Looking for a Men’s Room at a Women’s Conference

February 8, 2016

in Uncategorized

Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow do a women’s conference called Authentic Intimacy. It deals with all aspects of intimacy for women with a focus on sexual intimacy. We were going to be within a couple hundred miles of a conference being held in Florida so we reworked our schedule so Lori could attend.

Then I thought I might benefit from it too, given what I do here and elsewhere. I wrote them, explained who I was, and asked if I could attend with Lori. A few days later (I’d love to have heard the discussion!) I was told yes I could come, provided I sat in the back so the women in attendance would feel safe. No problem, I get that.

Men's room changed to women's room © Alfonso de Tomás| dollarphotoclub.com

Including staff and the drummer (what, no female drummers?) I was one of half a dozen or fewer XY’s in the building with over 300 women. And, yes, they had made all the men’s restrooms into women’s. One was supposed to be left for the men, but someone got carried away and hung a “WOMEN ONLY” sign on it. Got that worked out before I had to take a walk in the woods.

I’ve been to a lot of men’s events, but this was the first time I’ve been to a women’s event. I saw all kinds of differences in the way you ladies act apart from men and the way we act apart from you. I think y’all are more similar than we are to how we both act in a mixed gender setting. We let down our guard; we have far less to prove and aren’t as concerned with what others think. Sure, we try to one-up each other with stories of crazy stunts we’ve survived, but it’s all in fun and all taken with several grains of salt. It seems you ladies are as into impressing each other as men are at impressing women. 

It also seems men are far more sure of themselves. As an example, the lunch line, which was going down one side of the table, was horribly slow. At a men’s event, someone would quickly have started a second line down the back side of the table. We had over a third of the women through the line before someone started on the back side. 

I can’t exactly say why these and other differences exist. Some are brain differences, many are based on cultural standards, expectations, and fears. But regardless of why they exist, they do exist. Our differences go well beyond our plumbing!

Authentic Intimacy conference © Paul H. Byerly

Beyond the people watching, I very much enjoyed the gathering and was impressed with what Linda and Juli had to say. They got some things right I hear done wrong all too often, and they approached everything with grace and a solid biblical foundation. I could find a few minor places I disagree, but nothing worth mentioning. If you get a chance to attend this or any of their other gatherings (Surprised by the Healer Conference or Ladies Night Out) please do.

BTW, I’ll be doing a post on the image above this Friday. It’s a great concept!

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I survived a women’s conference!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosemary February 8, 2016 at 10:09 am

“At a men’s event, someone would quickly have started a second line down the back side of the table. We had over a third of the women through the line before someone started on the back side. ” I have been to many events that were mixed gender, or where men were the overwhelming majority where the same thing happened. Sometimes the person who starts that second line is a woman, and sometimes a man. I don’t think it’s a gender difference, just a thing that happens and that varies depending on the mood of the crowd and other variable factors (like how the table is positioned, where the plates are, whether or not there are servers assisting, etc.)
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Paul Byerly February 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Rosemary – I think men would be less inclined to do it at a mixed-gender gathering. At a men’s only event it takes half a dozen men tops.
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Stephen Howe February 8, 2016 at 11:20 am

Every male dominated event I ever went to had a ladies room. Every. Single. Time. :)

Out of 5000 guys, maybe ~100-300 ladies, out of ~220 guys maybe ~10 ladies, but always a ladies room.

We’re just more courteous is all. :)


Paul Byerly February 8, 2016 at 5:18 pm

@Stephen Howe – Well they planned it, but someone got carried away!
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Sarah February 9, 2016 at 12:39 pm

I may get slaughtered for this, but I will tell the truth – and probably to my shame.

I congratulate you. You are braver than me. I HATE conferences for women. They seem to be sap over substance and for some reason most of the speakers are not well-educated. It’s terribly snobby of me no doubt, but as a professional, highly educated woman, it’s hard to listen to blogger after homemaker after pastor’s wife who either has almost no higher education or a “fluff” degree. I know that they are very godly women but when you talk to them afterwards and have to rephrase your question because they don’t understand your vocabulary or even the question with a laugh of “I didn’t go to college, honey. What are you saying?” I struggle and feel like, “If you couldn’t cut it at a university, why would I take your advice on matters of eternity?”

I don’t know why getting educated women to speak is hard. There are so many fine, intelligent, godly women in our churches. A hardworking rancher’s wife or a long distance trucker would be outstanding – someone with a real skill who could talk about the Lord’s work in her life, not more jokes about nails and makeup and weight loss. A physicist talking about her struggles with colleagues of a different worldview – I would drive hours to hear that.

At one smaller conference, my mother stepped on my foot under the table and wrote me a note, “I can hear you sighing. You look pained, in agony.” I scribbled back “If she simpers and says ‘Ladies!!!’ Or ‘Bless your heart!’, I am leaving…” I crept out a minute later and read my Bible instead.

Yet, women seem to eat them up. Maybe someone should plan “The Misfit Christian Womens Conference”. The rest of us can go to that one. :)


Paul Byerly February 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm

@Sarah – I’ve heard the horror stories from my wife and other women, so I know you speak truth. And yes, it is sad. I suspect part of the problem is anyone with a solid education can make far more for far less effort in a number of other ways. Money aside, it’s a tough life, and if you don’t do it because you love people you won’t last.

As for this conference, both speakers are intelligent, educated, and well spoken. Juli is a psychologist, Linda had studied the Bible at length and did a brillaing job with the SofS.
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Charlie O February 11, 2016 at 5:08 am

I’m not sure that “education” is the problem. How much formal education did Shakespeare have? Or Edison? Or Lincoln? I believe that the Bible is sufficient for our spiritual and marital problems. Often times an advanced degree in secular psychology trumps Biblical content. I see two main problems: (1) Who chooses the speakers at many of these women’s events. Frequently, (in our circles) they are the wives of well-known pastors. The problem with this is that, normally, only one in a couple a really good speaker. These women tend to read and listen to a small circle of other women who parrot the same things. Then, they succumb to giving women what they want to hear (see number 2). (2) Many women don’t want to listen to a super-accomplished speaker, they want to listen to someone that makes them feel comfortable. Men will listen to a speaker that beats the daylights out of them, and then simply ignore him. Most women want to be validated in what they are doing. They want to feel that they are doing well, and that he is the problem. Those who truly want to grapple with their marriage problems are in the minority. As a result, the speakers at these women’s events tend to be vanilla.


Paul Byerly February 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

@Charlie O – “Men will listen to a speaker that beats the daylights out of them, and then simply ignore him. Most women want to be validated in what they are doing. ”

There is a great deal of truth in that I fear, on both sides. May we all do better!
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Sarah February 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

@Charlie O – I guess what I was trying to say is that it needs to be someone I can respect. I will gladly pay a good sum if needed to cover the speaker’s costs, but when it’s superficial teaching, not as advertised, and your husband is at home struggling with 3 small kids, you just resent it no matter how hard you try to glean something out of it.


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