The question "Are you masc?" triggers an existential spiral involving coal miners, grandma's penis and Barbie dolls.
I was flicking through Grindr the other day, just minding my own business, seeing what the catalogue had to offer, saying hi to my neighbours, avoiding naked photos from old men, the usual, when I got a message saying ‘Hi, R U masc?’.
Normally I wouldn’t have bothered thinking of a response - I’d have just ignored or blocked him, but he was really hot. I wasn’t sure how to respond, though… Am I masc? What does that even mean? I pondered this for a while, as I wrestled a wolf with my bare hands (I find wolf-wrestling really helps me think). What counts as masc? I thought, as I slipped into my little pink tutu and chopped some wood in the back garden.
Eventually, while applying my new deep-cleansing facemask, I looked in the mirror and realised my designer stubble had strayed into ‘homeless man with beard’ territory, and my eyebrows were due a meeting with the team of specialists that kept them separate from one another. So I replied with “I guess…?”
I mean, to be masculine is to embody the essence of a man, right? Because technically, everything I do is manly, because I am a man. Even when I cry at sad episodes of Doctor Who, that counts as a manly act because I, a man, am doing it.
I grew up in a small coal-mining town in Yorkshire, and the whole masculine/feminine gender roles were pretty solidly established back then - the men went to work, usually in some gruelling, physical job, to put money ont’ table, and the womenfolk stayed home, squirted out some children and looked after them until they were old enough to get married, move out and start the cycle all over again. Pretty simple circle of life stuff.
But that doesn’t really apply any more - my job is pretty much thinking about things and then writing some of it down. It’s not physically demanding, but it puts food on the table, but I have to cook it myself. Does it count against my masculinity if the only thing I do with my hands is type and occasionally shovel another cookie into my face-hole? But then, no matter how hard we try, I’m never going to get pregnant (and believe me when I say that if it were possible, I almost certainly would have by now).
So, in light of the fact that very few people work down t’pit nowadays, the whole idea of being masculine or feminine has changed quite a lot. So what does it mean, for me, if I say I’m masculine or not?
Is it going out and hunting to provide food for the household? Because I get a man from Sainsburys to do that.
Is it more physical, like growing a beard? Because my nan could do that, and she didn’t even have a penis. As far as I know.
It can’t be something as simple as having a dick, because one of the most masculine men I know is trans and doesn’t even have one. At least, not physically. In terms of mind-dicks, his is swinging between his knees. He’s a fantastic kisser, too. Anyway.
And even if it meant something as basic as ‘tops are masculine, bottoms are feminine’ that would translate to “I only stick my dick in dudes who enjoy sticking their dick in other dudes” then the whole idea of ‘a top guy only into tops’ wouldn’t work, sexually. It would just be two brodudes getting each other naked like “Dude! Sick abs, man!” “Thanks, brah - Wish I had a cute little ass like yours, though!” “Never skip leg day, man.” and then just flexing at each other… Sorry, lost my train of thought there.
I suppose it’s a small step up from the old days of Gaydar, when it was considered acceptable to have “No fats, no femmes, no asians” on your profile.
At least now as a group we’ve learned not to define what we want with a negative. If only we’d take that next tiny step of treating each other like human beings and not being complete… Y’know, I was about to say ‘complete dicks to one another’, but in this context, that doesn’t seem quite right…
Anyway. My point is, stop putting that sort of thing on your profile, as if it’s acceptable to keep pushing this toxic idea that the masculine man is ideal, and that being effeminate is somehow a bad thing. Or even the more basic idea that there’s such a thing as being completely masculine...
I have friends who do drag, so you’d probably not think of that as masculine, but some of them do it with full beards and shaven or not, I wouldn’t want to be up against them in a fight, especially if they were in heels.
I spoke to the masc 4 masc guy a bit more, and we swapped a few photos, which is when he came out with “ Cool. Was worried because your hair doesn’t make you look that masculine, but your dick looks pretty good.”
Which, incorrect comments about my freaking awesome mohawk aside, this is quite comforting, I guess. Y’know, it’s good to know I have a masculine penis.
