The Modern Male – An “Erection In A Vest”

There is an article currently doing the social media rounds titled “How Sad Young Douchebags Took Over Modern Britain”. Originally appearing on, it looks at how young males seem to be slipping in to a scarily vapid existence, with many appearing to be nothing more than an “erection in a vest” looking like “Ken dolls dipped in tea and covered in biro”.

The article is obviously over-sensationalised for ‘comic’ effect, but in amongst the rant like tirade there is a genuinely worrying message. Time and again we are reminded of the lost, almost purgatory like state, that modern young males find themselves in. Usually this comes in a more obvious form, such as the horrific stats on male depression and suicide, and the awareness raising work of organisations such as CALM.

But the preening, cock-sure, penis waving of so many young guys, particularly in towns on a Friday and Saturday night, is surely another manifestation of this malaise which has taken over the British male – and I’m sure it’s not confined to our island.

Many modern guys have ceased to live at any personal depth, everything is now purely about surface. This is reflected by the importance which is placed on appearance. Ridiculous amounts spent on designer clothes; beauty regimes that in the past would have been seen as excessive even by a billionaire’s arm candy; the obsession on what the Vice article calls “balloon animal muscles”.

The muscles are the biggest tell-tale sign of the surface element of these guy’s lives. For the most part these are not – or are only partly – muscles crafted through time in the gym and rigorous exercise. Obsessive weight lifting still screams of a vain surface existence but at least there has been some work put in, a degree of effort, the struggle which indicates something may be worthwhile. But even that takes too much time for these guys who want to wank over the image they see in the mirror, so they spend their money on muscle building supplements – these guys now live at such a surface level they need to take short-cuts to vanity.

And to what purpose?

Therein lies the point. There is no purpose. These guys have latched on to vanity and self obsession because it’s easier than the search for purpose and the risk that it entails. Life for them is looking for the next shag – young men have become sluts.

Towards the end of the Vice article it suggests that this situation has come about because nobody wants the young British male anymore. The breadwinners of old seem unable to find a new purpose in society and so shy away from any purpose.

The young male’s crisis of existence seemed terminal enough when viewed purely through the lens of guys not being able to handle any more and taking their own lives. When coupled with the pandemic of walking erections hitting the town every weekend it seems that the guys who are coping with life, embracing the struggle and dealing with it, striving for purpose and doing What Men Do, are actually in the minority.

The Adult Man is an endangered species and, unless as a gender we tell the easy life to go fuck itself and embrace the hard route, aiming to become as great as we can be as individuals, extinction may be around the corner.

Get Back In The Ring

I fucked up last week.

It was the really annoying kind of fuck up that was beyond any earthly control – a moment where ability was found lacking but Time (that bitch that She is) wouldn’t allow the breathing space required for the necessary improvement.

In the What Men Do Guide we place great importance on the idea

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of ‘seeing things through’. If you agree to a commitment – be it personal or professional, paid or voluntary – then it is vital to your Self Respect (if nothing else) that you make it to the end.

But what happens if, due to whatever the circumstance, Fate conspires against you and it proves impossible for you to fulfil you allotted task?

This is where my fuck up comes in. Maybe I’m being harsh on myself calling it a fuck up, but it’s certainly the way it felt.

I had agreed to a role in a project here at the Charity I work for in Halifax. The project was nothing particularly alien to me and the kind of thing I’m part of several times every year. However in this instance I had been provided the opportunity for a different kind of involvement than I’m used to, a chance to work on muscles which usually get ignored.

Of course I jumped at this offer and threw myself into the task with huge excitement and enthusiasm. Early on I realised this was going to be a challenge – the coveted Struggle which means you’re growing as a Man – but I told myself that if it was going to be easy then it would be bordering on pointless.

But as the project crept ever closer – and in passing I’m wondering if it is only me who finds the calendar an enemy in situations like this, where you look at it one morning and think

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‘hang on, when did last week happen?’ – as the project crept closer I realised my ability wasn’t improving at the same rate as the days were passing. Suddenly it’s five days until the project is due to start and, like a punch to the stomach, I realise there is no way I am going to be able to perform my task at the required level.

I had no choice but to let the team down.

I handled this part very badly, allowing despair to take over and wallowing in a rather large pit of self pity. I wasn’t particularly bothered that my ability had been found lacking, indeed in any other situation I would have welcomed it as it has opened up an avenue for self improvement, an obvious starting point for extending my talents in that area. The blow for me, and it was a huge blow, was that I had let the other guys on the project down.

