Why (at least some) men do not express themselves

Sabyasachi Mitra

A few days ago I shared someone’s post on Facebook, like many of us do. Like something posted by somebody? Share it. Find something funny? Share it…sometimes even risking being politically incorrect or being called a regressive person, given to stereotyping. Before I go further, let me first give a gist of the message the particular post I shared conveyed.

The post talked about the jottings made by a lady and her husband in their respective diaries about a particular evening.

The diary of the wife notes that when supposed to meet for dinner at a restaurant the lady arrived a bit late after a day’s shopping with her friends and found the husband lost in thought, sitting quietly at a table. All efforts by the lady to make him open up failed. The man kept saying that nothing has happened and everything is perfectly fine.

That led the lady on a thought trip about what her man is trying to hide. Is he angry on account of her late arrival? Was there anything else that she did that upset him? Even after returning home she found no change in the husband’s mood. She started thinking about why his thoughts were somewhere else, and went to bed wondering if the thoughts were on someone else.

The diary of the man just mentions that his motorcycle isn’t starting and he cannot fathom why!

While, irrespective of gender, a handful of my friends liked the post, found it funny, or sad, one friend of mine had a point to make. She said, “Men need to learn to express themselves, a motorcycle not working is not the same as ‘nothing’, and women need to stop assuming and taking the onus of things that go wrong.”

While what women need to do is best left to women, her input led me to think what we (men) need to do.

And even as I wrote back saying that I was in no mood to argue about it, at least in that post of mine, it led me to reflect whether we cannot express ourselves and hence need to learn the act, or we simply don’t do so, seeing no point in it.

man wondering

‘they need to share emotions’ Image Source

Related reading: Reasons why Indian men do not communicate their feelings

Let’s recall the story of Ratnakar of Ramayana fame.

A robber by profession who looted and killed people, he was made aware of what would befall him in afterlife on account of his misdeeds by Narada, the messenger of Vishnu, who he was about to rob. But Ratnakar was pretty sure that since he was doing all this to support his family, the family members who get to share his spoils would also be sharing the consequences of his acts of transgression.

Narada asked him to go and check with his family if his confidence was not misplaced. Ratnakar tied Narada up, went home, and asked the members of his family, starting with his wife, if they would share the retribution accruing to him on account of his wrongdoings, since it was to fend for them that he had to commit them. Each and every member of his family, all his ‘near and dear’ ones, refused, saying that it was his responsibility to fend for them, and how he did it was none of their concern. If he had to rot in hell for that, so be it, and he had to rot alone. But responsibilities that he is supposed to discharge in this world he must discharge, no concessions, no mercies.

So, Ratnakar expressed himself, despite being a man. But did it serve any purpose? Did it make him feel any better? Did it improve his condition? If not, then what was the point in expressing in the first place? Wasn’t ignorance bliss for him?

Get my point? I expressed why we often do not express. Now time for me to withdraw into my cocoon…to sulk again

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