This is a woman’s question: do good men still exist? It seems every week we hear a new story in the media that causes women’s fear to escalate and paranoia to grow towards men in general…
Walking down the long and cold looking hallway, I started getting a creepy feeling. My danger instincts were alive and on the prowl. I could see the men’s bathroom straight ahead. I turned the corner, and the women’s bathroom was right next to the men’s- but the door was missing. My thoughts were getting the best of me. I hurried into the washroom and locked myself in the middle stall.
Then I heard the men’s bathroom door open, and I went silent…and waited. A minute later I heard the shuffling of shoes and someone entering the women’s restroom. My heart started racing, my breathing sped up and was getting loud.
I held my breath.
A head appeared under my stall door and I instinctively kicked at it. A fire lit up in me, and I swung open the stall door. There stood a tall and lanky man with scraggly blonde hair in a ponytail. He looked like a rock star from a band.
I came rushing out of the stall at him. I figured if I took the role of aggressor I might be able to scare him off. My arms were rapidly firing away. I was trying to punch him any way I could. He grabbed my wrists and started wrestling with me as I was continuing my ninja moves.
We fell to the floor, and we’re rolling around, but it felt more like I was fighting him, and he was just trying to defend himself. He wasn’t very aggressive.
Finally, he says something, “What are you doing????”
His voice startled me.
“I’m trying to fight you off!” I say spouting angry words.
“But I’m not trying to hurt you!” he says.
“Then why are you in the women’s bathroom?” I ask him.
“Because I’m a lady.”
“You’re a lady?????” I ask as I put my arms down.
She gets off of me and stands up. I stand up too. I take a better look at the rock star and realize she was right.
“Since I was young, people have thought I was a boy – but I’m a girl, I promise you!”
“But you came out of the men’s bathroom and into this one?”
“No, another man came out of there, I passed him on my way up the hall.”
I stare at her and then I burst out laughing. At first, she just looks at me like I’m a psychotic wreck… then she starts snickering. Pretty soon we are both in full-belly-laughs, and I can barely stand up.
The situation is too funny.
I tried to take down another woman in the mall bathroom – because my mind was playing tricks on me, and my paranoia had made me believe things that weren’t true.
At this point, she and I are both on the floor laughing and crying.
I was laughing so hard I kicked my blankets off…then I woke up.
Yes, I actually dreamed that.
But my dream really isn’t too far from reality. In real life, I may have had all those same anxieties about twenty years ago. Except, I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to take a man down in a bathroom.
I have gained some bravery since then and had victory over severe paranoia.
About fifteen years ago, when Vance and I began our love of cruising – a couple of women on different boats – had been kidnapped. This caused me to be terrified to be walking the halls of the ship early in the morning. I was convinced someone was going to reach out and grab me and pull me into a room. Over the years that fear has subsided substantially.
A few weeks ago, when we were on a ship, I was up at 4 am and had just arrived at the twenty-four-hour cafe and set up my computer, when I realized I had left my glasses in our stateroom. I debated what I should do – I didn’t want to wake Vance up – so I was just going to sit there for three hours.
Reading anything without my glasses is impossible.
After ten minutes of sitting and my restless nature going squirely, I decided to go back to my room. I scooted back to the elevators and walked into one. I must not have seen the young man who hopped on with me, because I probably would have just circled around and caught the next elevator.
My heart started racing a bit. ‘The man could follow me, or drag me into a room.’ I must make something clear: I’ve never been grabbed or dragged or had someone use brute force on me, in any situation. (Except for Johnny in grade five who whipped down my tube top and I kicked him where the sun-don’t-shine.)
I was tempted to hop off the elevator, but I told myself – I could do this: If he came at me, I would FIGHT FOR MY LIFE!
The man looked to be about twenty-five years old and five-foot-nine. I sized him up – yes I could take him down with a high-adrenaline fight. He saw me looking at him, and he smiled. Oh no, he’s going to think I’m interested. I gave him a curt smile and looked the other way.
“How are you are this morning?” He said in a pleasant voice.
My defences came down, and we chatted for the twenty seconds we were in the elevator. The young man said he was just going to bed after a night out with his friends. I told him I was just getting up. Our age differences and lifestyles were polar opposites.
“Wow I wish I had your discipline – to get up early,” he said thoughtfully
“You’re still young – that might change as you get older.”
The doors opened, and he called out to me as I walked away, “You have a nice morning Mamm.”
I smiled to myself as I walked away. What a nice young man…and I was going to punch the living daylights out of him!
How did I ever get so PARANOID?
I know I’m not the only woman who feels – a man I see in a hall, alley, or dark street – is going to assault me. Somehow as women, we are led to believe the vast majority of men will take advantage of us if they catch us alone. But I have been alone with many men, and 99% of them have never done a single thing to make me feel like they would harm me.
Let’s flip the coin for a minute.
I have a husband who looks like he broke out of prison. He’s six-foot-three and 265 lbs. Vance also has a shaved head and a beard – when he had a goatee, he looked even meaner.
We were staying in a hotel in Miami, and he was on an elevator alone when it stopped, and the doors opened. There stood a woman and a small child. They were going to get on. The woman looked up and saw Vance. He looked at her. She just stared and stood there.
“Are you going to get on?” He asked her.
She shook her head no. Not a peep.
Vance hit the button and the doors closed. He knew she was afraid of him. But he chuckled to himself. Vance is a big teddy bear with an instinctive nature to protect women and children.
