There comes a time in every Orthodox Jewish girl’s life when she just wants to break free, expose her elbows, and perhaps, if she is feeling particularly bold, flash a little ankle at male passerbys. For me, this period of time came during my senior year of high school.
However, being a born again exception to the rule, I took my little Rumspringa to a new level of extreme. I ventured into the world of hipsterdom: Williamsburg- to see a certain dynamic duo perform in a dingy skinny-jean ridden club.
Now while you can take the Jew out the of the Orthodox ghetto, you most certainly cannot take the ghetto out of the Jew. And so instead of dressing in the appropriate hipster attire (skinny jeans and flannel), I wore a button down Gap shirt and a pleated black skirt from some Jew-only clothing establishment.
Needless to say when I arrived at said club, I was overdressed and the subject of an exhibitionist gaze. As I entered, I felt as if a thousand Ray-Ban glasses made me the subject of their attention. I, therefore, was quite relieved when the performers– Matt & Kim– took to the stage. The Ray-Bans were temporarily distracted.
Last night Matt & Kim re-entered my life, taking to the Wellesley stage and reminding me of my failed attempt at religious rebellion. Only this time– though both my ankles and elbows were still very much concealed– no one stared at me in bewilderment. No one remotely questioned my presence at a borderline hipster concert.
Dressed in a flower power dress that screamed Anthropologie housewife, I was utterly perplexed. Had I somehow managed to attain a certain Brooklyn-esque credibility despite my adherence to Orthodox principles of dress? Certainly not.
I had, however, attained a different sort of credibility or acceptance for my quirky pants-free lifestyle. My fellow Wellesley women had grown to respect me for my inescapable Jewish approach to attire. In fact, as one Wandering Asian Gnome phrased it, I was “endearing.” Praise Moses– my mother’s not the only person who thinks of me in those terms!
Here’s to the band that reminded me it’s perfectly acceptable to dress in as much (or as little) as you’d like: