Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Don’t Join This Club!

Last week, as I was driving back from a fun family day at an amusement park with my mom and my girls, something caught my attention. I’ve noticed that many businesses have been hit hard by the current economic situation, but unfortunately there is one ‘business’ that seems to still be going strong – “Gentleman’s Clubs.”

As I passed several of these unsavory establishments, several things struck me:

My first, and most obvious, reflection is that “Gentleman’s Club” is absolutely a misnomer – no place which routinely exploits women by showcasing their bodies solely for visual pleasure and sexual value is a place where true gentlemen would convene, and certainly not a place where the qualities of a gentleman would be formed. The term ‘gentleman’ is typically reserved for men of good repute and courteous conduct, not for men who derive their pleasure from the reduction of another human person to an object of their own selfish pleasure and entertainment.

Secondly, there are many people (men and women included) who find this type of so-called entertainment to be nothing more than a little harmless fun, and think participating in such activities will not affect their view of themselves or others adversely. On this count, I must heartily disagree. Because purity and modesty have little (or no) value in the eyes of secular society, it falls upon people of faith even more heavily to restore these nearly lost virtues. Wherever the human person is reduced to a mere object, we are in danger of losing civilization altogether. 

Go ahead and call me an old-fashioned prude if you’d like – trust me, I’ve been called worse – but at least consider a bit of what the Catechism of the  Catholic Church has to say about purity and modesty:

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity. 

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet. 

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies. 

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person. 

2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion. 

Lastly, I’d like to reject the idea that modesty means always wearing long jumpers and turtlenecks (which would be particularly strange for the men!). There are many ways to be modern and fashionable while still bearing witness to purity and the true value of the human person. For the ladies, I’d like to recommend a website I came across that I find to be a good example of modesty and good fashion sense:

(I don’t have any connection with whoever runs MIKAROSE, and I suspect that the ladies who do run it are Morman. Whoever they are, they’ve done a commendable job of bring modesty and good fashion to the modern world, so kudos to them!)

Let’s all do our part to restore the virtues of purity and modesty in a sex-crazed culture. By doing so, we can begin to restore the true God-given dignity that every human person deserves, and thus build a civilization that promotes life and love.


  1. Amen! I have never been able to figure out the "gentlemen" part of those clubs. I think of Mr. Rogers, who is definitely a gentleman in my book, and he never would have frequented a place like that.

  2. My theory on naming them gentleman's clubs was to invoke some nostalgia, and at the same time, fool the men into thinking it is ok.

    For all those guys who feel a little creepy (as they should) when they pull into the parking lot of a strip club, they can look up at the sign and see the words "gentleman's club", and think to themselves that its no big deal, and somehow they are just a guy from 1950 going in to see a harmless burlesque show....... the funny thing was - last week, i drove past one of these clubs, and right next next to the gentleman's club sign was another sign that said "completely nude girls". gross!

  3. Thanks for tellin' it like it is!