We Can See Your Heart Under There

I’ve been saving this topic until no one was writing about it.

Bikinis are underwear. Men know this. Women know this. The case can be made that all modern swimwear is underwear. This past summer, instead of going to see the new Gatsby remake, I watched The Great Gatsby with Robert Redford. Do you know what he (the character) wore to swim in the 1920s? A one-piece comprised of mid-thigh shorts and a tank-top. I attended church camp every year, and I never saw a woman so modest.

The other name for swimsuits is bathing suits, and we know that bathing is something that is done in the nude. Now, swimming today and bathing today are not the same, but the history before they diverged is something to consider. Bathing with others was something that was only done with members of a close group; a family, or a team; at the very least members who shared a sex. So how did we get to a place where we talk ourselves into bathing with non-family of the opposite sex while wearing underwear?

You see where I’m going with this, right?

——————–

Everything above that line was written last night to be finished today, but before I returned here I read Dalrock’s latest post, “Trapped”. In it, he links to the writings of Jenny Erikson, at The Stir. There I saw here latest post, “10 Things Teen Boys Say — & What They Really Mean“.

[O]ne of the things I worry about in particular is boyfriends. As much as I’d like to lock them in a tower and protect their emotional little hearts (not to mention keep them as effectively as possible away from STDs or teen pregnancy), that’s just not an option.

Nope, someday my little princesses will go on dates with scummy teen boys, [emphasis in original] and I’ll have to smile like I mean it and hope to God that he’s interested in something other than what’s in her bra. Because let’s face it — if he’s thinking about anything other than boobs as a teen boy, he’s probably a keeper.

Then she starts a list of 10 things she believes those scummy boys will say as a ploy to either see or touch girls’ boobs. In bold is what the boy says, and after the ellipsis is what he means by it. Here’s number 6:

We should have a swim party … so I have an excuse to see you in a bikini and get in the hot tub with you.

I have to agree, but what else do we know then:

  1. Mothers know this about boys, and still buy their daughters bikinis.
  2. Mothers let their daughters go to pool parties
  3. Any woman who has worn a bikini knows this
  4. Women continue to wear bikinis
  5. Women defend their right to wear bikinis and go to pool parties so that someone will stare at their tits.

These are Christian women; often with Dad in the background looking worried and hang-dog because his baby girl is whoring herself out, and his wife is recalling when her tits were so desired and handled and bruised by all those other men. Too often, and too terribly to contemplate for long, the fathers actually participate in this vicarious cuckoldry.

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46 thoughts on “We Can See Your Heart Under There

  1. Gross. I never wore a bikini, it just wasn’t my “look”, but I’m not sure the bare midriff is the issue. Bathing suits in general are horrifying. There’s a reason every. dang. spring. there are 4,328 articles about “how to shop for the best swim suit for you” – it’s code for “here’s how to show your boobs without showing any nipple while concealing your fat rolls”.

    The question, is, then, why would a woman want to show her boobs to men she does not intend to let touch her? Again, horrifying. Or is it whore-ifying? I forget.

    As for a GIRL showing herself in such a way – that’s not so much on the girl, or the boy, in question, but her pimps I mean parents, isn’t it? What is WRONG with people!!

    [O]ne of the things I worry about in particular is boyfriends. As much as I’d like to lock them in a tower and protect their emotional little hearts (not to mention keep them as effectively as possible away from STDs or teen pregnancy), that’s just not an option.

    Oh, really? Hide and watch. You might learn something. (and I realize that was the pimp you were quoting, not you, CC).

  2. And I meant to blog on your blog that I actually defend well-fitting and appropriately fitted street clothes for women, even if a bit provocative, according to her husbands preferences, because she’s there for him and he’s there to protect her. The swimwear thing, though – live by the thong, die by the thong. I think that’s in the Bible.

  3. If I should marry, and have daughters, I think that I will go the whole “lock them up in a tower” route.

    Then, when they are old enough, I will spread rumors of their beauty and gentle nature. With luck at least some men will try and “win the prize.” Of course, to get there each man will have to pass through a series of obstacles that will weed out those lacking the strength, will and moral character to be proper husbands.

  4. In other parts of the manosphere, it’s often said that modern hard-core porn is destructive but “our grandfather’s porn” (swimsuits, lingerie, early girlie mags) are perfectly fine. Personally, I’m more tempted to lust over the soft stuff. The extreme stuff is disgusting. Most men who haven’t been completely desensitized probably feel the same way.

  5. This one made me smirk. I swear you sound like my husband here, as the subject actually came up quite recently.

    I (and our daughter with me) have decided to enter a fitness challenge. Husband checked out the website, flipped through the book and his first question was: “Okay, but what are ya’ll gonna take your before and after photos in because all these women have on bikinis. If bikinis are required, then NO.”

    We have never allowed our daughters to wear them either.

    And I meant to blog on your blog that I actually defend well-fitting and appropriately fitted street clothes for women, even if a bit provocative, according to her husbands preferences, because she’s there for him and he’s there to protect her.

    You know I know a bit about that with the Jeans Battle of… every year until 7 years ago when I decided to stop bucking the system and wear the fitted jeans.

  6. The middle school ministry at our church has a pool party every year and does one trip to the beach. The ms pastor had to start bringing church t-shirts because so many of the girls wear bikinis despite the fact that they aren’t allowed at church functions.

