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If you're not a Mormon, the terms in the following email may be a little puzzling. The "LDS" standard is a type of honor code common at Mormon schools. A "ward" is like a sub-sector of the Mormon public, and it determines where and when you go to church and who you're going to church with. Forward your moral outrage to inbox@rochester-citynews.com.

--- Michael Neault

    From: Stephanie C.
    To: Meredith B.
    Subject: immodesty
    Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004

    Dear Meredith:

    I don't really feel right
    about sending you this message but I felt it still needed to be aired. I have a
    boyfriend who attends your ward and I have learned that he has repeatedly been
    distracted by your appearance. I know of this because I just recently overheard
    him passing crude remarks in reference to your body in a phone conversation
    with one of his friends. A girl I know who attends the same ward gave me your
    name and I looked it up in the directory so I could contact you in a polite
    way.
         You may be an attractive woman, but dressing in ways that
    deliberately put emphasis on your bodily curves and feminine clothing (often
    tight and revealing your bottom and panty-line --- which my boyfriend has a
    weakness for) is not the proper way to present yourself in a spiritual setting.
    I have a strong feeling that he is not the only guy who feels the same way
    about you. This is very sinful on your part, in my opinion. He is trying hard
    to live by the LDS standard and live a moral life, and he and other guys would
    be better off without the distractions that come from women of low moral
    standards.
         Whether or not you are intent on causing young men
    temptation, please consider carrying yourself in a more modest manner for
    everyone's sake.

    Stephanie

    -------------------------------
    From: Meredith B.
    To: Stephanie C.
    Subject: My bottom and panty line
    Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004

    Dear Stephanie:
    Thanks very much for your
    concern regarding my modesty. My friends and I all laughed very heartily over
    your email and reached the conclusion that 1) you are someone playing a joke or
    2) very mistaken about who I am. I hope that the former is true, as it would
    mean you're fairly clever, ironic, and amusing. If the latter is true --- that
    you really are a concerned girlfriend emailing a complete stranger because
    she's tempting your boyfriend with her scandalous clothing --- then I feel
    pretty bad for you.
         First, my choice of wardrobe, though it's really none of
    your business, happens to be among the most conservative (coverage wise) that
    anyone has ever seen. I wear long, relatively baggy skirts and generally some
    kind of frumpy sweater. In short, I dress more like a school marm or a librarian
    than a seductive siren. I wish I had
    the capabilities to take a photo of myself in such an ensemble in order to
    illustrate this principle better, however, my description is hopefully
    demonstrative enough to suggest that I am neither attractive nor an immodest
    dresser.
         Secondly, if your boyfriend does indeed have a weakness
    for panty lines, as you claim, and if he habitually makes lewd comments to his
    friends on the telephone, it would perhaps be advisable to take some time to
    evaluate your relationship. Maybe I don't have the most experience with
    relationships (I am, after all, a very unattractive school marm)
    but it seems quite dysfunctional for a presumably grown woman to contact
    perfect strangers about her boyfriend's wandering eyes rather than to speak to
    the boyfriend directly. If your boyfriend is a wanderer, maybe he's not that
    great of a catch. It seems as though the worst thing to deal with in a relationship
    would be mistrust. Also, if I ever had the opportunity to speak with your
    boyfriend, I would similarly advise him to reconsider his courtship of a
    neurotic, potentially dangerously jealous girlfriend such as yourself.
         Furthermore, there is perhaps no better way to illustrate
    one's piety and righteousness than to be moralizing and judgmental, as you have
    been. I believe you accused me of being a "woman of low moral standards"
    and of being "very sinful." Thanks so much for taking the moral high
    ground in this situation --- it exhibits your profound maturity and I can
    assure you that the opinion of a relatively inarticulate stranger is certainly
    apt to greatly influence my choice in clothing styles. If you are really
    concerned about the way I dress, maybe we could arrange a time for me to come
    over and browse through your saintly closet and pick out (only to borrow, of
    course) a few items that might be more appropriate. Additionally, the fact that
    you seem to be surrounded by young men who are constantly tempted by women in
    immodest clothing demonstrates your ability to pick great friends. Perhaps if
    you all had some hobbies it would keep your mind off such inappropriate
    thoughts. Some suggestions might include taking up knitting, joining a
    shuffleboard class, volunteering with the elderly (or maybe they dress too
    scandalously as well), or learning to oil paint. The point is,
    find some other things to do besides get distracted by what others are doing.
         Again, I appreciate your concern and hope that you will
    find the actual person to whom you were intending to write. I also hope that
    you have a talk with your winner of a boyfriend about his temptations and if
    you are worried about maintaining morality in your own relationship, I might
    suggest wearing a thong, as they don't produce the panty lines for which your
    boyfriend has such a weakness. If, on the other hand, you happen to be someone
    I know who is simply playing a practical joke (my first reaction, as your email
    really was absurd) please come forward so that I can congratulate you on your
    fine sense of humor. Good luck and please let me know if you ever notice my
    shorts getting too short or my midriff being exposed, etc. Thanks!

    Regards,
    Meredith B.
            

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