FrumPunk’s comment in “so you want to be a blogger” about frum students marveling over befriending Muslim classmates left me feeling left out. I have not befriended a single Muslim.
Ironically, it’s not for lack of trying. The gaggle of Pakistani Muslim girls in my class were the first to whom I made overtures of friendship. It seemed logical to me that they’d be used to the same style of society that I was, and we’d therefore have something in common.
The problem is, most of them are of the wannabe off-the-derechnik type, and I’ve never really enjoyed the same pastimes as the people in that demographic.
Don’t get me wrong – I read Seventeen and Cosmogirl in my early teen summers, and I remember when Jason of N’Sync (or was it 98 Degrees?) wore a skirt on stage, but it was never more than an anthropological interest. I read about celebrities like I read the plaque outside the cages in a zoo. I follow styles from a distance, with raised eyebrows. I think of makeup as a utility, not a hobby. I don’t live vicariously through other people’s hairy dating stories. And so on.
A friend of mine from summer camp didn’t either get the whole deal and used to join the magazine flippers in their daily flip-and-squeal armed with a National Geographic. Whenever one of them would squeal “Oh he’s sooo cute,” and all the others would rush to see whose picture she was looking at, my friend would also squeal “He’s sooo cute,” and bring them rushing to her – where she’d be gazing adoringly at a koala bear.
Sitting in a club office working on business, with a bunch of Pakkies behind me comparing their Pollywood (or whatever they call their star scene down there) crushes on YouTube, I was temped, very tempted, to dig up the video of the sneezing panda baby and give a few infatuated sighs over it. But that’s not my style. Instead I just wondered why they hadn’t grown out of this type of thing already.
In contrast, the religious Muslim girls are quite sweet. There used to be three, but the one in my year seems to have dropped out; maybe she got married. Anyway, the other two aren’t in any of my classes, and they tend to surround themselves with others of their culture, even when they’re “off the derech” (maybe they want to do kiruv?). Both are exceptionally nice to me when we meet-up (just because I’m Jewish? Very likely), but that isn’t frequently. And that, FrumPunk, is why this Frumgirl can’t brag of having any Muslim friends.
I feel truly deprived.