I was recently visiting with an Afghan family who was becoming dear friends to me. We were having a peaceful afternoon of drinking tea, eating food, and playing games with their kids, when the wife of the family presented me with beautiful dresses from Afghanistan. I thought she was excited to show me her new outfits when it became clear she and her husband were eager for me to have them as they were too big for her. I politely declined, but she quickly held one up against me, determining it would be a perfect fit. Again, I refused, but her husband urged me to at least try it on in their bathroom. After declining several times, it became clear they genuinely wanted me to try one on, and I didn’t want to be rude following their generous gesture.


Jesus, you wouldn’t do me like that. You won’t allow me to be trapped in my new friend’s bathroom, stuck in her clothes…. right?


So, I went into their bathroom and slipped the dress on over my head, and while it was beautiful, it was too snug…way too snug. Painfully snug. How did I even get this on? Panic started to set in. I looked in the mirror, took a deep breath trying to remain calm, and whispered a short prayer, “Jesus, you wouldn’t do me like that. You won’t allow me to be trapped in my new friend’s bathroom, stuck in her clothes…. right? No, that would be way too embarrassing, even for us. God, just help me get it off, and I can kindly let them know it’s not the right size.” I went for the zipper, but it was stuck. I tried to pull it off over my head, but barely a budge. A knowing smile crept on my face- God frequently enjoys putting me in embarrassing situations, and I knew what I had to do.


I went for the zipper, but it was stuck. I tried to pull it off over my head, but barely a budge. A knowing smile crept on my face- God frequently enjoys putting me in embarrassing situations


I opened the door and awkwardly emerged from the bathroom. The whole family clapped and cheered, exclaiming how beautiful it was. Trying to explain my predicament but not being fluent in the Pashto language caused a game of charades to ensue. The family quickly understood my dilemma, the wife agreed to assist me in the bathroom and attempted to take the dress off. My friend tried her best to tug it over my head as I kneeled before her, but the dress would not budge. We burst out laughing to the point of tears; we couldn’t breathe (especially me with how much the dress was constricting me). She couldn’t catch her breath so much so that she kept waving her hands and left me kneeling alone on the floor with the dress half over my head.


We burst out laughing to the point of tears; we couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t catch her breath so much so that she kept waving her hands and left me kneeling alone on the floor with the dress half over my head.


I stood up, looked in the mirror, tugged the dress back down, and joined the family in the living room. “I’ll take it,” I exclaimed! Again, they cheered and clapped. They were so pleased that they took pictures with me and made jokes about how people will speak in Pashto to me when I wear it, thinking I’m from Afghanistan.

Though the neighbors saw me enter the family’s home in my Western attire, they saw me leave with a long-sleeved beaded dress with a headscarf and a bag of cookies. That’s right; I ended up driving home in the dress, waiting until someone at home could help me yank it off with all their might. I called my mom in the meantime for moral support and distraction as I was starting to lose circulation in my arms.

I am grateful for this grand gesture and the beautiful dress, but even more for a hysterical memory with my new friends. Now every time I give the family a call, they slyly ask about the dress, jokingly asking if I ever got around to getting it off. Which, of course, I did- a pleasant contrast among the sweatshirts and cardigans in my closet.