Sometimes this is a simple thought I have: I love men. I don’t mean I am attracted to men, although that is certainly true. The thought runs deeper than attraction. I think it about men I want to sleep with and also about men I simply admire or adore in a platonic way.
So much is said about the aesthetic beauty of women — their soft curves, their hipbones, their hair, their breasts and their butts. And I can see that. I understand and appreciate the sculptures and paintings and epic poems dedicated to the female form. But often, I have these bursting artistic feelings about the men I see. I love them for purely existing, I think. I love their beauty, which is so different from a woman’s. I love their hard lines and jaws and eyes and hands.
I love the way men sit. Legs open usually, worn knees on their jeans, wallets outlined and pressed against their back pockets. They bend over and rest their arms on their thighs. Maybe they’re wearing old beige Converse sneakers and sitting on silver bleachers watching a Little League game. Maybe it’s hot outside and they run their hand through their hair and lean back, legs open, shoe rubber scuffing the bench. They stretch their arms back and take up space. They do not apologize. Men sit like they’re about to get up. They sit so their shoulders bunch and you can watch them flex and move under their shirts. They sit with their toes outward and tapping, with their knees spread, with their elbows out.
I love the way men dress. I love them in suits, shirts buttoned and crisp, ties knotted. I love them in soft, ratty T-shirts with holes in the sleeves and fraying edges. I love their dress shoes — leather and shined and at the end of their socks or bare ankles. I love a man’s bare ankle, the sliver when his pants are too short and just before it disappears into his shoe. I find that ghost of an ankle to be one of the prettiest things to look at, a secret of innocence and sex.
I love how a man’s body looks, sprawled out on top of his crumpled comforter in boxer shorts with the computer on his stomach. His face lost in thought, halo-ed by the glow of the screen and soft too — not like a woman but a different kind of softness, no matter the muscle mass or the thinness. I love a man’s arms and his hands with shorter nails, thicker callouses, lean biceps, broad shoulders. A man’s body is built. It is constructed and strong and exciting and when a man spoons up behind you, you can feel everything he has, everything he could give.
I love the way men smell. With cologne or soap, a dab and not too much, they smell like possibility and class and goodness. Without, they smell like sweat and hair and musk and everything natural, everything from when people lived outside and hunted and gathered. They smell like history and comfort and you want to bury your nose in their chest or armpit and never come out from where you’re safe.
I love men when they are touching themselves. When their eyes are closed and their hands are moving. I love the arch of their backs and the hard breath through their nostrils. I love their eyebrows screwing together and their chest heaving. I love their shaking thighs and the sharp spinal pop that comes with them. I love when their eyes finally open and their cheeks are dull pink. It’s gorgeous. It feels like watching a beautiful death.
I love their concentrated faces when they are thinking. I love how they can be the same species, the same gender of the same species and still look so different from each other. I love their facial hair. I love how they hold a beer equally to how they hold a baby. I love watching them cook or fix a pipe or clean a swimming pool or do anything manual. I love when they whisper, shrinking down from their heights into these gentle beings smoothing your hair behind your ear and kissing your forehead and asking, “Are you okay?”
I love how they are such specific creatures — fascinating and weird and gross and lovely. Just when I think I’ve got them all figured out, a man will do something fantastic and it’s back to a simple principle: maybe not of understanding, but certainly, of love.