Modesty - A Young Man's Perspective

Typically, questions about modesty tend to be directed toward how we dress, but I would like to look outside of that realm.

I consider immodesty to be any choice intended to generate undue focus on one's physical nature at the expense of one's spiritual and intellectual self. Clothes that are revealing or tight fitting on either gender are the most obvious forms of immodesty, but it is much more inclusive than attire.

While attending a conference recently, I observed a type of immodest action that I had never seen before. I quickly made friends with a fellow college student named Mary. Mary is twenty-one years old and married. Mary and I really got along well and had a lot of great conversations, but that was not the typical situation Mary encountered at the conference. Many times she would have a nice conversation going with a guy she had met, but as soon as she mentioned being married the conversation would dwindle.

I saw this situation play out multiple times and each time it bothered me more. What did it say about my peers that they were only interested in talking to a woman until they found out she was married? Her marital status had no impact on her ability to hold stimulating intellectual conversations or form strong friendships, so I can only infer that the young men who acted this way were more focused on other aspects of Mary. They may have been wearing a suit and tie, but the young men's actions clearly showed that they were so focused on the physical implications of getting to know Mary that they were neglecting her intellectual and spiritual worth.

It is relatively simple to identify who is dressing modestly or not, but everyday interactions have the potential to be even more telling. The men at the conference might have been dressed very modestly, but their actions revealed their true intentions. Modesty of dress is not necessarily apparent through Facebook or Twitter, so as my generation communicates more and more through technology I think modesty of action will become more and more important. If my only interaction with Mary is through Facebook and text messages, how can I continue to use modesty to respect her? I think that the best answer is passionate friendship. Too many of my peers only associate passion with a physical relationship, but I think that the word is descriptive of what true modesty allows. When someone's intellectual and spiritual value supersedes physical attractions we can truly form passionate friendships, whether in person or with the aid of technology. Sound, modest decisions in attire are still important, but a conscious effort toward modesty of action is equally so.