Thursday, February 22, 2007

What Are The Laws of Attraction?

I know, I'm gay so I probably shouldn't even care about this topic, but I was over at Alexandra Billing's blog recently, and there was a most fascinating discussion about men and masculinity and what's really "manly" and what's asinine. A quick recap: "scratching and farting at the dinner table" and "whistling at an 18-year-old with nice tits" are considered asinine and not really manly. But we knew that, didn't we? That's because we are gay men--the chosen ones! Poor Rev. Haggard can never again be privy to these sacred secrets...

It also turned up a really interesting topic, which was the cyclical-ness (is that a word?) of masculine appeal. One reader, Jackie, stated that masculinity is a "trend issue." What's in fashion and appealing now won't be later on. I related my first experience with this "trendiness" about 10 years ago or so. Some commercial came on for some "guy thing" like Right Guard or something and this voiceover lady with a really annoying voice (not quite Sally Kellerman, not quite Frodo) said "We'll take a pass on poetry...we're not looking for boy scouts...welcome back, men. Where have you been?" I remember being really furious at the time because to me, it typefied how fickle women were, to want sensitivity and vulnerability, and now complain about it, like those things didn't turn them on enough. Then I realized that this was a commercial targeted at men, who were expected to react to this alarming pronouncement by buying whatever was hawked, thereby restoring their "manliness." So it was just an advertising ploy. Nobody ever said that women really felt like that. "But wait," I thought. "Wasn't that a woman doing the voiceover?" Well, not necessarily. I could have imitated it perfectly. (Voices are my life.)

So really, it was just somebody cynically taking advantage of men's sexual insecurity in order to sell things--not a real crisis after all. *Phew* What a load off my mind!

This was just before I came out, and I still felt that pressure from friends and family to date women. There was a lot of shit going on inside me at that time: body issues, self-loathing, fear of judgement, fear for my mother (she had just recovered from her previous bout with cancer/chemo around that time), and I was really not feeling very sexy at all. But I do remember feeling angry and resentful at women when I saw things like that commercial, because to me it symbolized the way women got to "have it all" back then. Or so it seemed. Equality at work, equality at home, the right to blame men for everything, the right to wear colorful, comfortable clothes at work (while we men were stuck with shirts and ties), the right to cry and be vulnerable and have it socially accepted and not laughed at. All this, and still have doors opened for them and men step aside for them.

Of course, I've since learned that things are not as simple as they appear, and that the things described above are idealized situations and not things as they truly exist. There's still not true equality (even among men, much less between genders). Having it all takes a lot of juggling--I'm not even a mom, and I already know that. It's almost not worth it. And I've not met a single (level-headed) woman who truly expects men to be all the things that commercial said. And the ones who do are usually drunken, crimp-haired, trashy 20-year-olds who still think Stetson smells good. (Come to think of it, that might be what that commercial was for. Which would explain a lot.)

So the problem is that we deal with each other as "images" and "absolutes" rather than complex beings that we really are. If we had time to do more than size each other up quickly when meeting, we'd really have better relationships. Hell, if we had time to really have relationships instead of this "speed-dating" bullshit, we might have a fighting chance of happiness and survival.

So as the trend turns and "manly men" come back in fashion again, remember that there's more to them than just the cowboy hats. It will change again, and women will want pedicures and poetry, like the "metrosexuals" who thought they were doing the right thing. Don't be so quick to cast aside the manly man, though. There might be a chef buried in there who can save your ass at your next dinner party.

What do you boys think? What kind of guy do you like best? Do you go for excitement and danger or sensitivity and honesty? James Bond or James Blunt?

Or a mixture of both?

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ed said...

I want a guy who is honest and faithful. A guy who makes me laugh and won't break my heart. OMG! no wonder I'm all alone. LOL.

6:01 PM  
Blogger dirk.mancuso said...

I'm looking for the big three: smart, funny, and faithful. If he's furry -- pinch me.

And if his name is John Stamos, mother of God, call the paramedics -- I may have just died and gone to heaven.low.esteem

11:46 PM  
Blogger BC said...

Um, breathing?
Chemistry is a must, and realness. Got to be real...

1:05 PM  

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