Sunday, my minister said that in growing older he was becoming less judgmental and slower to make assumptions. For those of us who feel that aging isn’t making us wiser, perhaps travel can step in and help us achieve the same results. Take, for example, my preconceived notions of what women in predominantly Muslim countries normally wear, namely, black, black, and more black.
Our guide told us Moroccan women had the freedom to choose how much they would cover up when they went out in public. I was, and still am, skeptical about his claim. My skepticism notwithstanding, the clothing styles I saw here challenged my assumptions about women’s fashion in a Muslim country. The black outfits I expected to see were still there, but these were outnumbered by kaleidoscope-hued robes and head coverings.
Many teenagers wore colorful print headscarves over chiffon tunics and skinny jeans, the typical dress of any adolescent Muslim girl in an American high school. After dark we saw small groups of women charging across the street — an action not for the timid — in five-inch stiletto heels peeking out below sparkling scarlet and emerald-green robes and matching scarves. I was astonished by the number of women wearing robes with calf-revealing side slits, a fashion statement I never expected to see anyone making in Morocco.
I can’t say that growing older has made me any less likely to pre-judge, but personal experience is an equally good teacher. I’d better plan on more travel experiences to bring about that wisdom I hope for as I age.