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13 November 2011 / leggypeggy

On dress codes—mind your manners

Get the message! On a church door in Georgia.

Not every country follows the same dress codes that are observed in the Western World.

For example, churches in Georgia (the country, not the state) have signs posted saying no shorts allowed. Some churches, temples and palaces require covered shoulders, head scarves and skirts on women, as well as trousers on men. All mosques want you to remove your shoes and some want you to wear a robe, too. If you’re lucky, they provide this gear for free. But occasionally they charge and sometimes you’ll simply be refused entry.

But dress codes go beyond what might be expected or demanded in religious or historical venues. They’re about people’s culture and way of life.

So far, this trip has taken us through more than 20 countries, with at least double or triple that many cultures. Frankly, it doesn’t matter diddly-squat if I’m irked because some place wants me to cover my shorts, my shoulders, my head, my knees or whatever. It all boils down to me showing courtesy and respect for another country’s culture. To play it safe, I usually carry a skirt, a sarong and/or a long-sleeved top in the bottom of my daypack. I’ve forgotten them on occasion, but for the most part they have saved me a rental fee and a lot of hassle, and ensured that I’m allowed in to most places.

People might point and stare because I have shockingly blonde hair (thanks to chemicals) and really, really weird-shaped feet (thanks to genetics), but they won’t be gawking or snickering because I’m showing too much skin.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise M Oliver / Nov 14 2011 7:12 am

    I’m with you Peggy. It’s always important to respect other people’s mores even if they seem a little weird. After all, if Australians had some peculiar local habit, like having a party whenever there’s even a remote reason, we would expect visitors to respect that. So, quid pro quo. And I wasn’t the least bit surprised by your comments. I know as I know my name that you would always respect people.




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