Hello there hetero men, I’ve got a question for you. If you were on a vacation with some male friends and had a choice between sleeping in a bed with one of your friends and sleeping on a cold, uncomfortable floor, which would you choose?
Carlos Andrés Gómez made some interesting points about that scenario in his post, “Straight Guy in Bed With Another Man” on The Good Men Project. He talks about his experience traveling abroad and how, despite considering himself “one of those groundbreaking, ‘post-gender’ dudes who’d be able to share a bed with another guy and not have it be a big deal,” he had some insomnia-inducing anxiety about sharing a bed with his best friend.
“I thought about the source of all of this anguish produced by simply sharing a bed with another man. I thought of the sometimes subtle but mostly heavy-handed ways in which I had been socialized to be repulsed by anything even suggestive of male intimacy or affection…”
He recognized that he was influenced by a societal norm that had shaped his views about intimacy between males. The only way he was able to get past it was to admit he wasn’t immune from the socialization of men, even though he considered himself to be an accepting person.
“Let’s say you see two men kissing and you catch yourself wince or make a face. Or your little brother reaches to hold your hand and you instinctively pull away…like I did. I catch myself doing things like that all the time, which is promptly followed by the dread, shame, and horror of realizing I have a long way to grow.”
Similar socialization happens to women, so it’s something that we all can likely relate to. Recognizing that these systems exist is a crucial step in the process of trying to understand how subtle influences make up our reality, and then how to change the parts you don’t like.
“Am I suggesting you start sharing a bed with your best friend? No, not necessarily, that’s not the point of this piece. Consider it a metaphor for the ways we’ve been brainwashed as men and the work that needs to be done to be freed from it …That’s what this is really about. Embracing the fact that we have so much more to offer this world and making it a point to not allow this constrained ‘man box’
to contain who we are.”
Check out the full story here