Harmless Blots.

Screen Shot 1Do I have your attention? Yes, I thought so. A commonplace sight along the upper reaches of Agrippas Street is throngs of black clad haredim, eyes downcast as if searching for cigarette butts to collect and reuse. Clearly, they’re feeling tempted by images of scantily-dressed women on sexy billboards or (Heaven forfend) actually walking past them on the street. In order to shield them from the raging temptations for fornication, masturbation or worse, they can now buy special devices to prevent sin-enticing images from sneaking into their peripheral vision. There’s an organization called The Committee for Purity in the Camp which is selling special stickers that the observant-but-easily-vulnerable-to-lady-business can wear on their glasses. The stickers “blur vision of anything beyond the range of a few meters and so diffuse immodestly dressed women to a harmless blot.”  (also cars, terrorists and runaway horses.) If you don’t happen to need glasses, the Purity Committee sells a non-prescription pair with stickers for the soul-saving bargain price of around $32.) What goes around comes around. These devices were on sale a few years ago and now they seem to be making some kind of comeback.  Or, perhaps, the advertising has become insupportably risqué.

Looks like a change of tactics. Rather than the righteous trying to force women to cover up and spitting on children with exposed forearms – yes, it’s true – these blinders place the onus for avoiding temptation where it belongs: on us, gentlemen. If the choice is between harassing women for displaying bare skin and turning men into blinkered carriage horses, we really need to go with the latter. Unfortunately, there’s always collateral damage and there are two unmistakable, equally toxic messages being sent. Firstly, women’s bodies have, it seems, such power to do harm that we men need to partially blind ourselves for our own protection against untrammelled lust. Second, we are totally incapable of self-control; what the eye sees it will possess. Outsourcing willpower to a pair of glasses makes the idea of self-control almost meaningless.

I used to live in Jamaica, and one massive perk of living there (pun intended) was daily exposure to vast quantities of some of the most stupendously voluptuous mammary flesh on the planet. Expecting an image, were you? Go find your own.  Here in France, décolleté is still deliciously and plentifully apparent. One tries not to stare of course, being British and so forth. Nevertheless…

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