Written by Maimai-addi Aydinan
February 22, 2020
Muntinlupa City, Philippines
My man has always been self-conscious about some of his physical traits. He has gynecomastia, man-boobs, which has always caused him to be the butt of jokes among friends. Truth be told, I find it attractive. When we met, he didn’t come across as effeminate. After getting to know me, he confided in me: in elementary school, he was teased for being a crybaby, a “sumbungero.” He says he was quite effeminate but learned to control his behavior, the way he walks, the way he talks.
This is the story of how we first met: he was commissioned to do a painting, and he ordered a custom-sized canvas from me. In other words, he hired me to do minor carpentry work for him.
We didn’t see each other again until about a year later when he and another friend invited me to work on a project. They needed me because I had a power tool called a jigsaw, which is useful for cutting wood in curved shapes. They could not just borrow it since neither of them could use it (they tried).
I had another boyfriend at the time, but I was quite unhappy in that relationship. One of the things I hated about that guy was that when I borrowed his power drill, he wanted it back so soon as if he didn’t trust me with it. The very next day after I gave it back to him, I bought a new drill (I had an old one that had been malfunctioning).
Unknown to me, my now significant other is fond of muscular girls. Whenever I make jokes about my huge biceps–I like to playfully tell guys that they better not piss me off while flexing my arms–he likes what he sees. I didn’t realize it then, but now that I have access to his browsing history, I can tell he is into Asian-looking women who are flat-chested and muscular, like volleyball players.
We are now together, and we certainly like each other for our ambiguities. He used to joke that there was no point in getting me flowers, I’d probably be happier if I was gifted with a new “toy”, e.g. a power tool. He’s right, actually. I’d rather flowers stay on plants, as bouquets don’t impress me. I’m pretty happy with his choice of presents: he got me a toy helicopter (an ancestor of today’s drones), he got my son a bike, he put together a longboard for me. He never actually got me power tools.
The truth is, he doesn’t like power tools. He likes to cook, he likes pets, he likes games. He watches sports but doesn’t participate in them. He is very proud of his soft, lush hair. He likes anime but hates the classic anime girl look with huge boobs. Unlike most guys, he doesn’t like big breasts. Between the two of us, I’m the one who has to stop myself from ogling a woman with a large chest, as breasts fascinate me. Perhaps because mine are rather small?
Feminine and masculine traits are often mixed in both males and females. Though we are inclined to think of men as stronger than women, for example, some individual women may have more developed muscles than individual men. I ask my 6-foot, 200-pound man, “what are your chances of beating Ronda Rousey in a fight?”
“None!” he exclaims. Ronda Rousey is 5’7” yet he knows he doesn’t stand a chance against her.
Several studies have explored digit ratio as a way to measure androgen exposure from inside the womb. Here’s how it works: straighten your fingers in your left hand. Compare the pointer to the ring finger. Which is longer? If the ring finger is longer, your exposure to androgen as a fetus was bigger than if the pointer finger is longer.
A study on 2-4-year-old Scottish children found that there are strong relationships between digit ratio and behavior that we often associate with gender. Girls with male-type fingers have more hyperactivity and problems relating to their peers compared to other girls, while boys with female-type fingers were more emotional compared to other boys.
I’m imagining my man as a little boy, crying. So cute!