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gender roles
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There is nothing unmanly about taking a bubble bath.

As society rethinks and reshapes the use of gender roles, both sexes (and everywhere in-between) are finding more opportunities to explore previously repressed aspects of themselves. It often feels like the Wild West of gender identity—an exciting new time to break through tired paradigms in search for something that is a better fit. We can see this on both a macro and micro scale, from something as widespread as more countries legalizing same sex marriage to something as simple as a man rocking a pencil skirt and heels. Each are radical in their own way.

A Reddit user asked men to name some “unmanly” things they did that they weren’t ashamed of. Their answers, though fun to read, also have an interesting through line, one of embracing sensitivity. Or, rather, their femininity. From self-care, to arts and crafts, to crying during Disney movies, each of these activities challenges the long accepted—and often problematic—belief of what makes a man a "man."

Psychology Today contributor Tyger Latham, Psy.D. writes that “Most of us immediately identify with the adage that to be a man often means: being tough, staying in control, never crying, working through physical pain, providing for your family, and never backing down from a fight. While such roles provide men with an operational model in which to exist, they can also be extremely restrictive.” He even described a condition known as alexithymia, quite literally meaning “without words for emotions,” that many male clients encounter while trying to express what’s happening on the inside.

But what if the pursuit of happiness includes the pursuit of wholeness? Some would argue that the latter is more important altogether. Men—and women, for that matter—should be able to go fishing, knit while they wait on the pond, come home and throw on an exfoliating face mask while watching a rom-com. So yes, while these answers do serve as a lighthearted digital romp through the internet, they are also symbols of small, yet significant victories.

Without further ado, here are 18 “unmanly” things that are good for the soul, no matter the gender:


1. Sewing

“I think it is helpful for spatial reasoning, attention to detail, and creativity. It is basically construction out of a very thin, flexible material that requires the builder to create the object inside-out."

2. Bubble baths

“I don't take baths much but if I do you best believe there's gonna be bubbles galore in that bath.”

“Bath bombs rule, my favorite one turns the water black and sparkly and smells like peppermint.”

3. Cute voices for animals

“In high school there was a video shown in class, and when puppies came on screen I yelled 'PUPPIES!' in a ridiculous falsetto. I still have that reaction regularly when I see puppies.”

“I do this with puppies...kittens...cats...any cute animal…”

4. Prioritizing fashion … to the point of indecision

“There are literally a few minutes where I am stressed out wondering 'I wore that a few days ago; this is too similar to what I wore yesterday' and so on. This is mostly when getting ready for work, which is business casual. I have a dozen or so button-down shirts, but I still can't make up my damn mind.”

5. A love of all things hygge

“I love fuzzy socks, fuzzy blankets, fuzzy anything.”

“I love blankets. My birthday, Christmas, valentines day; just give me more blankets. Let me make a cave of blankets and hibernate straight through until spring.”

hyygesocks GIFGiphy

6. A fondness for stuffed animals

“I sleep with two stuffed animals. It would be three, but Pete the polar bear is now with my girlfriend in the Netherlands.”

“I still sleep with a teddy bear I got when I was 4. I'm 30 now. I hope to give it to my daughter when she is born/old enough.”

7. Checking out other guys

"I can tell when a guy is attractive, I have no sexual desire for dudes but I can tell if I find one good looking, i'd even go as far to say I have a type."

8. Enjoying domestic chores

"I love looking doing things for my wife...coffee and breakfast in bed everyday, I wash up, I pack her a lunch to take to work everyday, spoil her with little surprises a few times a month etc. Turns out my friends and my father all think I am whipped. They think she has me under her thumb. I guess they don't know that we split house chores in a number of ways but I chose to do extra things as I have some extra time since I don't have to commute - it feels fair to me.They also don't understand that when I lost my job my wife encouraged me to do my own thing and that she supported both of us for a long time to allow me to follow my dream. In short, my mates and father just don't understand or want to be with a woman who is a partner and equal in the relationship.”

9. Being the little spoon

"I'm nearly a foot taller than my girlfriend, but if we're cuddling in bed I like to be the little spoon, it's hilarious and comfy."

"I once was sitting on the floor and my girlfriend at the time was sitting on the couch giving me a back rub. She eventually wrapped her arms around me from behind and asked how it felt. 'Like this room is the only thing in the entire world.'"

“Sleeping as the little spoon is really nice because it makes you feel needed on a physical level which is really comforting."

10. Crying

“Personally, I think that it takes a lot more bravery to open yourself up to something special, such as love for a pet, than to keep everything around you at arms length to numb your own sensitivity (or vulnerability if you will) to anything. You display a willingness to express yourself, knowing full well that it could get you hurt, and then bear any resulting pain, ultimately overcoming it. What the hell could be more manly?”

“I will cry at any movie where a dog dies. Every, Single. Time. A Dog’s Purpose was a very unpleasant movie for me.”
men showing emotionsCry GIF by MasterChefAUGiphy

11. Gardening

“It’s great being able to grow things from just seeds."

12. Therapy

“Everyone needs a little bit of therapy. Even if you’re perfectly fine, everyone needs someone to talk to.”

13. Sharing feelings with the kids

"Hugging my kids, apologizing to them when I’m wrong ('sorry I accused you of making a mess outside, I just learned it was the neighbors’ kid'), and showing them it’s okay to have and express feelings. Yes, daddy can get teary eyed too when watching a sad movie. Also as an extension of apologizing for having done wrong, being able to back down. When in an argument and find out you’re wrong, it’s not weak to say 'I didn’t know that. Sorry, I was wrong.'”

14. Complimenting guy friends

"A lot of people feel it's not manly to do so but I think it's important and it feels great having a group of guys that doesn’t just bash each other all the time."

15. Interior decorating

“I spend a ridiculous amount of time looking up furniture/wall art/etc. just fantasizing about how I'm going to decorate it when I finally get my own place.”

16. Baking

“I just donned a pink apron with strawberries on it to help my girlfriend make a pie. Her family razzed me about it... but hey, no pie for them.”

“I bake and listen to Adele. Sometimes at the same time.”

17. Afternoon tea

“I don't care who you are. You haven't lived until you've eaten tiny cucumber sandwiches and scones off a three-story silver party platter.”

18. Self-care

self care for menChristian Bale Face Mask GIF by PeacockTVGiphy

“Manicures and pedicures, obviously no nail polish, but my hands and feet are usually a horrendous pile of dead skin and callouses from working out and my job. It makes me feel a little better about people seeing them, they don’t get all of them, but it definitely makes them look closer to normal.”

“I love doing a facial cleanse, tone and moisturize, makes your face feel awesome."

“I go full-on Bateman. Have multiple face masks, skin creams and hair products. Started as a way to bond with my sisters, ended up being something that centers me in the mornings and a comforting ritual a couple of times a night.”

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

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Bobby McFerrin demonstrated the power of the pentatonic scale without saying a word.

Bobby McFerrin is best known for his hit song “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” which showcased his one-man vocal and body percussion skills (and got stuck in our heads for years). But his musicality extends far beyond the catchy pop tune that made him a household name. The things he can do with his voice are unmatched and his range of musical styles and genres is impressive.

The Kennedy Center describes him: “With a four-octave range and a vast array of vocal techniques, Bobby McFerrin is no mere singer; he is music's last true Renaissance man, a vocal explorer who has combined jazz, folk and a multitude of world music influences - choral, a cappella, and classical music - with his own ingredients.”

McFerrin is also a music educator, and one of his most memorable lessons is a simple, three-minute interactive demonstration in which he doesn’t say a single word.

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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)