I'm a big softie. There, I finally admitted it. I often present myself as stern, tough and rigid, like a real life Brawny or Marlboro man. Those are the men I want to be. Those are the men others expect me to be, but what I'm actually am is far different. I'm Mr. Softie.
A softie is not what I envisioned myself being. All my life I wanted to be a toughie, but for better or worse, a softie is just who I am. I've become very good at hiding this unpleasant fact; for me, it's become a necessity. Now, am I pretending to be someone I'm not? No, I am simply choosing to highlight other more “manlier” aspects of my persona. I've got a full personality, what can I say?
Just like former President Bill Clinton, though my feelings were legally accurate, I did not volunteer information. I indeed did have an inappropriate relationship with my feelings. It was not only inappropriate; it was wrong. I hid these aspects of my character for good reason — or what I deemed to be good reasons.
Just like growing up Kardashian, growing up male comes with certain expectations. Toughness is a virtue; being tenderhearted is not. This only escalates when males hang around each other. We're supposed to bite tree bark and grunt, and not speak openly about our hopes, dreams and feelings.
And if we do speak about our feelings, it comes at the expense of intimacy. For the most part, conversations center around the myriad of sexual fantasies running through our heads … and there better not be any candles and rose petals in those fantasies. That would be “girly.”
On a side note, to be completely honest, I never got the whole rose petals on the bed thing. It sounds romantic, it looks romantic, but do you actually have sex on petals? Or do you clear them off first? Pulling rose petals out of crevasses doesn't seem sexy, but let's get back on track. As teenagers, my guy friends and I spoke about sex, but never romance.
And the few times we did stumble on the subject, it was quickly desensitized, made into a joke or ridiculed. I never forget having a three-way with friends -- not that kind -- an AOL three-way chat. Ah, the good old days. My two friends and I were speaking about our female classmates … shocking right?
My friend Pete* was talking about a girl he liked. He told us how he didn't really want to sleep with her, he just wanted to hold her, to which my friend Mike* responded: “What the hell is wrong with you? Where's your TESTOSTERONE!” Yeah… that pretty much sums it up. So my softer side went into hiding… but now it's time to let it out.
I want to sing it from the mountaintops like Julie Andrews! I'm a SOFTIE!
I want to take couple selfies, I want to go mall shopping hand-in-hand, I want to go pumpkin picking! Wait… what am I saying?? Pumpkin picking is an abomination and I would rather be consumed by flesh-eating maggots than pick pumpkins. But I would totally go pumpkin picking if my girlfriend wanted to. Why? Because I'm a softie! That's why!
Being single my entire life had embittered me in ways that most people could not even imagine, but something is happening as I grow older. Instead of my heart continuing to harden, it's actually softening. I'm starting to react to things like Robert De Niro in "Analyze This." Anything sweet or mushy gets me right in the feels … like EVERY TIME! I'm too big to be like this! That's what I keep telling myself, but it's no use.
I'm a softie and I just can't hide it. Last Sunday I was at church (I'm not that religious of a guy but I do have faith.), and Father was preaching a beautiful homily about a veteran who had a problem with people of Asian descent, due to his experiences in the Korean War.
Lo and behold, his next door neighbor moved, and an Asian man would become his new neighbor. Though reluctant at first, the two men would start a friendship, forged and solidified by compassion and tragic loss. If that story wasn't beautiful enough, the pièce de resistance was about to take place. After looking down for a moment, I looked up and I saw a couple a few pews up. While intently listening to Father's story, the woman lovingly placed her head on her partner's shoulder. I must admit, that got to me.
I wanted to sheepishly say, “that's what I want,” as I let out a Kim Kardashian ugly cry. It may seem like a little thing, but for someone like me, someone who has looked for love for so long, I realize that moment was everything I want to be. So there it is: I'm a softie, but you know what? That's not a bad thing.