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A Modest Proposal

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Readers may have become weary of that Catholic blogosphere cliche: the concern over male modesty and the oversexualization of male fashion in the world today. However, I don't think it can be stressed enough how much of a temptation it is for women--how much of a pitfall--to see men  in attractive clothes or, indeed, skimpy outfits. Now that spring is upon us, it will not be long before the young men of the  world actually take their shirts off and run around soccer fields topless, as if there were no married women over thirty around to look at them.

I don't want to be too hard on the boys. After all, it is very difficult for a young man to understand the sexual temptations of women. When he wears sleeveless shirts, he just sees nice toned arms that any guy would be proud to have. He doesn't understand that nice toned male arms act like dynamite on the female psyche, especially female psyches that have been around for over 30 years. Also, when men deliberately buy jackets with shoulder padding, they merely think they look nice. They don't think about what the illusion of huge shoulders might do to generations of women who grew up reading romance novels about men with huge shoulders. 

At this point the male reader may feel uncomfortable, and in that charming way men have followed since Adam, our first father, pointed the finger at Eve and said "She done it," protest that maybe women should not read romance novels at all.  But, alas! The laddies must understand that in some ways they are the stronger sex, and women the weaker, and women have a weakness for romance novels, for which we must be forgiven and understood. It hasn't helped us that as children such magazines as Tiger Beat were on display at our eye level and even sold to us, so that we might pass them around the school yards, pull out the photos and put them on our bedroom walls. And now with the internet---! Men can't seriously expect us not to use the internet to look at pictures of attractive men, especially when they are thoughtlessly tempting us all over the shop, from Daytona Beach to Savile Row.

This scourge of male immodesty continues even into our churches. As shocking as this may sound, they wear their padded jackets even to go to church, so that the women behind them are forced to see that artificial inverted-triangle shape that acts like catnip on our feline sexuality. And those who wear pullovers instead sometimes take them off when they feel too warm, sometimes exposing inches of bare male back and tummy flesh for whole seconds. Can you believe that? Men taking their clothes off in church? And I can't even write about the souls that are imperiled by men coming to church wearing cargo shorts, their hairy, muscled calves for all Catholic women, young, old, married, single, and consecrated, to see, for my tears would drip into my laptop and cause a short-circuit.

Again I realize my male readers will feel indignant and want to say something about custody of the eyes. After all they have eyes, too, and they manage to keep them off our bodies, so why can't we keep our eyes off theirs? Ah, boys. Boys, boys, boys. My little flowers. My little flowers of the forest. My little flowers of the forest in your kilts and woolly socks stretched over swelling calves that meet muscular knees and visible over those manly knees is perhaps an inch of bare, muscled...Where was I?

Oh yes. Custody of the eyes. It is all very well talking about custody of the eyes, but we are your sisters. We need your help. We need you to stop wearing what you like, or what is fashionable, or what looks nice, or what is available in stores. After all, what is taste, fashion, beauty and availability to our own, personal, ever-shifting comfort zones

So I have a proposal, a modest proposal.

The orange jumpsuit. 

Men may protest that the orange jumpsuit, being prison garb, is a garment of shame. However, when we get right down to it, shouldn't men feel shame at the lustful thoughts their thoughtless attire and even lack thereof has caused women, even before we turned on the TV or the computer or bought the romance novel or the dirty Tiger Beat magazine? If  you men were to see the inside of my mind in an unguarded moment, you would most definitely feel shame. 

Meanwhile, neon orange is a terrible colour that suits nobody, and whose primary purpose is to make the wearer visible. Since men by their clothes (or lack thereof) seem to have an at least unconscious desire to have women notice them, their orange jumpsuits will indeed continue to make women notice them, only with the salutary reminder of how dangerous men can be to our souls and how, because of them, we might end up in that cosmic state penitentiary that has no end.

And therefore, men of the world, our brothers, whom we wish to love chastely and sweetly, in a spirit of self-gift, self-loan and self-donation, I beg you all to leave aside your sinful fashions (and running about fields half mostly naked), and don the noble (if shameful) orange jumpsuit.


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