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Boy, Are They Different!

by Christen

I guess I knew they were always different! Or did I?

This is probably what really peaked my interest in the psychology of men. I have numerous personal stories in my life experiences that have helped to foster this interest. As far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated by boys. I think I liked a new boy each year as I was growing up! I guess I always thought that boys had the same needs, emotions and thoughts as I did. Come to find out this is not the case at all!

I grew up with a Father and younger brother in the household which has helped me gain an understanding and an appreciation for men and boys. It has definitely given me additional  insight into the male species.  My brother did not come along with his “blue boy stuff” until I was about six years old.  Until that point in time, it was just me, my sister, and Barbies.  I remember growing up and my Dad taking me to the pool for swimming lessons and helping him plow and rake the garden. He always has been such a good gardener. My Daddy would always carry me and my sister on his shoulders whether it was at the beach or around an already long day at Disneyland. He would fly us around the house in his arms and throw us up in the air and catch us so we wouldn’t fall.

Bed time stories were never missed either.  My sister and I would grab a whole stack of books and we would sit on his lap and he would read us our stories. As I got older he would draw puzzles on the chalkboard for me to try and figure out. Every Thursday was ice cream day. He would pick us up from school and we were off to get an ice cream cone! We loved those days!  There was not a night that he didn’t tuck us into bed until about the time of Junior High School.

This was the big, strong, loving protective male persona that first helped build my image of men. That is about the time that things started to change in relationship to me and my Father. My Dad was always there physically but starting in about eighth grade things seemed rather awkward in this area. I guess I didn’t know how to relate to him anymore. I don’t think my Dad really knew how to relate to me anymore either. I still liked boys just as much but things just became different between me and my Dad. Up until this day he has always been in my life.

Now that I have gotten older I can realize all that he has done for me throughout my life and can appreciate it.  I feel my Dad did the best he knew how to do with the training he received to be a Father.  This relationship and some of the related questions and dynamics of it is probably one reason why I want to understand the psychology of men.  I would like to better understand my Dad’s perspective as a man and a father and possibly improve our relationship as father and daughter.

As I stated earlier, my brother came along when I was about six years old and before too long he will be heading off to college.  As I have matured and my brother has gotten older we connect to a far greater degree than we did when we were younger. We discuss friends, parents, school, relationships and life in general on a continuous basis. He’s not always so forthcoming with his emotions though.  We hang out, go places together and even enjoy each other’s company in the process.  This is a vast difference from the bickering that we did when we were children.  I understand him and it has helped me have a better view of the way that guys think, feel, and act.  I am able to read him like a book and this has helped to broaden my perspective of boys in general.

Another huge learning experience for me in relation to guys was through a guy I dated in high school. We became such good friends and I feel that this helped me out a great deal in reading guys emotions, thoughts, and feelings. He was very open and honest with me which helped me to better understand the male perspective.  I have to say that I have learned much more as the years have passed and as I look back, I think, “oh my gosh,” I didn’t get it or oh I get it now!   This too is a part of why I have an interest in understanding the psychology of men.  I think with age whether it be a man or woman we learn more about ourselves and who we are as individuals. Emotions become more balanced and we are able to be more open and honest with one another expressing how we are feeling.

My Grandfathers were also always present in my life as male role models. One of them was so smart and never showed much emotion. The other was more soft spoken and has been rather open about expressing emotion. This aspect of male psychology has also peaked my interest in understanding why there is not only a difference in how men react psychologically to life issues but also why it is sometimes in general, very different how males react to life circumstances than females do.

Another male role model in my life is my brother-in-law. He is lighthearted and a joy to be around. He is a picture of strength mentally, physically, and spiritually. I do wonder sometimes about the emotional piece and how it manifests itself in him.  He grew up in a household where he was one of five boys and I question how that has impacted his view of the world. To see the vulnerability and spiritual openness that he personifies in a man has been a new and refreshing experience for me.

In relating this discussion to guys in the outside world that I am not particularly close to, I have to say that I have met some genuine guys that are very sweet and respectful.  There have been numerous young men that I have interfaced with and have come away with very positive interactions.  Then, on the other hand there are the guys, even older men that when I am in a restaurant or out in public and they are with their families, wives, girlfriends, or children they check out every girl in sight. I find it rather appalling!  This does not run in line with my perspective of how men should treat women with respect.  Another thing that has intrigued and saddened me at the same time was reading the book “Raising Cain” for another class here at APU. Many concepts were discussed that either reinforced what I already knew or a totally new and unfamiliar concept that deeply saddened me. My heart hurt for my brother and all the other young men or not so young men around the nation. Also to look back at the high school years and dating in the context of reading this book and think that I contributed to the heartache and pain associated with manhood.

When I mentioned to my brother-in-law that I was taking this class he told me “most of the time we’re really not thinking anything.”  So what are men really thinking?  This is a good part of why it is that I have a strong interest in understanding the psychology of men.  Overall, I have mixed emotions and reactions to the male species as I am sure that men do about women as well.  The complexity of the psychology of both men and women is both similar and yet different. I am hoping to understand and unravel some of the mystery and differences that I have seen in my male counter-parts to help me build better relationships through studying the psychology of men.

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Comments»

1. Men Are Different « The Psychology of Men - April 16, 2009

[…] This is probably what really peaked my interest in the psychology of men. I have numerous personal stories in my life experiences that have helped to foster this interest. As far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated by boys. I think I liked a new boy each year as I was growing up! I guess I always thought that boys had the same needs, emotions and thoughts as I did. Come to find out this is not the case at all! [read more] […]


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