Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Clubbing Wit' Jesus

As the DarwinVan pulled into its parking space yesterday, another young couple (with one small offspring) emerged from a large, glitteringly hubcapped pickup a few spaces over and headed towards the church.

"Ummmmm. Okay." said Darwin.
"Wow. Clubbing with Jesus," said MrsDarwin.

The source of these cryptic remarks was the dress worn by the female half of aforesaid couple. That it was rather tight, a little low cut, and came down only to mid thigh is perhaps not so unusual these days (even at a suburban Texas parish mass) as to elicit comment -- at least from the DarwinParents whose offspring were already starting to riot in the back of the van. Rather more out of the ordinary, however, was the fact that this particular dress featured a slit up the back of the skirt which went up basically to where the legs themselves divided from what came above. This might have elicited a great deal of attention in a situation where the wearer was going out clubbing, as such things always bring with them a certain curiosity as to whether the wearer is conscious enough of the limitations of her clothing to manage not to move in such a way as to amuse the masses, or not.

However, since the venue was Sunday mass, the outfit -- topped off (or should I say bottomed off?) with high, clear resin heels -- seemed simply to be out of place.

What this reminded me of, however, is the increasing degree to which people seem to have lost the idea of different standards of dress for different places. One's most expensive or exclusive outfit is not necessarily a appropriate for any given venue, even if "dressing up" is appropriate there.

I am reminded of an anecdote I heard somewhere or other in which a priest asked one of his parishoners why he had been so disrespectful as to show up to Sunday mass in a track suit and sneakers. The man replied, "What do you mean, father? This track suit cost me $700. This is the most expensive outfit I own!"


Rick Lugari said...

Oh boy, you had to bring up the topic of appropriate dress for Mass. If word gets out among the blogosphere, you're gonna get hate mail and comments galore. Everything from, "the important thing is that they made it to Mass" to what you preemptively took a swipe at, "maybe they're wearing the best clothes they have". Oh, and don't forget, "If you weren't such a base, lustful pig, you wouldn't notice her T & A hanging out there for all to see".

Nat said...

Talk about judgemental. I'm outta here.

mrsdarwin said...

You called it, Rick.

Literacy-chic said...

Funny, I've seen a whole lotta posts about appropriate dress. The difference is that this one is amusing rather than scornful & spiteful. I'm a girl, and I get awfully tired of seeing cleavage that isn't my own and thongs in the aisle in front of me! So there. I'll weigh in on the judgmental side. I'll just take it to Confession later. ;)

Literacy-chic said...

P.S.--My post was in response to anticipated comments, not anything that has yet been said!

Darwin said...

What can I say, Rick, even we base, lustful pigs need something to write about. So I tossed three slips of paper saying "modesty", "child rearing" and "liturgical style" into a hat and pulled one out to see what I should write about today. ;-)

Rick Lugari said... that's a prescription for controversy if I've ever seen one.

And in fairness, regading my initial comment. I forgot to mention the input from the other extreme. You know, women wearing anything less than a burka are committing a mortal sin AND making the Blessed Virgin Mary cry.

Patrick said...

I read something similar a few months ago and decided to start wearing a suit to mass. My logic is that if I were going to see the president or the pope I would wear a suit. So I owe no less to the real presence of Christ in the mass.

Lately I have looked around and noticed that other than some (not all) of the ushers, I am the ONLY male in a suit. This is in a crowd of several hundred, in a parish where the cost of clothing is not an issue for most. I see a few men - mainly older - wear a tie and sport coat. It drops rapidly from there.

So now I'm getting self-conscious about it. I don't want to make other people look bad, or have them think I am vain or prideful. I'm actually thinking about joining the choir so I can bypass the dilemma.

Nat said...

Oops. I return one last time for a clarification: I meant self-righteous. All I can say is that there are many better things to be doing just before Mass than sneering at others' dress. The tenor of your post is obvious: you weren't the slightest bit offended, but amused at the gaucheness of those trashy people beneath you. Maybe you'd like to publish this post of yours in your parish newsletter, and use your real last name? "Hodges giggle at trashy folk in parking lot". If not, why did you post it here under pseudonym? Blogging is the stronghold of snide cowardice (as posting on them probably is as well. Thus I exit).

Good luck with everything and God Bless.


Darwin said...


I never professed to be offended by the woman's dress. (Why should I be, it did no particular harm to me.) One may believe that something is inappropriate to a given time and place without being offended by it.

Generally, I think that what one writes should be attuned to the venue and purpose at hand. Thus, a piece on proper dress for mass for a parish newsletter would doubtless be written slightly differently than a semi-humorous post on a blog.

As for whether anonymity in writing is generally a sign of cowardice: I have no particular objection to my name being known in connection with my writing (otherwise I wouldn't make it so very easy, though various links, to find it out) but rather a general feeling that different parts of one's life should be kept roughly separate. Perhaps the person here most able to fill us in on the temptations to intemperence involved in witholding one's identifying information is you?

Nat said...

Interesting. My last post seems to have been censored. This is odd, as it contained no profanity, and remained entirely on topic.

Your actions have only proven me right.


Darwin said...


Well, you do keep announcing it's your last post... Eventually failure to follow through on that suggests an inability not to have the last word.

We very seldom delete comments that do not contain excessive profanity, but in this case the reason was twofold:

a) I'd rather avoid providing google with my full name in a single comment thread, since prospective employers often google employee names and given the Tech/Marketing industry in which I work, it might well be considered a liability to be associated with a conservative Catholic opionion blog period, no matter what its content. (Stuff that I've actually published I have no issue with, but a blog provides a plethora of content which is frankly not an employer's business.)

b) I think your instinct to step back at least from this particular thread and leave it alone is essentially sound. You seem, for whatever reason, to take online discussion very personally and not to be open to that sense of humor which depends on the foibles of others. Rightly or wrongly, that is something I have no problem with, whether it be turned on me or upon others.

Or in the language of the planet: dude, chill.

Literacy-chic said...

Gee, I don't know which is more suspect--those who blog anonymous criticisms, or those who pretend that they never do (and, in doing so, criticize the criticizers). Oh, wait! I do know which is more suspect! ;)

Nat said...

Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders...

I have no mockings or arguments,
I witness and wait.


Anna said...

Tsk, Tsk.

Literacy-chic said...

Hey, check out the Curt Jester, who also seems to think that inappropriate clothing is Mass is worthy of blog mention. And he offers a solution, too!

Tony said...

Nat, do you believe that it's appropriate to come to mass naked?