In my post What I Truly Believe about Men, reader Lynn commented:
“I think there are a couple of reasons why women ‘bash’ men . . . first of all, we women, every one of us, have had experience with the worst of male behavior (catcalling, unwanted touch, etc.).“
Oh so true.
For example, my family moved into a new house when I was in 8th grade, and it was one of the first built on the street. The school bus dropped us off at the corner, and my sister and I had to walk a few blocks past houses under construction to reach our residence. Almost every afternoon, we were greeted by construction workers ogling as we passed, whistling at us, and making inappropriate comments. It was a whole group of men, and they were ill-behaved in the extreme — especially to under-aged girls.
Did this make me feel good about men? Nope, not so much. But what bothered me most was how powerless I felt in that moment. I couldn’t stop what was happening! They were adults, we were minors. They were bigger, we were smaller. We were two, they were many. And if we said anything, it only seemed to egg them on. But we had to walk that route. So we kept our eyes forward, ignored them as best we could, and walked home.
Looking back, I think if my father had known what was happening, he might have approached them or complained to the company. But at that time, we were teenagers wanting to be adults and handle things ourselves. I don’t recall ever bothering to tell my parents about our walk home, and as the construction areas slowly became built houses, the problem went away.
Yet other men in my life have certainly been inappropriate — everything from that weird up-and-down-your-body eye scan from a complete stranger, to creepy pick-up lines, to a guy getting grabby on the first date. After seeing those behaviors — and hearing from older, well-meaning women such stupid phrases as “guys only want one thing” — a girl can have more than one moment when she wonders if the whole male species is simply a pack of barely civilized wolves.
Thankfully, I didn’t buy that.
I had too many conflicting examples of guys being polite, proper, and protective! I had frank conversations with guy friends in which I asked what they really thought and discovered sex was not the only thing on their minds. Plenty of them had deep thoughts and emotional longings and honorable intentions.
I had male teachers in school, from elementary through high school, who demonstrated class and caring. And I got to know Bible teachers and youth ministers and church camp counselors who modeled what it means to be a godly man.
I’ve seen good family men in workplaces, churches, and volunteer organizations who love actively their wives and their children. And I have the intimate example of my husband, whose ethics are beyond question.
Then, there’s Jesus. Who, while being all God, was all man. If being male destines you to be a primal jerk, then how can I explain Jesus? Apparently, it’s not destiny.
Ladies, the creepy guys we know were just that: creepy guys. Not a statement about the whole male race, and certainly not confirmation that your husband is somehow a jerk underneath his smooth exterior.
This matters because it colors how we view our husband’s approach to us and our marriage bed. If he wants sex far more often than you, that’s doesn’t make him a sleezeball. He isn’t treating you like that creep you dated fifteen years ago who expected you to “put out” because he bought you dinner. Your husband wants to make love to his wife . . . because he loves his wife.
And if your husband has rejected your sexual advances, that doesn’t mean he’s a jerk far more interested in ogling other women. Sure, affairs and porn use will dampen his interest in you, but that’s a fairly small percentage of lower-drive husbands. It’s just as or more likely that he’s extra stressed at work and it’s taken a toll on his libido. Or that there’s another cause.
Most of you ladies did not marry a creep.
But do you sometimes treat him like one? Do you judge him based on those creepy guys we used to know? Do you secretly harbor fears about men and erect walls to keep yourself safe?
With the beloved man who chose and adores you, please let go of that. Consider him in the best possible light. If you’re not sure what he’s thinking or feeling, ask. (He might surprise you!) And even if his behavior in the past included ogling and whistling at women, he’s grown up since then, fallen in love, become a family man, learned what it means to be committed. See him as the man God intended him to be.
Let’s leave our memories of those creeps behind. They didn’t deserve our attention then, and they don’t deserve it now.