Call it a momentary lapse in judgment. Blame the relentless heat-Dakar does, after all, feel very much like an oven as of late. Or maybe the stress of leaving this country forever in just seventeen days has finally addled my brain. Or the fish! Consuming copious amounts of fish can lead to mercury poisoning, I hear.
That must be it. I have mercury poisoning. It’s the only plausible explanation as to what on earth possessed me to wear a strapless, sunshine yellow pool cover-up outside in a Muslim country yesterday.
Yes, I’m a trollop. Yes, I’m humiliated. But spare me the lecture-Kellan beat you to it.
It all started after church. Michelle and I recently discovered a bakery downtown where the coffee doesn’t taste
like liquid trout, and there’s a divine chocolate fudge concoction that makes me cry, it’s so good.
Really, I don’t know why I bother eating anything else.
Using every ounce of my persuasive powers, I shamelessly begged, wheedled and pleaded with Dayton, Michelle, and Christy to venture downtown to said bakery with me after lunch. After they finally acquiesced, I delightedly ran to get ready to go. Pack my rucksack, kiss my loved ones goodbye-you know the drill.
And then it hit me. I have some pretty vicious tan lines from running in the scorching, African sun every day-and in the spirit of getting rid of them, …well, I decided it would be just brilliant to throw on my strapless, yellow pool cover-up over a pair of shorts, and wear it to the bakery. You know, uh, since it was a weekend. And I was going with friends. And we weren’t going to be in a part of town where anybody knew us. And…
Impishly, I walked into the living room looking for all the world like a three year old that had been caught coloring on the wall. Dayton rolled his eyes, thanked his lucky stars that he only had eighteen more days of keeping me alive left, and off we went.
We made it to the bakery without incident, and ate ourselves into the most gloriously mind-numbing chocolate coma you can possibly imagine as my eyes rolled into the back of my head and I reveled in my newfound wardrobe freedom. As much as I love my Mennonite clothing options in Dakar, there was something delicious about breaking the rules. It was all I could do not to stand up on the table, throw my hand over my heart and belt out the Star Spangled banner. I felt like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton all rolled into one-staging my own, personal protest against a repressive system that treats women as possessions.
While getting rid of my tan lines. I am nothing, if not efficient.
Once we regained the power of movement, Christy, Michelle and I followed Dayton out to the road like three little ducklings as he bartered for a taxi-and then we all piled into the dirty backseat while Dayton sat up front next to our Senegalese driver.
Who seemed, disconcertingly enough, much more interested in the three American girls in his rear view mirror than the cars barreling furiously towards us on the busy road.
Finally, he just couldn’t take it anymore. He turned to Dayton and asked: “Ils sont vos femmes?” [Are they your wives?]
Dayton shook his head furiously as an indignant chorus of “Non!” rang out from the backseat.
With a sly grin, our male-chauvinist-pig driver then hungrily commented, “Vous a beacoup-donne moi un.” [You have a lot-give me one of them.]
He then gave me a drawn-out, lecherous once-over in the rear view mirror and slowly said: “Donne moi elle.” [Give me her.]
Ah, yes. The floozy in the strapless pool cover up. Well, that makes sense.
As I vehemently protested “Absolutement NON!” , and tried to remember how to say “snowballs chance in hell” in French, an outraged Christy jumped in and angrily lectured: “Nous ne sommes pas les choses que il peut donner-nous sommes des humaines!” [We are not things that he can give, we’re HUMAN!]
…I don’t know what it was. The sun, the mercury poisoning, my strapless yellow pool cover up or my male chauvinist future husband- but Christy’s incensed, righteously indignant tirade on basic human rights to a man that had probably never had a woman stand up to him before just tickled my funny bone.
And I snorted the rest of the way home.
Our taxi driver, on the other hand, didn’t say another word.
That’s Christy: 1 and Male Chauvinist Pig: 0.