Silence of Men

December 17, 1998

An essay by Roger Rogenblatt in the December 7th issue of Time is worth reading. It's entitled "The Silent Friendships of Men." It reminded me of a woman friend who told me that one of her husband's fondest memories was of traveling with a buddy and hardly talking all day. A woman cannot imagine such a thing, but it makes sense to most men.

Perhaps you've heard the story of Wordsworth, who went to visit Coleridge at his cottage. He walks in, sits down and does not utter a word for three hours. Neither does Coleridge. Woodsworth then rises and, as he leaves, thanks his friend for a perfect evening.

Roger Rogenblatt says that "The silence of men in general is over-talked about and overcriticized. To be sure, men never open up as much as women want them to, but there is a wordless understanding in which we function fairly well--especially in friendships."

I understand that--even if I am a fairly verbal male (talk show hosts tend to be more verbal than the rest of the gender). I see men go hunting together or work on a car together and hardly say a word all day. They would probably think that talking about it would be an unnecessary intrusion.

And when men have something to say, they keep it short. You may have heard of the two women who came up to the closed-mouth President Calvin Coolidge. "Mr. Coolidge, I just bet my friend that I could get you to say three words." He looked at her and said, "You lose."

Anyway, I commend the essay to you, especially if you have a succinct husband or brother. You may think he doesn't have a lot to say, but really he does. He just doesn't need to talk in order to say it.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.

© 1998 Probe Ministries International