Pardon some "plain talk" about beachwear. But we need to regain our senses at the beach.

090413I was recently at the beach. It was a fairly nice “family beach” which dials back the loud youth culture and caters more to quiet things like dining, and more homespun entertainment on the boardwalk.

Please pardon me for what I write here. It is a little plain spoken. But at the end of the day, I wonder if a little plain talk isn’t necessary when it comes to beach”wear” (I put “wear” in quotes, because, frankly, there isn’t a lot wearing going on, more nudity really).

Yes I must say, I always remained astonished at the tiny and revealing swimwear worn by many women. Frankly it’s so revealing and over the top that I don’t even find most of it attractive, just lust provoking, and lust isn’t pretty. There is something about modesty that I find more attractive. Maybe its the mystery that modesty protects which appeals. But when almost 98% is “on display” I just feel more sad and alarmed than anything.

I know that some of you will say, “But Father, but Father, what about the men? Are you just going to criticized the females?” Well, to some extent, yes. Frankly most men at the beach cover up a lot more than women do. Most men wear baggy swim trunks that reach often to the knees. And even though men don’t need to cover their chests, (at least in our culture), frankly most of our one piece swimsuits have a lot more fabric than the two piece bikinis of  women. And even the one piece swimsuits of most women fit very tightly so that every curve is accentuated.

But for the record, and for the sake of equality let me be clear, if a man wears a tight speedo I am going to say he is out of line and is dressed immodestly. But frankly, I almost never see that today. Most men would not be caught dead in such a silly thing.

At a personal level it is a very great puzzlement to me why anyone, male or female, would desire to walk around in public with barely a stitch of clothes on. I admit that I am a rather shy person. I almost never wear shorts and would never dream of taking my shirt off in public. Even on the beach I wear baggy shorts that extend beyond my knees and a t-shirt. If I remove the shirt at all, it is just for a brief swim, then I put it right back on.

So I admit, I am shy. But even factoring in my shyness, the question remains, What gets into a person that they are not embarrassed to walk around all but naked? Tiny low cut bikinis that almost shout “Look here at this part of my body!”

It is all odd to me and strangely sad. When I go to the beach I usually spend little time out on the sand, and only walk there at all to be polite to friends. Normally I stay back at the house and enjoy a quiet porch and a book. But out on the beach and boardwalk a kind of sadness envelopes me as I see so many young girls and women denude themselves. I walk, I do not sit on the beach, lest my celibate eyes, were to alight on a particular woman and stare too long.

It was not always this way at the beach. In fact the near nudity of current beaches was all but unthinkable until about the 1950s. As the video shows below, swim wear and modesty at the beach were carefully maintained and swimwear for both men and women covered most of the body. This began to change mid century as swimwear, especially for women, became tighter and gradually more abbreviated.

The present insanity and imprudence has been around since the late sixties, so its not new, but there were times, not so long ago, before the revolution, when sanity, modesty, prudence and respect were maintained even at the beach.

OK, I can hear some saying now, “Father, you are judging me…you are old fashioned….I am a modest woman and I wear bikinis….you’re a dirty old man.”

Well, I am judging, yes I am. Although it is your behavior I am judging. As for you personally, I am actually speaking, presuming you are a reasonable person who would give consideration to what I am saying, namely, that a lot of swimwear offends against modesty and tempts people to impurity. But if you still insist I am judging, fine, but you are judging me in what you say. You are breaking your own rule. So it looks like there’s a pair of us.

As for being old fashioned, yes I am, I admit the charge. Older fashions are better, more attractive. Modesty is reverence for mystery and is very beautiful. I tell you folks used to know how to dress up real nice. It was all so much nicer than the cut off jeans, sloganed t-shirts and sandals that predominate the scenes of shopping malls and public squares today. In the “old days” folks knew how to put on some decent clothes to go out in public. Today, most don’t seem to care and we almost never dress up. I’m gonna say, it doesn’t look pretty, collectively we look like slobs.

As for saying you are modest but wear a bikini, sorry I don’t see it, at least not when you’re wearing a bikini. No, I see a naked woman, not a modest one. Wearing a bikini is not modest. It just isn’t. And frankly a lot of the tight fitting, low cut, one-piece suits aren’t all that modest either.

As for being a dirty old man, I’ve got news for you. Young “clean” men also have “dirty” thoughts when they see naked and provocatively dressed women. They just do. And if you know this, (and deep down you do), why do you do it?

