Ownership

Posted: April 21, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

“Can I talk with you a minute?   Privately?”

The stout old church lady took my elbow and man-handled me into a corner.

“I’m just telling you this with the love of the Lord” she began.  She took her glasses off and pinched her nose.

My curiosity raised its snout, trying to sniff out what was going on.  “What?”

She blinked at me.  I noticed a multitude of pins in her gray hair, and I couldn’t help noticing how her print dress hung from her, right down to the ground, just above her sensible shoes.

Sensible shoes.  I shouldn’t be noticing those.  That’s too gay.

“You really need to be careful about what you wear, young man.”

I looked down at my clothing and took inventory.  Sports jacket, t-shirt, jeans, black shoes.   Puzzled, I looked back at her.

“I mean…”  and she sighed. “Oh this is so difficult.”

“Please don’t feel awkward, sister.  Just tell me.”

She couldn’t look me in the eye.  “It’s your jeans, young man.”

“My jeans?”

“They’re too tight.”

I looked down again.  Damn.  They were tight.  Just the way I like them.

“What do you mean?”

Her face started to turn red.  “I mean.  Young women can get carried astray by the tightness of your jeans.”

I started to laugh.  “What?”

“Well, they can see your, ah….”

I grinned in disbelief.  “They can see my junk?  Is that what you’re trying to say?”

She got all flustered.  “You don’t need to be so vulgar.”

“I’m vulgar?”  This was turning more ridiculous the more I thought about it. “Your observation is vulgar, lady.  If you don’t like what I’m wearing, I suggest you turn away and stop staring at my crotch.”  I waggled my hips at her.

“Oh I’m going to talk with Pastor Norman about this!”  She turned quickly, which dislodged one of her hair pins such that it was dangling by a hair down at her back. “Just you wait and see!”

I laughed and started to make my way to a pew in the church.   This time an elder grabbed my arm.  What is it with old people wanting to grab your arm all the time?  Why can’t they just jump up and down in front of you while waving their arms to get your attention?   Why do they have to put such a death grip on your elbow?  It hurts, damn it, and I just want to punch them in the face when they do it.

I can’t, of course, being Canadian, and Christian and Righteous and all.

Plus, I fight like a girl.

Anyway, as he pulled me close with his raptor’s claw, he hissed in my ear.  I think he thought he was being quiet and circumspect, but that hissing could be heard throughout the church.  I could tell, because people whipped their heads around to stare at us.

His stinky breath invaded the sanctity of my irreverent ambiance, totally messing up my Chi.   “Son, you need to pay attention to me.”

I tried to pull my arm away.  In vain as it turns out.   Last night’s hangover hadn’t worn off yet.  God.  That stinky breath was going to undo me.  I could tell.  My stomach started rumbling in protest and I had to swallow a few times just to make sure those late night nachos stayed down there, where they belonged.

“What?” I whispered back, hoping he would just say what he had to and leave me alone.

“Some of the saints are complaining that you’re too friendly with the women folk.”   By “saints” I guessed he meant the men.  I have no idea what that made women.  “Hussies” I suppose, if they’re that easily led astray.

I was going to just nod and agree with him.  My nose and my stomach demanded that much from me.   But my stupid conscience wouldn’t hear of it.  Of course not.  It wanted a knock-down drag-out fight.  So I burped instead.   “What do you mean?’

“We see the way you smile at them, saying ‘hello’ to them with that smarmy look on your face.”

“What.  You mean *this* face?”  And with that I smiled at him.  All teeth.  And as smarmily as I could.

He hissed louder.  “YES.  You need to stop that.”

“Why?”

He tightened his grip on my elbow and I swear to God, my left fist tightened as well.  I tried to relax it.

“Because you’re leading them astray.  We see how they crowd around you at the end of the service.  It’s unseemly.  And the Bible says…..”

“Oh here we go” I thought to myself.

“…the Bible says we have to avoid the very appearance of evil.”   With that, he shook my elbow and smiled knowingly.

I finally wrenched my elbow away.  “You know where the evil is, old man?  It’s in your mind.  You need to stop thinking that I want to fuck your wives” I said, “because I don’t.”

“In fact, I kind of want to fuck you, actually.”  And I gave him my gayest grin.   He actually stepped back a few feet.

“And I’ll tell you something else:   I will damned well talk to whoever I want and I’ll smile at whoever I want, too.   And if you ever grab my arm again I’ll drop you where you stand.”

