Modesty – is it just for girls?

Why do we teach girls and young women modesty? Huge amounts of resources are put into educating (mostly young) women to dress modestly, to be polite and to attract boys with their personality rather than their body. Books, music, social media posts, entire Facebook and Instagram pages and a bunch of other stuff is dedicated to this topic. Why? Y’all are teaching the wrong people!

I hate that young girls are taught that they have to careful on how they attract boys or what boys notice about them. It’s wrong. Though I’m sure it’s out there, and it definitely should be, I’ve never encountered this same level of educational resources and encouraging media educating boys and young men to respect women for their brain, not their body.

Even within Christian circles, I don’t see this. There isn’t a whole section at Koorong for boys called, How to Look at Her Eyes, Not Her Chest. Why aren’t there books, music, social media posts, and entire Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to educating young men to notice her personality and not her tight jeans?

Young women shouldn’t have to worry about where guys are looking and what is noticed about their physical appearance. We should be teaching our boys to have self-control, not to exploit insecurities and to put respect first.

I know there is a very small amount of this sort of thing being taught, but I don’t believe it is done well enough or to the extent that it needs to be. This idea of respect is only shown very subtly to boys and it’s done in a very summed up and harsh way:

“Sex is for marriage and if you even notice that she has boobs you’re going to hell.”

I know that many young men, including myself, experience the guilt of noticing a low cut top. We’re taught that physical attraction is evil and wrong. It’s not. It’s human. And it’s okay. There is a difference between lust and noticing and we need to make sure that men, young and old, are taught to know and value the difference between them. Boys and young men also need to be taught how to show affection that isn’t always physical, but that you don’t have to feel guilty for finding her physically attractive.

#ThatChristianVlogger suggests that noticing that a woman is attractive is not a sin, but lusting after her is. He outlines his reasons, quite soundly, in this video.

So, what are your thoughts? Who needs to do what?

Much of this post was originally posted to Facebook by Harrison Seydler.

Where is the boy I kissed?

Where is the boy I kissed?

I thought to look for him on Facebook, but I didn’t want to spoil his 14 year old beauty. The deep brown eyes and hair; the baby face he hated but we girls sighed over. Never quite as tough as the black-jeaned, long haired big brother and the wannabe metal band boys my parents nicknamed “The blackshirts.” He was beautiful and silent. Probably with fear, but to my 15 year old self, he was mystery personified. We stopped a game of spin-the-bottle once, this beautiful boy and I, simply by playing. Turn for turn, the bottle spun and lips met. Darkness, excess sugar and a tiny bit of Southern Comfort set the mood and he spun and it turned to me. Game over, baby. And we were both babies, really, but for that next 45 minutes I knew nothing but his kiss. Actually, I did know. I knew we’d stopped the game, but I was more proud than concerned. He was gorgeous; he was sexy; and he was safe. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?
Same house. Same friends, almost. Same silly 15 year old me. An older, less safe, less sexy, similarly bedecked young man – for man he was, barely. Not the same sweetness and more driven by lust than wanting to play the game. I was innocent, confident in myself and in romance. Would I like to listen to a new guitar riff in the caravan? Ok. Kiss me. Ok. Where is the boy I kissed? As far as I know, still on his back on a cramped fold down caravan bunk. Just where I left him when I realised I was skin to skin shirtless on his chest as he offered, no, demanded, more. Just two words. Four letters and two letters and, this time, not kiss me. I’d never been so shocked, hurt and angry in my life. And I left, fast. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?

This one is trapped inside a green exercise book in a future my 16 year old self created for him. With me by his side, of course. But he didn’t know about the life I had planned for us. He didn’t know that we were supposed to be looking after 6 children by now. He didn’t know how close I was to saying yes to the same question asked by the manboy before. This one asked more sweetly, more softly, more subtly. But he still asked. He didn’t know how nervous he made me. I guess he didn’t know why I said no. And I didn’t know then, that later, after he stopped asking me, another man asked him. And he said yes. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?