OK, some plain talk. I apologize. But at the end of the day, come on y’all, lets put on some clothes at the beach, and lets call most beachwear what it is: Immodest.

I have written elsewhere that the word modesty comes from “mode” referring to the center or middle. Hence I recognize that there is going to be some leeway when it comes to fashion and that we should not require extreme coverup for women. However, the nudity (and that’s what it too often is) at beaches is not the “mode” of modesty. It is the extreme of immodesty.

Now since I have been plain spoken here, I am going to step back and let you comment with little interference from me. Its your turn.

This video gives some history of swimwear and points a way back. Enjoy it and spread the word.

On the Imprudence and Uncharitableness of Immodesty

The video below contains a  fascinating interview between Sean Hannity and two women on the question of immodest dress as a dangerous thing for a woman. It would seem that a Toronto police officer was quoted as saying, “Women can avoid rape by not dressing as sluts.” He said this in the context of a lecture to college students about a recent campus crime wave. He has since apologized, but some will not accept it, or do not think he was specific enough in his apology. His remarks have touched off worldwide protests in Europe and also in Boston and New York by women who engage in what they call “Slut Walks.” In these, they dress provocatively and carry signs that denounce the blame the victim attitude of the police officer and others who explain rape by blaming the victim.

OK, so lets all admit that there is nothing that justifies the rape or assault of any woman. Further, the officer did not need to speak of women as “dressing like sluts.” It is possible to counsel caution without resorting to such terminology.

But the reaction has gone to the other extreme by insisting that there ought to be no thought women should give as to the way they dress, and the effect it may have on others. You will see in the interview how one of the women Mr. Hannity interviews gets more and more extreme as the interview progresses. She begins saying “Just because a woman dresses provocatively does not mean she welcomes an abuser.” OK, fair enough. And even if she is attacked, there is no justification for it. But that said, is there no legitimacy in advising women to refrain from provocative dressing? Men too, for that matter, though the physical dangers to them are far less. Further, is it legitimate to talk to women in our life about ways to reduce their risk without being called sexist, and told that we are blaming the victim?

A Central Problem – One of the women says, “In dressing provocatively a woman is saying, I am asking you to look at me as a sexual object, instead of a woman worthy of respect.” The other woman responds, “There is nothing wrong with looking like a sexual object.” And this pretty well spells out where many in our culture have gone. Intentionally provoking a purely sexual response not only tempts men, it also diminishes women by encouraging the notion that sex is the main thing.

There is surely a time to provoke and celebrate a sexual appeal and joy…, in the marriage bed. But outside this context, women ought to be seen more richly as wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, teachers, scientists, indeed, whole persons with interests, needs, concerns, and richly varied lives. That many women are advocating a hypersexualized notion of who they are by taking “slut walks” (the protestors’ term not mine) is a sad commentary. It is one thing to protest the “blame the victim” remark, but calling it a slut walk is to go further and advocate immodest dress and raw, unintegrated sexuality. That is not helpful to women and I suspect most women do not appreciate this sort of “advocacy,” or the extreme comments rendered by one of the women in this interview below.

Some younger women really don’t seem to know – That said, I have come to discover, through discussions with women on the issue of modesty that many (especially younger) women really don’t have any idea the effect that they have on men. I have confirmed this in discussion among our teenage Sunday school kids. In discussions moderated by women, many young girls just haven’t figured it all out yet. When asked, “Why do you dress that (provocative) way?”  they often say, “I don’t know, it’s……like……y’know…..comfortable???…..It’s like…….cool??”

While some of them may be fibbing, and they really do know, I don’t doubt that, to some degree, there is an innocence about what they do that needs to be schooled. Some years ago I remember a remarkable little passage by John Eldridge, in the Book, Wild at Heart that decoded something I have noticed even in the youngest girls:

And finally, every woman wants to have a beauty to unveil. Not to conjure, but to unveil. Most women feel the pressure to be beautiful from very young, but that is not what I speak of. There is also a deep desire to simply and truly be the beauty, and be delighted in. Most little girls will remember playing dress up, or wedding day, or twirling skirts, those flowing dresses that were perfect for spinning around in. She’ll put her pretty dress on, come into the living room and twirl. What she longs for is to capture her daddy’s delight. My wife remembers standing on top of the coffee table as a girl of five or six, and singing her heart out. Do you see me? asks the heart of every girl. And are you captivated by what you see? (Kindle edition Loc 367-83)

Perhaps it is this innocence that has gone somehow wrong, has been untutored, and thus, causes some younger girls to dress immodestly. And many of them bring that into adulthood.

