Female Self Flagellation

Book Club is one of this Modern Day Church Lady’s favorite non-church related activities. My book club is made up of very witty, intelligent and socially progressive ladies, of both the church and non-church sort. But sadly, these ladies don’t always see themselves this way.

Book Club

Case in point. At a recent meeting during Hanukah, our hostess lit the 3rd candle of the menorah as we were sitting around her dining room table. Several book club members reflexively broke out into the Hebrew language Chanukah prayer. So of course, a fellow Modern Day Church Lady in the club wanted to know what it meant. Modern Day Church Ladies possess  inquiring minds.

No one could remember.

The rest of us didn’t give a second thought to this lapse. It does after all, take every ounce of concentration that this Modern Day Church Lady has to keep the trespasses/debtor lingo straight between the Methodist and Presbyterian versions of the Lords Prayer. (BTW: There is a fun and fast exchange about the root of the difference on puritan board. My favorite explanation is Scottish stubbornness, certainly a legendary quality in my Great Grandmother Paterson).

But I digress.

The next day, our hostess emailed the book club members the English translation of the prayer saying she felt “embarrassed and inadequate that it had evaded me.” Our hostess is one of the smartest coolest women this Modern Day Church Lady knows. How could she feel this way?

But sadly, I know how she feels because this Modern Day Church Lady beats herself up for all sorts of lapses, real and imagined! I think it is such a reflex for women to feel bad about every little imperfection (no matter how fleeting or easily solved via Google). It’s like women are born equipped with our own self-flagellation appendage.

I only hope the younger generation of women have evolved to the point of not using this self-flagellating appendage. Kind of like our appendix, there is no use for it. It only causes unnecessary pain.

PS: the translation of the Chanukah prayer is: Blessed art Thou, Oh Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe who has sanctified us with thy commandments and commanded us to light the lights of Chanukah.


  1. Kathleen

    Dorothy, once again, Thank you!!! If only the good doctor had removed my vestigial self-flagellation appendage at the same time he removed my appendix all those years ago!!

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