing of women to wear dresses and skirts just another way of keeping women suppressed and limited from achieving their potential? Shouldn't they too be allowed the freedom to hop on their figurative fathers? Is this just another way of protecting the patriarchal system from girls trying to leap higher than boys?
Imagine what I'd be today if not for my years of skirt-wearing restrictions! If I could be calf-ache free I imagine I'd be more productive and patient.
I could run faster, jump higher, achieve so much more potential, and maybe not even have a broom closet for an office! Maybe I could even be the speakerphone boss, and I could show them!
Oh, right…new job coming up…maybe I’ll already have a better office. (we're hoping, we're hoping) Let’s ignore that for now.
So is Kisui Raglayim just man or God's way of handicapping women?
Or should I just keep my knees posed demurely together like a Miss America contender and stop walking so fast and see if things improve?