Masculinity is very stringent at times. Some people expect men to act a certain way when in reality, masculinity can mean whatever you want it to. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Unless you're this guy from a popular Reddit thread in the Today I F*cked Up Subreddit.
TIFU by wearing a shawl, which ruined my relationship with my GF
I'm 6'2 and have a pretty 'tough-guy' background in that I was in special forces a while ago, and my roommates all served as well, but I also have thin wrists and sit on my friends' laps and blow kisses to them, and sh*t. I am a pretty affectionate and, at times, effeminate dude. I'm not gay; I just am me.
So while I was in a shop with a roommate a few weeks ago, he saw these cool shawls that we both couldn't get out of our heads; he returned last weekend to buy them, and now we have these shawls. Mine makes me look like a Star Wars character, and he seems like the Outlaw Josey Wales.
The first night we wore them, everybody (mostly men) at the dive bar we went to thought they were awesome. Then this girl and her friend arrive on an invite from Shawlbro, and our sweet shawls seriously turned them off. Like, they were acting pretty weird about them and making comments. So I get a call from my GF; she's tired and wants to hang out at my place, so I bid these mean girls and Shawlbro adieu and head home.
I'm still wearing the shawl when my GF arrives, and she's also really taken aback; she won't even kiss me until I take it off. We get to do the deed and sleep the day she asks me if I'm gay. And she's really serious and aggressive about it.
I tell her I'm not, that if I were, I'd know if by now, and she counters with her primary evidence that I own a shawl. Anyway, she gets weird and leaves, and then sends me a text later about how she's sorry and that she 'needs to think about what kind of man' she wants, and then doesn't contact me for days.
So yesterday, I invited her out, and she's stumbling over her words and talking about how she likes tough guys and how she grew up in the south and needed to get used to the Big City, but she doesn't know this or that. Eventually, I politely tell her to get f*cked because I'm pretty insulted by this point.
On the way back, now that I'm not directly in front of her, I get this long apologetic text from her, but the crux of it is that, yeah, she's not that into me anymore because I wore a shawl.
Later on, I tell Shawlbro about this, and he also had a blowout with the girl he was seeing over his shawl that night we went out.
We will both keep wearing the shawls, though; they are warm.
It's official. That's the most I've heard/seen the word 'shawl' in a single day.
Two sayings come to mind here, one from my basic instructor (who was also special forces, so I figure you'll like that one), and one I picked up... somewhere, I don't remember where a long time ago.
What my instructor taught me was simple, 'If you have something that makes your life easier or more comfortable, like using kneepads or grabbing an umbrella, or whatever, and you choose not to use it, you are no tougher or better than the man who chooses to. If it says anything about you, it probably says you're stupider because while you're standing there, wet and cold in the rain, he grabbed an umbrella and is dry.'
The other is, 'The toughest, most 'alpha' thing you can do in any situation is what you want. While everyone else is catering to others' whims, you are confident with no f*cks given what others think.'
If you and Shawlbro continue to sport shawls and get new, hotter girlfriends, you should call it 'Shawlshank Redemption'.