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Night with the lads? Turns out it's good for his health, girls

Guys love going off and spending time together, away from their wives and girlfriends.

It's one of life's great truths. It's something they like to do. The girls can fight it or live with it, but, up to now, it has never seemed to be more than a personal preference on the part of the boys.

That's all changed with research out of Germany this week which claimed that stag nights and all-the-boys-together outings to football matches may be more than a preference.

Those all-male outings may be the outward and visible manifestations of a real psychological need being met.

Family

In other words, getting out with the lads in a situation from which family is excluded, may considerably reduce a man's stress levels.

Research also found that an all-lads-together occasion dropped a man's stress levels further and faster than did time spent with their nearest and dearest.

The scientists didn't quite find that having to spend a night with a nearest and dearest can reduce a man to a gibbering, tension-filled trembler, but it came close.

It said, fairly bluntly, that men feel protected when they're with other men.

This has to be a case of "never mind the reality, feel the craziness," because we know that men, in situations where they spend a lot of time together, are not actually protected by being in all male groups.

Until recently, for example, all armies were male, and young lads lied about their age in order to get in.

They also died in numbers vastly disproportionate to the rest of the population: join the band of brothers, see the world and get messily killed.

stress

Now admittedly some of these findings come from the close examination, not of human beings, but of apes.

These lads may be apes, but they behave a lot like us, and so the University of Gottingen decided to look closely at their health patterns to see if they could derive lessons from them to apply to the rest of us.

They did.

They found that the apes were happy and healthy when the lads went off on their own a lot, but developed stress-related illness quite frequently when they were confined to being part of a couple.

You can just bet that those female apes were being demanding. Looking for some help around the house, probably.

Or - worse still - making that dreaded announcement "we need to talk."

Put those apes out in the rain forest, on the other hand, with a bunch of other apes, (ideally, we assume, wearing scarves belonging to their favourite ape football team), and happy out doesn't even begin to describe them.

They were so content and fulfilled in an all male bunch that even if a big cause of stress came along, like, say, the weather getting suddenly much colder, they wouldn't get upset at all.

They would survive and cope, no bother.

The same thing applied if an attacker came along.

The lads seemed to feel less threatened in a same-sex group.

Apes and the boy next door have a lot in common, then.

They love each other's company more than they love the company of their wives/girlfriends and kids.

But what's really interesting is that they seem to gain more than a hangover from being with their male mates.

Challenges

The strength of the friendships buffers them against life's challenges.

Stressors that might otherwise wind them up into a spring don't bother them at all.

My theory about this is that the other lads never sit each other down and ask them to discuss their feelings, which, sooner or later, most of the women in their lives do, and which usually drives them completely nuts.

They'd rather be out giving themselves laryngitis yelling at a football team in the cold than discussing things like personal feelings.

And this research suggests that it's good for their health, as well.

My advice? Let them off, girls.

They'll come home to you happier and healthier, once they get rid of the headache and their voice comes back.


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