I like to act like I am a macho guy.
In a lot of ways I play the part, facial hair, very often a full beard, I weigh 250 pounds, I drank craft beer long before it was a thing, back when I was called a beer snob by everyone I know that now loves to hang out at Hopcat and drink North Peak, I drink good whiskeys with a splash of water and bad ones on the rocks, I’ve been in rock bands, I’ve tagged half dozen broken down structures in Detroit, I know how to fire a gun and a bow and arrow and I’m good at it, I have a high tolerance for pain, I don’t tend to complain, blah blah who cares.
But I think all of you who know me know that I’m more of the sensitive creative type that wanted to be an artist but didn’t have the talent for it. I’m nerdy about almost everything I show the slightest interest in. I like sci-fi books and subtitled films, I like to go to the theater and see a musical, and I don’t mind admitting that I balled like a baby a half dozen times during Toy Story 3. I’m a good listener, and people tend to open up to me.
I feel like a small man, I always have. Most of my friends are much taller than me, even if I weigh considerably more. My hands and feet are pretty average but they must look small on me for some reason, because I get comments about my small hands and feet more than seems possible. When I sit in my car I often have little moments where I feel small, like I’m still 17 and 135 pounds. It happens weekly.
I think my view of myself as being small really affects my life. I’m not aggressive, mainly because I feel like I would be easily taken down. I don’t force my way around in crowds. I always relinquish my place on the sidewalk when walking towards someone. I just feel like I am still a kid, even though by most counts I am a large man. I actually tell myself ‘Steve, you have 50 pounds on everyone in this room, no one is going to mess with you’ pretty often.
I find myself, when I am around slightly younger people especially, sort of show boating my masculinity. Someone hands me a shitty beer and I’ll chug it and throw the can back at them before they can walk away. I’ll try to throw a baseball or a Frisbee harder and farther than everyone else. I’ll tell stories about my glory days as a youth and the incredible feats I was able to accomplish. Stories no one can keep up with, like getting gloriously drunk in an Irish Pub in Paris and walking or miles, or refusing to pay for hotels as I visited Italy and Germany and just sleeping on benches in parks or train stations. They are well rehearsed stories because I go to them so often to prove how manly I am.
I view myself as a safe guy. I have never gotten into any kind of trouble, at all ever. I have never even done anything that could have gotten me into trouble. And I think that is part of viewing myself as small.
People tend to like people not like me. They like the big stories, the funny jokes, the uber masculinity. People want to be around successful people, smart people, accomplished people. And none of that is me. At least, none of that is how I view myself.
I like to act like I am a macho guy, because I think it is what people want. But it just isn’t me.