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What does it mean to be a man?
Some fresh ideas on masculinity.
The other day, I was chatting with my friend’s boyfriend at a dinner party.
“As women, you have it all,” he said, “Your job, your own money. You could even have a kid on your own if you wanted to. What are men even useful for? Just to carry your heavy stuff around?”
He had a point about the heavy stuff, at least. It is quite nice when a guy carries my grocery bags up the stairs. But that’s not all that men are good for, surely?
I don’t have a clear definition of masculinity, but I can imagine that being a straight human male is confusing these days. You may live in a world of locker room banter and Joe Rogan, yet you’re trying to date my female friends: hot, independent women getting hot, independent shit done. These women may or may not make more money than you or be better educated than you. They might ghost you or post about your shitty behavior online before you can say, “Cancelled.” And they most definitely have different needs from what the male-verse has told you. What’s a man to do?
I polled some female friends on this topic, and there was a lot of debate. Some are dating sweet, sensitive men who like to snuggle. And they are so happy, but they are also surprised. Many of us have perpetuated the harmful stereotypes. As one of my friends said, “The impression we have of masculinity (myself included) has been deeply established within outdated gender norms.” We don’t know that we can want a supportive, respectful male partner, and that’s just as much part of the problem.
So, what is the role of a man today? What are “the ladies” (yuck) even looking for? Here are some suggestions for attractive qualities that I think are undervalued because of traditional masculinity. I’d love to know your ideas on masculinity in the comments!
What Masculinity Can Be
🤓 Emotional intelligence: If we’re having sex, do you know if I’m enjoying it? Trying to recognize my feelings and talk them through with me (emotional support) is invaluable.
🌱 Growing together: I’m a girl with ambitions and plans. Telling me you want to invest in my career as well as your own is hotter than the summer sun in Phoenix.
🙌 Respecting women: I hate men who touch me casually as if my physical existence is an extension of their own. My body is not your body. If there’s a doubt in your mind whether you should feel up my back or kiss me on the cheek, don’t fucking do it. Also, respecting women means respecting us as a gender, not random specific women. It’s great you watched Coco Gauff win the US Open, but how do you speak about the women you don’t like?
🚧 Knowing your limitations: It’s incredibly inspiring when a guy acknowledges that I might have a different lived experience because I am a female and he is not. If you say, “I can’t know what that’s like because I’ve never had a vagina / a period,” I’ll be weak at the knees.
👨🏻🍳 Acts of service: My love language. My ex-boyfriend would pick me up from the airport, put on an apron at home, and cook me Quiche Lorraine. That was pretty fucking incredible. Help share the burden of being a functioning adult in the modern world with me, please.
What Masculinity Is Not
🍆 Performing with a penis: I’ve written extensively about this, but most females do not orgasm from penetration alone. For lesbians, dildos are totally optional. Your tongue, however, is not.
🥩 Being a meathead: Unless you are a legit professional athlete, why are your biceps bigger than my face?
So, what do you think it means to be a man? Is there a man in the public eye who you think models this respect for women well? (Not you, Ashton, sorry!)
I’d love to read your ideas in the comments.
Lots of love,