When it comes to sexuality and gender roles, no one’s idea of what is and isn’t “okay” to enjoy is more fragile than that of a straight bro. While not all hetero guys are so sensitive about not appearing “girly” – and if you’re one of those, please feel free to disregard this article, as it doesn’t apply to you – it’s pretty undeniable that a lot of men hesitate doing things that they might otherwise enjoy because of its feminine connotations.
But the biggest crime in all of this might be that so many of the things the bros avoid doing for fear of seeming “girly” are actually things that are really attractive to many straight women – the same women who would otherwise be interested in them. Guys need to get over this aversion to all things feminine and realize that some things are universally attractive, such as being clean and presentable, and showing the full range of emotions.
Here, the 13 things straight guys think are “girly” but which are actually very sexy.
1. Knowing the basics of home décor. No one is saying that you need to have the quirky-chic apartment that looks like something out of a sitcom, but a little effort here and there never hurt. So many bachelors feel like it’s expected of them to have a TV with video game console sitting on a box, three mismatched plates, a couch dotted with mysterious stains, and totally bare walls save for one poster they’ve kept since college. But this is Not. Sexy. And the wonders that a simple accent wall or rug can do to a space are unquantifiable. Maybe even have a candle somewhere, to light for when you want to make things more ~moody. Just because you’re a straight guy doesn’t mean you have to live like a serial killer.
2. Displaying emotion at movies. No one is going to think it’s gross if you shed a tear during Pixar movies. In fact, it’s more likely that she will question your humanity if you don’t. The incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 was life-ruining, and only emotionally-stunted monsters hold themselves back from being human at moments like that.
3. Putting effort into grooming, especially the feet. Straight men have this weird assumption that they can have the grossest, hairiest, snaggle-nailed, gnarliest feet in the world and we are not gonna mind in the least, and that if they put any effort into actually maintaining them, we’re gonna think they’re effeminate. News flash: Just like you guys don’t want to snuggle with the Rock Biter from The Neverending Story in bed, neither do we. Take a pumice stone to those bad boys, because they are GrOsS.
4. Giving thoughtful gifts. There is nothing feminine about putting effort in when it comes to gifts, or showing that you care about someone enough to actually remember what someone likes. Yes, 1800 Flowers will do in a pinch, but it’s not supposed to be your go-to gift to express every emotion or mark every occasion. That should be a last resort, or in addition to the “real” gift that took more consideration than “Yeah I guess chicks like flowers or whatever.”
5. Enjoying fancy cocktails. You know what, fragile, gender-role-obsessed straight bros, if you want to miss out on all the incredible cocktails that life has to offer – some of which may happen to be in shades of pink or have a fruit-based flavor profile – that’s your choice. But don’t think that any woman is going to be impressed by that shit, because we’re not. Because we want a sip of those cocktails, and if you’re not getting one, that means we can only try ours.
6. Using basic hair products. Do guys understand that the laws of physics and basic attractiveness apply to them, too, and that putting a tiny bit of product into their otherwise-limp or frizzed-out hair will make them infinitely more put-together and hot? I guess they must not, because they treat any beauty regimen that takes more than 10 seconds and a towel as being beneath them.
7. Taking care of their face. The same basic beauty rules apply to your face. Yes, these guys might shave, but it’s a real stretch to assume that most of them know even the basics of moisturizing or sun protection. Do they know that their skin also benefits from being soft, protected, and even vaguely glowy? Look at Zayn Malik. That man is never not moisturized, and he looks like a demigod from ancient mythology. That man looks like he has a beautiful golden light glowing within him at all times. And that’s in part his bone structure, yes, but it’s also from his flawless skincare. Get on Zayn’s level.
8. Being able to appreciate shopping. This doesn’t mean that you need to LOVE shopping, or even enjoy it on your own time. But if, from time to time, you aren’t able to appreciate the (objectively cool) act of going out with the person you love and helping them pick something that makes them look great and feel amazing, and being a part of that experience, that is just sad. The best guys (and most sexy) are the ones who actively participate in the actual shopping experience now and then, and give genuine input, instead of just sitting sadly on the Man Chairs by the entrance and looking like they’d rather be literally anywhere else. Be the guy all the salesgirls are jealous of.
9. Wearing nice underwear. Nice underwear is not a feminine thing. It’s a sexy thing, period. Invest in something other than stained, baggy boxers.
10. Enjoying pop music. If you can’t sing along at the top of your lungs to a cheesy, fun pop song with everyone else, I just feel bad for you. It’s not protecting your masculinity to pretend not to enjoy Carly Rae Jepsen every now and then – every human being loves her audible heroin.
11. Having close friendships. A lot of the straight bro type are weirdly distant emotionally, even when it comes to their closest friends. Not being able to share real, profound emotion with your fellow brows is just sad, and not anything that makes you more attractive or seem more manly. Men only suffer from feeling like sharing close emotional bonds is “not masculine,” and feeling like your romantic partner is the only person you can really be yourself with isn’t sexy, it’s something that should be discussed with a therapist.
12. Cooking. A guy who can make you something delicious – even if he only has a few go-to, signature dishes – is incredibly sexy. A guy who enjoys spending time with you in the kitchen and making something together is even sexier. Avoiding the kitchen like the plague because it’s “the woman’s domain” makes you a Neanderthal, not a “real man.”
13. Communicating how you feel, instead of retreating into anxious silence. The ultimate Sad Straight Bro move has to be avoiding talking about anything because talking shit out is “girly,” and instead just ignoring the situation for years on end, I guess until you devolve into the “nagging wife and defeated husband” trope. It’s actually sexy to be with a guy who is willing to discuss and be frank with you (and by this I don’t mean being emotionally unstable or unloading on you constantly, but just being a full-fledged human being with nuance). “Talking about it” is not a phrase that should make you run the other way, because having open, thoughtful communication isn’t effeminate. It’s smart.