The Sound Of Silence

It seems to me that when gauging the strength of a Friendship, what is not said is as important, if not more so, than what is said.

I’m not talking about the subtext of a conversation here, although that is important – the ability to understand what your Friend is telling you even when they struggle to articulate it is a vital element of Friendship.

What interests me, though, are the moments when you are with a close Friend and neither of you say anything – complete silence.

With a true Friend these aren’t awkward silences – it isn’t that you’ve run out of things to talk about it’s just that, for that moment, each other’s presence is all that is required. There is a kind of unexplainable aura between you which brings joy to the heart and helps to recharge your batteries (soul, spirit, cockles, whatever you want to call it).

The fact that you’re with him and he with you is all that is important – words are superfluous.

I suspect this is a predominately male experience of Friendship.

From what I’ve seen and gained from discussing this with the fairer sex, it seems that for them the comfort and intimacy of a friendship comes from the conversation.

In a male Friendship, it is each other’s presence that is important.

This is particularly obvious if you haven’t seen each other for a while. As soon as you are back in each other’s presence and the aura makes itself known – true Friendship being in the realms of Sensing and Feeling Man – then the period of absence is irrelevant. What happened since you last saw each other is barely a distant vision, as now you’re in ‘Man Time’.

I suspect this may be a remnant of the Hunting Band – when you were part of the

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team killing the Bison for dinner you couldn’t talk to each other for fear of startling lunch, and so you learned to sense where your fellow Hunters were and the aura of their presence provided the comfort that you were not hunting alone.

This bond – which can only be Sensed between the two people it connects – is often the reason for a Friendship to be formed. Often with truly close Friends it is difficult to articulate

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why you are so close or how that came to be – particularly in those occasions where the bond is instant and immediately close. It is not unlike falling in Love – and indeed it is a form of that, with the sexy bits removed.

This bond is clear from the words of Michel de Montaigne when discussing the subject of his Friendship with Etienne de la Boetie (who had by this point popped his clogs). His only reasoning was: “Because it was him: because it was me.”

Is ‘Common Sense’ A Thing Of The Past

I’ve been reading a lot of historical stuff recently… and one thing which hit me was the extent to which Friendship was a part of a guy’s Life way back when.

And this wasn’t merely at the level of guys with whom you had a regular game of golf, but on whom you actually relied – quite often for your life.

The hand-to-hand fighting of the Ancient Greeks and the Roman Legions employed the back-to-back system whereby, because of

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its physical nature, the other guy was actually covering 180° of your body; he ‘gave you his back’.

Not being a soldier myself I don’t know if the marines still have use for this – it seems very dated in today’s world of rapid gunfire….

…not to mention those flying things…..

…but thinking about this prompted me to take a looksee at what’s written in the ‘What Men Do’ Guide under the ‘Friendship’ heading, and ‘wow!’ this element of one-to-one bonding has played a helluva contribution in the past lives of others.

But today? Well, no. For most guys it doesn’t seem to rate overmuch; in fact for some, the Social Network sites seem to offer what they are happy to consider adequate under what they think of as a Friendship.

There was a piece in the ‘Times’ on April 10th that had a headline, ‘Friends are happier and laugh more without social networks’.

Well whadyaknow!

It prompted the immediate thought that common sense would seem

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to be a lost (human) art these days. Do we really require research by Sam Roberts, senior lecturer at the University of Chester to undertake ‘a series of more than 300 interviews with ‘heavy users of Facebook’ to report that social media failed to cut the mustard against face to face meetings?

My biggest gripe though is that some university boffins are so out of touch with reality that they should be attempting to compare two human areas which were not actually comparable.

What is classifiable as ‘human’ via the internet is a measurable reality understood only by Thinking Man. Let’s say, they’re connections of the brain.

But real human contact activates Feeling Man and Sensing Man. They provide the instinctive response to the animal within us and the guys with whom we would Trust on patrol in the jungle….or on the battlefield.

The best you can ever achieve via social networks in knowledge – that commodity you acquire from formal education. But Friendship is based on inner knowledge, a visceral response in the guts which provides the true measure of Trust.

It’s Grandma’s Fault

For about four months I’ve been suffering with a hernia. Two hernias actually.

The one on the right is small, or so I’m told.

But the leftie? I have an aversion to exclamation points but believe me this leftie requires several. It’s a real mother, and trying not to appear a wuss in public is sapping my determination to tough it out. The pain is truly excruciating and it gets worse as the day goes on. Levering myself into bed, well, my enemies would salivate to witness it.

But there’s also another problem with hernias – or at least there is with mine; they make you cock-conscious. Although it’s not part of the problem – at least I don’t think so – your dick’s proximity to the action makes it seem like a leading player.

And cock-consciousness is not good for me. It may not be an issue for most guys, but it is for me. I’ve always been cock-conscious – and I’m mainly talking about my own.

If it’s an issue with other guys, well, I don’t know about that. I mean, you can’t go around asking ‘in a very general sense, would you describe yourself as constantly cock-conscious?’ can you? That’s unless you’ve got a card from the Government or some Uni. that confirmed you were doing a Sociological Survey for the National Health (say).

And I know where my cock-consciousness started; it was with my Grandma. Due to some family problems I had to live some early years with my Grandparents. The toilet was part of the bathroom. I remember the room quite distinctly as, in additional to the basic facilities, there was a chair with a cushion covered with an attractive moquette. I suspect I remember it well because it was a very unhappy time for me and when I took a leak or did a dump (or whatever you call a 3 year old having a shit) I would speak to a ‘friend’ on the chair.

So imagine it; I’m a 3 year old whose feet don’t touch the ground when I’m sitting there, and one day in walks Grandma. And she sits on the chair watching me. ‘You’ve been a long time’, she says, like I’m an unusually early wanker.

