Tuesday, 15 April 2014
But my friend is no shrinking violet. Naturally studious, she achieved a doctorate in a difficult field. Laudably hard-working, she won a good post. She is a pillar of her church community and corresponds with other members of her ecclesial community worldwide, expounding on theology and recommending theological tomes. She also serves in more traditionally feminine ways, until recently by helping her minister's wife serve Sunday supper to guests, which is how she met the handsome young man who has recently become her husband.
In short, she lived her life according to the tenets of her Calvinist creed, in total contrast to the great majority of Edinburghers her age, even when it looked like there may never be a husband on the horizon. Action and belief were totally consistent: Simone Weil would have admired her greatly.
Now, to shift to a Catholic point of view, if a Protestant lives with such integrity, who are we as Catholics to justify wearing immodest clothing or keeping bad company or "making mistakes" or stuffing our bodies with silicone, all in the hope of winning a husband? I see no reason to wear our skirts to our ankles, but perhaps the hem ought to skim our knees? And who are we to complain that the boys pay attention only to the girls who wear the trampiest costumes to the college Hallowe'en party? You wouldn't find Cath dead at a college Hallowe'en party.
Spiritually speaking, I am very lucky I was not a beauty in my youth, for I never had the opportunity to develop an addiction to male attention. However, from an early age, I certainly wanted to get it, which I thought I could do by wearing short skirts and a lot of make-up and cutting my unusual hair short and actually calling boys up on the phone and laying in wait for my crush objects after school at the bus station--poor little creature. Little did I know I would not meet the Love of my Life until I was thirty-seven. What a lot of expense, effort and sorrow I would have spared myself if I had paid more attention to Scripture and behaved more modestly.
Thanks to Cath's good example, I have given up blogging (if not emergency grocery shopping or taking the bus) on Sundays, but I don't think I will give up make-up. I enjoy the theatricality of make-up, even though B.A. thinks he likes me better without it. And I will continue to suggest that women choose pretty over plain clothes, and not feel that the calves need always be covered up. Short of bikinis and push-up bras (I am not a fan), I think a good rule of thumb is that if a piece of clothing would have been okay in 1962, it is okay now. But flying in the face of all my "You should look like this" and "You should do that" is the image of Cath, who did nothing but live her life as a Christian with integrity and service and attention to what St. Paul said about women's appearance and thereby, thanks to God's inexorable plan for her, found a husband.
Picture: That's Lady Jane Grey, who in this rendition looks surprisingly like Cath. Gracious! What a coincidence.
P.S. As far as I know, I am Cath's most frivolous Catholic pal. Two of the others became cloistered Benedictine nuns, which is a great comfort to my lipsticked self.