"Adele, I'm worried about my flight to New York City."
"We accidentally booked it for landing at 11:45 PM thinking it was a morning flight."
My concern about catching a cab or car from LaGuardia to my friend's apartment at midnight is common to all women. Ask any lady if she ever fears purse-snatching or rape and you'll hear a unanimous, "Yes." Ask any man that question and he'll stare at you blankly. (Unless there are prison bars between you and him.)
Our gender fears are different. One reknown preacher years ago was asked by his seminary students, "What's the most important thing we need to remember just before we preach a sermon?"
They expected sage theological advice and were startled at his quick reply, "Check your fly. Your sermon or theology won't matter if it's down." Now that's a fear I know nothing about.
But my husband does. As a youth pastor years ago he was speaking to a classroom full of teenagers about dating. I was seated in row three with them. "Now, kids, modesty is important." The boy and girl seated behind me snickered.
Doug leaned into the small podium, driving his point further, "Guard your purity and . . ." Their snickers grew louder and a few other kids joined in the muffled laughter. I glared at them over my shoulder. They tried to stifle but couldn't.
Doug continued speaking and the inappropriate guffaws grew as he spoke and I shushed. The boy behind me whispered, "Mrs. Henderson, look at his fly." I did. Every time he leaned forward it gaped open, nullifying his words. He grew annoyed and more puzzled. Especially when I started laughing too.
I raised my hand, trying to silently signal Doug with my eyes, "Honey, you.have.a.phone.call. An emergency." Now this was before cell phones. Logically there was no way my message made any sense. Except to Doug. He immediately knew his fly was down and I'd just given him an out.
He cleared his throat, "I'll be right back." When he abruptly left the room about half of his audience knew why. When he returned, red-faced, the others knew. Word spread. They all applauded.
At home that night he told me part two of the story, "I knew when you spoke so soon as I stepped into the hallway I zipped up. THEN I looked up to see two teen girls coming in late. Too late not to see me adjust my problem." Busted. In the room and outside of it. Men's fears are very real too.
Rumor has it another preacher sat on stage before his sermon when his wife noticed the same problem and gave him a signal. His eyes darted down but he froze in place thinking, Mrs. Anderson is singing a solo. As she passes between me and the audience I'll zip up.
Mrs. Anderson was a large lady and she dressed in a flowing lavendar chiffon dress for her special music that Sunday. As she provided ample shield, the pastor zipped quickly. So quickly that he didn't notice her dress caught in his zipper, until they all heard the RRR-IIIIIPPPPP that yanked her back a step, dress torn but not in two.
The preacher and Mrs. A. high stepped into an impromptu dance to free her. The solo and the sermon went on. But in actuality they were both over before they began.
Gender fears. Very real. Very different.
"What time I am afraid, I will trust in God." And hold my purse tightly.