Tuesday, January 06, 2004

clothes maikel man

Yeedel (not his real name of course) is a cross-dresser. He gets kicks out of getting dressed up in his wife’s underwear. It turns on Yente his wife too. In the language of the common man they are a happy family. All turned on and tuned in. It’s chassidus for the First Decade (my name for what follows the 90’s), and it rocks!

Does it? Wait a minute, it sucks!
Cross dressing is a clear issur in the Torah. Lo yilbash gever simlas isho (A man shall not wear a woman’s clothing). Yeedel, my man, has a ready answer for that.
“No it’s not really, because I don’t look like a woman in them.”

I have to grant him that. Even in the most delicate of pink negligees and padded bra he doesn’t. The hairy chest, the furry legs, the long beard and peyos sticking out from under the latest style snood all give him away to even the most unseasoned of eyes. In fact the closest he gets is when he stands in shadow silhouette and tries to look pregnant. But that, my dear friends, is not really the point. Anybody who has heard of cross-dressing must understand that it is straightforward honest to whatshisname sexual deviation.

Let us be very clear about this, I am not a prude. I am not standing up in judgment nor do I use the pejorative word perversion. I use a word that literally means different from the norm. What Yeedel gets up to in his spare time is entirely his business and if his maker has issues with what he is doing he has not asked me to intervene for him.

What I do have issues with is the naiveté and lack of basic knowledge that has allowed young Yeedel to have gone through Cheder, Yeshive ketane, a Yeshive, and Kollel followed by countless further hours learning the heilige Torah, he has been aware for thirty-odd years that there is an issur in the Torah for a man to wear women’s clothes yet he does not have a clue as to the purpose of that issur. You see the best is still to come; Yeedel will not comb his beard with a comb because his face appendage is what I would call salt ‘n pepper and by combing he could pull out a white hair and Rashi does say that for a man to pull out the white hairs from his beard is a problem because of Lo Silbash. The mind boggles!

The Catholic Church in earlier days discouraged the learning of letters for the working class. It feared that reading might encourage the spread of ideas that were ‘unhelpful’. We seem to have managed to take it one step further. We teach them to read and forbid questioning. So not only can we block the spread of ‘unhelpful ideas’ but we can meanwhile fill the empty spaces with our very own ‘helpful ideas’.

I am off to get my three-year-old daughter to bed, in her nightie of course, pajama trousers are out for her – Lo Tilbash.

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