If you've ever seen images from the walls of tombs in ancient Egypt, you know that they were not a modest bunch. So every year, Rita and I have to have the discussion with our classes that the ancient Egyptian culture was very different from ours in terms of clothing and modesty. We tell them that they need to be mature about seeing some things they wouldn't normally (read: nudity) and not react in a silly manner.
This is easier said than done for nine and ten year olds.
So as I've been reading a description of everyday life in the ancient city of Memphis from The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, there have been a couple of sticky moments. For example...
"Here lived the Memphis poor-The men wore short kilts, and the women coarse linen shifts. The children ran about naked, and everyone went barefoot."
Giggles galore. I try to maintain a serious and nonchalant expression. I sometimes fail.
"The lords and ladies...lived their lives in service to Pharaoh. On their heads they placed thick black wigs, and on state occasions they wore thonged sandals. Otherwise they went barefoot."
Ok, serious eyes wide open, shocked expressions at the mention of "thonged." About four kids were red with smothered laughter as they reflected on the word. Really?!? Is it possible that they don't think of a flip-flop when they hear "thong", but instead think of underwear? Maybe I'm too naive, but I truly thought kids this young would not know the alternate meaning of that word. I suppose we have Victoria's Secret to thank for their newfound knowledge of women's underwear.
"The women's preparations for the day were more elaborate...Their clothing consisted of an almost transparent linen sheath and nothing else."
Oh good lord. Could my job get any harder? At this point, I'm just trying to reassure the kids that they don't have to strictly follow ancient Egyptian dresscode for their Pharaoh Day costumes.