Monday, 17 November 2008

Men and aquarobics

I went to Tenerife on holiday a few weeks ago - determined that I would see some sun before the nights finally drew in.  The sun did shine and the hotel was perfect with lots of pool side activities, mostly for children, with a few for the adults.  

Each day the adults were encouraged to do aqua gym (most commonly known as aquarobics) at 12 noon, by which time, a notorious fidget starts getting a little bit bored of just lying in the sun, so i was thrilled to be asked and jumped up.  Now I like to think of myself as pretty confident about who I am,  happy to try it all out, and it was hot sitting next to the pool, i wanted to get in it.  But something stopped me plunging into the pool on day one - there were no other men doing it - so it was back to my book, and pleading with my partner to go and jet or water ski (again).  

On day two, I watched again, and was relieved to find there were two men doing it - ok they weren't doing it properly, they were just bouncing around with their children on their back but they were doing it, and so I was able to join it.  And it was great - real 80s remixed dance tunes - and it was hard work - as long as you did it properly - which I was determined to do.

Day three there were four men in the pool.  I have a tendency to want to win - whoever said its taking part that matters....but I did think i had outgrown some of these tendencies, but the competition between us was incredible.  The high leg kicks, the strong sweeps through the water which were, at least in my case, starting to hurt, but something unspoken, something learnt, forced each other on.   

Meanwhile a group of primary aged boys had gathered to laugh at us.  Given my interest in young men and sexual health, I was interested at what i learnt about myself, and reminded that nature or nurture, primary school boys know pretty early that call it what you like aqua gym/aquarobics ain't something men should be doing, and that is why an understanding of gender has to lie at the heart of all we do in sex education and service provision. 

1 comment:

jrfiction said...

Hey Si, this reminded me of a story I heard about a great Spanish Matador, who was also fond of entertaining. He was in the kitchen early before his guests arrived for a dinner party one night and cooked up a storm, but let his staff take the credit. As the guest were reclining in the sitting room he snuck away to do the dishes. When a wayward guest stumbled in to the kitchen and stuttered incredulously, "that's woman's work!", he replied, "do you doubt my masculinity? I am a man no doubt, therefore this is a man's work".

It was good to hear the dads were getting into it. Let's reclaim our masculinity, and not let others dictate to us what is ours to do.