I went out to a show the other night with a good friend and as I put the key in the ignition, I saw him staring out the car window, genuinely perplexed.
“That guy just asked to hang out with me sometime.”
“That’s great! Go for it.” I kinda laughed, thinking “how ridiculous to worry about a new friendship.” He looked REALLY uncomfortable and I kept pressing.
“Sooo… what’s the holdup?”
“What if he gets the wrong idea? I mean, what if he thinks I’m gay, or he wants something serious - “
“Wait - he just said ‘hang out sometime, right?’ So… just HANG OUT!” But as I learned, it’s A LOT more complicated for guys. Between not taking a first date for a hike in the woods to protocols for going to the movies, guys in the US have a lot of societal pressure to “do the right thing,” when many times, it’s hard to know what that is! It shouldn’t matter whether your gay, straight, man or woman - you should have the freedom to enjoy each other’s company for the sake of having (gasp…) FUN!
I stumbled across this article on “Thoughts on Vegas and Why Men Keep Doing This,” and if you can get past the irresistible click-bait title, it gets to the heart of what my friend and many other men struggle with: connection in an ever judgmental world.
Could the chronic loneliness of men in the US and lack of connection contribute to mass shootings and violence? Charlie Hoehn, author of “Play it Away: A Workaholics Cure for Anxiety,” explores how play eases loneliness and encourages connection.