Maggie Hamilton's Book - WHAT MEN DON'T TALK ABOUT Excerpts
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Book Excerpt: What Men Don't Talk About

What Men Don't Talk About cover

About Boys

'As a young boy there is a yearning for physical contact. You don't get embraced - not even by your parents.' - Tony, 26

'The one thought you have is you're the only one with the things you're worrying about. You think you're in a hole that you can't get out of. You're not able to talk to anyone. It can really get you down.' - Nathan, 19.

'It's a struggle as a young boy. A lot of young boys find it hard to control their anger. They are in a pretty powerless situation - it can be very frustrating. I just felt there was nothing much you could do about it.' - Jason, 22.

About School

Terrible things can and do happen to boys at school.

'I was bullied very badly at school. The advice was just punch them back. Then people wonder why boys get into violence. It's bred into them.' - Lawrence, 33.

'My teenage years were a nightmare. I had the shit kicked out of me so many times. It's really hard for guys who are not violent. It took until I was 25 to feel safe.' - Ryan, 50.

About Teens 

'There is a lot of pressure on boys. There is an expected image to live up to - to succeed, to be good at sport.' Jason, 22.

'Anger is the first emotion that comes up. If you feel sad, the first emotion is anger. It's very rarely pure anger for young men. If you're feeling guilt or hurt or weak, then you express it with anger, because if you're angry, you're a man. It has to be aggressive anger, not latent anger, otherwise that's seen as girly.' - Tony, 26.

'Teen relationships are very confusing. One of my friends had his first serious girlfriend when he was 17. They had been going out four of five months when it was Valentine's Day, so he got her a really nice present. She freaked out and said they hadn't been going out that long, and that it wasn't that serious. So, when her birthday came around shortly afterwards, he didn't get her a present, and he got his arse whipped.' - Mitchell 26

About Sons and Mothers

A boy's mother is the first woman he loves,
and it is from his mother that a boy first learns about women

'My mother was a very emotionally cold person. Once we were down playing in a creek and a kid threw a rock at me. It split my lip. I was scared because I bleeding profusely, so I ran home to Mum. She just slapped me around the face for misbehaving'. - Lawrence, 33

'At the beginning of adolescence Mum told me what adolescence would be like. She said that sometimes you'll feel awkward and embarrassed, and sometimes you'll make mistakes in public, but you don't worry about it, these things happen. That was a brilliant, brilliant thing for her to tell me.' - Doug, 52

About Body Image

In times past men looked after their bodies, so they could be good providers. Today men are expected to look good, so they can project the right image.

'There is some pressure to present yourself a certain way … Being strong is a big thing to do with masculinity.' - Sean, 20

'Things are changing rapidly. Men's bodies are being commodified and commercialised in the way women's bodies have been, and it's having a real effect. More and more men and boys are wanting to look muscular and athletic, but the classic v shape is hard to achieve without control. Boys are spending more and more time on their bodies, but it's for looks, not for health.' - Dr Murray Drummond

About Relationships

Frequently women are unaware of the depth of men's need for tenderness

'I think that sometimes men can't win in the eyes of women. If you don't show emotion you don't care. If you do, you're told to grow up. If you don't take care of yourself you're a slob. If you do, then you're seen as girly.' - Mitchell, 26

'Often women are way more interested in what their wannabe friends think. They sort of check you out - they're kind of playing with you -  and I'm having to behave like something I'm not.' - Joel, 20

'If you start to think about it, you have to be this Renaissance man. The contemporary version is Sex in the City's Mr. Big who is very male, but at the same time is very nicely finished. He's got plenty of polish, but it's not that realistic that you can be Conan the Barbarian one minute, and incredibly sensible and considerate the next.' - Alex 35

'Women need to listen and to understand men more, and concentrate on what they are, not how they present.' - Lance, 23

'Women have very little understanding or sympathy for the hardships of men's lives' - Lawrence, 33

'I think sex is a big issue. It promises you things that it doesn't deliver. You want intimacy - it's the ultimate intimacy. It's the holy grail. You're trying to get to this holy place, but when you get there it doesn't deliver.' - Tony, 26

'Men want to be touched - to do something they can't do for themselves. Men do want women's bodies. But most want more than that; they want love.' - Stan Dale

About Separation and Divorce 

Society doesn't want to have to deal with men in distress, because it's much more comfortable for everyone if they keep on pretending things are all right.