But even if their intentions are innocent, it is not wrong to teach them that not everyone views their display so innocently, and further than some are deeply troubled by the temptation it brings, especially as these girls get a bit older and more vivacious.

So where to go? From the Christian point of view modesty is reverence for mystery. Modesty accepts the norm that there are some things that are simply private and meant for the intimacy of marriage that are not to be disclosed in a general sort of way. Further, modesty respects the fact it is wrong to unnecessarily tempt others. And many do easily fall prey to sexual temptation. To simply disregard this and say, “Well that is their problem,” may well be to lack both charity and a realistic attitude.

That said, the word unnecessarily is important in the phrase, “it is wrong to unnecessarily tempt others.” For it is not always possible to protect others from all temptation, and we ought not impose unreasonable standards and expectations upon women. Some men are tempted just by a pretty face. That doesn’t mean we ought to expect women to hide their faces. It also pertains to women to have curves that appeal to men,  and to expect them to never manifest any curves at all, also seems unreasonable.

Hence the word modesty comes from the word “mode” meaning “middle” or “mean.” So modesty involves observing a certain middle ground wherein we do not oppress women (or men for that matter) with severe standards and cumbersome cover-ups. But neither do we neglect to understand that some degree of charity and understanding is due to those who are possibly tempted by tight or revealing clothing and immodest postures or movements. It is wrong to tempt others when we can reasonably avoid doing so. But inhuman and unreasonable standards are also to be rejected.

The bottom line is that immodest and provocative dress is both imprudent and uncharitable. The officer involved used inappropriate language to convey his “advice.” But to advise women appropriately how to reduce their risk of rape does not ipso facto equate to blaming the victim. A little equanimity in the issue is helpful, though sadly rare, in our easily offended and strongly polarized culture.

I have written more on the questions of modesty here:

  1. Modesty is Reverence for Mystery
  2. Modesty and Men
  3. A School Finally Cracks Down

As always I am interested in your thoughts.

Modesty and Men

We have had three great discussions on the blog in recent months regarding modesty, HERE and HERE and HERE. In my post some weeks ago I did not distinguish between men and women for the matter in question was dirty dancing which involves both. However, the conversation turned inexorably to women and girls, what they wear and how they should behave. I also note that 90% of the commentators were women. Last week Laura raised the question of modest beachwear and focused especially on the bikini. Here too the majority of the commentators were women and the conversation was mostly about what was proper for women and girls.

However, in both conversations there were a few comments that expressed irritation that questions of modesty always seem to center on women and little is said about men. I was asked by a few to blog about men and modesty and perhaps set forth some principles for men and boys. Here is my humble attempt and I ENCOURAGE you to add to the discussion for I am no expert on this. I really propose only to set the table and put out a few items on the lazy Susan. This discussion is really pot luck so make your contribution too.

Perhaps a few opening principles and premises to frame the discussion.

