I’ll be the first to admit that grown men can be like three year olds. We still have moments when we think farts are funny. We still have an urge to play with fire and stuff that might explode (which is, incidentally, why guys always insist on cooking the barbecues) and we find fast and shiny to be two of the most enthralling adjectives in the English language. And we like to kick around with other boys.
That’s a really important dynamic to keep in mind when you are in a relationship with one of us. Just as women need to spend time on the phone or out with their girlfriends, guys need bonding time with their buddies. Unfortunately, many women don’t recognize this, or don’t esteem it as much as their own time with friends. Possibly because of the three-year-old thing. Guys spending time together don’t usually talk intimately, or share their feelings and discuss their relationships, at least not on the surface. It hardly looks important relationship stuff. They play poker or shoot cans off of fence posts or drink beer and abuse the referee’s decisions in front of the big screen. They are loud and obnoxious and smelly and messy – like three year olds. But it is an important space for us guys. It is a chance for us to be exactly like that. Uncouth, noisy, boisterous – all those things that make us guys but that we recognize don’t mesh well with our women. Imagine how it would be to have a facet of your persona that you recognize won’t be easily understood or appreciated by those you love, and so have to keep it continually suppressed. The frustration and stress would be soul sapping. But if you had a healthy outlet that was sanctioned by those around you that let you enjoy that aspect of who you are – that would be liberating. Yes, I’m talking about Poker night, and Sunday afternoon football. It is a chance for us guys to revel in our childishness without worrying that we are somehow stepping on sensitive toes, or looking like oafs and boors in front of those whose opinions matter most to us.
Essentially, it is a testosterone release mechanism. And if it is offered to us by the women we love, not as a concession but as a loving gift, we really appreciate it. Proud is the man who can walk into the dim haze of a poker game and tell his friends that he didn’t have to ‘escape’ to be there, but was sent off with a kiss and a fresh cigar by his girl. And you can bet that every other man at the table wonders how he snared such a mythical creature! What’s more, after an afternoon at the racetrack watching other three year olds drive millions of dollars worth of hardware at insane speeds around and around the same stretch of road, we will really appreciate the contrast of a woman’s company.
What I’m saying is, don’t begrudge us guys some time with our friends. It’s not always convenient, and it is part of the balance of a relationship that we need to recognize that it won’t always be possible too. But by offering it to your man you are giving him permission to let off some steam, and showing him that you respect that rough-around-the-edges aspect of his nature. Let him tell some crass jokes – the ones he can’t tell you – and eat with his fingers. Let him burp loudly and question the visiting team’s parentage. And when he comes home (or you do) focus on the fact that he has been a man amongst men, not on the ketchup stain on his shirt. He’ll love you for the hint of wildness you encourage, and it will kindle a different kind of ferocity in him especially for you.