Men comfortable with their feelings but also at risk of brush with violence

 

Alcohol and drugs play a large role in the social lives of young men today, but there are signs that older men are more isolated, even though young men are far more likely to be mugged or in a fight

Violence

Poll results show that violence is on the increase, particularly in the lives of younger men.

Most men say they have not been involved in a fight (54 per cent). When the figures are broken down by age, a majority of younger men aged between 18 and 34 are far more likely than not to have been involved in a fight.

Similarly, younger men are much more likely to have been in a fight where weapons were used, or to know someone who has died in violent circumstances.

Other signs of an increasingly violent society lie in the fact that young men are much more likely to have been mugged. Some 14 per cent of men in their 20s and 30s say they have been, falling to 5 per cent for those in their 50s and 60s.

Men were also asked whether they have ever hit a woman. A total of 6 per cent of men say they have, a figure that remains low across all age groups.

Drugs/Alcohol

Almost one-third of men have experimented with soft drugs like marijuana, while 10 per cent have tried hard drugs like cocaine.

Not surprisingly, the rates are highest among young men. Almost half of men in their 20s and 30s have tried soft drugs, while almost 20 per cent of young men have tried hard drugs.

Of those who have used drugs, more than half believe soft drugs are harmful to people's health.

Suicide

On the issue of suicide, some 8 per cent say they have seriously considered taking their lives at some point.

Again, the numbers are worryingly high among young men (12 per cent of those in their 20s and 30s, compared to 4 per cent in their 50s and 60s.)

Younger men are also more likely to have had someone close to them die by suicide.

Feminine side

Contrary to popular belief, most men seem to be in touch with their feminine side. A majority (58 per cent) feel it is acceptable for a man to cry in public.

Middle-aged men are most likely to agree that it is acceptable to cry in public, although the numbers drop among the youngest (18-24) and oldest (65-plus) age groups.

Almost half (48 per cent) also say that men who place an emphasis on being "manly" get on their nerves. Furthermore, a majority of men say they do not find it difficult to show their feelings.

Not all, however, are so sensitive. Men are split on how they handle their anger: about half admit they shout at people, slam a door or bang a table in order to let off steam.

Social life

Going to the pub is the most popular way of socialising for men today. Almost three-quarters of men (74 per cent) go to the pub once a month, or more often.

The restaurant is popular, too (54 per cent), especially among those from better-off backgrounds, while going to a film, concert or play is less popular (23 per cent).

There is evidence, however, of the isolation of older men. For example, the proportion of men who say they rarely or never go to the pub is highest among over-65s (18 per cent).

Sport

Keeping fit seems to be the most popular form of physical activity, rather than organised sport. The numbers drop, however, among older men for everything from team sports to any form of keeping fit.

Reading

Also, there are signs that the reading habits of men are changing. Reading newspapers is the most popular form of reading for all men, with 86 per cent reading a newspaper once a month or more often. Browsing the internet is also growing in popularity, with 54 per cent of all men doing so on a regular basis.

However, the youngest age group of men (18-24) is just as likely to browse the web regularly (78 per cent) as read a newspaper (77 per cent). Reading books is also popular, although much more so among middle-aged and older men. About one-third of men read a book regularly.

Appearance

There are many signs men are concerned about their weight, appearance and wellbeing.

Almost 20 per cent of men say they use a skin moisturiser once a week or more often, with numbers highest among those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

A similar number (22 per cent) check their weight at least once a month, while some 65 per cent say they have a medical check-up at least once a year.

Immigrants

Most men (59 per cent) feel there are far too many immigrants coming into the country. Older men, particularly those in their 50s and 60s, are much more likely to feel there are too many immigrants in Ireland. A significant number (20 per cent) say they would disapprove of their son or daughter marrying a foreign national, with disapproval ratings again higher among older people.

Marriage

Almost half think everyone getting married nowadays should consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. The numbers are consistent across almost all age groups. That said, most men feel they are less likely to become divorced or separated during their lifetime.

The numbers differ significantly across age groups, though. Young men, for example, are split on whether they will be separated or divorced, whereas large majorities of older men feel their relationships will survive.

A total of 37 per cent say they would disapprove if their son or daughter was gay. Disapproval rates are highest among older men (53 per cent among the 50s and 60s) although it is also relatively high among younger men (28 per cent of 18-24s).

Moral issues

When presented with a number of moral issues, driving under the influence of alcohol emerges as a major taboo among men. Some 87 per cent say it can never be justified. Buying something you know was stolen (82 per cent say it can never be justified) or claiming State benefits you are not entitled to (74 per cent) are also to be avoided, according to men. Younger men are more likely to feel these steps can be justified compared to older men.