"The modern man is in crisis. He doesn't have a role any more." I cleared my throat. Damned if I was going to let the fact that women have fought for the right to be more than vessels be blamed for the opposite sex's inability to talk about their health. He was talking as if men had once been great orators on their health, only to be thwarted by feminism.
No man is an island. All of us need to ensure that we have a good diversity of friendships in our lives, it is essential to our mental health. In order to promote this we need to change the negative, hardening messages our boys receive from an early age. 'Be strong, boys don't cry, tough it out, don't show pain, be brave my little soldier, man up, you wuss!'
We all know that behind Movember is a serious message and that the money raised to great causes. But it is also about having fun and celebrating manliness!
Suicide is the number one killer of young men in the UK, with 4552 male suicides in 2011, 75% of all suicides... With such striking figures, I do wonder why male suicide is not seen as the public health emergency that it actually is.
It is very easy to be righteously disgusted by his behaviour, and feel ashamed that we didn't take notice of his victims, however, the death of Jimmy Saville two years ago and the revelations which followed, still leave many unanswered questions about our relationship to fame, and particularly how men react to such power.
Last week, Goldsmiths (University of London) added the option of 'Mx' as a title or honorific when making an enquiry, applying for a course or registering as a student. I thought it was a good move.
What ages have we on offer for boys and men in this post-modern society? I suggest maybe four from birth to death. These delineate a journey from 'boyhood' through 'ladness' to 'blokedom' and finishes with a good dose of 'old gitness'.
When I was young, my father and I would disagree about masculinity. I remember how he was deeply shocked and offended by the first 'Brut' adverts on the TV in which two very heterosexual sportsmen, Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan, shared some roll-on deodorant. My father thought it meant the two of them were gay.
I believe disappointment, failure and vulnerability are essential to our development as whole human beings. By facing them we grow, and paradoxically, become happier. The measure of a man is not in his search for acclaim, success and power, it is in his reaction to disappointment, failure and vulnerability.
That's how the conversation started, with such a ridiculous emphasis on the word "trim" that I knew we were not discussing upper body hair. We were in a pub, having just finished a pint and a discussion on the new Bond film. And now this? I sighed a deep sigh.