Friday, August 6, 2010

The Briar Patch

This has been out for a while, but I only recently learned about The Modesty Survey, which its designers bill as an exciting, anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty. Its designers are Alex and Brett Harris, the younger brothers of Joshua Harris, the author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  I am actually familiar with that book, since my son's stepbrother, B,  gave it to my son as a college graduation present. My son's stepbrother and his wife married while in college and had their first child six months or so later, so I suppose it is fair to say that they did kiss dating goodbye. Their selection of the book as an appropriate gift for my son, however, prompted me to ask, "Has B ever actually met you?" 

To get back on topic -  I can easily understand how a discussion of bikinis, tight jeans, camisoles and fishnet stockings among those whose hormones are surging could get exciting. What I'm not sure about is where the "modesty" part comes in. The Harris twins billing this as  a "modesty survey" is on a par with Capitol One advertising their credit card as a way to save money, or the Lexus people trying to convince you that their cars are a bargain. Basically, the survey was a way for men to tell women what they found arousing. If the results had been published in Cosmopolitan, the article would have been titled "Christian Men Dish - What They Find Hawt!" Seventeen would have called it, "Christian Boys Confess, What Makes Them Blush". The rationale for calling it a Modesty Survey is that young ladies can use the results as a guide to wearing modest dress, rather than as a guide to what will turn men's heads. "One of the purposes of The Modesty Survey is to allow Christian guys to express their gratitude to their sisters in Christ who strive to dress modestly—to let them know that their efforts are both noticed and appreciated by their brothers in Christ". 

I've got you this time, Brer Rabbit," said Brer Fox, jumping up and shaking off the dust. "You've sassed me for the very last time. Now I wonder what I should do with you?"Brer Rabbit's eyes got very large. "Oh please Brer Fox, whatever you do, please don't throw me into the briar patch.""Maybe I should roast you over a fire and eat you," mused Brer Fox. "No, that's too much trouble. Maybe I'll hang you instead.""Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Brer Rabbit. "Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch.""If I'm going to hang you, I'll need some string," said Brer Fox. "And I don't have any string handy. But the stream's not far away, so maybe I'll drown you instead.""Drown me! Roast me! Hang me! Do whatever you please," said Brer Rabbit. "Only please, Brer Fox, please don't throw me into the briar patch.""The briar patch, eh?" said Brer Fox. "What a wonderful idea! You'll be torn into little pieces!"

Now why does that passage suddenly spring to mind?

When the survey came out, there was some confusion as to what the men who responded actually found immodest, since there is a list of statements they were asked to agree or disagree with and you have to click on each statement, one at a time, to find out which ones the guys found to be "stumbling blocks". ("Stumbling block" in this context does not, as logic would suggest, refer to clothing which the young gentleman finds difficult to remove from the young lady. It refers to clothing that causes the young gentleman to think about the young lady in a less than gentlemanly way.) So it is not true that jeans which are not tight, plain hose, and the mere sight of a young woman's calves are going to fire the average young man in your church's youth group up. That takes tight jeans, especially with a design on the back pocket, fishnet tights, bikinis, translucent shirts that turn see through in bright light, boobs that bounce when you walk or run (ie, boobs, period), a purse worn with the strap across your chest, or bending over or stretching. 

So, ladies, do you want to get young Ezekiel's attention at the next youth barbecue? Here's what you do. You put on your shortest shorts and a tank top with spaghetti straps, and make sure your parents see you, so that they can tell you that no daughter of theirs is leaving the house dressed that way. Then you go to your room and change into a pair of jeans which you have dressed up by gluing a Jesus fish applique to the back pocket. Top that with a white V-neck T-shirt, and accessorize with a cross on a chain just long enough that only part of the cross is visible above the V. Cover up with a sweatshirt that has something like "Yale" emblazoned across the front, and carry a shoulder strap purse across your chest. Scowl and mutter "I hope you're happy now" at your parents as you leave.

When you get to the barbecue, edge up to Ezekiel and say, "Wow, it's hot in here. Can you hold my purse while I get out of this sweatshirt?" While most of the boys polled did not find shirts with words across the front or girls removing pullovers to be immodest, a significant minority did. Turn your back to him modestly, so that you can pretend your watchband is caught on your sleeve, making it necessary for you to lean forward while you take off the shirt. That will expose an inch or so of your back (Over half the survey agreed that's immodest. You aren't supposed to have a back.) When you stand up to pull the shirt off, stretch. Survey says seeing a girl stretching is a stumbling block, or as the rest of the world calls it, a turn-on. Now position yourself and your white shirt near a light source. Zeke will be putty in your hands.

Brer Rabbit says so.

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