The Company of Men

Saturday 8 July, 2000

Today I went to Liverpool with the men’s group. We went for lunch, visited the Maritime Museum and the Tate Museum and returned the same evening. It was great. I knew it would be but, as with the trip to Edinburgh, it surpassed any expectations I might have had. I met four new people (from the Saturday Group). It all felt so comfortable and the nine of us enjoyed a seamless day of relaxed company and good banter.

Karaj asked me at the service station, an hour and a half into the day, whether I had talked with any of the people who were new to me. At that stage I hadn’t but that is how I am. At first I am quiet and shy but, as time goes by, I venture into conversations and, as my confidence increases, I become a more integral part of the group. That’s how it was today. During the course of the day I spoke at length with everyone.

It was great to be in a group with no women, where men could be themselves without having to be careful what we said or how we behaved and without being accused of showing off or being sexist or childish or different. It reminded me of my schooldays and my footballing days.

We could relax and enjoy each other’s company. And that’s exactly what I did. I felt relaxed and in good company. Moreover, I felt equal. That was one of the overriding feelings of the day: I was among equals and there was not a hint of competition.

I enjoyed the conversations immensely and not once did I feel inferior. Nor did I, at any time, compare myself with any of the others. It is a trait of mine to make unfavourable comparisons with other people, their lives and vocations, which only serves to depress me.

On this trip I was surrounded by intelligent, kind, beautiful people with great jobs and fascinating lives, and not once did it make me feel down – on the contrary, it was comforting to be a part of such diversity. Each of us has his place on this planet, and all we can do is be the best we can possibly be. I feel fortunate to have spent time amongst people who are doing just that.

The day was a wonderful one. This evening I thanked Karaj and Leon once more for allowing me the opportunity to experience such a fulfilling day. Here, I thank everyone.


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