    I own a suit from this website:

    http://modestlyyoursswimwear.com/

    I bought them for our daughters, too, but I won’t do so again. My husband thought that wearing swimming dresses made us stand out in a way that caused more people to look at us than if we just wore something more like this (link is SFW):

    http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-beach-living-paisley-adjustable-scoop-tankini-top/id_261056

  7. My husband thought that wearing swimming dresses made us stand out in a way that caused more people to look at us

    Our girls wear tankinis, too. They’re great if you’re swim-then bike-then play tennis types, which we are. They each have two and it’s pretty much their entire summer wardrobe, with the obligatory tshirt of course to cover their clavicles.

    We had a whole burquini debate at TC a while back. I agree with your husband about the attention thing – anything that demands it is by definition immodest. I wonder if a better word, for usefulness’s sake, wouldn’t be “subtle”. It can be attractive, it can be pretty, but it cannot be LOUD. It shouldn’t shout anything about you except that you’re going swimming. It ties in with my peeve with the “see me be {fabulously Christian}” crowd.

    FWIW, I wore a neoprene wetsuit ONE TIME when we lived at the ocean that my husband listed on ebay the next day. Being covered head to toe – well, neck to knee – is no indication of modesty. Around here anything that zips up the front is a non starter. No housecoats, no wetsuits, lol.

  8. There’s always the option not to bathe with non-family members of the opposite sex.

    I remember that burquini conversation at TC. It was awful, wrong-headed, and mean-spirited towards women and husbands trying to do the right thing. People trying to be modest were bashed and the conspicuous tempters left untouched. If I recall, it was a slam on attempts at modesty, and ended up in some support of bikinis. There was one person who stood against the red tide: Laceagate. Good for her.

    The idea that modest clothes (even hideous ones) call sinful attention is a straight up lie. It’s not a sin to be mocked, or even stared at. It’s a sin to be immodest. That post and ensuing discussion called righteousness as unrighteous, and evil as good. It was one of the provocations of this very post.

    By the way: I also remember a discussion on “Scandal”.

    A wife following her husbands’ orders is good. Beseeching him to not cave to cool would have been better. That is women’s strong suit, and their burden.

    I am likely going to catch Hell for this, but: We are sinful men, too, and it sounds like each of you had the right idea. There are many stories in the Bible of good women subverting their husbands while still remaining under headship. Use that.

  9. No, Lace was wrong on that one, as you are now. Arguing in favor of Conspicuous Covering is the same as arguing for the convenient immodesty that is the point of your post, not to mention drowning at the bottom of the ocean. It’s all about “see me”. That is nothing other than immodest.

    Not bathing with non-family members has merit, but isn’t any fun. As the mother of a young son I have often muttered “keep your slut off my baby”, but I also say we can let our children be children as long as we model the right example. Lusting after prairie-dressed women on dry land is no better or worse than lusting after a Baywatch babe. One might be more likely than the other, but unlike sex itself, there are actually two gatekeepers, there. Four to six if the parents aren’t loaded and passed out poolside.

    A wife following her husbands’ orders is good. Beseeching him to not cave to cool would have been better. That is women’s strong suit, and their burden.

    I’ll call mmm to the mmm on this, because I’ve sworn off swearing for this Holy season, but mmm. A man likes what he likes. I thank God I married a good one, and will wear what he buys me. I might even undo the top button. Mmm.

    Scandal is the dumbest show on television, I can say that without ever having seen any of it other than a commercial, and women I mean people only watch it for the lips, so I’ve been told.

  10. And I should clarify: I wear what my husband buys for me because sometimes he likes to show me off. I am his wife, not his hired girl or his daughter he’s trying to offload. Amen.

    Women who wear burquinis and obnoxious Sixteen Candles street clothes as bathing suits are making political statements, not ones of Biblical submission.

  11. @Velvet

    No, Lace was wrong on that one, as you are now. Arguing in favor of Conspicuous Covering is the same as arguing for the convenient immodesty that is the point of your post, not to mention drowning at the bottom of the ocean. It’s all about “see me”. That is nothing other than immodest.

    I think that’s mostly rationalization on your part. More at the end of this comment.

    Not bathing with non-family members has merit, but isn’t any fun.

    1. Who gives a damn?
    2. How in the world is that possibly a big inconvenience?
    3. What are your priorities, lady?

    (Take note of that, men. Fun, as I said, is the premiere merit to women.)

    A man likes what he likes. I thank God I married a good one, and will wear what he buys me. I might even undo the top button. Mmm. […] I wear what my husband buys for me because sometimes he likes to show me off.

    Your husband, then, is exactly who I’m speaking to. He should stop doing that. You are his prize. The idea that it is Christ-like behavior to “show off” anything except the glory of God is absurd. You are to be his treasure; to be kept holy, and holy means dark and secret.

    Women who wear burquinis and obnoxious Sixteen Candles street clothes as bathing suits are making political statements, not ones of Biblical submission.

    That is sometimes true, and they will get their due reward. Nevertheless, you ought to show them how it’s done; matching inner and outer modesty.

  12. I am his treasure (again, I say Amen), and of course the most important evidence of that is dark and secret, I would never argue otherwise. I’m saying that JOY, which is the word I should have used (and surely my writing will improve, yes?) is not. It is the evidence of our faith, the realization of it. “co-heirs together of the grace of life” doesn’t read as anything other than a married couple being quite obvious in their appreciation of God and each other, and their pride in their life with one another. That phrase in particular strikes me as the point at which we (marrieds) transcend – or maybe meld? – those loves Lewis defines, and can look in all directions at once. I can’t explain it right, I’m not advocating for slutty clothes or swinging or the trappings of the world (did you skip the part about the wet suit?). But somewhere in there you get to breathe, and be your husbands girl, evidence of his preference – and you don’t have to wear a denim jumper and Wellies while you’re doing it. That’s all I’m (badly) trying to say.

