Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What's Pants for the Goose....

You know, it would be really nice if people behaved with common decency. It would be nice if ordinary modesty came back. It would be really nice if Christians advocating modesty weren't so often huge and officious twits.

For example, let us click on over to the humbly named Nobis Quoque Peccatoribus and observe the blogger's discussion of "The Problem of Pants". (Thanks, Speculative Catholic.) It seems that it is vital to the world to point out that the cut of pants into legs creates a sort of arrow pointing upward at the female private package.

And yet, on the principle of the splinter and the GREAT HONKIN' OAKEN BEAM, it doesn't occur to this pure-minded blogger that the cut of pants inevitably points still more directly at the male package. Which is external, and outlined for all to see, by the cut of pants. I mean any pants, guys, not just tight ones.

It always astonishes me that men don't think about these things. For some reason, the burden of modesty always is supposed to rest upon the women, while men are apparently considering themselves sexless creatures lured to wrong by women flaunting all they own. I hate to break it to these men, but what's sauce for the goose is definitely sauce for the gander, and always was. Sorry your mommy never filled you in.

Pants were counted immodest in Jesus' time -- something worn only by wild horse-riding barbarians. Legionnaires' leather skirts were counted immodest by the Jews, who wore full-length robes. The necessity to ride horses and the utility of the clothing brought pants back again and again, but what a pain to sew until modern times! So pants kept going right back where they came from, until the last few centuries.

But even when pants came to stay, men who were not fashion-forward guarded their modesty. History is full of elaborately modest male underwear. Jackets and coats were long and covered the rear and front of pants from view. Until the last few decades, no decent man would sit around the house even in his undershirt; and going out into the front yard required undershirt, shirt, jacket, and snappy hat as well as pants. Somehow, I don't see a lot of traditional men taking care to hide their musculature or cover their bare arms; but that was the way it used to be.

In the end, a good deal of modesty is in the eye of the beholder as well as the wearer. And if the beholder of female pants is a gentleman, he will politely fail to look at the exact same areas that ladies fail to see on men. It's called chivalry. It's called a social contract. It's called risking a punch or slap if you look at my pants in any less respectful way.

And if you non-hypocritical male advocates of modesty go to kilts, be sure to wear a sporran and learn how to sit right. It'll help protect you from the world being able to see up your skirts as far as I was able to see up NQP's argument.


  • At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This "women are a near occasion of sin" stuff was bogus from the time Adam first tried it in the garden of Eden.

    Besides, even a nice Arabian girl in a burka can get a guy who loves eyes all hot and bothered. It has always been thus.

    If y'all haven't read the linked post and its comment log, go take a look. Some folks have w-a-y too much time on their hands, and seem w-a-y too preoccupied with sex.

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger mrsdarwin said…

    Nice, nice. We pants-wearing women thank you. Perhaps NQP is worried about men falling into the sin of lust once they realize that women have something between their legs, but I'm far more worried about tempting other women to be uncharitable if my skirt should happen to ride up and they get a glimpse of my pregnancy-induced varicose veins... It's flattering to my vanity to preserve the illusion that there's something worth seeing under the pants.

  • At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This post is very un-Charitable, un-Dignified, and lacks respect for others.

    Besides that, you're missing the whole point.

  • At 12:52 PM, Blogger Ian Andrew Palko said…

    In the future, out of courtesy, I would appreciate notification, or a Trackback if you link to or comment about a post of mine.

    That said, the focus of my argument was on women and pants, and not on men and pants. So, I don't see any hypocracy here. No, I don't condemn men for wearing pants, but that wasn't my argument. Your argument may be valid, but it certainly isn't disproof of mine, it's a "Tu Quoque" retort.

    It should also be noted (as I have many times in the post and comments on my blog) that men and women are fundamentally different from the perspective of sexuality and arousal and there are many scientific and practical examples of this. This goes very far toward why clothing has to be modest on both side, and what constitutes reasonably modest clothing.

    You also make the claim that pants were shunned in other cultures, particularly in the locale and time of Our Lord. From where does this information come? It is fairly common knowledge that pants were frowned upon on women for the last few centuries, and such was seen, even by the Church as a terrible trend throughout the 20th century, but what you cite isn't common knowledge, so some sourcing would be appropriate, if you please.

    As regards the poor dress of men these days, I completely agree, and I try as best I can to maintain that decorm for myself, and encourage other men as well, even to the point of telling friends that what they are wearing is not gentlemanly. My post wasn't just an attack on women, and I have planned for a while to make points on men and modesty as well. I shall in the near future, when I have the time.

    To put on men totally the duty to not look where they should not is quite unfair. Agreed, we have to have custody of the eyes, and practice chivalry, but at the same point, such goes both ways. Women have to dress modestly if they want men to practice such custody without terrible difficulty. Men have to practice modesty in speech and action if they hope to make it easy for women to have custody of the heart (the two actions against the primary defects in each because of Original Sin).

    I will hopefully address the topic of men and pants as well in a future post, and do welcome your comments there on that subject, provided they are polite and charitible.

