Originally published on Tales Out of Bais Yaakov.
In seminary, we didn’t wear a uniform. Our skirts, however, were still duty length or longer, and not too tight. Besides for the dress code, we were sitting all day, for goodness’ sake, and we needed to be comfortable.
But one day we got a tznius talk from a teacher. She stood at the front of the classroom, in front of the rows of girls sitting at attention in their desks, and spoke to us about how to comport ourselves when the person at the front of the room is a man.
“Rabbi G teaches you and sacrifices a little bit of his shemiras eynayim, puts himself in the position of potentially looking at girls every day.”
He had actually perfected the charedi-male method of looking half off to the side when addressing women or girls directly.
But she had a point. He was sitting in front of rows of young women for an hour or two every day.
She went on. “You all realize that, surely. And I understand that you want to be comfortable and you cross your legs. That’s bad enough, that you’re crossing your legs in front of a man. But then some of you bounce your foot, and do you know what effect that has on a man?”
No, we didn’t. And she didn’t tell us.
But we got the point. We were drawing attention to the fact that we had limbs, and that those limbs moved. We weren’t behaving as proper Bais Yaakov girls do. Leg crossing, and definitely foot bouncing, had to stop.
Image: group photo of me and my five seminary housemates. Fun fact about this photo: I am the only one wearing my own shirt. Everyone else exchanged shirts so that we would each have the appropriate color 😉