Dress Code Red


Dress Code Red (December 11, 2016)


Last night, did you remove, with care,

the pashmina shawl from cedared armoire

the price tags and matching haute couture

draped at the beds’ benched ottoman, claw-footed in the main boudoir?


Did you astutely mark fast the courageous runway offerings

Not even printed in the latest magazine

which price would never render even the slightest bit obscene

transfixed and choreographed to the Paris mise-en-scene?


Imaginatively you smiled at the private, parochial matched sets

Never ruminating more beyond such glance, I would bet

Tailored and herringbone-checked, and most certainly up to spec

Soil stains perchloride-and-toluened, weekly sent to be laundered and pressed


School band trumpeters, and drummette majors in syncopated march

The airline captains and attendants in their crisp uniforms starched

The security man synchronizes surveillance cams at each and every watch

And the model looks spry as she shields her eyes from the sun at the island’s parch


At the return of the day when their work turns to play

they remove the layers personified by their wage

In the comfort of homes they replace with chenille robes

After epsoms and perfume envelop their person, jazz-notes and jasmine and Jamaican rum


But in mid-eastern homes, neither New Jersey or New Rome

the selection leaves off where desire is known

For closeted within, the choices are rather slim

And hard-pressed to determine dress, perchance, or what seems, perforce, the billowing A-line of graduation gown?


Most come in black, but occasionally come in blue

What surprise is that to match the skin and bone

It’s so easy to choose, when the choosing’s done for you

Impelling strict compliance through the vice squad of religious governance


You cannot mean to imply that freedom can abide when just women must dress thus or stay in-house

Because there is no freedom of choice, the will to refuse, or to instead choose your own rules, when the government declares your hemline must reach your toes

Related materials:

*Advisory*: Following article contains an accompanying video from the television cartoon, ‘American Dad’, containing explicitly articulated wording of male and female body parts.

Please see this article from the Clarion Project, relating the appearance of a Saudi woman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, going without her head covering, and her subsequent arrest.

Staff, The Clarion Project. “Saudi Activist Arrested For Going Without Hijab”; The Clarion Project.org; December 13, 2016:




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21 responses to “Dress Code Red

  1. Hi, Anita! Thank you.I hope the poem speaks what I wish it to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wrestled with voluminous bedsheeting all night over this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It must have been the one passing through my mind. But, then I said, ‘nah’…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yup. I had several visual images running through my mind: a woman setting out clothes for the next day on the upholstered bed-bench (film image — director’s cut! — french-style bedroom, colored in buttered yellow and cream, filmed at waist-level); second images: dark/night with red lights, like a traffic light, flashing around; third image: fashion show in-progress; fourth image (strange!): drawing: blue sky, many women in black burka — not comic, but not so seriously drawn. Any ESP?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hah-hah-hah! Okay, ESP!

          Liked by 1 person

          • ESP, or the poem?

            I believe in a spiritual realm of which humankind may not always be consciously aware. Although, a deliberate ESP experiment between me and a friend in grade school to guess the number the other person was thinking failed miserably.

            The poem? It is more of a social commentary than would appear. I do hope to open up that dialogue, though. It’s a discourse of the seemingly faulty logic I find in the affirmation of Islamic tradition of dress code modesty upon women, by women who purport that this represents freedom. A burka may prevent ogling eyes, but I would think it would be hot beneath and difficult to breathe and hard to see through the grilled type (and I’ve read that vision is somewhat impaired in that instance). It would be better not to be objectified and leered at. It might be easier to not have to choose a smart outfit and put on a burka, instead. Bad hair days can either be hidden, or totally aggravated, by the addition of a burka on top. I understand if you prefer tradition, and this is what your society holds to be the customs of such traditions of modesty. There’s nothing wrong with modesty. But, it is an adherence to a tradition, which is different than considering this freedom, per se. If the society as a whole will allow for self-expression, rather than the governmental imposition of its will, than you are relatively free to put on any uniform you want — provided that you have free will to remove it without consequence, at your own, personal discretion. If your society will stone you to death for baring your forearm, then freedom of dress is not yours, if disagreement in following these rules can cause loss of life. Yes, we have laws against public nudity; and that is a societal norm enacted into laws. Most developed nations the world over recognize and promote these same laws. School and work uniforms can be removed at the end of the shift and replaced with whatever you choose. Even certain subsects of society requiring modest dress, such as by nuns in a convent, for instance, may be temporarily restrictive in allowing freedom of choice of dress — BUT… remaining within that particular society is free choice, and one can always leave (except in certain instances of cults, which try to prevent exodus of membership). The broader society in which the subsect exists prevails. Men in Muslim countries have more freedom in choosing their mode of dress. From t-shirt and jeans to kefiyah or tweed jackets, a man might follow tribal-clan tradition, or adopt a signature look and stick by it. Rarely will their choice be questioned. But, there is a sexist difference for women. In America and Israel, you are relatively free to wear what you choose — THAT is freedom.

