Blokes, booze and banter

Behind the mask ..what's going on for men?

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I have sons.

I have brought them up to talk about emotions.

They don’t.

I have brought them up knowing it is OK to cry.

They don’t.

Or rarely do.

Social conditioning is so powerful, who was I to think I would change the face of masculinity and how much was I doomed to pit my feminist aspirations against evolution and biology?

I do know that suicide rate amongst young men are higher than any other sector of the population.  This worries me.  So maybe this is why I wanted to talk to Pete.  Pete was one of the lads, a year older than me in school, who I kind of was in awe of.  He as the captain of the football team, he was cool, fit and had kudos for all of that.  He seemed to be the epitome of cool when his best mate went out with my mate and I faded into the background of fifteen year old spots and insecurity.

So when I saw on his Linkedin profile that he was not only some kind of finanical whizz, but also a wedding celebrant, I couldn’t quite connect the two images.

So we talked and it was a turbulent tale of booze, football, banter, bullying, birds.  Then as well, along side all this, vulnerability, hard work, an autistic son, divorce, remarriage and a new life in a new world.  Pete’s been a ref, a fire-fighter, he’s worked in the City and is now he’s training to be a celebrant and a counsellor.

We are both in our fifties and I wonder whether my boys will face so much of the masculinity policing that Pete had done to him and internalised himself.  My PhD investigated hegenomic masculinity and the way it shapes not only boys and men, but the women who relate to them.

Increasingly I am seeing footnotes on emails where people are stating the pronouns they use to identify themselves.  I have a couple of people on my email contacts who self-identify as ‘they/ them’ rather than ‘he/she, him/her’.  I wonder how this will impact upon how young people construct their identities now.

Join us in conversation here in my podcast about masculinity and sensitivity, alcohol, climate change and what leaving a legacy means. (Ps…there are adult language and themes used in this conversation!).

Pete’s celebrancy work is here:

His wife’s book based on his son: and her website (where she shares the story of how Pete was shut out of Australia during the first lockdown:

If you want to know more about me, my writing, coaching and training go to

(Image: Pete in the middle with his son on the left, in Australia, after everyone said he would never get on a plane)

Julie Leoni

Life coach, author, podcaster, facilitator, Dr

I am a well-being coach who helps people find their 'thing'; the thing that lights you up and gives you joy and energy. Listen to my podcast; 'What's your thing?' to get inspiration.

I support people to create a less stressed life, to boost their well-being, to ask for what they want and to look after their own needs so that they can hear their heart's call and live a more empowered and meaningful life.

I draw on experience and training in bereavement, domestic abuse, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Transactional Analysis and other therapeutic approaches.

I have 2 sons who I love loads (and who sometimes drive me crazy). I'm a Barefoot Trained coach and I got a distinction for my post-grad cert in 2011.

I have a PhD which led me to look at Emotional Intelligence in schools and I have a number of academic and professional qualifications in various types of therapy.

I have practiced meditation since I went to India over 30 years ago and I'm a yoga teacher. I have written a couple of books, I teach psychology and work with a large variety of coaching clients.