Women definitely have the short end of the stick in the Pentecostal denomination. No make-up, no jewelry, no pants, and many others.
Growing up with two sisters I can relate to the many articles of clothing that women must wear to stay decent in the Holiness movement.
On one particular occasion, I saw a little too much. My family and I had traveled down South with my dad while he preached a revival there. By this time I was around ten or eleven years old; a seasoned veteran of controlling the laugh. As the service started, the congregation went on the platform to sing the traditional “congregational songs”. I was perched on the very front seat, with my parents sitting right behind, where my mom could keep an eye on me. It’s very curious as to how parents reprimand their children in church quietly. My parents chose the old formula of the head thump, which would leave me dazed, and sometimes cross-eyed for five minutes while I determined where I was at.
After the congregational singing was over, they all started to come off the platform stairs right in front of me. What happened next was a child’s worst nightmare. As a huge matronly woman made her way down the steps, I noticed something that had just fell around her ankles. Knowing this woman had just lost her underwear, not to mention her pride and dignity, on the steps behind her where she had just walked right out of them. The next five seconds seemed to go in slow motion as I grabbed my mouth with both hands to stifle the laugh I knew was coming. The process of coming out of your underwear seems ridiculous. However, the leg holes in this pair were big enough for a small dog to walk through.
As the lady walked by me to her seat totally unaware that she had lost an important part of her attire. My two hands grasping at my mouth gave way to a loud cough-gag-laugh. The airway to my mouth was closed, so the air chose the route through my nose to escape throwing a huge wad of snot through the air. Closing my eyes, I waited for the head thump that never came. I turned my head and it seemed like the whole congregation had a pasty frozen look on their face, as if they were trying as hard as I was to control their emotions.
I could have sworn I felt the ground shake as the implosion of laughter made its way through the congregation. It was the most silent explosion of laughter I had ever witnessed. However, not a sound was heard, except for a curious barking coming from the front seat, followed by a loud “Thump”.