Shine ‘Em Up!

Though I would rather be home waking up to the scent of Mrs. Caldo’s daily offering of fresh-brewed coffee, and preparing myself for church*, instead I am on the road and serving my earthly masters at a fashion show.

More on that later, perhaps.

Per my habits, I visited the circle of imperfects. Being that I had nothing to do today but be available, I had put on my navy suit and some snappy burgundy Rockports: standard business fare. It was foggy, which means still, and I was enjoying the peace of it when a security guard followed the sound of her footsteps out of the mist.

“Mornin’ “, she warned. Her face was nearly as lifeless. She was a heavy-set middle-aged black woman, her stiff hair tied back in a severe bun. Wires of it shot out in rebellion of the stricture. Her shirt had taken the same tack, and hung untucked from under her black windbreaker. “SECURITY”, it said. All of which gave me the impression that it was the end of the graveyard shift for her; which did something to explain her Droopy Dog expression. I took Droopette’s challenge, and fired back.

“Good morning!”, I bawled. The main cannon so discharged, I followed up with a full broadside of pearly whites. It was a withering attack, and her morosity immediately sunk into the the watery air. One lone woman survived, and she raised the white flag of a smile.

She really was very black, and so the surrender was quite stark, spectacular, and pleasing.

Victorious, I turned back towards the fog and took a drag from my Pall Mall.

A signal rocket flared up behind me. “Mm oos uu ah shiny!”, it said.

“Sorry. What was that?”

“I said them shoes sure are shiny! Did you do that yourself?”

“I do shine my own shoes, but these are fairly new. I’ve only worn them three times.”

“Oh, ok. Well they look real good. Have a blessed day!”

“You too, ma’am.”

A man that takes the time to run a quick clean-up–on shoes or attitudes–makes them much brighter; though some shoes take much more work than others, and some shoes simply cannot be salvaged.

*Allow me a brief aside: Get dressed for church. Proper dress for the occasion is a recurring theme in scripture. Do this because it is good for you, and good for those around you. Your nakedness is uncovered by God (for good and bad; for the joy of communion and pain of the need for repentance.) but our dress is an expression of our attitude and spirit towards whatever occasion or event we are attending. Understand that it is the adornment of the spirit that is important, but we are half animal. What we express physically–with clothes–has an effect on our spirit, and vice versa. I lay no undue burden on you to wear a suit or meet any specific standard, but you can at least tuck in your shirt men, and cover your shoulders ladies. This is not a fashion show, but an intimate family wedding rehearsal dinner. (Resale shops are your friend, if you are cash-strapped. There is almost no excuse in America.) Do not get caught undressed. Again: I’m speaking about the spirit, and how your spirit will respond to the flesh. Because every rivers runs into the sea, and our Lord reaps where He did not sow, this habit will overflow from Sunday mornings into the rest of your life. You will reap benefits from being dressed for the occasion at work, school, home ,and–yes–from women. Also, men: Go to church. If nothing else, you can get a sense of the importance to not be an effeminate leader.

17 thoughts on “Shine ‘Em Up!

  1. I do not like dressing up for church. I do not like dressing up. I dress up for church. Because it makes God happy, and I’m supposed to look good for God. Lewis posited that in relationship to God we were feminine and the Bible tends to imply that is true (we are the Bride as we inhabit the Church). If I want my wife to dress for me I better sure as buttons dress for Church.

  2. Your stories from the road are entertaining.

    As for dressing up for church, sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. I do most of the time because it was a part of my upbringing. My husband almost never does, if by dressing up you mean wearing a tie and jacket. of course, since he never attended church growing up (save for weddings and funerals) I am just thankful that he brings his family to church at all, rather than simply sending us, the way so many men do.

  3. @Elspeth

    As I said, I lay no burden on anyone as to what “dress up” means. It is good that your husband takes you to church.

    Are there men who send their wives and kids to church anymore? I don’t know of any. I’m sure there are women who take their kids, but I don’t think most men have the cojones to think to send their wives anywhere. They either have the impetus to go and take their families, or pawn off the responsibility altogether. Wait…I know one: Me. Needs must when I’m on the road.

    I do most of the time because it was a part of my upbringing.

    Here we see the importance of good catechism; in the faith, life, and dress. You were blessed.

    Anyway, it’s not a criticism of your husband, Elspeth. We will come as we were called. But there is a still more excellent way, and I think you and GKC have it.

  4. I didn’t think it was a personal slam against my husband or men like him. He is still presentable in church compared to many other men these days. (long sleeved shirt, dress pants, shoes, just no tie or jacket).

    There’s a church near here where men and women alike can be seen entering in shorts and sneakers every week. Sweats on those few days a year when it gets cold. I’m fine with my husband’s attire.

