Well, of course
. It does not
mean the same thing to ALL men. It does not even mean the same thing to all of the men I
have known. But it means about the same thing to most men I know and it seems better to approximate on some things
. Otherwise we are always left with wimpy phrases like "This is what some men say but, well, actually quite a few of the men I have known, although I have not spoken to them about it lately."
But to the subject at hand, leaning, and more to the point being leaned on. We like it. A great deal. When people lean on us, they depend on us. Kids, older relatives and especially members of the opposite sex (unless we happen to be gay, in which case, reverse that). We like the idea and we like the feeling. It means we are responsible (at least momentarily), strong (at least by comparison) and that we can be calm (at least to assist someone else). People leaned on are not criticized for being stoic. They are not scorned for being quiet and serious. They are just there . They are present and accounted for at a time when someone is needed to be there.
Helping an older lady up steep stairs into church, serving as impromptu couch for a sleepy three year old or letting a cousin or Aunt tug on your coat as you walk away from a memorial service. You are just there. Your words, or lack thereof don't matter at all. For many men, (see disclaimer above), this is no small thing. It affords us an opporunity to be supportive without having to explain how we can help. We just do. The nonverbal request for a lean is one of the most powerful compliments a man can receive. I know few of us who turn this down.
I know of many roadtrips that have involved shoulders asleep and numb- with passengers of various age groups slumped into my side. I regret not a second.