I apologize for not posting yesterday as I had promised. We decided to put up our Christmas lights (although we won't turn them on until the Big Day) and clean up the front of the house, which was beginning to look like we were having some kind of permanent yard sale. In front of the house was a wicker trunk, a big plastic jug of coolant, a big plastic jug of windshield wiper cleaner, some half burned candles (left over from Halloween!), two different sizes of outdoor grill, a really large wooden picture frame, a bucket of cement with a big yellow pole in it that was used for display purposes at the church picnic and someone borrowed for a craft fair and returned again.
One wouldn't want to light all that up on Christmas Day.
Speaking of cleaning, here was the question we wanted to tackle:
If a woman chooses to dress in a tank top and skimpy shorts for her own sake, and not to tempt someone into sin (although it seems women have been tempting men into sin since the days of Eve, the poor lambs), and a man is then prompted into sinful thoughts, is it still a sin on the woman's part? Should women be required to dress modestly so as to not inadvertently cause men to have sinful thoughts?
The simple answer is "yes", although it has always bothered me that Eve gets so much blame, as though men never tempt women to sin. Would a woman even think to dress in a tank top and skimpy shorts for her own sake? Perhaps if the temperature was a hundred and three.
So I came up with this pyramid. It takes us from one extreme to the other and it is colored coded like our Terror Alert System. I hope it functions better than our Terror Alert System. What am I supposed to do, exactly, during Terror Level Orange? I already have duct tape.
At the bottom of the pyramid is the useful, if unpleasant, word SLUT. This would be attire that has in mind only one thing, to seduce. Obviously we wish to avoid the bottom of the pyramid all together as when we linger there we are into double sin territory, as you are responsible for the sins you cause in others.
This applies to men, too! Once you've oiled yourself up for a magazine cover, you've landed at the bottom of the pyramid.
Next we have inappropriate dress. By this I mean when you show up at work with a low cut blouse and a mini skirt, or stroll through the supermarket (as a reader suggested) in your teeny bikini. The teeny bikini, even on the beach, may land you back at the bottom of the pyramid.
Remember this song?
"It was an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini That she wore for the first time today. An isty bitsy teen weeny yellow polka dot bikini So in the water she wanted to stay."
Good move, dear.
We move up the pyramid to BAD TASTE. This is a tricky one. As the saying goes, there is no accounting for taste. But one can be aware that everything that is written on a T-shirt is not an adage for public comsumption, or appropriate for your child to see or wear. One would hope men and women might get a clue that some clothing that is considered fashionable does not fit on a body fueled by Taco Bell. Bad Taste is further up the pyramid, because it is possible that it is not intentional.
Don't kid yourself into thinking that all Bad Taste is unintentional. I would be willing to bet (which is not a sin) that Paris Hilton does not wash her car on her hands and knees while eating a hamburger. We are literally back to square one.
Next, in light green, is dressing in a way that is attractive. Men and women are meant to find each other attractive. We don't have to live at the top of the pyramid. We want to look beautiful and handsome at the prom. We want to accentuate the positive, as the song says. Just don't accentuate yourself back to the bottom of the pyramid.
Modest dress is in green. Everyone looks good in longer sleeves, even if you have great biceps. Low heels are better for your spine. Shifts are very comfortable and often have those useful giant pockets.
Then we cross over the line to covering up so much as to look dowdy, until only our hands and faces show. The Amish and the Mormons. If you want to dress like that all the time, just become a nun already.
In the end we've become so paranoid about inappropriate thoughts and sinning that we can't even show our faces, walking around like a human tank make of cloth, a walking pile of fabric.
I hope this is helpful. Common sense would be helpful, too.