BEING a modern man can be a tricky business. Don’t take our word for it, ask the Channel 4 editors who commissioned a series on the subject, called All Man, presented by the tranvestite artist Grayson Perry. Or those who run the Men’s Share (Suicide, Harm, Awareness, Recovery and Empathy) project which runs support groups which encourage men to talk about their troubles and as a result is helping to drive down the Scotland’s horrific male suicide rates.
Or David Marshall, a deeply devoted dad, who suffered from depression after the birth of his daughter.
There is no doubt that what our idea of what being a man involves is changing quite dramatically.
On a practical level, how many dads today would know how to build a set of shelves or even rewire a plug? And how many of their dads wouldn’t have been able to do the same thing?
Emotionally, our expectations of men are changing, yet it is still often difficult for most to express their deeper feelings. Grayson Perry says it is a code which we subconsciously drum into our sons from birth: “Boys think they’re breaking the man contract if they cry.”
There are few spaces where men sit and talk to each other without a pint in hand or a football in front of them. That is perhaps one of the reasons so many men can feel isolated even in the midst of a busy life.
That is one of the reasons that Dads Rock, the playgroups for fathers and their children which David Marshall set up in Edinburgh with his friend Thomas Lynch, have been such a success. The group promises 90 minutes of chaos, fun shared between dads and their kids, and certainly deliver on it.
This month they are doubling in size in Edinburgh by adding two new groups in Craigmillar and the Old Town. They are sure to be a huge hit.