This wallowing only made the situation worse for my Self Respect as I realised that the only way I could begin to make up for my fuck up was to put things right to ensure the project’s success – as they say in the theatre ‘the show must go on’. By the time I had grasped the situation by the Balls in the required manner – this being the day after my realisation of my limitations – the replacement had already been found. I didn’t even have the chance to make things right myself.

What I should have done was to face the problem head on and not played ‘woe is me’ – at least not until the continuance of the project was ensured.

That’s the part my Self Respect has to deal with now so that in future I won’t throw in the towel when I should get back in the ring and fight another round.

What A Fuckin Horrible Dream I Had Last Night!

And it wasn’t a nightmare in the sense that snakes and dragons and unrecognisable madmen were desperate to cut my throat. It was real, at least inasmuch as it had happened … and the more I’ve thought about it these past few hours, the more I’m convinced that it was the moment that my father lost interest in me and the rest of my life.

For several years I’ve realised that my father tried to

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live his life through me. There’s reference to this in the What Men Do Guide – not specifically me and my father but the situation whereby a lad gets fucked up because without realising it he takes on automatically the values of his father plus his father’s frustrated ambitions.

As to the actual incident and last night’s rotten remembrance …..

…. my parents kept a country pub here in Halifax where on Saturday and Sunday evenings I was required to play the piano.

Unfortunately I have always had the facility of being able to play ‘by ear’; if you whistle me a tune I can instantly play it – in ‘C’, ‘G’ or ‘F’ of course.

When my father was demobbed from fighting the Fuhrer he did three things for me; he made me clean my teeth twice a day, he taught me to play chess, and he instigated a weekly piano lesson. I was 7 years old.

After a few months the piano teacher told my father that I was proving difficult to teach because as soon as she had played a piece of music which I was left to ‘learn’ I instantly played it ‘by ear’. In other words the learning process was a fraud.

However my father chose not to recognise this; I was part of the caberet at the pub, in practical terms a money-spinner for him. Local farmers who could sing ‘Bless This House’, or ‘Come Back To Sorrento’ and popular ballads of the period never seemed to be away from the place.

Later, when females entered my life, playing the piano was a curse; I was never available even for a fumble on Sowerby moors on Saturday or Sunday nights.

And then my father learned of an impending visit by a Bradford-born pianist, one who had acquired a big reputation – in London no less – as a teacher.

On the appointed day of his visit to play a one-night recital, my father and I took the bus to Bradford.

After the recital (which actually bored the pants off me), I was taken backstage to play for the maestro.

This I refused to do, knowing that, at best, I was what was known as only a ‘honky-tonk’ pianist.

My father was outraged. On the bus back home and for weeks afterwards all he could say to me was, ‘well, y’had y’chance’……

If I’d been worried that my cock wasn’t going to grow big enough to deliver a decent shag up till then, I became even more convinced from that point onwards.

And now that horrible estrangement from my father has entered my dreams. I awoke in the early hours before I could cry out ‘Dad, that’s not what I wanted! I didn’t want to be a concert pianist! I’d’ve hated it and anyway, I was never good enough!’

But that’s what my father wanted.

Whose Life Is It Anyway?

We may be arriving a little late to the party here, but we’ve been giving some thought to the fact that CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, have named 2014 as the Year of the Male. The plan is to open up a year-long discussion on what it means to be a Man and to look at what changes are needed to create a fair and flourishing society, one in which men aren’t pressured to live up to “unrealistic ideals”.

We first became aware of CALM and the fantastic work they do around the time when we launched the What Men Do Guide, around eighteen months ago. As the Guide is primarily aimed at lads in their late teens, plus those former rebels who have since bought into the programme of chasing the Bitch-Goddess ‘Success’ to acquire wealth, status and power, we were only too eager to get into bed with them.

Since the Guide was published we haven’t changed our opinion that the greatest quality a man can possess is Self Respect. Armed with this he’s able to Stand Alone when his integrity is challenged and ‘be his own man’.

The sad truth is that few guys are ‘their own men’. This is a delusion which they increasingly feed into their existence as they settle for the bullshit that’s been fed to them from Day One about ‘fitting in’ with Society in general, and doing so as quickly as possible so they don’t ‘miss the boat’ – and once they’re on the boat, God forbid they do anything that might rock it.

