Like many young people in the UK, I used to go out on a Friday night with my mates, to drink a few beers, have a few laughs and sometimes occasionally meet a few women as well. For me now, this is a thing of the past; of course it would be nice to meet someone to fall in love with but I think trying to meet someone in a dark, sweaty, loud club full of strangers is probably not the best way to rekindle romance in anyone’s life. But you may disagree!
One of the things I remember plainly about such evenings is that women, not always but sometimes, could be really unpleasant and offensive just because you might have tried to talk to them; I never understood this, why someone should get aggressive or angry merely because you spoke to them in a pub or nightclub; to me this was just a natural way of getting to know people; or so I thought. You learn a lot about people when you encounter them in situations like this; you learn that people can be very superficial, very false and completely different than if you met them on other occasions outside the often false environments of loud pubs and nightclubs.
There is in Britain a definite battle of the sexes, a constant kind of tug of war, and I don’t fully comprehend why but it is there. You see it manifested on a Friday and Saturday night in aforementioned pubs and nightclubs, and you see it in all kinds of ways, usually downplayed and with perhaps a humorous element attached to it; but it’s still there. British women seem to hate British men, and would rather go abroad and find a continental lothario than have anything to do with a British man, and British men would rather meet a Thai or Russian bride, preferably in their twenties, to marry and sweep off their feet, so to speak. Underpinning much of this is hatred and that cynicism that human beings have to something or someone they find too familiar; familiar can become boring and old hat, and new and different is refreshing and exciting. Until reality bites, perhaps.
Unfortunately, I found myself on the end of such hatred and such treatment many times, in a way that was somehow to be expected, that we were all playing some vast game where people could be cruel to each other for no particular reason, but which was accepted by all involved. It doesn’t help the fact that many young British men and women are half drunk when they encounter each other, meaning that they aren’t really being themselves but are hiding behind a mask or a false persona.
As you can gather, this battle of the sexes upset me on a number of occasions and I still feel resentment towards some women even now, though by the grace and mercy of God I have many female friends, both online and in the real world, who I both love and respect. It is easy in situations like this to develop a siege mentality, to assume that all women, or all men, or whoever you see as the enemy, are only out to upset you or be cruel to you or to harm you, emotionally or otherwise, in some way. When we do this, we can go down a false path, and then because we hate, we become part of the problem ourselves. I still struggle with these issues but I pray that God puts me right basically, and teaches me to understand that there are good, bad and even indifferent people in every walk of life, whether men or women, Black or White, rich or poor, from North, East, South or West, people are always going to be people in all their diverse variety; if you’re lucky, you meet nice people, if you’re unlucky you might meet a not-so-nice person. The secret is not to take it to heart or to assume that everyone you might deem the enemy is going to be unpleasant or hostile; the dangers of thinking like this are obvious.
For the Christian, there is of course an added element to this old story; we are not meant to live in a world of hostility and resentment, nor are we to partake in what the world partakes in, which is anger, jealousy, revenge, hatred, animosities, racism or prejudices of any kind no matter what we’ve suffered in our lives. We are meant very much to be in the world but not be a part of it, quite simply. Instead of the battle of the sexes, I could have talked about racism or class prejudice, hostilities between the Catholic and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, or the Palestinians and Israelis in Israel, the problems between any two or more groups of people in fact anywhere in the world where each group might not see eye to eye, for whatever reason, and however serious or even trivial the conflict or resentment might be.
If we want to make headway in the world and we want to end the battle of the sexes, or any other conflict big or small, we have to be the change, we are the ones who have not to partake of it; in the end for the Christian, the buck stops with you. Whatever other people do, or don’t do, we have a duty to live as Christians and serve a God who is utterly fair and utterly impartial; He won’t take sides against our ‘enemies’ but He will uphold us and show us mercy if we have been wronged. If you have been wronged, then turn the other cheek. So, the battle of the sexes will very probably continue but our place as Christians is merely to follow the Golden Rule, to treat other people as we would like to be treated ourselves; in this small way, we don’t add to the misery and chaos of the world.