Thursday, January 22, 2015

Men and leggings and living with them both.

So I open the digital version of the World's Worst Newspaper this morning and there's this:
"Why I Chose to No Longer Wear Leggings...(Veronica) Partridge, a 25-year-old Christian, felt conflicted about modesty, she writes in the post, and talked with her husband about whether or not leggings are appropriate as pants. He told her that it's hard for him not to look at other women wearing the tight athletic wear. She wrote: "And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public."
And I thought, oh, Ronnie.

Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie...

You and me, girlfriend. We need to have a little talk.
Well, OK, first, let me admit; this wasn't the first time I'd heard of this leggings-deal. I ran across it the other night skimming Fred Clarke's blog Slacktivist, where he kinda slammed you not for your obsession with "modesty" but for your misprision of the central tenets of your Christianity:
"For white American evangelicals, religion is always about sex — about other people’s genitals, but when Jesus spoke about modesty of dress it was never about sex and lust. It was about money and greed and self-indulgence at the expense of those in need. If you’re striving for “biblical modesty,” that is the core and the whole of what the Bible itself has to say about leggings and yoga pants: “Whoever has two pair of leggings must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise."
Which is in itself all well and good from a religious-good-doing sort of perspective. Though I should note that I tend to agree with Fred that Dale's comment was sort of a dick move. Sorry, Ron, but he was implying that it is haaaard to be faithful to you with those darn sluts prancing around in yoga pants. But that's a whole 'nother thing.

Thing is, sorry, I'm not a Christian like Fred (who is a pretty insightful guy and a fellow Jesus-pesterer; you might give him a read, just sayin'...) I'm just some random atheist. So I can't really help you on the whole "Christian morality" thing.


I, like your husband Dale the "serial entrepreneur", am a guy. Dude. Vato. Hombre. Mensch. Fella. Goombah. We're both members of the He-Man Chest-Beater Club, sharers of the descended testicles, and we have a lot in common, saint and sinner the two of us.

And I thought we should reeeeeeally talk about this whole thing you said Dale said to you. Accoring to your blog "...he told me, “yeah, when I walk into a place and there are women wearing yoga pants everywhere, it’s hard to not look. I don’t, but it’s not easy.”

And, Ronnie, love ya, sweetie, bless your heart, but I'm here as a guy to tell you; Dale's lying his dear little Christian ass off.

"Looks?" Of course he looks. We ALL look.


Because we like you.

Sure, he loves you as a person, as a wife, mother of your kids, helpmeet, companion, lover. But...he's also a heterosexual guy. So he likes you as a woman.

Meaning he likes women. Women, plural. Women in general.

We're like that, us het guys. We may like some women as individual friends. We may love some - or, one, hopefully as in your case - as our inamorata, our one-and-only, our Bride, our Delight. But those are personality things, emotional things, spiritual things, individual things.

But we also like women. Physically. Generically. Generally. En masse. As a class of beings. We like how they look, how their voices sound, how they move, how they stand. We like how their faces fit together, how their hair falls, how they look hipshot, or sitting, or dancing, or sleeping. We like the high curve of the tops of their breasts, the slender taper of their fingers (or the square sturdiness of their hands - women come in a delightful assortment of sizes, shapes, and proportions, and that's another thing we like about them). We like the swell of their hips, and the roundness of their bottoms, the intricate curve where their belly meets their thigh.

We like how they laugh when they're silly, the frown that furls their brow when they're thinking. And...I hope this doesn't shock you, dear, but we like making love to them and we think about that from time to time when we look at them.

We don't really think about having sex with them when we see those women in their yoga pants and leggings.

Because, I'm sorry to say, dear, we don't need the yoga pants and leggings to think about having sex with them.
We don't need leggings...or yoga pants, or pantyhose or high heels or pushup bras or bustiers. We don't need accessories or special outfits or fetish wear. We're guys, Ronnie. Guys! We can look at a cool stylish matron in a chic suit and think of lust in the back of a limo. Or a ponytailed jogger in Nikes and imagine sweaty gym sex. Or the tattooed barista at the coffeeshop and picture wild lovemaking in a loft full of modern art.