The one who took six months of my none too subtle flirting to realise I liked him. The one who bought me red roses and a pendant to go with my 17 year old birthday outfit to show me he’d realised and reciprocated. Who held my hand through ‘Aladdin’; walked me to his home with our friends who we proceeded to ignore as we kissed on the couch. A lot. The one who patted my back as I cried for no reason. A lot. The one who kissed me despite gross chicken pox. Mine. A lot of them. The one with whom I scrimped – a lot; saved-hardly; screamed; psycho’d and loved. Where is the boy I kissed? He’s here. And that is NOT all.

Where is the boy I kissed?

There are three. Faces in sequence squishy, soft and scratchy from shaving. I have kissed all of those quickly changing, growing boys for the past 18+ years and I will continue doing it. My boys. My sons.

And that is all.

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

And now, as I go to press POST, the nerves rise below my sternum just as they did for the boys I kissed. Not the butterflies in anticipation of sweet lips, but the charging elephants that stir anxious thoughts of your judgement, my friends.

But as always,

Veritas,

Eski

Not my story, obviously.

I can see why some people aren’t sure if Sam’s story is real or not. I mean, I’m a 41 year old woman, not a 16 year old boy. I don’t have the requisite parts to have testicular cancer. This is true. And so is Sam’s story.

“Nuts, A Ball and other 4-letter Words.”

He’s a real person. Not his real name for the sake of privacy. This is his journey for a short/horrifically long period of his life so far. This is the story, too, of anyone who has been dealt the punch to the face (knee to the groin?) that cancer is. It’s also the story of winning. Of not spelling cancer with a capital C. Of making it. Of living life anyway, of growth and regrowth. Of sharing instead of hiding. Of kissing and sex. Of separation and belonging. Just Life. It’s the story of family and yet it isn’t.

I spoke to most of Sam’s family while his personal story bubbled in my head and came flowing out in words both his and mine.

I spoke to his big brother who, although uncomfortable in some ways talking to a relative stranger, made his love love for his family, even an annoying younger brother, very clear.

I spoke with his little sister, who thought I was a little crazy and made a rude comment about my shoe choices….fair call, though. The two of us forged a friendship that was close, for a while, and sang the real lyrics to Mumford and Sons’ ‘Little Lion Man’ really, really loudly, just because we could. Now she’s not a ‘little’ sister any more, but a beautiful, engaged young woman with whom a coffee date seems elusive. And I spoke with Mum.

I wondered if she thought I was odd, a teacher and mother of children of my own, befriending her kids. Apparently not, thankfully. And I loved them. Hearing their stories; getting a little into their lives.

Weird, isn’t it, how quickly that depth of feeling can come? And go. Not the feeling, just the actual spending time. It just drifts off sometimes. I don’t really know why. Happens far more often than I’d like, that sort of fading. Anyway, I’m getting morose.

So Mum let me hang out. And talk to her kids. And to her. She told me all of her experiences of Sam’s diagnosis, treatment, surgery and eventual recovery. I think I expected more tears, more drama. But you’ve already read that’s not her style. So it was fact and explanation of both circumstances and emotions.

I always meant to write the whole story. The whole truth for the whole family, but I couldn’t write Mum’s perspective. When I voiced her, my pen stopped. I, who had children of my own and knew how mums felt when their children hurt. I, who could scrawl out the story of a teenager’s masturbation and fantasy, couldn’t find the words to share this mother’s battle for her boy.

Why?

I’m sorry that I couldn’t find your voice with my pen. I’m sorry that I couldn’t express your fear, or the knowledge that you just had to do what you had to do. I’m sorry ’cause I wanted to tell of your courage, your love. I wanted to write more. I don’t think I could go there, you know, because it would have been bloody hard. I haven’t looked at my notes in years, but I have one thing that I’ve always remembered.

