“Feminine Side” – *snort*


This is going to be short, and I’m not even sure I’ve got a point in all of this, but here goes. What’s with all the attempts at gender-bending men? As I’ve said before, Prof. Henry Higgins got it right when he said, “By and large, we are a marvelous sex!”

Recently, I’ve been reading Eggerichs’ book, Love and Respect, and have really been enjoying it. I can tell that there will probably be an blogpost or three inspired by it, somewhere down the road. In his introductory chapter to husbands on how to communicate love to their wives, there was one statement that Eggerichs made that made me put down my iPad and go, “Whoa!”  In an aside, when telling husbands that they aren’t being called to become women, Eggerichs says,

“We make a huge mistake in the church, particularly among evangelicals. We tell men to “get in tune with their feminine side,” yet we don’t tell women to get in tune with their masculine side.” (p. 122, Kindle ed.)

My first observation? Hellz yeah! Okay folks, you tell me how many family/marriage conferences that you ever attended in which wives were told “Get in touch with your masculine side.” And yet, we think nothing of it when men are told that they need to get in touch with their feminine side.

When I read this to Wife, she responded with, “Well, they aren’t saying that men should be like women; they’re just saying that men should learn to be more sensitive.”

Okay, I can go with this. This makes sense. After all, I realize that as a card-carrying Coot, I can be somewhat prickly; I do tend to think that everyone is entitled to the benefit of my opinion and experience, whether they want it or not. After all, I’ve got ‘em, and it is incumbent upon me to set the world straight. And, yes, maybe I could be a mite gentler and, ahem, sensitive when offering enlightenment to the slower folk around me.

So, maybe there is something to this being more sensitive.

And Then I Remembered This

Years ago (1980?), I was in an MLS program in Chapel Hill, with several other librarians. I was the only man in this special program, and so had a kind of privileged status when we went in residency during the summers, in Carolina. I remember one morning when several of us were sitting around with our different texts, discussing library science, when one woman walked into the room and announced that she had opted to wear jeans that day. Her reason for this sartorial decision?

“Oh, I’m feeling boyish today.”

My jaw dropped at that statement and I made the simplest of inquiries as to what she meant. Eloquently, I blurted out, “HUH?”

She proceeded to try to explain what she meant, and to either my obtuseness or that fact that it sounded like gibberish, her explanation made no sense to me. But I was dumbfounded by the fact that every one of the women in the room knew exactly what she meant!

“Boyish?” What does a woman mean when she says she’s feeling “boyish?” I said it then, and I’ll say it today, “That makes no sense!”

You never see a man come tripping up to a group of guys and say, “I’m feeling a little girlish today, so I decided to wear my pumps skeet-shooting today.” No, it doesn’t compute, sorry. That dude will get voted off the island, pronto!

One Possible Explanation: Poor Word Choice

Instead of meaning “get in touch with your feminine side”, what these well-intentioned folk meant to say was, “Men, you need to learn to be more sensitive.” But doesn’t that open up another can of worms? After all, wouldn’t it be stereotyping to simply assume that men are, by and large, insensitive and women are the sensitive ones? And, as far as that goes, what if the slipper was placed on the princess’s foot instead? As in, “Well, why don’t you learn to toughen up, and stop being so sensitive?”

No, I guess I can’t see that duck flying. I guess we are going to have to accept the fact that, archetypically, women do seem to be more sensitive to others and to feelings, etc. I guess that won’t go.

Well, How ‘Bout ‘Feelings’, Not ‘Feminine Side’?

There might be something to this. We guys aren’t known for being too big on sharing our feelings. We are given the role of being the one who is supposed to be the pillar, the one whom the family can rely on. John Wayne is held up as the model of masculinity, and we are told to ‘man up.’

But it does seem to be a mantle that men, for the most part, are ready and willing to shoulder, and down through time immemorial, women have, on the whole, gotten on board the idea. After all, our definition of a real man is the guy who is there for the family; I know it’s my ideal and I’ve written about it.

