the first rule of men’s group is you do not talk about men’s group. i prefer to think about it as maintaining the near confessional like sanctity of a safe space.

as part of this emotional module upgrade process, i’ve been going to a men’s gathering / support group for the last eight or nine weeks. Perhaps more.

for those interested in the men’s movement, there are a number of streams out there ranging from men’s rights groups (which themselves range from scary balaclava types to concerned single parent lobby groups) to iron john groups of forest gatherings, sweat lodges and drumming weekends to pro-feminist men’s groups to any combination in between.

I shall leave it as an exercise to the reader to guess which type(s) I attend.

I’ve always found the company of other men to be challenging. To the extent that I do not trust people in general, I trust men less and tend to generally view them, especially if they are older, as threats or competition. Working in a predominantly male environment that is quite hierarchical hasnt helped me any. At the same time, the esteem and regard of other men is quite important to me. The dissonance this produces means that I have few male friends (although the gender split of my very close, inner circle type friends is quite even).

Going to the group has been good in that I’ve begun to enjoy and relax in the company of men who are neither friends or workmates. Hearing their stories and life experiences, observing their different personalities interacting and seeing how conflict and competition (albeit on a very minor level) is handled has been comforting and enlightening. And seeing as I generally take a long time to warm to anyone, especially men, I’ve found, to my pleasant surprise, that I am fond of many of the men in the group already.

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