an (im)modest return: tales at Target

“Is there anything wrong with this item?” the Target customer service lady asked.

“Nope!” I chimed, as I was returning a summer dress.

However, I continued to think… not out loud, that is:

“Nope! Nothing except the fact that my boyfriend says that it’s immodest, and it might not be good for his chastity for him to see me in it!”

Yup, that’s right. I was returning the dress because my boyfriend thought it was immodest. Not me. My boyfriend. My boyfriend wanted to guard my purity, and his purity!

So let’s rewind a little.

Before visiting my boyfriend a couple of months ago (we are in a long distance relationship), I went on a little shopping spree for summer dresses. And a week before my flight, I had a little “fashion show” for my boyfriend on webcam– catwalk and all!– where I modeled my new purchases. (Yes, you have to start getting very creative with the Skype dates when you’re long distance!)

Well, this one particular summer dress was: A. coral, B. had a form-fitting bodice top, and C. …had vertical stripes on the upper half. Personally, I thought it was to die for. And of course, I thought it was modest, too. (Well, after accessorizing it with a cardigan.)

But my boyfriend? Well, he thought otherwise.

All of the other dresses that I was modeling for my cute brute were seeming to get his approval. Smiles, compliments. (Tangent: I like to call my boyfriend my “cute brute” jokingly; he’s definitely quite the opposite– a very sweet guy!)

When I modeled this coral striped dress, however, I noticed that he very quickly averted his eyes. (Almost the way you would when you were little, and would see another little kid in the sandbox throwing sand at your face.) And my boyfriend immediately said, “I don’t think that’s something you should wear.”

Now, you ask… how did I, the “model,” feel?

First off, I felt flabbergasted. “What? This was the first dress I saw and liked! [Think: eyes meeting and instantly falling in love– ladies, you know how shopping can feel.] It’s  my favorite!” I clucked. How could it be? How could he not like it? This dress is so pretttty!

“Well, it’s the stripes. They bring a lot of focus to…” my boyfriend started to explain.

But before he could finish his sentence, I understood. And I’m not going to lie, I pouted a little. I muttered a few complaints. Why this dress? Why couldn’t I wear it? But then I woman-ed up. Why, you ask?

Because… secondly… I felt… respected. Utterly… respected.

I felt honored. I felt cherished.

I felt loved.

Here I am, dating an (amazing) young man who is highly attracted to me (or, I suppose he is– after all, he is my sweetheart… er, cute brute!)– and who loves me so very much. My boyfriend doesn’t want ever to objectify me! Rather, he wants to look at me with pure eyes. Pure eyes! How utterly attractive is that?

I think there are two morals to this little tale of the (im)modest return.

The first moral?

Sometimes, young ladies (like myself) can be completely dense as to what clothing items look immodest on them. Honestly, I had no idea that vertical stripes could play eye games with guys. (And here are guys trying their best to be so valiant, fighting for pure thoughts and modesty of the eyes!)

Sometimes, it just takes a real live man, in vivo, to call the shots about what’s immodest or not. Here are some words of encouragement: Guys– particularly, boyfriends– Be not afraid! You can help us ladies who would like to dress more modestly in a gentle, tasteful way. Perhaps preface a wardrobe intervention with a kindly stated: “I know you really value chastity/modesty, and I’d just like to say that the (insert clothing item here) that you’re wearing may not really help with that.”

The second moral?

Young men (like my boyfriend) are simply 1,000 times more attractive — no, one zillion times more attractive! — when they are more like our man Saint Joseph. At least that’s how I feel as a young woman. (Confession: Another nickname for my boyfriend? My “St. Joseph”!)

Personally, I like to think of Saint Joseph as a wonderful role model and illustration of who I would like my future husband to be like. It’s just SO incredibly romantic to think that Saint Joseph was married to Mother Mary– THE most ravishing, beautiful woman ever alive!– and in their marriage, always respected, honored, and cherished her virginal purity. Yowza! Now that’s sexy. And that’s macho. And that’s holy.

To conclude, all I can say is this: O, the wonders of the world of fashion! As a young woman striving  to dress more modestly (note: in a present-day shopping world where everything seems so sultry), it’s certainly been an interesting adventure. Who knew that it’d also prove to have its quite touching moments as well? 🙂

[And, for the record, Target’s starting to become quite fashionable!]

One thought on “an (im)modest return: tales at Target

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful blog post! You are such a great writer! I think it would be wonderful if you could write a Catholic20something book one day!


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