But, then again, marriage is a melding of two people into one flesh. If I learned anything from the Colloquy series that Chris and I did this past summer, it’s that feelings are a valid part of any relationship, and if one of you needs feelings attended to, it is a valid need. But in my mind, I do see the dangers of becoming too focused on feelings. After all, we have the example of “Chicken Boy.”

So Is It All Just A Wash?

Well, maybe not. Guys, there might be something to this ‘sensitivity’ stuff, this ‘feelings’ stuff. And I’m going to cogitate on it for a bit. I’m going to finish Eggerichs’ Love and Respect. Then I’ll let you have the benefit of my experience. After all, you’re entitled to it. 🙂



Filed under Marriage & Sexuality

15 responses to ““Feminine Side” – *snort*

  1. What if BOTH genders need to be increasingly sensitive to one another? Love and Respect uses the pink and blue analogy, and if you can get past the oversimplification and stereotyping, I think this point is key. In everything you do, remember that your spouse is looking through different colored lenses. The more “sensitive” we are to learning how to see things through their eyes and then act accordingly so that our words and actions can easily be translated through those lenses, the stronger our marriages will be. Seek to become increasingly aware of the fact that we are different, and not only are those differences NOT wrong, they are valid. How different will our marriages be if we are operating under the assumption that our spouse’s experience is 100% valid even if we see things differently? This is how you fuel the energizing cycle and treat your spouse with love and respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like I said, there are probably going to be some articles coming out of my reading. 🙂

      You put your finger on one thing that kind of bothered me, the oversimplification, but I guess that is the job of a popularizer.

      I will say that the info about men that he presents to wives is what is making me go back and re-read his COUPLE chapters; if he is so spot-on in his info about men, then maybe it behooves me to take him seriously when he writes about wives.


      • I do recommend taking a more serious look. It describes me to a T, anyway, but like any book, I think you have to take what is true for your marriage and ditch the rest. The book hits on stereotypes probably because they are true for a lot of people. They certainly are true for my husband and me! So yes, I feel the COUPLE chapters describe my pink view perfectly, but I hesitate to say these are one-size-fits-all. The book is a good place to start some key conversations with your spouse. “How true is this true for you? How can I love/respect you more knowing this?”

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think this post that went viral is a good example of this: http://mustbethistalltoride.com/2016/01/14/she-divorced-me-because-i-left-dishes-by-the-sink/

      This husband was not willing to “think pink,” to consider his wife’s view as valid because it was not true for him and he felt his wife should be the same as him. It’s too bad it took until after she left him for him to see just how important it is to “be sensitive” to his spouse’s point of view and consider it valid and that just because it is different doesn’t make it wrong. In fact, that’s his number one point here: http://mustbethistalltoride.com/2016/01/20/cracking-the-code-7-ideas-that-would-have-saved-my-marriage/
      And finally, he pulls it all together to hit on exactly what you are talking about here about sensitivity: http://mustbethistalltoride.com/2016/01/27/my-wife-is-irrational-therefore-shes-wrong/

      Maybe those posts just reinforce the stereotype that men are not sensitive and women are, but I have found my life to be a lot easier when I am sensitive to the fact that my husband doesn’t see things the way I do and therefore his dirty socks strewn across the entire house are genuinely not a big fat “Eff, you, woman,” even though it feels that way to me. He does not operate that way and is not trying to hurt me. I am able to nip resentment in the bud when I remember this, though it will always be a battle for me. It would be wonderful if my husband would be more sensitive about that, but until things click for him as they did this husband, all I can do is try to be sensitive to his point of view as I try to help him understand my own.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The phrase that Eggerichs uses that really stands out, is “good-willed”. I’m not finished with the book, yet, but what keeps rolling over in my mind is “what must it be like to live with someone you don’t believe to be good-willed toward you?”

        One thing I keep coming across in my reading of different blogs and boards is the encouragement, “Remember, your husband/wife is not your enemy.” It is telling that that line has to be repeated and repeated and repeated and ……..


