The Truth About My Masculinity

Because my Jewishness is a little too obvious. But this I never really talk about.
  1. As far as I can tell, I am completely cis and straight. And white. As vanilla as it gets.
  2. But I am also remarkably, powerfully, and unapologetically un-masculine.
  3. I had two sisters growing up. One brother, but he was a good bit older and not as present. I got used to being around girls.
  4. In the very Jewish-y community in which I grew up, "being a man" was not so much a thing. A little, sure, but there's a rich history of the emasculation of Jewish men (on which see Daniel Boyarin's insane, brilliant book, Unheroic Conduct).
  5. Still, in grade school, middle school, and high school, my best friends were guys. They played and watched sports all the time. I spent a lot of time pretending to like sports to fit in, but I could never see the point, and I never bothered to try to play basketball, which was the big sport.
  6. When, in high school, I figured out I could be friends with girls, that was really amazing.
  7. Since deciding to major in English in college, I've been surrounded by women and gay men in almost every part of my life. Most of my mentors have been women.
  8. The classes I teach now are usually about 80% female. I really like this. And not, I hope, because I'm some sort of creep.
  9. Now that I'm married, and we live in a (bizarrely) traditional suburb, we make friends with couples and most of the time I'd much rather talk to the wife rather than the husband. But it seems I can't go out to coffee with the wife, even if I'd like to. That would weird everybody out.
  10. Happily, none of this has been a problem with my son, who's almost 5 and doesn't seem to have any hang-ups about gender yet. But I'm a little nervous about what'll happen as he gets older and his friends get more into asserting their gender.
  11. I never, ever pretend to care about sports anymore, which is fine unless I go to a barber who is not an immigrant. (I made that mistake exactly once.)
  12. A lesbian couple we're friends with once said I'm the straight guy who they feel most comfortable with. Which I really loved.