Hell, don't even get me started on burkas or habits or granny shoes, darlin'. We're men and all of life is one ginormous Rule 34 for us. We look, and we think, and...if we love you, that's all we do.

Just looking - and thinking - doesn't mean we're going to tear off their yoga pants in a mad frenxy of lust. It doesn't mean that anytime we see a woman in a cute outfit, or a bathing suit, that we're gonna screw the poor girl to the wall. We may think about how pretty and sexy they are. We may get a little thrill of excitement looking at them.

But then we take all that home and if we're lucky get to feel and think the same way about you.

My own Bride, who is a very sensible and pragmatic woman, has a term for it: "You go ahead and work up an appetite wherever you want, big guy. Just come home to eat."

She knows we look, and she knows we know she knows, and she's okay with that. She's a smart woman and she knows that if what we have is good, and strong, and right that the looking is no more than enjoyment, and that she will reap the benefits.

And so can you so long as you remember this simple little rule: Guys Are Gonna Look - It Doesn't Matter What You Wear

So you pull on those Carharts, Ronnie dear, if it makes you feel better. But just remember - it's not about the leggings. It's about the legs, and he's gonna think about those legs - yours, hers, your Aunt Louise's - and probably will no matter if you and every other woman within sight are dressed in goddamn garbage sacks.


Big Daddy said...

Remember, back in the 19th century people got hot and bothered over exposed ankles, it's always something.
The interesting thing about the bible thumpers' obsession with not inflaming male carnal urges is the unflattering things it says about the bible thumpers' ability to exercise self control over their urges. Then again the number of prominent fundamentalist Christians involved in sex scandals lends credence to the theory that fundies can't control their urges.
Close to home, I find it interesting that the spousal unit is happy to rock leggings but the tween daughter has resolutely turned her back on leggings after wearing them all her life. Of course this has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with "the awkward age".

FDChief said...

I've always thought that one of the most messed up things every written in the Christian scripture is Matthew, Chapter 5 verses 27 and 28: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

That's damn near impossible to live up to, and just trying is pretty much a dead solid lock to defeat you. Try pitting that sort of morality against biology and who do you think's gonna lose?

In fact, the sex scandal thing seems to have a lot to do with the idea that looking = lusting so whatthehell...why not go ahead and lust?

(There's actually an interesting discussion of this passage here:

And your inamorata certainly rocks the leggings, which may well have to something to do with the young padawan's reluctance to show off her figure, along with arrival of the dreaded teenage years...

Anonymous said...

Ah, jeez, leggings! Leggings look good, really good, on a near perfect body. However, if there's extra weight, noticeable boney-ness(sp?), any lumps or bumps where they shouldn't be - don't wear'em! Forget about men looking at you when you wear them (refer to FD Chief's explanation) and just do yourself a favor and don't leave the house in the things!

The trials and pitfalls of women's clothing are endless. I envy men a nice dark suit, a beautiful tie, and really well made leather shoes - that actually fit.


FDChief said...

I'm really okay with women wearing what they like. I'm not the Fashion Police and my body is far from perfect. Muffin top? Spindly shanks? Go for it, girlfriend; if you're happy, I'm fine. My body is never going to be confused with a temple...

I do draw the line at cleanliness and coverage. There's no reason to look stanky, or to have droopy...ummm...bits bulging out from your apparel.

But I have no problem with "unperfect" people wearing revealing clothing provided it meets the above strictions. The day I'm immortalized by a Greek sculptor is the day I get to rag on others' bodies.

Anonymous said...

Oy. I hate to break it to all the life-hating sex-squeamish sorts like the lady who worked in an office near me once. But most women, if honest? Will admit WE LOOK, TOO. I used to freaking LOVE watching all those SF guys with tight buns running winter PT up and down staircases in Bavaria while it snowed outdoors! The prude in the office chastised us with "You are MARRIED women." to which we replied "Married, honey, but not DEAD."

Oh, and for those who think only perfect bodies should wear comfortable clothing? Bite me. I DO bite back of course. And not in a fun way. I see lots of men dressed in things they THINK they are pulling off, so until I don't see that anymore? Those guys should SHUT up about women who don't have Barbie bodies.

