It's summer in Fort Collins and I'm asking myself these questions. There is a ritual in these months nearly as obvious as the dance of the whooping crane or the crested grebe. What isn't obvious is the motivation of this ritual... because it is deeper than animal instinct.
I prayed about this on a run last week. The trail seemed to be the hot spot for "the ritual" that day and my prayer was simple.
"Lord, what is going on in all this revealing and noticing?"
About a half mile later, things began to clarify. If the beauty of the feminine form is like a Mack truck in its effect on the male soul, the communication behind revealing it is like a freight train. The dude who lingers in his glance at the beautiful lady covered by 75 cents of material is receiving more than aesthetic satisfaction. He is hearing more than he is seeing. He is hearing something like "Hey Mr. Big Man, I'm interested in YOU and so I wore this today for YOU." Mr. Big (Drooly) Man is receiving a specific invitation that affirms him and that affirmation is like crack to the masculine soul. But all this affirmation is predicated on a specific communication. It means much less (and maybe nothing) if he isn't being specifically addressed in this non-verbal exchange.
Now, men, listen to me, Ms. 75-cent isn't communicating anything to you. In fairness, she may be looking to be noticed, but not by you. She doesn't know you. She is looking to turn heads not a head. Her call is a general one and you have received it specifically. Your hunger for affirmation will not be addressed here in this fantasy. As a matter of fact, if she was interested in you alone and you were to actually relate to one another, eventually she would discover your weaknesses and not affirm you in the way you desire (you know, in that "affirm-me-like-a-real-man-without-me-having-to-really-sacrifice-like-a-real-man" kind of way). You're not going to find it there. In actuality, a strong man would not reinforce her pattern of seeking to be infinitely delighted in by finite Mr Drooly men.
At this point if would be easy to go all moral and stuff but it would completely miss the point. To simply say "stop looking at her and wipe the drool off your face" to the men and "put this burqa on" to the ladies would be no help at all.
Dudes, you need an identity that transcends the ladies and what they think of you. You need real, not imaginary, propped-up, strength. And that comes not from your bench press, board room, impossible cool or lovely lady. Study what it means to be freely justified (Romans 3:23) and to be strong because the word of God lives in you (1 John 2:14). Satisfy your need for affirmation in the finished work of Christ and you'll stop reinforcing her pursuit of being cherished for what she doesn't wear. And you'll be less lame as a bonus.
Ladies, you are noticed if you are in Christ. You have the eternal affection and adoration of one whose opinion is the only one that matters.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; (Isaiah 49.15–16)Consider those engraved hands until your need to turn heads has been adsorbed by the turned head of your un-forgetting Savior (Ephesians 3:17-19).
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, (Isaiah 61.10)
as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62.5)
This summer ritual of revealing and noticing only truly reveals our need for the Gospel. We need something beyond ourselves; something we can't achieve and others cannot give. The Bible calls it justification or righteousness and basically it is the notion that you have been given something far more important and lasting than all the ritual Cancun could provide - you have, in Christ, the eternal admiration and affection of God.
What Biblical Femininity is Not
"The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis