Series, The Apprentice

The Apprentice: Look But Don’t Touch

By Kizzy Katawonga, Uganda:

Last year I found myself attracted to a young woman. Nothing awkward about that; unless you're married! And the woman of your attraction isn’t your wife.

Yes, I said it out loud. I found myself attracted to a pretty church girl whom I shall call Magdalene. At first I simply dismissed the odd sensations I was feeling whenever I saw her at church service.

I simply felt uncomfortable around her for some reason. However I would always ‘notice’ her. I continued to ignore the signs. After all, I would only see her on Sunday’s and we’d never really talk much.

As fate would have it, the devil, that immortal liar, that deceiver arranged circumstances to have me alone with Magdalene for all of ten extremely uncomfortable minutes.

It was only then that I was forced to come face to face with the uncomfortable truth that I was attracted to her.

Throughout history men have been chastised for looking at other women, especially when the men are in a committed relationship. It’s a running joke that women love to window shop, trying out every dress while men love to window shop women; trying them on but not buying!

Women have never been able to understand one simple and undeniable truth. Men are attracted to women because women are such a masterpiece of creation. The form of a woman is lovely to our eyes. God designed us to respond favourably to a woman’s form.

Whether tall, short, slim, full, dark, light, straight, curvy…women are beautiful! There's something for every man's taste.

And we are helpless but look, no matter how pious or restrained. Even 3 seconds are enough for most. We always steal a glance.

A woman’s form is the honey trap that first attracts a man to pursue her and then discover more about her inner beauty.

It’s very easy for us men to be physically attracted to a woman. We never need to hear her speak, or see her act; we just need to see her. This leads to chemical reactions within us that are completely and utterly out of our control.

The key differentiation however is how different men respond to those feelings.

This is where most of us get it wrong. Whilst you can’t control the feelings, you can definitely always control your response to those feelings.

Most men don’t realise that they can actually look without touching or buying. But what often happens is men reacting to their feelings by catcalling, touching, flirting, pursuing or rape in extreme cases.

I for one chose to act on my feelings of attraction for Magdalene but not in the way you’d expect. With great courage I must say, I instead chose to tell my wife about this woman.

Imagine my surprise when instead of outrage and a session of kushekera (basically a beat down), my wife broke out into laughter. She laughed so hard at me before getting serious to find out what I found attractive about Magdalene.

The confidence she had in her place as my first love emboldened me to talk through the things I was feeling, the shame and confusion I felt at having such feelings for someone other than her.

After a lighthearted talk about crushes and “having eyes” for different people throughout our lives, we both discovered what each one’s kryptonite is.

That chat made me realise that as men, we've been taught that our easy attraction to women is sinful, animalistic and that we really are dogs. But no one has ever taught us that these feelings are not of our own making but rather a natural response to a woman's beauty.

I learnt from this story that it’s perfectly normal, if not ok to find oneself attracted to someone else and yet still be able to handle it in a manner that neither party is defiled or disrespected.

The mere fact that I chose to talk to my wife about those feelings instead of trying to ignore them led to me overcoming them and saved me from doing something stupid. She checks on me from time to time to see how I’m doing. She helps me deal with it.

Men are not dogs. We don’t go chasing after cars because of instinct. We have a will and choice that can override any natural instincts. And we have the power of accountability too; people who can help us deal with life. We just need to be reminded that we have the power and that’s what makes us men.

The Proverb says he who can control himself is greater than he who can conquer a city.

So just like my wife can see a beautiful shoe in a window of a shop doesn’t mean she has to buy or even try it, applies the same to men and being attracted to women.

So yes, it’s ok to look but certainly, you don’t have to touch!

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