I know that I’m preaching to the groupthink choir by saying this, but rigid gender roles hurt men too because no one naturally aligns perfectly with a gender role. Well, in a non-terrible reddit moment, someone asked the men of reddit what gender roles they would like to break if they felt free to. I first read about this from HuffPo but then I circled back to the reddit thread and… I realized that so many of these things are things that I have been happy to let guys do for decades. Honestly, it made me kind of happy to be me and to be so accepting of these things that guys want and feel like they are judged for. And then it made me happy for guys who date me and man, no wonder they liked me. So I’ve compiled some of my own favorites, in order of prevalence, along with anecdotes because anecdotes are interesting.
Being the Little Spoon:
The big spoon is the protector. The little spoon is the one being protected. Sometimes, people just want to feel safe and protected, regardless of gender. OK, women tend to physically fit better as the little spoon because we tend to be shorter but it’s totally feasible for women to be the big spoon! For a long time, I dated a guy who refused to be the big spoon; he insisted on permanent little spoon status. This actually didn’t work out so well for me because sometimes, I want to feel safe and protected like the little spoon! So guys, I am totally with you on this and despite the physical differences, big spoon/little spoon status should alternate. When my boyfriend is lying on his side and I roll over and curl up behind him, he will grab my hand in his sleep and hold it close to his chest. What is not to love about that?
For a long time, I didn’t like dresses—except fancy, formal dresses—mostly because I don’t fit the gender binary well and they feel strange to me. But I’ve known a lot of guys who love to wear dresses or skirts. I’ve dated goth guys who like to look “pretty.” They like pretty girls. Pretty girls are nice to look at. They want to be nice to look at like the pretty girls are. Others simply like the cooling or freedom. My best friend, for instance, loves to wear long, flowing hippie skirts because he can wear them without underwear and get a nice cool breeze up on his free hanging boy bits but without having to worry that a breeze will come along and expose his freeballing ways. And many men come back from Burning Man only to buy kilts and skirts to wear sometimes because they have better ventilation than pants or shorts.
Wearing a Purse:
I’ve had male friends complain on Facebook that men should have purses. “The word is murses and murses are just fine. Those dudes should carry on with their purse-owning selves.” I’ll admit, in the late 90s I dated a guy who set me straight on some feminism issues. He told me that he didn’t expect me to do any maintenance that he wasn’t willing to do and he wasn’t willing to shave his legs, so I didn’t have to either. That had simply never occurred to me. But one night we went out for dinner and he brought a purse. I made fun of his purse. And he corrected me on that shit in the restaurant. He said “It’s not a purse. It’s a murse, a man purse. It holds my wallet, my medication, my tobacco and papers, my lighter, my sunglasses, and my keys. They don’t fit in my pockets and that doesn’t change that I need them and they fit in a bag. If you have a problem with me carrying a purse, that’s your fucking problem, not mine.” And he was right. Guys, you got shit to carry too. You shouldn’t have to put it in your backpack and carry a backpack everywhere because patriarchy. Indiana Jones has a murse. You gonna tell him he’s not manly because of that? I sure as hell ain’t.
Being Close With Male Friends:
Seeing this item show up so frequently in the reddit thread made me so sad because guys. GUYS. Please confide in your friends and ask them for help and feedback. OMG. People need advice sometimes. We can’t fix everything alone. This is what friends are supposed to be for. Talk to your friends! For the sanity of your women folk, talk to your men folk!
Drinking Girl Drinks:
This always makes me think of my boyfriend. We were out to dinner a few years ago and he order some fantastically girly drink. I don’t even remember what it was but I wasn’t even interested in him at the time and I was seeing someone else and I guess he just went “fuck it. I’m going to order a drink that tastes good” and he did. I went “Wow, that is girly as fuck” and he said “damned straight. I’m a girl drink drunk!” And I went “well let’s get you another!” Seriously, bring on the motherfucking drink umbrellas and frozen fruity crap. Why are men expected to drink alcohol that they don’t even like? Screw that noise.
