Sunday, 2 September 2012

On the Subject of Men's Breakfasts

Yesterday's excitement over Randolph has certainly caused a stir among the Beaker People. Not least because they're all wondering about the concept of a "men's breakfast". Let me explain.

The idea of a men's breakfast goes back to a belief that men cannot have truly spiritual discussions, or open up and be vulnerable, when there are women around. The theory says that deep in evolutionary time, if a caveman started saying he wasn't sure whether the Great Spirit really wanted him to be running across through the forests chasing primitive cow-beings with a spear, the local cavewomen would start asking themselves whether this was really the sort of person they wanted to be providing for the little cavepeople. After all, self-doubt and introspection are all very interesting in a Post-Modern society, but they're not going to bring home the hyrax, are they?

And so the cavemen evolved the ability to keep their gobs shut when women were around, and all the ones that didn't, died out without passing on their genetic inheritance. The cavemen learnt that they were best off being interesting and self-doubting when out chasing mammoths - because what goes on on a twenty-day jog across the steppes after a massive pachyderm, stays on a twenty-day job across the steppes after a massive pachyderm.

So a men's breakfast is the chance for their 21st Century descendants to sit around, with other manly men, over a manly breakfast of bacon and eggs, and discuss spiritual matters. This enables them to show vulnerability, a need to grow and learn, but in a manly way. After which they go off to do manly things, like clear out their garages, wash their cars, or swear at and offer their glasses to small chaps in black outfits on football fields.

So attractive are men's breakfasts, that women have been known to put on false beards and attend. Because women also have trouble with opening up to others and vulnerability - and suffer from the expectation that they are much more at ease with their spirituality. In fact, the people that don't have any trouble with this kind of things are extroverts. And we all know how much of a problem they are in any community, regardless of their gender.

Of course, where it goes wrong is that men haven't even evolved to be open and vulnerable when there's only men about. Because if you think about it, if you were out hunting a sabre-tooth tiger and suddenly the bloke next to you started going on about his deepest feelings and innermost fears, what are you going to do? Respect his vulnerability and put a manly arm round him, giving him a manly hug that it'll all be all right and he's with somebody who cares? No. You're going to make sure you "accidentally" push him down that mastodon trap you dug earlier, and hope the mastodon, when it arrives, falls on him. You can't have that kind of skipping, stars-are-God's-daisy-chain emotionally incontinent mush when you're trying to catch large, scary mammals. It's far too off-putting.

And so, over a men's breakfast, everybody sits around talking about what men always talk about. Which, once they're past 16 years of age, isn't women and sex. It's football and politics. They then go off back to the loved ones and kiddies, and con them that they've been spiritually uplifted, and feel a growing sense of closeness with their fellow men and God. But it's all a lie. If a men's breakfast had a bloke turn up and start  going on about their spiritual journey, they'd all do something terribly manly and team-building. Like dig a mastodon trap and throw him in it.

Now, where's my fake beard? I fancy conning my way into a free breakfast.

"Neandertal" from Wikimedia Commons.


  1. Inspirational. And I love the idea of women putting on fake beards to attend; it is strongly reminiscent of the stoning scene in Monty Python's "Life of Brian".

    1. If you're going to nick an idea, nick from the best.....

  2. I think that there is an element of discrimination in my Benefice. We have loads of women's groups, but nothing just for men. My suggestion about forming one was shot down by the Vicar, who has his own train set to play with being a Reserve Forces Chaplain, means that he communes with men on loads of interesting weekends, camps and stuff.

    I was once invited to share my life story as a guest speaker with the Women's Bring and Share Group. I was a great evening, I was welcomed and the old dears hung onto every word as if I were the most fascinating person on earth.

    We had lots of food and drink and a thoroughly good time was had. But, being women only, that was that.

    I'm sorely tempted to sneak into the next one in drag, shaving legs isn't an issue, suspenders IS. But it could be fun and by making the precedent, we could have a women, and tranny group before we know it.


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