I’m a woman, and I love feminine men.
I love physically feminine men. An exposed clavicle. An exposed neck. Shapely legs. A tapered male waist — not as dramatic as a woman’s hourglass, but a lengthened and subtle curve.
I love men who wear clothing that accentuates their shape, rather boxy stoutness.
I love the look of a sleek male dancer, the male body applied to graceful lines and arcs rather than forced into rigid displays of brute strength and speed.
Not all feminine men look the part. I love feminine mannerisms. Coyness. A soft smile. Eloquent hands. Emotional expressiveness — that is, self-expression that doesn’t necessarily have to do with domineering, or being funny and clever, or being loud.
And feminine attributes. Sensitivity to aesthetics. Appreciation of detail. Deeply developed empathy and kindness. Consideration. Open affections. A particular kind of strength — pragmatic and compassionate. Gracefulness. Most compellingly of all, a willingness to show vulnerability.
People are more than the sum of their parts, and what makes me love someone, or even simply want to fuck them senseless, is more about that sum than femininity.
I’m also aware that the gender binary is pretty much bullshit and that, throughout history, these traits have been the property of masculinity — sometimes, even, the exclusive property of men. At one point, women were thought to lack a man’s sensitivity to truly appreciate a sunset or write poetry.
What I am locating as “femininity” is specific to our era, and even then, it’s ambiguous.
So why am I telling you this? If it’s kind of arbitrary, and just a personal preference, why should you care whether I’m into femme men? To express my astonishment at how threatened people are by me. To draw attention to that fact and ask you to question why.
Because so many women have romantic expectations of the opposite, and so many men react to male displays of femininity with social and physical violence. Because even gay men snark that they are “masc, and you should be, too,” and claim “straight-acting” as though it were a gay boy-scout badge.
The rationale to all gender-based transgressions is basically, “You’re not keeping the bargain” — the bargain that if men act a certain way and women act a certain way, you can be assured of certain things. Men take charge and women feel secure — that’s an example of a bargain.
Most people justify these transactions as human nature, but it’s really just social economics. And for some reason, when men resist making these transactions by being femme, the reaction is extreme. In my opinion, the problem is that so much is made of male instincts being a particular testosterone-fueled kind of madness. That’s one of the reasons that people use to justify the whole system.
So when you’re a living example that not all men are the same? You’re quite the threat.
I’ve seen it in the way people react to the men I want, and I’ve seen it in the way people react to the other men in my life, brothers and friends, who are basically gender-conforming but must display any even remotely feminine trait with extreme care. Even in my socially progressive, fuck-the-gender-binary circles, circles where drag balls are a common spectacle, the men I know often agonize over how they appear, even the straight ones, even if they’d cooed over the magic a dress performed on their legs the previous Friday.
It’s telling that when I assert this fact about myself, people basically take it upon themselves to inform me in so many words that feminine men are subhuman. They explain by claiming I’m out of touch with my instincts, I’m fooling myself, or that I’m a total evolutionary anomaly.
That’s ridiculous. For one thing, on an abstract, impersonal level, say, the level that makes a man an “ass man” or a “breast man,” this is my most primal and honest attraction.
For another, for all that it’s women who relentlessly police male femininity — and make no mistake, women are just as guilty as men — pretty, vacant Legolas was the main object of teenage frenzy, not manly Aragorn, to give one example of very many. In the realm of fantasy, at least, men with feminine qualities are the subject of phenomenal lust.
That’s a strange hypocrisy, and one I’ve seen to be a kind of agony to the men who don’t fit.
So why else I’m saying this: there are always men, and male-bodied people who identify as androgynous, who come forward. Without any agenda, they tell me thank you for speaking up. Thank you for affirming me. Or, tragically: if there were more women like you, I’d feel freer to be femme.
Which brings me to the last thing I love about feminine men: the fucking character it takes to be one in the face of relentless social hostility. In the face of assertions of your inferiority. In the face of threats. There’s nothing lovelier than that kind of strength.