Which, really, should be up there with “That’s a wet ocean” or “she’s a racist Brexit supporter”, but apparently not. (For the record, I don’t send dick pics - I like to keep a little something back for the honeymoon.)
I did get a bit distracted at this point, and started wondering what a not-particularly masculine penis would look like - would it be fine for three-quarters of the length, but the last bit just hangs limply, like an effete wrist? Maybe the end of it looks like Kenneth Williams’ face in the middle of saying ‘oooh matron!’ And if you had an effeminate penis, would you need to sculpt your pubes into a moustache and beard to be taken seriously?
To me, it seems to be a lack of security in themselves and their sexuality that leads some men to look for ‘masculine’ partners only. As if, somehow, having sex with men is fine, as long as they’re MANLY men. Because it’s less ‘gay’ to have sex with a manly man, perhaps?
Which is kinda backwards really, because I’ve seen the same people who put ‘masc 4 masc’ justify it with “Because if I wanted to have sex with a girl, I’d be straight. Lol.”
So, you want to have sex with ‘straight-acting’ men, because that makes you feel more manly? That doesn’t make any sense at all!
And that’s skipping right over concept of ‘straight-acting’ - I’m not even going to dignify that one with a response.
Maybe it’s comforting to know that this friction between the ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ camps (hah, camps) in gay culture has been going on forever - for example, at the very first rally commemorating the one year anniversary of the Stonewall Revolution
(Not a riot - a revolution. A riot is mindless violence born of a feeling of powerlessness, a revolution is an event that changes things. And god, have things changed since then.)
Anyway. At the very first rally to commemorate one year since Stonewall, the very first Pride, before Pride was even a thing, thousands of gay men and women congregated in New York with a united cause. Which all went tits up (or beards down, I guess…) pretty much immediately,
as one group blamed all of the femme gays and butch lesbians for ‘giving us all a bad name’ and ruining it for the rest of us, while the other side said that being so heteronormative was as bad as being in the closet, as there was no point in being out if you couldn’t live your truth and express yourself…
And here we are, almost 50 years on, still having that same fight. The edges have softened a bit, I suppose, with the whole ‘metrosexual’ movement a few years ago, that made it ok for men to care a little about their appearance without being considered to be ‘girly’, and apparently there are lots more men owning cats nowadays, which is apparently a good thing, despite cats being completely pointless.
Obviously the whole idea of masculinity and femininity doesn’t sit only with the gay community - all children are forced into gender roles from a young age - girls get dolls to play with, boys get action figures. It’s essentially the same thing, a little plastic person, but in the eyes of society, it’s more acceptable for a girl to play with the pretty, long-haired one.
I remember once, on a TV show, a young girl sad that she couldn’t play with something, because it wasn’t a girl’s toy. Her mum handed it to her and said “If a girl is playing with it, it’s a girl’s toy”, which really stuck with me as an enlightened way to approach that sort of thing. That was on Roseanne, in the 80s, and we’re still struggling to grasp this whole idea, 30 years later.
This whole thing is very complex, and I’m far too stupid to work it out. I am but an idiot, istting in a cupboard talking to himself. I think next time someone asks me if I’m masc, I’ll just have to be honest and say AAAA I DON’T KNOW, LET’S JUST GET DRUNK AND HAVE SEX
Maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe the idea of masculinity is something simpler, like enjoying violence and explosions rather than admitting to having feelings, or not thinking with your firsts. It certainly explains why we can see graphic shootings, stabbings, death and suffering on TV but god forbid we see two men share a single kiss…
It used to be a very masculine thing to get a tattoo, as they hurt quite a bit and getting through it was a sign of being able to stand the pain to the point where it almost starts to feel good. What could be more manly than enjoying pain?
Which you’d think would make being a bottom at least as masculine as being a top - if you’ve ever entertained a visitor via the tradesman’s entrance, you’ll know that can hurt like hell at the same time feel really good… Or so I’m told. I’m far too girly to ever take a dick. Wait...