How can a pair of crutches lead to men falling over themselves to be near us?
A friend of mine has recently had a knee operation and has had to use crutches to move around.
She was telling me how hard it was to do the simplest things that she took for granted and how she had to learn how to move around on crutches.
She then said how surprised she had been with how helpful men had been towards her and how she had noticed that women were not as forthcoming.
She told me about how men opened doors for her, made space for her and offered their help.
What seemed to surprise her more was how many of the men started conversations with her; wanting to know what had happened to her.
She told me how some men just walked with her, chatting with her and only parted company with her when they needed to go in another direction.
She even told me about a time she was in a lift and how two men almost fought over being the one to hold the door for her!
I asked her how it felt and she said 'lovely'!
Now my friend is like many women, she's very capable, has a very responsible job, is very independent and is very comfortable getting on with things herself.
However, like many of us would, my friend found herself enjoying the spontaneous attention, the support and the help from men everywhere she went; men she didn’t know.
It got me thinking.
How come my friend has never experienced that from men before.
What was different?
The fact that my friend was on crutches was the difference.
And what was it about her being on crutches that made men fall over themselves to help?
It was her vulnerability.
Being on crutches makes it difficult to do even the most simplest of things, like walking, opening doors and carrying things.
Men instinctively can sense our vulnerability and it's like a magnet to them.
It allows them to 'help' and to 'solve'; things men feel great doing.
It's important here to point out that being ‘vulnerable’ is not the same as being ‘weak’.
Weakness has a needy quality to it.
When we’re weak we are feeble and lacking in strength.
Vulnerability has a softness and an openness to it.
When we're vulnerable we are susceptible to harm; vulnerability has nothing to do with a lack of strength.
My friend is not weak, at all. She is strong and capable. When my friend is on her crutches men can see her strength and her capability and see her vulnerability.
My friend described the experience as 'lovely'.
Whilst she is strong and capable and could get along on her own, she loved experiencing men around her falling over themselves to offer her help and wanting to talk to her.
And I know many women would also find that a lovely experience.
How many times a day does a man smile at you, hold the door open, offer to help you with something?
Dare I say, how many times does the man in your life smile at you, hold the door open etc?
So how do we women get to experience this daily, without resorting to a pair of crutches?
If we don't have crutches how would our vulnerability look on the outside?
It's about showing the world our vulnerability so men can sense it, feel it and act on it.
It's about feeling so strong on our inside that we can feel safe to feel everything that's going on inside us.
To show on our outside how sad we feel, how excited we feel, how angry we feel, how full of joy we feel, all at the same time.
Being vulnerable is like a magnet to men, as my friend has proved.
When we show our vulnerability on the outside men are drawn to us and feel safe to approach us and let us see who they are.