Friday, February 08, 2013

How Men Communicate: Tough Guys And "Iron Johns"

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Men communicate, confide, bond and emote differently than women do. Part of this is as a result of nature (neurochemistry and time-honed genetic sex-linked adaptations that assist men in mating and fighting), and part of it is a generations-old [back to the most primitive times] role that has been handed down from father to son and reinforced by society.

Speaking statistically, many men feel obligated to emulate the "Iron John" stereotype: A powerful, self-reliant, quiet tower of strength who does not cry, who keeps his secrets well-hidden, does not need to confide, stays calm and rational in a crisis, and tends to communicate more with eyes or body language than with deep discussion.

This behavioral stereotype is further reinforced by the ever-more physical roles of cold but infinitely enterprising and powerful muscular men. We all ("we" being typical heterosexual males of a certain age) secretly crave six-pack abs, but we can live without them. Women, on the other hand, sometimes literally starve themselves to death or work out to the point of muscular degradation in order to look like the models whom they see paraded before them in glossy magazines and on television commercials. [proof that I can read your mind? You were just thinking of a Victoria's Secret advertisement, instead of about the GEICO gecko.]

My closest friend from childhood, Jay Goldberg (author, teacher, business plan expert and mentor to entrepreneurs) sent me this terrific video clip taken from the TV show "Family Guy" which absolutely hits the middle-aged "manly men "stereotype right on the head [no jokes please]. He has a knack for sharing these hysterical things with me -- it'b become part of my mental health protocol.

Simply click on the image below to enjoy it.

Men are very tenuous about communications, especially with other men. They tend to stick with the group mind, until they have an opportunity to break a small hole in the brick wall and laughingly confide about some exception, as if making a joke. As the joke brings affirmative nods, and others begin to enter into this "one brick at a time" ritual, the deepest feelings eventually come out.

It's tough to be a man -- but in my case, the alternative would be unthinkable as well as unaffordable.

Douglas E. Castle for The Sending Signals Blog, sponsored by "Iguana - The Pill For A Reptile Dysfunction" and CFI - CrowdFunding Incubator, LLC

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