Men fixing flowers. Up a ladder,
on the street: adjusting and watering
spectacular hanging baskets. Deftly.
Fathers carrying babies, or pushing buggies
with one hand; looking happy in the part.
Smiling, talking, touching, on trains and
platforms. Hand-in-hand with children.
Kissing in public.
Men discussing feelings with their mates.
Not football, cars or work. Not ‘birds’ or ‘totty’.
Looking after each other emotionally.
Men talking to women. Not staring
or sizing up; overbearing or bullying.
Eye contact not eyeing. Taking pleasure
in the process of conversation.
Men listening to women. Receiving
not defending or interrupting. Paying
attention, not preparing their next
cut-and-thrust or seduction.
Men at ease with mothers, breastfeeding
or managing: at home or at work. Okay
with women in authority; as colleagues or
comrades. Femininity neither threat nor treat;
object of fear or fascination; target or trophy.
Men shopping for food, list in hand. Selecting
just the right item. Scrutinising quality, checking
sell-by dates. In the aisle, mobile in hand, discussing
options, shortfalls, decisions. Multi-tasking team-mate.
Men delighting in food not booze. Cooking meals
routinely. Not as star turns, but life maintenance
and intimate pleasure. As nurture and support.
Clearing away afterwards. Unobtrusively
Men fixing flowers for the home. Adjusting
and growing. Letting dominance slide.
Val Walsh / 2006