Breaking News: Dudes Have Feelings

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About xoJane, Jane Pratt's lifestyle site for women, is not about changing yourself to fit any mold of what others think you should be. It is about celebrating who you are. Like Sassy and Jane before it, is written by a group of women (and some token males) with strong voices, identities and opinions, many in direct opposition to each other, who are living what they are writing about.


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    I believe literature going back thousands of years speaks of men having deep love and/or broken hearts. There was a war, I believe, in fact, because of it. It’s not a new phenomenon, neither the fact nor the recognition of the fact.
    “men are taught” is usually code for “this sets up a conflict in my dissertation but I don’t have any empirical data” and you can’t very well get anybody’s attention by saying “everything we’ve known for millenia is still true and where’s my grant?”
    Used to have or hear conversations among my friends in college about guys who were shattered by losing the affection of a woman. His friends know it because he talks about it.

  2. Of course men talk to each other about dating, relationships, past trauma, etc. I’ve had heart-to-hearts with my friends that have gone on well into the night. We just don’t do it around women, because that’s just a terrible idea for all sorts of reasons. We know full well that showing too much vulnerability and pain actually makes us less sexually attractive (and I do show some vulnerability to my girlfriend – it’s important she knows I’m human – but, if needed, am more likely to lean on my male friends, or even my family. It’s important that I remain her rock: strong, tough, confident, powerful, reliable.

    The idea that your SO should be the one to fulfill all, or even the majority, of your emotional needs, is completely ridiculous. That’s becoming enmeshed in them to an unhealthy, codependent degree.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Yeah. Try not being a rock and see what happens. Actually, I wasn’t suggesting that, but making a rhetorical point.

  4. I suspect that a large part of it is because guys don’t seem to talk about this with each other.

    A part I’m sure but I’m not sure just how large of a part that may be.

    As CmE says there are quite a few men that actually have no problem talking to each other about relationships.

    In order to break the cycle that Smiler talks about in his book, though, I think the key will be for dudes to just try to acknowledge their emotional desires to other guys without couching it in masculine posturing or false bravado.

    Again very much a part of it but something else needs to be done to. The people (yes men and women) that hold guys to that false bravado are going to have to get it through their heads that the bravado is not only not necessary but is actually making things worse.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    “”The people (yes men and women) that hold guys to that false bravado”

    Anybody know where this guy hangs out? Never met one, man or woman.

    • So you’re saying that when it comes to guys that engage in false bravado they are doing it on their own in a vaccum and there are no other people that reinforce it?

      Let’s take a guy that is heart broken over the end of a relationship. When I say “The people that hold guys to that false bravado….” I’m talking about the men and women that, instead of listening to him talk about his actual feelings, will simply impose what they think he as a man needs to do to get over it.

      Guys that pull the, “Come on man we need to get you laid.” routine.
      Women that think a guy that talks about his feelins is a pussy.

      Those are the people I’m talking about. And I wager that most people reading these comments have met folks like that before.

      Or did you mean something else?

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        Danny. Never met one. Been in a fraternity, and played smashmouth sports, and been an Infantryman.
        Never met one.
        However, a comment after my fictional piece on GMP “Long, Soft Hair” did say something like that.

        • Then I can only tell you what I tell feminists that assure me they have never come across any feminists with anti-male sentiments.

          Lucky you.

  6. wellokaythen says:

    Again with the either/or garbage about sex. As if men can only want sex OR something else but not both at the same time. Another piece of either/or baloney: he either wants 1) sex and multiple partners or 2) platonic intimacy and monogamy, but those are the only two combinations possible.

    In reality, all combinations are possible: sexually unfulfilling monogamy and sexually unfulfilling polyamory; intimate relationships with one person or with multiple partners; emotionally distant sex with one partner or multiple partners.

    Perhaps emotional fulfillment and hot sex can go hand-in-hand instead of being antagonistic to each other. Maybe monogamy and sexual desires can be compatible sometimes. Perhaps for some men having one partner at a time means better sex in some ways.

    It says a lot about our assumptions (and a little bit about reality) that we so often equate emotional commitment with an end to fun.

  7. Tom Matlack says:

    The whole point of GMP is to let men communicate about whatever, however they want. To emote. To discuss. To get out in the open what perhaps we have been keeping quiet about for too long.

