Headcoverings being cultural doesn't necessarily do away with the obligation of the practice. See this thread for some discussion of that view: http://www.puritanboard.com/f15/headcovering-women-prohibited-preaching-85306/ There are also a number of other old threads that have some discussion of this view. (For my own part, I'm still going back and forth between the worship ordinance view and the cultural-but-applicable view.) Edit: I've heard a number of opinions on this. (1) Some take "praying" to be ordinary prayer in a public assembly as we do today but prophesying to be extraordinary (as was mentioned earlier) and so there is still reason to cover; some will say that no permission is given for prophesying but rather that Paul was addressing one issue here, and waiting to deal with prophesying until chapter 14. (2) Some take both praying and prophesying to be ordinary ("prophesying" would be "singing of psalms"). (3) Some take praying and prophesying as a synecdoche for the actions of worship; extraordinary actions having ceased, the ordinary actions are what the passage applies to; some here will thus be comfortable taking both to be extraordinary in their original context. (4) Some take the praying and prophesying to be implicitly forbidden by 11:3 with Paul's argument being that since it would be a shame for women to uncover their heads (which they would need to do in order to pray or prophesy) in the public assembly, they should not be praying or prophesying; the explicit prohibition then comes in chapter 14.