Ahh, summer—that time of the year bearing uncomfortable heat and just a few too many “aren’t you hot in that?” questions. I started wearing a hijab, the Islamic headscarf, two years ago. That means I’m moving onto my third summer, and by now I’ve acquired a handful of sun-smashing tips to help my newbie hijabi sisters out.
#1. How to reply to “Aren't you hot in that?”
America, we get it. I too am tempted to ask “aren't you cold in that?” when I see a classmate of mine wearing shorts in the winter. I used to pretend I was completely unbothered by the weather when I first started wearing a hijab as to save face and avoid unwanted pity. But honestly, San Diego has really been testing my patience, and I’d like to be authentic with my people. So, below are a couple of my favorite replies I’ve been testing out. Sisters, take notes.
“Yes I’m hot, it's 98 degrees outside. Aren't you?!”
This one is perfect if you're looking for something short and straight to the point. It redirects the conversation away from your choice of dress and its correlation to the sweat beads across your forehead. Instead, the statement proposes the possibility that you may be hot due to the fact that, I don't know, perhaps the current tilt of the Earth's rotational axis as it travels through its year-long path is moving towards the sun rather than away from it? Just a thought.
“Of course not. My mom’s a software engineer, and she programmed me to maintain a constant 75-degree body temperature all day, every day.”
I promise you this is bound to leave them awfully confused 9/10 times, as long as you say it with a straight face. It’s a personal favorite of mine, as it is not only witty but also encourages the female workforce in STEAM fields. We heart a two-in-one deal.
#2. Your Summer Must-Haves
Remember Spongebob’s soda-drinking hat he purchased from Mr. Krabs’s antique sale? They actually sell those helmets online! They’re perfect for the heat and ten times cooler than a MAGA hat. Fill the cans with your favorite nonalcoholic beverage, and party on! Pro tip: size one up than your usual hat size so that you can fit your hair bun into the hat too.
What’s a guide without suggesting at least one DIY? Buy one of those fans that spray water, and purchase twine from your local craft store to hang it around your neck. Amazon sells a variety of colors, so choose one that matches the hijab you most commonly wear! You’ll thank me later for the convenient functionalism in avoiding flushed cheeks while still making outside-the-box fashion statements.
Lastly, pick up that tangelo Hydro Flask you’ve been saving for (or haven’t been saving up for. You only live twice! Get it? Afterlife? No?)! Ramadan is over ladies, so hydrate, hydrate, fight the patriarchy, and hydrate.
#3. What to wear
Your choice of fabric is everything. Drop the premium cottons and jersey scarves, and instead opt for lighter chiffon. However, in the tragic event that you do not own a chiffon hijab, ice cubes up your scarf will do the cooling trick for at least an hour. Even if they melt, you’ll be left with a super retro tie-dye effect bound to oomph up any textile.
I’ve found that denim jackets are surprisingly airy as well, especially lighter washes that do not absorb the heat as much. If you're willing to go the extra mile, stop by your local graphic design store and customize your jacket to say one of the earlier replies we mentioned. These come real handy when you're on the phone, sipping on a soda, or just generally are too busy to answer foolish questions.
Remember, whatever you do, do NOT be apologetic. Stand tall, soda hat and all, and keep doing you. I mean, we’ve got to stay cool somehow, ladies, am I right? When winter rolls around, the snow will fall and tables will turn, so hang in there.