My sister-in-law is my favorite female athlete. It’s not just her triathlons, but her ability to help other people become athletes that is impressive and inspirational. She’s also the most immodest person I know.
Don’t get me wrong—she’s not in the least bit promiscuous or vain or self-absorbed. It’s just that she’s 100% comfortable with her body and not afraid to show it. She’s a personal trainer so it behooves her to wear tight clothing. Bulky clothing would only get in the way of the up close and personal work with her clients.
Her pet peeve is any clothing that covers her armpits and arms. “See,” she says as she shows me a picture of herself as a first grader in a tank top, “I’ve never liked clothes with sleeves.”
But her comfort with her body started even earlier. She was a baby ballerina. As everyone knows, ballet begins with little girls showing off their bodies in little pink leotards and tights. Sometimes they get tutus, but always the tights. She stayed with dance many years, ultimately ending up performing in Las Vegas where there was far more material in her head piece that there was on her body.
I’ve noticed athletic men can be equally as immodest, although they usually can’t credit it to a background in dance. Men in those slick biking outfits, for example, don’t seem very modest. They usually look darn good in them, but that’s not the point. They’re wearing those outfits for a reason and they’re not going to worry about what anyone thinks of them.
Another example would be a guy I couldn’t help but notice today. While I was running through Lafayette Park, I was followed by a jogger pounding the pavement and breathing hard. He eventually passed me, and then in about 100 more yards, I passed him—while he was peeing in the park’s bathroom. I knew what he was doing because he didn’t close the door. Maybe he was too spent by his run to close it, or maybe he felt entitled after three miles of exertion to care less who sees him. I don’t know. I’m just wondering.
The Bay to Breakers in San Francisco is an opportunity for immodest athletes to have a heyday, although that is NOT why I participate in the event. I recently ran it with my sister-in-law, Lynn, about whom this essay began. At mile one, Lynn decided to use one of the many porta potties there for the taking. When the door of her chosen porta potty opened, a nude man walked out. Being the civilized gal that she is, Lynn did not yell in his face. She waited until he passed her, then she opened the door and screamed into the stall. Granted, the noise surely bounced out of the stall and reached the nude’s ears, but her behavior was entirely appropriate. Even people who are immodest have their boundaries.
You see, Lynn has the good kind of immodesty; the kind that says, “I’m comfortable with my body and you can be comfortable with yours, too.” Watching her jaunt around in a slinky dress makes you want to get one two, even if you are twice her size. And there’s no attitude in her fashion sense, nothing she is trying to prove.
Lynn is just beginning to show some signs of age, but it’s clear it doesn’t bother her. No doubt someday she’ll be a 70-year-old with nothing on but a spiffy jogging bra and skirt, playing croquet with her grandkids on a hot summer day.
On the other hand, the bad kind of immodesty, well, it can make you scream.
Causes Gail Johnston Supports
The Stephens Ministry The Siena Maternity Home Young Life International