July 19, 2012

-image-christians don’t masturbate

Today I offer for your perusal, this:


Now I could go on and on about the basic oogeyness of anyone actually wearing this t-shirt, but I won’t because I really think that’s less interesting than my niggling punctuation issue here which calls into question the intended meaning of the whole image, so I’m curious:

Does the t-shirt imply a comma, as in “Christians, don’t masturbate”? Or does the t-shirt imply the even more emphatic colon, as in “Christians: Don’t Masturbate”? Either way then, is the t-shirt offering an unsolicited rebuke? Is it being a sartorial scold?


Does the t-shirt really intend no punctuation, thereby making a declarative: “Christians don’t masturbate”?

It’s unclear, isn’t it? There’s no punctuation here. What does this mean, pippa? The larger red “CHRISTIANS” set above and apart from the words “don’t masturbate” seems to imply some kind of punctuation should follow CHRISTIANS. Then again, maybe not. I honestly don’t know and that’s part of why it’s so stupid: The true meaning/intent isn’t clear.

Perhaps the t-shirt means “Christians don’t masturbate, but all the hellbound heathens do”? Is that it then?

Let’s look at the possibilities:

If the t-shirt means “Christians, don’t masturbate,” well, who doesn’t love to be minding their own business, waiting in line to order their skinny chai latte, only to be confronted by a nagging, all-up-in-your-grill t-shirt worn by some Christian who thinks he’s helping you via the always life-changing venue of casual wear? If you’re wearing this, Slappy, do you really think some 16-year-old Christian kid who sees the t-shirt stops himself in his bed that night, thinking, “But …. well …… that t-shirt earlier today said ……”? No. I’m sorry, but the only t-shirt-related thought that kid thinks in the heat of the moment is how he wishes he had it handy to help him clean up.

You know, I’m actually offended by how stupid this shirt is, how stupid someone would have to be to wear it, how stupid it makes all Christians look, and how stupid it thinks its intended audience is. You’re not helping anyone by wearing this. You’re not even helping yourself because you look like a total wanker.

If the t-shirt means “Christians don’t masturbate” as a statement of fact, well, that’s just a flat-out lie. Christians do masturbate. Whether or not they should is something for eternal debate, I suppose, but Christians do masturbate. No one can make this statement as if it’s empirical truth unless they assembled all the Christians since the dawn of time, gave them polygraph tests regarding their, er, handiwork, analyzed the data, and then concluded that, yes, it’s absolutely unequivocally true that no Christian ever at any time since the invention of hands and fancy places has ever masturbated, world without end, amen. So did the creators of this t-shirt do this? Did they? Because if they did, they definitely missed our house.

So if you wear this shirt you’re either a) nagging, b) lying or c) a bit of both.

And that’s why Christians annoy people. Because we act like wankers but never ever engage in wanking.

Of course.

Lastly, if the t-shirt means “Christians don’t masturbate,” well, that’s a nice guilt-inducing sentiment, isn’t it? If you’re a real Christian, you don’t masturbate like all the blind hairy-palmed pagans we see staggering about us every day. If you do masturbate or ever have, you’re not a real Christian because, to repeat, Christians don’t masturbate.

But wait! Do my eyes deceive me or is there an implied loophole in this t-shirt’s design? A subliminal message? The image is a hand print of a right hand. So is this lie/scold/guilt trip of a t-shirt directed solely at right-handed Christians? Or the right hand itself? Does that mean use of the left hand in all self-completion activities would be acceptable then? I ask only for clarity’s sake, of course.

I have to wonder: Why the focus on masturbation? Is it guilt trip? The shock value? The superiority complex? I mean, why not a t-shirt that says “Christians don’t lie” or “Christians don’t steal”? or “Christians don’t commit adultery”? Those are taken directly from the ten commandments where, surprisingly, masturbation isn’t mentioned even once. So why not make t-shirts that say those things? Oh, wait. Those aren’t true either, plus they’re nowhere near as titillating as the whole master of your domain issue.

I shouldn’t underestimate this t-shirt’s value, though, because I’m now inspired to design my own similar t-shirts. For instance, how about a “Christians don’t lie” t-shirt featuring Pinocchio in silhouette with his nose wrapping all the way ’round the t-shirt. That would be cool, no? And, oh, how about a “Christians don’t commit adultery” t-shirt with two people really going at it in silhouette, doggy-style? I mean, why not?

Let’s cover all the things we Christians “don’t” do and put them on t-shirts.

You know, there’s only so much eye rolling my eyes can do before they’re stuck on “roll” forever.

Come on. Christians are humans first. They become Christians later. And later still, some become idiots.

But idiots or not, we struggle with all the same things everyone else does. Don’t let some random stupid t-shirt tell you otherwise.

(Also, I’m open to your t-shirt suggestions. Let’s start a business so we can fund our Sudden Yurt Commune.)