I started to walk out of the church in disgust.  Then I turned around and looked at him again.  “Oh and I say that with all the love of the Lord.    Asshole.”

************

This never happened of course.  It would never happen.  And I don’t know why.

But put the shoe on the other foot, with men talking to women about what they wear, and how they socialize with men and you can *easily* see that it happens all the time.  Men – Christian, church going men – telling women about how they need to conduct themselves around men, and what they should and should not be wearing.

As a member of the male species I have to tell you: it’s embarrassing.

The women I know who’ve been subject to this bullshit (and let’s be clear:  I know many of them who’ve been through this) tend to suffer in silence, rather than call bullshit on it.  My own mother was subject to this crap actually.   It seems women generally (not always) want to keep the peace and not make a scene.  Plus, they’re given this advice by people they respect:  their pastor, their priest, or someone else in authority.  So it gets a bit confusing, because supposedly the priest or pastor should have “the mind of God” – at least that’s the case in evangelical church settings.  Some of the women in turn drink the same kool-aid and subject other women to the same fucked up nonsense.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen this outside of church settings though.  I *have* seen it on a much worse scale, in Muslim settings and on Muslim chat boards.

I’m still scratching my head over the whole thing.  I guess ultimately it boils down to this:

Mankind will always look for excuses for their own behaviour.  They will always point the finger at someone else when they find themselves doing shitty things.

“I was brought up wrong.”

“I came from an abusive family.”

“I came from a poor household.”

“I came from a single parent household.”

“I got in with the wrong crowd (read: it’s the crowd’s fault, not mine)”

“He made me feel bad about myself, that’s why I stole/ate too much/got drunk.”

“She made me so angry.  That’s why I hit her.”

“She was wearing provocative clothing.”

“My little kid wouldn’t shut up.  So I made him shut up.”

The list is endless.

We need to own our own shit.  Bottom line.

Comments
  1. Momma Fargo says:

    Super great post! You are awesome!

    Like

  2. wordofabe says:

    Once again, I can bring biology into the picture. In general, men are more prone to visual stimulation. Look at the porn industry–the overwhelming number of customers of porno-mags are men. Visual stimulation just doesn’t do it as much for women–which is not to say that they don’t find a handsome and hunky gentleman stimulating to the senses, but (speaking in generalities again) a woman is not sexually stimulated by seeing a man in tight pants. Sorry, dude.

    We (manly men) cannot control our biological response to cleavage, pretty hair, pretty faces, pretty eyes, half-way decent faces, or even kind of okay bods. We are men! Schwing! So, rather than control our impulses–especially if we are religiously bent–what better idea then to use that same religion to force the ladies to not be hot! To…un-hot them, so to speak.

    Most of the above comment was tongue-in-cheek. I do like your tight pants.

    Like

    • Bearing in mind that most of your comment was tongue-in-cheek, the fact is that many people truly feel this way. Yes men are prone to visual stimulation, no doubt about it.

      Ultimately though -men have as much control as women when you get right down to it. Or else we would be socially inappropriate all the time and women would have nothing to do with us. We can maintain a semblance of social normalcy when the situation demands it. We can control our responses, absolutely. How many times has a flasher flashed his junk at a police officer, for example? (Yes, it happens, but it’s exceedingly rare, and is done by sociopaths)

      I’m truly sick and tired of the whole sexuality taboo in the Christian culture, with women taking the brunt of the blame for how we view them. Of *course* we’re attracted to them. We’re made that way, as you said. But we wrap this all up in a religious dogma and we say “shame” for being attracted to them. And then we say “shame” to them for being attractive. It’s the whole “blame Eve” deal all over again.

      I’m used to seeing all of this in Muslim circles, so it’s embarrassing to see it in Christian circles too.

      I suppose we can take marginal comfort in the fact that we don’t kill our women for being alluring.

      (Ok I’ve insulted Christian and Muslim cultures. Is there a stone yet left unturned? Point me at it, pronto!)

      Like

  3. Loree says:

    Fucking brilliant.

    Like

  4. Barefoot Girl says:

    It seems ridiculous when you switch places and have a man playing the role of the one that’s likely to cause women to stumble instead of the opposite. As you know, the whole “causing men to stumble” thing almost killed my soul. I got to the point where I despised myself. I wasn’t trying to entice men. I didn’t intend to be “bad.” I burned my swimsuit back in the day when my bible school leaders asked me to. I bought a dowdy one-piece but I couldn’t hide my body.

