Reactions to Traumatic Events Part 1Written by Dr. Dorree Lynn
What to expect. Men.
The other day I was talking to a guy’s guy whom I know well. He is a glib and facile talker, hard drinker and intellectually astute man. We were on phone and I had never heard him sound so down. “What’s up?” I asked very carefully, not to sound concerned. “Hey doc.” He said, trying to remain upbeat. “Yup.” I answered, just as casually. “Hey doc.” He repeated. “The strangest thing happened to me today. I was upset with some shoddy work that my assistant did and I started to talk with her about it and ya’ know what? I started to cry. Just cry like a kid. And then later,” he continued, “when I was talking to my boss, I started to cry again. Hey doc, what do you think that’s about?” Jocularly, I responded. “Glad to hear you’re human, Bill. Even strong men, have feelings and they are allowed to cry. I think your heart is aching and all those pictures of planes penetrating strong buildings just got to you. Cry when you feel like it, or get angry or afraid. It’s a very human and strong way to be. Hey, let’s meet later and talk, OK?” “Yeah,” he said. “How about tomorrow or next few days?” “Sure,” I answered, though, I was already figuring when I could squeeze in one more talk.
Everywhere I go, I encounter men in pain, men who are unaccustomed to talking or crying. Men stunned at their own level of pain or fear. Men in our society have an easier time getting angry than admitting more vulnerable feelings. The intense pain they experience due to recent terrorist invasion, their fear and their sense of loss are not feelings many men are accustomed to sharing. We live in a world where most men still see John Wayne sucking it up and riding away as a heroic image, and when they find themselves hurting or sobbing, they are often surprised and embarrassed. Many men prefer to hole up in their equivalent of a safe cave and suffer alone. Reaching out and talking is not their strongest suit.
Sex, Is too for Fifty PlusWritten by Dr. Dorree Lynn
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one autumnal face … If we love things long sought, age is a thing Which we are 50 years in compassing.”
When she was young enough to know some, but not all, about adult world with its mysteries of sexuality, my daughter, in midst of a seemingly unrelated conversation about pets asked: “Mom, can old people still do ‘it?’ You know they are smelly and their skin sags. How can they?” Her nose wrinkled with disgust and horror of whole idea.
Moms need to be quick on their feet in response to their kid’s questions. I took a long deep breath, I needed time to think. Understanding her dilemma, I answered, “Well, “God or nature, or universe is very smart. As we age, our eyesight goes, and our touch sort of slows, and body shapes don’t matter quite as much. Some how it all works — it does work a little differently, though — but it does work. She looked at me quizzically, tucking information away to be considered another time. And, she just as quickly returned to our discussion of pets. She seemed at peace with my response---for time being.
Frank, at 21, is savvy, tall, sexy, a “hunk” who knows all about sex’s magic elixir. At 21, he struts his stuff when he enters a room, testosterone-sure, confident that he can attract a girl to bed that night, or any night he wishes. No one has to tell him he is in his sexual prime; his healthy body and heads that turn as he walks down street are constant affirmations of his self-image. Deep down, he believes that he is very first to have discovered that awesome magnetic force that has, in fact, drawn sexes together since beginning of time.
Frank, son of a friend of mine, is a thoughtful and fun loving college student. As is true of other young people, he cannot talk about, nor even think about, anyone over fifty having sex. One day as we were lunching together, I directly raised topic: What do you think of people over fifty having sex? Eyes instantly averted and nervous laughter, much feet shuffling, lots of coughing and a sudden need to get away. Like his peers, he’ll avoid topic if he possibly can.
I ask him about his obvious discomfort. Blushing, but with guts that come from knowing and trusting me, he answers as directly as he can a question he has never before even pondered. "My parents? I don't want to think of them, you know, doing it. And, you say even my grandparents may be — Dr. D. You are too much, I really don't want to think of them that way.”