I was a Catholic kid growing up in the 1950’s. During that era, the Church schools were administered by nuns whose habits included keeping themselves covered by black and white cloth.
But during my lifetime, now extending into 65 years, all that nunnery garb has gone the way of the buffalo. You don’t hardly see old-style nuns walking around in public any more.
On the other hand, there appears to be a worldwide movement by some religious people to keep their women covered. More about that in a moment.
Another thing that was going on back in the day, when I was a youngster, was the growth of viewership in playboy magazine, a publication that was eagerly snapped by pubescents like myself and many others, for the sake of looking at naked women.
Generally, us good Catholic boys preferred to train our eyes onto the girls in the magazine, instead of the nuns who were teaching us at school.
That infamous magazine was not the only one, as you probably know. There were many others, such as penthouse and hustler. As the years rolled by, those rags just got raunchier and raunchier. Then along came the X-rated movie houses, peep house, topless bars and ultimately the worldwide web on which any female genitalia and mammary-triggered acting out can be fantasized. At various times I sampled them all before God got a hold of me and got me straightened out on a few things.
Now I notice, ubiquitously, we inhabit an hyper-stimulating post-religious world where many women who court the public spotlight compete with each other for male gawks by flaunting outfits that take exposure, instead of fashion, to the max.
This is very titillating, and at times seems pleasant and quite alluring, but it doesn’t solve any problems. In fact, as a certified old geezer now I am starting to think this whole hefneresque uncoverage trend has generated more trouble than its worth.
All these sexy women sauntering around in the world can actually make a man’s life much harder–not easier–to bear.
My personal experience uncovers this truth: when you get right down to it, there is nothing better for a man in this world than a real, live woman who loves him, and there is nothing better for a woman than a real, live man who loves her.
But now we have millions of horny men walking around in the post-modern, post-religion, post-playboy, post-marriage, post-internet world being constantly tormented by all these uncovered women.
And so along cometh the Muslims imams, raising their hajibual judgements against our licentious western ways.
As a Christian, I cannot deny they have a point.
They want to keep the women covered. Western women see this as oppression. Maybe it is, but there are some western men who discreetly understand why it is that the Muslims want to cover their women with hijab and niqab. My born-again assessment of this conundrum is that Law (of covering women, or anything else) is no salvation–and no solution–for delivering us over-stimulated males from our sexual obsessions. We each have our own frustrations to deal with, and that is an issue between each man and his God. And his woman, if he is fortunate enough to have one.
In other news, it has been reported that some great historian said somewhere that what goes around comes around.
I could say that, in my lifetime, the notion of women being modestly dressed has incrementally disappeared; maybe it went around the dark side of the moon or somewhere to be disposed of forever. Religious people are criticized for being old-fashioned, puritanical, repressed, blahblahblah, for their antiquated ideas about keeping women covered.
Now the idea of modesty comes back around, but this time from a different source–a different religion–not the old Catholic one, not the old Puritan one, not the old Calvinist one, but the new/old Muslim one that comes slouching from the east.
And this old guy wonders if now we really get what’s coming to us. Nebuchadnezzer is not just mouthing empty fatwahs.
Maybe it’s time to take cover.