Jordan Gray says that the world is becoming increasingly open to a new definition of what it means to be a man. The biggest difference? How we treat men’s emotionality.
I was having a conversation with a close friend recently when he posed the question to me…
“Is the world really ready for emotional men?”
There are so many factors playing into this question (and answer), but I will gladly venture in and lay open this topic.
First of all, yes, I do believe that the world is becomingly increasingly ready for emotional men.
But I think it is currently a small percentage of people that can actually handle it.
I believe the level to which emotional men are truly accepted is the same level to which women who are comfortable being sexual is currently accepted.
Are women who are overtly sexual accepted by the majority of the world? No, absolutely not. I wish it were different but double standards abound, and slut-shaming is still very real.
Similarly, while the number of men who are “coming out” as being emotionally attuned is increasing, I would argue that only a small percentage of them feel like they have a safe container in which to be their authentic, emotional selves.
When it comes to this matter, I am certainly speaking from personal experience.
I have had people tell me my entire life that I am too emotional, sensitive, moody, or chaotic in my personality.
I have never really fit the traditional stereotypes of being a “guys’ guy”. At all. I know next to nothing about cars, I have no interest in watching team sports, and beer has always been a really boring drink to me.
When my male peers were bragging about how many women they had recently slept with, I was brimming with pride (internally) that I had helped my girlfriend have such a deep and releasing orgasm that it made her cry. Because to me, THAT was the feather in my cap. The fact that I could hold such a deep emotional space for someone filled me with pure joy. And not from an egoic “I made her do that” kind of way, but a permeating sense of gratitude and honour that I was trustworthy enough that she could fully open herself to me.
Want further proof? I talk to people about their emotions, love lives, and sexual activity for a living. Far from car parts and spreadsheets, I measure the success of my week by the tears that my clients shed.
Despite being a highly sensitive/emotional male, I have had girlfriends since I was twelve years old.
My exes could make the case that I was archetypically/energetically masculine in certain ways (in bed and in my work ethic) and archetypically/energetically feminine in other ways (conversationally and in my heightened sense of emotional awareness and intuition).
And yet, I always had girlfriends. And not just any girlfriends. I had deeply intuitive, intelligent, socially calibrated, stunning women who most any hetero man would be proud to call his lover.
So, exhibit A…. me.
In any free market economy, the creators provide what people are looking to buy.
And one of the biggest shifts that I have seen in our modern world versus even 10-15 years ago is the type of male protagonists that are being presented in mainstream media.
The leading men in films like I Love You Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Neighbors, and The 40 Year Old Virgin buck the trend of old-school traditional masculinity and have reflected back what modern men are growing into.
Instead of the stiff-upper-lip, never-let’em-see-you-sweat backslapping ways of the masculinity of yesteryear, we have leading men who show uncertainty, nervousness, grief, and worry. Instead of challenging their friends, they encourage them. Instead of suppressing emotions, they’re expressing emotions.
And while these films are undoubtedly meant to be comedies, the fact that they so consistently portray more emotionally expressive male protagonists says something about the current state of masculinity.
Is Everyone Ready For Emotional Men?
So if I am arguing that these emotional men not only exist but are starting to be embraced by the women who love them, is every woman ready to embrace these kinds of emotionally attuned men?
No. Definitely not.
And again, I would put it at a very similar level to which modern men completely embrace and love women who are overtly and comfortably sexual beings.
Who IS Ready For Emotional Men?
The short answer: women who have done their work.
In my personal experience and the experience of my collective client base, the women who have looked at themselves, their short-comings, and worked through their own past emotional pain are the ones who can best hold space for emotional men.
Why is this?
Well, I’ll use a different example to illustrate my point.
When a casual acquaintance asks me if they can “pick my brain over coffee” and I tell them that if they’re looking for free coaching I already have a full calendar and they’ll have to pay my rates like everyone else, it is confronting for them. Why? Because people with weak personal boundaries are intimidated by (or envious of) those with strong personal boundaries. They think “I find it excruciatingly difficult to say no to people… so why do you get to do it so easily?” Similarly, in my experience and the experience of my clients, it’s the women who have a heightened sense of their own emotional process (and the allowing of that process to occur without judging it) that are infinitely more comfortable and loving with their male partner’s emotional process. They think “I appreciate and love it when he carries me through tough times, and I want to be able to offer him that same gift.”
Also, as a total generalization, the kind of people that attend Burning Man, men’s/women’s retreats, meditation classes, or self-development seminars are the kinds of people that I’m talking about. The people who are proactive in their journey inwards. The people who are comfortable digging into their own belief systems and limiting thought patterns. The people who have walked up to their personal demons and stared them right in the face. These people, who have been through a lot and worked through a lot, are the ones who can comfortably sit with their partner through their grieving/stress/anxiety/emotionality.
Who ISN’T Ready For Emotional Men?
People who are closed off to their own emotionality.
People that have emotional demons hiding in their dark mental attic and are afraid or unwilling to go up there with a flashlight to see what’s lurking around.
The people who resent anything in their partners (be it their personal boundaries, their emotionality, or their sexuality) are the people who have yet to integrate those things in themselves.
So if you are an emotional person and you can’t seem to find a partner who will accept you as you are, you might need to look in the mirror and work on accepting yourself first.
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