He’d be the guy you’d want to walk down the long, dark, alley with you.
But he has to deal with the paranoia of women each time he is alone with one. Vance has to be careful of what he does or says – so he doesn’t scare them.
Imagine if my dream had been real-life instead? What if it had been a man who had gone into the men’s bathroom and his five-year-old daughter had went in the women’s, and she had left before daddy was done. Then Daddy went looking for her, and I thought he was out to assault me because he peeked under my door looking for his daughter?
The innocent men in our world now have to be overly cautious and paranoid themselves. Everything they do and say has to be run through a filter in their brain to make sure they couldn’t possibly be saying one thing, and it could be interpreted as another.
We’ve all listened to enough potty-mouthed men to make us want to puke. Believe me, I’ve heard it myself. But I also know many men who never talk like that and also wouldn’t lay a finger on a lady even if they were alone with her.
With Bill Cosby going to prison after he was the world’s most loved TV Dad and husband, I think women are disappointed. We are saddened that a man we trusted, would do such horrible things to women: such as drugging and assaulting them.
He was the guy we would have trusted at the end of the long dark alley. But he turned out to be the man in our worst nightmares. This has added to the fear we as women already had of men.
Vance asked me one day, “Cindy if I saw a scantily clad woman or teenage girl hitchhiking on the side of the road what should I do?”
“You should pick her up before someone else does and assaults her.”
“That’s what I thought, but what if she accused me of something I didn’t do?” He said.
Vance’s heart tells him he should protect women at any cost. Even the cost of his own reputation. But I feel for him. If he drove past that lady and later found out she had been assaulted and murdered he would feel horrible and always live to regret it.
But if he picked her up and she accused him of something he didn’t do, and he was innocent, he could possibly go to jail.
Men are also caught in this battle of the sexes.
If one of my daughters had been in a car accident – rolled down an embankment and ripped her clothing in the process, and been scantily clad on the side of the road – what would I want a good man to do?
Do you see the dilemma?
Many women have every right to be paranoid. You might have had some pretty terrible things done to you – by strangers or men you trusted. You have your defences up at all times to protect yourself.
On the other hand, our men are becoming fearful of being alone with women or coming to their defence, if they are hurt – in case their intentions are misinterpreted.
In the news this week, Reuben Foster a 49ers linebacker was accused of attacking his girlfriend and punching her. His girlfriend admitted in court that she lied because she was disgruntled when Reuben broke off the relationship. Click HERE to read more: Foster’s ex-girlfriend testifies she lied about abuse
Cases like this one can cause a man to become more cautious when dealing with women since it could come back to bite him.
But there was a man who was willing to come to the defence of women – even if there was a risk involved.
Jesus defended women; no matter the cost.
In John 8: 1-11, a woman was caught in adultery (which was a grave sin especially in the culture at the time. )The teachers of the law: think lots of rules, and the Pharisees: the self-righteous finger-pointers, brought a married woman to Jesus and told him she had been caught in the act of adultery.
In the old testament, the laws had commanded women like her be stoned.
But Jesus had come to offer people forgiveness, mercy and grace. What the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law didn’t know was: Jesus was going to die on the cross so they could be forgiven of their sins.
The teachers and Pharisees thought Jesus might command the adulterous woman be stoned to satisfy the laws. But he surprised them by saying:
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Slowly every one of the men left until it was only Jesus and the woman. He turned to her and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
The Pharisees and teachers of the law had wanted to kill Jesus – since he was claiming to be the son of God – they thought it was ludicrous. They also hoped to trap him with this women’s case. He could have been killed if he gave the wrong answer.
Jesus was willing to put his life on the line for a woman caught breaking the law and cheating on her husband. Out went the law and in came grace. Out went the finger pointing and in came self-reflection. Out went protecting one’s self and in came protecting a guilty woman.
Forgiveness. Grace. Protection.
As a woman with three sons and a husband myself, I want to encourage you to teach your husband and boys to stand up for women, even when it may seem risky. Though the world wants us to believe as a woman- that we don’t need men – most men have a protective nature to be guardians and protectors of women and children.
Yes, I’m sure you as a woman might be quite capable of protecting yourself when needed: but do you want a man to just stand back and let you handle a situation that has gotten out of control – because you can DO IT YOURSELF?
We need to encourage men – no matter their size compared to the woman being attacked or bullied – to stand up for her. I personally want chivalrous men to continue their brave task of protecting women and children.
We don’t want to discourage men from doing what is honourable.
If they open a door for me, offer to carry my groceries, or volunteer to lift something heavy that I have in my arms…I say YES!!! Not because I can’t do it since I can! But because they may eventually not ask a woman who is in need, because they are afraid they will get a lecture on, “WHY ARE YOU TREATING ME LIKE A HELPLESS WOMAN!!!”
Some of our men are losing their desire to protect a lady when needed: since they are constantly being accused of offending women.
This is a plea to all girls, women, mothers, daughters, and sisters: encourage the men in your life to put women ahead of themselves, and to also protect, provide, defend, and tenderly care for ladies they know, and even don’t know.
We need good men to rise up and build our trust in men again: to help us to believe they will protect, and not harm us. But men also need women to cheer them on and accept their kindness, chivalry and bravery.
A woman does not need to feel weak if a man offers her kindness; she should feel treasured and honoured that he would treat her like she’s precious.
We are the women who can help our men become what they hope to be…
Brave. Strong. Kind. Protective💗