By Tamara Jane
Does it disgust you when you’re trying to have a conversation with a guy and he won’t look you in the face… because he’s too busy looking you over? I think that every young woman struggles with this, regardless of how modestly we dress. I recently asked some guys I know if there are some things that cause their eyes to wander and imaginations to ignite more than others. I have formed their responses into a list of nine things women wear that are especially tempting to men.
Billboard shorts. The very idea here is to draw attention to the butt, and it works. Even women are checking out your butt if you have something printed on it. It’s the same concept of highway billboards, and as they assure us, “advertising works.”
Side Satchel Purses. For real? A purse? I love those little purses with the long straps that fit comfortably over the shoulder freeing my hands. So it was a little upsetting to learn that when I am wearing my purse across the body, and the strap cuts right down the middle and separates my breasts, defining them more, some guy is filling in the details in his mind. Further, when we walk, those cute side-satchel bags often get shoved to the back; once again, this is very convenient for the wearer, but it lands on our bottoms. And so it bounces along, as we do, with each step and, once again, calls guys’ attentions. Even the best-intentioned person can’t help but notice a bouncing object.
Words across the Chest. This style shirt is so ubiquitous that one would think guys would be desensitized to it. Some of the messages are quite innocent, if not even laudable. But here’s what happens: You’re walking into Walmart with a shirt that says, “Peru Mission Trip 2011” and people can’t help but try to read it. As you move, so do the words. And so after a guy finishes reading the shirt, his attention lingers to the platform behind the words. They’re looking at our chests again! Grrr.
V-necks Shirts. It’s another optical trick. The eye wants to follow the two sides to its point. And sometimes the point of the V is a jumping off place for the male imagination.
Tight Shirts. Same concept, broader category. I hope by now you’re getting the point that men are easily distracted and thrown off track by visual stimuli. Shirts that accentuate every curve we have been blessed with are basically an embossed invitation to the active male imagination.
High Kick Pleats. It’s the V-neck concept in reverse. Again, the eye wants to follow the sides to the point. And in many cases, with today’s ridiculously high pleats, it’s not a huge mental leap for a guy to go from the end of the pleat to seeing you in your skivvies.
Exposed Bra Straps. This “fashion” trend was made really popular in the mid 80s by Madonna. That should be our first clue that it’s completely godless. It’s odd how one popular person can come along and turn something that was previously iconic for white trash into something chic. I think we had it right before Madonna.
Tube Shirts or Halters that Expose Tan Lines (or lack thereof). OK, you’ve just had a tan sprayed on and you want to show it off. So out comes the tube top. To a guy, you might just as well havewalked out of the shower, and all that that implies. Or, you’re proud of your hard-earned tan and you want to show the world how far you’ve come by showing off those tan lines. Maybe the girls will be impressed, but the guys will not think a thing of your color, and will start to imagine what you might look like in a bikini, or worse. What other tan lines might you be hiding? Accessories. There are actually a lot of ways bling-bling can lead the male mind astray. I’ll just list a few: Bright reds, on lips and nails, big earrings, and facial piercings, all fairly or unfairly still call to mind a woman of less than stellar morals. Be especially wary of these things on first dates, when a guy is apt to take any little thing as a sign you want sex. Necklaces that rest on the chest (we’ve covered the why of this already), and jeans with heavily decorated pockets, as well as shirts with decorated breast pockets.
I suspect readers will have one of two reactions to this: Mouth wide open in disbelief (and a little disgust for men) or eyes rolling, thinking this a ridiculous list. And it does seem rather ridiculous that in this day and age women should have to restrict the liberties so hard won to what? Prevent some pervert from falling to lust? Men are men (from Mars, if you didn’t get the memo). They are, as God wired them to be, a lot more physical and visual, than women are.
So what’s a woman to do about that? Well, this well-accepted fact has led some extremists to cover everything but their eyes while in public. Do you think that solves the problem? Do men in Iran not lust? Probably they do. So why do we even try? Why not give up on modesty all together?
Let’s look at it from another perspective. Instead of saying, “I have to dress modestly so my brother doesn’t stumble,” (oh, that it were as easy as that!), say instead, “I want to make life a tad easier for my brothers in Christ by dressing in a way that doesn’t make it easier for them to stumble.” Romans 14:13b says, “Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” In our clothing choices, we can be a help or a hindrance to our brothers. I know, it’s no fun to have to consider other people over your own tastes and desires, but if you’re a disciple of Christ, that’s just the kind of life you’re called to, and not just in one area, but in every aspect of life. As Paul said, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). The great thing about fashion in the 21st century is that there our choices so vast that we can comply with Scriptural mandates not to be a stumbling block in how we dress, while still finding tons of outfits that work for us. Dress as unto the Lord.