            In considering the point I wished to make, I considered what symbolism to use in poetry to convey the opposite of repressive dress laws. Fashion shows and Paris came to mind. With that, I also wished to expound on the repression of these types of authoritarian terror regimes. In thinking of “Paris” and the word “terror”, I tried to think of the French word, but “terroire” (or, the “land”) came to thought. So, I thought, What rhymes with “terroire”? So, I thought “boudoir” and “armoire”. The “boudoir” word conjured the second image (dark, red lights), and it is a word that is often used in conjunction to that association. So, I know what you mean by that. But, it is used in its actual context, here, of its meaning as just a “bedroom”. Although that flash of other imagery can serve to actually enhance its (unintentional) additional meaning. And then I needed to make my statements about people who wear uniforms, and the fact that, whether imposed temporarily or not, their adoption is by informed consent by their wearer, and they can be, subsequently, removed. I think it is a good argument of my point. But, lest I be accused of bias, I must state that my viewpoints favored the Muslim viewpoint in France to NOT ban Muslim dress, for while I understand that they are trying to assist Muslims from necessarily having to wear that mode of fashion within their communities, I disagree that only secular modes of dress should impose bias against religious dress. Banning religious freedom didn’t work in Communist countries, and I side with Muslims in that case, for the same reason I favor its allowance for expression in the U.S. and in Israel, as elsewhere. Certain considerations in law, though, must take precedence, such as where identification and security needs determine.

            Liked by 2 people

            • I also wish to add that the freedom to choose your preference, if it is toward traditional dress, is your own choice, which you are welcome to hold and to have, of course. Choices should be yours. If that is what you or your society wants, then fine. Then just state that that is what you prefer; but, please, don’t say that it is “freedom” when many others whose choices are not allowed to be expressed, and who would NOT choose this mode of dress, have their choices taken away from them and those decisions are imposed upon them — especially at pain of death for breaking that rule.

              Liked by 1 person

            • The TSA singled out me, as well as an Israeli, and also a very elderly lady, but waved through a convoy of scary-looking Jordanians waving their passports around, shortly after 9/11.

              Did you read my message at your site about Ginger Kitty? The two look just alike! I suppose you could call the piece of cat-shaped gingerroot a “Doppel-ginger”! Ha-ha! Party’s on!

              Liked by 1 person

      • Think I mixed up my responses… See other message? But, yeah… The poem was a reaction to things I was reading. I thought I needed to respond. I was going to write an article, but then said (to myself), maybe I should do a poem? (That’d be kind of hard; maybe I should do a drawing? Nah…). So, poem it was — and it was a challenge. The irregular style isn’t my usual rhyme pattern, either. It was a bit of a struggle (which is where the visual aspect with the bedsheet-wrestling response came from — hah-hah!), and there it is!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Who am I to judge? Sometimes, I do wind up doing that. They’re just opinions, as I wield no ruling power. But, words are strong; they have the power to inspire, to change, to encourage, to incite. I’m not always careful with mine; that’s a good lesson to learn from, even if I find it hard to do. I did get a chance to visit at your site; mostly, a welcome is in need, for placing yourself into the writer’s arena and getting yourself out there. If you continue, you will develop practice with it and will eventually build followers who appreciate what you’ve written. Some will stay and others will leave. Don’t be upset by this, should it happen. The remainder are those who choose to continue to hear what you have to say. Number of followers doesn’t prove anybody’s worth. You need to be strong in your self and your message. You can listen and learn from others, as well, as there is benefit in that, as well. Your message was in my spam folder, though, so you may need to find out why Akismet flagged you as such. You can do so by contacting WordPress. Good luck in your personal and professional growth.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Thank you. From what I’ve read at your site and elsewhere, I sense that you are a sensitive, thoughtful, and intelligent person. I appreciate that you care very much to speak out on important issues, though we may diverge on how best, and/or who best (?) might help to solve them. I’m hopeful for a new year with a new slate to see how this can move ahead. Your poetry is just divine, and your artistic taste meshes with some of mine, as well. I’ll have to explore Anais Nin’s work in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, how sweet. Thank you for what you do, too. A little goes a far way.

    Liked by 1 person

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