A friend of mine, Amber, told me a story about one of her sisters-in-law (SILs), whom I'll call Maha. Amber's and Maha's husbands are brothers.
Maha is ultra-religious, ultra-conservative, and veils herself. Maha never associates with any of her brothers-in-law (BILs) at family functions. The BILs have never seen her face or heard her voice. Maha runs for cover and hides whenever her BILs are around. In fact, I myself have a SIL like this, as well, so I'm guessing this type of behavior is not that uncommon and it just depends on how the woman was brought up and her own personal feelings and beliefs. I can totally understand and respect that.
But during their visit, they went out to eat at a public restaurant. Maha even refused to sit at the same table with the rest of the family, so she sat at a table with her back to them.
Okay, now I can understand and respect Maha's beliefs and actions up to this point. But here's where it gets really confusing for me.
I'm sorry, but I don't get this. Could somebody please try to explain to me why it's okay for Maha to talk to a male waiter, but not her brother-in-law? Why is it okay for the male waiter and other male patrons in the restaurant to see her face and hear her voice, but not her brother-in-law? Is it that Maha considers these strangers less than men? To me, a man is a man is a man. I really don't see the logic at all here, and I would love to try to understand her actions. Is it me, or isn't this being a bit hypocritical?