I love seeing male bonding. I love seeing the way men simply love each other’s company without the need to talk or gossip. This is true male intimacy.
On a beautiful Saturday morning by the Sneekermeer in Holland, bright and cold, looking out over the water I see a typical picture of Male Bonding. Two men sitting in a boat fishing. Two men with their backs to each other, not talking but enjoying each other’s company.
They wouldn’t do it alone, it just wouldn’t be the same. Women find this incomprehensible, they wonder what they can find of interest.
So what is it that men are doing and why do they find such comfort in it?
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Men Bonding – How Do They Do It?
Men love thinking about nothing. The way they deal with stress and responsibility is to leave it all behind for a time and empty their minds completely. They find this refreshing and invigorating. They can have the most serious problems to deal with but their way of dealing with them is to let them go, temporarily, and just be. This is why television is so favoured by men.
Sometimes I do this while my partner’s mind is raging around ‘everything’ that’s going on. She cannot understand how I can just switch off! When men do this together they support each other in this place, they understand in a women can’t.
Men love to focus, it’s their raison d’etre. Even better is when men can focus together. Fishing is focusing, on the fish, on the techniques, on being out and away. Together the encourage each other and intensify the focus.
Focus on a hobby, that has no real significance, is a way of connecting with your masculinity while letting the rest of life go. Nothing then focus is a powerful combination.
3) Male Bonding – Being Together
Men find it difficult to be together without having a reason, a purpose. Women love the process of being together for no reason just talking and talking. men are not natural ‘talkers’, they need to be ‘doing’. Just being together suggests a closeness that is dangerous for men, disturbing. (Remember the film Brokeback Mountain…) This is something they do with women. But if there is a task… then it’s ok.
Men have a powerful ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time. This way of being has evolved from old wiring, once necessary for the survival of the species.
Having a one-track mind was necessary for the hunter to patiently wait for his prey so they he could feed his family. A man is just expressing his hunter by becoming fully absorbed in the task at hand.
5) Male Bonding – Talking
Finally there is talking. Men do it to communicate information, otherwise why bother. They will talk about what needs to be done, etc., on the trip, but they won’t fill the time with endless chatter. What is the purpose of that?
So a task that doesn’t need talking is ideal. Fishing is sitting and letting the fish do their thing, no real communication needed.
I love being a man, it’s so straightforward!
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"Journey to the Core of the Masculine is many things: a guide to masculinity, a much needed resource for the men of our time, but above all, a great read."
This is a unique and powerful book. It is a record of a series of conversations I had with Christopher Howard on masculinity, sex, addiction and relationships. In them both Chris and myself opened ourselves up in a very personal and revealing way. We held nothing back and explored what it is to be men.