Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lenten Project: Day Twenty-six

At the end of Christmas break during the 2002/2003 school year at Bob Jones University, my sister, a freshman, and I, a sophomore, flew back to the States from our holiday with our family in Singapore.  On the layover in Chicago, the airline had accidentally put our luggage on a plane to Africa, so we were luggage-less til they could get our bag back to us (the eventually did).

In the meantime, we wore the clothes on our backs and went to eat lunch in the Dining Common across campus.  We were wearing Indian punjabis, which wasn't unusual for us, given that we'd just been home in Singapore, where we wore this particular kind of outfit all the time.

When we got back to our room (we were roommates that year, and it was great), we had a call slip summoning us to the Dean of Women's office.  She said we'd been spotted around campus wearing indecent, uncheckable clothing.  A faculty/staff woman had turned us in (without saying a word to us, I might add) and told her we were wearing pants under our dresses, which was NOT allowed.

I explained to her that we'd lost our luggage.  School wasn't even in session yet!  Beyond that, we wore these all the time, even on campus.  I'd even gotten one checked especially last year, when I wore one to artist series with my then-boyfriend.  (Getting clothing checked is something still required at BJU--a girl must model her desired outfit in front of the dorm sup, who will have her turn slowly, grab the sides to show that her outfit has "three inches of ease," put three fingers to the collarbone to show the neckline is not too low of a cut, and the hemline will be checked for length, which must be at least to the bottom of the knee.)  It had been deemed an appropriate and attractive outfit then, so why the sudden change now?

The Dean of Women said the staff woman had been offended, so the rule had to be changed.  No longer were we allowed to wear our ethnic country's clothing.  Only Western garb.  We would be allowed to wear Indian saris to artist series only on a case by case basis, getting them checked each time.  But no more pants under the dress, even if the pants were more voluptuous than culottes.  We didn't want to cause anyone to stumble.

And that's why my sister and I suddenly stopped wearing our home country's outfits, except when we wore saris. But even when we wore saris, we had to put tee shirts underneath to make them modest.

BJU is really funny about modesty. It's modesty or death in some situations.  When it was sleeting the day of Gold Rush Daze my senior year, all students were required to attend the festivities (they even locked us out of our dorms), and all women were to wear modest appropriate clothing.  No pants, not even under your skirts.  Well, it was freezing.  And sleeting, for pete's sake!  So, being the good little Bojo that I was, I just wore a LOT of clothes.  All modest clothes, yes, but as many as I could get on.

Tights, two skirts, knee high socks, tee shirt under a long sleeved shirt, two hoodies,
a thick scarf, and flannel hat=MODEST IS HOTTEST

I guess the moral of the story is, if someone might be offended by what you're wearing, it's evil and immodest.  But if you look like a hobo, then you're doin' fine.