  1. Men and women are quite different when it comes to questions of attraction and arousal. While there are many individual variances, as a general rule men are much more likely to be immediately interested by way of visual stimulation. Attraction for women seems a bit more complicated and subtle. For men there seems to be a pretty quick trip-wire whereas for women it often seems that a series of switches need to be thrown in the right combination. Men can become interested very quickly and easily. Beauty, shape, posture, the way she walks, all of this is like eye candy to men. It does not seem to me that most women are this easily caught into the cycle of interest and arousal though there are exceptional persons and moments. Rather than say women are never like this, what I am saying is that it seems a far less common occurence for women. For men it may happen hundreds of times a day 🙂
  2. Compassion and understanding and sobriety  – Some are sharply critical of men with regard to their quickly roving eye. The most extreme form of it comes with expressions like “Men are pigs.” We will talk in moment of the fact that men have to take some responsibility for this aspect of who they are but here at the beginning perhaps some understanding is in order. Men do not simply or freely choose to have this almost instant-on switch. It sort of comes built in and the off switch is not easy to find. Men are drawn very quickly, almost instantly, by beauty. Of itself this is not evil. God surely means for beauty to attract. The problem comes with our fallen nature that frequently desires inordinately or inappropriately. But the point to make here is that rather than simply denounce men as pigs it may be more appropriate merely to be sober about the fact that men have strong desire in this regard. Due to the fallen nature we all have this desire is often difficult to control perfectly. It is part of our human condition. Part of modesty for women it seems is a kind of strategy in this regard as well as a kind of charity. As a strategy, modesty helps keep unwanted attention within reasonable levels. As a form of charity modesty accepts the fact that men are easily tempted to unchaste thoughts and takes reasonable measures to assist men in this regard.
  3. Reasonable expectations – Now reasonable is an important word. Women cannot be expected to take unreasonable measures to protect men in this regard. Men are attracted by a LOT of things and invisibility is not reasonable or possible to demand of women.
  4. Hence, men must also develop self discipline, custody of the eyes and careful discretion. Jesus speaks of looking at a woman with lust as a serious sin (Matt 5:28 ). It is one thing to notice that a woman is beautiful, that is usually good and natural. But it is another to stare intently at her and  sexually fantasize about her. This is to cross a line. For many men such a standard seems impossible to fully meet. But in effect Jesus is offering a freedom and a power over what goes on in our minds. Through self-discipline, daily prayer, the sacraments and scripture it is possible to have increasing authority over our thought life. Jesus would not command it if it were not possible. It is a usual fact that self discipline increases over time and we who are men OUGHT to be growing in this and not just indulge our every thought and desire and be stuck in lust. Progress in this matter is to be insisted upon.
  5. Political incorrectness alert! – In the end life is not always fair and modesty issues are simply going to weigh more heavily on women. This is for two reasons. First women have more to cover. It is simply a fact that the female body, at least in our culture, has more of what we can simply term here as private areas. These areas arouse significant sexual interest in men and however much we may want that to change in a big way, it probably isn’t going to dramatically change. Secondly since men are more easily tempted in these matters, it seems reasonable that women ought to take this into account. Surely we can only expect what is reasonable, but prudence and charity ought to be operative in such matters.

What of Modesty for men in terms of clothes and behavior.

  1. Tight and tiny swimwear for men seems just as inappropriate for men as for women. There is simply no good reason to wear tiny speedo suits outside of certain very limited swim-racing situations. The purpose is obviouslyto arouse sexual interest and to display what ought not be displayed. Further, I will say, most men look just plain silly wearing such swimwear. Larger “boxer-shorts”  style bathing suits seem far more appropriate.
  2. Going shirtless should be limited. I am not aware that women are all that tempted by shirtless men, even those who are slender and muscular. But if the women on this blog tell us men that it is at times problematic then we ought to stop. A further concern about going shirtless other than in beach settings and limited sports settings is that it just seems a bit rude and far too casual. Our society has become so casual about everything. Men walking through city parks without shirts just seems too informal and frankly I don’t care for it. Such behavior was not commonly accepted in this country prior to the 1960s. Find a cool and comfortable shirt men and wear it. It does  not belong tied around your waist. Neither should your t-shirt be pulled up over the back of your head to expose your belly and chest. It’s just ugly, inelegant and far too casual for public parks. Save it for the back yard or the beach.
  3. Saggy drawers have to go – no one cares to see your underwear. Please! Pull your pants up. This dumb trend that emerged from gansta culture is thankfully on the wane but it isn’t disappearing fast enough.
  4. Tight fitting jeans and open shirts are retro and wrong. Back in the 1970s we went through a lot of dopey stuff where men’s fashions started to take on rather feminine notions. The disco era brought this to its high point. It was an era of extremely tight jeans. Men started unbuttoning their shirts two and three buttons down. In those days hairy chests were in and an exposed hairy chest with gold necklaces was not uncommon. Jeans were worn low and large belt buckles to draw the look below the belt were being worn. Boots were also often worn.  It was all silly and stupid looking: Men getting dolled up. The purpose was to strut your stuff. Men trying to sexualize themselves. I don’t really remember what the women thought at that time. Were they attracted by this? That seems to have been the purpose and if it was meant to tempt women, it was wrong. Every now and then these retro fashions try to make a come back. Bottom line is that men should dress modestly in loose fitting comfortable clothing. Shirts should be buttoned. Large belt buckles or things to draw attention to the waist are inappropriate and can be sinful.
  5. I’ll never get used to men wearing earrings. This many not pertain to modesty per se and I know men whom I respect that have earrings. But I’ll never get used to it and live for the day when earrings on a man are gone from the scene.
  6. Wear a suit more often – Our culture is so casual. Suits and Ties are getting rare. Many men no longer even know how to tie a Tie. They have to ask their mother. Go to a learn how to tie a tie and read the three-part series on purchasing and wearing a decent suit. It is modest and professional. We priests too need to stop bumming around and learn the art of wearing our clerical attire well, to include a tailored cassock:
  7. Men should behave modestly. Sexual jokes, immodest conversations, improper posture and the like are wrong. Men are exceptionally poor today at curbing their behavior in mixed company. Learning to be a gentleman is a lost art. Immodest behavior, scurrilous jokes, remarks about women’s bodies and the like are bad enough around other men, but they take on added ugliness in the presence of women. Men must learn to treat women with respect. They should not be treated as or thought of as sexual objects. Men should consider that the purpose of dating is to find a wife not just to have fun and “play the field.” If a man realizes that the purpose of dating is to look for a wife, he may well behave differently. This woman may not just be my next sexual partner, she may well be my wife and the mother of my children. More than clothing, men’s  biggest problem with modesty is how they regard and treat women. I know it is complicated and women send confusing signals. But in the end we have to be men. And real men treat women with respect. they do not seek to conquer them or merely have them. They seek to love them, provide for them and cling to them as a spouse. The Bible says that a man clings to his wife. That is what a man does. Boys play. Men are modest and respectful around women and seek to form proper, lasting and deep relationships with them.

