A few years ago, right after 9/11, I was walking home on a relatively quite road in a small town in Florida. It was summertime, the sun was beating down on the tar, my rubber shoe soles were getting hot, and I was starting to sweat. Needless to day, I was eager to get to my destination. I was so focused on my steps that I couldn’t hear the honk of a car behind me. I guess the car inhabitants were eager to get my attention because all of a sudden I heard a loud “ESKYUUUZ ME MA’AM!”
When I turned around to have a look,a beat-up old school Cadillac was pulling up next to me. It came to a screeching halt and then the windows rolled down. I wiped my sweaty eyes to have a clearer look.
“IS YOU A VIRGIN?”
I was stunned. For a minute there, I thought I was on the popular TV show, ‘You’ve Been Pranked’ but clearly this person was serious about getting an answer. She looked at me intently, her glorious ghetto self patiently waiting for an answer.
“Umm, no” was all I could come up with.
I was trying to figure out what might have possessed her to ask me such a random question. Granted, I was wearing a hijab (Muslim head scarf) and yes, perhaps I looked a bit odd in the largely non-Muslim territory. The turbans weren’t en vogue back then, so anyone wearing a scarf must have looked like she was hiding her chemotherapy head. But the virgin part still confused me.
Hold up! Did she think I was the Virgin Mary? A 21st Century Virgin Mary, wearing jeans, a long-sleeve t-shirt, coming to save the flock right here in the southern part of the U S of A. I guess Ghetto Queen must have sensed my confusion because she interrupted my thoughts as sharply as she had interrupted my afternoon walk.
“The only reason I axe is because you got that Erykah Badu thing on your head. So my friends and I was debatin’ whether or not you a virgin”.
For those who don’t know who Erykah Badu is, here’s a picture:
And here’s a close representation of what I looked like:
“No, I wear the scarf because it’s my religion. I’m married.”
“Oh, ok. Thank youuuuu!” She yelled back, with a quick ‘dang, she weird!’ smile on her face.
And just like that, they rode off and went on their merry way, leaving me behind with a cloud of dust and exhaust fumes, trying to figure out what had just happened.