  8. I had to share this with a community that would appreciate it:
    I just came back from the last meeting of my college marching band. The seniors all get to make speeches about band and what it’s meant to them over the years. I saw multiple men speak their emotions truthfully, telling both women and other men that they loved them, that they were grateful to have such good friends in their life. Multiple men, both the speakers and in the audience, cried openly and were not shamed. One man told the story of how one of his classmates had saved his life from suicide by recognizing that something was wrong and getting him the help he needed. He broke down in tears during his speech.

    Sometimes reading all this terrible news online (and reading comments from people) is depressing. We wonder if the world can ever really be fixed. But in my life, among all the good men I know, sometimes there are moments of great hope. I know not everyone in my generation is as accepting of a non-traditional role for men as this community. But these men spoke their love for to and cried in front of 150 people and no one felt they were less than men for it. It was a transcendent moment that I hope will be repeated often.

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Same sort of thing happened during my father’s division reunion. It was some time back when most of the survivors were still alive.
      Wives there, the whole nine yards.
      It was an Infantry division fighting in Europe.
      I guess this is the non-traditional male role type of thing.

  9. Richard Aubrey says:


    My father said much the same thing about his Division reunion. That was when most of the survivors were still alive, of course. Wives there, the whole nine yards. It was an Infantry Division. Must be that non-traditional male role thingy.

  10. I once had a job in HR at a police dept. so I worked with a lot of cops for several years. It was really an eye-opening experience. These were guys (not all guys, of course, but I’m talking at the men in this comment) who were in a classically alpha male, macho profession where traditional “male” values are paramount. And I have never seen a group of guys who were so able to show their feelings for each other, talk and cry without shame. I saw huge, physically intimidating police officers break down and sob during meetings to discuss workplace performance or other personal issues. I have worked in HR in other types of workplaces and it was definitely a different experience. Maybe its because police officers know their lives are always on the line and their relationships with their buddies are paramount, but they would open up and talk about things that I think most guys are terrified of – their fears, their emotional struggles, their relationships, their hopes and disappointments. Of course this is behind closed doors at really stressful moments – outside, they are completely different. I was also impressed with how they would rally around any officer who was in trouble – of course, sometimes that can be a bad thing (covering up a fellow officer who is committing misconduct for example) but often their dedication to each other was really admirable.

    After this experience, I have never thought of men as being less emotional than women,

    • i am not sure when Sarah had her experience, but the fact that it took that experience to open her eyes is odd to me. It certainly suggests that prior to the experience she felt differently–not understanding that men have feelings too. The very idea that men don’t have feelings is just strange. For all of the hype surrounding the fabled powers of female empathy and sensitivity that some women still haven’t figured this out….damn.

      • I confess, I grew up thinking that men are simple and women are complex — that men don’t think or feel much about a lot of things. I didn’t have any brothers and didn’t interact much with boys generally, and my dad was very emotionally closed off and distant. My mother conveyed a lot of negative attitudes about men – e.g. they are simpletons who need to have their egos stroked constantly, who mainly value food and sex. I had to do a lot of growing up to understand that while men are very different from women in some ways, that does not mean they lack empathy and emotional depth.

        • @Sarah: Thank you for mentionng this Sarah.I have always been an ” emotinal’ man. At the same time, until life- experience punched me in the face,I had been confused why, even though women say they want a man who is emotinally inteligent, tthey still don’t quite know how to handle that kind of man. I think this is why men feel that women don’t listen to them and why society as a whole doesn’t see the problems men face.

  11. hmm, the way ‘dude’ was used in the article, is similar to how a number of feminists use it – like it was laced with poison

  12. hmm, the way ‘dude’ was used in this piece, is similar to how a number of feminists use it – like it was laced with poison

  13. Good article, although I found that it wrongly states that a certain male macho stereotype is propagated by men predominantly. In my experience, the fault for the current ignorance of the complexity of men emotionally and sexually etc. is to be found at the women’s hands just the same, if not more. Men know themselves just fine, they may just not try to missionarize the female world of their emotional integrity all the time. Like Sarah mentioned: “My mother conveyed a lot of negative attitudes about men – e.g. they are simpletons who need to have their egos stroked constantly, who mainly value food and sex”. Not surprised.


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