  13. @Velvet

    But somewhere in there you get to breathe, and be your husbands girl, evidence of his preference

    Velvet, these posts have not been meant for you; though I am glad you are engaged, and I believe that good will come of this. This has been a catalog of the errors I have made, and of which I am resolved to do no more; errors that I did not recognize at the time because I had been steeped in a feminized church culture that does everything in its power to both frustrate men from protecting, and to encourage men to accept lust. At the same time, they beat us to death about it. It’s a sick bondage/domination/sado-masochistic control game.

    The point isn’t that you’re all filthy sinners for not living like I do. It’s me saying: “I’ve been there! Wake up! Because when you do, you’ll begin to have an understanding of how filthy we really are. There is work to do, and you have to shake it off to be able to do it.”

    These things are poisoning men, Velvet, and they are not allowed to even say anything without suffering epithets on the size of their manhood, and slurs about being prudes and control freaks…we’re always cast as tyrants.

    and you don’t have to wear a denim jumper and Wellies while you’re doing it.

    No, you don’t. But we’d damn well better be willing to if that’s what it takes. We aren’t even close to that.

  14. Velvet, these posts have not been meant for you

    I’m pretty vain, and overly sensitive, but I didn’t think they were meant for me personally. Just about things I’m invested in, perhaps overly so. You gotta check some stuff off the list and move on. I think the saddest thing is the people they’re most meant for won’t ever hear of them. You’re a good explainer.

    This has been a catalog of the errors I have made

    Who loves ya, baby? I totally know.

    [CC: I meant these posts were directed at men about their women; not to women about how they should be.]

  15. This convo has taken an interesting turn. Before I add any further commentary, it is with this understanding Mr. Caldo: I recognize fully that your post are not directed at any particular woman, or towards any woman at all.

    What I see here from Velvet is a defense of a righteous husband’s right to set parameters for his own wife, even if the standards may be less strident than others might deem acceptable. Okay, now…

    A wife following her husbands’ orders is good. Beseeching him to not cave to cool would have been better.

    Sometimes a man just likes the way his wife’s butt looks in a pair of jeans. Cool has nothing to do with it.

    As for the old debate on TC: I don’t recall a vigorous defense of bikinis. I do recall that Lace was more strident than most on the modesty issue. I agreed with her in part, and disagreed with her in part. Her husband has very strict modesty standards as well, so they are quite equally yoked in that particular area.

    I am (as it is well known by now) a big proponent of submitting to one’s own husband in all things, as unto the Lord.

    Your husband, then, is exactly who I’m speaking to. He should stop doing that. You are his prize. The idea that it is Christ-like behavior to “show off” anything except the glory of God is absurd. You are to be his treasure; to be kept holy, and holy means dark and secret.

    I can only speak from a personal perspective here, but it is sometimes not an issue of showing off his prize. Sometimes it is, especially when we’re going out on the town. But there have been times when the realization that some other man liked me in a ensemble as much as my husband did has signaled the end of that particular ensemble.

    The point isn’t that you’re all filthy sinners for not living like I do. It’s me saying: “I’ve been there! Wake up! Because when you do, you’ll begin to have an understanding of how filthy we really are. There is work to do, and you have to shake it off to be able to do it.”

    Despite our areas of mild disagreement, this is what I heard from you.

  16. Okay, been thinking on the topic again while rummaging through Christmas decorations. I think in our particular case, this is the crux of the matter, though it’s been a while since we discussed it and I will make a point of getting clarification later.

    The issue was this when I decided to- on my own and against my husband’s wishes- take it upon myself to wear what I had deemed acceptably modest attire. Is it for me to decide that the only appropriate time for a husband to enjoy looking at his wife’s form is behind the locked bedroom door?

    Is the standard here advocated one of never being in any way alluring for the sake of being charitable to other men and especially Christian brothers?

    I ca tenll you for sure from experience, that’s a high bar to clear.

    Should husband’s should deny themselves their pleasure, even with regard to their own wives, for the sake of the greater spiritual good?

    And yes, I know there’s sound and righteous arument to be made for that given that men bring the weight of their own sinful tendencies to their marriages.

    Still, is there midway between the denim jumper and the attire of a street walker? I’m gonna get all fashionable here for a minute. Like Velvet, I am kind of invested in this, and have thought about it a lot. I beg your indulgence.

    When I wear the jeans my husband prefers, the blouse is necessarily conservative for balance sake. Same when I wear a dress that is fitted. I make sure it’s long, neckline with appropraite coverage, and flat sandals. And let me tell you, I don’t like flat shoes. At all.

    And if…if it is true that the denim jumper is necessary to promote the proper witness and win souls, I have absolutely no doubt that SAM would say, “Wear the denim jumper.” 10 years ago I would have jumped at the chance to wear the jumper, but he has whet my appetite fr more fashionable clothing, so there would be a slight period of adjustment.

    Keep in mind that we’re not talking here about mini skirts and halter tops, and I shared with you here once before my husband’s admonition about what he called “hooker shoes.” In other words, we’re not talking here about walking about looking like a tart or a street walker.

  17. @Elspeth

    Is it for me to decide that the only appropriate time for a husband to enjoy looking at his wife’s form is behind the locked bedroom door?

