By Mary Hunt Webb

Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reading the newspaper at breakfast a few days before Easter, my husband gawked at a department store ad on the last page of the front section.

“That looks like a nightgown!” he exclaimed. “But the ad claims it’s a dress for Easter!” In disbelief, he asked, “Who would wear THAT to church?”

As I looked at the advertisement, I realized that the seductive photo was not aimed at women. Instead, the design of the ad enticed a man to buy it for the woman in his life or to encourage her to buy such a garment. My only surprise was that it did not appear in the sports section of the paper where men would be certain to see it.

“That ad is not pitching to women, honey,” I informed my husband. “It’s meant to catch the attention of men.”

He shook his head in amazement as he muttered, “It certainly did that!”

An image of a muscled arm.

[Photo courtesy of]

Whether they realize it or not, men have muscled into the world of women’s fashions so that manufacturers make clothing for women that appeals to male preferences.

The photo of the garment that captured my husband’s attention reminded me of an incident that happened years ago when I was teaching a night class in English as a Second Language (ESL). One of my students was a newly married woman that had recently arrived from another country. I had met her husband and had encouraged him to help her with her assignments.

After our late evening class, the couple walked with me to my car through the brisk winds of January. As we ambled through the nearly empty campus, he spoke of the recently passed holidays.

“We didn’t have enough money for Christmas presents,” he said. Then he laughed and added, “Except for some lingerie I bought for her,” nodding toward his attractive wife.

The nature of his laugh told me that he had bought something sexy and totally useless.

“That wasn’t for her!” I noted as I stepped off the curb of the sidewalk and onto the parking lot. “That was for YOU!”

He paused briefly in our conversation to reflect on my words. Then, in amazement of his own understanding, he slowly uttered, “Yeah! You’re right!”

An image of a hidden smile.

[Photo courtesy of]

His wife radiated a shy smile as the realization dawned on her husband. She understood that her words were unneeded.

His boast that she had been the only one to receive a Christmas present was empty. That present had not been for her after all! It was for his own enjoyment!

Although I had dismissed the class for the evening, I was still teaching in the parking lot. As a teacher, I sometimes risk causing people to drop their pride in order to help them gain understanding of their actions.

I am glad that I helped that young man understand what his true motives had been. I hope his subsequent gifts for his wife were truly for her instead of for him. His actions would determine the happiness and duration of his marriage in the years ahead.

An image of couple and their shadows.

[Photo courtesy of]

A gift often says more about the person making the purchase than it does about the individual receiving the gift. When men realize that manufacturers of women’s clothing and accessories are using males solely for monetary gain, they may be more careful about what they purchase for the women in their lives as well as what they encourage women to buy. Women may dress more modestly if men encourage them to do so.

Proverbs 3:13-15, 21-23 “13) Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. 14) For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold. 15) Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 21) My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang onto them, 22) for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace. 23) They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.” (New King James Version)

An image of a pearl necklace.

[Photo courtesy of]

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