There’s been a lot of man talk in my office this past week. It’s not dirty locker room talk just a noticeable flurry of man to man chatter. It almost seems to be ritualistic daily morning check of masculinity. It begins with a typical “How was your weekend?” and moves quickly to a progressive exchange manly tasks completed, each slightly more masculine than the last. It’s a one up man fest from which I’ve learned that a chainsaw trumps a weed whacker, Home Depot is better than Lowes and bitchy wife stories bond men despite any other difference they have.
I wondered why the sudden change in conversation and then I realized that the day before this new ritual began, several people were moved and new cubicle neighborhoods were formed. These men are vying for neighborhood dominance at a most primitive level. It has been fascinating to hear and as the week progressed everyone has settled in to their new position. The stubborn divorcee with the pretty girlfriend and who pays exorbitant childcare has taken the dominant role with the metro sexual single coming in close behind. In last place is the non-drinking, Jesus loving family man, not a surprise. It’s not just men who establish themselves in a new group. Women use a more subtle, visual method with their clothes, hand bags and physical appearance to assert dominance.
We all assert ourselves when in a new environment as we need to find our positions in the pecking order, our place in the world. Only then, when we know where we are, can we see where we want to be.