Let’s Talk Men, Sin, and Afghan Blanket Shorts

You may have read recently about the blogger in Oregon who has committed to giving up wearing leggings. She announced her commitment to the blogosphere in early January, and her post blew up, thanks in part to a social media savvy husband, who wanted the world to know the lengths to which his wife would go to keep him happy.

Her post stirred up conversations about women and modesty. Again. Because apparently, once a woman slips on a pair of leggings, other men definitely stumble, and this is a problem. Not for the men who can’t stop looking at leggings-laden women (men are wired differently, after all!), but for women, who might find leggings comfortable. Thank god there are generally only women in my exercise classes, at any rate, which keeps me from tempting others with my tights-clad middle-aged butt.

Somehow, this conversation never turns to men, and to how their clothing choices might cause me to stumble. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes I think sinful thoughts when I see what men are wearing, thoughts tainted by jealousy and resentment for sure, and maybe—on rare occasions—a bit of lust.

But only rarely. Not very much at all. And usually only in the sense of a deep longing to put on yoga pants, an urgent desire to be far more comfortable than I currently am.

Mostly, when I see colleagues wearing jeans to class every day, I have thoughts like, “Why does he get to wear jeans to work every day, but if I were to do so, I’d be considered an unprofessional slob?” and “This double standard bites” and “Why do men get to be comfortable in their clothes, and I’m stuck trying to sausage myself into tights and shoes that kill my feet?”

My jealousy leads to resentment, and pretty soon, sublimated anger, which I only express in passive-aggressive ways because I’m a Mennonite and that’s what we do.

So why are my sinful thoughts upon seeing men in jeans any less problematic than men’s sinful thoughts upon seeing women in yoga pants? Sin is sin, right?

For eons, men have been asking—no, demanding—that women dress more modestly, to protect men from stumbling. So I’d like to offer my own modest proposal. Too bad I never married a social media guru who could make my post viral, so that I also could be featured in The Oregonian.

Still, here’s my proposal. Thanks to a Facebook friend, I recently discovered a new trend for men: shorts created by afghan blankets. And I thought, why not? Why not ask that men wear these shorts so that I will no longer resent them for a double standard that says they can dress comfortably, but I cannot.
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The afghan blanket shorts are practical—everyone has a few of these blankets in their closet—and no doubt just slightly uncomfortable (a little itchy, a little drafty, just like the blankets from whence they came). They are also somewhat unattractive. Were my husband to wear them, you can trust that I would have no lustful thoughts about him. (Similar to his tan denim-wash Lee shorts, circa 1984. Ron, you hearing me?)

If only men would care a bit more for their Christian sisters and the state of women’s souls, they might take this step. Think about a different world, where men wear afghan blanket shorts and women can walk around, free from the temptation to sin.

Here’s the one potential glitch in my plan. Such shorts might make me think about a nap. But there’s nothing too sinful about that, right?