Sunday, September 28, 2008
Lipstick on My Collar-- Updated
My own--- I don't kiss anyone who wears lipstick.
I read somewhere this week that a clergy collar has one very specific meaning: it is meant to represent the chains of slavery, because clergy serve their master, Jesus Christ.
I have to admit: I did not know that.
I wear clergy shirts on Sunday mornings, and for funerals and (most) weddings, too. I wear them because they are a uniform... not a required one, to be sure. Many Presbyterian ministers opt not to wear clericals, thought I do think it is the norm to wear a robe (with or without stole) for preaching (I wear these as well). I wear a collar because it signifies a particular role I play in worship leadership. I preach, I preside at sacraments. A collar lends a kind of gravitas to my appearance, and I think that is appropriate to these functions.
But I also wear lipstick on Sunday mornings (and for funerals and weddings). Nothing about gravitas where lipstick is concerned. In fact, recently I put on my clergy shirt (and other clothing), applied my lipstick, neatened up my lipstick by running my finger along the vermilion border, and then, apparently, touched my collar again... because the next time I looked in the mirror, there was a pink smudge on the white. Not cool.
Now I am wondering about the theology of the collar, and whether I have given it due honor. Should one wear lipstick with a collar? I wonder... now that I know what it represents. Anyone? Collar wearers? Non-collar wearers? What do you think?
And also... those of you who are not clergy... what do you think when you see a collar? What associations do you have with it? Good, bad, indifferent? I'm curious...
Part of the question for me has to do with authority. I grew up in a tradition that said I was not allowed to wear the collar, and I wonder whether my embracing it is all tied up in my defiance of that tradition.