I don’t exactly think of myself as a prude. But as I toured in Spain I was just shocked at the clothing, or lack thereof. Maybe I just haven’t traveled in the heat of the summer in a country that doesn’t have a major religious dress code. Granted, I was in Istanbul in March. In India it was hot, but the women wore beautiful saris and kurtas. I now own several kurtas and kurtis. They’re all cotton tops that have a variety of lengths that one wears with leggings, salwars or churidars. In other words, you wear some kind of a pant with them. I swear I saw someone wearing one as a dress in Barcelona! The thing about a kurta is that its got slits on the sides that go up far enough so you can reach into pockets. So wearing a kurta as a dress, really isn’t the intended style choice.
It’s hot. I get it. But do I really need to know all of the details of your undergarments? I grew up in a time where you didn’t show your bra straps. Now, of course, it’s a fashion statement. Plus, that requires prior planning about said undergarments. Both my sister and I agreed that it would require just too much work/effort to coordinate undergarments with whatever ensemble we chose to wear for the day. This “style” was not limited to just the young and tiny. We saw this over and over with women of all ages and sizes. A common theme was a near shear top with some kind of frilly bra. Whenever I see those tops I think to myself, “I have to buy 2 garments instead of one.” I’d need a camisole or something for underneath. No such thought process in Spain. As for what nationality the scantily clad women were, I don’t know. They didn’t seem like they were American. They tended to speak in a non-English language.
The reason why we were paying attention to attire is that in many sites, there is a dress code. When you visit churches, you are expected to dress respectfully. On the La Sagrada Familia website, it specifically says, no shorts. Well, when we scoped it out the night before, we saw lots of people with shorts. My friend, Margaret, had been there before and we sent her a quick email asking if it would be ok to wear shorts if we saw lots of other tourists wearing them. She jokingly replied that we should be ok as long as our butt cheeks weren’t hanging out.
We were fine with our attire the next day. But fast forward to the following day. We went to Montserrat. Montserrat is a Benedictine Monastery. Yes, a MONASTERY. We were taking photos of the beautiful scenery and ran across this…
No way! We’re at a monastery! People are there to touch the orb of the Black Virgin. My sister and I just laughed and laughed. After the butt cheeks warning from Margaret I just had to take a photo and immediately send it to her. Eek!
I don’t know… I guess I’m just modest and I’m a total rule-follower. So if the suggested dress is pants, covered shoulders, etc. I’m going to do it. You’ll never catch me with my butt cheeks hanging out. Mine don’t look quite that good… But still… I think there is a certain amount of respect for the culture of the place that one is visiting that is needed. I have traveled enough to realize that it is better to fit in with the place than force my own culture on them. I know it’s hot. But there are other ways to deal with it than being darn near naked!