The first time I realised that I was one and they were referring to blokes, guys, chaps, fellows, gents, geezers (dudes might be rather a stretch) – indeed men like me, was sometime early last year, 2017.

Being perfectly honest, I can’t tell a lie, (well I can but I’m not going to), I confess that I didn’t like the idea of being one then, but didn’t dwell on it too much and got on with my day, rather thinking, and perhaps hoping that it was just a ‘one off’……………or, on reflection, perhaps I was in denial.

But there again, I guess that in the first place you have to accept the validity of the point in question in order to deny it. So, having reflected even more, as I didn’t accept the validity of the point, I concluded I wasn’t in denial after all and really, it was all about them…………………..and I was off the emotional hook!

However, would you believe it? I then heard it again during a BBC news bulletin in September last year and it was at that point that I had to reconcile myself that I was, indeed am definitely one – at least according to the loose criteria suggested by the, (I couldn’t help noticing), female reporter.

Being a passionate sort of chap, (okay some might say like a dog with a piece of rag), I wrote a letter of complaint to the BBC and having received a couple of ‘holding’ responses eventually received some platitudinous double if not quadruple – speak which Orwell’s 1984 Ministry of Information and/or one of Kafka’s organisations would have been proud.

To this day my complaint rumbles on to and fro with the BBC’s outsourced complaints ‘bit’, (but I’ll let that one go!).

Oh, how remiss of me, I’ve just realised – I haven’t even stated the condition (or is it a state) that I am supposed to be or /being accused of being – silly me, “must be me age…………”.

According to the BBC and other (so far female) media commentators, I’m an ‘MSP’. I know, not too nice is it? I mean, how would you feel if you were an MSP or the female or whatever gender equivalent?

Despite being an MSP, I have just delivered the fourth and final workshop a Navigator programme for 29 men – with fantastic feedback.

Outside Navigator I am currently coaching a technically brilliant director (but to date, by his own admission a not very effective leader) with both the individual and the fee-paying client being delighted with the progress made.

Additionally, I am working with………………….……………..on yet another reflection I will spare you the litany of work projects in which I am involved, suffice to say that, astonishing as it may be, organisations are actually still prepared to pay me – yes me, a mere MSP handsomely for, in essence helping them and their employees be more effective and successful.

Now, at this point, please metaphorically fasten your seat belts and put on your hard hat and be prepared to be shocked.

  • Have you ever worked with a woman who was described as being female, stale and pale? Thought not.
  • Have you ever worked with a woman who was described as being female, stale and white? Thought not.
  • Have you ever worked with a woman who was described as being female, stale and black? Thought not.
  • Have you ever worked with man who was described as being male, stale and black? Thought not.
  • Have you ever worked with a man who was described as being male, stale and pale – AKA an MSP?? Thought so.

My hunch is that when I am described as being ‘pale’, the reference to being pale is not some concern about the state of my complexion but rather more that I happen to be a white man.

My hunch is that when I am described as being ‘stale’, this cannot be anything to do with my competence because how can they know – but that it is about my age, the inference being that he, the (white) man ‘has shelf life of being useful’.

To date the MSP labelling I have noticed has been made by women.

As a man who deeply loves women in my family and female friends, misogyny is disturbing.

So too is misandry!

Chris Gunning

Navigator Trainer

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