My best high school friend had two sisters. Along with their mother, these three girls developed elaborate plots to get their father to go along with their plans. They plotted to make his favorite foods, improve his mood, and best approach the subject at hand. Then they worked together to manipulate him. Afterward, they celebrated their success. They used these tactics often to get new dresses, go to dances, go on trips, and even miss school. He never knew they worked him.
One evening at my friend's house I got to witness how they'd "snow over" her dad. We were going out that evening for some fun. I wore blue eye shadow back then—the style in the seventies—and my friend Ella (not her real name) wanted to wear blue eye shadow too. So before we left her house, Ella applied some of my blue to her lids. After one last look in the mirror, we strolled out of her bedroom to say goodbye to her parents.
Her dad raised his brows, and red crept up his neck until his face glowed. "You two look like a couple of peacocks. Go wipe that blue off your eyes."
We ran wide-eyed to her bedroom. But before we could say a word, Ella's mom was in the room.
"Wait a few minutes until I get Dad outside, and then go on," she told us.
Ella hugged her mom and winked at me. We paused at the threshold until we heard the back door squeak open and rattle closed. Then we scurried out the front door. Ella's dad had no idea we went out that night looking like peacocks. Ella's dad had no idea about many things.
It's All about Me?
Back then I felt what Ella, her mom, and her sisters did was cruel. Ella's dad seemed silly and powerless to me. Now years later, I understand this man's wife and daughters feared him but didn't respect him, so they pushed him out of the family's inner circle to get their way.
The Bible's Rebekah, who coached her son Jacob in manipulating his father, Isaac, was a lot like my friend's mom. When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he couldn't see, Rebekah prepared his favorite food and sent Jacob in with it to trick his father. She dressed Jacob in Esau's clothes and tied goatskins on his hands and neck, hoping he would feel hairy like Esau. Through deception and manipulation, Rebekah helped Jacob steal Esau's blessing. Isaac appeared clueless and innocent in this story, but he trembled violently when Esau revealed that he knew the truth.
Historically, women have been good at deceiving and manipulating men. We've called it "feminine wiles." Think of Delilah. Remember how gullible Sampson was because he loved her. Three times she asked what made him so strong and how he could be bound effectively. Three times she bound him to test what he'd told her. Still, after she continued to nag and pester him, he finally told her the truth and fell asleep with his head in her lap. She deceived him repeatedly, yet somehow he still trusted her. He paid for that trust with his eyes and his freedom.