'When my marriage failed I too went into grief like I'd never felt before. I cannot stop remembering that we had something good for a while, and losing that has left an emptiness that just goes on hurting. My life improved from being married, but when it ended I became unable to hold onto a positive outlook on life any more.' - Bradley

'Society judges men a great deal. That whole hierarchy thing that begins at primary school keeps going. The money muscle and power positions in career is where the whole thing is perpetuated.' - Blake, 42

'I'm working with a woman in her late fifties. She divorced and is now interested in another man, but it's kind of depressing to hear what she says about him. She's clearly not that much in love. She says he's nice, but she's also brought up that he's wealthy, and that's clearly an attraction. That made me feel very uncomfortable - it's like we have to perform our whole lives.' - Tony, 26

About Fatherhood

'It's nice to try to hold on to that ideal of being the breadwinner, and making sure that your wife and child are looked after.'- Adrian, 35

'My son is a joy to watch as he develops. Even when he is upset, he is just soooo cute. Even when he is crying, and I am rocking him in his cot for an hour, he is still cute. My feeling is that I'm his dad, and I will ensure he is looked after and comfortable. The song He ain't heavy, he's my brother' comes to mind.' - Lee, 48

'Most dads would like to spend as much time with their children as women do. However, there is always the assumption that in the early stages the father will work full-time, and the mother will look after the children.' - Evan, 27

'My father died when I was seven years old. That father hunger' has stayed with me until this day. Being a father is my most important job. It's a humbling, confronting and joyful adventure. There is no blueprint.' - Cormac, 43

'My father has always been caught up in his job. His family is secondary to the people he works with. He rings them every day, yet he finds it so hard to pick up the phone and ring me. It's eight months since I've had a call from him. He's too busy.'- Robert, 30

'There is a freshness' about a daughter, an innocence in the way that she sees the world that makes me want to singlehandedly make it a better place for her.' - Trevor, 30

About Non-Custodial Dads

Even though most breakdowns are caused by couples drifting apart, still the common view is that a separated or divorced dad can't be any good.

'When I had the children over school holidays, I had to wash their clothes every night when they went to bed, so they had clean clothes in the morning, because I didn't have the money for more clothes.' - Ryan, 50

'I felt suicidal plenty of times. You don't know how to handle the pain. It just becomes unbearable. It's the hunger for your child.' - Justin, 43

'I remember standing in the small two bedroom apartment, holding an eight by ten picture of my son and daughter. The apartment was relatively empty with sparse furniture and blank walls. I think that it was at that moment, when I began to fully realize the complexities of being a divorced parent. I missed my children terribly. There were so many questions and concerns.' - Liam

'I am aching beyond what I thought possible. I feel so isolated and removed from who I've perceived myself to be. I look in the mirror and just don't recognise myself any more. I miss feeling alive. I try to make sense out of what is left. For now, it's all I can do just to get myself out of bed in the morning.' - Awashen

About Older Men

'I think that families like to think they understand, but I don't believe anybody really understands what it's like to be an older man, except another mature man in retirement. I don't think that I ever understood what it was like for my father, who lived by himself in a Victorian country town for seven years after my mother died. Only now do I get some glimmers of understanding of what it was like for him.' - Gerard, 75

'We come from an era when talking about yourself and your problems was seen as a weakness.' - Phillip, 54

'When blokes get older, they become too old' for their kids, so dad gets pushed aside. When my parents got older, I used to take them out for a picnic or a drive. Today kids don't even want to take their parents to the shops.' - Jim, 67

About Friendship

'Most blokes have trouble understanding love for another man that isn't sexual, so we go out there and throw ourselves into work and war and sport. We put our bodies at risk to gain the approval of other men. Spending time with men who are more open enables us to practice being authentic and vulnerable in ways we never have,' - Rowan, 41

'It's much more relaxing to be with male friends because you can say what you feel like. It's so nice to spend time in an all-male environment. You don't realise it till it happens.' Lawrence, 33

'I love my women friends - they give me guidance. It's great not having a sexual relationship - it takes the pressure off - and you learn a lot about women,' said Lance, 23

'To enjoy the comfort of other men and be held close, to allow stories that have never been told to be told is a huge thing for men. Men have lived with pain for too long. Being with other men in a genuine way takes a man beyond the need to constantly perform, to a place of potency, beyond their anger, sadness and despair, enabling them to genuinely love a woman, be a good father, enjoy everything good it means to be a man, and to allow all those around him to enjoy this also.' - Soren, 56

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