Theres a lot of things that surprise me in my travels, both differences and similarities the world over. Though, this is not some intellectual piece on religious formalities, or social class, or political diplomacy. No. Its
about cleavage. And now that I have your attention….
I have to say that the rules for modesty are as varied as a Skittles bag. Whats considered appropriate inside one boarder, deplorable in another. From topless beaches in Spain, to shin length dress in Vietnam, to bum embracing jeans in Belize, the rules for appropriateness are not the same where you land. (And yes, I realize that males may also have rules of conduct, but in all honesty as a woman I haven’t picked up so closely on this. Any males care to educate me?)
I’ve been thinking about these concepts lately, trying to balance my clothing options so I’m not melting from heat, but still respectable to the conservative impressions in my new town. Its not to say I’m an avid flasher, in fact, I would consider myself to be quite modest. My legs used to stay hidden under jeans, even in the South African heat, my tummy never exposed in a bikini. But through the years, either through more self acceptance or yoga, I’ve started to reveal more trinkets of skin here and there. I thought I had a good balance, but apparently I still have much to learn.
On my most recent train journey from Kolkata city back to my
rural-ness, the woman beside me began tugging at my top, bringing it up in the
front, pulling it at the back. I was laughing, and some of the other women
around us were motioning to her that it was okay. But her stern eyes darted
between me and the male fruit seller in our ladies only compartment, as if to
remind me ‘theres a man in the room, mind the goods’.
So whats your take on whats appropriate, whats not. When is a lil’cleavge ok, when does it become ‘girls gone wild’ territory? Does this cross your mind when you get dressed, or an after thought when climbing some stairs (we’ve all been there, haven’t we).