On Sunday I finished making copies of the new month's YW calendar and was too late to find a seat in Sunday school. So I sat on the sofa in the foyer, which I will admit I do quite often during the second hour of church.
I was alone. Then a young father came up and sat across from me. He joked, "Hey, you're in the father's lounge." I laughed with him, but then I noticed his eyes were serious. If I could read his mind it would his next thoughts would have been, "Get out. Go gossip and chick-talk with your girl friends; this is man territory."
So I guess if someone has the gall to segregate the foyer by gender then it's up to me to integrate it.
I am the Rosa Parks of the Sunday School skippers. And I refuse to give up my seat.
So this next thing has been on my mind for about a year now.
Most of my male associates are from church, so I don't know if this would also translate to the workplace or other places. So I guess I would have to limit this to "men at church."
But my generalization is: Many men are not friendly to women at church.
You know which men are friendly? The converts. Or the weirdies. Or my husband, who is neither.
I don't mean that the men are mean--I mean that they don't engage in the give-and-take, back-and-forth that it takes to make a friendship. Or at least a pleasant social relationship.
Bryce will confirm that the trait I value almost above all others is friendliness.
To me, it shows respect. If you're interested enough to ask questions, to listen and respond, it shows respect. It gives you something to build on. Maybe you'll like the person, maybe not. But you can at least smile.
Maybe I'm in the minority but I like to talk to groups other than other women; I like old folks, I like children, I like teenagers . . . and yes, I do like the different perspective I get from talking to men.
Sometimes a meeting will have some downtime and the topic will turn to current events or politics. I hear all sorts of opinions, from the intelligent and substantive to the "I-think-I-heard-it-on-Rush-Limbaugh" sketchy. One time the lady I sat by rolled her eyes and said, "I have no idea what they're talking about."
But I do. And I love a good discussion that isn't about kids or food storage or that latest sale at Old Navy.
So I jump in. But when I do, I'm sometimes met with a dismissive glance.
Two words. UN. FRIENDLY.
Just because I'm not working doesn't mean that I'm not smart. Politics and current events are public domain for the self-educated and informed. There's no "Men Only" sign on newsworthy topics. It's not like I'm trying to dominate your discussion about prostate health.
I don't think I ingratiate myself into private conversations . . . usually. But I'm human. Maybe I do.
Shouldn't we all like all kinds of people? We're all part of the human family. It makes life a lot nicer to be nice, to value each other's thoughts and view points.
Men are different, women are different, but I think it's ridiculous to act like they can't mix or the world will blow up. It's not flirting to be nice. It's not a waste of time to get to know people. You can have a professional relationship and still be respectful, warm, and cordial.
I'm glad for the men at church who are friendly to me--and to others.
I'm glad for the men in my LIFE who are friendly to me--and to others.
Most men don't care about Clinique Bonus time (in which I scored some pretties) any more than I care about the new app for the iPhone that fires gun shots (which I had demonstrated to me--or maybe AT me--on Sunday).
But there are lots of things we all do like. Or hate. Or eat. Or watch. Or hope for.
Come sit with me in the foyer next time and let's have a friendly chat.
I guarantee you we have more in common than you think.