Saturday, June 10, 2006

Snazzy Conference Babes

I attended the United Church of Christ Massachusetts conference gathering as a singer ("the entertainment") this weekend and noticed an awful lot of people in Jesus Casual, as opposed to Business Casual. Sweet people, I know. It's a weekend thing, you're schlepping around a college campus, you want to be comfortable. But I still don't think that "comfortable" warrants a faded T-shirt with some old Gaia graphic on the front, paired with cotton pull-on pants and sandals with fungus toes.
I thought I didn't need to say this anymore. I thought we all agreed by now that there's never any reason to wear shirts with kittens, bunnies or fluffy little birds on them. I thought you were going to empty your drawers of those and give them to -- strike that. Don't even give them away. Rip them up for rags.

After our evening concert I struck up a conversation with a very fashionable young woman and complimented her on her outfit. She was wearing a terrific, fitted black suit, very cute pointy flats, a great emerald colored sleeveless shirt with a little front bow detail, and she had great curly hair and a GREAT bag. She looked like a Somebody, and she is. She is in a position of leadership at the Massachusetts Council of Churches, and as are most women in religious leadership, just thrilled to talk about clothes and make-up with another woman.

I loved her observation that when a woman wears, say, MASCARA in the pulpit in some communities, she'll get hit with something like, "How come you're trying to be all sexy in the pulpit and everything?"

I have never in my life heard anything like that but I don't doubt it goes on all the time. What I tend to get, by contrast, are concerned questions like, "Don't you feel well?" or "You look so tired, is everything okay?" when I leave off the mascara and the rest of it. I say, "I'm FINE. This is my NATURAL BEAUTY. Aren't you glad I don't inflict my NATURAL BEAUY on you every day?" And they nod understandingly and wait patiently while I apply some lip gloss.

Being polished can be sexy, but that's not the goal. The goal is to be as beautiful and vibrant a presence as we can be. That might mean a fresh-scrubbed face and a big smile, it might mean smoky eyeliner and big hair and a big smile, but it never means a kitten or puppy sweatshirt and a big smile. That is where PeaceBang draws the line.

Next posting: What Should Clergy Wear To The Wedding Rehearsal and Reception?


Blogger LaReinaCobre said...

I love this blog! You're so funny. Anyhow, on the kitten shirts - YES. Hello. And also, while we're at it - those sweaters with the multicolored triangular patches and the weird little pieces of yarn sticking out all over the place. Horrors!

About being fashionable on the pulpit - I think there can be a fine line there. When I see a frumpy minister (male or female) it is a bit of a downer (sometimes I think "That's the minister?") but when I see a super stylish minister looking like they just stepped out of a salon, I hesitate, too. I wonder, "Are they going to sell me Jesus or a car?" "Are they going to talk to me about faith or Mary Kay?"

I haven't even had that much experience with ministers and yet I've encountered enough to automatically be intimidated by these hyperly cheery, perfect-face people. I have only met maybe two UU ministers like this and I was turned off immediately. Unfortunately, I associated them with those We're Going to Save Your Soul TODAY clergy who just seem more slick than compassionate.

I'm always surprised when I watch the 700 Club and see the female pastors in full makeup - I suppose this is because in many parts of the country, a woman simply doesn't leave the house without putting her face on. There's something about that preppy, twin-set, sorority vibe that rubs me the wrong way. Hmm. The solution might be to expose myself to more UUs who look like this in order to shatter that stereotype.

In Portland, however, it is not easy to find people like this. And certainly not among UUs. Ha! Ha! Yeah, you would have a field day here. My friend Elandria insists that Portland is full of people who "dress fugly."

1:19 PM  
Blogger boyinthebands said...

A word about eyebrows -- and more about this on my blog later --

I have dark, wide but thin eyebrows that all but vanish on my pie-shaped face, especially if I'm clean-shaven. That and I have almost invisible eyelashes, and mascara isn't a good option for men. There, I said it.

I decided when I got new glasses I'd get these because they give me a distinctive, defining line. Eyebrows by proxy, perhaps; in any case they're not hiding anything of interest, and with my renewed beard, give my face a lot of definition it ordinarily lacks.

I wear Shuron Ronsir Zyl frames, ebony with taper temples, and love them. Even if they don't suit everyone.

2:17 PM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

Hafidha, now that you mention "kittens" and "hello" in the same sentence, I think to myself, "Well, I do have a dear friend who is an Episcopal priest and who carries a very charming Hello Kitty briefcase. Somehow she makes it work as Ironic Urban Chic.

8:32 PM  
Blogger revabi said...

You know, I wore a Hello Kitty watch to the Festival of Homiletics. Does that count?

I just love what you have to say. It is an attitude and genuiness we bring to our work. I don't think I wear any of the things you are describing. But I am having to check my clothes. I have one too many tee shirts for every church, vbs, youth group, blood drive, I have ever been at or worked. I can get away with those here in rural Al. But I don't think they are going to work where I am going. I have been trying to get back in the habit of dressing well, and daily makeup. Man this is work. And I walk out in the Al hot humidity and there goes the makeup, and clothes.

2:42 AM  
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7:48 AM  
Blogger PeaceBang said...

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Begone! Begone to the fiery depths with you!

12:44 PM  

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