Dancing Like No One Is Watching:
I’m going to be honest: this is something that women want too. Guys in the reddit thread are all “I love to twerk” and I’m like “do you honestly think no one is talking shit about girls who twerk cause, honey, girls get slut shamed for that and don’t even get me started on the racist bullshit aspect.” Nobody gets to twerk without judgement. Really. Should we be able to feel the music and dance the way that the music makes us want to dance? Oh hell yes and frankly, dancing because it’s fun, showing that you’re having a great time and really feeling the music move you? That is fucking sexy! Please do more of that, men and women! I get a ton of compliments on my dancing and about half of them are “I wish I had the balls to just let the music move me like you do.” The other half is “I’m surprised that a fat chick like you can dance so well! You go!” Someday, someone will say “I love that you follow the rhythm with your feet and hips but the lyrics and melody with your arms and shoulders. The way that you move really emphasizes the mathematics of music and how the aspects of music all fit together to form a whole in base 8.” And I will say “TAKE ME NOW, DORKY LOVE GOD.”
I’m a goth chick. Guyliner is hot. Men and women get zits and need concealer. Men have ruddy faces that would look clearer if they wore base and powder. My permanent double chin and round, squishy jawline would look totally fine if I had a beard. But sadly, I am incapable of growing a beard. Guys, you are not incapable of wearing makeup. Although I will grant that makeup plus a beard would be hard to do well. We should encourage guys to wear makeup; if nothing else, they would stop saying stupid shit like “you’re so beautiful without makeup” in response to a 30 minute “no makeup makeup look” and “you said five more minutes 20 minutes ago. What’s the holdup?” I’ll tell you what the holdup is: my eyeliner was uneven and I had to wash it off and restart a whole section of face. Twice. Go the fuck away.
You know who shaves legs? Women, body builders, professional athletes, guys who want to feel pretty, and guys who like the smooth, silky feel of climbing into fresh sheets with newly shaved legs. Why does anyone need to know which group you’re in? You know who else? My exboyfriend who was allergic to his own hair and got eczema on his legs if he didn’t shave. Do you know who knew he didn’t shave his legs? Women he dated, his kids, and his parents. I’ll grant that one reason for this is that when he wore shorts, he wore tights with them, but still. Wear long pants and no one will know! They have to see the shaved parts of the legs to know they’re shaved. (And again, sexy sexy sexy. Rawr.)
Here’s another list item that bugs me: guys totally gossip. They don’t call it gossip but they talk about the same topics that women talk about when women call it gossip. Plus sports. Guys, talking about sports is gossip! Talking about last night’s Doctor Who isn’t any less gossipy than talking about yesterday’s Days of Our Lives. You’re talking about things that happened to people in a fucking TV show. The target demographic of the show doesn’t make one gossip and not the other. Besides, you know all that slut shaming and chat about what is “right” in a woman where “right” is defined as “to your personal tastes?” You’re using your exes as examples. It’s fucking gossip. The term is gendered to make it gossip when women do it and not gossip when men do it, and statistically, men do it more than women do so knock yourselves out!
Wearing Yoga Pants:
Apparently, they feel like being hugged like a kitten that has no claws but does have settings for whether you find mooseknuckle comfortable.
Get a Mani/Pedi or Paint Nails:
Do you know how knows if you get a pedicure? The person who gave it and the person who see if your toes are a funny color, which doesn’t include the dudes at the office, or if you’re careful, even the dudes at the gym. Paint your fucking toes already. If you get a pedicure and anyone questions it, say that it’s important for you to have a professional looking appearance and you find that manicures give you that polished look that you can’t give yourself that gives you that extra edge.
Being Close with Your Kids/Playing with Your Kids:
Fuck anyone who judges you poorly for being close to or playing with your kids. They are assholes whose eventual children will grow up to be terrible, broken people. Go fucking play with your kids. That’s what dads do.
I’m trying to be vanilla for this article guys but really, if you want something in bed and you feel that your lover is judging you negatively for wanting that, that is a bad lover. Now, your lover may not be interested in that and your interest in that may not be compelling enough of a reason for her to engage in it, which could be a problem, but if you feel judged poorly for your sexual interests, that is definitely a problem and so far as I’m concerned, a reason for dumpage. That said, I’m shocked at the number of guys who specifically felt that they couldn’t bring up pegging, just because I’m surprised that it’s so common.