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The Manliest Man

December 8, 2010

So last Saturday I went to a drag show.

I had a lot of fun, though I was told that this year’s show was a little less impressive than last year’s. The show was put on by PRIDE, the university’s resident GLBTQ organization. I had numerous friends involved, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Now, the subject of dressing in drag has been brought up frequently in my circle. Occupational hazard in a way. After the show, I decided that it is something I might consider in the future, especially because all the proceeds of the show go to a good cause. And it seems really fun now that I’ve seen it in action.

But, wait guys…really? Drag? What happened?!

You see, before this, I thought drag was a) really weird and b) really unnecessary. Why? Because I was surrounded by people that shared this idea, and me being desperate for approval and acceptance went with it rather than stick up for what I thought. And this idea was fostered while I was in middle school and thus still closeted. At the time, I had no problems with others doing it, but for me I was so self-conscious and aware of my own masculinity I felt for me, it could only be detrimental. And being paranoid of being found out and treated differently, I wished for a while that every activity engaged in by the LGBT community that was deemed ‘strange’ or ‘other’ by the ‘normal’ America would cease to exist so that a sense of national acceptance would be brought about by the revelation that we are normal and nothing we do is different or strange.

It was following this mentality of the need for conformation that lead to a plethora of self destructive thoughts and actions that I only discuss with my therapist. So for all you gossip mongers from People and Star Magazine [if only, right?], you can go ahead and leave now. But I have since discovered that conformation isn’t or at least shouldn’t be necessary for national acceptance. I can be an upstanding gay man without the hassle of constantly censoring my thoughts and actions and still feel normal and worthy of the title man.

Right?

I’m not so sure. In my search for the truth on the matter (with about as much legitimacy as when Monty Python journeyed for the Holy Grail), I ran across many sources that seem to lead to the answer. Here is a wikiHow on How to Be Manly with such interesting highlights like, ‘work to become sexually confident and dominant’ and ‘Buy a gun’. So now I suppose I have a large list of things to work on. Also, I ran across this gem of a website which purports to be an online community dedicated to revitalizing the sense of masculinity and manliness in the world, but more focused on America. Some of the inspired quotes from articles include, ‘First of all, why should I give two shits about breast cancer? I am a man’ and ‘Order demands violence’.

Yeah, I’m not so sure I’m keen on this idea of being manly anymore.

This was furthered by events last night. Every semester before finals, the department has two parties, partitioned by gender, so naturally I went to Man Night. I don’t ever remember being so uncomfortable and indirectly offended so frequently in my life. First of all, it was in part a Wizard Stick party. I came across this term with my friend Sarah Jo in high school and didn’t realize they were real. They are, and they are insane. Also, true to gay form, my friendships with other guys are significantly less strong than with women, so I had no real connection in which to moor my ship on these unsteady tides. The night itself was designed to revel in the wonders of being a man. The misogyny runs deep through the very veins of the party. But I get it. This was an opportunity for the guys to throw down like men without worry of being labeled misogynists. The thing that troubled me most about it was that I wasn’t feeling it-like at all-and I was upset that I wasn’t feeling manly like everyone else at Man Night.

The turning point of the night for me was when a very offensive slur was used while implying what one guy’s definition of a man was. I mean sure, others called him out on it, but he didn’t care, and I was standing just across the table. Hearing that was obviously hurtful and dumb, but on another level rocked my perception of what I wanted to be. As I said, growing up I had a lot of issues coming to terms with my sexuality vs. my masculinity, and that one dumb comment made by a drunk guy at a party reawakened that dragon inside that I had locked in a wooden cage. And the battle begins…

 

Smaug: RAAAAAAAAWWWRRRGGG! BEHOLD MY MANLY FLAMES

Smaug: RAAAAAAAAWWWRRRGGG! BEHOLD MY MANLY FLAMES

No. I will not measure my manliness off the scale of others. Though I may be a lowly bowman, I will conquer any dragon that tries to decide my manliness, for that is for me to decide, and I say I’m the manliest man that ever was. I will champion a new age manliness that doesn’t require the subversion of women or other men by physical prowess, nor will it require killing other things, nor a silly need for dominance of anything. I believe a line must be drawn in the manliness pool to separate the men from the brutes.

So I will stand on the side of men, and if I happen to dress in drag once or twice or everyday, I will ALWAYS be a manly man because I say and feel so. There is nothing more to it.

Tune in next time,

~T

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Josh G. permalink
    December 11, 2010 12:05 am

    T, I am continually amazed by the poignant truth you convey and am envious of your ability to put feelings like this into words. I think you have a lot of good to teach the world, me included. Keep it up

    • Alex permalink
      December 16, 2010 10:25 pm

      Ditto ditto ditto to Josh.

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