    No. But it is for God to decide, and He commands modesty and holiness. You don’t see your arrogance, here. (Again: I’ve been there.) Look at the dichotomy you have erected: Either we do it my husband’s way (and I publicly share my charms) or we do it my way. Is that what you meant to say?

    Is the standard here advocated one of never being in any way alluring for the sake of being charitable to other men and especially Christian brothers?

    No. The standard here is what God commands in the Bible. We don’t do this thing for this reason over here, and do this other thing for that reason over there. We do all these things because we know they all work together to bring glory to God. Modest dress instructs women, instructs others, protects women from themselves, protects others from women…this things really do work together. As I said: It is an unplumbed wrongness. The more we grapple with these issues the more we see they are connected; either reinforcing the sin nature, or destroying it’s power over us.

    Are there men who lust after modestly dressed women? Yes. Are they a valid excuse for women to wear immodest clothes, as you are suggesting here? No.

    Should husband’s should deny themselves their pleasure, even with regard to their own wives, for the sake of the greater spiritual good?

    1) Of course, and we do it all the time. A wife’s breasts should not be groped in public for the sake of suffering a man to enjoy his wife.

    2) Here you are using the word “spiritual” as a diminutive; as in “not important”, or “hard to understand”. There is nothing unspiritual about physical sex. It is spiritually and physically good for the man, wife, and everyone else when they keep sex private, e.g., separate, e.g., holy.

    Still, is there midway between the denim jumper and the attire of a street walker?

    We are Christians: We are not looking for a midway, but Christ’s way. For those of us of a conservative mind-set this is a very seductive mode of thinking; to be fair-minded, and not “go off half-cocked”. We please ourselves with only trespassing the boundaries that have already been broken, but mock both those that broke them for us, and those who try to rebuild them. It’s worse than being lukewarm. We are those who love to sit in the seat of the scoffers.

    I’m not going to give you an answer because it’s not my place. BUT, I will say that when I read women making fun of those in denim jumpers (that is: who are dressing modestly) we can know what sort of woman with whom we are dealing, and with what sins she struggles.

  18. BUT, I will say that when I read women making fun of those in denim jumpers (that is: who are dressing modestly) we can know what sort of woman with whom we are dealing, and with what sins she struggles.

    I was not making fun of women who wear denim jumpers. I was one of those women, making allowances for a few slight specifics. Been there, done that, from my heart. Long denim skirt, with dark colored, high necked, 3/4 inch sleeve shirts in the middle of the Florida summer.

    I was earnest about it too, and it never even occurred to me that I was in sin and open rebellion against my husband. He was the one with the problem, I concluded. The whole “denim jumper” thing is not a mockery of modesty, but of the idea that you can only be modest by being frumpy. You’re getting it wrong here.

    Here you are using the word “spiritual” as a diminutive; as in “not important”, or “hard to understand”. There is nothing unspiritual about physical sex. It is spiritually and physically good for the man, wife, and everyone else when they keep sex private, e.g., separate, e.g., holy

    Nope. Wrong again. I was not trying to diminsh the holy, My question was a serious one, and the weight of the word “spiritual” was meant to be heavy, not light. The reason for my word choice was to ask this question:

    Is it more holy to do what did in the first paragraph of this comment, regardless of my husband’s desire, or to obey. I submit that 1 Peter 3 answers that question.

  19. @Elspeth

    I was not making fun of women who wear denim jumpers.

    Did you defend those who wear jumpers for modesty’s sake? Did you stand aside while your friends derided them? Are we to be the good Samaritan or not? Who, when it comes to clothes, is the beaten man in the road? Is it the prairie-skirted oppressing Victoria’s Secret with their modest dress?

    I was earnest about it too, and it never even occurred to me that I was in sin and open rebellion against my husband. He was the one with the problem, I concluded. The whole “denim jumper” thing is not a mockery of modesty, but of the idea that you can only be modest by being frumpy.

    It is not open rebellion to believe a husband is wrong if he is. It’s open rebellion to not kneel (sometimes even physically) and submit to him while you say so. Women never want to put their head down when they really need to.

    Is it more holy to do what did in the first paragraph of this comment, regardless of my husband’s desire, or to obey. I submit that 1 Peter 3 answers that question.

    You’re straining at a gnat and swallowing the camel. These things work together. You obey God first. You are married because you obey God. You follow your husband’s headship because it is obedience to God to do so. If your husband commands something unscriptural, then he is the one breaking the chain.

    Nevertheless, wives have the amazing power to restore the order by continuing to obey God and submitting to their husbands. To do this, you bow down to your husband as you tell him why you cannot obey him, but must obey God. This is very hard for women to do. Just when they think they finally have the right to hold their own head up high is the time that you must put it down. They’d rather hold their head up next to their husband than bow down before both he and God.

  20. On the train so this will be short. I think some consideration here should be given to the female saints who were beautiful and unhidden. Sarah comes to mind first though she is the easiest to refute. Esther less so. These lead me to believe that some showing is good (in the rise up Peter sense). There is a gap between St Mary of the Desert (of wasted boobs fame) and Esther in which I think women can reside based on how they -use- their beauty.

    Also nakedness even amongst strangers is not bad. I think you veer off the tracks most there. I know the importance you place on dark=holy but I think this is more a question of Love and temptation. Again, how does the woman use the beauty of her gift.

  21. Fair…but the conversation will likely be dead by the time I can have time and keyboard…I’m on a phone and long thoughts are hard.

