I alluded to this in my last letter, and I think it is time to address the art of attracting. We have covered what might attract you to him, and so now we should spend a little time on what might attract him to you. Some of what I am going to address here is no doubt old news to you. You have been brought up well, and are a diligent and modest Christian girl, and after I have discounted for all avuncular pride, you are quite a pretty girl, with no need of work in that department.
But we still have to talk about it. We live in a time when egalitarianism has reached near manic levels, which means you will no doubt have to defend certain common sense truths that your great grandmother never had to defend at all. There was a time when common sense was more common than it is now.
So let’s begin with the modesty issue. And the starting point here has to be with the right of Christian teachers, particularly Bible teachers who are male, to speak to the issue. You really haven’t seen incandescent fury until you have read a comments thread of women responding to the exhortation from some online brother, in which he expressed the sentiment that there ought to be less skin/less sin around here.
To dispense with that issue somewhat abruptly, the prophet Isaiah was male (Is. 3:16ff), the apostle Peter was male (1 Pet. 3:3), and the apostle Paul was male (1 Tim. 2:9). And they all address feminine decorum.
When it comes to modesty, there are two things that Scripture forbids. The first is flamboyance, and the second is sexual impropriety. With regard to the first, you shouldn’t be decked out like a circus pony. This is the emphasis we see in the passages I cited earlier. But you should know there is no apostolic injunction against a cute ponytail held in place with a red rubber band. They were talking about ornate architectural achievements piled up on a woman’s head, with gold dust sprinkled over it. They were talking about hair that would have been admired by fools at Versailles, during a particularly decadent party. Not only should you not try to do anything like that, neither should you lean in that direction.
With regard to the second aspect of it, you should avoid anything that makes you look sexually available, sexually easy, or sexually cheap. When the young idiot in Proverbs is seduced, this was achieved in part by the fact that his feminine destruction was dressed “like a harlot” (Prov. 7:10). This again is common sense. If you are not that kind of girl, then you shouldn’t advertise like you were that kind of girl. If you weren’t going to sell the car, then why did you put the ad in the paper?
Having said all this, it has been too easy for prim Christians to veer off into a plain Jane Christianity, as though the Spirit was summoning us to explore the deeper attractions of Gnosticism. In the passage mentioned earlier, Peter is not telling Christian women to reject ornament. Rather, his point was to encourage the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, of great worth in God’s sight, and the source of lasting beauty. So that was how the holy women of old used to adorn themselves for their husbands, who had eyes in their heads.
A woman’s physical attractiveness is not an irrelevant attribute. It is not the case that only superficial observers take notice of such things. We know this because the scriptural writers were not superficial observers, obviously, and they comment on it. Abigail, we are told, was both beautiful and intelligent (1 Sam. 25:3). Sarai was a beautiful woman (Gen. 12:11). Rebekah was an attractive woman also (Gen. 26:7). The author of Genesis records the fact that Rachel had a beautiful face and a really nice body (Gen. 29:17). The patriarchs knew what they were about. The Shulamite was dark, but comely (Song 1:5). Then Israelites were given a law for those occasions when they noticed a beautiful woman among the captives (Deut. 21:11). In short, feminine beauty is a thing, and the biblical writers comment on it frequently.
The only reason modern Christians want to flatten all of this is because they have been influenced by a feminist egalitarianism, and they want to act like it is a scriptural holiness. It is not. It is unholiness. The end of that twisted road is plus sized Victoria Secret models, offered to a bemused public in the hope that we will all agree to go along with their delusions.
All one astute observer noted, when an attractive but scantily clad woman shows up online, the denunciations are that the image is demeaning and oppressive. When an obese and scantily clad woman shows up online, it is somehow stunning and brave. Now biblical Christians disapprove of displaying either woman in this way, the first because it is immodest, the second because it is immodest and demented.
So given the fact that you are an attractive Christian girl who would like to get married, what should you do in this department?
There is a natural temptation to think that your attractiveness is at its peak while you are in your twenties. This is not a temptation because it is false; it is a temptation because of the truth in it. Scripture tells us that charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but that a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Prov. 31:30). But charm can be deceitful in at least two ways. One of them the guys have to watch out for, but the other trap is something you need to watch out for.
Charm is deceitful when it seems to say to a man that a harridan is as charming inside as she is outside. But Christian men are told to look for a beauty that starts all the way on the inside and that works it’s way out. Nobody wants to marry a whited sepulcher. Charm is not deceitful when it goes all the way through. Charm is deceitful to men when it is superficial, on the surface only.
But charm can deceive a woman also. She can assume that if she has the goods, she will continue to have them for at least a couple of decades. But this is radically false. And if she combines this erroneous assumption with the feminist propaganda that the world serves up to us non-stop, and that she should postpone marriage and children so that she can concentrate on her career, she is quite likely painting herself into a bad corner. It is a sad affliction when women find themselves in this position through no fault of their own. But this sadness is compounded when they find themselves in this position because of poor choices they made under the influence of feminist lies. You can’t have it all, so in this regard you should trust God and think like an insurance company. Your chances of marrying well are much higher when you are in your early twenties. You should feel absolutely free to say no to a guy for sound reasons. You should not say no to a good man for foolish or nebulous reasons.
So then, cultivate inner beauty. Walk with God. Read your Bible. Confess your sins. Second, do this in places where men are around. Don’t play hide and seek. Third, don’t you be chasing them. Fourth, cultivate your domesticity. Learn to cook, for example. And last, dress with self-respect Do your hair and make-up the same way. Do all this as though God is watching, because He is.