Have you grown up in a society where you had to listen to all sorts of stories concerning what it means to be a man – as well as “what men do” in various real life situations?

After a certain point, did you get the feeling that what you were being fed by the men around you was nothing more than clichés that were serving no real purpose?

Did you then, decide to walk away from all such stereotypes, in search of a new definition of maleness, a definition that would feel closer to your own experience?

If the above sounds familiar to you, then please note that there is a good chance that together with the bathwater you may have thrown away the baby as well! LOL!

The truth of the matter is that all those stereotypes and all those clichés have their origin in reality. A reality that at some distant and far away point in time, the men of those days, had discovered about themselves to be the truth.

However, centuries upon centuries of social conditioning have managed to distort the truth and to turn the reality into myth. It is those myths that get passed on from generation to generation and that today most men in the world reject as naïve.

But if we decide to sift carefully through that material, we shall discover a great deal of knowledge about what it means to be a man.

It is not the purpose of our workshop to re-instate male chauvinism, quite the contrary actually. We say “Good riddance!” to it. But at the same time, we want to make sure that as men we do not discard our maleness together with the chauvinism. And if all of the above may sound a little theoretical to you, allow me to share an example.

Everyone has heard the phrase “men smoke and drink” either as an admonition or as a conclusion. So, what is the reality, what is the truth that lies hidden behind this myth? It certainly does not mean that we need to develop towards alcohol the resistance of a mule, nor does it mean that we need to destroy our lungs through becoming chain smokers!

The reality is that man is a being that has his heart fully open and who goes through his life – fully embracing it at the same time.

My own personal way of going beyond the face value of the above myth is through the exploration of wine. I have discovered that exploring it is one of the most magical journeys I have ever undertaken! And the more I travel, the more I learn about it and the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know!

When I visit a place for the first time, one of my priorities is to taste the local wines. It is like tasting the very essence of the local culture and speaks volumes about the people living in that particular part of the world, because in their wine one may find the best characteristics of the people making it.

At the same time, in the restaurants and the taverns where I find the wine, usually I become acquainted with the local music as well, for the wine goes hand in hand with the urge to sing and dance!

And this is the essence of the reality that lies beyond the face value of the above myth: Life is not and could never be a sin!

Sotirios Galanopoulos
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