It is Spring, and in some cases, Summer (the South’s “summer” is actually known as “Sauna.”), so that means skirts and shorts and shirtless men. So modesty is on my mind.
This hilarious post by Seraphic Singles pokes fun at the scrupulous nature of screeds for female modesty.
This hilarious post by Simcha Fisher rallies around the notion that appropriate pants can be modest.
My own thoughts: I believe we are the first arbiters of our thoughts when it comes to visuals, and our primary responsibility to look away (preferably into the person’s eyes) and send away impure thoughts (hard to do when you’re looking into some piercing green eyes or gentle baby blues). That being said, we should extend charity to one another and sacrifice our desire to enhance our appeal for the good of our neighbor’s soul.
And sometimes that charity means not rejoicing when your kid yells from the car at a female jogger he doesn’t know about her workout gear (once seen on a comments forum); understanding that women have different bodies, so knee-length can be a really hard standard to meet if you have longer than average thighs, or recognizing that busty women on a budget can’t help the way T-shirts fit them and that flat women shouldn’t get mistaken for a teen boy; and that some people must go from un-air-conditioned home to un-air-conditioned transit stop to un-air-conditioned church might bare (gasp!) upper arms and (get the fainting chair) shoulders.
Repeat after me: men can be immodest, inappropriate, unchaste. And in more ways than with their (and our) emotions. There is a reason that Cosmo’s “Guy Without His Shirt” is a monthly feature that only entices sin, and a reason my eyes need to suddenly find the floor or ceiling really interesting during the volleyball scene in Top Gun. If women are asked to not deliberately spark the wrong kind of imagination with their swimwear and workout gear, then I think we can ask men to respect the same boundaries. So put on a shirt.
This article from one of the most modest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia, about a man reportedly too handsome to be allowed in the country demonstrates that it’s not just certain body parts, but the mere appearance of a person that can spark lusty thoughts. Which all together only serves to demonstrate that the problem isn’t so much the body part, face, eyes, wrist, ankle, long, muscly hugging arms… the problem is our own minds.
So in the end, instead of railing against a person, people of a certain gender, type of perfectly appropriate garment, let’s all remember to call upon St. Michael to rail against the Great Deceiver, and rejoice in the authentic beauty of God’s creation.