The trouble for many guys comes around age 35 when they suddenly have a burst of awareness where they realise that they should never have boarded the boat in the first place. By fixating on ‘fitting in’ they never spent any time in that private ‘inner space’ which is vitally necessary in order to decide what is right for them.

Reviewing this in later life what

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becomes increasingly clear is that it isn’t their life they’ve been living; it has largely been that of their frustrated father coupled with his dated values of what was most important in life.

Our view is very clear – we reckon the purpose of why we were given life is to be ourselves, to mature in such a way that the specialness we have to offer is there on the surface of who we are – what you see, touch and smell is what you get. (Or as the advertising world puts it ‘it does what is says on the tin’.)

The brainwashing given during childhood and youth – be it from parents (well-meaning or otherwise), teachers preaching the benefits of staying in the education merry-go-round, or other ‘authority figures’ pushing job security over happiness – is increasingly difficult to eradicate once it has been etched into

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the psyche. This becomes further entrenched when age brings with it the desire for comfort and security. The priorities of what’s important become dominated by both Fear and Lethargy.

It’s no wonder that CALM is now calling for the Year of the Male. For most guys, we’re reminded of the Park Warden at the boating lake calling out ‘your time’s up’.

Fortunately all is not lost. Tom Daley’s decision to publicly announce that he’s currently enjoying a close relationship with another guy and James Wharton coming out as gay while still serving in the Household Cavalry were both welcomed positively by the media, which

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suggests that being yourself is not in any way un-manly. In fact it’s the opposite, it is the starting point of living the life of a man – living your life.

And whose life are you living if it’s not yours?

Yet More Signs Of Emptiness

Is it just me or do we all get more and more mail marked ‘Private and Confidential’? The thing is, when you take a looksee of the contents, it isn’t either private or confidential. Invariably it’s some marketing shit concerning ‘free’ offers.

This inflation of words is one of my personal loathings. Years ago I realised that to be truly effective, words have to be used carefully. They’re perfect for telling lies but much less so at expressing the truth.

And it’s not just words that are bandied about. More and more there’s a lack of real substance to what’s on offer to us. Few things seem to match up to the ‘it-does-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ scenario. All too often the claims are just limp pricks ….. and I’m

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not the only one who’s noticed this drift into a state of airy unreality.

I’m not nosey by nature, though I suppose that is a matter of interpretation; I admit to a tremendous curiosity, especially about what I call the ‘human’ element in human-beings.

This is probably one of the reasons I enjoy directing Plays. One of my leisure activities is that I’m involved with a Youth Theatre, the objectives of which are to use Drama as a means of taking bad-lads off the streets and on to the stage, the idea being to use a production of ‘Coriolanus’ and fake blood on the streets of Ancient Rome as a substitute for real blood on the mean streets of Halifax.

What I’ve discovered is that you need imagination and a curiosity about the happenings of the Past to put together something which, on stage, an audience can believe approaches the ‘real thing’.

What increasingly disturbs me is that the ‘real thing’ is no longer obvious in ‘real life’.

There’s reference to this in the What Men Do Guide which, I recall, is particularly incensed about false tits (it being one of the few subjects the three writers can agree upon). My complaints are more, well, petty, but they still cause me to despair at the desperate state of the human condition today, and worse, the drift which I suspect gives us a true glimpse of the future.

For instance one thing – you may consider this nit-picking – is I’m particularly dismayed at the rubbish magazines I witness being purchased by those ahead of me in the queue at Tescos. More often than not, they’re devoted to the ‘amazing’ lives of either the ‘pretend’ characters in the soaps, or the related emptiness in the ‘private’ lives of those acting out the roles. Emptiness piled on to more emptiness.

And it isn’t just the media that seems to be running on empty.

I was chatting with one of my cousins a couple of days ago. He was just back from a funeral – the father of one of his mates had passed on – and he recounted to me how unreal he’d found the funeral.

My cousin said that not a single member of the congregation shed a tear; there was not a moment of sadness in the church, just a chilly formality as if those present were enacting a ceremony which was strictly devoted to observing a formal sense of duty.

