Why do you do it? Why support Masons if you can’t be one? Why bother spending 4 hours making food for a dinner you’re not really invited to? Don’t they hate women or something? It’s something that I’ve been asked probably more times than I care to really count. There are many answers to these questions (one of them being that I just like to cook), but there is one that I feel like is overlooked more than most. It’s not really talked about so much, because only those who are already in the same situation as myself realize it. There are benefits to being a Mason’s lady. I actually almost didn’t write this article, because I felt that it kind of undermined the entire fraternal idea, and seemed a little selfish, but, as T pointed out, it is the truth.
You get to feel like a princess.
I will be the first to admit, I am totally a tomboy. Never one for makeup, I shopped in the men’s section until my mid twenties (and sometimes still do). But, no matter how much any woman may deny it, there is something we can’t help but love when it comes to dressing up and going out on the town. Besides the normal business casual clothes I have that I wear to meetings and monthly Lodge dinners, I have a ball gown and two evening gowns in my closet; not only that, but all three have been worn within the last year, and will be worn again in the foreseeable future. Not many women actually get to go to cocktail parties anymore. Its just simply something that our society has shied away from. Masonry can help women fulfill the need of playing dress up that I am certain most all of us have had since children. What’s more, for those of us who love to shop (not me), Masonic events are always a decent excuse to go clothes shopping. Unlike men who can get away with two pairs of pants, three shirts, and a suit jacket, women are required to have a much more diverse closet. I know that I always feel special when I slip on my fancy gown, heels and makeup, and I can’t imagine that many women feel differently.
Chivalry is not dead.
Look anywhere on the internet, and you are sure to find something about the death of chivalry, or something about how women are assholes and men stopped trying, or whatever; its irrelevant. Freemasonry and its appendant bodies help bring back and perpetuate the ideals of Masonry. Men act like gentlemen, and women act like ladies. While this does mean you won’t hear anyone cursing up a storm in mixed company, it also means you will often find doors opened for you, drinks bought for you, and someone taking your coat. In many ways, being at a large Masonic event, or even just at a Lodge dinner, it like stepping back in time. Everyone does their very best to be polite and unoffensive, and cell phones at the dinner table are a scarcity. Many people, women included, are turned off by this aspect of Masonry. I for one, enjoy and welcome it. I have often felt that we could use a little old school etiquette in today’s world.
You get alone time.
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again, Masonry is awesome, because it gets T out of the house. Don’t get me wrong, I love the man to death, but I feel that everyone in all relationships is in need of some alone time. Since T has Lodge every Wednesday, that tends to be my “me” night. Wednesdays are the nights I take a long bath, order in from that Chinese place down the street T has disdain for, and put on a horror flick (which he can’t stand). Time apart helps both parties grow and helps your relationship overall evolve. These days, everything can get so crazy, that it feels like you barely have time for your SO, let alone yourself. Masonry is from a different era, and kind of helps slow us down. If you aren’t feeling the alone time, call up some friends and go out, have fun, no one says you have to be at home waiting for him to walk though the door while he’s at Lodge.
There’s more tangible, monetary benefits than anyone realizes.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a ton of intangible benefits out there. The love and support that I receive from my Masonic family goes far beyond what I ever might have expected to get from them. That being said, its nice to have some tangible stuff too. Unfortunately, there’s nothing so simple as flashing your dues card for a discount on your hotel room like AAA. The majority of the benefits fit into one of two categories: monetary, and opportunities. There’s scholarships for everyone in your family, for just about anything you could ever want to do. College? Of course. But beyond that, band camp, leadership conferences, golf tournaments, the circus, ordering t-shirts online, and more. There is almost always a scholarship or monetary discount on all public events put on by a branch of Masonry for the members and their families. If you aren’t sure if there is a discount, or if you cannot afford something you really want (or need) to attend, ask those around you! They are sure to help you out, within reason of course. In addition to this, there is an emergency fund to help member’s families in dire need. You can read about that here.
The other thing that I think is overlooked pretty often is the opportunities available. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities for the Mason himself, and these are not as easily forgotten. Many of these opportunities extend to his family as well, both SO, as well as any children. These tend to come within two forms. The first is the formal opportunity, a chance to go on a field trip to Kansas City to see the DeMolay headquarters, or a last minute opening in an interesting conference. The other type of opportunity is more informal. This is the kind that comes not from the organization itself, but from its members. Always wanted to learn how to knit but never got the hang of it? Maybe the Junior Warden’s wife owns a yarn store. Kiddo is looking for his first summer job? Bro. John needs help tearing down an old shed on his property. The opportunities here are endless. A word of caution however, this is one of the reasons that people tend to get hung up on the idea of Freemasonry. No one should join Masonry in order to receive any of these benefits, they should simply be seen as an added bonus.
Other little things that you may find happen as a Mason’s lady. Once T joined the local Shrine, I received my own “membership card” which is kind of neat. More or less it grants me access to the members only bar at the Shrine. T and I were able to take our engagement photos at the Scottish Rite, a beautiful building downtown. We were even able to get on the roof. These kinds of things are my favorite; the little things that don’t really seem like much, but always add up to every moment involved in Masonry being worth it.
I hope that I did not stray too far from the ideals of this blog, and didn’t come off as a selfish, coincided woman. If I did, I apologize. I actually almost titled this article “The Benefits of Putting up with Masonry”. There are a lot of pros and a lot of cons for being a Mason. Sometimes it might feel like the guys get all the pros and the girls get all the cons. Hopefully this article helps give some perspective on the pros for the ladies too. If you have any questions, or have any thoughts on this topic, please let me know. And as always, have a wonderful week.