Vol.VI No.XI Pg.6
January 1970

Girl Watcher, 202 A.D.

Robert F. Turner

One thousand, seven hundred, and sixty-eight years ago a preacher took a look at the scandalous conduct of the women of his day, and wrote an article. We have been doing this ever since — and it doesnt prove that the effort is useless, nor that women are the only transgressors. (It suggests that there are more men writers than women writers; and they watch women!)

It may help us to take a better look at ourselves, however, to consider the article by Tertullian, from Vol. IV, p. 18-f., Ante-Nicene Fathers.


There must be no overstepping of that line to which simple and sufficient refinements limit their desires — that line which is pleasing to God. For they who rub their skins with medicaments, stain their cheeks with rouge, make their eyes prominent with antimony, sin against HIM. To them, I suppose, the plastic skill of God is displeasing.... Whatever is born is the work of God. Whatever, then, is plastered on, that is the devils work.

I see some women turn the colour of their hair with saffron. They are ashamed even of their own nation, ashamed that their procreation did not assign them to Germany and to Gaul: thus, as it is, they transfer their hair thither! Ill, say, most ill do they augur for themselves with their flame-coloured head, and think that graceful which in fact they are polluting! ...But, however, God saith, Which of you can make a white hair black, or out of a black a white? And so they refute the Lord! Behold! say they, instead of white or black, we make it yellow, — more winning in grace. And yet such as repent of having lived to old age to attempt to change it even from white to black! 0 temerity! The age which is the object of our wishes and prayers blushes for itself,! a theft is effected! youth, wherein we have sinned, is sighed after! the opportunity of sobriety is spoiled! Far from Wisdoms daughters be folly so great!

And Then He Looked At Men

Of course now, I, a man, as being envious of women, am banishing then quite from their own domains. Are there, in our case too, some things which, in respect of the sobriety we are to maintain on account of the fear due to God, are disallowed? If it is true, as it is, that in men, for the sake of women (just as in women for the sake of men), there is implanted, by a defect of nature, the will to please; and if this sex of ours acknowledges to itself deceptive trickeries of form peculiarly its own — such as to cut the beard too sharply; to pluck it out here and there: to shave round about the mouth; to arrange the hair, and disguise its hoariness by dyes; to remove all the incipient down all over the body; to fix each particular hair in its place with some womanly pigment; to smooth all the rest of the body by the aid of some rough powder or other; then, further, to take every opportunity for consulting the mirror; to gaze anxiously into it: — all these things are rejected as frivolous, as hostile to modesty. Tertullian, 202 A.D.