Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

These are the men ... colleagues and friends

These are the men ... colleagues and friends, who

see women as teammates, equals and partners in the world.

These are the men who never take credit for her ideas,

who always ask her opinion,

who happily get the coffee, take the notes or bring snacks to the meeting.

These are the men who tell great jokes that don't cross any lines,

who ask interesting questions

and make everyone in the room feel heard, seen and valued.

These are the men who are happy with a female boss,

who refuse to reduce women to sexual objects,

who never make snide remarks to their male colleagues,

and who stand up to bullies on behalf of those less powerful.

These are the men who are so confident in themselves that they

don't brag or boast or belittle,

but instead praise, compliment and uplift.

These are the men who don't grip so tightly to power that no one else gets a chance to lead.

These are the men who listen as intently to a female pastor as a male,

who aren't ashamed to cry.

who walk a co-worker home,

who give away their umbrella,

and take a sick day to be with a flu-ridden child so their wives can go to work.

These are the men ... colleagues and friends, who

remind me that the world is filled with goodness,

and that men and women

working, living and loving together

can be one of the most beautiful

alliances

ever.

These are the men ... 

 

How his comment made me feel ...

A strong and fierce friend of mine told me this story today.

I asked if she would write it out so I could share it with all of you.

I am confident every woman who reads it can relate.

A safe place made unsafe by the crudest of comments.

A comment on a stranger's body.

Do you think he thought it would be perceived as a compliment?

What makes a person think it is ok to do this?

What do we need to correct in our culture to ensure this kind of stuff will never be tolerated?

Her story speaks volumes, friends.

Here it is.

***********************************

5am exercise in a mostly empty gym.

I do my workout, comfortable in my own been-around-the-block skin, relishing the vaccinated, masked glorious new freedom of it.

 Happy that my body, even with some aches and pains, can still move and sweat and do hard things.

 But…

He had to say something as I stretched on a yoga mat in an empty room.

An older guy who I’ve greeted every morning as I’ve gone about my business.

Today, instead of a gruff hello, he mumbled “You have a real fine ass.”

Instant stunning.

Instant nausea.

Fight or flight.

I offer zero umbrella of mercy for his age or apparent cluelessness and crudeness.

What I can offer is how his comment made me feel.

I had felt strong—he weakened me.

I had felt invisible in the best possible way—he made me shamefully self-conscious.

I had felt safe—and he created danger.

With jangled nerves, I am preparing a response should he make the same mistake twice.

And I am allowing my words their agency, no matter how piercing and pointed.

It may not make one bit of difference to him,

but it will to me.

We are still so tired ...

Taking a little break from writing about women and men today to address what I am feeling these days ...

Fatigue. That's what I am feeling.

And I shouldn't be tired, that's what's so weird to me.

We survived this pandemic just fine. Enough food. Health insurance. Safe jobs. Freedom to work from home. We even have our first vaccine under our belts.

But we are still so tired.

Are you?

This last year was both hard and heartbreaking.

So many lives lost, many needlessly.

So much strife ... over masks, over distancing, over our neighbor's safety.

Racist, sexist, xenophobic uprisings happening in violent, terrifying outbursts.

Racist, sexist, xenophobic rumblings, always just below the surface.

Politicians who would rather hold onto their positions than do the people's work.

And churches ... arguing over politics, culture war issues and conspiracy theories.

And then my own failures ...

Remember when we were going to take advantage of all the "free time "the pandemic created?

Remember that frantic, frenetic, neurotic energy falsely labeled as opportunity?

Seems a million years ago I was making a list of goals for this strange space called lock-down.

I met one goal: Make sourdough bread. All the slow claps for me. At least I kept our carb levels high.

Now, all I am is fatigued.

But, also grateful.

But ... fatigued.

And so thankful.

And so tired.

And so happy to be alive and well.

And exhausted.

Anyone else?

These are the men ... fathers

These are the men ...

The men who are over the moon to become fathers to little girls.

Who play rough and tumble, but also hold close.

Who teach their girls to be brave, as well as beautiful.

To be courageous, as well as gentle.

To be assertive and kind.

These are the men who are as comfortable with ballet as they are with basketball.

These are the men who coach their girls to fail without feeling like failures.

And who teach them to succeed with grace and self-confidence.

These are the men who lean in as their daughters go through puberty, rather than back away.

These are the men who make it their top priority to raise daughters who are comfortable, confident and powerful in their bodies, whatever their shape.

These are the men who model to their sons and their daughters what it looks like to treat women as equals, as colleagues, as friends.

These are the men who use their power to prepare their daughters to soar into the world - unencumbered by body shame or beauty sickness - prepared, full-hearted, and happy to be alive.

Happy to be a girl.

These are the men ...