So like, you’d think I’d be excited to hear about a policy like this:
I mean, gendering toys is pretty much bullshit and forces unnecessary social pressure on children, especially those that don’t fit neatly into the roles society wants for them. So on one hand it’s cool to see that mentality being moved away from. Realizing, however, that this policy is not in place for the benefit of gender-non-conforming children, but to spare mostly heterosexual men in their late 20s/early 30s from having their sexuality challenged makes me kind of nauseous. Even more nauseous than McDonalds usually makes me feel.
I frequently find myself bothered by feminine things repurposed through the lens of heterosexual masculine sexuality. Take “guyliner” for instance. No seriously, take the entire concept of “guyliner” and throw it down a well and fill the well with cement.
Why yes this is some creep’s actual police mugshot.
Now, I’m not saying that guys shouldn’t wear eyeliner, because holy shit that’s hawt yes please. The thing is, until the mid-2000s or so, around the time “metrosexuality” (something else I hate) became a thing, wearing makeup for guys largely betrayed a social vulnerability/had a counterculural element. There’s a great scene in the 1982 punk rock travel documentary Another State Of Mind where Mike Ness puts on his trademark sloppy eye makeup. He acknowledges that vulnerability, even pointing out and shrugging off the assumption that me might be considered gay. He’s a punk kid, trying to freak people out… it’s kinda adorable to be honest.
But then around 2007-2008, after this douche started making the rounds, the dynamic around it changed. You wind up with dudes in the club mascaraed out to the nines and feeling compelled to constantly overcompensate to not seem gay or whatever, and queer folks like I was pre-transition find themselves having to reiterate “No, see I’m not into pickup artist bullshit, I’m actually queer. I have sex with dudes and whatever.” Just seems so unnecessary on all fronts.
So anyway, I’m not here to talk about makeup (for once). I’m here to talk about sweaty men buying tiny horses. To talk about their strategies and their compulsions.
To talk about their terrible taste in hats.
And before you get locked into some sort of misconception, this isn’t about adults buying toys, or even about adult heterosexual men buying girl’s toys. I’m a grown ass adult that buys toys with exactly zero reservation. Just a few years ago, I was ordering Happy Meals to get that cool Devo-looking “New Wave Nigel” guy from their American Idol toy collection (especially since Devo was suing them over it).
Seriously, this little fucker is adorable and I regret nothing.
Thing is tho, I have never found any compulsion to try to navigate/rationalize it through some sort of gauntlet of heterosexual male identity. This is where I think the metrosexuals and the bronies and such are kind of fucking it up for all of us. Not satisfied with existing in some sort of grey era of social presentation, these folks have to turn enjoying feminine things as a straight male into this hideous sexualized gender monstrosity. Seriously, read this thing. There’s this unnerving level of calculation and compulsion to it, this sort of forced awkardness under the attempted tongue-in-cheek tone that makes even basic actions seem fetishistic if not sexualized.
Again, I buy toys from both sides of the aisle myself even now, but I don’t approach it with the sweaty-palmed awkward anxiety of a man forced to go door to door disclosing his sex-offender status to his neighbors. The only thing that tutorial got right was the line “McDonalds workers don’t care about some 15-30something walking in to buy cartoon horses”. They seriously could have definitely left it at that, rather than suggest flashing MLP fan art, which seems like a hell of a good way to get arrested.
SERIOUSLY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T FLASH FAN ART IN PUBLIC
Anyway, when all is said and done, the article makes it seem so damn difficult. Just to test this theory, I went to the McDonalds near my job to buy some ponies. I went ahead and bought two, because fuck the police.
Whatever that look on my face is, I’m pretty sure it isn’t pride.
Both ponies are now on my desk at work. Mission accomplished.
And whatever, I’m sure there was at least one person there totally thinking “wow what a f*gg*t”. Point taken, way to point out the obvious. Better than having people wonder if I was gonna take the ponies home to fuck them.