  22. I’m a tad late to this party but in that post you’re referencing Cane, I was making the argument that it shouldn’t matter how covered up someone is at the pool or beach. When I was talking about modesty in that argument, I was talking about keeping yourself covered. I was also talking about comfort. To this day it still seems frivolous to worry about someone else not showing enough skin simply because they are by a body of water when wearing board shorts and a tank top made for swimming is the only way they’d make it to the beach anyway. If that means “see me,” than I guess I don’t know what else to say to that. There is also context. If you’re surfing it’s typical to wear a wet suit. One-pieces seem practical and ideal for actual swimming, but if you’re only interested in dipping your feet for a little and lounging on the sand, I don’t see the big deal that is threatening to all of Westerndom about wearing a longer swim tank with long board shorts. I think that conversation in particular, was headed more into the direction that if we accept things like burkinis without making immigrants assimilate it means we’re more like to accept other things where they will change the culture and then we bend over backwards for them.

    I still don’t see the big deal with wearing a swim dress or whatever people feel like wearing and having been to the beach/lakes this summer I have yet to see anyone making such a political statement going against the Western cultural grain or whatever. I live in the freaking land of 10K lakes and have NEVER seen someone wear clothing that would make them drown, nor have I ever advocated for it. Usually the immodest ones are people showing too much skin, falling out of their bikinis, or older men wearing thong banana speedos. Yes…I had the misfortune of seeing them.

    To be honest I’ve gotten to the point where I heavily concern myself over what people wear unless it’s incredibly inappropriate, like church (no one should be showing off leg or buttcheeks, EVER). Prairie dresses, jumpers, leggings under long tunics, whatever. My husband prefers that I don’t wear bikinis or show cleavage and I’ve never been one to wear bikinis or want to show cleavage regularly, so it’s a non-issue. He likes and has preferences to other things that others don’t like. Modesty’s never been a problem. I grew up around Hindu and Muslim women who never had the same issues or conversations about modesty the way Christians do, so even to this day I sometimes find it odd. Oh well.

  23. @Lace

    I think that conversation in particular, was headed more into the direction that if we accept things like burkinis without making immigrants assimilate it means we’re more like to accept other things where they will change the culture and then we bend over backwards for them.

    I think the assimilation and the drowning arguments were brought into that conversation in an attempt to get you to shut up because you were right, and others didn’t like it. (As one piece of evidence: No one even questioned whether we should rethink bathing in public.)

    That doesn’t make them bad people; it just means they have favorite sins like everybody else.

  24. First, I’m going to posit being naked, even in public isn’t _in itself_ bad. We were naked at our birth, naked in paradise, and will likely be darn near naked when we die. Most of those will have other non-close kin around. I think we fall into the World’s parody of Christianity when we attack nakedness qua nakedness. That doesn’t mean I disagree with your general use of the holy/secret metaphor but I think it breaks down a bit here.

    Second, we need a workable definition of modesty. I am not a Greek scholar but we seem to be dealing with two words here (the best lexicon I have handy is Classic Greek not Koine):
    κόσμιος -> well-ordered, regular, moderate (it seems to be associated with insignia?)
    αἰδοῦς -> reverence, awe, respect

    We’ll get to that in a second. Third, I think we have to deal with false humility and modesty. I agree with you on the infamous prairie skirt example. However, Lewis did talk about a certain type of false humility that I think is useful for comparison. Consider a man who is the best window washer in the world. If he says that he is not he is not being humble. He’s just denying reality. If he was second best and heaped praise on the best he _would_ be displaying humility. That is, he would recognize his place.

    So how can a woman be well-ordered and moderate in her attire and show reverence and respect for the gift of her body? Does that mean bikinis are out?

    Let’s presume a beach full of non related men and women who are fully in control of their impulses and not fallen as our starting point. In this scenario they can all frolic but naked and likely not get in any trouble (unless willed). I’d argue that there would still be some rules based on “awe of person”, that is the sort of thing alluded to in Deuteronomy 25:11. So while they might frolic there are limitations on touching and how one treats certain parts of the self. What they are in this perfect environment I’m not sure.

    The Fall changes this state in two ways. First pride of self rather than awe of self. Second lust/greed of what is not yours. I think these two need to be differentiated because one, and only one, can be played false.

    Pride is immodest and desires others to concentrate on the “me”. If I wear a bikini or a burka and the goal is to get people to look at me then I am prideful. In as much as this is true Velvet-of-Many-Names is right. I am showing a lack of moderate attire.

    The second is goal oriented. Will what I wear cause others to stumble? Will their resistance against the Fall become more difficult? To answer this it is fair to guage the current environment rather than be dogmatic. Familiarity does, as you have noted, reduce eroticism. If it is normative that women wear shorts for example then they probably do not ere by doing so. If they are also careful to not use culturally relevant markers of interest (for example in our culture diving neck lines which would be irrelevant in say tribal, non-Muslim, Africa).

    The banana thong therefore is immodest not because it will turn the average woman on to the average man (well featured men are another matter), we know it won’t, but because it seeks to draw unneeded interest in the wearer.

    So we’re left with a bit of a matrix where either one of these might be true or false with four rough results. The burka babe is always guaranteed to be right on one. She will not be tempting per se. She may be wrong on one though depending on intent. Most Muslim women aren’t, their intent is, I willingly presume, to be faithful.

  25. The banana thong therefore is immodest not because it will turn the average woman on to the average man (well featured men are another matter), we know it won’t, but because it seeks to draw unneeded interest in the wearer.

