Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt
Here comes Jane, y’know she’s sporting a chain
Same hair, revolution
Same build, evolution
Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss
And they love each other so
Closer than you know, love each other so
The Replacements, Androgynous
Last night, sitting in the bar over cocktails, my honey and I had a very interesting discussion about gender roles.
Its been an ongoing discussion recently, as he feels, sometimes, that he is not masculine enough for me. In some ways, I find that pretty amusing as I am not typically feminine myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a woman and I revel in my feminine sexuality, but at the same time I have some distinctly masculine characteristics as well. I have always figured that both of us being atypical for our gender was a strength in our relationship: a significant part of why we work together.
So we were talking about attraction, and what characteristics turn our heads. For me, currently, I find that every time I see a guy with a shaved head I tend to do a double take. If he is also well built (I like guys that are well toned but also slender, especially through the hips), wearing something sleeveless, and (gods help me) lightly tattooed, I am smitten. Mm mmm good. Unfortunately, none of those characteristics perfectly fit my boy. I have on occasion pointed out individuals that caught my eye and he has insisted that, in fact, those have been almost his opposite. I disagree, but that is neither here nor there.
As we talked, we started exploring modifying characteristics. For example, I really do not like guys that are shorter than I am. I also don’t like guys that are dramatically taller than I am. I described it as ‘seeking equals: I want someone a little taller, a little stronger, a little tougher and more masculine than I. Thinking about that, it occurred to me that as it happens, all of the shaved-head-hotties that I have pointed out have been my own height or slightly shorter. At which point we jumped on that as perhaps significant. Could it be that if I see an attractive guy that is a little less than I in some way, that he can ‘make up for it’ by being a little more something else?
The conclusion we finally came to is that each of us seeks out lovers that are a certain distance away from us on the masculine/feminine scale: ie I want someone more masculine than I – but only a little more. Others want a larger gulf: I can imagine 6’4 manly men with 5′ slight and submissive women. Perhaps we also are able to adjust our own behavior slightly in one direction or another to accommodate lovers that are not quite ideal, but close. But at the end of the day, it is really the divergence between two individuals, rather than a fixed value, that determines if it can work or not.
Interestingly, as I think back over the relationships I have had in my life, I recognize that a number of the guys I have been close to have chosen to show me more ‘sensitive’ side than most of their other friends and lovers had ever seen. Some, in fact, to a rather extreme degree. Thinking on this, I have to wonder if that was their response to my reaching out for an equal. It was, perhaps, the one way that they could comfortably become more ‘feminine’ for me without compromising their own sense of self.
Or perhaps this is all over analyzed. But in any case, it was an interesting discussion.
(Originally posted August 19, 2006)