Many of you will have heard about this story already, as it's been making the rounds on Facebook and other blogs. To sum up: boy sees girl, boy lusts after girl, boy blames girl, boy tells girl via anonymous note. Of course this happened at BYU. The general consensus seems to be that the unknown male here is to blame, on account of his pharisaical interpretation of the Honor Code, his refusal to take responsibility for his thoughts, and his tactless, cowardly way of expressing his displeasure. Many are wondering how this reflects on Mormon culture and whether our strong emphasis on female modesty is healthy (spoiler alert: it isn't) or even whether we unwittingly promote body-shaming of women and rape culture.
These are all valid concerns. I, however, want to go a little deeper. I want to try and get inside the mind of the man who wrote this note. I want to understand him. Perhaps, by doing so, I can help us all understand ourselves. Therefore, based on my years as an observer of human nature, my lifelong immersion in LDS culture, and my time spent as a BYU student, I have attempted to reconstruct this man's thought process as he encountered what must have been a very difficult situation. I now present it to you.
(Note: since our inner monologue "speaks" to us in fragments and images and not necessarily sentences, I have tried to capture the "otherness" of that by rendering my account in non-standard English. Specifically, partially as a tribute to Eric Snider, in broken sort-of-King-James English.)
Verily, 'tis a fine day for the continuation of my most dutiful scholastics, which weigh upon my mind heavily. I shall steal myself to an unclaimed corner of yonder building, so that I may find peace for mine contemplations.
But soft! What is this I see 'round the way? 'Tis a fair maiden, most beautiful to behold, and of rather fair proportions, if myself I say not so. Providence having guided me here I shall not turn away! I commence my studies here!
And yet...behold, her rainment doth spark a flame deep inside my bosom (and elsewhere, if ye do catch my drift). How it burns within me! See! her leggings cleave most closely unto her thigh. They reveal a womanly figure, which seemeth unto me as Aphrodite herself rising from the waters! Verily, her hem doth fall inches above her knee, tempting me to fantasize on what is beneath (though verily no skin showeth, it is the same unto me). Yea, the thought shaketh me to the very core!
Oh Temptress! Oh Vixen! Why lurest though me into committing sin? Siren! Know ye not that ye causeth me to commit fornication in mine heart, which is most grievous unto me!? (Though verily, it be not so grievous that I avert my gaze). How canst I respect thee as a human being if thou causest me to burn so? Know ye not that I am no master of my own thoughts? Care ye not that I am helpless against thy wiles? Cursed seductress! Thou art worse than the Juice of Nakedness sold at Macys, worse than museums of (so-it-be-called) artistry, worse even than Solomon's vile Song itself. How canst I triumph over the carnal man when I am faced with opposition?
I know in my heart that I am good, and not given to wickedness. My purity and righteousness know no bounds, for verily do I not seek to uphold the standards of this August University? Therefore, woman, thou art the sinner! Though thou pretendest to be unaware, I know thou didst set out to lure the hearts of men into captivity. Harpy!
A scheme shall I devise. Yea, a note shall I write, in the which I shall express my fierce indignation, and tell thee what I have against thee. Thou shalt not be held guiltless for causing these evil thoughts. Yet shall I drop the note in passing, that though seest me not as I flee like a thief in the night. Verily, a cunning plan it is!
Now, Jezebel, I pass thee my note and depart hence. No more shalt thou tempt me. Yet in my thoughts thou dost linger still. I hold the image of thee within, so that I may kindle the anger and never forget thy villainy. As I leave these walled confines and cast my eyes about, I see thee everywhere! Foul women, calling unto me with their lewdness! None are clean but I! How I loathe them for their whoredoms. Their impurity doth weigh down my soul all the day.
And yet, though I be pure as the driven snow, one thing I daily wonder:
Why wilt none of them date me?
Like this post? Read Brett's excellent last one. It's on a totally different topic, but it deserves to be read and commented on by everybody.