By most standards, even the pleasantly flexible ones by which the modern world approaches pronouns, I am a human man.
I am almost 30 years old. I have the broad shoulders, larger skull, and other physical accoutrements Wikipedia tells me an average adult ape-beast should maybe have. I am also acutely aware of my eligibility for the papacy (pro), and the shortened life expectancy (con) and participation in various social, political and cultural crimes (con) that as a member of this rarified club, to which only 48% of all humans belong, I have access.
And yet from the outside, something, I suppose, looks a little off.
Because if I am a 'Man' - let alone a HuffPost Man - why do I spend my time playing with toys for a living? Why are two of the three tabs on my browser open to Lego.com? Why do I so enjoy watching cartoons featuring comical dogs and signing up for pointless feats of strength? And why am I holding, as I write this blog, a lime-green NERF SlingFire Anti-Zombie shotgun - in the office?
Why have I not 'grown up'?
Now, at this point this blog should (and in previous drafts did) spin off into an expectations-reality comparison, and end with some kind of shot at magazines like GQ and Esquire.
(The latter of these is, by the way, is sort of swimming in a barrel in a homemade fish costume today by featuring a homepage mix of Benedict Cumberbatch in tweed, Patrick Bateman, an article called "Watches To Invest In RIGHT NOW" and exclusive photos of a new Mercedes. That said I cannot fairly criticise Esquire, having once, in a previous life, actually edited a men's website which was similar, but with a much lower budget and a zombie fixation. Also they published this demolition of the classic bucket list article, which made me chuckle.)
But I'm not going to do that. Because the answer to all of my rhetorical questions above is simple.
It might be beneficial for the purposes of churning out this blog post to pretend otherwise, but the fact is I face no real daily moral or philosophical quandary about my masculinity.
I have no concerns about my adherence or not to Esquire's vision of the ideal psychopath. I don't care who knows that I like Adventure Time and Mario Kart, riding a scooter (human powered) to work, finger-painting and sitting in baths full of pink flowers and oils. Lego is cool, baths are amazing, scooters are fast and fun and practical, and either way I'm going to die one day, so go to hell.
Yes, it is true that in my younger days I may have worried more about 'becoming a man', being a 'good guy' or a 'decent bloke'. I may have once worried vaguely about whether my chosen career, clothes or beard softener was the one Esquire would have recommended I get RIGHT NOW. And I might - between the age of about 18 and 24 - hidden away my Lego, out of sight, and not just because my nieces or nephews might mess it up.
But the fact is, I just don't care anymore.
It is also true that as a white, middle-class man, who is thus playing life on the equivalent of easy mode with the cheats turned on, it's hardly any great act of revolt to stand up and shout "I reject the optional, largely positive implications of my de facto advantage!".
I can't help that, though.
All I can do is live my life in what seems to be to a moral and positive way. And it really is true that the only male role-models in my life that have ever meant anything to me - whether those to whom I am either genetically related, who embody some professional or personal quality to which I aspire, or who appear on the cover of Andrew WK's album I Get Wet (IE, Andrew WK) are not my role models because of their gender. They are role models because they are, or pretend to be in public, kind, honest and brave people.
As I approach 30, I can honestly say that is the only criteria on which I judge anyone - male, female or otherwise.
And those are the only criteria on which I am prepared to be judged - as a man, woman, or otherwise, by anyone else.Suggest a correction