At the reception afterwards the women exchanged some airy kisses on the cheek, and some of the guys made a stilted attempt to hug each other. At least, he said, that was what was suggested. But this obviously lacked realism for him. He described it as more of a ‘duty hugging’; it was impossible to believe that any warm, human energy was being exchanged or any suggestion of a personal intimacy being reaffirmed.

I have to say, I found no difficulty imagining this scene, or the formal acknowledgement which will undoubtedly appear in the local newspaper effusively thanking everyone for attending.

If observations of empty ‘thankyou’s’ and ‘Private and Confidential’ are now acceptable as meaningful communications, how much future credibility can we expect to believe from ‘I love you’?

Tapping into the Life Force.

Until Sunday I’d heard of Schoenberg but nothing more than that. Since then I’ve become a bit obsessed. There is an exhibition of his work alongside his old mate, Kandinsky, at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum. It was the Kandinsky name that attracted me but I left babbling about Schoenberg.

As with the exhibition, context is important. I’ll keep it brief (mainly because I’m only just learning this myself):

He was a Viennese composer (and later painter and music theorist), born in 1874. He rose to prominence (in Germany) fairly young and was incredibly polarising. When things got too hot, the critique more threatening with the rise of Hitler, he upped sticks to LA.

Although I listened to his music, it’s not something I feel I can confidently write about. What I would (possibly ignorantly) label “Classical” music isn’t something I’ve spent enough time with. But that is of little consequence as it’s more the man that interests.

As I mentioned, his music was incredibly polarising at the time. Apparently the more traditional among the musical elite didn’t like what this young upstart was doing.

He got some rough treatment. An entire audience booing and hissing after a performance was just

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one of the many incidents on record. His reply to the critics was the most inspiring piece of art in the exhibition – more than any of the wonderful, chaotic yet harmonious works by Kandinsky.

“I did not choose to write this way. I am forced by an inner compulsion greater than any upbringing.”

There are a few gleaming gems expressed so eloquently within this sentence. One is a wonderful defiance to be anything other than what he is. The second, is his dismissal of upbringing as defining him or dictating his behaviour. The third is the idea of an “inner compulsion” – he’s tapped into a force greater than logic and it’s driving him forward.

In a similar vein, and a bit more amusingly, when serving in WW1, an officer asked if he was “this notorious Schoenberg, then?” To which Schoenberg replied: “Beg to report, sir, yes. Nobody wanted to be, someone had to be, so I let it be me.”

What become evident was that this was no bull shit. The guy was a prolific composer, inventor, painter and tinkerer. He had tapped into the life force and the tap was constantly flowing.

Alongside the paintings and manuscripts, were a host of inventions, from portable music stands, to a board game he believed would help teach people to choose diplomacy over military actions (called Coalition Chess).

The more I learn about these guys, the men who can’t put the pen down (or whatever their version of the pen is) the more I’m convinced that tapping into the core of ourselves to find our own, great inner compulsion is absolutely the key to being our own man.

That’s Just The Way I Am

Whilst it’s probably true that the competitive spirit which is a part of maleness is a progressive force, it strikes me that it’s all too easy to turn negative.

Consider this for a masterpiece of small mindedness.

Monday I left the house early for our office ‘Monday Morning Meeting’. It was fucking cold, though Yorkshire in January … what could you expect?

But then, what was this? A rose in the garden! Alone, at shoulder height, it had forced itself through the lattice-work fence which separates the house from next-door.

As if to confirm that my eyes weren’t deceiving me, I walked over to inspect. Seemingly sturdy, it was quite big, well big-ish, at least an inch and a half left to right, and a deep, deep pink. I looked at it and smiled as I heard myself say “brother, have you got a big pair of balls!”

As if in response the petals seemed to fluff out and upwards with confidence, then it stared straight back as if replying, “yeah, well, that’s the way I am”. It sure was one of nature’s arrogant little fuckers.

I walked away somewhat reluctantly. Its presence had gladdened my heart and I was chuckling to myself…..

…..but as I hit the pavement to walk to the office my mood suddenly changed.

Less that twelve hours earlier I’d been having dinner with a Friend. At one point our conversation veered into the possible sources of the Life-force, its origin and what sustains it. (I think this is what used to be called ‘Vitalism’ – maybe it still is for all I know as I’m not a science-man.)