Comments are wide open. I have not been without controversy I am sure. I am especially interested in what women might have to say about ways we men might be more modest. It is not all that clear to most men how women might be tempted. The more we can know the more we can improve.

Be careful everyone to remember that this is a “family blog.” Mature topics like this sometimes require that we be artful in our descriptions so as not to offend the pious, the young or even each other.

This video elaborates my final point.

Modesty is Reverence for Mystery

There has been a lot of very good discussion on yesterday’s blog post on the banishment of “dirty dancing” at many school dances. Much of the discussion has centered on modesty. Modesty is a beautiful, essential and often diminished virtue in today’s “tell-all,”  “show-all” world. There are many good definitions of modesty. Websters dictionary defines modesty first as freedom from conceit or vanity and secondly as propriety in dress, speech or conduct. It is the second definition that concerns us.

While the Websters definition of modesty is surely accurate I would like to say that the most beautiful and thought-provoking definition I have heard is that modesty is “reverence for mystery.”  The Catechism of the Catholic Church has some very fine reflections along this line. Here are some excerpts:

Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love….Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness…. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet. (CCC 2521-2522)

There are just some things that are private and personal. In an age where gossip and prying into personal matters has become a 24 hour news cycle we do well to recover the notion that discretion is not the same as secrecy and cover-up. Modesty and discretion recognize that the disclosure of certain things requires a proper relationship and context. Some things should be shared and seen only in very specific settings and relationships. Some things SHOULD remain hidden out of respect for the human person. This is poorly appreciated by too many today.

Some thoughts on modesty to perhaps provoke further thought and comment:

