please excuse Stephanie

When my students are late for class, they have the office make them an official-looking note explaining why they are late. It looks all legit, but I know the office ladies are kind, and my students wiley, and that the label "personal" can mean "at a very important appointment" just as easily as "I used my mom's phone to call and say I was sick."

I guess I'm confessing that if blogger made notes excusing neglectfulness, mine would probably include a stupid fake reason. Mostly that I have been feeling grumpy and ragey, and not in a productive way. Waking up at the butt-crack of dawn to teach Hawthorne will do that to you.

Also? I logged on and blogger was all changed and re-formatted. The hell? I hate change in my technology and social media. Remember when you needed a college email account to join facebook? Grumble, grumble.

Clearly, I'm a little rusty in my blogging. A list of random and incoherent thoughts to jump-start the process.

Things that make me judgey because I am a grumpy and sleep-deprived buzz-kill these days:

1. I maintain very complex feelings about the Dance Company portraits hanging up by the Gym at my school. Most of the individual portraits are girls exhibiting their favorite dance move, which I'm sure looks stunning for the split second it exists on stage. Captured on film? Well... there are a lot of in-your-face crotch shots and a lot of heads titled back so you can't see their faces.

Part of me says the photos over-sexualize 16 year old girls. Can't you take a nice picture in a less dramatic pose? One that shows your face, maybe?

The other part of me worries that I am body-policing and slut-shaming girls who are simply celebrating their body and it's capacity for self-expression. Gross boys be damned, they have a right to do whatever they want. The problem is with me, not the photos.

I don't even know. Thoughts?

2. Sometimes, a funny thing happens when you and your child-bride spouses and peers start to grow out of adorable child-bride-and-groomness and into real adulthood. When we were all barely off missions and still in college, most of us were desperate enough to realize we didn't know what in the Sam Hill we were doing, and were therefore content to hang out in our crappy apartments and go to free concerts.

Now that most said peers are nearing their thirties, I'm noticing a disturbing trend I call "Sudden Desire to Be My Parentsitis." It is a silent social killer. You know your friends have it when they start combing over their hair, even when not balding, and start bemoaning the "youth of today." Suddenly everything is a sign of the damn times, and they are purging their R-rated movies, and wanting to discuss modesty*, as well as their recently acquired 401K.  When did hanging out turn into a Righteousness Fest? I don't like it. Also, I don't think people who were dry humping their now wife and mother to three-children a mere 4-5 years ago have any business criticizing the "youth of today."

However, I get to criticize my peers because I am sometimes guilty of SDTBMPitis. I find the cure is self-awareness, occasional bouts of immaturity (like spending unreasonable amounts of money on sour candy at Winco,) and swearing profusely. There is a cure, dammit!

Anyway. This is getting embarrassing. Kids these days.

*Discussing Modesty as in "Girls who dress like that make it difficult for my son to focus in sacrament meeting" not "What's the deal with Church and shaming girls into being accountable for men's behavior?" I will participate in one discussion of modesty, not the other.


Breanne said...

Love this post.

MJ said...

I don't think people who were dry humping their now wife and mother to three-children a mere 4-5 years ago have any business criticizing the "youth of today."


As always, Steph, you're so right.

liz said...

Love your postscript. That line of thinking about girls being to blame for a boy's inattentiveness in school, church, or whatever drives me up the wall. Yup, I'm sure your kid is sitting there thinking, "Oh, I would love to listen to this talk, but I am physically incapable of paying attention to anything other than that girl I like across the room." Nope. If he was interested, he'd pay attention. Nothing she does is an excuse for his choices. Blech.

Deb said...
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tetisheri said...

Your idea of modesty fits with mine. I'm a mother of a teenaged boy. If some girl dresses provacatively, it's *his* job to control his thoughts. It's not her job to dress so he doesn't get tempted.

I scandalized RS when I said that very thing during the modesty lesson. Then I laughed at a vistor when she told me that teenage girls never looked at boys who weren't wearing very much. Umm, yeah, sure.

Anyway, my point is that I agree with you on modesty.

Carley A. T. said...

Any time you feel like being around people who have no desire to be their parents or complain about "kids these days," you can always give us a call. Although, we do discuss how everyone seems so unaware of those they are surrounded by, but this afflicts all people, not just the young ones.

And, tetisheri, the "Twilight" franchise proved exactly how half naked and highly defined werewolf boy/men can help roll in the cash. You can't say millions of teenage girls (and boys who are figuring out their sexuality) watched those movies and were not *ahem* turned on by Jacob. We are all sexual creatures.

cracheld said...

I was wondering if the earlier post about harem pants and Hugh Hefner slippers falls under the "kids these days" grip category? Not that contradictions are a bad thing...

Tristin said...

Good to hear from you again. You've been missed.

Ashlee said...

Stephanie, I love your blog and I love reading your posts. I appreciate your candidness and "realness." I think there should be more of that in the world-keeping it real.
I totally agree with you on the topic of modesty. I have never appreciated how the girls always are guilt-ed into feeling like it is our fault.
A friend recently told me of a situation in our Stake. The men sitting on the stand didn't appreciate the girls wearing leggings under their short dresses because it made them have un-pure thoughts. WTH! I laughed my head off at this and thought, It isn't that girls fault, it is their's for thinking naughty things. Geez, guys pull yourselves together.
Keep on writing your beautifully well written, 'real' down to earth posts! I enjoy reading them!
@tetisheri- Love your comment!!!

