By Wayne M. Levine
“I’d love to be a fly on the wall at one of your men’s group meetings.” More than one woman has expressed this to me during the past 20 years. “I’ll bet you would,” I’ve replied, as we’ve shared a knowing glance that it would never happen.
This topic is highly charged and not likely to gain me friends in the world of the politically correct. Nevertheless, I choose to go where smarter men dare not. If you can’t handle the truth, or at least my truth, please feel free to turn the page now.
Can anyone out there tell me why women are verboten at a men’s group meeting? Well, yes, then it wouldn’t truly be a men’s group meeting. But let’s dig a little deeper.
As a man, and as a leader of men, I would like to reveal something about men that may shock you. Yet however shocking, trust me when I say that what I’m about to share is an absolute, universal truth.
The Shocking Truth
Women ruin everything! —Just kidding.
But when it comes to the focus men have while participating in a men’s group, the appearance of a single female will derail—and I mean every single time—whatever the men are doing.
Let me give you an example. I was once leading a men’s group as we were focusing our attention on one man who was trying to figure out how to properly parent his teenage son who was being rather defiant. It was a serious topic and he had the attention of every man in the room.
Suddenly, a fairly attractive woman opened the door to our room mistakenly thinking it was her destination. Within a second or two, she realized her mistake, excused herself and closed the door.
This entire interaction took perhaps three seconds. How long do you think it took for me to get the men to redirect their attention back to this guy who was in the middle of getting some fathering advice? Too long. And here’s why.
When we men see a woman who is even remotely attractive to us, our minds immediately go to imagining what we might do with her if we had the opportunity. There, I’ve said it. Terrible, isn’t it? But I’m not making it up. It’s the truth. Say what you will about our tendency to objectify, but this process isn’t going away.
Plenty of men deny this. But experience has shown me that those men are either lying to you or are so disconnected from their true feelings, they’re lying to themselves.
This isn’t something men are necessarily happy about. It can be a terrible distraction. But it also is not something to be ashamed of. We can’t dictate how we feel. The best we can do is to choose to behave appropriately.
This dynamic does not only happen—as you may have guessed—exclusively at men’s group meetings. This is simply what happens—everywhere. Tell me, ladies, that you haven’t been aware of this in bars, restaurants or in the boardroom.
This biological phenomenon is one of the reasons it’s very difficult for some men to share the workplace with women. Many men do act in a mature fashion and productively work side by side with women. But some men lack a level of impulse control.
Combine that with everyone’s personal issues, competing agendas, professional pressures, etc., and you can begin to understand why some unfortunate interactions take place.
I’m not angling for sympathy for us men. But it is indeed, on occasion, a hostile environment for men. Biology can be a bitch!
Back to our men’s groups.
Now that you have a clearer understanding of what I’ll call (tongue in cheek) our male attention deficit disorder, I hope it now makes sense why we must protect a male-only environment for our groups.
During the last couple generations, men have not seen many examples of men-only activities, fraternal organizations or even witnessed their dads spending quality time with other men on a regular basis. Men talking with each other, trusting each other, and helping one another with our most challenging issues, has essentially disappeared from our daily lives.
Fortunately, more and more men are now gathering in groups and fighting for a place to support one another to be better men, fathers and husbands.
So ladies, although we can’t allow any flies on our walls, I hope you’ll support your man to spend this kind of quality time with other men. Don’t ask him what was said or done. Just be grateful that your man is one of the fortunate few who are benefitting from the wisdom, camaraderie and accountability available only from a circle of good men.
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