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man to man

Flowers bring joy and colour to people's lives. It seems sad, unfair even, that men miss out on this mostly. We all know where our social norms come from, but there's plenty to be said for subverting these. I think we can do better.

Some time ago, my boss bought me flowers to celebrate my success in applying for a position. Initially I was surprised, and a little bemused; standing in the office holding a big yellow bunch of roses, it was a gift that grew on me however. It brightened up my corner of the office, and it genuinely felt good to receive as acknowledgment for my achievement.

I started to think more about the experience: what it would be like if more men received flowers as gifts? What would happen if men started buying flowers for men? I have been a member of a men's group for 20 years, where we have tried to explore ways of being as men together that get away from gender norms and expand us as people, so the questions I was asking were very much in sync with this journey.

Flowers are an unambiguous statement of affection from one person to another. This can be tricky territory for men, who are not socialised to be expressive around their emotions, or receive expression of emotion particularly well. It might seem like a small gesture to give someone flowers, but when that someone is a man I think it has the potential to get them experiencing the world, and themselves, a little differently.

I don't think that's a bad thing.