As I walked along I thought about what we’d discussed and this deep pink fucker having the chutzpah to trespass into my garden to do battle with the Yorkshire winter, and all quite naked …. versus me, with my cashmere socks, my thermal undershirt, my long-johns, my fur-lined boots, my overcoat, woolly scarf, gloves and Canadian racoon hat, the entire combination of which had failed to prevent my shrivelled dick from hiding out ingloriously from the North-East wind.

I checked out the rose when I returned home. It was still there, nakedly sustaining itself, its petals still turning upwards creating a tiny smile and the ‘yeah, well, that’s just the way I am’. Neither of us said anything.

Tuesday, it was

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still there but I didn’t go over so no smiles or words were exchanged. I could see it was still balls naked; meanwhile I was remained covered in ‘fur’.

During the day it was much on my mind so in the evening I made a point of going over. Unfortunately it was so dark I couldn’t tell whether it was still greeting my like a mate or giving the Canadian racoon two fingers.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I gave it a nod of recognition morning and evening ….

….. but then on Saturday I could tell from the six yards between us that the Yorkshire winter was calling the shots. The petals were drooping and the upturned smile was fading.

I suddenly had a feeling of guilt. Maybe if I’d been more welcoming the rose would have lasted longer. Okay, it isn’t the quantity but the Quality of Life that’s important (that’s the central message in the What Men Do Guide). Still, if the rose had had an intuitive element it wouldn’t have smelled a potential closeness from my fur-covered envy. I was just too anxious to parade that, between us, I was the head honcho.

Now it’s gone and I’m left with ‘that’s the way I am’.

I wish I was that sure of myself.

Telling It Like It Is

Working with teenagers three nights each week as I do, it’s no surprise that the lads in particular seem to have difficulty understanding that there’s a difference between love and lust. If gender is involved, the feelings are not recognised as different.

One thing I’ve noticed which occurs when the

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7-year Life Change happens around age 28, and love and lust have become clearly defined, is that a small number of guys are able to actually speak about their feelings. Not most guys, for sure, but at least some.

Saying ‘I love you’ has always been a big deal for me as I was never able to say it to either my Mum or my Dad.

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That’s no surprise because neither of them were what you’d call ‘physical parents’. Neither of them ever held me in their arms, and I was only able to say ‘I love you’ to my brother shortly before he died.

As for my father, I was living abroad when he died. Time-wise I only attended his funeral by the skin of my teeth. There must have been the most pathetic scene at the crematorium. As soon as I arrived I was taken to see his body. I looked down at what had been my Dad, bent over and kissed his forehead and said ‘I loved you Dad’, at which point an official came in the room and said they wanted to begin the service.

This all flooded back to me a few weeks ago.

It was late evening and I was with one of my mates with whom I share an office. He and I are tight; very tight. However, things had been getting a little tense and the atmosphere was like one of those times when you knew something akin to a climatic storm was about to blow up to clear the air.

Aside from being one of my closest Friends, understand this is no ordinary guy. From the early months of working alongside him I know he can’t be bought. A couple of times way-back I tried. Nothing sinister you understand; just me trying to be sneaky.

As you’d expect of his type he has powerful convictions so if there’s a difference of opinion about how to move forward he has to be ‘won over’ ……. which takes time and can be a pain in the arse.

Anyway, a few weeks ago the storm broke. Unpalatable truths were spoken by both of us in language more suited to enemies than blokes who are tight. It reached a point when we were both on our feet and, almost nose-to-nose, he raised his fists and said “just say that to me one more time…….”

I raised my fists as well, though I admit this was largely for my own defence cos I knew if he snapped and ripped into me I’d get a pasting. Mind you, I was so angry myself I was up for a scrap just to settle things.

But ……. we both held off and went our separate ways.

The following morning I was in the office before him. When he arrived he checked that I was there and we were alone, then threw his jacket in the vague direction of his desk and came towards me. Shit, I thought; this is gonna be nasty.

But when he got close he said “sorry about last night, I reckon we were both pretty out of order”. I hastened to agree with him and we settled on one of our occasional manly hugs.

However – and I’ve no idea where this came from – I didn’t totally release him but heard myself say “I love you man”.

There was a fleeting silence as he pulled away from me and then, looking me directly in the eyes, he said “I love you too …. you awkward little fucker”.

A Rude Awakening For 2014

I had a really, really strange Christmas. Talk about being in a parallel universe!

I’d had a warning in the three or four weeks prior to the actual holidays. I wasn’t feeling sick or unwell exactly, just aware that, as y’might say, ‘things weren’t right’.

