I went to a funeral today. A particularly sad one. There were many grieving young people there, a good number of them women. I was struck first by the sheer tragedy of the death, the painfully young widow who gave a touching eulogy.
I was then struck by the dress of the young female mourners. And I really don’t mean this in a "tsk, tsk" kind of way, but they were not dressed well. Most of the girls looked like they were on their way to a prom or Spring formal. Some knew enough to wear black, but the outfits they wore were sleeveless and halfway up the thigh, while their heels were strappy and “sexy.” There were some who actually sported ensembles that were backless. This was in stark contrast to the men at the funeral who were mostly in their military dress.
Naturally, these girls meant no offense, but they simply have not been taught how to dress for such an occasion. It is as if the only look they’ve been taught is “sexy, sexy, sexy.” It’s sad, really. It’s one thing for a girl to know how to dress to attract a suitor or “turn on” her husband, but you know things just aren’t right when certain people don’t know how or when to turn it off.
As is often that case, the mode of dress reflects an interior disposition. Our culture seems only to teach women how to attract a man, but not how to care for one or, when the time comes, to grieve or to help others grieve for one. You may think that that isn’t something that needs to be taught, that “everyone grieves in her own way.” But we ought to be taught these things -- just as our mother nursed us through our first knee scrape or lost pet.
And so I am left to wonder, and worry: If something as basic as how to dress at a funeral is not being handed down to these young women, are the more important virtues and behaviors lacking too?