Men - they - we - are taught to speak
whenever we please,
about whatever we please,
and we are generally more than pleased
to do so while interrupting women.
I have spent my life negotiating with cis straight men, in university classrooms, in legal meetings, in recording studios, at brainstorming sessions, in advertising firms, in gay bars.
I spend my time studying, and still feel the need to start every statement with "sorry but i feel like a roseis a rose" or "i think that a rose is a rose, but maybe I'm wrong" instead of saying "a rose is mine"
the way they do,
with the kind of authority you get in your voice when you've grown up being told your privilege is a birthright,
a natural extension of your cock.
I too, like the rest of us, end up on dating apps quite often.
scrolling through a grid of headless men's militarised torsos
which looks like a locker room
in the back of the school gym
in which i was never picked to be on anyone's team
in which i was too gay to shower without getting bullied
grab her by the pussy
my sex life is about negotiating with bodies adamant on becoming that which told them they were insufficient,
and I wish i could say i was above it,
but i too spend hours at the gym every week torturing my forever unresponsive body to become what I once thought my father was. sturdy bricks and concrete. jihadi martyrs and marlboro cowboys.
the affectless stench of cigarettes and stale sweat.
starve and over exercise. not the way our mothers starved, trying to fit into what little space our fathers hadn't already colonised, but rather the way gay men are supposed to, to be real men. To be desired.
My sex life is about perpetually negotiating with "no femmes, no fats, no strings attached.
masc for masc
top for top"
TOP FOR TOP
what the actual fuck does that even mean?
But boys will be boys - impenetrable -
and I have spent far too much time in long distance relationships using chatrooms as bedrooms to not feel fucked every time you send me a dick pic i didn't ask for.
Men proving that they're men
over and over again
Men playing with danger.
Men driving fast cars.
Men raping in groups, so other men can see.
Men throwing fists.
Men at war.
Men at work.
Men at the gym.
Men playing sports.
My father hated sports and so did I and there was noway in hell I was going to sit through a conversation about politics with him because I joined the communist party in college and it pissed him the fuck
off, and so he had nothing to talk to me about because what else was left to discuss? and so he spoke the only way men are taught to speak,
lockjaw rage and flared nostrils.
Like generations of men in my family, he learned to carry his heart and his words in his fists, spelling his love with bruises.
I suppose he wanted to make a man out of me.
"It's only because he cares."
I am my boyfriends first boyfriend, and so, he hasn't spent enough time dating men, who behave like men, to treat me the way men treat me. Or maybe I shouldn't try to justify, and explain him. Maybe he's just a better person than most because that's just who he is. Maybe I'm being a man by offering a one-liner to explain an entire person.
He shows me kindness,
which makes me cry
which confuses him
and I have to explain that I'm only crying because I don't deserve him,
because to the best of my knowledge love means not being good enough.
Love means not being MAN enough.
And so I cry and automatically hide my face to avoid that all too familiar chorus line: