Are women too mysterious?

So I posted this question on facebook, and I got my first response within seconds, and it was something like this: deearry, deary, dear. Which was later clarified as the facebook equivalent of a sigh.

And the lack of an answer. It would be easy leave it at that, leave the question of whether women are too mysterious as, well, as one of life’s mysteries. But it’s a question which I’m not going to ignore, particularly since reading this blog over at the Guide to Women blog. And yes, I have been reading some interesting blogs over the past few weeks. Partly to know what other people are saying, partly to see what the current hot topics in the world of Christian relationships are, and just a little bit because I could do with a guide to women.

To paraphrase that post for those of you not heading over there to read it, it goes something like this: women act all mysterious to pretend there is actually something interesting about them. Women who are worth the bother don’t need to try and hide anything. But go and read the post and see if I’ve been too unkind.

But lets take a step back and think about why we want to remove mystery.

Is it that we want to know someone, or perhaps know stuff about them, or maybe we are just curious? Or is it that we find we have a need for certainty in who someone else is because we are unsure of who we are?

To the first question, it might help if we switch to French, they have two words for knowing. You can know information and you can know people. I’ve thought before that the way we talk about our relationships sometimes confuses the two. Via the wonders of facebook you can learn plenty of facts about a person, you can follow their life. But that is not the same as having a relationship with them, there is no feedback, no conflict, just you and your thoughts imagining something that doesn’t exist. You can live without mystery but only by crafting your own mythical storyline.

When you meet someone, and talk to them, and listen to what they have to say you begin to get to know them in a completely different sense. It can be so much more than you imagined, or so much less than you concocted. It can be the point when the myth is debunked and the mystery embraced.

After all, what is wrong with a little bit of mystery? Is it just our desire to have answers to all the questions, to have everything nailed down. With our relationship with God we might do just the same, substitute theological knowledge about God for the real hard work of building a relationship. And with God we get another glance at this thing called mystery. We get to see that we will not ever know it all.

When we want to know it all we are putting ourselves in the driving seat. We are insisting that unless we have the answers and know how everything fits together then we won’t play ball. Except that’s just not how life works.

I want to get to know one person above all others, I want them to be honest to me and not hide behind a false personna. But I am under no illusion that I would ever banish all mystery. Perhaps when we want to do that we are just showing how little confidence we have in who we are. Showing that we need affirmation from other people, and security in gaining understanding, and certainty in the removal of all doubt.

But doubt doesn’t go away. And nor does mystery, so maybe we are better off embracing it than worrying about it getting in the way. But what on earth does embracing mystery mean?

2 thoughts on “Are women too mysterious?

  1. My post was meant to highlight one particular attribute of a particular type of woman. It was certainly not a blanket statement regarding all women–and that was made clear in the last paragraph.

    The point, if I were to sum it up in a paragraph, would look like this:

    What men perceive as “mystery” in women is generally one of two things: 1) A general incompatibility between two people or their inability to genuinely communicate with one another, or 2) a woman who is (probably unknowingly) employing a false persona due to a long history of believing it is okay to do so. She has given into the lie that playing “hard to get” is the social norm, and a man should have to work for her attention. Or maybe she’s just not that interesting and being mysterious is easier than being herself. Either way, we’ve gotten to a point where men are beholden to women in such a manner that they no longer call them out or hold them accountable for their actions. The last generation raised a large number of children who don’t know how to say “no” or take “no” for an answer. I’m not saying “guarding your heart” isn’t a good thing to do, it certainly is, but guarding your heart and playing games are very different things.

    What I find interesting about that post is the number of women who have expressed their support of my views… and the number of men who seem to disagree with what I said. It’s completely opposite of what I expected. I never expected to hear someone take it as a knock on femininity… as if hiding your true self in a cloak of deceit is a feminine quality. Sorry, but if that’s what femininity has become, I’ll pass.

    As the post said, I certainly don’t have all of the answers… These were just my thoughts, not a definitive guide to the female psyche. So I do appreciate your thoughtful input.


    • Thanks, I think I mostly agree with you, but slightly flinch at the blanket statement! That’s why I took a different angle on the issue.
      I wasn’t trying to defend women putting up a false persona, it can be damaging and more than a little bit unhelpful. I certainly would not equate that with positive femininity. What I would say is that an element of mystery remains even with both parties being honest and acting with full integrity, that’s just part of us all being different people. Sorry if it read as an attack on what you’d said, when I read it, it got me thinking and I thought I might say something on the topic myself.

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