Modern masculinity groups embrace emotion

He started searching for communities for support. But he didn’t fit in.

There were the “super spiritual woo-woo” groups, which he described as “code word for ‘you walk around with guys in white robes and smudge sticks.'” There were the antiquated men’s movements from the ’90s, which rallied around the concept that men were warriors. There were business-focused groups where it would be awkward to talk about personal issues. He bounced around 12-step programs for two months, then realized he could never appreciate the camaraderie of these meetings because he wasn’t an addict.

When Lewis told Krump about Open Source, he decided to give it a try.

Krump was more enthusiastic than most. Many men who have gone to a modern masculinity meeting admit they were frightened, and don’t know what to expect. A promotional video for Evryman has one guy admitting he thought “this is going to be f—— awful.” Yet, something still compels them to go.

The Berkshire retreat and other modern masculinity retreats operate in expanded versions of the weekly meetings. There’s usually an outdoor activity. Organizers strive to make the food excellent, and the workouts intense. A recent backcountry Evryman adventure included a 50-mile hike into Yellowstone to look at the stars. At the Junto retreats, 15 men stay in the same house and sleep on angled beds in communal rooms.

Next comes the real work. At Evryman retreats, just like in the weekly meetings, the men sit in a circle and start with a thematic meditation where they get connected to what they feel, Doty explained. Then, there is a check-in round where people share the main emotion they are feeling that week. The second round starts with a prompt, like a question about romantic relationships, their relationship with their fathers, or a request to discuss something they’re ashamed of.

“It’s like Crossfit for your insides,” Krump said.

People have about 10 minutes or so to hold the floor, while others give feedback. Men will get angry. They’ll scream and get upset. Krump cried during a group a couple weeks ago.

“It’s not always beautiful,” Doty said. “The process of sinking deeper and deeper and sharing more and more, that directly helps with emotional suppression. The connection between men by taking that risk to become more vulnerable helps you gain lifelong friendships.”

After the Berkshire retreat, Krump decided to use his experience building companies and dedicate it to growing Evryman. Yahoo, his employer at the time, was about to be acquired by Verizon, and he knew he was going to be let go in a few months. So, he decided to dedicate his severance — one year worth of salary — to expanding the Evryman movement. He dove into the project while the deal was closing.

In April 2017, Doty appeared on the “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast (of recent Elon Musk pot smoking fame) to talk about the modern masculinity movement. Evryman hired a NYU student it found on Craiglsist to quickly build a website, and Krump edited the text until Doty went on air. Within the next 24 hours, Evryman received 3,000 emails.

“There were a lot of tears,” Krump recalled. “Some of them were great. Some of them were positive and encouraging. Some of them were just a lot of guys that needed to talk in this way.”

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