I was at the store a while ago to get water for our office. I don’t usually have any issue with slinging three or four cases of water into a cart and then into my SUV. As it turns out, though, it’s a bit difficult to sling 36-bottle-packs around, when one arm is IN a sling.
(Sling = long, at-this-moment-irrelevant story. Focus on the water.)
I managed to shimmy two cases into my cart with one arm, wedging the basket against the shelf with my foot. Impressed with my own abilities, I knew, however, that I wouldn’t actually be able to get them out again.
Moral of the story: it’s a lot easier to put things in, then it is to take them out.
I was considering this and the many examples I could use to reinforce this mini-life-lesson to myself, when it occurred to me: this is the solution to my Magic Mikeproblem.
See, I have been noticing several Facebook friends posting cheerfully about their plans to go see Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike film. For those of you who haven’t heard about Magic Mike, it’s about a male stripper.
Call me old-fashioned, but I was surprised to see more than one young woman I know sharing their excitement about watching Channing Tatum do stripteases, which is essentially what they were saying when they publicized the fact that they were going to a male stripper movie.
Now, these are WONDERFUL young women. Sweet gals.
So I was puzzled. Why in the world would these beautiful people, all of whom I KNOW are looking forward to marriage, or who love their husbands very much, chooseto engage in things which undermine the very relationships which they either enjoy or anticipate the most?
Unless, maybe, (maybe), they didn’t realize that’s what was going on, which is what I definitely prefer to think is going on with the sudden stripper blitz, as opposed to willfulundermining.
I’m possibly about to offend somebody here, but I hope not. Because, if I didn’t think well of these women, I wouldn’t bother to say a word. So, please know that I’m putting this down in writing BECAUSE I think you’re amazing girls, and because I think you deserve more than tear-away pants on a two-story screen.
You deserve to be cherished by someone who knows and loves you, and is committed to you – not just to be entertained for a few moments.
And that somebody who does cherish, love, and commit himself to you, deserves the same thing back.
Watching strippers is incredibly unloving towards our fellow human beings who are actually doing the “performances”. Not only does it objectify them by reducing their body to an item for consumption or a source of pleasure, but participation in this kind of “entertainment” also has serious repercussions in other areas – for those “performing” AND those viewing.
We also need to keep in mind that our loving, Heavenly Father spent a whole commandment on “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” This also applies to women coveting other women’s husbands, and Channing Tatum is married. (Even if he weren’t, he isn’t MY husband, or YOURS, which means we have no business coveting him in any way whatsoever.)
Let’s start with this: I don’t actually know a single woman who isn’t bothered by her husband/fiancée/boyfriend viewing pornography. Puts up with it, sure, that’s possible. Shrugs it off and chalks it up to “boys being boys”, sure, that happens. But not even bothered a single little bit, wouldn’t even change it if she could?
But, our men are supposed to be totally okay with us viewing porn? Because, ladies, that’s what stripping basically is, regardless of the stripper’s gender.
If we wouldn’t want our men to do that to us, why would we do that to them?
As women we often have the privilege of being the means that God uses to draw men closer to Himself. I’m not necessarily often good at it, but I really do try to love my sweetheart and to be a means through which he experiences the love of God. And I’m betting most of you try, too. We’re called to that, girls – it’s wired into us, it’s part of our path to sanctity, to God, to an eternity in Heaven. I heard once that both men and women manifest different traits of the Creator. Example: women manifest, among other things, His beauty.
Think about that: we are called to show God’s beauty to the world. The deep, profound beauty of a holy love and quiet service to our brothers and sisters, drawing them closer to the One Who loves them, closer to Heaven. The admiration of our eyes, the affection of our hearts, the moments of our lives…these are things God has given us to give our husbands, serve the Church, bring glory to our Creator, and attain holiness. Spending these precious currencies on things which have no lasting value is a deeply tragic loss. And it’s not so easy to gain back.
It would have been easier for me to pull those cases of water back out of the cart with one arm and load them into my car then it will be to reclaim our spent affection from one object – Channing Tatum in his Magic Mike character, for example – to give it back to our husbands. They will feel compared to the first object of our love if we can’t do it. They shouldn’t ever feel compared, they should have our whole hearts, and to give them our whole hearts we have to protect those hearts fiercely from a world that tries to steal them away.
This is partly why porn is so harmful to relationships, because we feel compared to the computer-enhanced people that are being viewed. It makes us feel lacking, not-enough, insufficient, inadequate.
“Your boyfriend may appear inadequate.”
One of the TV spots (which I was inadvertently exposed to) for Magic Mike screams those words in big block letters, then flashes images of strippers followed by a character from the movie saying snidely “Can I get an Amen?”
This is not “okay”, or just “entertainment”, this is serious. Even if the gentlemen in our life shrugged, laughed it off, or rolled their eyes – this is damaging. It is damaging to give the admiration of our eyes to a man who is not entitled to it.
Which men areentitled then?
- 1. Your husband
- 2. If you’re not married, but you’re in a relationship which is discerning marriage, to that gentleman (I refer to mine as my “sweetheart”) J
- 3. Our Lord in the Eucharist, the perfect Man.
C.S. Lewis remarked on it with these words:
“You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act—that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you come to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food?”
Dear ladies – we need to follow the advice given in the Song of Songs on this matter. Three times, in three separate places, the exact same words are used as a caution: “I charge you, my daughters…do not stir up nor awaken love until its own time.”
Protect your heart for your husband, don’t give it away for the pleasure that lasts only a moment.