    The same argument was made to burkinis or what may appear to be burkinis, aka. long tank tops with board shorts, or long thank tops with longer shorts (all made for swimming). You don’t have to be at the beach to be accused of trying to draw unneeded attention to yourself. I prefer to wear long skirts and dresses (I dislike jeans for the most part) but have been accused of seeking to draw attention to myself aka: “why are you always dressed up?” “Why can’t you just wear jeans and t-shirts?” “No one else is dressed like you.”

    The whole drawing attention to one’s self is a sticky argument because even if the wearer has chaste intentions and wishes to show less skin, they can still be perceived to be prideful, anti-assimilating, or showing off. How can we be truly sure of what other’s intentions are? I have learned sometimes you can’t win with that one. That is part of the reason why the argument of dressing in a way to fit into one’s society should be the standard. Now what happens when the standard is immodest? Just as Cane titled this post “We Can See Your Heart Under There,” a similar argument is made: “everyone knows you have (insert body part here) there, anyway.”

  26. (As one piece of evidence: No one even questioned whether we should rethink bathing in public.)

    While I don’t think that article was really an issue of favorite sins, I believe context is something we need to consider. Context would be bathing in public. Context would also be who are you bathing/swimming with, if it’s in public? The first time I went to a public beach was in mixed company at a very young age with classmates and I wore a swimsuit. My mother didn’t approve (I can understand why now). The second time it was with my family in the country of their origin and I wore a shirt and shorts that were appropriate for swimming (and wearing similar clothes was the norm for people there. They didn’t wear swimsuits or the like. As we can all see, I didn’t drown :)). My mother allowed us to play, swim, and tan (a rarity for Indian folk) as much as we wanted. Two different contexts, two different approaches.

  27. The second is goal oriented. Will what I wear cause others to stumble? Will their resistance against the Fall become more difficult? To answer this it is fair to guage the current environment rather than be dogmatic. Familiarity does, as you have noted, reduce eroticism. If it is normative that women wear shorts for example then they probably do not ere by doing so. If they are also careful to not use culturally relevant markers of interest (for example in our culture diving neck lines which would be irrelevant in say tribal, non-Muslim, Africa).

    This.

    You don’t have to be at the beach to be accused of trying to draw unneeded attention to yourself. I prefer to wear long skirts and dresses (I dislike jeans for the most part) but have been accused of seeking to draw attention to myself aka: “why are you always dressed up?” “Why can’t you just wear jeans and t-shirts?” “No one else is dressed like you.”

    This has happened to me any number of times- while wearing jeans. It happens more often in skrts though, and I wear mine long as well. Any time you are dressed with more care, attention to detail and femininity, others (suburban housewives in particular) are quick to offer a critiques. Either directly or in the form of a question: “Where are you going all fixed up?”

    Just daring to care in a way that makes you noticeable from others can be called immodest- unless you do it in an unfashionable way. Which is why I think erring on the side of wifely submission is best.

  28. I have an anecdote to share about this. I think I may have shared it somewhere before.
    In 2000 my family moved from a Houston suburb to what i will call a suburb of the suburb, a quasi country area with acreage lots and lakes etc. We home schooled our kids, had a proper school room in our home, I worked from home, it was idyllic. at this writing I cannot recall what the reasons were, but we decided to put the kids in a Baptist school associated with a rural Baptist church. We enrolled them, found the head master and his wife quaint, pleasant, and harmless. We sensed rigidity and order, of course uniforms and high standards for morals, etc.

    Day one of school came and it included orientation. At orientation I learned that the girls had to wear long pants for PE…..outside. Thin training type pants (track suit ish and baggy) and I was ok, though IT IS HOT until November and then again starting in March. Then, I was told the boys must wear blue jeans for PE. I small nagging tingle in my psyche began. But we packed their stuff dutifully the next day and dropped them off. My wife was volunteering mornings. I was to join them for lunch.

    I got there and the head master and I started talking in earnest, and he took me in his office to show me the latest newsletter. He had detected my reaction to the boys in jeans in 100 degrees and 95% humidity and wanted to show me a new development. The newsletter top story was the results from a BOD vote on the jeans thing. It had quotes from the debate. His (the headmaster) reaction to the motion was “shorts…..no no no no no…..I hate shorts”. I realized Id read him wrong, he thought I was an ally in this, yet, I was sitting there in a pair of cargo shorts and a golf shirt. It was late August. His wife came in just then, she had a to the floor denim jumper on, with a white long sleeve heavy material turtle neck and grey hair to her knees, woven.

    At this point I confess I get the impression when I see that, not only of Pentecostals or Amish or religious groups, but women especially dressed that way also put me in mind of 1960’s era young adults who got some sort of natural feeling out of dressing that way….I do not get that…..but they did, and some still do. I am not a fan of the religious origin or the hippie one, or the religious one being the middle age home for the hippie one.

    I agree completely that there is pride and sanctimony screaming off this and it is as bad or worse a witness than “normal” (today’s standards, maybe like Velvet is describing) dress. I find when people take things to extremes they have lots of motives, and few are pure. Sanctimony, attention getting, insecurity, even something about how she relates to her own husband, pride, a kind of AMOG (Amish-ish Matron of Group), whatever. Whether I am right or wrong about an individual I see that way, I react to how I sense things, and I do not shy away from taking action.

    So, that second day of school, after that man said that about shorts on men/boys specifically and I was sitting there in them, I stood and asked how to take the kids out of the school. With in ten minutes were were gone, and I felt in my spirit something lift off me as we took that decision.

