The guys take on a triplet of topics. First off, they discuss the benefits and pitfalls of working from home. A high proportion of new start­-ups, both in the US and the UK, are one­-person shops. One of the unforeseen difficulties of working at home/alone is the lack of community, a real challenge for people who don’t have other fixed social engagements like church or sport. Peter and Paul discuss their experience as entrepreneurs and writers and how they combat such social isolation. Next, we discuss the importance of single-­sex socializing; the safety of male­-only spaces where men can discuss frustrations, regrets, fears and vulnerabilities. Sexual and social posturing make co­-ed environments difficult places for people to “take off their masks.” Paul discusses his first­-hand experience of the power of men, alone in a room. Finally, stoking controversy, Paul asks, “Where does sexual shaming come from?” He advances a bold thesis and the discussion becomes incendiary.

  • ahwal

    Hey Paul,

    Do you have a copy of the men’s group pamphlet you got from your roommate? If you have a copy and could send it to me or put it on the site, I’d be interested to read it.

    • Alec,

      I’ll see if I can locate a copy, but I think it’s in a box in storage in NYC, so it may have to wait a bit…

      Thanks for listening!

      Paul

  • Jason

    In reference to the topic of working from home, I don’t miss going to the office but every once in awhile I miss the office buddies that you go visit and grab a coffee with.

    When I miss it, I think about all of the hassle of having that 5 minute coffee break (subway tokens, standing in the cold, 1 hour commute, having to work 8 hours per day for someone else etc.) then not going to work or having a schedule is way better and I don’t miss it anymore at all. Further, I can call that old work buddy and see if he wants to meet up after he’s done work.

    I think it’s good to live in a big city if you’re going to work from home because it’s easy to meet up with anyone at any time when you feel like you need to get out. Sometimes I go 4-5 days without even leaving my house. I only leave because I’m running out of food. Meeting up with friends gives me a boost I find every once in awhile.

    That all being said, just because I’m physically isolated in my house doesn’t mean I’m mentally or socially isolated. I spend all day on the phone, chatting on skype with employees and customers etc. It’s actually more social that the jobs I used to have.

  • Donny

    Regarding the discussion about introverts and extroverts, there is an interesting book you guys should read by Susan Cain called “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” The description:

    “At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

    In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.”

    It’s really important to note that there is a difference between being an introvert and being shy. The example I always use are an introvert, a shy person and a group of extroverts sitting at different tables in a cafeteria. The introvert has zero interest in interacting with the folks at the “extrovert” table because social interactions with large social groups are draining. It has nothing to do with insecurities. The introvert is inward directed and gains their energy through being alone or through having one on one relationships. The shy person, on the other hand, secretly wants to be a part of the extrovert table, but has insecurities and other things that keep him or her from participating.

    • Very interesting, Donny. I think I may have some introvert tendencies, since I am quite academic, I love reading quietly by myself, and I prefer one-on-one interactions and find groups exhausting and unmanageable.

  • Jaydeep

    If people justify lack of a social life for being identified as an introvert, that’s a flag. That’s introversion misunderstood. Introverts can be just as social as extroverts. I find myself difficult to identify myself as one or the other as I have seen my behavior change on that spectrum depending on the situation. I respond differently in a dancing club than a book club, walking on the street in summer than in winter. Sometimes I feed off people’s energy, some days I become a recluse or a better listener or simply enjoy being by myself. I guess both expressions of my personality depend on the intent, whether it is coming from a place of fear or love/openness. (keep reading, I explain this below)
    I used the “full-time” introvert label as I thought it to be more socially acceptable than acknowledging being socially anxious, awkward or unavailable. In contrast, I also used to be a “full-time” extrovert, a way to compensate my lack of handing sexual tension or intimacy. I used both sides equally for the wrong reasons / intent. Both sides didn’t work and I learnt this the hard way, read on..

    During my full-time extroverted days, I realized on many levels it was me feeling “not enough” and that I had to do something to get/retain attention. So my behavior turned me into an attention whore, the funny guy who gets along with everyone. That backfires in the long run as I missed out on developing deeper relationships. I can attest that the funny guy almost never gets laid! Haha..
    On the flip side, I have gone through a phase where people defined me as an introvert where in fact I was simply anxious and overwhelmed in large crowds. I took that label and hid my insecurities until it got to me that I’m lying to no-one but myself. I lost years before I came clean and started seeking answers to resolve these issues, better myself.

    Now this is just me, not all full-time introverts or extroverts, maybe some, maybe not. I used these labels out of fear and shame of owning my masculinity for a few years to my own detriment.

    -J.

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