Stephanie said...


Haha. Touche. Although, if buying candy is the cure, then I should be fine. Also, I shall now curse for good measure, just to be sure: SHIT.

@Carley and tetisheri: Amen.

AzĂșcar said...

I will not have that shaming modesty nonsense in front of me. Will not HAVE IT.

UK Yankee said...

My husband and I have serious arguments over my lust for Ryan Reynolds and his lust for Jeanne Tripplehorn. Although it's nice to know that neither of us are doing anything wrong, it's totally Ryan & Jeanne's fault for...ya know, existing. said...

I love modesty for modesty's sake, but nothing makes me froth at the mouth like the old, "Females you are responsible for every lustful thought the males in your general vicinity are feeling" pile of manure. It's called the Second Article of Faith, yo. "Man will be punished for THEIR OWN SINS, and not the Laurels' clothing." Or something like that.

tetisheri said...

@Carley, yeah, Twilight did that for sure. There are some adult women in my ward who are, shall we say, avid Jacob fans.

@Ashlee, Thank you very much.

@Stephanie, I really enjoy your blog, and you often say things that I wish I had said.

I do have to add, I was speaking to my step-father (who I love dearly) about that lesson. He is a member of the Bishopric in our ward. He taught this lesson to our younge men. He taught the exact same things that we are saying about modesty. He told them that they need to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions, and not blame it on anyone else.

Brien said...

I try to only make extreme comments when doing so might make me some money or get me some lady-attention. That said, I think conservative Christianity's (including Mormons') attitude toward female modestly is qualitatively equivalent to that of the Taliban. It differs only in severity.

rossandconnierockon! said...

thank you-thank you-thank you!! ALL of YOU! This blog centers me and I love it. I have been grumpy for the past two weeks (or so) and I am now realizing a little bit of cursing is going to help out--so thank YOU! ~smiling while saying SHIT

Rachel said...

I agree that girls should not be blamed...that bugs me to hear that thought. On the other hand, I get just as frustrated with girls for dressing to show off their bodies because they are telling the world that that is were their worth lies.

If I were to do a lesson on modesty it would be more along the lines are worth more than your boobs and your bottom or waist line.

Risa said...


I think what you're saying is along the same lines as what Stephanie is saying about modesty. We need to teach our girls that they are more than a pretty face and a sexy body and not to dress in a way that they make themselves into a sexual object. We also need to teach boys that they are responsible for their own thoughts and behaviors and not to turn women into sexual objects no matter what they're wearing. I like your idea and think the two ideas can be taught concurrently.

I hate talks on modesty because it's all about shaming the slut. I literally have to tune out in Relief Society now or I will go home and blow my brains out. Every lesson could be titled -- the world is going to hell in a handbasket.

I've been accused of being immodest just for having a large chest. Nothing I can do about was God-given. Apparently you're immodest, even in a potato sack, if someone finds you attractive.

I've been told that if I dress provocatively, I will be responsible for someone going out and raping someone else because they got turned on by me.

I was told by a priesthood leader quite recently it was the duty of courtesy women to dress in a conservative way so he could control his thoughts. Um, what happened to accountability?

As for the dance pictures in Stephanie's school, I think they should have the football team take pictures in those exact same poses. Tit for Tat, I always say.

Stephanie said...

@Risa/cracheld: I love the football team idea. And I am so tired of the "going to hell in a handbasket" lessons in church. After thinking about it, I think that is the difference between what I was saying about harem pants, and what my peers sometimes talk about.

I will say that the current styles are ugly as sin, but wearing them is not. :)

mommy dearest said...

A few months ago we had a the world is awful lesson in RS. I pointed out a few of the great things that have changed since my childhood. Being born in 1964 I have lived through the civil rights act, women's rights movement, disabilities act, and other progressive official and non officail changes in our culture for the better. After my comment several of the younger women in their 20's and 30's chimed in about the great things in their world. I hope all of you wonderful young women keep speaking up. You will be the change that brings about a real Zion community. Thanks steph.

Colt said...

Yeah we need to hang out. I have the same issues with my friends getting all grown up. Shit. Now I feel better.

ChristyLove said...

I DO remember when you needed a college email to join. I especially remember being confused that thirteen year olds were being abducted as a result of their interacting with strangers on Facebook, thinking, “Wait a minute...”

Your dance photo thing - I’m going to be lame and add nothing productive here. My only real thought is that if a low cut shirt is to blame for “improper” ideas, than a short skirt can be an excuse for rape. No thanks, that’s not the society I want to live in.

Dry humping never gets old.

Oh yes,


Mrs. Clark said...

I think the pictures probably ought to be re-thought; unfortunately, too many girls are in the "sexy is the new pretty" mode. Men are responsible for controlling their own thoughts and behaviors--otherwise we all should be wearing burkas! At the same time, it's wise for women to realize they shouldn't be advertising if they're not selling.

But the 401K idea is a very good one. Go ahead and open one--you will be glad you did.