If I say that there is a weight to being a man, then please don’t consider that a plea for sympathy. I am comfortable with the fragility of it, I accept that there are feminine and masculine aspects within me and I embrace them both. I enjoy being a man, but that comes from an awareness of how men are viewed, the misconceptions, the flaws that become monstrous without contemplation and also where denial of any part of them leads to so much of horror that gets attributed to men.
I would argue that it’s boys who cause so much of the damage. Boys who have grown older, but not necessarily up. Uncomfortable with solitude, unable or unwilling to reflect, to learn from wounds and negative experiences, lots of energy which appears charming but soon becomes unpleasant to deal with, it’s a set of behaviours that creates negative associations and interpretations. This however, is not an apology ( it’s not a longform version of the hashtag #notallmen) because that implies that being a man is somehow less and to me, it is not.
The fragility and the weight serve as means of contemplation and I accept that because the trade off for me is all of the joy that comes from it. The rush of testosterone, the drive and the physicality of it, the rough places on my hands when I work outside, the way that I look in the mirror, I like the hair on me and my scent.
I enjoy being a man, and it is not threatened by women asserting themselves. I welcome it. I want it. I am not scared or threatened by a woman asserting themselves, quite the opposite, I want it. I want to write about it. I want more women to embrace the wildness within themselves and I want them to have power because I want them to have the same responsibilities and it doesn’t take a single thing from me or any man if they do.
A friend once said to me that more men should admit to crying and more women should admit to masturbation. It’s a good place to start and there are bones of contention within the argument, lots of language and projections that put us at odds with one another when we shouldn’t. Since writing about women, I have not, all of a sudden, come to love them. I always have but I know the why of it, I admire their struggles and their contradictions and the fire within them. I resent the forces that keep them from asserting their autonomy or their sexuality, and I admire the power of it. So many men are equal parts repelled and drawn to it, but again I think that it’s a boy behaviour rather than a man’s.