Lismore. Wednesday, 1.15am:
Men are mostly scared of showing emotion. (Being drunk is not an emotion.)
Sure, I know men who holler and thrust their fist into the air when their footy team scores. That's an emotion. I know men who do the same when their stocks go up or their wives are taking the kids away for the weekend. It's the woohoo emotion. The man emotion.
Public holiday on Monday - Woohoo! Happy hour has started - Woohoo!
I know some men who, prone to aping American sporting trends, have developed their own celebratory dance routine for when that winning try (or dramatic rise in share price) happens. They may prance like a duck, or wobble like Mum's jelly, or beat their chest like King Kong - but always with one hand. In the other is the beer. Or in some circles, the cabernet shiraz.
But apart from that, men don't like to show emotion. It's a sign of weakness. Okay, if they're really pushed - like their loved one has finally had enough and leaves (for instance) - then they may not holler and punch the air so much, but instead they drink. (But being drunk is not an emotion.)
Some men criticise me for being emotional in this column. And not in a woohoo way.
In that hard-man-with-sweat
-on-his-brow, spit-on-the-ground way, these men feel the need to uphold the pretence of toughness, the artificially constructed idea of a manliness that conquered a planet, cleared the forests, built a machine, made its family safe from lions, and doesn't cry when the band-aid is pulled off.
They believe I'm betraying all that is manly if I let my vulnerability leak into my raves; if I allow my emotions to share some column space with my detached, tough, cool (and hey, let's face it, brilliant) wittiness.
Well, I detest those men for the stereotypical, one-dimensional cowards they are. You try being truthful; expressing your feelings. It's hard.
I despise the tough, because they're weak. I dislike the confident because they're wrong. I hate them because they're me - safe, sure, cocky and not at all brave.
So, if I see you in the street, big tough fella, I'll look you right in the eye and give you a hug. I'll tell you it's okay to cry. There, there.
I won't tell you I love you because I don't.
Women on the other hand, tend to appreciate emotion. They know emotion creates life. Wisdom comes from emotion. Your brain can mine CSG in the valleys around here for corporate profit; your heart could never do that. If you ignore your heart, the most awful things happen. (Believe me.) Imagine the land you love, the land that nurtured you, destroyed because you listened to the woohoo noise from your brain (which is connected your wallet).
Your heart would never do that.
And when you lose something you can't get back, the wisdom is painful…
A woman came up to me outside the coffee shop a few days ago and gave me a hug. Just like that. It was spontaneous and marvellous. I liked it. I don't know her, but she reads this column.
So, I dedicate this column, my 400th, to her.
Yes folks, 400. I have written a column in this little rag every week for the past eight years (except for Christmas).
I have shared many things with you - my travels, thoughts, feelings, love found, love lost.
It's been a grand adventure.
With you I have explored the hilly terrain of a shared life and discovered many things that have fascinated, scared and annoyed me.
But I have learned only one thing. It's this: listen to your heart.