Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The old and the new in the park

I was sheltering from light rain in a posh eastern suburbs park, Central Park if you know it. I wasn't far from a dingy toilet block. I vaguely noticed an older woman enter the toilet while the dogs she was walking stayed obediently outside.

My god, what is this, a look I have never seen in East Malvern before. An obviously Moslem woman in Central Park and she is heading for the toilets.

She was dressed in a full length grey robe, with a black overpiece that covered her head as well. I immediately thought she was a letterbox woman with an eye slit, but I could not even see that much. She must have had the gauze over her face, so nothing to be seen.

They grey haired woman in the toilet was of a very middle class variety, typical of the suburb.

This is going to be interesting I thought, and settled back for the show.

The Moslem woman got to the toilets and almost went into the male toilet. She headed around the toilet block to find the women's and then hesitated when she saw the dogs. They proved to be not a threat and she went in. Suddenly the dogs went beserk and rushed into the toilet. Older woman exited the lav in haste.

But this older East Malvern women must have been a 'doctor's wife' (it is probably in the urban dictionary). She was pretending to gather up her dogs but actually waiting for the Moslem woman to come out. When she did, I could see older women smiling and saying something to the Moslem woman. I could not see the Moslem woman smiling or saying anything. :-P The Moslem woman stayed a few seconds as they no doubt discussed scone recipes, children and grandchildren and went off and got into the passenger seat of a large van.


I don't think I have ever seen a Moslem woman in Malvern. Well, maybe I have seen a young Indonesian student lass with a scarf around her head. Me being an adventurous type has seen letter box women in Foootscray and even a couple in the city. I have never seen a fly screen Moslem woman before.

Anyone can get caught short.

Although totally hidden from the world, the Moslem woman moved very confidently, even though she was clearly in unfamiliar territory.

It is surprising how quick the Moslem woman was, when she went about her business, considering her robes.

I would probably have been frightened too and perhaps screamed out. The grim reaper has come for me.

Anyway, I've paid $40 to see a play that I enjoyed less than I did that scene played out before me.


  1. Maybe she was quick because she wasn't wearing anything underneath?

  2. I don't want to even think about her exposed pudenda Daisy Jo. It must be daytime where you are to make such a comment, but I am about to go to bed.

  3. I'd have thought the East Malvern doctor's wife would be far too posh to use a public lavatory - but interesting observation.

  4. The grim reaper has come for me

    Nice image Andrew and very funny. Those full costumes do look quite scary / eerie.

    The dogs would have found her scary because they wouldn't be able to recognise her outline.

  5. Goddam fuckers are invading our suburbs.

  6. Reuben @ Max's12:54 am

    Andy B, what are you talking about? The dogs? Muslims? That's exceedingly racist and I for one welcome some religious diversity. When can I expect the buddhists, jews, atheists, catholics, scientologists, hindus and Jedi religious denominations?

  7. Andrew,

    You've been had. It was just Sedgwick in the full-body suit the courts have forced him to wear so as not to frighten little kiddies.

  8. I try to be very inclusive of all races in our wonderful country, but I became suddenly nervous as I was reading your story.

    When people can walk around in an all concealing 'tent', why couldn't it be nasty man/rapist wandering into the loos? We'd never know the difference.

  9. Hmmm the bargepole is engaged in the refusal position.... having read the book Holding The Man, I was wondering if you're going to see the stage play that's currently on in Melb?

  10. I read the book when it was first published and enjoyed it, but probably won't see the play.

  11. I'm with Blisshill... they scare me, and they have enough room under those tents to conceal a bomb.

  12. Jayne, one person's view below.

    She wasn't so young MD, maybe problems down there.

    Everyone, imagine yourself in a dingy toilet on your own and you were confronted by her. Anyone of us would jump out of skin I think.

  13. Sort of related, I was reading in the paper that this weekend a Mosque in Sunshine is having an open day for the general public to see what goes on.

  14. Anonymous11:16 pm

    I once saw a "letterbox" muslim walking down Lygon St with her husband. I was totally fascinated and couldn't stop staring. She was at such anomaly with the surrounding crowds and I must admit initially feeling a sense of 'danger' when I first glimpsed her - there was just so much blackness.

    I don't know if you've seen Spirited Away, but she reminded me of one of those 'No-Face' characters.

    Gosh.... imagine NEVER being able to have an identity when you went out. It's almost inhumane - like you are being denied of being 'someone'. Surely must be a very lonely and isolated feeling.

  15. I found this quote somewhere but it is abridged somewhat....

    "Just because you are christian, or muslim for that matter, if a person is not of your cultural choice, you don't have to make a big deal about it."

    Does it have relevance ?

  16. Thanks for the link Andrew :)

  17. Probably a good idea Ben. It has happened at mosques elsewhere. Oddly, no invitation nor open day is needed at christian churches or buddhist temples, so long as you are respectful. Maybe it is the same for mosques.

    Gay Wallaby, I saw something different and unusual and wrote about it. It is in human nature to observe difference, especially if extreme.

  18. Anon, Moslem women will argue that it empowers them and they do it of free choice.

    I will argue that successful human interaction depends on nuances that can only be picked up by seeing someone's face. Head scarf kewl, nun's habit fine, Indian sari, no probs, covering face, nah, I don't like it.

  19. Rueben: Don't get me wrong. I value diversity. They can integrate as much as they wish. As long as they go do it in their own country, k?

  20. Go on Reuben, have a go. You won't win though, coz he is bitter and twisted. What? I am too? Who said that?