I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of masculinity. That isn’t to say I’m uncomfortable in my own skin, but a lot of the attributes that a man “should have” are ones that I never seemed to possess. I always knew I wasn’t a “man’s man”, so to speak; I got cut from every sport I tried out for in high school, I liked to read instead of work out, and I hated conflict, so I never got in a fight. My interests fit the socially acceptable perpetuation of masculinity in that I still liked sports and tossing the pigskin around and all that, so I never felt like I was too different. I was just never the big, strong, burly, bearded man who dominated a room and did as he pleased. I thought I was comfortable in that skin, but then I received a text from a girl, one that got me thinking about masculinity and what it means. She said that she wanted to be with a man, and I was, well, me. Not a man, or at least not in the classic sense of the word. This didn’t bother me all that much at the time, since I always thought I felt indifferent to those kind of expectations. But as I thought more and more about it, I realized something disturbing. I felt afraid. I was afraid that, because I didn’t fit into the stereotype of a real man, I wouldn’t be able to do what I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to find someone to spend the rest of my life with, I wouldn’t be able to be happy. I was afraid that my true self, the person that I try to be in order to lead the life I want, wasn’t good enough. Simply because one girl said that I wasn’t a man. A state of mind brought about by society insisting that if I wasn’t going to be manly, I wouldn’t be anything at all.