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When Clergy Fashion Goes Wrong

“The Mysterious Third Nipple” and other horror stories

Another expectant pastor, who keeps her "pulpit shoes" tucked in her office closet, found that—like Cinderella's devious stepsisters—she could no longer squeeze her fat sausage-feet into them. (These "pulpit shoes" sound, to my ear, as horrible as walking around on…glass. Really, Cinderella?) In a pinch, she was forced to preach in flip-flops. Thankfully, they were a nice liturgical black.

When one woman was, like, 27 months pregnant, she was providing pastoral care at a Catholic hospital. At five feet high, and just as wide, she wore a white-tabbed clerical shirt. One unsuspecting older gentleman glanced up from his sickbed and, without thinking, greeted her, "Hello, father."

This one, technically not a wardrobe malfunction, actually did afford her an accidental respect of authority.

X-Rated Ministry

Laura—name changed to protect ministerial standing—typically wore a thick black robe, in a church she describes as "super-formal." No air-conditioning. In Michigan. In July.

I think you can see where this is heading.

After one summer wedding where, bending over bride and groom, she'd poured sweat all over them and their shiny new rings, Laura was fed up. At the following week's nuptials, she was prepared with a plan.

With a happy glimmer in her eye, Laura explained to us, "I wore my panties and just my robe."

Awesome, right?!

The multi-staff church was so formal, there were actually regulations about how and where to hide the base of the cordless microphone.

Laura, awkwardly clipping hers to the fabric of her robe, simply assured the concerned senior pastor, "Just trust me. It's not going to work today."

After she shared with our group, one baffled colleague queried, "Didn't you have that class in seminary where they suggested you always have a collar peeking out of the robe, because men imagine you're wearing nothing under there, anyway?"

The round of silence and horrified looks suggested that none of us had taken that weird class.

The Clergywoman's Archnemesis

Truly, so much of clergywomen's agony does come from (cue horror soundtrack) the dreaded cordless microphone.

Once, unrobed, I glanced down and wondered why I had a third nipple. Daring to squeeze it, I realized that the mic's foam cover had migrated down my shirt and taken up residence near legitimate Nipple 2. Case solved.

August08, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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