At first I wondered if it was an early warning that a Depression was looming. There was no specific reason why this might be the case although not every department of my Life was as satisfactory as I would wish – but then, whose is?

And I became aware that increasingly I was distracted – like falling in love, and the hassle it brings as you juggle with the imponderables of Time and Space in order to ‘be together’.

But it wasn’t sexual; far from it … in fact I’d have been much happier if it had been; at least what was making me increasingly unhappy would be clear and I could set about putting it right.

All these thoughts and feelings were taking place against the demands of Christmas and a diary full of reminders to pick up the meat for the Christmas Day feast, put the silver charms in the Christmas Pudd and de-freeze the Dock Pudding which I‘d managed to acquire from the champion of the Calder Valley Dock Pudding Championships way back in the Summer.

But slowly I became aware that certain elements of my Life were breaking up, though how and what I couldn’t work out. It was as if my outer appearance and inner philosophy were about to be subjected to enormous pressure, fissures would allow suppressed truths to force their way through the cracks of the outer shell I’d been using to sustain the image of who I was.

And then I read something. Actually it was a book I must’ve been reading for the third time. (I’m a bizarre

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reader. The first time I get through to the end of a book – say on philosophy or psychology – I immediately begin to read it again. This is because experience tells me that I’ve missed whole loads of important stuff in what amounts to ‘skimming over’ the first time through.)

In this particular case it was the third reading of Henri Tracol’s book ‘The Taste For Things That Are True’. I read:

“There is a heroism in behaving without any other sanction than the intoxication of moving in the direction which is truly one’s own.’


He follows this up with:

“These words of my uncle have accompanied me unceasingly since adolescence. And from decade to decade they resound in me more and more like a call to be free.”

His words hit me like a thunderbolt, especially when I thought of my status as one of the three writers of the What Men Do Guide and weekly blog. Was I up to the job? Was I ‘free enough’ myself? And if not, why not?

And all this whilst other adults and children ate and drank and gossiped, enjoying the benevolent spirit of Santa Claus.

It’s been an awakening time.

Seeking To Express The Inexpressible

Writing about Friendship in the What Men Do Guide, reference is made to the thoughts expressed over 500 years ago by the French essayist Michel de Montaigne.

In 1567, writing about the death of his Friend Etienne de la Boetie, Montaigne restricts his comments to:

“if pressed to say why I loved him, I feel that it cannot be expressed.”

Twenty years later, when editing his earlier writings, Montaigne added: “except by saying, ‘because it was him; because it was me’.”

So much for the great essayist.

This reluctance to articulate his thoughts and feelings rings true with the experience my fellow writers and I had whilst compiling the section on ‘Friendship’ in the Guide. Much to our surprise it turned out to be one of the more difficult pieces to write.

Nothing seems to be more difficult to write about than the bonding of males. During a recent re-reading of the book ‘Men and Friendship’ by the American psychologist Stuart Miller – a book originally published 30 years ago – I hit on the early observation:

“Most men find the subject unutterable. Some will, of course, talk popular sociology, others will discover psychological truisms, but they can’t really talk about Friendship itself. They do not have the words for such a subject. Partly it is a taboo about looking at something so sacred. Often, it is a reluctance to look at something so painful.”

I was particularly struck by Millar’s use of the word ‘sacred’. Subsequently I’ve checked ‘sacred’ with other guys but none of them were willing, or able, to attempt to elaborate. The general consensus was that it ‘went too deep’.

So what is the problem? And shit, I can recognise it within myself! Can’t I talk to me …. about me?

One thought is that the bonding we now know of as ‘Friendship’ dates to way, way back when we were still in the trees and the guys with whom we bonded were fellow members of the hunting tribe. As this pre-dates the invention of words, this bonding is deeper than our current flimsy communication methods are capable of elucidating.

Trying to be practical; say I’m introduced to three guys I’ve never met before. I start to smell them – much like dogs sniffing each other’s arses – seeking some form of psychological compatibility. A feeling in the solar plexus area – that gut instinct favoured by 1940’s detectives – seems to suggest one is very different from the others, and I can tell he has a similar reaction to me.

Smell? A feeling? These vagaries seem to add flesh to the idea that, as amazing as our advanced

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ability at linguistic communication is, the internal motivations that drive us are far more fascinating.