Monday, July 12, 2010

Men, Please Speak Up

In 1990 I registered as a freshman at a small Christian College in the mid-west. On day 1, registration day, I witnessed something that made me wonder. (I'm sure it made others wonder as well.) As we stood there in line waiting our turn, some decided to sit on the floor as we waited our turn to register. One attractive young lady across from me had on a pair of short boxer shorts and sat down with one knee in a yoga position and the other knee raised. In doing so she exposed her butt cheek and inner thigh, very close to her vagina area. She was either unawares or didn't care. I could tell she wasn't trying to be sexy, but I'm sure the guys in view of the display might have had a hard time turning their heads away.

During lunch one day, about a month into my freshman year at that college, I sat down at a table with all male friends. As we were conversing, one of the guys said in frustration, "I wish the ladies could help us out a little and not dress so provocatively! It's difficult already as it it."

Over the years I've heard variations of these pleas and conversations. I wonder however, how many have actually said something in an appropriate manner to some of the women they see creating such temptation? If I were a betting woman, I would bet too few. I've known a few and I'm glad for their courage and concern, but note men, that many Christian women need you to speak up in this area.

A few years back I had a series of incidents that drove home the point to me and I've always dressed modestly all my adult life. But I've learned there are degrees of modesty. For example, I was on my way to volunteer to feed the homeless one winter morning and put on what I thought was a modest, orange turtle neck jersey and jeans. My fiance at the time asked me if I could put a sweater on over the turtle neck? I guess he felt that my breasts were to prominently displayed in the turtle neck and most of the homeless people at the shelter were going to be men. (No cleavage, no skin showing, but my size 6 figure was attractively outlined and he wanted to protect me from gaping men.)

Another time shortly after, but during the summer, I had on a short sleeve, summer knit dress, again, no cleavage showing and the dress was ankle length. However, because it was knit and I was a curvy size 6, I kept having to block my fiance's roaming hands. He got frustrated and said, "How in the *!?* do you expect me to keep my hands off you in that dress?!" Now I know I was dressed modestly. You couldn't have convince me otherwise. However, because it showed off my figure attractively, it presented an irresistable temptation to him. Shortly thereafter, my pastor's wife said to me one day as I was visiting her, "You know Beverly, you have a very attractive figure and I don't know how long you plan on prolonging your engagement. But make it easier on the guy by wearing clothing a little bigger than your size if you plan on winning the battle to remain pure until your wedding."

Her advice came at just the right time. I listened to both my fiance's fustration and heeded my pator's advice. It didn't alleviate all the struggles, but it sure cut down on the number of them. We didn't get married, so I'm very glad for the lessons I learned at that time, but more brothers need to speak up and help us, help them.

Just last week I heard the old familiar complaint again, "Why do some sisters in the church dress they way they do? They make it so difficult on us." Maybe because they don't know better and some maybe do want to attract your attention and maybe going about it the wrong way. Why don't you speak up?

***Let's start the dialogue about this subject. Please make all comments directly on the blog page. Do not send me emails about it. Also I think it would be helpful if you stated if you're single or married, Christian or non-Christian in your comments. Thanks

1 comment:

  1. I am a Christian man.

    I like when my wife attractively shows her curvy size 6 figure. I think she dresses modestly. By that I mean that she doesn’t wear anything extravagant or too revealing by either showing too much skin or is too tight. Although tight fitting and skin revealing clothes are appropriate in some circumstances (cycling, swimming, ect …). I actually have seen Muslim women in Egypt on the beach or swimming in the pool fully clothed and head covered (Modest?).

    In the early days of the Church there were also complaints about the lack of modesty from some women. The Apostle Paul was very strict on women clothing and grooming in the church. He addressed things like head covering (1 Corinthians 11: 2-16), modest apparel, expensive outfits and jewelries (1 Timothy 2: 9-10). Peter echoed the same message in 1 Peter 3: 3-4. Today there are still complaints about the lack of modesty of women in the church.

    Most of us don’t wear clothes just to cover or protect our bodies. Clothing is cultural. It expresses our identity and emotional state. That makes the definition of dressing modestly very relative.

    I will answer the call for me to speak up in order to protect and lead my circle of influence. The saved and the unsaved will benefit from the ripple effect.