    Cane, I cannot , or maybe will not, argue point by point on this but I am not comfortable with what you are saying. One thing I will say is that there is a trap in even arguing my side, the trap being that among Christians the one arguing what appears to be the less moral stand has a huge disadvantage because no matter what they say its not simple to argue for compromise of morals, even if I would not see myself as doing that. In other words, taking these positions is like becoming one of those men I have referred to I encountered often in prison ministry, I called THEM the spiritually arrogant, I am not calling you that because I know you and I know better.

    But that’s the vibe, they must always come across as one degree hotter than all around them, so their rhetoric is elusive, even if one simply agrees, maybe especially when one agrees, they suddenly raise or move the bar again, keeping themselves with a moral edge over those around them. Its a kind of leadership that is distasteful because we are not followers of men.

  29. He had detected my reaction to the boys in jeans in 100 degrees and 95% humidity and wanted to show me a new development. The newsletter top story was the results from a BOD vote on the jeans thing. It had quotes from the debate. His (the headmaster) reaction to the motion was “shorts…..no no no no no…..I hate shorts”. I realized Id read him wrong, he thought I was an ally in this, yet, I was sitting there in a pair of cargo shorts and a golf shirt. It was late August. His wife came in just then, she had a to the floor denim jumper on, with a white long sleeve heavy material turtle neck and grey hair to her knees, woven.

    Surely, this is a situation where better sense could have been exercised? It is possible to wear linen pants that are extremely lightweight and are appropriate for the weather compared to jeans, along with cotton. Sometimes I think Christians choose to lack common sense for scenarios where it’s really not that difficult to come up with a reasonable alternative.

    Just daring to care in a way that makes you noticeable from others can be called immodest- unless you do it in an unfashionable way. Which is why I think erring on the side of wifely submission is best.

    Yes, that’s true. Until someone decides your husband is wrong, lol.

  30. So one of my better moments was correcting a young girls dress and facing down the wrath of her mother and the thanks of her father. However, I tend to agree with you on this Empath.

    I should also note that we would be brain dead to engage in what Cane is really attacking here, the undermining of a truly conservative gal doing the right thing. One makes fun of prairie skirts at ones own peril. You will have to answer for that come judgement day and given the other things I will have to explain I’d rather not add such an easily avoidable item to the list.

    Of course your comment illustrates the difference that Velvet has a harder time hitting on. Wearing long pants, wool, and playing sports in a Texan summer is just mind bendingly impractical. It is a male response.

    For that reason I’d also be inclined to be extra suspicious of a woman complaining about another women who is better dressed. Generally that’s a warning to raise one’s eyebrow and say something disparaging to the commenter.

  31. @Laceagate

    Surely, this is a situation where better sense could have been exercised? It is possible to wear linen pants that are extremely lightweight and are appropriate for the weather compared to jeans, along with cotton. Sometimes I think Christians choose to lack common sense for scenarios where it’s really not that difficult to come up with a reasonable alternative.

    Bingo. The issue there is not false modesty, but possibly pride and definitely stupidity on the part of that husband. Both are good reasons not to put your kids under their tutelage, but did they transgress modesty? No.

    Yes, that’s true. Until someone decides your husband is wrong, lol.

    Such as, say, the husband running that school.

    You all might like Social Pathologist’s blog better. He, too, believes that most attempts by men to instruct or discipline (as in makes disciples of) women is something that only the Taliban does, and that they are evil for it.

    But, how can I expect to explain anything to people who can’t see the difference between Wahabbis and Mennonites; between the Taliban and SSPX Catholics; between the bin Ladens and the Duggars? I guess it’s bikinis and porn or nothing. Roissy will be pleased!

  32. @GKC

    First, I’m going to posit being naked, even in public isn’t _in itself_ bad. We were naked at our birth, naked in paradise, and will likely be darn near naked when we die.

    Being naked in innocence doesn’t make you guilty. The same Person who made humans naked made the first clothes to cover that nakedness.

    There is another way to deal with false modesty. You won’t like it, and it is what I’m trying to avoid.

    Consider a man who is the best window washer in the world. If he says that he is not he is not being humble. He’s just denying reality.

    He ought to say nothing because he recognizes that it’s not his place to pronounce judgment on it. Your charge that he is denying reality is a trap. Can you name one place in Scripture where we are instructed or encouraged to proclaim our own righteousness?

  33. but did they transgress modesty? No.

    How do you know? You don’t, and you cannot, and this is an inherent problem with the way you approach this. What if I left off that the woman was buxom and the clothing form fitting, or the man, er……well……”obvious” in his tight polyester pants. I’m being silly, but it works.
    I changed my thinking somewhat on this when, back in 2004 I knew someone (female) who had been asked to photograph her leg in a cast and allow a guy to post it for his cast fetish site. No skin, not upper thighs, no bare feet, just the cast and the skin just above and below it. Yes, I know that you know that there are all manner of fetiches and that I am using an extreme to argue and I too dislike that form of argument. But, its actually true that if there is a purpose to modesty, or more than one ……purposes. To not attract attention for its sake, to not attract sexual attention, to not cause lust in others, to not bask in the lust or attention of others, pride, etc. On and on. These things are too subjective to say anything more profound than the quote from the 80s or 90s that said “I know what is pornographic when i see it”. I know whats immodest only by MY reaction to it. The burka may be the only and best possible way to avoid being immodest, even given the existence of a burka fetish as inevitable.
    Further, consider an example. We attended my company Christmas party last night. The woman who was MC was over 60, as round as she was tall, had those people-of-Walmart stretch pants revealing every! single! cellulite dimple!, a red sequined sleeveless sweater stretched over cups that even the 28 letter Spanish alphabet doesn’t go high enough to represent as measurement, and some kitschy DJ and a dance floor and her holding one hand up and grinding goofily to some 80’s Sugar Hill or something…..immodest? Or disgusting? Are they the same? In this case, yes, because she was after attention, but no way she was getting a lustful reaction. In fact folks avoided looking.
    There is not a small amount of modesty being self determined, in the heart condition of the subject is the summation. So, best use some subjectivity in the discussion because for anyone to do otherwise is a form of, well, immodesty.

