A Day On The Job – or, Why White Collar Guys Have Thin Skin

It may be surprising to many people how kind and, let’s say it, loving, many men are to their fellow men.  But what seems impossible to most people to realise is that you’ll find it most in the blue collar sector.

I’ve spent time in the field and in the office.  And what I found is that beneath the rough exterior of the men who work outdoors lie hearts that care deeply for the men around them, and their families at home.

Except for the clean shirts, this is how it is. Power stances. All day.
Except for the clean shirts, this is how it is. Power stances. All day.

 

Here’s a short excerpt from a day I recently spent at work.

As I walk into the Meal Room, the boys are hacking on Jayjay.  He’s just found out that he needs to get a colonoscopy in two days, and, besides taking laxatives, he’ll have to starve all day tomorrow.

“Might have a BBQ at work tomorrow, eh boys?  Oh, sorry Jay… can’t you eat!?!”

“Jeez mate, you’ll be clenching your buttcheeks… don’t let anything leak!”

What is absolutely clear is that all the guys like Jayjay.  They are stirring him up.  The goal is humour, having fun, taking our minds off the days of work ahead.  We are all working together to lighten the mood, everyone trying to get the biggest laugh.

This is what the left does not understand.  This is why the left has no place in the blue collar environment, except for the union movement.  This language would be incredibly offensive to any leftist, office worker or even most women who have not seen it before.

And this, this camaraderie, is what HR departments all around the world are trying to stamp out.

HR departments want to ensure diversity, tolerance and acceptance.  This means no harassment, bullying or offensive statements.  However, part of these definitions state that it’s not just the person being “harrassed” that can file a complaint.  Anyone who observes “harrassing” or “bullying” behaviour and finds it offensive can drag the offender to HR.

This effectively renders the statements made in the Meal Room a sackable offence, regardless of the context, the humour, and the fact that the man at the centre was taking it all with grace and good spirits.  Thankfully the guys ignore this brutal fact.

The good humour continues at lunchtime.  Everyone brings their fold-up chairs to the grass where we sit and forms a circle.  Some of the guys are late to lunch, and as they set up their chairs outside of the the circle, the men within the circle get up and move their own chairs to include everyone into the group.

A group of twenty men self-organise, without a word, into an inclusive circle, despite slinging curses at each other all day.  This is not unusual.  This is manly behaviour.

Office workers don’t see it because they have been emasculated by the proximity of the HR department.  Without working in a purely male environment, the men in an office never experience the depth of male relationships a man outdoors does, unless he can find like-minded men outside work.  The office men take all comments personally, because that’s what the women around them do.

All day every day men working in the outdoors, doing hard, physical labour, tease each other.  They bag out on every man’s weak points. His sensitivities.  His weight, his race, his disabilities, his wife, his car.

They call each other fat, weak, black, lazy.  Their most obvious and damning traits are held out for the world to see, and ridiculed.  No-one gets offended. In fact, if you are not getting teased, there’s a good chance that you are disliked.

The men feel each other out for stability, for toughness, for the ability to give as good as he gets.  The men who can take and give are men worth working next to.

Later in the day, I notice Jayjay chatting with one of his crew.  Jayjay is saying he’s worried.  Their conversation is serious.  His crew mate was teasing him this morning.  But there is no teasing now.  There are low voices, compassion, offers of help.  Jayjay is supported and he knows it.  The teasing is a form of affection, which every man knows, but none would admit.  And I would guess that Jayjay actually appreciates it on some level.

He understands that when it comes to offensive language, context is everything.