  1. Modesty is wide ranging – A lot of our discussion on modesty has focused on questions of clothing. This is due to the many modern problems associated with this aspect of modesty. But modesty also includes things such as: discretion in conversations, bodily posture, movements,  and knowing  what, when and with whom to disclose certain things.
  2. Modesty as discretion – The inappropriate of revelation of personal matters is rampant in today’s talk show culture. People openly discuss what they should not before audiences of millions of people. This indiscretion percolates down to ordinary daily interactions wherein people often share too much and are also too curious about matters which should not pertain to them. The expression “Too much information (TMI)” has crept into our conversations as a recognition that many people too easily share their personal information with other often un-willing recipients.
  3. Modesty respects Context– It is clear that the criteria for modesty and discretion are affected by the individual(s) with whom we interact. Mixed company is a limiting factor that is often neglected today. It may be appropriate for women to speak act and dress a certain way in the exclusive company of other women which is wholly inappropriate in mixed company. The same is true for men. Certain topics of conversation that are appropriate in single sex company may be inappropriate in mixed company. Age is another factor. When children are present certain topics and behaviors are are wholly inappropriate. Sadly our immodest culture exposes children to all sorts of things that they are not ready for. We have grievously offended our children by easy exposure to things like pornography, immodest conversations, and adult topics. Even worse we have often sexualized children by dressing them (especially girls) either immodestly or in a way that pertains to adults. When I was a child it was rare for little girls to have ears pierced, wear lots of make-up perfume, high heels etc. Too often today we doll up little girls to look “sexy” as though they were grown women. Finally, locale is something of a factor. Being at the fitness center,  beach or the pool may allow for some adaption in clothing. However it is clear in this culture that we have often gone too far and some beach apparel is downright sinful.
  4. Modesty has Cultural Variants– There are some cultural variances – In some cultures it is common for people to cover up head to toe. In many Middle Eastern cultures it is considered disgraceful for men or woman  to wear shorts in public. Even the feet in some cultures of the far east are kept covered. Some in the West consider the veiling of the middle eastern cultures oppressive but such cultures often consider us sinfully exposed. In certain indigenous tribal settings it is not unheard of for women to go about topless, though this is rare. The Catechism says, The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. …Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person (CCC 2524) Thus the catechism, while admitting that there are variants in modesty, teaches clearly that the existence of some varying standards does not mean that modesty has NO standards. Modesty is a basic intuition proper to every person and culture. Despite some variation modesty does exist as a discernible truth that must be respected.
  5. Modesty is respect for others – The word modesty is rooted in the word “mode” which refers to a manner in which something is done, or to an arranged norm. Moderation also comes from this word since we adjust our behavior to a norm or reasonable “criteria.”  Hence modesty also displays reverence for others by respecting reasonable and agreed upon norms. Tweaking or shocking  others by immodest behavior, dress or conversation is a form of disrespect both to individuals and communities.
  6. Modesty is Charity– Immodesty can and often is seductive. It lures others to unchaste thoughts or to immoderate curiosity. To intentionally dress, act or speak in a way that deliberately causes others to sin can be a grave sin. Sometimes the effect is less intentional and rooted merely in an insensitive or unknowing manner of dress or speech. But to the degree that we come to understand that we are dressing, acting or speaking in a way that is reasonably tempting to others we ought to stop. This is charity for others who may be weaker than we are in the matter of chastity and self-control. A standard of reasonableness is also operative here. We cannot protect everyone from every possible attraction. Women for example should not have to hide every curve of their body in a way that would severely limit them just because some men struggle. But in all matters a charity should prevail and reason norms be employed that protect others from undue temptation. Humorously, some years ago a young woman in a VERY short skirt came to my Church Office and requested to meet with the pastor. I happened to be passing by in the hall and invited her to have a seat in the meeting room. Shortly after we were seated my secretary came in holding a blanket which she proceed to place over the woman’s legs. She apparently knew the woman and she said, “Don’t you EVER come in here dressed like that again and tempting my pastor!”  I must say I had been enjoying the brief view but was grateful to my secretary for her intervention. It was an act of charity  🙂
  7. Modesty is reverence for mystery– The human person has many deeper dimensions that cannot and should not be causally exposed. This is a characteristic of our soul that is also expressed in our body. As relationships deepen more is shared. Close friends share more than mere acquaintances, or so it should be. As regards sexuality, this is meant for the deepest and most personal relationship which we call marriage. Only a man and a woman who have committed themselves to a lifelong relationship should unveil this portion of their soul and body. To fully disclose oneself requires a oneness only God can effect. In marriage God makes two one. And only this absolute oneness should permit the sacred unveiling of one’s whole self to another. Sexual intercourse is a kind of sign or sacrament of the deep union of marriage which only God can give. This mystery of the other person should be reverenced prior to marriage by modesty and after marriage by a modest reverence for the privacy and personal quality of that mystery which is sexual intercourse.
  8. Modesty is beautiful and attracts – Most men, in their better moments, admit that they find modesty beautiful. Lust is base but modesty is beautiful. Lust excites only a physical urge but modesty draws forth an attraction to the whole person. I have not heard many women comment on how they experience modesty in men, but it is a sure fact that modesty is beautiful because mystery attracts. A woman’s mystique, her mystery, is deeply appealing to most men. Even in marriage, many husbands have told me how attracted they are by their wife’s modesty. In marriage there is surely a place and time for full disclosure, but in between modesty still seems attractive to most of the married men I’ve talked to. The following video does a pretty good job in showing forth the intersection of modesty, beauty, and admiration.