I was browsing through the "manly" isles in Walmart looking for some tools for pulling the old floor up, and doing some research browsing on tools for sanding and staining or painting the chairs (have not decided yet). I surprised myself that I was in those isles. I surprised myself even more by enjoying it greatly.
When I was little, I was like my fathers son in a lot of ways. My brother would help my dad a lot but he does have cerebral palsy so his skills were limited. My dad would take me all the time to the hardware store with him. I would hope it was free popcorn day but even if it wasn't, my dad would stop for what he liked to call a "beer". This was just soda. Now that I'm older and I get it, I find that quite funny. I just thought he was weird back then. Without meaning to, I became very familiar with PVC pipe, glues, sprinkler heads, bolt sizes, gorilla snot, and drill bits. I learned how to dig trenches, re-wire whole entertainment systems, and drive a tiller. I spent more time doing these things than I ever did in the kitchen learning to make muffins. At the time, I didn't enjoy it much because I wanted to go play but it became part of me.
Like any child, I tried not to have to do these things once I was older and married. I doused myself in the feminine side of me. I enjoyed tea cups, and had babies. I wore long skirts trying to grasp that ever so Gathered femininity (I want to gag right now, it's developed such a reflex over the years). There are parts of me that are legitimately girly, don't get me wrong! I still love tea times (though I keep my china packed away now for when I want it and have replaced it with some Tuscan simple dishes), and I adored having my babies. I still love to wear skirts or dress now and then but I'm much more likely to dress up a pair of jeans and top with some matching earrings the size of Texas.
So, getting back to my day and my thoughts......
I was headed to Lowes to find what Walmart didn't have that I needed. On the way I was listening to a great Family Life Today episode called "A Biblical Response To Homosexuality". It was really good. In it though he talked for a moment about how society makes up these "idiotic" (his choice of words) definitions of what is manly. He uses some quite humorous illustrations regarding hunting to demonstrate his point. However he says, these stupid definitions leave the gentle, tender-hearted male type feel lacking and without a home in his masculine world. I SO appreciated that statement! I think it's true that people doubt their core gender by the insecurities they have regarding their differing personalities.
I think even Christian culture has put a major problem out there with over defining the genders and tying them to biblical truths. Yes, there are a lot of guidelines in the bible for males and females and their roles, but the definitions are left open to personality types and it's like we have added in the adjectives we think are missing in the scriptures! There are men who are tender and gentle, and there are women who are go-getters and fix-it types.
This topic hit me because for years I felt my husband was not being the man he should be. When I compared him to these Christian culture definitions, he fell short. He is not motivated to fix things in the house, he does not fish or hunt, he doesn't not have a clue what is wrong with the car. Now, when he takes the time to learn something, he is great at it, but these things don't come natural to him, nor does the initial passion to conquer them. My dad was the "manly man" in that sense and even he, though he meant well, added to my discontent with my husband. The things that occurred to my dad to do or take care of, did not occur to my husband and I developed a keen sense of discontent that has taken me years to work back from. I'm convinced now, it was a wrong way of thinking.
On that same note, I've been frustrated for years that I AM the one with passion to conquer projects, broken things, and I have a heavier dose of common sense as to how to do it. Some of that comes from hours with my dad doing what he did but a lot of it is personality.
So, after hearing that I went into Lowes and walked around with my McDonalds coffee just enjoying my visit thoroughly. Something about hearing that statement set something free in me that has been frustrated for years. I love projects! I love to build, fix and conquer, and I love looking at tools! I swear, if they had had an aqua tool belt, I'd have bought it. My husband joked the other day that I should have one. I won't tell you the rest of what he said.
Yet, that brings me to my next set of thoughts. My husband likes me this way! He was attracted to my "tom-boyishness" when we were dating. He asked me to wear pants again when I went through my stupid Gathered skirt phase! He needs me to be a go-getter on stuff that does not occur to him! Christians are in danger of creating their own version of Stepford Wives.
I'm not saying there are not biblical gender goals that we have in our marriage. I struggle to not control him, and he struggles to lead. Yet, beyond that, I think we have let people tell us more what our relationship should look like rather than relaxing with who God made us. I'm not butch, and he's not a wussy, nor am I Michelle Duggar and he Davy Crocket.
I just think we spend way too much time in our lives measuring ourselves up to standard made by men and in that we loose the joy of who God made us to be.
Ironically, last night, Rick and I watched this episode of 3rd Rock that talked about what was "manly". The main character Dick has been accused of being "whipped" by his lady and he is grasping to be more manly. Harry is trying to help him. I could not find one that was just the excerpt I wanted, watch up to 2:14 for what I was getting at.