The Curse Of The Familiar

One of the unexpected elements we came upon whilst compiling the ‘What Men Do’ Guide was the difficulty of writing the section we’ve called ‘The Tribe of Heroes’.

This covers the area in which we try to make clear that there are ‘Heroes’ – in the sense of guys who refuse to be other than themselves – all over the world (not only in Yorkshire).

When you consider this subject alongside others we’ve covered you wouldn’t think it would be an area that was all that difficult. With some of the others we had what you might term, ‘a little local difficulty’.

With ‘Sex’ – which we headed simply ‘Sex’ in order to make the point that we didn’t think it was a subject that should treated other than seriously – the first hassle (as I recall it) was which of the three of us was to write it. With my vast experience of the subject, I was clearly the front runner of choice (although my co-writers seemed to find this claim hilarious). However, who ‘won’ the job must remain an unknown to comply with our basic ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’.

The section on being gay, which we headed ‘Different Folks, Different Strokes’ was quite tricky, as was that on mothers which we headed ‘Your Greatest Debt’ as (surprise, surprise) not one of us is a mother himself.

The basic difficulty writing ‘The Tribe of Heroes’ was that it presents a situation which requires of the reader a considerable dollop of Trust. As a guy in his late teens/early twenties, his lack if life experience represents a practical limitation on the range of guys he is likely to have met up with this far.

What becomes exposed by the lack of variety in their worldly perspective is that the prejudices familiar from their growth from childhood naturally expose themselves. All the bullshit absorbed from those who ‘have your best interests at heart’ rush to the surface as a kind of psychological defence force, aimed at protecting you from the big bad world.

‘Bad’ much

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of it is, but not all of it. But how to explain that there are guys out there – everywhere – who, like yourself, are only too anxious to support and enrich your life as well as their own.

And whilst the spread of technology has increased our basic knowledge of the wider world, for most guys this is only the surface facts of the Thinking Man. It cuts much less ice in the worlds of Feeling and Sensing. The rawness with which these exist below our human exterior rather suggest to us that most guys are still marooned within what is familiar to them and find it difficult to shrug off their fear of the unknown.

A guy doesn’t need persuading that there are ‘Heroes’ elsewhere when his excursion into the desert turns life threatening by a sudden sandstorm, whereupon a dark skinned bearded Bedouin looms out of the grainy gloom and offers him a skinful of water and the joint shelter of his camel.

Why doesn’t he inspire fear?

Or fit the image of the movies or the news?

Can there really be ‘Heroes’ outside of Yorkshire?

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