I like rugby, I go to bars, I go to boxing training, no bouts since I was at Uni though. All of these seem like very masculine activities, quite often I even sound like Mickey Flannagan when I talk, double busy and I’ve lifted swearing into an art form, I could take on Malcom Tucker. But as a man with a fight record of 3 fights, 3 defeats, (though never stopped) how is it that I still have to deal with many people seeing me as too feminine.
Three facts, I don’t drink, I love art and I write about female fashion.
It’s odd that being bookish, liking museums and going to history talks makes me a nerd, but those three facts above make me “effeminate”. Am I supposed to believe that I’m locked out. I’m just a working class lad but sometimes feel like a freak because of it.
If I’m out with friends locally on a Friday and there are other people there you can just know that when it gets round to what you are doing tomorrow there will be a strange luck and a mildly offensive comment that’s dripping in homophobia, because men who ain’t manly must be gay in this twisted logic.
Them – You down here tomorrow for the footie?
Me – Nah, I’m meeting a friend to see the new fashion exhibit at the V&A.
Them – You some sort of poof mate?
Weirdly the person I know that loves football, still boxes, adores a pint and a night out with the guys, smokes like a chimney, and swears like a docker.
Remember we live in a world where thousands of people abused Graeme Le Saux at Matches every week because as a footballer he dared to have an interest in paintings and read The Guardian. But what’s wrong with enjoying more than as Viz so aptly put it “A Pint And A Fight, A Great British Night”.
Lad culture is damaging, it forces people to deny their true self, it stifles their desire to pursue things they love. It creates an artificial sense of what it is to be a man. Never stand out from the crowd, always wear an ironic T-Shirt, never show emotion, always do “Banter”.
My advice is be what you want, do what you want, grow how you grow. As a dear departed friend said in one of his last pearls of wisdom, why would you want to be a sheep when you could be fabulous. Life isn’t an episode of Geordie Shore, you don’t need to be a womaniser, a boorish arse, or a hard drinker, actually it takes more strength and love of yourself to be yourself.
It also means you don’t have to do that deck shoes, no socks and rolled up trousers things that should have been left behind when my Dad finished our holiday to Greece in 1987.
I don’t care if someone judges me, I don’t care about the barbs they may throw, because I’m pretty damn awesome, and vogue and tea is a well spent Saturday.