First off, thank you so much to everyone who read and responded to my last post. Turns out it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. TIMING: My gift, my curse. You have all been fantastic–brave in sharing stories, wonderfully supportive, and just plain great. So thanks.
If you’re new around here, I tend to talk about gender stuff more often than brain/body stuff, but I also tell stories and make jokes and get angry for silly reasons. Today I’m going to do gender, but from a different angle–a shout-out to my guys.
I have some fantastic male friends. The co-founders of my theatre company are all guys. I have male friends from grade school, male friends from college, male friends from studying in Delhi and from the Berkshire Theatre Festival and from random jobs and male friends I met after I moved to Chicago. I love it. I love being able to get spine-crushing hugs, to get various points of view on whatever I’m dealing with, and the chance to build my friendships based on personality and not gender.
I talk a lot about the male gaze and privilege and things that make me uncomfortable hereabouts, but I know that my guy friends are just like me–young people born into a certain body, in a certain socioeconomic class, at a certain time. They’re not trying to make the women they know into objects, just like I don’t judge them based on what they earn and how stoic they can be. And I wanted to just take a moment to say hello to them and that I think that some cultural and societal pressures on men, just like some cultural and societal pressures on women, really suck.
I’m very lucky to know many men who, though they may struggle with questions of self-expression and vulnerability and admitting weakness, are able to talk honestly with me, are able to let me know what’s really going on with them and don’t follow a cycle of bottle-up and explode. I’m so proud of the men I know who don’t worry very much about being perceived as gay, because they don’t see a problem with that, even if they’re strictly lady-likers. I’m pretty sure that isn’t easy.
One of the smartest things I’ve done with my (still growing, hint hint) collection of monologues about gender was opening it up to anyone. I’ve gotten some very thoughtful pieces from, so far, just the strict binary sides. Please, if anyone else has something they want to say, shoot me an email or a Facebook message or a private comment. At some point, I want to contribute a finished, thorough, considered work about gender to the people of the…apartment, at least, let’s start with that and work outward.
I don’t have a ton of jokes or big points to make other than: Dear guys, I think you’re great, I hope I never make you feel crappy when I get upset about my own gender stuff, and I’d love to hear more about what it’s like to be you. Plus my rates are WAY lower than the average therapist’s. Sometimes you don’t even have to buy me a beer.