As a 20-something male who would generally be considered “in the peak of his prime,” I don’t too often feel the most hulking example of young adult male vitality and vigor. As I am currently writing this, I am sitting at my computer, listening to classical music on the radio, enjoying the company of my roommate and I’s cat, drinking coffee and eating chocolate chip muffins I made myself, and sporting a pair of white plugs (my ears are stretched) that have multicolored butterflies imprinted upon them. My roommate just so happens to be a rather attractive female who I share a strictly platonic relationship with. I also have not been sexually (or romantically, really) involved with anyone since my ex of at least 4 years ago.
To those who would be quick to make assumptions based upon the stereotypes of gender and sexual preference, I would probably appear as a non-heterosexual identified male, or simply as a guy who isn’t man enough to get a girl. That is where I find reprieve in the ideals presented in the movements of gender equality.
Now don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy the exhibition of physical competitions, am reluctant to work with my hands or perform manual labor, nor do I scoff at the idea of checking out girls with an eye of sexual attraction (but to a certain degree of reservation and expressive respect,) but I find that long more for the essence of a movie or novel styled romance more than the pleasures of lust and flings. I am a man who is conscious of the idea of being used for a basis of sex and is not okay with that. I still hold dear to creative expressions of interest, like music, arts, and poetry, and fundamentals rooted in chivalry. But I also would enjoy receiving flowers from an admirer just as much as any woman would. I love to bake delicious concoctions of confection for myself or for someone else and am even more thrilled to have someone participate with me. My roommate jokingly refers to me as the “home maker” or “Martha Stewart,” and I am okay with it.
I am okay with all of this, and everything else I could exemplify as characteristically “feminine” traits, while simultaneously feeling the need to create a back up list of my considerably “masculine” aspects. If there is anything I have learned, it is that it is much harder to be anyone but yourself, and I am proud to be who I am. Even if I’m often a puzzling figure to the perspectives of my male and female peers, I wouldn’t want to feel pressured to be “more of a man”, lest the really cute girl at my favorite coffee shop may think I’m not even interested in women because of my usually non-aggressive demeanor and occasional “girly” choice of accessory. In the end, I’m sure someday I will find a female companion who will look passed the possibly questionable factors and see that I am still very much a man. A man who is a hopeless romantic, creatively expressive, secure and understanding, and who won’t pressure her to feel that she should be anything more or less than she already is.