I need help. I really want to fit in here in Cairo, but am having some trouble. When I first arrived in Beirut, someone told me that I might as well give up any ambitions of ever having Lebanese girlfriends. Lebanese women just don’t do the whole true friendship thing (I was told) and especially not with a foreigner. I don’t know how true that is, but I do know that the only one I made grew up in France.
But this is not the impression I get from Egyptian women. They seem genuinely nice and open, which is why I feel ok asking you this:
How on earth do you dress in the summer without attracting too much attention???
Like I’ve mentioned before, I thought Zamalek (where I live and work) would be kind of like Beirut, but perhaps a bit more conservative. So taking the weather into consideration, I had no problems packing all my more conservative summer dresses. By conservative I mean they don’t show cleavage and they go down to my knees. They have short sleeves (like I said – they are summer dresses), but nothing that show shoulders or the like. Apparently this is still a no-go.
So I’d like to know – what do Egyptian women wear in the summer??
I’ve tried asking for advice and everyone keeps telling me it’s not that bad. But then they start to describe what things I should avoid and it’s basically a description of my entire wardrobe. I suggested (partly in fun, but partly serious) that I could just buy a few abayas to wear when I’m on the street. But then someone told me that that was a sign of prostitutes. So that probably isn’t the best way to go.
I know this may seem like a crazy thing to think about. But I’m actually finding this quite hard. My style is very inspired by the 50’s with floral prints and full skirts and pined waistlines. My clothes and make up and jewelry are very much a part of my identity and a way for me to express myself. So I feel like I have to be someone else in order to live in Cairo. And that’s not a nice feeling.