“Appropriate or Inappropriate Temptation”
Author’s Note: I actually wrote this while sitting in the car at a rummage sale with Ben earlier today.
Am I immodest? A temptation? Does the way I dress and act make people uncomfortable? Not my school clothes, I don’t think. I dress pretty professionally for work and rather nicely when we go out otherwise. At least I think so and no one has told me differently. But then there are other times.
I occasionally feel like my becoming comfortable with myself and what I wear directly coincides with other people becoming uncomfortable with me and what I wear. I was raised extremely conservatively – mid-calf to ankle-length skirts, my mom put her hair up in a bun since before I can remember, no make-up, no jewelry aside from a wedding band. And there was nothing wrong with it. I was comfortable and I indeed built my own style out of it. I still love skirts and buy them whenever I can. I didn’t wear my first knee-length skirt until I was 14 or 15 – it was a pencil-style skirt, soft green with a ruffle at the hem that feel just to the top of my knees. I remember looking in the mirror before I went to church, trying to get used to it, and noticing, “I have nice legs.” My mother, love her to death, chuckled, “Yes, you do. But no one ever sees them.” That’s one of those comments that I have never forgotten.
I always ask Ben if I look OK before I leave the house, if I look appropriate. Rarely does he say no and, if he does, I set about to fix it. I trust his judgment and value his opinion as a man, despite the fact that he loves and thinks me beautiful. I will admit that I think I made an unwise choice perhaps at a friend’s wedding two years ago. I wore a green halter dress and, yes, I have grown to be rather busty. I should have listened to that twinge of nervousness in my gut and maybe worn something else, especially since these were mostly people who hadn’t seen me since college, in my long skirt and polo days. A week or so after the wedding, a woman that I had known in college and not seen for four or five years basically told me that she was disappointed and had lost respect for me because of that dress and how different it was from what I wore in college. Basically, she thought I had been immodest and was showing myself off. I asked someone else, whom I trusted, and they admitted that they agreed with her on some of her points, though not all of them. I will admit that I cried after that. I’ve never been called immodest before and it stung a great deal. I try not to be inappropriate in my dress, I do. I haven’t had anyone come up to me in belly dance rig and call me a tramp so far so that’s good, I guess.
Now, I think that I have enough curves and have been working out more so that something will look nice in almost anything I wear. I do not want to be thought of as immodest or as a deliberate temptation by those whom I love and respect, if that makes any sense. I’m still coming to terms with myself, trying to accept myself and be the healthiest I can be. I want Ben to be pleased to have me on his arm when we go out. I want, like any other girl, to be lovely – to look it as well as feel it. If I have gone about that goal wrongly, I do apologize.
Ben and I were talking about this and, to be honest, I was getting very frustrated as it’s rather hard for me to articulate this particular part of my psyche and thought process. With the understanding and honesty that make up part of why I fell in love with him, Ben reached over and patted my hand. “I married you because you are a loving, God-fearing woman. However, I also married you because you’re hot and sexy. I believe you can be both.”
And I have to admit, that made me smile.