Why Men Look So Terribly Uncomfortable Holding Bouquets Of Flowers

Awkward Man With Flowers
image: ~dgies

Ever noticed how painfully uncomfortably men hold bouquets of flowers?

It’s more prevalent around celebrations like Valentine’s day, or Mother’s Day, but it can be seen on a smaller scale throughout the year.

There are a few different approaches, all look equally awkward.

First, the truculent toddler look.

Here the man will hold the bunch at the bottom where the stems are bound together, but upside down, and virtually drag the bouquet slightly behind them, as if it’s a young child unwilling to walk with his daddy hand in hand and being hauled along.

If the man looks straight ahead and keeps the holding arm still and very low, he hopes no-one will actually notice he’s carrying flowers.

Next, the clumsy cradle.

Our reluctant male will hold the bouquet sideways in his arms, trying not to squash them, or get a face full of pollen. His demeanour is somewhere between bemusement and disdain, like he’s a cradling a baby that’s not his and in serious need of, er, freshening up.

Here the overriding message is “I’ve never held flowers before, I have no idea how, will this do?!”

Another common technique is the bundled bag.

Unable to work out how to best hold the flowers, the man has simply bundled them into a carrier bag, and all we see are a few slightly sorry and desperate looking flower heads peeking forlornly out of the top of the bag.

At least this way, the flowers, and the fact he’s bought them, is almost completely hidden from public view. Phew!

There are other approaches too, and subtle variations on those above. I’m sure you’ve noticed yourself.

The overall message is: I’m a man, I never buy flowers, I’m only doing out of obligation because it’s expected on Valentine’s Day or because I feel so guilty over forgetting my partner’s birthday again. I want to make it clear by the sheer awkwardness of my posture that this is something that I’m utterly uncomfortable with, and in all honesty I’d rather be carry a rotting animal carcass in my arms in public.

So why do many men feel and look so uncomfortable holding a bouquet of flowers?

It’s most likely down to the fact that it’s against their conditioning, and what they’ve been told is right, or “cool” or the “manly” thing to do. So their concerns about what other people will think of them are more important than what they think themselves, or the fact that, under duress or not, they are actually doing something kind for someone they care about.

How often does this sort of scenario crop up in your creative life? Not carrying flowers around awkwardly, I mean doing (or not doing) something because it’s what you think it’s what someone on your position should (or shouldn’t) do?

What kind of beliefs and expectations do you have about what an artist “should” be like, that you follow out of resentful obligation, not because it’s what actually feels right for you?

The irony is, like our uncomfortably bouqueted men friends, people either 1. Don’t think of you in the way you fear they do anyway, or 2. Are so wrapped up in their own lives and priorities they don’t even notice, or care.

Most women, upon seeing a man with a bunch of flowers would I imagine feel an affinity towards him, and would love to be the recipient of such a bouquet. They wouldn’t be thinking the guy was foolish, or soft, or not a real man.

We each must find our own way, and do the things that matter to us.

The way we know they matter to us, is by how these experiences make us feel. It really is that simple.

When you’re lost in the flow of creating, it feels like nothing else. In a good way.

Plus, what you create, how you create, and the fact that you’re stepping up and creating at all, will inspire other people more than you will ever know.

Forget about what you look like, what you fear people will say, or what you think you “should” be doing as an artist.

You already know what to do. You know how to create, and what to create.

It’s time to create. If you want to go and buy flowers, buy flowers. But do it because you want to, and if you do, hold them up proudly for the world to see!

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4 thoughts on “Why Men Look So Terribly Uncomfortable Holding Bouquets Of Flowers”

  1. Very affirming of our right to create. There are so many people who don’t feel they have that right because they were told they weren’t creative enough. This really brings home that it’s worth trying, if only for yourself.


    1. I’m realising more and more as I get older, in how many ways we are programmed (sometimes intentionally, sometimes innocuously) by the influences around us, and how strongly this dictates the direction of our lives. We just think “this is the way it is” and don’t question anymore.

      I think you’re right Katie that many people were told at an early they weren’t creative by parents, teachers, peers etc, so they just accepted it and didn’t try anymore. It so important to show people they ARE creative, that we’re ALL so much more creative than we realise.

      Thanks for your input.


  2. What a fabulous analogy! I love it.

    It’s such a good reminder that others don’t necessarily view us as we view ourselves.

    I felt this way recently, reading on stage. I felt awkward and obvious and out of place. But the feedback I received said I appeared otherwise.

    Sometimes we have to just do stuff regardless of how we feel.

    At the same time, it’s important to do the stuff we feel like a superhero doing.

    They’re both good for the soul!

    Great post.


    1. Thanks Kristin. I like the superhero phrase!

      Definitely true that others see us differently. I still see myself as pretty quiet and shy but people in the salsa classes I teach say otherwise and see me as confident and quite loud. Really strange, but like you say, we go with that feedback, that’s their experience of us.

      Just watched a brilliant TED talk by Chris Guillebeau who says it’s the fear of what others will think of us and say about us that holds us back from doing so much, more than anything else. Very powerful talk.


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