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“What do you have?”

“I have this floater chair that has a built in water gun in the arm rest. That thing can shoot like twelve feet and I never even have to move a muscle.”

Both the guys with the big-a-mother-gun-something-somethings looked at me like I was the pansiest little boy on the planet. All the girls in the room started laughing hysterically.

“I’d like to see that protect your girl when some jerk decides to come mug you or something,” the second guy demanded, thinking he was getting brownie points with all the ladies.

“Guns don’t scare people.” I told him. “Water does.” It was supposed to be stupid. Why any guy would think owning a big gun made him manly was beyond me. But I’ve known lots of guys who do.

The girls all laughed again. Once again it flustered the guys who really needed some validation. “Whatever, dude,” was all one of them finally said. I went back to my game of Uno with the ladies.

About six months ago, my sister realized that I always do this thing where I flick my wrist in a feminine way while I talk. She poked fun at it and I just responded, “and yet it somehow still gets all the girls.”

Four months ago, one of my best friends had a good laugh after I told him I had gone in and gotten a manicure with one of my female friends. “Dude, don’t knock it till you try it,” I told him. “Feel how smooth these bad boys are.” He wouldn’t touch my nails. To do so might be considered… <gulp> gay, I guess.

Three months ago I had two sets of friends inviting me to go out for a night on the town. One group was predominantly male, the other all female. They were both going to movies. The guys wanted to go see a shoot-em-up kill-em-dead movie. The girls wanted to see the latest romcom. The romcom looked way better to me, so I decided to go with the less manly choice. For more than an hour I was ridiculed by my guy friends before I took off to join the females. At some point toward the end I just looked at them all and said, “I just like to laugh. And I’m a romantic. What can I say.” More laughter. More teasing. My parting words were, “well, have fun with your big group of guys. I’ll be surrounded by pretty girls who think I’m the best ever.” They didn’t think that was quite as funny as I did.

Yeesh.

I always have to laugh. So many things in this world are labeled manly or masculine. Girly or feminine.

But come on…

I don’t buy it.

Things are just things. Drinks are drinks. Movies are movies. Hand gestures are hand gestures. Guns are stupid. And anybody who doesn’t like rough fingernails is entitled to have them filed down with the best of ‘em.

The truth is, I like a lot of things that are considered “unmanly.”

I also get to enjoy doing a lot of things that are considered “unmanly” because I’m not so self-conscious about whether or not whatever I’m doing makes me man enough compared to the next guy.

And I’ve figured a few things out along the way.

First, I’ve learned that the vast majority of girls think it’s more manly to do whatever the hell you want, especially when other guys are making fun of you for it. Sure there are some girls who need to have the manliest of the manly men, but that’s not exactly the kind of girl I want, so why would that matter to me?

Second, I’ve learned that there are a lot of things that guys miss out on because they’re too busy hiding behind their puffed out chests to enjoy them.

Third, I’ve learned that sometimes life is a lot better when I don’t have to do the super manly stuff. Like drink a shot of knock-ya-dead.

Finally, I’ve learned that when I’m confident and snarky about whatever “unmanly” thing that I’m doing, one of two things almost always happens. Either the other guys join in, or they shut up.

Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy me a good rat tail war with my brothers or a good sting pong fight with my friends. I enjoy doing stupid things that all guys do. Paintball. Wrestling. Football. I enjoy it all, and I can keep up with the best of the brawlers.

I’m just man enough to admit that there’s more to life than “being a man.” Like the ballet. I love me some good ballet.

Dan Pearce, The Single Dad Laughing Blog

PS. Do you buy into the whole some things are meant to be enjoyed by men, other things by women? Ladies, what is something “manly” that you enjoy doing? Guys… what is something “unmanly” that you enjoy doing? Or drinking. Or playing. Or whatever…