Caveat emptor: A commenter informs me she’s not an Apostolic Christian, but a Pentecostal congregation with “apostolic” in its name. She’s probably right, but I bet the same modesty/hair thing applies. These folks are nuts about long hair.
I’d never heard of the Apostolic Christian church before I moved to Indiana. A friend, native to Bluffton in Wells County, filled me in on this sect, which has one foot in Anabaptism (that would be the Amish/Mennonites for those who live far away) and another in Mormonism’s go-go capitalism. They dominate the business community in Bluffton, and over the course of a few visits, I learned to spot the women, with their long hair and modest hemlines, and their almost freakishly clean-cut menfolk. They were cohesive, insular and walked their talk.
Young AC church members don’t date, but socialize in chaperoned youth activities like “singings,” the genders separated to warble with one another from opposite benches, feeds and whatnot. When a young man feels attracted to a potential mate, he prays for discernment and if he gets it, takes the revelation to his parents and elders, who then approach the young woman for her response. (If I’m getting all this wrong, I blame time and memory.) If she’s amenable, they marry with a minimum of fuss and get to the work of building families and businesses, the latter because moms stay home and dads have to support ever-growing broods. They don’t do public assistance like some fundamentalist religious groups do, but they’re clannish in their economic dealings and support of fellow congregants, so they tend to prosper. My friend informed me you could hardly do a Saturday’s errands in Bluffton without supporting an AC business, and what resentment this might have raised among those business owners who had to work harder for customers might be grumbled about, but not much more.
I’ve been gone from Indiana for a while, but when I saw Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, her anachronistic appearance rang all my Hoosier bells. Just the shot in this story shows you what I’m talking about — the hair, the dowdy dresses made dowdier by the long-sleeved undershirts she wears with them, all of it. (A lot of modern Muslim women around here wear those undershirts, too, but in Michigan, where it’s winter half the year, you don’t notice it so much. Davis lives in Kentucky. And it’s summer. I have a few myself. I bought a couple at Costco a few years ago and loved their substantial fabric, their extra length — great with lower-rise jeans — and the elasticity in the fabric hugged my body — ooh, sex-ay. I bought a few more. When they wore out, I looked online to restock. The label said ModBod, which I was surprised to learn is a Mormon company, and the shirts were originally made to be worn as modesty layers, just like Kim Davis’. They’re cut tight to fit under more clothes. Oh, well. They still look great by themselves.)
A lot of people have noted that Davis is on her fourth marriage, so by definition she’s a hypocrite about God’s law vis-a-vis holy matrimony. I won’t argue, but I’d encourage you to spend more time around fundamentalist Christians of all sorts, and you’d swiftly understand what she’s about. She may well have been married three times previous to this one, but now she’s married to an Apostolic Christian, and she’s been forgiven. She is washed in the blood of the lamb, and her eyes are on the heavenly escalator that will one day carry her up to Heaven. Evangelicals, in my experience, don’t spend a lot of time brooding on their past mistakes. We all sin, we’re all fallen, the world is broken, but they’re moving forward. Moral complexity, reconciling past with present, reconsidering one’s point of view — they leave that to us New Yorker subscribers. Nothing about this woman should be unfamiliar to anyone who’s been to a church-basement potluck in the American midwest. Or read a Josh Duggar confessional lately.
We’ll see how this case works out. But now you have a cultural reference to her hair, anyway.
Not much bloggage today as I keep up with work and prepare for Kate’s departure. A couple of tidbits, though:
At 180 degrees from Kim Davis, a hilarious take on sugar dating, i.e. prostitution by any other name:
SeekingArrangement is just one of several sugar-dating sites, but a popular one. On all these websites, the splash page features a beautiful young woman, elegant but with sideboob, and either she’s overtly dangling a piece of jewelry or she is wearing it. She looks into the camera. Each time, a man, older, nearing silver status, is looking right at her, unable to take his rich, priapic eyes off her. He has the beginnings of male-pattern baldness: baldness that says, “I’ve lived, I have money, here is a bracelet.” He is about to lean into her neck, maybe take a big old bite out of it, and she hangs back, only for a moment, only to tell us her secret, which is: “Look, I got a bracelet.”
Everyone on SeekingArrangement knows what they’re there for, Thurston says. What is so bad about formalizing the arrangement so that we can all just go home happy? And aside from that unpleasantness with that woman who scammed him, all Thurston had to wrestle with, really, was the nagging guilt that maybe this whole sugar-dating thing isn’t so okay, particularly since he began before his divorce was even finalized. “I went to church every Sunday. This felt like an ethical dilemma.” But he reminded himself that he was actually helping someone, a poor student, or someone who badly needed the money for, I don’t know, medical bills or back taxes or vaping supplies. And that’s what it came down to: “The whole concept of a sugar daddy intrigued me, because even if I were dating someone traditionally, I’d give them money anyway.”
What becomes of a graffiti vandal sentenced to grow up? He does, and he doesn’t. Not too long; recommended.
And this profile of Larry King from last week’s NYT magazine is hilarious.
Time to start grinding.