I know, I know. Another piece on modesty. I don't know why I'm being so apologetic, though. I think modesty is very cool, and I look forward to the day the women of the western world decide that "body-skimming" beats "body-hugging" every day of the week. Slender girls will look willowy rather than skeletal, and plump girls will look soft and cuddly rather than porcine. Beautiful pumps will be worn with ankle-skimming skirts and snazzy flats will be paired with mid-knee length dresses. Beauty will return to our streets, buses and trains, and men will sob with joy into the flowers and chocolates they bestow on us for being just so gosh-darned pretty.
Incidentally, the church organist made sharp remarks about the outfit I wore to church on Sunday. I was wearing a mantilla, a roomy white blouse, a tight white T-shirt under the big white blouse, a pink below-knee length skirt, nylon stockings, moderately high heels and a shawl. However, despite all this fabric, the organist could still see the back of my neck and apparently part of my upper back. The naked expanse of flesh, he made known to me, was at ironic variance with with my black mantilla. This goes to show that you can't be too careful and that I might have had a chance with the church organist had I not so immediately married B.A.
The amusing thing about the post to which I have linked is that it touches upon power. There is a certain kind of theologian who is obsessed with power. This is why I am wary of anyone who cites the "hermeneutic of suspicion". The "hermeneutic of suspicion" is all about who has the power and who doesn't have the power and how can my group have some power? Power, power, power!
Anyway, the poster posits the power of femininity against the power of semi-naked sexuality. He doesn't mention how the power of femininity can be terribly, terribly abusive. There's a marvellous young lady back home who apparently told her husband that if he had the chance to become a jihadi and he didn't take it, she would divorce him. Okay, you just know this chick dresses modestly.
For about three thousand years or so, women have been given the impression that they have a sell-by date, and after that sad day, no man will ever pay them attention again. This is, actually, totally untrue. I have been dumped TWICE by men in their twenties for women over 30. ("I forget how really young you are," was the second one's valedictory remark. I was twenty-freaking-nine.) And I have had no problem talking with men in their 20s since I turned 30.
And why is this, eh? It is because youth isn't everything. People want what they don't have, and young men already have youth. They look up to older women who have other stuff. Sometimes the other stuff is a kind of quiet, even scornful, confidence Mr. Twenty-something can only dream of having one day. Sometimes it is success in a career he'd like to be successful in. Sometimes it's just being a PhD student, and don't laugh. Seriously, when I studied in Germany, I talked daily to young German men who wanted to talk to me because I was (A) Foreign and (B) a Ph.D. student. They also wanted to be Foreign. They also wanted to be PhD students.
Where AM I going with this? Oh yes---power. The power of a tight shirt is amazingly stupid and banal. There are so many other kinds of power, if power is your thing, and you get more of it the older, smarter and more confident you get. Really, power shouldn't be your thing, but you probably have some, so use it well.
UPDATE ON PANTS/TROUSERS: Berenike has reminded me that the Queen of the Pants Controversy is Simcha Fisher. Grr! Grr! I am so envious of Simcha Fisher, I may quit blogging. 300 comments! I ask you!
Okay, I did not know anti-trouser hysteria had reached such heights in the USA. As far as I know, we don't have it in the UK. Various women in my parish trundle innocently around Edinburgh in trousers and can even pray in trousers without being accosted by pop-eyed strangers who were distracted by their bottoms.
Personally, I don't like wearing trousers because trousers remind me that I am no longer the 117 pound amateur boxer who could wear a Club Monaco Size 2. Trousers make me feel chunky and blah. If, however, like Simcha I had three kids, I bet I'd just swallow my pride and get the darned things. There are perfectly nice trousers in perfectly respectable fabrics like wool.
Incidentally, does anyone know how to ride a bicycle while wearing a skirt these days? If I get a bicycle, I might have to grit my teeth and put on some jeans.
Men who tell women-in-general not to wear trousers (or "pants") are creepy. The one exception to this rule is the cranky pastor who tacks up the "Women Must Not Wear Pants In Church" sign that makes UK Trids giggle so much. It's his church, so if the men who go to his church have a real problem with staring at women's behinds instead of concentrating on Holy Mass, Father Cranky must know.
And, hey, at least Father Cranky isn't making the women pray at the back.