men and women

May I have this dance?

I love to dance. I’ve been teaching classical ballet for over 4 years, and since I have been forced to discontinue taking ballet on a higher level myself, it’s no surprise that I enjoy all kinds of motion put to music! So when my sister and I were treated to a night of English Country Dancing at a Reformation Faire, we immediately fell in love with the style, grace and beauty of it.

Since we are such gracious and considerate individuals, we knew we just had to share this kind of family-friendly social interaction with our local community. Thus, since December we have been teaching monthly English Country Dancing to anyone with a hankering to relive the Jane Austen days.

We have learned a lot through our teaching (let me tell you, instructing little girls in ballet is vastly different than trying to direct 50 grown men and women in pair dancing). We have learned that any height difference between 2-4 feet makes dancing with one’s partner pretty awkward, that calling out can be just as physically taxing as actually dancing, and that men are vastly different from women!

Allow me to expand on that latter notion. Men and women tend to have dramatically different outlooks on life. A man will shop only if his life depends on it (in my Dad’s case, it would be Menards to pick up some roasted peanuts) and a woman will shop sometimes simply for the joy of checking out new styles and trends… even when she doesn’t need anything! The fairer sex will sigh, sob and giggle at all the appropriate moments in “Pride and Prejudice” while “I Am Legend” might have been the choice of the 15 year-old male. When it comes to dancing, the outlook tends to be the same. While it may not be a general rule that men abhor dancing, the sport is also not known to be an immediate favorite of theirs.

And this, my dear audience, is where the gentlemen enter. Whether some noble knights fear rejection, or mistakes, or simply the close proximity of a 2 foot distance from a female, it appears that men take a radically different approach to dancing than women. However, when the hesitancy is pushed aside, the boldness acquired, and the hand offered, a knight is born and a lady is rescued.

I have 5 brothers and I still do not profess to know males. But I am thankful for the differences the Lord gave us; that men can be tough and masculine, and women can be gentle and feminine. Dancing may not be a life or death issue, but biblical manhood and womanhood is. We risk the death of nations when men forsake their duties and women abandon their homes, and even worse when we throw off the word of God calling us to live our lives according to His purpose.

When women dress beautifully and step gracefully, it’s a lovely thing indeed. When men take the initiative and ask a lady to dance, it’s a very chivalrous act to behold! And when men and women shake off the shackles of the culture to pursue their roles with purity and honor, well… that is when the music really starts!

If women are spaghetti…

The other day an interesting discussion was sparked among the teens in our family as we discussed the difference between girls and boys. My sister Emily and I were prodding our very neutral and un-expressive 14 year old brother to open up and explain to us what he was feeling inside; since nearly every question in regards to his feelings is answered with “maybe… I don’t know… I guess” and it never ceases to aggravate those of the opposite sex.

Just what is it that men are keeping bottled up in their systems? And why ever don’t they explain themselves and tell us what they’re thinking and feeling? My sister and I were eager to know just how men and women feel things differently, but maybe we’ll never really know. My brother, however, did proceed (after much prodding and teasing) to give his opinion on the difference between the way men and women show emotions; in an effort to prove that men really do have them.

Instead of waffles and spaghetti, think of men and women as glass boxes. A woman’s box is clear and you can see all the many complicated and emotional objects inside. (According to my brother, there is no spot or blemish anywhere; every content of her box is open and displayed for everyone to see.) A man’s box, however, is clouded over instead of clear; we can’t see inside to know how many objects there are, of if it contains any at all. We are told with great insistence that there are contents in the box; we just aren’t allowed to know what they are.

Quite the philosophical puzzle, isn’t it? Men and women are totally different and unique creatures. As hard as we try, we will never quite be able to understand our different motives, drives, passions, and yes; emotions. Not to scorn one sex and elevate the other; for we are all equal in God’s sight.

Now, despite the truth that women’s boxes tend to be much more clear than men’s, we all have thoughts and feelings and heart issues that we hide away deep within that others do cannot see. A truth that may be startling to realize, though, is that no matter how hard we try, male or female, we cannot cloud over our hearts before God. He sees clearly within our boxes and it truly should strike remorse, fear, and trembling not when mere men see a glimpse here and there, but when the Lord; the awesome and mighty judge, examines the intents of our hearts.

As much as I wish my brother would tell me what he is feeling and thinking about things; what his desires are, it is much more crucial that he search those out and confess them to God. How amazing it is that the perfect, pure, ultimate judge, who sees far more imperfection and flaw than man can realize we embody, is far greater in his mercy and forgiveness towards us! Why we turn to the cruel and negative perusal of the world instead of a merciful Father is beyond logic or reason.

What’s in your box?