"Men are like turtles."
There was a pause. Although the comment was axiomatic, self-evident, I wanted him to elaborate. I wanted him to come out of his shell.
He explained, "We would rather stick our heads in and not talk. It's difficult to get us to come out and open up."
This was how the discussion began on the second night of our men's retreat. Such pithy comments may be excuses or threats. He meant it as an observation.
We can be quiet. Reserved. Proud. Independent. We can be competitive, afraid of intimacy, uncooperative. These are the attributes that surfaced--the reptilian faces that emerged.
But they emerged with a grin, because men are great at laughter and play. They like to watch toy boats sink and float. They like to watch RISK armies fall, flags get captured, and drumsticks turn to bone in the hands of their most festive eaters.
And then, when they're far enough from shore, having followed the wake of shared experience long enough, they might share a thing or two. I just hope we don't have to wait until next year's retreat to hear more. Because more than turtles, we are RELATIONAL.