the 90th minute

Until September 2007, when my oldest daughter was born, this blog covered daily life and politics in Israel, as well as Hebrew-English linguistic issues, from the perspective of an American-raised journalist and translator living in Israel. Now it mostly serves as the SmunchMonk&Bear news agency, a portal into the bizarre universe of the little people. Read more at:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Skirting the issue

Rimonit loves skirts, and whether I'm trying to get her to put on pants for gan or a dress for Shabbat, she regularly demands a skirt instead. The only problem is I only have three for her (one of which went AWOL for a while), and of those she would be more than happy to wear her yellow-and-gray striped skirt every single day (I did once let her wear it for three days in a row, but don't tell anyone...)

On Friday I went back to one of the biggest stores in the Givatayim Mall (probably about a tenth the size of a similar store in a small-to-medium American mall, as opposed to most stores here, which would probably be dwarfed in the perfume section of their American counterparts), the department store H&O. The last time I was there they had told me they were all sold out of skirts for age 3, but I was hoping they had restocked in the intervening weeks.

What I wanted was a couple of really simple cotton knee-lengh skirts that she could wear anywhere, ideally in a solid color so she could actually wear a shirt that sort of matched it.

What I got was a lesson in Israel's inescapable identity politics (not to mention misplaced paternalism and unparalleled customer service).

"I'm looking for a skirt for a 3-year-old girl," I say. "What size would that be?"

"Religious?" the saleslady asks me.

Me: "What does that have to do with the size?"

Saleslady: "I wanted to know whether to show you short or long."

Me: "So why don't you just ask me if I want short or long?"

Saleslady: "So do you want short or long?"

Me: "I want to see what skirts you have for size 3 so that I can make my own decision about what to get."

Saleslady: "Well, we just have this one."



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