The Dufflecoat Years

When I was a teenage Christian, many things were different. Tambourines were de-rigueur, choruses were found in a yellow book and the youth meeting consisted of telling you lots of things NOT to do. If you were a female type person, chief among the no-nos was make-up, short skirts and dangly jewellery – for this way sinfulness and unavoidable lusts would follow. Although I kind of understood the thinking behind this (well, no I didn’t actually but in those days, it wasn’t really done to ask) –  for someone like me, who had a bit of a hankering for lip gloss and love beads, it was a challenging time. Men were men and girls wore dufflecoats. When I left school and began to earn a bit of money I led a mini rebellion by coming to church wearing blue mascara and a skirt above my knee. Most of my rebellion got in under the wire because the senior leaders were too busy dealing with a bohemian girl who had joined the youth group and encouraged the menfolk to indulge a little too freely in the “community” aspect of church – especially with her. This she managed to do without the aid of make up or short skirts. By the time she had been dealt with (most successfully by someone’s wife with a pointy finger and various “non-Christian” threats) the whole of youth womanhood at our church, had run wild and was unabashedly wearing perfume. The genie was out of the bottle.
So when I look around now and see young women in church with hair straightened within an inch of its life, beautiful cat like eye liner flicks that make them look like Nigella and heels that are not doing the church floorboards any good, it makes me smile. I am glad that the old tyranny has gone and girls no longer have to sacrifice eyebrow plucking and person hygiene for Jesus. EXCEPT (and you knew that there was an “except” unless you are new here) I hope that we haven’t gone too far and replaced an old tyranny with a new one. I am very keen on the church being a place of safety. The concept is very precious to me even though it can be as rare as hen’s teeth to actually see it in action. I hope that girls who don’t want to partake in high level personal grooming feel free not to do so. I hope that church is a place where females can feel free to be themselves whether that involves wearing lip liner or just a bin liner.



  1. November 10, 2014 / 12:00 pm

    I got into an argument at Uni CU, because they told me my skirt was too short [n.b, all the other girls were in skintight jeans they had shrunk to fit by wearing them in the bath] I said "But I wore it to church at home on Sunday and nobody made a comment , not even the Pastor [my Dad] and they certainly would have done if it was inappropriate" It is too short for CU said the Lady Vice President. "OK" I said, rather wickedly "If the majority present feel that, I shall take it off. I am wearing a slip underneath, obviously**." I raised my voice so all present could hear and said Who thinks this skirt is too short?" Sadly for the LVP, all the blokes said my skirt was fine!! [ ** One liked to dress correctly for UCCF events.]
    Nowadays I try to be gracious, and if someones heart is right and they want to worship, I am not too fussed about the eyeliner [altho not so keen to see men in make up]
    Random thought – how far is Plymouth from Bournemouth? must check this up, maybe we can meet up in the New Year when I decamp to Dorset?

    blessings xx

    • November 10, 2014 / 5:55 pm

      Do you know, I have met one or two people who have said that their CU was stricter than their home church (or "backward" as my son puts it) Funny that, you would think it would be the other way round. I think you are definitely
      nearer so we need to look at this closely next year 🙂

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