  1. When I was in college, my best guy friend told me that during one of their Floor Devos (a devotional held every week by their RA) (BTW, is the Church of Christ the only ones who say “devo”? I’ve never heard anyone else use that word.). . .ANYWAY. . .during this floor devo their RA said that masturbation is a sin because to masturbate you have to lust and lusting is the same as DOING IT (to which my friend said, “Then we should just. . .Do It?”) blah blah blah judgmentcakes.

    That is debatable, I guess. (I disagree, but if you don’t then I’m not going to fight you.) But what was HILARIOUS is that John said that guy spend HOURS in his room, door locked, doing SOMETHING. Reading the Bible? Playing Monopoly? Praying? Maybe. Maybe he was doing those things. But with a locked door? And if you knocked, he’d answer slowly, all flustered and sweaty. What would YOU think a young single man in his 20s was doing?


    Comment by Lisa — July 19, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  2. It looks like the logo for a horror movie, doesn’t it?

    Maybe it’s meant to be like… aversion therapy. Create negative associations. I think I would just walk away from seeing that on someone with the association that some Christians think it’s okay to share really personal views about sex on a T-shirt.

    I’m a visual thinker, so messages on t-shirts can be uncharacteristically invasive for me. I can see it now: I walk past creepy guy wearing that shirt. Fall down. Begin wailing, “Nooo! I didn’t need to picture that! AHHH! MY BRAIN!”

    Also, the sweaty palm print is creeping me out. Ew.

    Comment by Marisa — July 19, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  3. “Don’t Murder” would have some creepy possibilities. Skeleton silhouette? Or… weapons of some sort?

    And it could use the EXACT same color scheme as this t-shirt and still look totally logical. Which, again, leads me back to: DUDE, HORROR MOVIE LOGO.

    Comment by Marisa — July 19, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  4. Lisa — Well …. maybe he was vigorously praying. Or something?

    Marisa — I hadn’t thought of that before, but it does look like a vaguely sweaty handprint. EW.

    Comment by tracey — July 19, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

  5. Yeah, the hand print. What? Talk to the hand? Here’s the guilty party?

    // via the always life-changing venue of casual wear //


    In general, I cannot stand T-shirts that lecture me.

    Comment by sheila — July 20, 2012 @ 7:30 am

  6. sheila — It’s like a visual assault, as Marisa suggested.

    Like, “Quit bitching at me, t-shirt.”

    Comment by tracey — July 20, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  7. Can we steal a line from Wil Weaton and make a shirt that says “CHRISTIANS, don’t be a dick”? The comma is essential. 😉

    Comment by Brian — July 20, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  8. CHRISTIANS don’t read text written across a woman’s chest.

    (no, really, I can see you looking.)

    (cut it out.)

    Comment by roo — July 20, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  9. I’m sure there’s a line out there for the seven deadly sins….

    Christians aren’t proud.
    Christians don’t lie.
    Christians don’t kill.
    Christians aren’t malicious.
    Christians don’t look for trouble.
    Christians are a truthful witness.
    Christians don’t be brother hatin’.

    But, for those who think that Solomon is too “Old Testament,” they could always go the route of Paul, who lists things that Christians shouldn’t do. I’m sure they could print t-shirts about not being a witch, or not being jealous, or not being selfish, or not hating. The list goes on.

    But I’m sure that these wouldn’t sell in “safe” Christian bookstores. They would have to be reserved for some summer concert venue. Only the youngsters would be brave enough to wear them.

    Comment by Kathi — July 21, 2012 @ 8:14 am

  10. And, for the FOC man, a woman needs a t-shirt that says, “My eyes are up here!” with a big arrow pointing up right above her boobies.

    Comment by Kathi — July 21, 2012 @ 8:15 am

  11. Oh, man. This shirt is creepy and I just don’t get where you would actually WEAR it except around “other people who agree with you.” Because if you really cared about people’s souls, you wouldn’t lecture them with an obnoxious t-shirt. I’m not a total prude–O.K., I’m a bit of a prude–but I just wonder if someone would wear this around mixed company. Or children. You know, to make parents suffer in having to explain it to their kids. Or hurry to get their kids away from Creepy Tee Guy.

    Take me away to the yurt community NOW, please.

    (BTW the design challenge this past week for the HGTV Design Star competition was for YURTS! I haven’t watched it yet but that was just too cool.)

    Comment by Kate P — July 21, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  12. Kathi — Hahahaha, yes! How about big-boobed Christian women wearing a t-shirt that says “Christians don’t have boobs*”

    “*so what are you looking at?”

    Kate P — I saw that advertised too! Haven’t seen it though. Just watch. Yurts are going to become all the rage now — but WE liked them first!

    Comment by tracey — July 22, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  13. […] Based on Driscoll’s comment, every man since the dawn of time is gay and every woman who is with a man is with a gay man and no one is paying attention to the t-shirt. […]

    Pingback by beyond the pale » oh, hey, this just in: if you masturbate, you’re gay — July 23, 2012 @ 10:39 am

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