Straight men tragically reveal the things they miss out on for fearing of looking gay, like… having friends, emotions and personal hygiene

Men took to reddit to describe the things they feel they're missing out on in fear of being labelled "gay". (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)

Straight men have revealed a few of the things they’d dabble in if it weren’t considered “gay” or “unmanly” and they range from aggressively homosexual acts, such as having friends, to irreducibly feminine hobbies, such as, uh, washing their butts.

Men do a lot of strange things. They re-create “tingly” mint-flavoured condoms by masturbating with toothpaste in the shower. They also masturbate with banana peels.

Men also refuse to do a lot of things because, you know, masculinity. Wearing face masks. Carrying reusable bags. Watching sunsets. Sitting in comfortable chairs. Carry cats in dating app photos. Drink fruity cocktails. Er, washing their genitals.

Researchers and mental health activists have increasingly sought to stress how harmful toxic masculinity is to not only men themselves, but wider society.

Writing in the Reddit forum, /r/AskReddit, one user asked the many men on this forsaken lump of rock lithely floating around in the void of space a simple question: “What are the things every man should at least try even though they are stigmatised as ‘gay’ or ‘unmanly’?”

Straight men explain what they feel makes them look ‘gay’ and yup, it’s what you expect. 

As a Reddit user eloquently summarised: “Going to the spa. D**k or no d**k, we all deserve to be pampered every once in awhile.”

“Over the age of 30 or so, having friends and doing things with them,” another user added.

“Most people I know, if they have friends at all, they’re either work buddies, or family get-togethers. But a couple of guys being friends and leaving the wives to go on a camping trip, et cetera. just seems weird.”
Dozens of men expressed how, throughout the lockdown measures enforced to contain the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve relished in being able to dip into skincare without fear of reproach.

“Yo,” a user wrote, “since quarantine, I’ve been doing face masks, using a tinted sunscreen, using a CeraVe face wash, using actual shampoo and conditioner (not the combo garbage).”

He added: “I’ve literally never felt better about my appearance. I’m sure I look the same, but just doing something makes me feel like I’m in control and am helping.”

A lot of guys made barbed digs at the way in which skincare products are usually marketed towards men. “Instead of just ‘here is moisturiser, you need to use this to not have sh***y skin problems’,” one user said, “it’s always ‘ULTRA FACE SHEILD TO THE F***ING MAXIMUM’ or ‘PRO SUPER POWER GLIDE RAZOR BLADES FOR SHAVING YOUR MANLY FACE’.”

“Also, every products smells the same,” a Redditor reflected, “the smells are blue, grey and POWER.”

Some users said they missed sewing, others manicures and pedicures. Massages, keeping a diary, “washing your ass”, “thinking, talking about and understanding your emotions”, “seeing a therapist” and, of course, using a bidet were tossed around by the men.

And one user called “PunchBeard” rather prophetically said: “Don’t ‘Not Try Something’ because you’re afraid of seeming unmanly. Worrying about how ‘Manly’ you appear to the world is actually the least manly thing you can do.”

Good point, PunchBeard.

Toxic masculinity is literally toxic, causing health problems for men in later life.

While we do joke here, many of the Reddit guys’ fears touch off a culture of toxic masculinity that continues to imbue the lives of men. Studies have shown just how snarling the pressure for men to “autonomous and not showing a lot of emotion”.

The American Psychological Association (APA) previously said it also includes “emotional stoicism, homophobia, not showing vulnerability, self-reliance, and competitiveness”.

Masculinity, the researchers at Michigan State University said, is a spectrum. The higher men were ranked on the masculinity scale, they said, the lower the rate at which the men would seek help when needed or change their views.

Professor Stef Shuster said: “Often, toxic masculinity is a term that we use to describe how masculinity affects other people, especially women.

“But our study shows how toxic masculinity also has detrimental consequences for the men who subscribe to these ideals.

“The very premise of hegemonic masculinity in some ways is based on the idea of isolation because it’s about being autonomous and not showing a lot of emotion. It’s hard to develop friendships living this way.”