Men: What we know and who we are. We know that happiness is about being in the moment, about sunshine, meaning, relationships and health but that's not who many of us are. What most men, even men who know all this stuff to be true, do is: Soldier on. Don’t whinge (nothing worse than a whinger!) Provide. Worry that they'll not always be able to provide. We don't engage with the GP and when we do it’s because we absolutely have to because something is twice the size it should be. And even then when we walk into the GPs room we say 'so sorry to bother you' because we're slowing down the troop and not soldiering on. We say 'I'm fine thank you' when inside we're screaming. As a consequence we get ill and we take our own lives at three times the rate women do.
Men are caught between the new world where equality, inclusivity and emotions are valued and the old 'a man has to do what a man has to do' patriarchy. In this 'always connected' world we could use technology to access 1001 online support groups or real life support groups like the 'man's shed' but we rarely do. Always connected but almost never connecting. We worry that we aren't providing well enough even when we are - or that we won't always be able to continue to provide. We are increasingly aware of what's important though - so even whilst we're busy providing we worry we're not spending enough quality time with our loved ones. But then we almost never turn down a promotion to help get that balance right. We've been taught to scrap and fight and be self-sufficient since we were toddlers but the world has changed rapidly around us and many of us find ourselves, bemused, feeling as if we’re waving around a knife… in a gun fight. Of course most woman would ask 'why are you looking to be fighting at all?' and suggest co-operation and mutual support instead.
Prof Tim Marsh