So, you know when you were in college, pursuing your degree and your your cool gang, and all that cafeteria fun and dressing up and absolutely no fucking studies at all! How you wished to get out of that shithole and when you finally got out, you just want it all again. Yeah that’s me. I miss the college days.
I remember one day, my friend Vaishnavi asked me “why don’t I just get a bike, grow more beard and be all hunky.” I said “I’m cool” but she continued “imagine yourself all hunky and you just enter the gate on your bike and all the girls and boys are looking at you and then you remove your sunglasses and go to gym, you are like this silent, intense guy who gives absolutely no fucks ouh so manly!” and that’s what bothered me! Why am I needed to be manly? I mean I have a penis and hell lotta body hair and I don’t have boobs… I qualify for a man. Why do I need to be all intense and masculine to prove that I am a man?
Actually, this very definition of “Man” has bothered me since years. When a child is born, their room is either blue or pink but never purple, girls are told to behave like girls, to sit straight, to not spread legs, to not be too bossy, to not get too angry, to learn the chores, to learn how to cook, to not swear and then there’e society that tells them to not to be slutty, not to be too prude, to not reveal but also don’t conceal so much and it feels like men have it better since a lot of things that are compulsory for women is an exception for men. Of course, he gets to be bossy but if he’s not then he’s soft, weak. He gets to be angry but when he cries, he just can’t HANDLE it. Of course he gets to spread his legs, but when he crosses his legs, thigh to thigh, with his right hand on the chin, he’s too gay. He gets to swear but when he doesn’t say Madarchod (motherfucker) he’s too well raised. He gets to leave his top buttons undone, lurk on girls, fuck around as much as he want which BASICALLY qualifies for slut but he gets celebrated for it. On the other hand, when he is exactly opposite of that, doesn’t have chest hair, is gay or straight and cold, and chooses to save himself until he finds the one, he is just not man enough.
I’m not victimizing Men at all, nobody’s at blame here. Actually this is not who we choose to be. Now that you have heard me rambling about it you don’t wanna be the person who judges a man like that, do you? This is called cultural conditioning. A lot of my friends have heard me talking about it time to time. You are told certain unnecessary, toxic and unhealthy, ancient things since your childhood and you believe it without questioning. And by the time you are an adult, that’s what is reality for you. It becomes your basic way of thinking, a box that everyone around you should fit in and if they don’t that’s where the judgements are passed on. That’s why arranged marriages are a norm in India, single unmarried moms are looked down upon, premarital sex is a taboo, being gay is a trend, man showing emotions publically is frowned upon. And when you know that these things are chill, you just don’t believe them. Cultural conditioning is deep rooted, very deep that I actually related to this Tumblr thread.
I saw a girl, in shorts and a tank top, on her scooter late in the evening and quickly without thinking I said ” what the fuck! Shouldn’t she be like cover more skin and pull her legs a little closer because this place is not safe for her!” And then in the matter of seconds I was disgusted with myself “why the fuck she needs to change? She can wear what she want, it’s people who need to change their thinking” and the infamous Tumblr post told me that the my first relapse is cultural conditioning and the second liberal thought is who I choose to be.
A man is very personal. He wants to be masculine. He doesn’t show emotions. He wants to be strong. He is comfortable being angry in public. He is not comfortable crying in public. He talks about that funny incident in college, cracks jokes with his guy Friends, calls them “brothers” but he thinks it’s not necessary they should know he’s worried about something, he’s anxious, he’s body conscious, he’s depressed. Nope. He will figure things out on his own or go far where it’s unbearable or worse let it consume him. His father told him to man up, taught him how to build fence, to drive, to shave, to dress up in a suit for occasions and not to come crying home when he gets bullied, to not cry at all, to try hard not to be girly, to be strong and not break, how people depend on him and their strength comes from you But his father never realized how being a “Man” for all these years has hurt him. How many times he wanted to speak his mind and heart with his friends and how every time when he didn’t, he gulped down his words with a smile and a “no nothing, forget it” How many times he felt alone and believed this is what it is.
Apparently I’m no different. My childhood was a little hard. I mean whose isn’t? Before puberty hit me my voice was … feminine. I used to think it’s because I’m gay. All that teasing, muffled laughs by my “friends” and even by my brothers and father made me wish if I was normal. Made me think why I am not like other boys. And after that till second year in engineering college everytime someone casually called me “girl”, I felt it. I tried hard not to be like a girl until after a year I questioned what the fuck. It didn’t seem logical anymore. I realized that this isn’t me. And then I stopped. Then a year later in last year, as I was forced out of closet and again I wanted everyone to think I’m still a man though I prefer men. I started drinking more than I usually did. I marched with too religious people, chanting slogans with an orange flag (my friends still laugh about it saying they can’t even imagine me in the scenario) I tried weed for the first time under the same notion.
Today, and I won’t say I don’t struggle, I don’t try to be man anymore. I simply just try to be Human. I share my feelings with my friends. I cry when I feel like it. I wax my legs with my sister without worrying if that made me less of a man. I am composed when I wanna be with myself and I’m extra when I’m too excited. I simply look at every work as a task without gender classifying them. I leave my top buttons undone and flex in the gym and drink beer with my guys and watch Legally Blonde at home with my sister. I constantly check if I am allowing my friends to be at ease with me about their feelings and emotions too because while I’m honest with myself I can still be refusing my friends to do the same mentally and be unaware about it.
Being a man simply means that you have different body structure, different genitals, and you can pee while standing. That’s it. It doesn’t mean you need to puff your chest and strut your hands out all the time. It doesn’t mean suffering alone. It doesn’t mean your male friends are just there for fun stuff. What it means today is simply saying no to the toxic masculinity that’s been prevailing through generations and also saying yes to your feminine side. Because that’s when you are gonna soar up in the sky.