My name's Gerry. On line, I'm known as Minto Grubb, and I'm 52, married, and resident in the UK.
that's me in the picture with the eagle.
For a lot of blokes of my era, femininsm, gender politics and all that was a bit of a shake up.
the old rules were out, but there were no new ones in yet when it came to dealing with women in any sort of context.
My dad was a hard drinking, macho, northern coal miner. But his world was crumbling around him and he refused to see it. Being a man in his time meant having a macho job, doing a lot of drinking and getting away with as much as possible for as little in return. The pit closures, the rise of Equality Laws and much else besides put the lid on all that.
So, if I was going to be a man in this brave new world, what did that entail, exactly?
To be honest, my dad was middle class by birth, but became working class because he liked the lifestyle. Me, I turned my back on all that and it made the friction between us worse. I wanted to get on in life where he wanted to let the world just carry him along. he died in povery, I own my own house and live pretty much the middle class lifestyle that he despised.
In the British Army, there is a tradition that a soldier keeps his rifle clean and maintained. In the same way, an officer sees to it that his men are fed and watered the same as the pack horses, and that their needs are met above all else. As one sergeant put it to me once
"You don't have a shit, a shower or a shave till you've seen to it that every man in your platoon has had one first".
Although I was only in the Territorials, it was an attitude I took into the workplace in Civvy Street. the deal was that new starters were not welcomed, but generally made to feel they were a liability. people made funof new boys, and had no time for them. Me, I welcomed any new 'uns in , showed them where the canteen was and helped them settle in like.
One day, a manager stuck his head round the door and said "right - who's in charge?" And before I could point out to him that we were all ordinary workers, and the gaffer was off elsewhere, like, everyone points at me and says "He is."
And that was it, we followed the guv'nor down and round the back where he had a job for us. Cut a long story short, but we made a decent job of it, and the boss was pleased. Sorted us another little job to do. So we got that sorted, me and the lads. And asked the gaffer if we could stick together as a team, and would he put me in charge, officially, like?
And so he did.. I went on to beome a Supervisor myself with a proper pay rise and everything, and managed my own department in the end, afore I left. And that, to me was what being 'a real man' was all about. Taking responsibility, being reliable, and taking care of things - including your own crew. Having spent the last 30 years and more on the shop floor, I have seen women get equal pay and opportunity in the workplace. And I have seen some men fail to come to terms with the challenge of the new era. that still causes a lot of aggro when it comes to the question of ' gender politics, I reckon.
I never went to university, and I don't really understand a lot of things that academics talk about - but I like people who will take the time to explain these things to mme and share their ideas. I do read books and that, but you talk to some women and they get all snooty, like.
They call it "women's studies". Now, to me, it ought to be called "gender studies" - because if we are going to eliminate sexism in society, men have got to get involved as well. The fact is that men commit suicide at nearly twice the rate that women do. Now is it somehthing wrong with men genetically, or just the way we are socialised? As men, I think we need to be more aware, and start talking about these things.
There's a lot I think we as men need to learn - not to tie up our self image of who we are just our jobs and that sort of thing - but I will make more posts on that later, if things pan out. But just for now, this is to say "Hello, I'm here".