My Masculinity

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Nine

My masculinity rolled down the stairs—disembodied—wondering, where am I, what year is it? It Googled, “masculinity.” Scanning an article in Vanity claiming masculinity took the author’s virginity, offended them at a bar, ruined their childhood/workplace/Instagram, was responsible for The Patriarchy, etc. It read three billion comments the article generated: venomous accounts high-fiving points brought up by the author and other commentors. My masculinity felt awful. “One of them days,” it said, shuffling to the breakfast table. A single Froot Loops fell from the box ricocheting the bowl. “And he expects a woman to fix it,” it quoted the article. “What’s more pathetic than a masculine man? Literally any who’s sick!” it quoted again. It cried, then slapped itself for crying. “Idiot,” it said, donning a coat to find breakfast. A lesbian couple in “I He(ART) Boobs” hoodies shouted “Ughhh!” and started making out as my masculinity passed. It frowned. “What’s a matter, hating your ex all by yourself today handsome?” a woman in business attire asked. “One of them days,” it said, passing to the other end of the street in an attempt to be less offensive, colliding with an attractive goth wearing tight-fitting chainmail armor. “Perv,” she spat, flipping the bird. “Thank god,” it said, running for a sign that read, “Bagels.” The shop had high ceilings and various pipes for decoration. Two baristas rolled their eyes as my masculinity approached. “Hi, ugh, can I please have a bagel with cream cheese and small coffee, please?” “Great, another fake “woke” misogynist.” “Look, wait. I’m sorry—I just…” “Get out of here with that fake virtue signaling,” a cook shouted from the kitchen, “order up!” “It’s just a less nefarious form of toxic masculinity,” the barista added. Other employees and patrons joined in. Clutching the everything bagel, my masculinity ascended stairs ending in one of those roofs with millions of pebbles you see on TV. My masculinity crunched to the edge, looked over the sea of buildings, squinting all the way to white caps on the ocean beyond. It dropped the bagel, which swooshed in a feather-like fall. “This is it,” it said. “No one wants me. Maybe it’s better if I’m gone.” It spread its arms because it seemed like something you should do. “One,” it said. “Two.” My masculinity stepped—right before the committing whoosh, it heard, “Stop!!!” It rocked back, teetering for balance. It was the lesbians. The woman in chainmail burst past them. “Don’t do it,” she gasped. “Yea, please don’t,” the baristas said in unison, almost slipping on the pebbles. “I…I don’t understand.” “We need you.” “Yea,” the author in Vanity said, “we are a reaction. In a way, you’re our father.” Exactly,” said a barista, “without you, we wouldn’t exist, or keep existing. But without us, neither would you. We are your mother—THE Mother. You are The Father. And unless we all react by not reacting—which, let’s be honest, will never happen—the worst in both of us will keep on keeping on, forever.” My masculinity smiled, nodding as the camera slowly zoomed in like that GIF. It farted, and everyone laughed. The pebbles vibrated and into the sky they all floated. The camera tilting, doing a single rotation. One by one, each of the dots vanished or were swallowed by sunlight.

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