Sunday 20 October 2019

Ian O'Doherty: 'Lads stop moaning, nobody is out to get you'

‘Support and acceptance’: cuddle parties for men have become popular in the States
‘Support and acceptance’: cuddle parties for men have become popular in the States
Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

We live in a post-rational age.

It's a strange state of affairs, when you think about it - we seem determined to dumb the culture down to the level where everyone's opinion is seen as equally valid, whether they actually know what they're talking about or not.

That's fine, to a point.

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After all, this used to be a society where certain segments of the population - women, gay people, the working class - were largely ignored and told to know their place and keep their mouth shut.

But when people can't make a name for themselves on the back of their ideas, they often try to make their mark by claiming victimhood.

But of all the various tribes that currently lay claim to the hallowed status of victim, there are none more ridiculous than the straight white man.

Yes, male victimhood is now a thing and barely a day goes by without some bloke moaning that they just can't catch a break.

Apparently, 'traditional masculinity' is under threat from the various feminists and if you really want to see what self-pity looks like, try to talk to one of those men's rights activists, who are convinced the nasty wimmin are out to get them. I was discussing this on telly the other day and was rather taken aback by the number of men who got in touch to say that I had somehow let the side down.

My argument that some men need to shut up, stop whining and start being a bit more stoic seemed to strike a bum note with those chaps who like to feel persecuted. One of them suggested that I "get in touch with my inner man" while another said I needed to "educate myself on what it is to be a man".

Well, I've been practising for more than 40 years now, so if I haven't learned yet, I doubt I ever will.

Another guy even suggested that I start going to 'cuddle parties', which was, I'll freely admit, a new one to me.

What, pray tell, are 'cuddle parties'?

Well, there's been an explosion of these gatherings in the States (but of course!) and they are all about encouraging straight men to cuddle each other and discuss their feelings.

Can you imagine anything worse?

But wait, there's more.

In fact, according to the organisers: "When men give support and acceptance to one another we emerge juicier, stronger and happier in our relationships."

'Juicier'? Frankly, I don't even want to know what they mean, but I've never heard a bloke come away from a meeting and boast that he feels 'juicier'.

One of the depressing elements of our current social landscape is that the genders seem further apart than ever before.

On the one side, we have various activists dredging up the old theory that all men are potential rapists and can't be trusted.

In the other corner exists a cohort of men who genuinely don't like women very much. We see that with the rise of the so called 'incel' movement; men who can't get laid and who have become bitter due to their 'involuntary celibacy'.

Of course, the fact that they might have a better chance of getting a girlfriend if they weren't so full of self-pity seems to have escaped them. But back to the cuddle party - call me an old caveman if you want, but the idea of cuddling some bloke I've never met before doesn't exactly float my boat.

Nor, for that matter, would I try cuddling any of the men I actually know, most of whom would either laugh or just stop returning my calls.

Obviously, if you like the idea of snuggling a stranger, then more power to you.

But the idea that men need to get in touch with their inner cry-baby has now become so pervasive that those of who like to keep those emotions in check are the ones looking like dinosaurs.

The success of Jordan Peterson has often been cited as an example of toxic masculinity run amok, and his myriad critics all seem to think that Peterson and his fans are misogynists. But all he espouses is old-fashioned common sense - and common sense is not gender specific. I know several women who think Peterson is brilliant, and one of them has started reading 12 Rules For Life to her son, in the hope of instilling some of the values contained in the book into his developing brain.

There's no doubt that the traditional idea of masculinity is under attack from some quarters, but so what? Just because some activists get off on scolding men doesn't mean maleness is in crisis, it just means these people are taking out their daddy issues on the rest of the world.

By telling young men that there is something wrong with them if they don't cry at the drop of a hat we're creating a generation of confused blokes who just want to be left alone.

It goes without saying that there's nothing wrong with being in touch with your emotions, but being controlled by them is a recipe for disaster. Here's the great secret that nobody reveals because there's no money in it - lads, just go about your day and stop worrying about what a bunch of cranks think of you.

Now, anyone fancy a juicy cuddle?

Nope, I didn't think so.

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