Funny thing, women, no? We're so...female. We like jewelry and clothing and purses and...helping people.
Do you detect a faint note of...cynicism, perhaps? How astute! Okay, here's the scoop: I was out with hubby when I spotted an able-bodied young man, struggling valiantly against an enormous load of cartons on one of those wheeled things I'd call a dolly if it didn't sound quite so...girlish! ;-). Well, what's a girl to do when she sees a fellow human in distress?
"Help him!" I commanded my husband.
I mean, he was really struggling.
Tell me something: If you were a woman, struggling to move some heavy boxes, and a passerby moved in to give you a hand, what would you do? Smile with relief and say something polite like, perhaps, "Thank you!"?
OR WOULD YOU GIVE THE GOOD SAMARITAN A DIRTY LOOK THAT SAID, "SCRAM!" AND GRUMBLE, "I'M FINE!"?
"What did you think, Riva?" My husband gently snorted. "You insulted him!"
What is it about an offer of assistance that ruffles those male feathers so easily? Is it better that he grunt and groan and move the ten-ton box himself? Does that affirm that latent masculinity so prized and...fragile that it crumbles in the face of a little help? Interesting, cuz G-d, who actually created men, commands us, in the book of Shemos (Exodus): "When you see the donkey of your enemy collapsed under its load ... you must raise it with him." Notice that last word: "HIM". As in, uh, a guy. Full of that wonderful, capable male pride that gets our men in and out of all sorts of messes--single-handedly, thank you very much.
So the next time I see a guy who looks like he could use a hand, I will not make the same dumb mistake I made last time. Instead of expressing my annoying female nurturing instinct, I will walk on stoutly by and let those male muscles handle everything with aplomb. Hey, come to think of it, I may even throw on an extra carton or two. Just to up the ante. Wouldn't that feel good!
About Riva Pomerantz
I'm a freelance writer, widely published in several magazines including the internationally-distributed Ami Magazine and Mishpacha Jewish Family Weekly. Riva's work also appears on the award-winning website www.aish.com, amongst others. You can buy my books here.