I was chatting with a single male friend about dating recently and he recounted his recent experience in his office building scoping out the women. He said that he finds the women around him to be cold and focused on their work, and that this is unattractive to him. It does not draw him in, and keeps him away.
I have been these women. Focused on where I’m going. Doing anything to NOT make eye contact with a man.
As a kid visiting New York City, my mom would tell me “look straight ahead” “don’t make eye contact.” This is great advice if you don’t want to be cat-called by randoms in NYC, but not so great for relating to the men around you in your office building, your gym, on the trail…in your community. I have found myself trying not to make eye contact with men because I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to be approached rudely. I don’t want to deal with crudeness which I have experienced in the past.
On top of that was a layer of masculinity that I acquired while working in corporate offices. “Just keep your head down and get your work done.” This is our culture, this is how our society works. We value strength and independence.
These patterns that women live in daily life become ingrained in us. We become masculinized. We have our focus on where we’re going. We fear being too vulnerable (one of the essences of femininity). It’s often not welcomed in the workplace. And thus we lose trust in our feminine radiance and what we have to gift in the world. We are merely surviving in a masculine world.
What if we take off the corporate masculine armor, and shed protection mechanisms we acquired as vulnerable children and adolescents? Try making steady eye contact with a man at the gym or on the street. It is so uncomfortable, but it feels good to connect; to notice and to be noticed. Often I realize that people are noticing me much more than I ever thought they would.
We can also consciously walk around open-hearted. Become aware of the womb and the heart, and the connection between them, breathing into them and settling into these spaces as you walk. This way, we have taken off the armor and we are vulnerable and ready to connect with both women and men who come our way.
Although we are more vulnerable to being hurt this way, it reinforces the belief that we are courageous and willing to risk being uncomfortable on an edge when we would prefer to retreat. It is dangerous to be so open-hearted at times, and I notice when I need to zip up, but I have seen more meaningful connections come to me when my body is relaxed and I am in my feminine essence.
Meanwhile, many men are kind of wimpy. Perhaps they don’t approach women because they don’t feel welcomed by the feminine radiance. They lack direction in life, they are not committed to their purpose…or in intimacy. They are toning down their masculinity so as not to appear macho; to treat women equally; to be politically correct. But to treat a woman equally doesn’t mean a man needs to treat a woman like a man.
I explained this to my friend, and he asked, “How do you reconcile the modern roles of men and women with being masculine?”
By embodying your sexual essence: your masculinity or your femininity (note that some women have a masculine sexual essence and some men have a feminine sexual essence).
In these modern times we rediscovering and recreating what it means to be a man, and what it means to be a woman. This definitely does not mean going back to a traditional power struggle. Instead it is a new paradigm. The balance between masculine and feminine is a delicate balance, and we honor one another. We balance one another and support one another, giving our gifts in different ways and approaching life in different ways.
Tuning into our own bodies can guide us. Old myths, stories, and archetypes can help us. Discussing in community can help us. Testing new ways of showing up in the office or in the community. Circling with other women; with other men can help us as we step into a new paradigm of relating between the sexes.