      • Satan has really hoodwinked us into seeing our spouse as the enemy, hasn’t he? I like to take it a step further and say that not only is my hubby not my enemy, we are on the same team. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t once you’ve been married long enough for your selfish nature to kick in, which is all of five minutes later. But especially when kids got thrown into the mix for us, everything became a competition. We fought constantly about who was more tired and who deserved a break more. But no one wins that argument. It took until kid number three for us to remember we are on the same team and say, “Okay, we are BOTH tired and we BOTH need a break. How can we team up to make sure each of us gets that?”

        To bring this back to the topic on hand, it has to do with being sensitive to one another’s needs and validating them, not arguing about whose are MORE valid. It’s that pesky selfishness that destroys marriages. “My needs trump your needs, therefore your needs don’t count.” You are going to have one miserable marriage if either spouse takes this stance, and that is where Satan is so clever. We need to be more sensitive to his schemes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. IntimacySeeker

    I wonder if the premise behind “get in touch with your feminine side” is about the messages boys and men receive to be tough, not show emotion, etc. Brings to mind Tony Porter’s TED Talk: A Call to Men.

    Perhaps an even better way to word it would be “expand your perception of masculinity to be closer to what God intends.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Here is another post to think about about insensitive people, if you haven’t seen it: http://www.garythomas.com/why-men-dont-change/

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw that yesterday, as a link from Sheila Gregoire’s Wifey Wednesday post, yesterday. It is a good article. Today, April Cassidy put up a video on her Peaceful Wife channel on YouTube addressing militant feminism and its call to, in essence, destroy masculinism. I think it’s pretty good insight into the motivation of the Tony Porters.


  4. IntimacySeeker

    Some thoughts on “feeling boyish”

    Boys and men are held to different standards in many areas. To describe wearing jeans as an expression of feeling boyish could mean taking a Sabbath from the cultural expectations of looking feminine by our culture’s standards. This might mean a day off from plucking, tweezing, bleaching, waxing, trimming, shaving, wrinkle-reducing, puffiness-decreasing, spot-diminishing, exfoliating, moisturizing, curling/straightening, coloring, highlighting, contouring, flattening/squishing (aka Spanx), lifting/separating (thinking Playtex Cross-Your-Heart here), pantyhose, heels, lace, cleavage, fragrance, hair styling products, make-up (foundation, concealer, eye primer, lip primer, eye shadow–three shades minimum, eye liner, mascara–three coats for best results, lash curling, brow pencil, brow gel, lip liner, lip color, lip gloss, blush, loose powder).

    In other words, “feeling boyish” could express one’s need stop hiding. To be oneself without hiding behind all the aforementioned hullabaloo. To take a stand against an industry based on the notion that we aren’t good enough the way God created us. To take a stand against media who tell us the only valuable attribute we offer is our appearance.


    • As I said in the article, I posed the, oh so eloquent, “HUH?”, to query her statement. As they tried to enlighten me as to what Donna’s statement meant, not one of those 10 women librarians began to rail about societal norms, roles or expectations. Is it that you want retroactively impose your agenda onto that event?


      • alchemist

        No. I think she has a point. “Feeling boyish” might be taking a break from societal norms for femininity. Speaking your mind. Being more forward. Taking the bull by the horns. Not worrying about being demure or proper. Not trying to please everyone and keep the peace. Maybe it means being less sensitive and not being put down. Aggressively attacking your problems. None of these things are seems as traditionally feminine. Maybe it just meant she was feeling a bit wild/ reckless/ rebellious that day. That’s actually probably what she meant.

        The phrase makes perfect sense, even for women like me who really don’t put much store in societal expectations. But its not that easy to articulate the meaning plainly.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Okay, I can mentally process what you and IS are saying, but it’s still a foreign tongue to guys. Only a guy who walks a little light in his loafers is going to say, “I’m feeling a little girlish today.” Like Normon on original Star Trek, “it does not compute.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s