I accidentally took an 8 hour nap today. Since my nights are Marissas days and vice versa, most often when we speak one of us needs to be up in the middle of the night. Recently it has been easier for it to be me to be the one having to wake up super early or stay up super late. Marissa is visiting Prague this week, so unable to talk on skype. While it is a bummer not getting to talk to her so much, I am able to catch up on some sleep. But since I slept so much during the day, I haven't been able to sleep tonight. Eventually I gave up and decided to stay up all night. Now here I am writing in my blog at 5 in the am.
Here is one of the most highly anticipated blog entries of 2008. Hold on to your hats. If you don't have one, please go buy a hat before you read this.
Before this time last year, I didn't even know what a thobe was.
One day, I was perusing photos on flickr and came across this:
I saw the photo and thought: 'that seems like the ideal piece of clothing. So elegant in its practical simplicity'. I have long felt a certain envy of the dresses girls get to wear. They seem so comfortable and practical. While I may sometimes be eccentric in my clothing choices, I never do it for the sake of eccentricity, or to stand out, rather I believe that if almost anyone wore what they sincerely most desired to wear without concern of others opinions there appearance would seem 'eccentric'. And the idea of wearing a dress felt too much. As if I were trying for others attention. I also felt drawn to robes, but didn't really know where to get one, and also thought a robe seemed a bit too rich.
Then heavenly godfather smiled into my face and I came across that flickr photo. The labels said something about Morocco, and I had the sense the photos subjects were Muslim. I searched google.goom for Morocco, robe and Muslim and quickly learned this dream garment is named 'Thobe'.
Knowing the name, it was then easy to find vendors online offering just what I wanted. Most Thobes tend to be fairly expensive, at least compared to what I am used to spending. For a decent thobe, typical prices run between 50-100$. They are generally made of quality material, and well manufactured, so the extra cost is not excessive.
Fortunate for me, when I first learned about the thobe, it was this same time of year, ie. not far from Christmas, so I asked my mom for a Christmas thobe. That same Christmas, I also asked for some Baha'i prayer beads, and my mother expressed to my brother she was worried that my new religion was causing me to want to wear robes and beads. I thought that was funny. Prayer beads are not generally worn, and the thobe has no direct relationship to being a Baha'i, an idea my mother still seems to struggle with despite my frequent reminders.
I was pretty happy and excited about my thobe when I opened it Christmas morning. But when I first tried it on, my brother, not with any unkind intentions, commented that my thobe seemed a bit Lord of the Rings-ish. This really burst my bubble. I very rarely wore the thobe after hearing that. And when I did it was usually just around the house. Thinking of the thobe in terms of Lord of the Rings imagery caused it to lose almost all its appeal.
Fortunately, one day over the summer I happened to wear my thobe to Isaac's house. He told me that Kustav Klimt had a robe made for him which he wore every day during the later part of his life. He then showed me a picture of Klimt in his robe:
Seeing that picture, and how much I loved how his robe looked, fully reignited my thobe love and overcame any hesitation I might feel about it seeming Lord of the Rings-ish.
Since that time, I have been wearing my thobe pretty regularly. Well, not too much during hot(dog) days of summer, because my thobe is surprisingly warm. Perfect for the chilly northwest. When I began wearing my thobe regularly my mother asked if it was because of some admonition from my fellow Baha'is.
I think some people at my school might think I am something like a monk. I once walked by a Buddhist monk and he gave me a nod and hello in a 'hello fellow monk' sort of way. The next day I saw another Buddhist monk wearing a robe the same color as my thobe, with a shirt over the top as I often wear my thobe. I suppose it is understandable some may mistake me for a monk. (also, seeing that monk confirmed to me how much I enjoyed the robe with shirt aesthetic)
Aside from the visual aspects of thobe wearing, my sense when I first saw the above thobe photo, that it appeared to be the ideal article of clothing, has been confirmed to me through actual usage.
When I still believed in the Lds Church, I chose to wear one piece garments(these are the sacred undergarments Lds people who have gone through the temple covenant to always wear. They generally come in the form of boxer shorts and a t-shirt, but one also has the option of wearing one piece garments. Sort of like a big onesie that babies wear. It wasn't too long ago that all garments were one piece. Today one piece garments tend to only be worn by older people who are used to having worn them their entire adult lives.) at first because of the novelty, but quickly came to love them for the comfort and convenience. I greatly desired something similar to wear on the outside, and even designed an article of clothing I named 'Tubal-cainers'. Unfortunately I was never able to bring this vision to life.(though still hope to, once I learn how to make a decent crotch. When I knit a pair of shorts, I learned that crotch making is very difficult.)
However, my thobe has more than fulfilled the dream of comfort I hopde to achieve with Tubal-cainers. The material is so light and thin, yet strong and warm. In terms of comfort, it seems as close as one could get to nudity, without the drawbacks of actually being nude, which is everyone being able to see when you have a boner.
I also appreciate it being one piece. I don't need to coordinate and find a top and bottom, just slip on one perfect article of clothing. Everyday. However I do often wear something over the thobe, such as a hoodie or flannel. This is mostly for temperature control. Although the thobe is surprisingly warm, in this chilly fall weather I still often need a little something more, like a jacket or sweater. Despite that, wearing a thobe still removes one step, because I would otherwise still need some sort of jacket or sweater over a shirt.
One potential drawback I foresee with the thobe will be in the cold of winter, cold wind blowing up onto my legs. Thankfully I have a pair of hand knit long johns Melissa bought for luke, who then gave to me.
Here is me wearing my thobe, with one of my favorite sweaters. It has llamas on it. I bought it at the Hare Krisna temple. It is hand made from wool and llama hairs, but was only about 20$
I have been wearing my thobe almost every day. This Christmas I am going to ask for multiple thobes in a variety of colors.
Here are some I am looking at getting:
I told Marissa I would like to get married in a thobe, and saw a tiny trace of....disappointment? pass over her face. Disappointment seems like too strong a word. Just a sense of her not sharing my enthusiasm of me wearing a thobe while being wed. I reassured her I wasn't particularly attached to what I would wear, and she responded that if it was something special to me, as long as it wasn't something like footy pajamas, she would be fine with it. I guess we will cross that bridge(on 4-wheelers) when we get there. But I would get a very nice thobe for the occasion. And be bare foot (marissa's idea). In the forest(also marissa's idea). With flowers(everyone's idea)f. and prayer flags. And a golden calf(for worshiping).
Speaking of Prayer flags, here are some photos of Prayer Flags. I love Prayer flags. In the photo above of me wearing my llama sweater you may have noticed prayer flags on the wall. That is actually an optical illusion, the walls are covered in love.
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