Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Slip of a Thing....

Looking back, moving to Ghana has meant a lot of changes - location, job, culture, the list could go on - none of which I have for a moment regretted. In looking back - as well as in looking forward - it has been one of the most remarkable times in a journey of self discovery I think I would have not achieved if I hadn't taken the decision of stepping outside my comfort zone(s).

One of the most remarkable things has been a change in how I dress. Stood before my wardrobe(s) this morning trying to decide what to wear. What would match my mood today? Blue? Red? Green? What would reflect me? I was confronted with a cacophony of colours that made me instantly feel alive. Hmmm, very different from my choices I had when I initially moved.

I still remember the early days of coming to work in my suits and heels which I have now long since traded for my comfortable boubous and surprisingly sexy slits and kabbas. Those days I favoured greys and blacks - ok, will confess primarily for the 'slimming' effect, but yes, also for the 'professional look and feel' I felt it had. All that came crashing down one morning when one of the ladies came to me with a look of concern on her face asking if I was 'bereaved'. Couldn't figure it out for the life of me until she asked ' so who has died?'. Now totally puzzled, I told her no one. This look of absolute incredulity came on her face and she asked, ' so why are you always wearing black and grey?". Needless to say that prompted a change of dress and colours.

Ghanaian men, not to be out done by their women, are certainly not colour shy. Most will vie with the ladies for outfits in textures and designs that I am sure a Jamaican man would have a fit over! Sundays are always sure to bring out such elaborate creations as everyone heads off to church long committed or presently planned.

Though not on my way to church but elsewhere, I spotted one such man. I gave him a second look as he did make quite regal picture in his beautiful yellow boubou (they also call the mens' kaftans boubous). Then I gave him a third as there, silhouetted in the early morning sun, I could see everything nook, cranny and and appendage! Must confess to having a good laugh and then it got me thinking should men actually wear a slip when wearing such outfits?

I decided to look up the meaning of the word slip to see if in fact it was gender specific . Didn't expect that a simple four-letter word would have fifty -seven definitions! Did however find the one I wanted at entry number 37 : a. a woman's undergarment, sleeveless and usually having shoulder straps, extending from above the best down to the hemline of the outer dress b. an underskirt, as a half-slip or petticoat' .

Ok, not a piece of under garment found in the regular man's closet I guess.
Granted, most men do wear the matching pants and so I guess they avoid those revealing situations. For those that don't - I guess in this part of the world it is okay to let it slip (definition of let it slip: to reveal unintentionally).

Note to self : purchase a half slip just in case I ever need one.


Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

I really would not be caught dead in those kaftans. But I like them, sometimes, on other people. Each to their own. If they choose to wear those clothes, then they may as well wear slips to cover their 'appendages'.

Joitske Hulsebosch said...

Hi Denise, nice to wear colours! I still like to wear colourfull clothes, but did they even before I went to Africa.. I think I don't care too much about the professional impression- I hope people will see beyond it. On the other hand, I do like grey and white too now, so that may be a dutch influence currently.