I came across this quote in the midst of a piece about mikvah, and it resonated with me in a very uncomfortable way.
"At one salon, a woman asked if my husband was home and when I responded no, she sighed in relief and pulled off her sheitl, wig. Women around the living room followed suit, pulling off sheitls, tichels, scarves, and hats, a collective shedding of our inhibitions. This was a safe space to open up and be in solidarity as women."
It highlights the ways in which I am both part of the Orthodox community and in which I am specifically not. I too would not remove my scarf if the host's husband were home- but without knowing in advance and packing a kippah or cap of some sort, I'm not going to take part in that collective intimacy of relaxing from the public face of hair covering- because I don't have a way of covering my head without my tichel on. The issue is only accentuated since I presume some of this was a discussion of Torah, about which I feel even more strongly about doing with a covered head.
I don't think I've ever actually been in one of these situations. But the thought of spoiling some sort of connection, or being excluded from it, because I am fulfilling two different Jewish values with my covering, is painful. Yes, it's a pair of choices that I made- but out of a sincere attempt to follow halakha diligently. Changing my mind would be a rejection of that. But it can be something of a lonely place.