It occurred to me there’s a reason why I find my husband so irresistible…and it is the same reason why I find many Asian (especially Japanese) men attractive.
My husband is confident in his masculinity without having to buy into all the tropes of what our Western culture often tells us a “real man” is or what one should look like. Often that cultural definition means he has a macho bent, is rugged looking (the typical Marlboro man vibe), drinks beer or whiskey, watches sports all the time, etc. You get the old stereotype I mean, right?
My husband does not fit any of those things, and I can assure you he is a “real man.” He’s straight edge, hates watching sports, and doesn’t adhere to macho behavior. Oh, and he’s not afraid to be romantic, either in public or private.
As for Asian men, they can dress up in androgynous clothes and perform in visual kei (ヴィジュアル系) bands looking very feminine in their makeup and wigs…but that doesn’t mean they’re not “real” men, nor does it mean they’re gay (a common snarky comment from guys who, apparently, are uncomfortable or somehow threatened by pretty men who challenge ideas of what “a real man” should look like.)
It means such male Asian performers are confident enough in their sexuality to express themselves and perform as they wish, all the while knowing who they are without feeling the need to prove that they’re “man enough” to anyone.
I, for one, am not turned off by the aesthetic of pretty men, regardless of culture. The subtle sexuality that’s hinted at beneath it all is what I look for. Creativity, an artistic bent, a love of books, a more understated energy that belies a hotter intensity at the core is what does it for me. Oh, and intelligence is essential as well.
So, the next time one of you men wants to say a guy doesn’t look or act manly enough, you better check yourself. That guy who doesn’t like football and prefers to read poetry instead might charm your woman into the bedroom and seduce her ten times to Sunday while you’re busy dissing him with your buddies.
Men come in many packages and don’t fit into tidy stereotypes—just like women. What is a “real man”? However he defines himself…not how you choose to define him.