By Donna Loughlin

In the 1960s, Great Britain gave us The Beatles. In the 1970s, it was punk. The 1980s were all about British New Wave. But the latest British Invasion isn’t really an invasion at all — in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Daniel Sharman and Leggy Langdon are two British expats living in Los Angeles and they want to change the way men talk about the kinds of topics that have traditionally been challenging for them to deal with — things like love, emotion, conflict or shame.

How do they intend to do this? The first step was launching The 2 Lads Podcast, a show that has taken off with listeners thanks largely to the sense of raw vulnerability they bring to those touchy-feely subjects that have long been deemed off-limits for men.

“In England, the way that men bond and show love is by getting absolutely battered in a pub, watching football,” Daniel told me. “But there is such a deep need for men to be intimate with each other and to show love and to have that trust with other men.”

Daniel and Leggy met after both moved there to pursue their own artistic careers. Daniel is an actor from London. Leggy is a music producer from Leeds. They circled each other at first, hearing from mutual friends that they would hit it off. Both were going through challenging break-ups at the time and both had dealt with addiction. When they finally did meet, the bond was instant.

“I was in love immediately — actually my ex-girlfriend thought I was actually in love with him,” Leggy joked. “I just saw a lot of myself in him and a kind of younger brother sense and I didn’t have a lot of like male friends at the time. He was English too, but it also wasn’t just about being English. It was about living out here coming from where we come from. And, and even though we’re kind of from different areas and all that, there was a lot of familiarity to him.”

The two noticed a growing awareness around mental health and wellness for men with high-profile names like Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Prince Harry, musician Bruce Springsteen, and others speaking out about their personal battles with depression, anxiety and fear. Since meeting one another, Leggy and Daniel had organized meetups with other men to talk about those and other issues and thought about how they could reach more men like them.

“It’s more than just mental health,” said Daniel. “What we’re working on is intimacy. That’s our little niche of mental health. So we started the podcast to chat about our lives and give other men a model of what that looks like — to show that it’s possible for men to do this.”

Each episode of 2 Lads deals with a specific theme. The first season, which launched in July, deals with topics like love, sex, judgment and dating app culture. Their conversations are often lively and humorous one minute, then raw and emotional an instant later. The emotional journey is what makes it so compelling for male and female listeners.

“We’re trying to give men permission to be vulnerable,” Leggy said. “It’s not always going to be pretty or squeaky clean. Sometimes it might be aggressive. But it’s an open conversation that is ongoing. It works for us and maybe there’s something in it for other people through osmosis. And if that’s the case, then that’s amazing because that’s what connection is all about.”

To listen and subscribe to the Before IT Happened podcast, visit www.beforeithappened.com.