December 1, 2007
"Don’t worry, O blessed ladies, no woman is ugly to her own husband; she was pleasing enough when she was chosen."
So wrote Tertullian in “Women, Wear a Veil," quoted in Umberto Eco's new book "On Ugliness." There is logic to the veil scheme: Men will be satisfied with their wives as long as they have no other women to compare them to, and women should accept the suppression so that each one can maintain her grip on her husband. It requires everyone to live a life of visual deprivation, so that no one sees anything that might make him want what he does not have. You are never challenged to resist temptations, and to make it easy to avoid sexual pleasures, you have to give up all the visual pleasures that could easily be yours.