Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Men and Modesty

Okay, here’s a little something that recently came to my attention--men have no modesty. Now I happen to be one of those people who really bought the line about gender differences being caused by nature and not nature. As in…give your sons dolls and they’ll grow up to be just as sensitive and gentle as girls. I have sons. I gave them dolls. They used them as guns, hid behind the furniture, and shot each other over the arm rests. And modesty? What modesty? I once found my teenager trying on pants in the middle of a department store…took too long to find a changing room, he said.

For a while I thought I must have done something terribly wrong. That somehow I had damaged them beyond compare, but I recently returned from the Romantic Times convention. RT is a magazine for romance readers. Once a year they host an event to introduce readers to writers. More to the point, they introduce everyone to romance novel cover models and cover model hopefuls. They host a contest for these models. Somehow I was convinced to help out with costumes behind stage.

And this is where the full weight of the truth came crashing down on my naïve little head. Not only do men have no modesty, they don’t care that they have no modesty, and they don’t care if everyone knows they have no modesty.

Now I’m a mature woman (kind of) but sometime during the evening I found myself hiding behind the curtains. Maybe it was when one of the models had to relieve himself in a bottle. I’m not sure. But the fact remains…regardless how they are nurtured, men and women are terribly different, and I don’t just mean anatomically, although I recently learned…well…never mind. Anyway, yeah, granted, these guys are models and confident of their ummm attributes, but still, this immodesty thing seems to have very little to do with physical attributes and so much more to do with simple gender. I mean it doesn’t seem to matter if a guy is as pale as belly button lint or as hairy as an ogre, he’s still willing to strut his proverbial stuff.

So why is that? Why are they so different than women? Am I totally off the mark here? Or am I just jealous that I’ve never perfected the art of peeing in a bottle?


Kathleen Eagle said...

LOL--using the dolls as guns!

Lois, you and I have the same 2 male 1 female lineup of offspring. Daughter is definitely more modest than the 2 sons, but she's more like her dad than me in so many ways. I kept trying to get the boys to learn to do home repairs by helping their dad, but it was useless. Dear daughter, on the other hand, is the one who now does all the fix-ups at her house. Why? She learned from helping her dad. Her hubby is just like her brothers. They know what to do with a hammer, but that's about it. My dad was a do-it-yourselfer, and for me, a well-stocked toolbelt and the skill to use it is the measure of a man. (Toolbelt should hang low on the hip.) At this point I'm probably stuck with that illusion.

As for immodesty, maybe it's youth rather than gender. I see lots of young women strutting stuff, too. One deep breath and it'll be all over, sweetie. And what's with the muffin-top look? If you're gonna revive the hip-hugger, have some respect for the style. The waistband shouldn't be squeezing you out like a dollop of toothpaste. We didn't do that, did we? I thought I looked pretty darn sweet in my hip-huggers and miniskirts back in the day, and I might have strutted a bit. Strutting the stuff knows no gender.

Yep, I guess there's a season for everything, so strut it while you've got it, kids.

Helen Brenna said...

Not sure about the whole nature vs nurture stuff, but I am going to RT next year and doing what Lois did.

anne frasier said...

i once went to a (WWF?) wrestling event in the quad cities. don't ask. ugh.

anyhoo, it was attended by mostly guys. they were drinking one beer after the other. but i noticed nobody was leaving to pee. then i realized they were peeing into cups. or peeing on the floor! when the noise level dropped, you could hear tinkling coming from every direction. it was absolutely horrible!

Helen Brenna said...

That's take lack of modesty to an entirely different level!

Susan Kay Law said...

I am VERY outnumbered. A brother, no sisters. A husband, three sons, no daughters.

Modesty? Are you kidding?

I can't ever write the P-word in a book. Well, in a clinical scene, or as a joke, but not in a love scene. I think it was ruined for me in a sexy way because it immediately brings to mind the image of one of my sons (for their sake, I'll refrain from telling you which one) running all over the house at about 2 and 1/2, buck-naked, arms in the air, shouting with great glee "I have a pee-pee! Lookit me, I have a pee-pee!"

They come by it honestly. One of the things my husband hates about the boys growing older is that it means there are young ladies in the house on a regular basis. Which means he can't go wandering around in his underwear all the time, for fear of scaring off said young ladies, and my sons really DO NOT want them scared off.

Having to wear pants in his own house in the middle of the day is apparently a great trial to him.


Helen Brenna said...

Just as long as your dh doesn't start running around the house with his hands in the air shouting statements about his anatomy, Susie! The image makes me smile :)

lois greiman said...

Yeah, okay, you all get it. Why can't men keep their pants on? And I mean that in a very literal sense.

lois greiman said...


The thing about the toolbelt is...if it were left up to men, that's all they would wear. Low on the hip...like a holster. Hmmm.

Kathleen Eagle said...

What amuses me is that men think we're eager to see their penises. Like penis envy actually exists among women. Somebody has to carry the silly thing, and I'm sure God gave it to men because She wanted to spare us the indignity. Then She whispered into their DNA: Think of the pissing contests!

Yeah, it's probably genetic, but I think it's cluelessness rather than lack of modesty. Men just don't realize how sexy they can look with their jeans on and how silly they can look with them off.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

OK, OK. You asked me here, Kathleen,so now you're gonna have to deal with my bringing the convo to basement level.

I love penis imagery in romances --actually have a kind of list of best descriptions, euphemistic and other -- and think they're pretty cool-looking, too.

Now, as a nice Catholic girl I didn't always feel this way. But after reading romance for a couple years, I've reclaimed my sexuality, and sensuality, and started really appreciating those great gender diffences God created for our enjoyment.

But, yeah, I really would rather see most guys in a great pair of faded jeans, than in the raw. Do you think it's just that guys crave comfort, and that's why they like to strip down?

And howz come guys can have the most imperfect bodies and still strut the beach like it's a catwalk?

I don't know why I just thought of this, but I was showing my husband Ellora's Cave covers a while back (I really like the books, BTW, but am confounded by the covers). I was telling him that I didn't think semi=clad guys were all that sexy.

And I was asking him: what women find these guys attractive? They're too muscle-y and have too few clothes on. I mean, I don't want to see a guys bare bum on a romance cover. Who are the women who get turned-on by these covers?

My husband just looked puzzled and asked: why are we having this conversation? And why are you showing me these in bed on a Saturday morning? I thought husbands were supposed to reap benefits when their wives read romance...

Michele said...

Men and modesty. Oy. I've got a teenage son who takes the style of wearing loose jeans to the extreme. Oh sure, he wears a belt to school, but for some reason I cannot fathom, the belt comes off when he gets home. I'm not just seeing a slice of boxer shorts, I'm seeing the whole darn pack—er, undergarments. (That's it. Undergarments.) Does he think he's sexy? I ask him. No, it's just comfortable, Mom. Hmm..

But the funny thing? One day I was talking to Son Who Doesn't Think He's Sexy, But Is Trying Anyway, and mid-conversation, his pants just dropped. To the floor. Jeans pooling around the ankles. It was a moment. I think I blew water through my nose as I was laughing.

Thank god the boy wears boxers!

Michele, the confused, and sometimes laughing hilariously, mom