Why I Don't Have Tan Lines

One of the first cultural lessons that Peace Corps staff taught to us American volunteers living in Jordan was: Dress conservatively. No pants or skirts shorter than ankle-length, no shirts that don't cover your wrists or seductively reveal your neckline, and no clothes tighter than anything making you like a canvas bag. Deal; we signed up for this two-year service, we'll abide by the cultural guidelines. Even those living in villages near the Dead Sea, suffering 120* summers, are always culturally appropriate, a.k.a. constantly covered.
It should come as no surprise, then, that I readily take advantage of the privacy of my own house. In the summers, once I enter my house, there's no hesitation in closing the curtains and shedding the stifling layers. But often, this joy is short-lived: it's not uncommon that once neighbors know I'm home (and somehow they always do), they'll send their kids over to invite me to tea or to graciously give me a plate of leftovers from lunch. It's frustrating that any time the doorbell rings, I must put on that long sleeve shirt and ankle-length skirt before I answer the door. I can't wait to be back in the States and be able to wear climate-appropriate clothing without thinking that I'm offending anyone or ruining my reputation.

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