Thursday, May 5, 2011

Funny, You Don't Look Catholic!

A couple of weeks ago, the Change Oil light in my car lit up. Because it was a weekend, the place where I usually take it to was closed. So I went to Jiffy-Lube. The nice young man who checked my car (and tried to sell me additional services and products) seemed unusually nice and friendly. I probably would have thought it a bit odd if I hadn't been so eager to get back to the waiting room which had free Wi-Fi. So when he asked, "Do you go to Such-and-Such Apostolic Church?" I was caught off-guard.

"Excuse me?"

He repeated the name, adding, "It's Pentecostal."

"Um, no. I'm afraid I've never heard of it."

"Oh. I thought you might go there. I noticed the way you were dressed..." No wonder he'd seemed so friendly. He was probably a nice boy from that church and had mistaken me for one of the older ladies in his congregation.

"Actually," I said, "I'm Catholic," which is a sure-fire conversation stopper in so many situations.

As he printed out a copy of the work order for me, I looked down at my clothing. I was wearing a blue denim jumper made from Kwik Sew 2671, view A. I had omitted the bird house appliques, but it was otherwise just like the picture on the pattern envelope. I was wearing it with a black T-shirt, a pair of black stockings, and black shoes. Why did this mark me as Pentecostal? Is it the color of my outfit? The length? Its plainness?

I prefer quilting to garment sewing, but I am woefully in need of new clothes that I can wear to work. Most of my previous clothes either don't fit any more or are too shabby to wear in public. I have a part-time job as a library aide, so I need clothing in which I can stoop, squat, and reach up to the upper shelves both easily and modestly. I prefer skirts or dresses because I have to wear support hose, and they are much too hot to wear under trousers. And I need pockets!

I was planning to make another jumper -- same pattern, but in a lavender, fine wale corduroy. I hope it will look less Protestant. Maybe it will also help if I wear a crucifix or my medal of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (I don't want to be accused of false advertising!)


Rebekah said...

Hi Mary,

When my step mom wore a couple black dresses at our family's farm market, some customers asked her, "Are you guys Amish?" When members of a particular religion are known for wearing simple and plain clothing, you sort of expect people to ask.

So the big question I have: what are Catholics known for wearing? I hope we are known for wearing our sacramentals and modest clothing!


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

"So the big question I have: what are Catholics known for wearing?"


I'd been thinking about that question ever since writing this post and came to the conclusion that it's impossible to answer since, according to one well known Catholic author, the only way to describe the Catholic Church is "Here comes everybody!"