80. National dress

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married last year, oh, that’s Wills and Kate to the E! Entertainment classes, you may have noticed that a lot of people at the wedding wore appropriate, dignified attire.  William himself was in his Irish Guards get up and everyone else was either in military uniform or fancy suits.  You didn’t see anyone wearing ripped jeans and Nirvana t-shirts, nor were there any rap people wearing stupid hats with the price tag still on.  Thankfully, there wasn’t a Lady Gaga in sight either.

Ole ole! Ole ole! Feelin’ hot! Hot! Hot! Aarrrriiba!!

In a similar context, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin allegedly went to the moon they opted for spacesuits, not Haiiwan shirts and sombrero’s.  I doubt Armstrong’s legacy would have been quite so regal if he had simply succumbed to the blitzkrieg of the moons atmosphere and melted simply because he wanted to wear something different.

Closer to home, what do you usually wear to the beach?  Your swim gear or a three piece suit complete with shiny brogues?  What about when you go to the gym, do you put on your sports gear or dig out the wedding dress?  Think about what you wore the last time you trekked across the Arctic?  I’d hazard a guess and say you wore your thermals and not your banana hammock…

Today I happened across an article which, in summary, was trying and struggling to define where and where not and when and when it was not appropriate to wear either a Kandura or an Abaya (male and female national dress respectively).  I’ll be honest, I’m secretly quite jealous of the UAE’s – and the Middle East’s – national dress.  They are the only ones in the world that seem to have one that is worn every day.  I wish I could dress up as a beefeater for work but I fear I would look stupid, plus it’s a Royal guards uniform, not a traditional British garment.

Anyway, it seems that a lot of people are in a huff about it, and I don’t understand why.  All the examples that were provided were activities that require a certain type of clothing.  Sky diving, Skiing and Bowling.  I don’t think I need to ramble on taking up any more of your time elaborating on why a Kandura or an Abaya may be unsuitable for any of those three activities; but I will.

Bowling is fairly harmless, and along with Darts is one of two sports where you can be fat and drunk and still be excellent.  But it is a common technique to kick your heel out to maintain balance and get maximum accuracy on the ball.  As a result you need your legs to be free, not restrained.  Skiing is a cold sport that requires unhindered movement.  I adore skiing and have been to the Alps many times, and Mall of the Alpines thrice.  I can confirm first hand that a Kandura would indeed get in the way of a) your poles b) your skis and c) would offer you about as much warmth and comfort as a metaphor not found.  As for Sky Diving, come on!  You would never get me doing a sky dive, honestly, why jump out of a perfectly good plane?  It’s bonkers.  But if I did I would insist on the correct uniform.  A Kandura would be most unsuitable because, and I’m sorry, the wearer won’t be wearing underwear…need I go on?

With reference to the bowling anecdote, it was reported that a representative of the bowling alley harked a cry of safety.  Absolutely right.  The reason why the manager of the bowling alley cannot allow people to wear obstructive clothing is because if they slip, trip or disintegrate and say, lose a tooth or break an arm, then the company is liable.  The insurance company has to enforce a strict set of parameters on the alley to ensure that it is taking all necessary and reasonable precautions to avoid law suits.  What’s wrong with that?  The rules aren’t there for a laugh.  The people complaining about not being allowed to wear what they want are ignorant to the facts.

It must be noted that through the UAE’s rapid modernisation over the last 30 years or so it has done well to maintain its national identity, and the Kandura and Abaya are held in high regard.  They are the equivalent of a smart suit for work, they are the norm for a day out at the mall, they can be worn to restaurants and in some cases, even bars…  There is absolutely no sign of the Kandura or Abaya disappearing any time soon.  But for certain activities it is simply not suitable.

So is there a solution?  How can we help people understand that sometimes they cannot wear what they want on the grounds of safety?  We could let them have an accident and let them learn the hard way.  You’d be a silly sausage if, whilst completing your sky dive your genitals were exhibited to the surveying masses.  When your leg snaps off in Mall of the Alpines because you didn’t have enough freedom with your left leg will you continue your stance?  I fear that letting accidents happens is the only way people will learn.  So long as a high court judge grants the proprietors immunity from prosecution of course…worth a shot?

If we go with my idea I must say that I will feel sorry for the lad who thinks that the Kandura will work on the moon… because he will melt.

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