    To Anoynymous: I don't have alot of time on my hands at all. I run my blog as a small apostolate with the few minutes I can find from time to time between 60 hrs of work a week and many resposibilities outside of work. And no, I'm not proccupied with sex ... if you look at all of my posts, very few touch on such subjects. And no, I'm not advocating a "women are a near occasion of sin" approach, they can be as much as men can be when we are immodest (for men that is much more in speech and action, rather than in appearance). That you would critique thus without revealing you name is quite cowardly. At least take credit for what you say.

  • At 7:26 PM, Blogger Banshee said…

    First, my name is not exactly a secret. It is posted all over this blog, in diverse places. It is in fact posted all over the Net. Since I've been continuously on the Net since 1993 or so, you have a wealth of information available about me, including personal photos, which you are welcome to use if you choose. But though you're not interested enough to read further than that useless profile thing which I was forced to create against my will, I see no reason not to tell you that my name is Maureen O'Brien.

    Since I don't know how to "do" a trackback and I've never done one for anyone else, I assure you that I wasn't being impolite. This is one of the least visited blogs in all creation. I don't inform the National Review or Wall Street Journal when I've linked to something as good or bad, and I don't bother my fellow bloggers with such things, either.

    (Note to self -- linking etiquette must have shifted again. Bother.)

    (Note to self -- go look up the help file on "trackbacks".)

    As for being uncharitable... believe me, I didn't say what I was thinking. Sheesh, if one of my brothers had come out with something like that, he would have gotten to face both my German and Irish tempers! (Not to mention my mom's.)

    In my own snarky little way, sir, I am engaged in claiming and defending the freedom of the children of God (or at least the female children with pants). If I wanted to be a Muslim or an Orthodox Jew, I could easily go be one.

    But I am a Catholic. I don't dress like a skank, but I don't dress like I'm Amish, either. I don't drink like a fish, but I can have a glass of whisky when I like. I don't gamble away my savings, but I don't condemn a friendly game of poker as spawn of the devil. I try to live a moderate and reasonable life in everything except doing good and loving the Lord, which I try to do as much as I can.

    Certainly, you have the right to try to exhort others to do what is good and not do what is evil. There is plenty to be said and done about modesty. But condemning pants is heading into Savonarola "I'm more Catholic than the Pope" territory.

    It also will make girls think you are creepy, since someone male who's that worried about perfectly normal, non-tight, non-low rider pants is clearly not real safe around skirts, either. (They won't think this about Colleen. I know it's not fair, but women commenting adversely on each others' clothes is pretty normal.)

    For your own good, please lighten up. I also advise you to contemplate a statue of St. Joan of Arc, and ask her to help you deal with this pants problem.

  • At 7:20 PM, Blogger Ian Andrew Palko said…


    First, I'm not attacking you. Every post you've put up sounds as if everything I wrote was personally aimed at you. It wasn't.

    You're full name, I don't really care, Ms. O'Brien. I don't want background information, or photos, or anything. You just appeared, commented on my blog in a highly sarcastic way, then posted this, calling me a twit and how I'm being holier than thou.

    I'll put it like this: If I were to say that women should ware a full shirt and cover themselves, you'd probably not disagree. If I condemned skimpy bathing suits, you'd also probably agree. Yet when I do the same things with pants, my points which are confirmed by studies as well, you call me creepy, insist that I have some psychological problem (or can't keep my eyes to myself) and say I'm a twit. I really don't care about this, you can call me whatever you want, except I don't think you can call any of this charitible.

    I didn't call you or any woman who wears pants any names, just suggested why it such a problem. In the comments, Church authorities were also cited condeming pants (not just Williamson, but a Cardinal as well).

    I'm glad your a modest and moderate in your life. I'm all for moderation. You want a beer, fine, heck I work at a brewery, I'm certainly not opposed. You want to gamble, go right ahead, just as you say, be moderate. That's fine.

    How does this make me "more Catholic than the Pope?" I've not said he's wrong, and in fact the Vatican has in the past made many statements about what constitutes the minimum requirements for modesty (not just in Church, but in everyday life).

    If this makes me a creep, fine. If it means that no women will want to be around me, that's fine. in fact I've gotten many positive responses from women on the subject, men as well, all seemingly moderate and normal people.

    I'm doing what I think is right and promoting something that is really important. You can think and do what your want, but you didn't. You could have just ignored this "twit" and "creep." You chose to attack me.

    I'm all for the liberty (see St. Thomas' Defintion of that) for God's servants and handmaidens, but liberty is not the freedom to unduely lead another to sin. I think that's what pants on women do. You disagree that that's the case, that's perfectly fine, I just don't see how that justfies the almost crazed response.

  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger Cacciaguida said…

    Ian: Does your authority, Bishop Williamson, have anything to say on the Jewish angle on this issue?

  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Ian Andrew Palko said…


    Wow, you have "poisoning the well" down to a tee, you know.

    Other than what Williamson said here has nothing to do with the other issue, I've never claimed he wasn't free from some "interesting" opinions.

    But it's not just Williamson who speaks to the issue. He just did so quite forcefully and correctly, IMHO. I should note other less controversaial figures such as Cardinal Siri have spoken on the issue as well. I wonder if he ever said anything that was uncouth? If you find something incriminating and unrelated by Siri, please let me know.

  • At 6:03 AM, Anonymous Leather Jacket For Sale said…

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