“Ask a Priest: Am I Wrong to Avoid a Restaurant Where Waitresses Dress Immodestly?”

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Q: I have ran into a situation with my boyfriend that has become a concern of mine. We both were raised Catholic, but in different types of families. Just the other day he asked me if it was okay to go watch a football game with some friends at a certain restaurant, but the girls are very immodestly dressed there. Of course, my response was no. We had an argument about the fact that it’s not an appropriate place to eat — and he wouldn’t understand. His argument was that he isn’t going there to look, it’s to eat and hang out with friends. What do I do? I explained that if he respected me, he wouldn’t even consider going there. Am I at fault? The other problem is that his dad and brother went a while back and doesn’t seem for him how it can be any different. – B.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It sounds as though your friend has been heavily influenced by the culture. Modesty isn’t a strong suit in today’s society, and that has deeply affected the thinking of men and women alike.

It seems totally appropriate that you refused to go to the restaurant. From what you describe it sounds like a place that exploits women and degrades customers, whether they realize it or not.

Yet, this might be a providential moment for you. It has shed light on a deep division of opinion between you and your friend about a significant issue. It is no small thing to think that an establishment with immodestly dressed women is OK. Moreover, it is significant that your friend’s dad and brother apparently think the same way.

This might give you pause if you are thinking about marriage to your friend someday.

This might be a good moment to ask yourself some questions.

Is this a man you would feel comfortable spending your life with, if he doesn’t change his attitude about places like this restaurant?

Would you feel comfortable with his dad and brother as in-laws? Could you see your sons and daughters growing up with such a dad and uncle and grandfather? Would you be comfortable with your friend’s friends as part of your life?

You might consider taking these questions to prayer. A special task of evangelization lies ahead if you become a part of your friend’s family. This isn’t an impossible task, but you would want to be realistic about the chances of changing the attitudes of the men in that family.

You might also want to speak more with your friend about this incident. Sooner or later the issue will resurface. As will the tensions.

I hope this helps. Count on my prayers.

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