    I was only noting the importance of being devout, present and leading one’s family in the faith rather than being disengaged or worse, leaving it to the wife as many men do. Better that a man do that, even without a tie, than not darken the door of the church at all. I remember those days going to church alone, and am glad that they are over, tie or not.

  5. You know what is odd, is this is evidently and American, or at least “Anglo Sphere” thing. As recently as five years ago (if my hazy memory is correct) an American tourist was thrown out of a (Catholic) Church in Austria for improper attire by the bishop. The American, who dressed like this at home was offended. The Austrians were surprised it was an issue.

  6. @Elspeth

    I’m reminded of the time that I said women should dress modestly and prettily, and you argued that your husband likes you in less traditional clothes. It turned out that I meant no hooker shoes or serious cleavage, and you meant jeans.

    I don’t know what malls and churches you’re going to, but they sound like PRUDES! Ha.

  7. @Elspeth

    An offshoot of FMPs, they are a species of high heels characterized by a platform sole. They evolved in their natural habitats of gentlemen’s establishments, and Frederick’s of Hollywood. Unfortunately they are an invasive species with almost no natural predators (except the rare Braided Prairie Skirtus) so–like Chinese Snakehead fish–they’ve taken over whole swaths of department stores, boutiques, and sanctuary floors.

    You may know them by their scientific name: “Stripper Hooves”.

  8. Cane Caldo,

    Dress modestly, ha! Ever been to any public place in Florida during the warmer months? Women actually go into grocery stores in their bikinis. Others walk around in shorts just covering their butt. The scariest part is out of shape woman are the most likely to do this.

  9. I had a specific reason for asking. I’m comparing notes, actually. I bought a pair of heels last summer, very cute. Navy blue with straps that wrapped arund the ankle, 3 inch wedge heels, and a small platform.

    My husband said I could keep them but to be careful what I wear them with (he helped me with that), because they almost looked like hooker shoes.

    I thought he was nuts, but I’m very careful about what I wear them with, LOL.

    Before he told me that, I was not familiar with either expression: “hooker shoes” or “stripper hooves”.

  10. I’m fond of when my wife wears heels but there are times for it. If we’re headed out for the evening it is one thing, going to church is another. You aren’t supposed to “out-flash” God. It is bad form.

  11. I totally agree. Those shoes are highly inappropriate for church. My husband has a line and those shoes would definitely cross it. I only asked for clarification because I never wear flat. Ever. I live in Florida, flip flop capital of the world, and when I buy “flip flops”, they have heels.

    Yes, different shoes look good on different women. I’m 5’9″ (size 12 dress) so I try very hard not to wear shoes with very high heels. My husband is tall enough (6’2″) that I could get away with it, but I am not coordinated enough to walk around on stilts.

    I haven’t always been a heels wearer. About 5 years ago I stumbled on to a modesty blog and without consulting my husband began a change of wardrobe. He didn’t say anything at first (which is entirely unlike him).

    He was curious to see how far I would take it, then he put his foot down, noting that the longer my skirts got and the higher my neckline was, the redder my toes became and the higher my heels got. Make of that what you will.

    Since I was never immodest in the first place he steered me back to a more sane place, but three things were different: He liked the switch to skirts, he liked the heels, and he liked the red polish pedicures. Go figure.

  12. Yes, GKC got the shoes right.

    I speak in terms of stripper hooves and hooker shoes because I don’t know exactly what the line is. That general platform-toe and high-heel style was/is popular with the aforementioned groups for years, then spread to pop stars, then bars, then Dillards, then Starbucks, and now church; though usually not so sparkly. At best, I consider them shoes sacrificed to idols. Feet them at your discretion, but we abstain.

    I do like a nicely turned foot. And ankles…calves, too now that I think about it…you see where this is going.

    More future blog fodder: I think custody of the eyes as preached is mostly garbage.

  13. I have a really hard time figuring out the line. A few reasons:

    – My husband is useless in this area. He is usually egging me to dress sexier.
    -In high school I was unattractive and few people wanted me. In my head I am still that invisible 15 year old, so it is hard to remember that anyone would want to look at me regardless of what I am wearing.
    -I am not large chested so I still expect to be invisible. When I do get male attention I am usually shocked and usually chalk it up to some kind of pheromone I am sending out. In my head “All men like big boobed blondes”.
    -Sometimes I question if perhaps I am dressing immodest. It ads an extra layer of angst to my already angsty relationship with clothing.

    All this is to say that I would LOVE for some hard lines drawn that would enlighten me as to what exactly is and is not appropriate. You would think the RCC could be more useful in this area.

  14. I actually AM surprised that the RCC isn’t more useful. They have so many guidelines about everything else.

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