Lisa said...

Thank you for your honesty, Chief. I think you're being honest when you speak of the "garbage sacks".

It all points to the most powerful organ of lust and passion -- the brain. If you can think it, there you go.

Like Tim Hardin wrote, just give me a reason to believe (or not. Man are such romantics and egoists, they will believe anyway.) Even if you lie to me with a straight face. "When a Man Loves a Woman", right?

So surely, when it comes to the passing of an idle moment, a mind capable of such powerful flights of fancy will not be restrained.

A man once confided a sad bit of info per the topic to me in reply to my insistence that surely a man looks for the total package when he considers a woman, thereby having at least the tiniest bit of discretion in this realm of sex.

To wit:

He was waiting at a stop light outside of the local Greyhound bus station, when crossed his path an obese woman with unwashed hair, lacking many teeth, but with ginormous boobs. He fessed that, at that moment, he admired the boobs. Saith he, "there is always something a man can admire on the female form."

Methinks objectification is alive and well. Which means that if a woman is at all smart -- not a total ninny -- she dresses for herself. She has her own thoughts, she is, in a word, a person.

Lisa said...

Big Daddy refers to "bible thumpers' obsession with not inflaming male carnal urges", but I hope we all recognize it's not just the Bible.

Honor killings, acid baths, burqas, hijabs and the rest of the controls and punishments put on women in Islamic cultures emanate from men's convenient belief that woman have the devil inside.

Our BFF's the Saudi's have released a notice recently regarding the necessary precautions to be taken for women with "especially alluring" eyes.

We in the West are so much better, simply desiring that women reveal as much as possible, at least for the salacious pleasure of average Joe. I just saw the little film, "Don Jon", and it explained our hypocrisy nicely.

We pay women like Beyonce nicely for flaunting everything, but might not like our wives and daughters to do the same. So we say some Hail Mary's and be on with it.

FDChief said...

Labrys: I've known and liked or loved to many women to pretend that y'all don't look, too. Sadly, a lot of my fellow men seem to think that just having testicles makes them irresistable - meaning that they don't even have to try. Sagging guts, flabby asses, dirty clothes...and yet when the women they hit on recoil in disgust it's because "bitches are so fuckin' snooty..!"

But the biological reality is that we were designed to appreciate - and enjoy - each others' bodies (except for those of us hardwired to enjoy their OWN gender's bodies, and that's fine, too...). Trying desperately to pretend otherwise will never end well.

FDChief said...

Well...the Jesus-pesterers are our Western cross to bear, if you will pardon the metphor. But you're right in that all three of the montheistic religions have subgroups that go all goofy over the issue of female "modesty" (which somehow always ends up with the woman shoved into some kind of nasty sack-like garments (or in the case of many Arab cultures an ACTUAL sack...

And I would say merely that my observation about the stankiness and dangling bits pretty much covers the sort of in-your-face salaciousness of the Beyonce' sort of thing. It's not my thing (outside the observation that the woman is clearly fit, mammalian, and female...) but, again, I'm not the Fashion Police. If she is comfortable in a skintight outfit, well, more power to her. It wouldn't be my choice, but, then, I don't have the body for it.

Lisa said...


How female modesty is constructed vis-a-vis fashion is an endlessly fascinating topic.

I think your initial point remains valid, i.e., men will always look and fantasize, regardless of the clothes enrobing the object of their fantasy. Personal guilt, and the desire to be seen as godly, will allow people to either eschew a form of dress (as does this woman, or the Amish or Afghanis, for example) and/or blame the other for inciting their passions.

Like you, I feel their are basics for dressing that include a basic sense of taste, cleanliness and inoffensiveness ... of fitness for the occasion. Often, people seem incapable of ascertaining these baselines. And that is why we take recourse to fashion magazines, holy books, and the rest of it.

We lack common sense and confidence, and our arrogance is boundless. Imagine, dressing to please God?!?

Lisa said...

I feel their are basics for dressing

... "there are" ....