"Does your father wear the long black coat and the furry hat?"
"Oh." She's disappointed. "What does he wear on the Sabbath?" she asked hopefully.
"A suit? That's it?"
"And a tie."
"A tie?" she laughs. Not the freakish element she was hoping for. I don't think the mention of a fedora would cheer her up.
The conversation continues—probably downhill.
"So why do some wear the long black coat and furry hat?"
Hoo boy. I launched into an explanation about the Polish/Russian nobles and their fashion choices, which was the standard of royal attire for the local Jews, who adopted the look to respect the Sabbath, etc. etc.
Which leads to a description about the wide expanse that is Jewish observance, with furry hats on one end and knit yarmulkas on the other.
"So they're Conservative?"
"NO! No, no one who is observant drives a car on the Sabbath, like some Conservative do. It doesn't matter if you wear a furry hat or a knit yarmulka, no one is driving a car on the Sabbath."
"What about those straps? Only the furry hats put them on?"
"No, all observant men put them on for morning prayers—"
*BRIIING* Oh thank God. "I'm so sorry, I have to take this call."
We are all freaks to the rest of the world, furry hats or otherwise. We should really stick together.