This weekend I had a good wholesome time being out & about! Saturday morning was full of running errands like picking up my dry cleaning, paying some bills, grocery shopping & going to the store. I also did some light cleaning around the house and even folded some laundry (gasp!).
Saturday evening a friend & I went to a get-together where men and women alike openly discussed different relationship topics. The beauty of this forum was that any talk of sex was not allowed. There are too many topics pertaining to dating & relationships that talking about sex just wasn’t necessary. I liked this rule! Every topic was clean & pertained to men, women and general dating advice. The topics were preselected and pretty interesting. We discussed things like whether or not you would sign a prenup, things that turn you on or turn you off, and whether dating someone should be dependent on their employment status or not. There was some pretty lively conversation and quite a few people actually learned something new about the opposite gender that they didn’t know before. And to top it off, there was plenty of food to eat while all of this was going on!
After the ‘relationship forum’ was over, the evening turned into a good ole fashioned fish fry! Between the good food, wine and conversation I had a pretty nice time! My friend & I then decided to head over to a café to hear some live music. We listened to a band that played old school hits like “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & Maze, Jackson 5 songs and even some Barry White. People were up dancing and having a great time as the band entertained us all. We stayed until the lights were shut off & the owner put us out. Fun times!
On Sunday I went to church (as usual) and ended up talking to some people after service. We all discussed going out after church but decided to postpone hanging out until later in the evening. We needed time to eat, change clothes & get rested. I went to my church’s evening service (which starts at 7:00 pm) and afterwards we all went bowling across town from the church. There were 6 of us in total but only 4 bowled. Nobody did exceptionally well but we just blamed our poor performance on the lanes in the bowling alley. I think I should always get a strike when I bowl! (The floors must’ve been uneven) The best part of the evening was that we all talked smack to each other, booing & cheering after each turn. We shut the bowling alley down and didn’t leave until just after midnight.
All in all I had a really nice, clean weekend. It didn’t cost a lot of money and I even made some new friends. I look forward to many more like it!!
This summer, All Things Considered is exploring what it means to be a man in America today. In some ways, the picture for men has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. More women than men are going to college, and the economy is moving away from jobs that traditionally favored men, like manufacturing and mining. Attitudes have also changed on the social front, with young men having more egalitarian attitudes toward women and expectations of being involved fathers.
Pedro Noguera, a professor at New York University and head of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, says the biggest shakeup has been in education. In 1962, men made up about 65 percent of college enrollees; today they make up about 43 percent.
The other side of that figure is the dropout rate for men. Noguera tells NPR’s Audie Cornish that in some states, it’s twice as high as the female dropout rate.
“These patterns speak to a larger problem, because we know now that the jobs of the future require college degrees,” Noguera says.
The education imbalance between men and women is also having an impact on the dating scene, Noguera adds, something that’s been already true in the African-American community: “A growing number of well-educated, professional women … are unable to find men of similar education.”
But sociologist Michael Kimmel, a professor at Stony Brook University and director of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities, says the changing landscape hasn’t come with changed attitudes about masculinity.
“Survey after survey shows that 60 to 70 percent of men still agree with the notion that masculinity depends on emotional stoicism — never showing fear, never showing pain,” Kimmel says. “So, the world has changed dramatically, and yet most men still cling tenaciously to an ideology of masculinity that comes off the set of Mad Men.”
But Kimmel says today’s boys and young men have a much better sense of gender equality than many of their fathers did. He sees a clear example in cross-sex friendship. For 25 years, Kimmel has asked his students if they had a good friend of the opposite sex. When he first started asking, about 10 percent would answer yes. Today, almost everyone does.
“Think about that. You make friends with your peers, right? You make friends with people you consider your equals, not your boss or your servants. I mean, my students today are more experienced with gender equality in their interpersonal relationships than any generation in our history,” he says.
Noguera also has seen men become much more involved with raising their children and general housework.
“But what hasn’t come with that is a new definition of what it means to be a man as a nurturer in the family,” Noguera says. “Can you be strong and be a nurturer? Well, many women have figured out, yes, they have to be, in fact. Because they have to raise the kids on their own, and they can’t afford to just expect some man to save the day.”
He says today’s men are searching for a way to reconcile old ideas related to strength with the need to be better listeners, more cooperative and more open to others.
*Article originally published on NPR.