Sunday, February 22, 2009

male bonding... with my wife!

Today Sue and I worked hard. Hard all day long. I think I've come to realize how little I had been doing before. And how much she had. She can go like a trojan, that woman. 

So, today we were working together, trying to sort some things out for our business and trying to get ourselves, our kids and our business organised. 

Now, the thing is, Sue doesn't really like to talk to me too much about personal stuff. I could talk about that stuff all day long. She'd sooner swallow razor blades. Just shows to go you (as they say) that gender stereotypes don't always hold. 

The Australian Men's writer, Stephen Biddulph, says that men don't bond by talking about all that emotional stuff. We blokes, he says, bond by working side by side. Doing stuff together. Changing oil filters, or putting bait on hooks. If you're doing something like that, then you can spend quality time with your male friends. In fact, blokes will come from miles around to be part of the male experience.

Talk about your feelings, though, and we... well, most of us guys would sooner swallow razor blades. 

So, the interesting thing that happened today is that Sue and I worked together basically all day long. We were in each other's presence, communicating for 12, 13, maybe almost 14 hours straight. And we didn't fight once. No bickering. No snapping. No rolled eyes. And no sense that anyone was wasting anyone's time. 

Instead, there was a subtle bonding going on. We worked together well. There was no love fest, by any means, but there were smiles. There was comfort. Relaxation. And productivity -- in a positive atmosphere, no less! 

So, I'm thinking now that Sue and I are, perhaps, more like a couple of blokes. We bond not by talking about our secret hopes and dreams, but by (metaphorically speaking) tying fishing flies together. She -- almost pointedly -- doesn't offer to make me a lunch as she slaps some sandwiches together for the boys. And I certainly don't ask. But I think I build some real credit in her eyes when I start to make my own. She sees me plugging away at those domestic tasks, and I can see my personal stock value going up. 

It's funny to think that all these years feminists and talk show hosts have been telling men how we must be more feminized -- be more sensitive; listen better; open up to our feelings. 

For Sue, it seems, what works is just the opposite! 

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