I’ve long been amused that, when things get serious, men put on dresses. Just think about judges in the courtroom, academics at graduation, monks, most clergy – and of course
the Pope and his colorful retinue. It’s as if men need to dress like women, put on the robes of the Goddess, to feel Her sacred power, to move and act with real authority. Assuming the loving, generous and generative aspects of the feminine requires dressing for the part.
In traditions around the world, the Goddess is also guardian and protector of the land. Her sovereignty is entwined with the spiritual authority to determine who should rule the land. Lady Liberty may be the closest we have to such a figure in the U.S.
But lately I’ve been thinking about another aspect to men donning dresses: Maybe wearing pants makes men mean.
Pants are tight leg tubes that constrain, chafe and overheat a man’s genitals when he’s moving about and squash them whenever he sits down.
Comfort isn’t part of the bargain. And prolonged discomfort, not to mention pain, can make almost anyone feel –and act — mean.
Anyone can appreciate this idea once you’ve seen the delight on the face of a toddler freed from the confines of pants exploring the joys of unfettered movement scampering along the beach. My baby brother and daughters are not the only youngsters who squealed with delight when they dashed from the house to run naked through the neighborhood.
The swish of fabric around your body is elegant, luxurious, an invitation to twirl and swoop, to explore the freedom of movement. Think of a choir and you realize that being still or serious or full of restrained joy also comes more naturally when you’re wearing a robe.
On the cover of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, the authors, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, smile at one another. These are not men wearing pants.
Imagine Congress with every senator in a robe. Picture Lady Liberty walking the halls, overseeing every meeting, every action, every debate.
Ahhhh. I’m feeling better already.