    God doesn’t like curves. They drilled that into me. I started to walk with my shoulders curved inward in an effort to hide. I felt ashamed of myself all the time. Mostly it was women who confronted me. So many angry wives.

    You know my story.

    Looking back, it makes me sad that I bought it. I let myself be bullied and blamed and belittled. I searched my heart over and over again and found myself not guilty but I lacked the courage to stand back then.

    For awhile I even made myself fat so I could stop myself from being bad, so I wouldn’t cause anyone to stumble. I traded shame for shame.

    I’m sick and tired of it. Do NOT blame me because you turn to look. Don’t blame me for what you feel. Don’t blame me because your wife is jealous. Just stop it. And the self-righteousness… So many men enjoy looking and flirting outside of the church, but when they’re in church-mode those same men are critical and condescending and quick to point out a woman who might cause a man to stumble. Very authentic that. God’s no more fooled by them than he was by Adam and Eve’s attempts to cover their nakedness in the garden of Eden.

    It reminds me of all the times I’ve heard people preach about the sin of masturbation. As if they were not “guilty” of it themselves. Even dogs masturbate. They attempt to hump legs and cushions and cats… They bump and grind and scream for sex. Sexuality is part of our biology. If we were created by God, presumably he wanted us to be sexual beings? I mean, he hung the entire perpetuation of our species on sexual attraction and sex, yes?

    But we’re people. Presumably, we can exercise self-control. Why the hell should I have to go out of my way to make it easy for you? You mentioned Muslims. Well, they’ve got the whole suppression of female sexuality down to a “t,” don’t they. But what do Muslim men dream of? They dream of a forever populated by virgins all ripe for the picking. They dream of orgiastic bliss sanctioned by Allah, no less. The hypocrisy aboundeth!

    No, Western society doesn’t sanction the physical killing of women for being alluring, but we’re not afraid to crush their spirits. I know. It took me a long time to push the boot of the church off of my neck and stand up. I barely made it out without being crushed.

    As for you and your tight jeans, I can look or touch or not but in the end I’m the only one who’s responsible for my actions. I OWN IT, not you.

    I won’t ask you to delete this one, I promise.

    Barefoot Girl

    Like

    • Barefoot Girl – I’m so glad you wrote this! It seemed coincidental that at the same time we were talking about it, I saw other examples of this same kind of nonsense. (But then, I’m not sure I believe in coincidences all that much).

      Your comment has put the finishing touch to this whole topic. Or at least I wish it were so. The fact is – many who should read this, won’t. Dommage. Zut!

      (translation: “too bad”. Zut is a mild French swear word, on the order of “golly!”)

      Like

  5. Barefoot Girl says:

    Well, this is a topic about which we are both passionate. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we were in sync. Your anger helped fuel mine. I shouldn’t need to be reminded that anger is a justifiable response but I do. I got slapped upside the head with this AGAIN just moments before I posted my response to your blog last night and I didn’t cower, I ROARED. It felt all kinds of good. Thanks for that, Wolf.

    I ♥ you <— As I mentioned before (in case you're utterly dense) that's code for I want to see you naked. It doesn't mean that I appreciate you and am glad we're friends. Let's be clear on that.

    Like

    • Ok I’m clear. :)

      I learned a while ago – through therapy, no less – that anger is just an emotion, and is not in itself good or evil. It’s an *excellent* too for when you need it though. And I’m *SO* glad you used it when this issue confronted you again. I’d like to know more about that actually.

      Like

  6. Barefoot Girl says:

    P.S. Did you say “Zut!”? You’re such a potty mouth! Six Hail Marys and four Our Fathers should wipe the slate clean again. Hop to it, you cusser you.

    Like

  7. Barefoot Girl says:

    No shit!

    Like

  8. Just Me says:

    Ahhhhh, For a while there I thought you actually did that. Damn. Oh well, your point is crystal clear and it’s all too true. I mean after all, women dressing provocatively causes earthquakes, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/sns-ap-ml-iran-earthquakes-promiscuity,0,6333394.story , as I just found out yesterday! I’m not sure why I never learned about this in school but, it must be because I didn’t go to a catholic school.

    Like

    • Yes, I read about that on the news. Strange, the stuff that keeps popping up out of Iran. First, the president assured the world that homosexuality doesn’t exist there. Next we’re hearing about boob-provoked earthquakes. Feeling pretty educated over here.

      Like

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