When mums hug their children, we often put our hands on their heads, ruffle their hair up a bit. And it’s a sign of affection, of casual ‘love ya, mate’ warmth. But for you it became more. Discreetly, under the guise of casual, you’d check your not-so-little boy’s scalp and neck for the telltale heat of fever and bumps of possible infection. I already knew how I felt when I held my ‘babies’ and I think I couldn’t find your voice cause I didn’t want to even imagine having to watch them so closely, so scared. I knew I didn’t know, couldn’t even guess and I didn’t want to do you or your feelings injustice.

So there it is. Honesty. I’ve finally made myself look at it as more than just writer’s block.

If you haven’t read Sam’s story yet, you could start here.

Love,

Mandy. 🐛<<
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Where is the boy I kissed?

Where is the boy I kissed?

I thought to look for him on Facebook, but I didn’t want to spoil his 14 year old beauty. The deep brown eyes and hair; the baby face he hated but we girls sighed over. Never quite as tough as the black-jeaned, long haired big brother and the wannabe metal band boys my parents nicknamed “The blackshirts.” He was beautiful and silent. Probably with fear, but to my 15 year old self, he was mystery personified. We stopped a game of spin-the-bottle once, this beautiful boy and I, simply by playing. Turn for turn, the bottle spun and lips met. Darkness, excess sugar and a tiny bit of Southern Comfort set the mood and he spun and it turned to me. Game over, baby. And we were both babies, really, but for that next 45 minutes I knew nothing but his kiss. Actually, I did know. I knew we’d stopped the game, but I was more proud than concerned. He was gorgeous; he was sexy; and he was safe. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?
Same house. Same friends, almost. Same silly 15 year old me. An older, less safe, less sexy, similarly bedecked young man – for man he was, barely. Not the same sweetness and more driven by lust than wanting to play the game. I was innocent, confident in myself and in romance. Would I like to listen to a new guitar riff in the caravan? Ok. Kiss me. Ok. Where is the boy I kissed? As far as I know, still on his back on a cramped fold down caravan bunk. Just where I left him when I realised I was skin to skin shirtless on his chest as he offered, no, demanded, more. Just two words. Four letters and two letters and, this time, not kiss me. I’d never been so shocked, hurt and angry in my life. And I left, fast. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?

This one is trapped inside a green exercise book in a future my 16 year old self created for him. With me by his side, of course. But he didn’t know about the life I had planned for us. He didn’t know that we were supposed to be looking after 6 children by now. He didn’t know how close I was to saying yes to the same question asked by the manboy before. This one asked more sweetly, more softly, more subtly. But he still asked. He didn’t know how nervous he made me. I guess he didn’t know why I said no. And I didn’t know then, that later, after he stopped asking me, another man asked him. And he said yes. And that was all.

Where is the boy I kissed?

The one who took six months of my none too subtle flirting to realise I liked him. The one who bought me red roses and a pendant to go with my 17 year old birthday outfit to show me he’d realised and reciprocated. Who held my hand through ‘Aladdin’; walked me to his home with our friends who we proceeded to ignore as we kissed on the couch. A lot. The one who patted my back as I cried for no reason. A lot. The one who kissed me despite gross chicken pox. Mine. A lot of them. The one with whom I scrimped – a lot; saved-hardly; screamed; psycho’d and loved. Where is the boy I kissed? He’s here. And that is NOT all.

Where is the boy I kissed? 

There are three. Faces in sequence squishy, soft and scratchy from shaving. I have kissed all of those quickly changing, growing boys for the past 18+ years and I will continue doing it. My boys. My sons.

And that is all.

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

And now, as I go to press POST, the nerves rise below my sternum just as they did for the boys I kissed. Not the butterflies in anticipation of sweet lips, but the charging elephants that stir anxious thoughts of your judgement, my friends. 

But as always,

Veritas,

Eski