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April 11, 2005

Comments

Ron O.

What a weird concept. I've had plenty of man-dates, but never considered them as such. The rules sound odd too. What people will go to not be considered gay is amazing. I've worked as a waiter and this never entered my mind when seeing two men dine. When the diner's sexuality was apparent it was about as pertinent as the color of thier shirt.

I shouldn't be too critical; I've been insecure about plenty of things, but avoiding dinner and just going to a bar because someone might see you and might think you are gay seems like excessive worrying about a non-issue.

Most women don't have this problem. Sounds like some men could learn something from them.

Now that I think of it the only time this did come up was when I was invited to shoot pool with a gay collegue. After I accepted, I worried that I had just led the guy on - I wasn't sure if this was a date or just shooting pool. I handled it by being honest & telling him I liked him as a friend but didn't have a romantic interest, I hope I didn't lead him on, etc. Turns out it was a date, so he was a little disappointed, but no big deal. We remained friends.

Anonymous

I understand that you are a feminist man. But I must ask, "Do you have any positive views on male masculinity?" Consistently you talk about male masculinity in a negative tone. You may not "say" negative words but your writing tone suggests otherwise. Why cant men find a balance?

Amanda

Consistently you talk about male masculinity in a negative tone.

Must....resist...can't.... Uh, "male masculinity"? The fact that it's denoted like that demonstrates we have a serious problem with understanding that being male is "masculinity" when you get down to it. But go ahead and think you're more of a man, anon, if you are scared to death that someone will think you're gay. Waste your time and energy at "masculinity" if you think it means something.

Lisa

I haven't gushed at you for a while Hugo, so I'm just going to gush. I love your blog. Love it, love it love it! Thanks for writing it, it makes me happy.

davejones

Amanda,

For the purposes of this discussion I believe masculinity would be best defined as "the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men." Some men are more masculine than other men, just as some women are more feminine than other women. Since Hugo rails against and laments typical male behavior (yup, masculinity), I think Anonymous had a fair question. But thanks for jumping to the homophobic card so early in the discussion.

Michael

      Well after reading Jennifer Lee’s article and then Hugo’s comments about it, I got to say you two certainly overcomplicate male friendship and the concept of dating.

        Ron O. already said it more or less. But “dating” has always been a term that describes at least for me, two people getting together for romantic interests. No matter the sex of each participant.Going out with a buddy for dinner and conversation, no matter how intimate, is not a date. Sharing a bottle of wine or any other “non-manly” (wine is unmanly? I’m in trouble) activity is just that, an activity. It’s silly to confuse the two.

Amanda and Anon..

       Being male doesn’t make everything you do or are masculine. Being a woman doesn’t make you feminine.  There are levels and combinations of both in most people.  One of the things that makes us all different.We all got some of both really, but  the notion of what is masculine, or the fear of appearing feminine, does cause a lot of guys to do a lot of negative things. I think that is the point that Hugo generally makes about masculinity or at least that is what I get out of it. Nothing wrong about male masculinity. Or female femininity, although they can be subjective terms.

      But I do think kids are bombarded and pressured with all sorts of messages about being masculine or feminine, but precious few of those messages really teach positive ways of being so.

      Children need positive role models and something besides the TV teaching them how to become young adults..

mythago

Whether or not it's 'silly,' there's an unspoken fear of creating that confusion, and that's what Lee's article was about. For most straight men, the consequences of being suspected of being gay are pretty serious.

Jeff

davejones:

For the purposes of this discussion I believe masculinity would be best defined as "the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men." Some men are more masculine than other men, just as some women are more feminine than other women.

The problem is that when we do this, we conflate the descriptive use of the terms "masculine" and "feminine" (i.e., "this is what men tend to be like") with the normative use ("this is what men should be like"). I suspect many of the behaviors considered "masculine" are *not* in fact exhibited by most men, but are nevertheless expected of them.

Michael:

Being male doesn’t make everything you do or are masculine.

I utterly disagree with this statement. If I, as a male, do something considered "feminine," it's not a sign that I'm less of a man; it's a sign that that activity is not innately female.

mythago

Objectively, yes. As far as social norms go, doing something that is considered 'feminine' is seen as demeaning to you and inappropriate.

