Artnotes Italy Daily

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ARTNOTES: Ladies Night

 Feeding the Ducks   Laurie Fox Pessemier   Acrylic on canvas  13 x 9 inches
 Cross-legged in the Chair   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on wood  10 x6  inches
Two ladies beneath the trees   Laurie Fox PESSEMIER   Acrylic on wood  7 x 10 inches


 “You know that dress you would like to buy but think you would never wear?  That’s what you wear to a Tunisian wedding.”   (, Internet)

Still, I wasn’t prepared for just HOW extraordinary the women looked at this wedding.    I chose a striped silk jacket with jet black beading from my closet of clothes I hardly ever wear.  The choice was between it and a sequined affair I got at my Aunt Franny’s thrift store years ago (I am not sure Blair likes it).  Anyhow,  I looked like I was going to the office in comparison to the other women at the wedding.

There was an array of sparkles and lace, in the most beautiful colors I’d ever seen.  We attended our  friend H’s wedding last Friday night.  We are friends with him and his family and it was wonderful of them to invite us to the festivities.    We went whole hog, from the early ceremony at the mayor’s office to the final throws of the dance.   A had to pinch myself from time to time to be sure this fantastic event was real.

It was a ladies’ event, where women showed off their finery.    Men sat at their own tables in the back, except for Blair and an 81 year-old Algerian who sat at our  table.  “Doesn’t he look like Anthony Quinn?” his wife would ask people.   I thought:  sort of, except this fellow is only five feet tall.

 My favorite outfit of the night was a tight black underdress with a brilliant yellow lace (heavy, like tablecloth – reminiscent of 60s macramé) overdress.    And, if that weren’t enough, everyone changed dresses between dinner and dancing (except me, of course).   The indispensible item was the scarf, worn tight around the hips, for sashaying to the chords of traditional North African wedding music.  Everyone knew the words to all the songs, and would sing along like we Americans do at “that’s amore”.  

I felt I’d entered another dimension, like the sky or the sea.  Like mermaids, the women, just the women, danced madly all night long.    

Despite the French ceremony earlier in the day, the sigh of relief (or in this case, ululation – that warbly, Indian-like yell)  was heard as the imams negotiated with the bride’s father and husband at  the reception.  Wearing little white crocheted hats, the imams  migrated to a small room near where the bride was enthroned – it was necessary that she hear the conversation and agree, while not being present in the room.   The Kor an was read in there, and the grooms mother invited us to listen to the chanting and traditional exchange, ears to the door.  

We ate couscous and fruit and later had sticky sweets in lieu of a western wedding cake.  All was washed down with hot sweet mint tea, or water, juice or coca-cola.    I visited with two Moroccan ladies at our table, who promised to “fix me up with the right clothes” for the next wedding.

The dancing was still going on when we left at 1:30 AM.  I felt like I was allowed a peak in the door of a rich culture and felt awed as we got lost on our way home.

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