Monday, March 28, 2011

Wear The Pants?

It all started with a simple comment that quickly spiraled out of control into a politically incorrect conversation.

“I wish men’s jeans would go on sale like the woman’s jeans do but it rarely happens.”  The clerk said this with a sigh as he scanned my $6 steals and tossed them into a bag.

“Maybe because there are less men’s jeans.” I replied, “Men probably aren’t as complicated as we women are sometimes.  Granted, women think you guys are complicated most of the time but I bet you guys would say you’re pretty simple.”

He chuckled, “Yeah, that’s true!”

“Men and woman are different, no doubt about that!”  I said.

The clerk spun his head to the left and right to make sure no one was listening before leaning in towards me and whispering,  “I agree.”

I tilted my head a bit as I walked out of the store.  Was that man actually afraid to admit we are different?  I think so!  Why would he be, it's not as if we are living out some scary chapter from the book, “1984” where there were Thought Police on the prowl looking for someone to haul into jail for free thinking.  Then again, who needs to embed Thought Police in our hometowns when the media tars and feathers anyone who ventures outside of the “men are women are exactly the same” box.

Don’t get out the tar and feathers yet when you hear what I’m about to say,

Men and woman are VERY different.

I didn’t say one of them was BETTER I just said we are different.

The Target clerk wasn’t the first person who froze in fear when I said that men and woman are different.

I’ve seen that same moment of panic on the face of a man who is about to hold the door for me then starts to let it go, worried that he may offend a woman by this noble gesture.  Maybe he thinks by being kind, he could risk getting whopped on the head with my purse, shaking my head at him and saying, “My aren’t YOU the stereotypical chauvinist.  I can get my own door, thank you very much.  After all, I am a liberated woman!”

In fact, this really did happened to me recently (not the purse-whooping, but a confused male shutting the door in my face).

I was holding a shopping bag in one hand and balancing a baby on my hip as I neared the exit to the mall.  It seems all good stories happen to me while I’m shopping (please note dear husband: this is yet another reason you should allow me to shop ‘till I drop!!).   Once I arrived at the door, a young man who appeared to be about 13 or 14 was leaving ahead of me and started to hold open the door.  All of the sudden, a look of fear crossed his face as he seemed to consider the implications of this (What if I hold open the door for her and she thinks I'm a chauvinist?) and suddenly, he let go of the door (yep, right on my face!) as he shoved his hands in his pockets and hurried away.

I recollected my baby, bags, and thoughts as I hurried after him.  All I could think was, If this were my son, what would I want somebody to say to him?  

“Excuse me!  Can I talk to you?”  I called after him and he spun around in the parking lot when I caught up to him, a look of surprise on his face.

“Hey there, I just want to let you know something, honey.  Anytime you see a woman and want to hold the door open for her, you are doing the right thing.  That is something that would make your mama proud.  We feel so special when a nice young man like you takes the time to open a door or help us out when we need it.  Never be afraid to do that, okay?”

He nodded, his eyes wide and his mouth agape.

Walking back to my car, I smiled, Well, I'm pretty sure I terrified him. But hopefully he was encouraged to be a gentleman, a real man!

The point is, men and woman do wear different jeans…and we have different genes too.  It’s the way God meant it to be.  Why not embrace the beauty of our differences instead of pretending we are the exact same?  Besides, it’s a relief to know when someone starts to hold a door open for you they won’t reconsider because they are afraid to be sexist or offensive.  I’d be more offended to have a broken nose from the door slamming in my face!

Docker’s pants made some big sales AND waves recently with their campaign ads imploring men to “Wear The Pants”.  It was interesting stuff and here is the full text of what Dockers is calling its "Man-ifesto":

Once upon a time, men wore the pants, and wore them well. Women rarely had to open doors and little old ladies never crossed the street alone. Men took charge because that's what they did. But somewhere along the way, the world decided it no longer needed men. Disco by disco, latte by foamy non-fat latte, men were stripped of their khakis and left stranded on the road between boyhood and androgyny. But today, there are questions our genderless society has no answers for. The world sits idly by as cities crumble, children misbehave and those little old ladies remain on one side of the street. For the first time since bad guys, we need heroes. We need grown-ups. We need men to put down the plastic fork, step away from the salad bar and untie the world from the tracks of complacency. It's time to get your hands dirty. It's time to answer the call of manhood. It's time to WEAR THE PANTS.

I’m curious: what do you think?  Do you feel men have backed down from their unique calling to defer to the new “strong-and-can-do-it-all” female?  Or do you think the “politically correct” movement of making us a genderless nation has a valid point?  

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