Anonymous

Amanda,

I guess attacking me and my supposed sexuality makes your argument a lot stronger huh? To clear things up, I just want to say that I am not a homosexual as you presume. I wish you you wouldn't focus on the word "Masculinity."

I simply wanted to say (and should have said a lot clearer)is that as men we need to take both the positives of Masculinity (there are some) and the positives of feminism.

The word I was hoping you would focus on was BALANCE. I think we as men(heterosexual or not) need to have a balance in both aspects to become "whole" men. I apologize if I offended. That was not my intent. I hope this clarifies.

mythago

I just want to say that I am not a homosexual as you presume

Why was it important to point this out? Would it matter if you were?

davejones

Jeff,

If "the behaviors considered "masculine" are *not* in fact exhibited by most men", Hugo would spend most of his time blogging about chinchillas and bike shorts.

Ron O.

I think the fear of the consequences is far greater than the actual consequences. I don't give a damm if someone thinks I'm straight, gay or bi. So what. It's noone's business but those I'm intimate with. I've faced some consequences when people have made an issue of their assumption. All they did for me was reveal their rotten character.

Anonymous

Why was it important to point this out? Would it matter if you were?

Amanda,

No it is not. Again, you did not focused on the BALANCE. I guess for a feminist it is really difficult to think that there can actually be a good man who has both positive aspects of "masculinity" and "femininity." But that's ok, keep deciphering the other words. I guess ignorance is bliss.

mythago

Amanda,

I'm not Amanda. And again, if it's not important whether you're gay or straight, why did you feel it was so important to point it out? Throwing a silly tantrum that feminists can't imagine a certain kind of man (irony check--stat!) isn't an answer.

Ron, it depends a lot on where you are and who you are. If you're in a conservative part of the country, or if your workplace is very 'traditional,' then the consequences--even if they aren't actual violence--can be pretty negative.

ScottM

It's annoying, if nothing else. For quite a while I was harassed by neighborhood kids, who spontaneously decided I was gay. [For clarity: I was a 25-30 year old, the kids were 8-14 or so] It was difficult; while it's not (in the abstract) an insult, it was clearly intended to be.

I never did find a good solution; ignoring them decreased but didn't eliminate the jeers, toneless correction was ignored. I hate to dismiss/ ignore kids, since that's all too common, but I did. I wonder if there's a better solution.

Glen

I need men as friends. I routinely eat breakfast with a couple of men from church, either several of us or with any one of them at a time. I would use the word date as a synonym for appointment not with any other emotional baggage. Some men go golfing together, eating at the clubhouse. I like to go bicycling—I have a couple of buddies with whom I do this. It provides a lot of time for talking, relating, laughing, sharing the sometimes intimate details of our lives. This activity has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My wife encourages it and she has her own friends.

I guess my point is that I didn’t even know there was controversy or social stigma around it.

Mr. Bad

Glen wrote: "I need men as friends. I routinely eat breakfast with a couple of men from church, either several of us or with any one of them at a time. I would use the word date as a synonym for appointment not with any other emotional baggage. Some men go golfing together, eating at the clubhouse. I like to go bicycling—I have a couple of buddies with whom I do this. It provides a lot of time for talking, relating, laughing, sharing the sometimes intimate details of our lives. This activity has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My wife encourages it and she has her own friends."

"I guess my point is that I didn’t even know there was controversy or social stigma around it. "

Glen, there is no controversy or stigma about men behaving normally (e.g., going out on "man dates" or whatever the feminist pejorative du jour is for such things). The only people who seem to have a problem with it is feminists and others (mostly women) who are threatened by men who 1) band together, and 2) don't seek women's approval for their behavior.

To me, Ms. Lee obviously doesn't have a clue about how most normal men behave, otherwise she would have immediately understood what a silly bit of twaddle her article is.

The Gonzman

I'm curious as to why it is that those who nost frequently assert that "There is nothing wrong with being gay" are often the first to accuse someone of being a closeted homosexual in an effort to dismiss or discredit them, or to try to shame them into shutting up.

Things to make you go, "Hmmmmm."

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