    Social pathologist’ position is a bit of Red herring, like my dancing red lady

  34. @Empath

    How do you know? You don’t, and you cannot, and this is an inherent problem with the way you approach this.

    1) I’m not addressing the facts behind your story, Empath. We can only address the story. You are arguing in bad faith.

    2) You actually used the “You don’t know me!” argument. Unbelievable.

    Social pathologist’ position is a bit of Red herring, like my dancing red lady.

    You will note that I neither recommended nor introduced burkas in this exchange, yet it is here. Regardless: I don’t think it is a red herring. I think people want to appear sophisticated, urbane, and modern. I think you want The Lift.

  35. I guess it’s bikinis and porn or nothing. Roissy will be pleased!

    I hope you didn’t get the impression that I advocate that position. I also disagree that there is a “middle ground,” as that fallacy often opens a can of worms that descends to chaos. I understand your argument and can agree with what you’ve said. In no way was that husband being sinful.

    As Christians, we believe modesty is a virtue. That means modesty in itself is a good thing and our actions are supposed to be reflective of that virtue. We all know this. In modesty we are supposed to avoid pride and may I daresay, stupidity? We are supposed to avoid false humility and not assume false humility of others. This here, is often the most difficult aspect of modesty and I’d say is more complex than simply arguing about prairie dresses or denim jumpers. And the most difficult part– this means we have to accept standards that make us uncomfortable. I’d rather do that than go around proclaiming myself to be the Modest Police.

  36. @Laceagate

    I hope you didn’t get the impression that I advocate that position.

    No, Lace; I thought (and think) we are in agreement.

    And the most difficult part– this means we have to accept standards that make us uncomfortable. I’d rather do that than go around proclaiming myself to be the Modest Police.

    I don’t care to be the modesty police either, but that’s what it is to be a parent or a husband. It’s very like being the police. Police aren’t in the business of reforming the criminals, and they don’t pass final judgment on criminals, nor assign their final punishment. They are, however, charged with stopping a crime in progress, they are allowed to arrest, and they even have jails. To fulfill these duties they must make judgements; even if just for the meantime.

    Parents do not make children good; nor husbands wives. They just don’t allow them to misbehave.

  37. But, how can I expect to explain anything to people who can’t see the difference between Wahabbis and Mennonites; between the Taliban and SSPX Catholics; between the bin Ladens and the Duggars? I guess it’s bikinis and porn or nothing. Roissy will be pleased!

    In reality I believe we are all in agreement that modesty is a virute, and that womrn should exercise it. I highly doubt anyone here is advocating bikinis and porn. I have never worn a bikini, even in my youth. I have always found them to be the equivalent of walking around in one’s bra and panties.

    The problem I am having here is that there seems to be an undercurrent indicating that unless one goes to extreme lengths to exercise modesty, she is inherently immodest.

    There are general standards of modesty that are good and right and that which we can all agree on. Breasts covered (no plunging necklines), no short shorts, no skin tight clothing, no mini skirts, no bikinis, the avoidance of a distracting amount of makeup, etc. These are things that I am very diligent about for both myself and my daughters.

    Further, the head of our house passes verdict when clothes are purchased, whether they are immodest or not- according to the standards I listed above.

    There is no argument here in favor of bikinis and porn. It just so happens that in our particular case, my husband has a preference for more fitted clothing on me. Tunics, empire waists, and such don’t suit my figure and detract from what he likes about it. Like Velvet’s husband, he has been known to go and buy what he wants to see me in. I am obliged to wear it.

    Like I said above, I am not disagreeing with you for the most part. I suspect I diagree on the specifics.

  38. By specifics, I mean that you have certain standards for your own women which might differ from those of my husband, which might be different from what Empath’s, which might differ from Velvet’s husband, Lace’s husbnad, and so on. But whether or not a woman should be dressed in a sexually provocative way is not in question here, is it?

    We could argue that what’s provocative to one man may not be to another, hence the divergence. But Velvet’s first comment was one of solid agreement with you on the subject of bikinis. The conflict arose when 1) the use of the words denim jumper were misunderstood as a disparagement and 2) what you find inappropriate seemed to clash (perhaps) with what my husband finds appropriate.

    So the disagreement was indeed on specifics. I for one, never argued in favor of immodesty, nor did anyone else as far as I could see. I only saw wives doing what I think is sorely lacking in today’s culture and church: defending their husband’s right to mark those parameters as he sees fit without having his wife rebel against him, as if he is incapable of knowing how to guard his family.

    Keep in mind here that we are talking about Believing men. At least I am.

  39. Terrible word choice here:

    defending their husband’s right to mark those parameters as he sees fit without having his wife rebel against him, as if he is incapable of knowing how to guard his family.

    I should have used the words “husband’s God-given authority” rather than a husband’s “right.”

  40. Pingback: Selected Sunday Scripture- #5 | Donal Graeme

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