And then, presumably to ‘help’, she came over and gave my itsy-bitsy pee-pee a shake.

I can’t remember what happened after that, but the experience stuck with me big time; it’s made me cock-conscious every waking moment since … perhaps a slight exaggeration….

…and even as it was happening I was aware that it was going to have a deeper significance, like I was being scarred in some way.

It wasn’t only a sense of indignity I suffered – that’s if ‘indignity’ can be applied to a 3 year old – but an awareness that in touching my cock, particularly the way she dismissively wiggled it around, she’d violated the essence of who I was.

And still am.

From time to time since then my cock has been in the hand(s) of others – with rare exceptions of the female gender – but there’s no doubt in my mind it was Grandma who opened the abyss.

And now

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with the fucking hernia hovering there’s no longer the occasional ecstasy; only agony.

Self Respect: The Measure Of A Man

In Life terms, we reckon there’s no better measure than Self Respect.

And most guys seem to have very little of it.

This lack stems from a basic unwillingness to cut themselves off from being one of the crowd; in other words, to see themselves as a man who thinks and acts for

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Or, as it explains in the WMD Guide, a man who is genuinely ‘Cool’.

And on a point of clarification, are the passing showbiz icons who enjoy popular adulation for a time ‘Cool’?

Is Justin Bieber Cool? Well,

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what do you think?

Rather, passing idols like Bieber personify a kind of wish-fulfilment of Jack and Jill Average. Without knowing Justin, our suspicion is that as a man, he probably lacks integrity; what we see as an image is merely an appearance, one which, in WMD terms, lacks Balls.

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Another issue working against Self Respect is that is isn’t dependant on what most guys require to know that they exist – an audience.

I had an experience in Halifax a few days ago which provided me with a ‘flash’ image of the sort of picture that’s all too easy to envisage. As I approached the town from the West I suddenly became aware that I was alone. No traffic, no pedestrians (other than myself), no noise. It was a moment of sudden strangeness, a rare instant that never happens other than in the very early hours.

It was the kind of scene that, to a sensitive soul, could trigger a bout of Depression, and the Fear of his Aloneness.

There’s a growing opinion amongst both scientist and philosophers that, right now technology is ahead of our human power to handle it wisely – as our servants – rather than to hand over our personal responsibility to it, all in the name of ‘having an easier Life’.

But an ‘easier Life’ is an oxymoron; there’s no such thing. Yes, you can have an ‘easy existence’, but there’s nothing ‘easy’ about Life, or if there is, well, it’s for the briefest of time.

Life is mainly about Struggle, essentially to grow, and to set an example. You can’t do more than that – set an ‘example’. That’s what ‘Cool’ guys do.

The American philosopher, Thoreau, wrote, ‘the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’.

In short, no Balls; no Self Respect.

One Year On

A couple of days ago one of my two fellow writers informed me that it was mid-April last year when we published the What Men Do Guide.

We’d been working on it for five and a half years and I have the scars to prove it.

The mid-April date was also when we issued the first WMD blog, a labour of … well, if not Love, at least of Caring.

Let me back up for a moment to explain to any fairly new readers how the What Men Do Movement came about – the Guide was originally conceived as a ‘spoof’ idea to be included in the regular programme of a Youth Theatre here in Yorkshire. It was nicked from ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’, which had been a surprise publishing hit at that time.

However, around that time

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there were a couple of tragic suicides of young guys here in Halifax – quite separate occurrences which brought the ‘spoof’ idea to a sudden halt. Hell, we thought, it wasn’t a piss-take local teenage lads required but quite the opposite; lacking a live-in father in all too many cases, and

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the town regularly full of females who’d got a bad dose of Women’s Lib and were playing it to the hilt (particularly on Friday and Saturday nights) it was clear that many local lads – every one a ‘tough Yorkshireman’ – were in fact anything but.

This situation happened to coincide with something of which I’d become increasingly convinced (a bit of a personal hobbyhorse, I admit) that there was an increasing discrepancy between who a guy actually was, versus the way he actually appeared to the wider world – and appearance was winning the battle.

That’s when we three Yorkshiremen decided to write a serious Guide that would help to explain the ‘Aloneness’ which is an inherent part of being a guy and which you become aware of in your late teens.

In the course of the five and a half years leading up to the publication in April last year it also became apparent that, whilst the Guide was directly aimed at lads in their late or mid teens – to the extent that it was decided profits from the Guide are to be donated to Charities offering guidance and services to young men – it was actually a healthy reminder for

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older guys who were still in touch with the ‘teenage rebel within’ (a phrase coined and much beloved by one of my fellow writers).

Naïve fool that I turned out to be, I’d been working my tush off on the Guide under the impression that once it was published I could start hunting for serious sex again…if you get my drift.

And it was only then that I heard the word ‘Movement’ being included after ‘What Men Do’. Hence the weekly blog to which I was requested to make the occasional contributions.

Subsequently I’ve tried to do just that.

As to what I’ve written, obviously I’m pleased with some of it … and what I try to do is reveal what I’m actually like – the invisible me (bugger my ‘Appearance’).

I’m not a wuss although I’ve always tried to avoid getting into fights; my life experience has shown me that my balls have more

resilience than what most guys have to offer.

Fear is the element of Life that I despise most of all; Caring I try to embrace whenever I can. These are the themes underlying what I’ve tried to write about when it was my turn to ‘put out’.

The truth is, I’ve learned a lot about myself whilst I’ve been attempting to communicate with other guys via the WMD blog.

What was it the Ancient Greeks used to preach about – that you must first ‘Know Thyself’ if you want to learn how to help others.

So my gut feeling is that I’ve not been pissing in the wind.