Taking time out to thank others

Day three of telling someone what you love about them

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I decided on day three to share the love with someone I work with; Aaron. Aaron has worked for me for nearly five years. I have always found it a joy to work with him because he has a great sense of humour and he’s honest and loyal and more importantly very hard working. He’s a person who won’t blow smoke for me, a real and honest person. I love his positivity to the job and to life and the great love he shows to his girlfriend and their young baby and the little bump growing inside his girlfriend. A bump, that in seven months-time will start life with a very loving dad to care for her.

He has worked in his present job for that long that nothing fazes him which means working a shift with him is always a breeze. He was working full time hours but has since cut back to study for a degree in something completely different to the job he does. He works from 3pm on a Friday until 10pm, all day Saturday from 10am until 10pm (with a two hour break in there somewhere) and from 2pm on a Sunday until 9pm or thereabout. On his Sunday shift he takes over from the head chef at the pub for a few hours and when he arrives he is like a one-man cavalry and a great support for the team.

For about a year and a half his hobby has been body building. With his dedication and passion for this I can see him developing it further and there is no reason for me to doubt that it could become a different career for him. I tell the rest of the staff when the moment arises that they can achieve anything they want if they put their mind to it, “Look at Aaron, he never got those muscles overnight. That’s months and months of hard work and dedication. And look at it, it’s paid off.”

Aaron was an easy choice but I found it hard in the build-up of trying to construct how I was going to tell him about the things I loved about him because of a number reasons. One was our working relationship. At the end of the day I’m his employer and although I don’t ever act ‘the boss’ I suppose I must walk around unconsciously wearing the sheriff badge. On shift I try to create the atmosphere that I am just another member of staff because I do just feel like that but he and the other staff must see me slightly different, it would only be natural. But I feel we are like one big team and I’m like the player-manager.

Another reason was we are both ‘men’. In our British way of life and upbringing men don’t tell other men that they love them. That’s the way we’ve been raised across the land. One of the only times a man will say to another man that they love them is when they’ve sunk too many beers. And then the next day there is a moment when you can feel cringe-worthy and hope the man you said you loved was too drunk to remember it.

The word love for a man is seldom used in everyday life. I personally am very happy to tell another man and the world that I love my dog Bobby. I can talk about my love for him for hours. I’m also happy to show my love and passion for music. Don’t get me started on Paul Weller because I can’t shut up about the love I feel for his music and style. I love Paul Weller. I can show my passion for films. I will happily tell a person that “I love that film.” But ask me to tell another man about the things I love about him well that’s a different thing altogether. It’s a lot harder.

Also I wasn’t exactly sure how being this candid with Aaron would pan out. My gut feeling was he would thank me for it but there was also a tinge of fear that I’d gone soft. After all I’m sure he sees me as a ‘real man’. I am, I roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I’m the protector and sometimes caveman to my attitude to the roles of men and women. That’s due to the upbringing you get when you’ve been raised in deep Northern working class roots. Don’t get me wrong I’m definitely not sexist but I do feel there are certain genes in a man that make him the protector of the cave, ahem I mean the home. I’m sure you get my meaning.

And how would all this change our relationship? Would it bring us closer? Should we be closer? We are similar in many ways and views. Why should we have to say these things? Aren’t some feelings best left unsaid? We are men after all.

But in saying all that I chose Aaron because it somehow seemed the right thing to do. If all went well there was also the possibility he could continue the chain reaction when he got home with his girlfriend. Who could tell? But the deed had to be done.

As usual Aaron’s work ethic was there for all to see when he walked into work ten minutes before he was due to start work. It was a busy shift and straight away he got on with job in hand. The shift continued but when there was a momentary lull I asked him to step upstairs to my living room for a chat.

I explained to him why we were here and then I trusted myself to let everything flow. And it did. For the next five minutes or so he sat and listened while I told him a long list of things that I love about him. After saying it once it was so much easier and before the end I told him I loved him. Because of our shared sense of humour at the end of our conversation I told him I wouldn’t expect a hug because I didn’t fancy him, we both laughed and a firm handshake was traded. Then we both laughed some more.

I believe Aaron got something positive from it and because of that I got something positive out of it too. I couldn’t help thinking that not many people have their ‘boss’ tell them a long list of things they love about them and mean it? And I did. It all felt worthwhile.

Mark Cuddy

Someone who learned to wake up