Clothing the Male Anatomy

While my husband, Fr. John, expends his energy raising the spiritual and theological stature of the priests here in Guatemala, it has become my destiny, as an ecclesiastical seamstress, to be concerned with their physical attributes. My students and I have measured the length and girth of every priest’s body in order to sew their cassocks and vestments. At times, however, our attention to the male physique has been a bit disconcerting.

Although the family of Fr. Andres (the leader of the Guatemalan Orthodox Church) has been in this country for many generations, they are of Italian descent. True to his heritage, Fr. Andres is a lover of art. His home, which we share, is filled with artwork, both religious and secular. Among these aesthetic works, is a four-foot replica of Michelangelo’s, David, standing proudly on a pedestal, displaying his anatomical perfection for the world to see.

As mentioned in a previous blogpost, I needed to set up my sewing workshop in Fr. Andres’ living room until my sewing room renovations were completed. My work table was set up directly under David’s serene gaze. Two of my students were sheltered young women from a Mayan village who always dressed modestly in their traditional long skirts. I expressed my concern to Fr. Andres that the statue of David might prove shocking to my students. He assured me that a naked body would not surprise girls from a village where people sometimes bathed openly in a stream. Contrary to Fr. Andres’ advisement, the girls were visibly shaken and embarrassed by David’s southern exposure. My explanation of Italian Renaissance art did not suffice. With the cutting of the first vestment piece on our work table, I took a fabric scrap and tied a sash around David’s manhood, eliminating the distraction.

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Unsure of what Fr. Andres’ reaction might be to my artful modification, I waited with trepidation for him to notice it. To my relief, his response was a burst of hearty laughter and an acceptance of my prudish proclivity. That was last year. When I returned this year, after a five-month absence, I was surprised to find that the sash had become a permanent part of David’s ├ęclat. I’m not sure how Michelangelo would react to this addition, but Fr. Andres is a very forgiving man.

Living in this community of men, which includes 24 boys and several priests, I daily find myself focused on men’s clothing. In addition to teaching the sewing of priestly garments, I am frequently hemming and repairing pants, replacing buttons on shirts, and sewing emblems on school uniforms. I am also happy to announce that my students and I have our first sewing order from the U.S. — making altar boy robes for a church in New York. It appears that my long-term mission will continue to be clothing the male anatomy.

Comments

  1. Well done… The picture at the end is much better.

  2. Love this HILARIOUS post! Great solution; can be removed for those who like the art in all its glory, and re-instated for those who need to get on with the work of sewing without blushing.

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