March 4, 2011
When I was a teen, I found a book in our library titled THE APE IN ME, by Cornelia Otis Skinner, published in 1959.
It was a compilation of essays, and I have never forgotten it. I especially loved the title essay, where she tells of how she finds herself 'aping', or imitating other people. She admits that when she is around British people, she picks up their accents, or if she is watching someone eat, her own mouth begins to work in chewing motions. It is quite humorous, and if you ever come across a copy of it, I hope you give her a read.
Now, what has this got to do with my blog?
Well, as the name suggests, the blog is about the COMPLEXITIES of simple living. Sometimes I need to make decisions that SHOULD be simple, but often become complicated. Ms. Skinner's essay often comes to mind when I find myself contemplating a change in my way of doing things--in other words, am I doing something merely because I see others doing it, or am I doing it because I honestly feel that God has CALLED ME TO?
Case in point--in the online world, I have found many women who wear dresses exclusively. They strive to be as feminine as possible, and I applaud that--got no problem whatsoever with it. However, I live in a very primitive location, and I have a very different workload from most of my online sisters, so I wear mostly jeans, boots, t-shirts, etc. I do own dresses and a few skirts, and even though I wear jeans to church (we meet in a barn with sawdust floors, after all), I do try to wear a more feminine cut pant and shirt, with makeup even!
My concern is--since I have been reading all these wonderful blogs, like Mrs. White's Legacy Of Home (www.thelegacyofhome.blogspot.com), My pen pal Marqueta's Sweete Felicity (www/sweetefelicity.blogspot.com), and even the wonderful women of Ladies Against Feminism (www.ladiesagainstfeminism.com), to mention only a few, I have begun to wonder about wearing dresses too. Again, I am having to ask myself--is this only because I see my online sisters living this way, or am I honestly feeling the tug of the Spirit calling me to do this?
If I do this for the WRONG reason--it ain't gonna work for God's glory, no matter how feminine or unworldly I may appear. And ultimately, everything we do needs to be for HIS GLORY, not our flesh. And I know my flesh. It's a proud, snotty, self righteous little stinker, and it will grab for every bit of attention that it can get.
I once dragged my flesh up the hill to the Cross. It was kickin' screamin', and clawin' at the ground all the way up. When I got it there, I maced it, nailed it to the Cross, duct taped it, and put log chains around it. When I turned and walked back down the hill, I heard the chains clunk to the ground, the duct tape tear, and the nails pop out of the wood. Then my flesh came bounding down the hill, wiping it's eyes and sayin' "That was fun--what can we do now?"
Oh, you've had that happen too?
So you see my concerns. To imitate other women's Godly behavior is good, for it helps me to learn the Titus 2 way;
"the older women, likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things--that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, (Titus 2:3,4. NKJV)
However, if I am not feeling peace about a behavior being right for me personally, then I am only 'aping', not truly applying God's Word to my life.
I have read all the scriptures pertaining to clothing, and modesty, and how we are not to wear the clothes of the opposite sex. What I have concluded from all my reading of God's Word is basically this--gaudy, immodest, or clothing that intentionally undermines a woman’s femininity are not acceptable. Other than that, I just don’t see a big deal in how a woman dresses.
I asked my friend Cindy, who wears dresses everyday. In fact, she wears many old type dresses, looking sorta Amish. She said that she had personally felt called to make a change from jeans to dresses. Her husband had discouraged her from doing it for a long time, since they also live in the mountains, and they also work with horses, etc. Yet Cindy kept feeling that call in her heart, so she started slowly, and her husband eventually whole heartedly came on board. Now, she points out that she has a husband and two sons who take care of most of the outside chores, and that their homestead is farther along than ours, so she doesn't have to do many of the same tasks I do. My husband works away from home, and my son is special needs, so that leaves me to do many of the tasks outside, along with my regular housekeeping.
Cindy and I also discussed what modest clothing truly is--it is clothing that is appropriate for the situation. Since both she and I ride and break horses, we both wear jeans during those tasks. Face it--if a horse bucks or 'crow hops'--a skirt is NOT modest!
I then went to my husband, Brian, and asked him to tell me honestly, which would HE prefer I wear? I figured if he said dresses, it would take the responsibility offa MY shoulders, since he is the head of the household. Yeah--THAT WORKED.
My hubby says he honestly doesn't CARE what I wear, as long as it is modest when we are around others. He says if I wanna wear dresses while I work on the mountain--go for it, but don't complain when TICK AND SNAKE SEASON GETS HERE! He likes me in dresses, but he adds that many of our chores are just not appropriate for that type of clothing, especially when breaking horses, or hog hunting, where I've been chased up into a tree(don't ask--it wasn't pretty, and the pine sap almost NEVER came outta my hair).
So, while I am still wondering what to ultimately do about the dress issue, I think I have come up with a workable idea for the time being. I am not gonna give up on jeans and boots, and I am not about to burn brush or muck out corrals in a dress. And wearing makeup while cutting down a tree? Who am I gonna impress? The local bears?
If I am digging, shoveling, chopping, rock hauling, etc, I will wear clothing that is serviceable, comfortable, and durable. I am focusing only on results during those types of tasks, and neither my husband or I care one whit what I look like at those times. In fact, he has come home at times to find me covered in dirt, sweat, and other more...um...INDECOROUS substances, and he has been more concerned with the fact that the septic system is working, than the fact that his wife is not all perfumed and girly.
Having said that, I have decided that while I will continue to wear my old jeans, boots, t-shirts, and my beloved black leather biker jacket--I will seek ways to add a feminine touch to my wardrobe.
That can easily be done with the right touches, and when I get my camera up and running, I'll post some photos that can show how it can be done.
I'm also gonna work to restore many of the little practices that I've let slide--you know, small things that make a woman feel more feminine--a home manicure and pedicure on Saturday night in preparation for church, making sure my hair is cut and colored in a flattering way, etc.
I'm also going to work on getting cleaned up and looking nice when the Redneck gets home. Maybe even slip into a dress before supper, just to watch his eyes bug out.
So, that is what I've been thinkin' about lately. This has been a hard post to write, since I wanna make a point, but I don't wanna offend women on either side of the issue. I've come to the conclusion that while not all women can realistically wear dresses all the time--all women can look more feminine with a bit of planning and work.
Come on--gimme some feedback on this one. I really wanna know what ya'll think.
Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett