Fragile masculinity

Straight men share “gay” things they enjoy doing and you almost feel sorry for them

A shocked and frightened man
Posed by model (Photo: Shutterstock)

A Reddit post has gone viral and highlighted some ridiculous, outdated notions of masculinity.

Reddit user @possibly_degenerate asked: What are the things every man should at least try even though they are stigmatized as “gay” or “unmanly”?

Straight people immediately began to offer their suggestions. At the time of writing, the post has had 63k upticks and over 11k comments.

“Over the age of 30 or so, having friends and doing things with them,” offered one user. “Most people I know, if they have friends at all, they’re either work buddies or family get-togethers. But a couple of guys being friends and leaving the wives to go on a camping trip, etc. just seems weird. I miss having friends.”

That answer, one of the most-liked, provoked many comments. Some wives confirmed their husbands always benefited from going on camping trips with friends, and others expressed shock that this should be seen as “unmanly”.

Related: Father and son go viral dancing to ‘Frozen’: “This is what healthy masculinity looks like”

Several men said they enjoyed taking care of their skin and moisturizing. It proved a popular discussion thread.

“Yo since quarantine I’ve been: Doing face masks, Using a tinted sunscreen, Using a cerave face wash, Using actual shampoo and conditioner (not the combo garbage) and a leave-in. I’ve literally never felt better about my appearance. I’m sure I look the same, but just doing something makes me feel like I’m in control and am helping,” said Reddit user @alelabarca.

“Skincare,” agreed @Mabescs. “I don’t understand why is so gendered. Why ads focus on ‘you can put this black/navy skincare product and still be manly. It’s skin, is an important human organ … Everyone NEEDS to wash your face properly and to protect it from dehydration and sun damage.”

Shockingly, one man offered: “Washing your ass.” And he wasn’t joking, later clarifying, “I know several guys who use soap on their armpits and upper body and then say, ‘the soap running down will clean everything else.’”

Other users agreed that this is a thing.

“One of my friends had a short relationship with a man like this,” said one. “They were both mid 20’s and he had never washed his ass because ‘only gays put hand near the anus, shampoo running down my back will do the job’ and never washed his glans because ‘it was a gay touch.’ My friend ended up having bacterial and fungal infections and even urinal infections.”

Booty hygiene was a highlight for another commentator.

“I’m all in on the bidet. Bought it for my parents as kind of a prank gift and my dad wouldn’t let my mom keep it. ‘I don’t want water shooting up my ass!.’ I kept it and wouldn’t go back. Way cleaner, surprisingly refreshing, and I was the one laughing when nobody could find toilet paper in the stores. A roll lasts me forever now.”

Related: Insecure men with ‘fragile masculinity’ are more likely to support Trump

Cooking and sewing also got mentions, with one man saying needlework is a useful skill to learn (who knew, right?).

“I’m the seamstress (seammaster?) for my family. Fixing clothing and making curtains etc can be just as useful as fixing a car, and comes in handy more frequently!”

Moving on to the sexual side of things, one man said “Y’all are not ready to hear this but: prostate orgasms. Get one of those toys made for that.” The comment prompted thousands of upticks and hundreds of comments.

On and one it continues, with the likes of yoga, cocktails, nice underwear, wearing pink, manicures, “being the little spoon”, and seeing a therapist considered by some men as “gay” or “unmanly.” In 2020, hugging male friends and telling them you love them is also still off-limits for many men, sadly.

Even more worryingly – particularly for 2020 – wearing a face mask is considered unmanly by some.

“I’m the only one at work right now wearing one,” said @eeyore134. “One of the bosses will wear one if he’s trying to impress a client who is wearing one. He did that one day and left it on too long, one of his friends came in and said, “What, you scared?” like they were kids on a playground. And he responded like a kid on a playground, “Nah, I ain’t scared.” and ripped it off. My other boss told us right after we reopened that “bros don’t social distance”. I really hate it there.”

Suggesting there is some hope for humankind, several pointed out how ludicrous it was to avoid doing things because one is scared of appearing “unmanly.”

“Don’t ‘Not Try Something’ because you’re afraid of seeming unmanly,” said one well-liked answer. “Worrying about how ‘Manly’ you appear to the world is actually the least manly thing you can do.

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