Like many close girlfriends, my best pal Faye and I check in with each other every day and, even in the age of Facebook, we do it the old-fashioned way, on the phone. Our morning call usually takes place car-to-car, while she is commuting to work from the southern suburb of Meitar to her job in Beersheba, and I am dropping the kids off at school before hunkering down at my home computer.
But when I woke up to the morning news of two Grad rockets falling in the heart of Beersheva, I immediately called her at home, earlier than usual, to ask if she was going to her office at Ben-Gurion University, and if so, whether that was a wise idea.
She said, yes, the university was open, even though public schools in Beersheva were closed, and as she worked in public relations, going to work wasn’t optional: It was going to be a busy day, with all eyes on Beersheva (this was before the bus station bombing in Jerusalem, later in this far-too-newsworthy day….)
“I was just standing here at the closet trying to figure out what to put on,” she said. “A short skirt and boots are out; I need something I can bend over in. If I’m driving and there is a rocket warning, we’re supposed to stop the car and get down low. I’m not going to wear something I can’t bend over in easily. Last time I was driving near a rocket attack, I was dressed like that, and I didn’t even bother stopping the car.”
I helped her with the decision-making. Even if she wore pants, she shouldn’t wear heels, in case she had to hurry from the office to the bomb shelter. So sensible shoes it was.
After our conversation, I was reminded of the fact that fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah of the successful British “What Not To Wear reality show are currently in Israel to film a local version of their successful franchise. As they did in the United States, they take badly dressed Israelis, and devastate them with criticism before transforming them into stylish citizens.
In the show’s premiere episode, Trinny and Susannah couldn’t stop complaining how Israeli women are far too practical, and aren’t dressing feminine enough, bewailing how nary a dress could be found on the streets of Tel Aviv.
And here was poor Faye, perfectly willing and able to put on her skirt and heels, but prevented from doing so by the whims of Hamas rocket-launchers. Surely, many women in Beersheba, Ashkelon, Sderot and the surrounding areas all suffer from the same fashion crisis.
I think it would be a great public service to bring Trinny and Susannah to the cities that suffer from periodic rocket attacks, and challenge them to come up with ensembles for women that can take them from the boardroom to the ballroom to the bomb shelter. After all, doesn’t every woman have the right to be both safe and chic?