December 2002

Part 4 : "How to Be Ladylike and Christian – At the Same Time!"

Ladies, please!  Enough with the letters!  The response to the first three parts of this series has been staggering.  It takes four burly postmen three trips from the mail truck to my veranda twice a day just to deliver the overwhelmingly positive responses to my tips on physical, mental and, most importantly, spiritual health.  With almost every family in Freehold adhering to my advice on diet, exercise and child rearing, the population of Freehold has declined dramatically.  Which means more real estate for the rest of us.  Glory!

Now it is time to talk about perhaps the most difficult aspect of being Christian and female – how to manage to be a lady as well.  Let’s face it, gals.  The Bible doesn’t give us much wiggle room.  After all, the Good Book describes us as being about as wretched as a creature can be.  It all started with that harlot Eve, who obviously slept with her own sons (since Adam and Eve had no daughters).  But it wasn’t her incest or infidelity that condemned us all.  It was her eating that piece of fruit.  Which just goes to show that women have been subjected to unreasonable dietary restrictions literally from the start of mankind.  While Eve did give in to temptation on that one occasion, it seems a bit harsh to punish billions of women thereafter for this one sin with the pain of childbirth (Genesis 3:16).  Even our current Supreme Court might find an Eighth Amendment violation here.  But I digress.

Let’s not forget how disgusting the Lord thinks we are, ladies.  At one point, God actually placed monetary value on people and, as you can expect, we’re worth about as much as a share of Enron stock (Leviticus 27:3-7).  Because we are so wretched, we are never to maintain any position of authority (Isaiah 3:12).  Because we are inherently sinful beings, we must forever keep our mouths shut in church, letting our husbands explain anything we need to know (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).   And, of course, we are always to obey our husband and submit to his every whim (Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1).  After all “the head of the woman is the man” (1 Corinthians 11:3).  We are to submit to men as though they were gods (Ephesians 5:22-24).  Even older women must obey every command their husbands give them (Titus 2:3, 5).  For the natural use of a woman is to be a servant and sex object for men (Romans 1:27).

At first blush, one might think the key to a happy life for women is to avoid marriage altogether.  But the Lord’s Code of Regulations has closed that loophole.  Because of that apple-eating Eve, a woman’s only hope for salvation is to bear children (1 Timothy 2:14-15).  And one must marry before having children in order to avoid the damnation of fornication (1 Corinthians 7:1-2).  At second glance, one might conclude that finding a way to rid herself of hubby is the answer.  But divorce is out of the question, because Jesus hates divorcees (Matthew 5:32).  And killing him isn’t much of an option because life for widows is even worse than life for women in general.  Widows must constantly be desolate and pray all day and night (1 Timothy 5:5-6).  And no widow can expect assistance from anyone unless she is over 70, had only one husband, raised children, lodged strangers, washed saints’ feet, relieved the afflicted and diligently did good deeds (1 Timothy 5:9-15).  Who would have time to get even the most modest amount of shopping squeezed into the day if she was charged with all those responsibilities?  It seems our ever-loving God has anticipated every possible contingency and found a way to make the lives of us wretched women intrinsically miserable.

But don’t despair: this series is all about using religion to your advantage.  The bottom line, gals, is that being ladylike is just like every other aspect of Christian living: you have to find a way to manipulate the Bible to support whatever it is you want to do.  After all, fundamentalist living is premised on the belief that for every Bible verse that says one thing, there are at least five that say the opposite.  Find verses that will allow you to live the life you want.

Let me give you just a few illustrations from my incredibly envious and ladylike life.  Like all true ladies, the last thing in the world I want is to have a husband writhing around on top of me while my hair gets mussed and my dress wrinkles, flung over a chair.  But the Bible says we must submit to our husband’s sexual whims.  However, like just about all of God’s admonitions, there are exceptions, and the exceptions literally swallow up the rule.  For example, the Bible says that when a woman is having her monthly visitor, she is unclean for at least seven days and no one is to come near her (Leviticus 15:19).  A good man would never approach a menstruating woman (Ezekiel 18:5-6).  In fact, a husband should not even look at his menstruating wife (Leviticus 18:19).  Needless to say, it is during these “periods” of time that I have done my most productive shopping in Manhattan.  And, as I explain to Harry, for some reason, my monthly visitor seems to want to stay many days more than expected, particularly around the holidays. 

Ladies, there’s no need for you to worry about how I feel physically during my jaunts to New York or London because I had a hysterectomy eight years ago.  Harry wanted to have yet another child and, of course, he’s the husband.  But Harry recognizes, as do all Christians, that these are the End Times, as God is just about to plunge most of the world right into the fiery, smelly bowels of Hell.  Believe it or not, I found verses that said God will be especially hard on pregnant women during End Times, thereby trumping  Harry’s desire for another son (Matthew 24:19; Mark 13:17).  Harry once asked why I still constantly have these periods of monthly discharge after my hysterectomy.  But the minute I started to conjure up some explanation about female anatomy, he said, “never mind” and the issue never came up again.

Perhaps the most difficult Bible verses to deal with are those that appear to say we should all be homely and unattractive.  But there are ways around these as well.  Harry used to try to induce me to shop at JC Penney instead Neiman’s by citing that disturbing verse from First Timothy:

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls or costly array” (1 Timothy 2:9).

First, I explained to Harry that the only things you can buy at J.C. Penney are polyester pantsuits and gawdy gowns.  Pants are to be worn by men only and the principal customers for gawdy gowns are drag queens.  The Bible clearly forbids women from wearing men’s clothes, so JC Penney was out of the question (Deuteronomy 22:5).  I then explained that “modest apparel” simply means something that is not revealing, like one of Dora Denkins’ leather mini-skirts.  I would never wear anything that tight or anything that revealed that much skin, for I wouldn’t dream of condemning half the men in Freehold to Hell for lusting in their hearts (Matthew 5:28).  The ban on gold and pearls is a bit more difficult to address, but when you can substitute with platinum and diamonds, it becomes less of an issue.

And as for braiding hair, who does that any more anyway, except those nappie-headed colored girls?  And so what if they don’t make it to God’s glory?  With all the missionaries who visit their country, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of Phillipinos to carry trays and wash dishes in the Hereafter.

Well, there you have it, ladies.  You can live the life of a beautiful queen despite the Bible seemingly suggesting you should live the life of a dreary Pentecostal.  And a ladylike life is consistent with our faith, just like everything we want to be consistent with our faith is.  Just wait until Part 5 of this series comes out, and you’ll learn of even more ways to achieve the ultimate goal of all true Christians – making our faith conform to our lifestyle.








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