For some reason this morningĀ  I woke up with the desire to try covering my head and see how it felt. As I type, I am wearing a very badly-fastened hijab made from a blue scarf I was given last summer. The scarf isn’t really the right length, and it has tassles on the ends which look odd, but it was the best I had.

I’m not sure what makes me want to cover my hair. I suppose it’s the logical progression from my decision last summer to cover elbow to knee, but it is highly unusual in the Church of England for women to wear any kind of headcovering (with the exception of hats at weddings and christenings), and hijab is so strongly correlated with Islam that I think I would be at risk of offending someone and being misintepreted if I were to wear hijab in public.

But I do quite like the idea, nonetheless. I need to think about why this is though. I think partly it may be that if I dress in a more overtly modest way, it will discourage people from acting towards me in a way that in turn would encourage me to act inappropriately. But I’m not sure that I should be laying that responsibility on other people. Perhaps I should leave my hair uncovered and take a greater ownership of my own behaviour. On the other hand, is it not sensible to take precautions against what I know to be my own pitfalls? If I dress in a way that doesn’t indicate to people that I am off-limits for flirting, bawdy humour and incitement to sin, then I am inviting that behaviour and I know already that I am not always strong enough to resist the temptation to join in, or even alert enough to notice it immediately. Too often I have sat alone in the evening and realised that I had said things or done things which I am not happy with, and didn’t even identify at the time.

In three months or so, I will be moving to a new city – a large, multi-cultural city where I do not know anyone. I’m toying with the idea of it being a new start entirely; the possibility of arriving with my hair covered and starting as I mean to go on. It would give me time to consider exactly what that means in detail; does it mean buying some more suitable headscarves and learning how to wear hijab properly, without the lumps and bumps and random dangling ends? Does it mean finding a more obviously Christian form of head covering? I need to decide at least some of these issues soon, as I am hoping to go and view a flat next week, and it would be good to meet my potential new landlord dressed as I would be when I lived there.

I have looked at more traditionally Christian headcoverings and not found any I like as much as I like hijab, but I’m not sure that “which looks better?” should be the major factor in this decision anyway!

Any advice would be very welcome, particularly if you are a Christian woman who wears a head covering – and especially if you’re a Christian woman who wears a head covering in the UK, as I know it’s more common in the USA.

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