13
Oct
21

Am I Really a Male?

By all outward indications, the answer to the question posed above is a resounding, “YES!” 

Hmmm…

The inward benchmarks (e.g., the sum of my urges, drives, thinking, and worldview) also seem to point in the direction of an affirmative response.

But lately I’ve started to wonder…

Last week I showed up for a training session for a new volunteer activity I am taking on. The activity involves telling stories to children in elementary schools in this area. It seems to be a good fit with my skill set as well as being a great way to bring a little joy and connection into our stressed out, beleaguered classrooms.

There were six new storyteller trainees in the room… I was the only male.

The same thing used to happen when I attended work-out classes at our gym. In a room of 30 participants, there might have been three other males… tops. 

In the midst of the heated presidential election last year, I wanted to help register new voters. After much searching, I found that the only organization actively working on that goal was the League of Women Voters… 

So, I joined!

The one group I have joined in the last two years that was all men was a book club. And – can I level with you here? – it was not all that enjoyable. When we gathered, I found lots of posturing and competing to see who had the best insight into the author’s meaning.

It seems to me that everything I am drawn to – in terms of groups or activities or outreach – is dominated by WOMEN! I am also a churchgoer and every piece of research that has been done in the last 30 years will tell you that many more WOMEN attend church than men. 

To that point, a recent ABC News/Beliefnet poll showed that 44% of the women surveyed reported that they attend church weekly vs. 32% for the men. In the Catholic church, the divide was even wider with 49% of women attending weekly vs. 26% of men.

So maybe the question really isn’t, “Am I actually a male?” Maybe the better question is, “Where are you, my brothers?”

All of this makes me ask:

  • Is it a uniquely female thing to volunteer to serve your community?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to exercise with a group vs. on one’s own?
  • Is it a uniquely female thing to seek to care for one’s spiritual health in a communal setting? 

If the answer to any of these questions is, “YES,” I would also like to know, “Why is that?”

It really doesn’t bother me to show up in a room full of women. I think you all are – on the whole – intelligent, caring, energetic, and very open people. In a group of women, THINGS GET DONE! And quite often FUN is had along the way!!

I am sure there are multiple sociological studies on this topic that shed insight onto my question. Someday I might look one up and read it.

In the meantime, I guess I will just keep showing up, following the leading of the Spirit, and celebrating the people that show up there with me… whichever gender they are.

But before I sign off, I need to ask: does anybody have a good recipe for beef stroganoff you’d like to share?

Abundant blessings;


9 Responses to “Am I Really a Male?”


  1. 1 HAT
    October 13, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    A profound post, honestly

  2. October 14, 2021 at 12:51 am

    It’s sad that things like caring and spirituality seem to be thought of as female things. But I think you probably made a lot of women feel good today. My closest friend in Michigan for years was my partner in ministry, and we were in many ways total opposites. As far as getting things done, she was the one who kept everything as orderly as possible, and as far as having fun along the way, that was me, although I tended to be scatterbrained – or as I like to call it, “spontaneous.” Together the Lord could use us, and He did. 😉

  3. October 14, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I have so many thoughts after reading this post. It’s so well-done, Russell. You have an amazing gift of writing and the kids will be blessed by your stories, too! I could be bitter after many failed relationships. Partially because I was raised that to be married is the “proper” thing to do. So when friends might have boyfriends, I married them! I stepped up to the Christian plate to hit a home run for Christ! And I was a solo player~spiritually, emotionally, and in every way. Where was my spiritual leader? Who was going to love and shelter me? Adore me? Tend to me in every emotion and draw us closer to Christ? And then,…in each one Satan had his way~through media lives were destroyed. Where were the men like my Jesus? My Dad? My sons (who now adore their own wives)? Where are the leaders in our homes? I look around and see women~very strong women. And of course YOU are an exception! By the way, I learned just this last weekend if you add a can of ginger ale to your beef stew (using stew beef meat) AND add a pack of brown gravy mix, you’re in for a treat~the meat will be tender and the gravy adds great flavor! Yay! Thank you for being such a light in this world! 💛

    • October 15, 2021 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you for such a kind, generous, vulnerable reply…. Which is, again, something that women do so much better than men. I also really appreciated the tip on the beef stew! I will have to try that next time. My own theory on this whole Mars/Venus thing is that men excel at the “externals” of life (the going, getting, doing kinds of things) whereas women excel at the “internals” (such as thinking, feeling, being, etc.). For a long, long time our world placed a higher value on the externals and poo-pooed the worth of the internals, calling them too soft and uneconomical. But as I look around today, I think that table has turned. Yes, both are still needed to make a full life, but these seem to be times that call for a new, enlarged understanding of the importance of the internal dimensions of the human adventure. Women see that and celebrate. Men see that and feel abandoned. And so they act out in various unhealthy, macho ways.
      Anyway, just my armchair two cents worth. Have a blessed day and journey.

      • October 15, 2021 at 8:32 pm

        Thank you so much for this awesome response, too! It’s full of wisdom and truth. I understand it. May your journey and days be blessed too. 😊🙏🏻

  4. October 15, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Vegetarian here, so no beef stroganoff tips (and I’m not sure I’d like it even if I ate meat. LOL). Thank you for your post. Women are awesome. Men are too–especially when they shed the garments of toxic masculinity “society” compelled them to wear.


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