On Friday, Patrick McKenna and I were collaborating on a communication piece to welcome new men connecting with MenLiving for the first time. In the initial draft, Patrick included a sentence about small batches. It read, “Small Batches are more intimate virtual opportunities structured for gathering in smaller groups for a more intimate connection than might be had in a large virtual or in-person meeting.” I suggested a few edits among them drop one of the “intimates.” I made that recommendation not only because I don’t think it worked grammatically, but I was concerned that two intimates in one sentence might be over the top and turn some guys off. I hear men struggle with intimacy.
From the heterosexual perspective, “researchers” tell us that women usually view intimacy as “deep talking” or connecting through words. For men, intimacy is “doing things” or connecting through activity. Men, “they” say, often view sex to secure intimacy. On the other hand, women view a good relationship leading to a desire for sex. The man uses sex to feel an intimate connection, while the woman uses an intimate connection to have sex. Allegedly, it has something to do with our testosterone.
I admit that when I have used the word intimate to describe my relationship with other men it has felt awkward. I suppose I am bumping up against my 58 years of conditioning. As stated above, I learned that this word is best used to express a good sexual relationship between a man and a woman. In fact, once I got past the age of 12, my same sex friendships should probably become surface-level, maybe even perfunctory. No way intimate! Such bullshit. Such a shame.
So, in a better late than never move, I chose (about a decade ago) discomfort or not, to use intimate and loving to describe (and guide) my relationships with the men (and women) in my life. Anything less feels a bit hollow and unfulfilling. The intimacy comes in both flavors, doing things and deep talking, but it is the deep talking that has been the game changer. Sometimes, when I am connecting with someone, I feel the desire to declare that I am good covering the NFL playoffs and let’s go a little deeper. Why not Say It? One last comment/suggestion about creating intimacy. It might go without saying, but I am going to say it, I think the deep talking also means deep listening (probably more importantly) and a deep wonder for the other to get to intimacy.
Ok, that’s it for today. Before I go, did you know that MenLiving promotes Small Batches? Small Batches are more intimate virtual opportunities structured for an intimate gathering in smaller intimate groups for a more intimate connection than might be had in a large virtual or in-person meeting. Sounds perfect!