Being a man can hold a lot of fear and uncertainty on its own. While they are expected to not show emotion, and are forced into the cycle of toxic masculinity, they have to deal with a number of internal struggles. Here are some of them from the men of Reddit.
u/Gullsko asked: Men of reddit, what's a thing that can be scary about being a man?
Middle age is scary.
It is terrifying how lonely middle age is. I can absolutely understand why so many middle-aged men commit suicide. I'm actually trying hard to get out and meet people, but it's difficult. I'm an outgoing guy, and it is hard to form friendships with other guys. Then I imagine how all the socially awkward men just don't even bother any more.
Why is this even an expectation?Giphy
Being expected to make the first move always gets me super anxious. I hate the idea of misreading a situation, or making a woman uncomfortable, so I tend to "disregard" a lot of obvious hints when I first start seeing someone.
This is so sad.
When I was a teenage boy, my sister fell into a river. My dad put his hand on my back and pushed me in after her, saying "go get her". Her leg was stuck on something but I got it free and she swam back to shore. I, however, was pinned by branches under the water that had somehow gotten around me (there was a whole tree under the surface). I remember looking up to the water's surface and seeing the silhouettes of my family members walk away from the edge and thinking "no! wait!".
Long story short, my fight-or-flight system kicked in and I scrambled as hard as I could to free myself and eventually got free and came up to take the best breath ever. When I was crawling back on the sand, my dad, sister and brother were about 100 yards down the bank. He turned and said, "c'mon!" and I hurried after while gagging on water. That about sums up my experience so far.
People just expect you to be "okay" in obviously dangerous situations. I knew guys who drank themselves to death because liquor is easy but saying "I need help" is hard.
That's f*cking disgusting.
My last relationship I got cheated on. She (my ex) spread rumours that I was abusive and violent, to hide the fact she's an unloyal person.
I had to find out through her best friend messaging me asking me if it was true, because I seemed like "the nicest person", and she wanted to know the truth. I explained and she was shocked. I was shocked. I didn't think she'd stoop lower than she had done already.
I'm lucky no one took her serious enough to contact the authorities.
Such busy bodies.Giphy
I am pretty young, but somehow, this sh*t still happens. I was playing with my sisters at the park, and we were playing tag. At one point, this middle aged lady comes up to my sisters and asks if they know me, and how they know me and whatever. I come up to her and say, those are my sisters, and she just gives me the stink eye, ignores me, and turns back to my sisters and keeps interrogating them. It was only after my mom came to see what was going on, that the lady left.
BTW, I'm in middle school, and have been mistaken for being 11 years old, so I don't know what that lady thought I was doing.
Self-awareness is good.
I don't know if it is actually "scary" for me, but awkward and something I overthink.
I am over 6'5", can kind of come off as intimidating do to that alone, but am really just a teddy bear. At my job, I have to walk through a dark alley in a downtown area, to get to the parking lot.
Lots of times, there are women walking back to go to their cars as well, and then my lumbering loner self is walking behind them. I feel awkward and scared they are going to think I am going to hurt them or am going to rob them or something. I'm just trying to get home!
I follow farther behind, always act as inconspicuous as possible, which probably makes me more suspicious, get on my phone like I am texting or act like I am calling someone so they can here I am far behind them and not stalking up on them.
Maybe it's just my social awkwardness or the fact there is a lot of crime that happens in our town, but I don't want to be seen as a threat by people I would never hurt.
Everyone expect so much of you and feel they owe you nothing. You must provide, you must defend, you must be solid as a rock and yet know how to deal with people in the most respectful and submissive way otherwise you will be the jerk.
In all situations if you are a man you will never be the victim at first, and if you are shame on you because you were not strong enough. You are responsible for everyone but no one needs to worry about you. Two man fighting? Both stupid, violent man just doing toxic men things. The reason for the fight does not matter, there are no victims here.
And then the loneliness. No one wants to be friends with you. I mean, as far as we know any man is a potential rapist, robber or killer, right? It is OK to discriminate man because they can handle it like a man, can't they?
On your own.Giphy
You're pretty much on your own.
Less of your problems are taken seriously, you're seen as weak if you can't sort them out. You're expected to throw yourself in harm's way at a moments notice.
The courts look at you less favourably, so does a large portion of society. You're seen as a potential rapist and child molester. I love kids but God forbid I smile at one in public.
You're the one who has to be able to sort everything out, even if you sometimes feel like just curling up in a ball and crying.
This is too real.
Speaking on behalf of my husband: the sheer expectation that he can shoulder everyone's stress. If you are a man with emotional intelligence, people will simultaneously act like you are both a rare unicorn, and that you must take that emotional intelligence and merge it with the "MEN CAN SHOULDER IT ALL" mentality.
This means he's utilized way too often by too many family and friends who don't make any emotional effort. He's asked to manage everyone's drama.
He doesn't, but the sheer expectation that he won't burn out simply because he's a man is hard to watch.
Not a loser.
Your whole identity is wrapped up in your job. You weren't born to be a doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur? You must be some kind of loser.
Your industry is laying people off? You're definitely a loser. Your fault for choosing the wrong major twenty years ago.
A horrible expectation.Giphy
The expectation that you have to deal with violent or dangerous situations. When I was a teenager at school, a guy in our class took a girl hostage with a knife in an unoccupied room. Our teacher was a woman, and literally grabbed me by the collar and shoved me into the room telling me to get the knife off of him. He attacked me, and in the chaos the girl managed to get out of the room. I couldn't though. I was stuck in the room with him with a cut on my chest. But it was ok though! Don't worry, because the girl had gotten to safety. The teacher even got a reward from the cops for her "quick thinking".
Even now, as a doctor, when a dangerous patient comes in its automatically given to me (the other registrars in the unit I work in are mostly women) and I get judged for having to have security with me.
I'm allowed to be afraid of being assaulted too.
Reading through these responses it's pretty overwhelmingly clear that most of these issues are caused by toxic masculinity and our societies expectations of masculinity which are also toxic. Many women are afraid of men because so many guys are downright predatory. That causes them to suspect every man because sometimes you just can't tell.
Almost every woman has had experiences with guys like this and it's frickking terrifying. So guys, it's not your fault, and it's not girls' fault, it's the fault of those douchebags and the people who raised them.
It starts young.
Always having women being scared of you.
I may only be in 6th grade but I'm a pretty big guy, I'm 5'10 and I was walking to my brother's car (I go to a K-12 School and my brother goes here too) and there was this small-er chick walking in front of me and she looked scared out of her head, every time she looked back she had an even more scared look on her face until we finally got to the turn and she just turn around and started walking the opposite direction until I got to my brother's car.
This isn't even the first time this has happened, people in my grade are scared of me, you can tell by their facial expressions, we even have to wear uniforms at my school and they don't make them in my size so they can see how much of a fat*ss I am. I really feel that this is going to affect me a lot in my next stages of life too.
Getting rejected sucks.Giphy
Rejection, always rejection. You are always expected to put yourself out there, be "The Man" and eventually you take the initial risk, and the higher the risk the worse you feel once rejected.
It can happen to men too.
That we can basically be accused of rape or sexual assault with zero evidence & almost every time, people will side with the accuser. It's scary that some random stranger, or even someone you know, can get pissed off, accuse you of something you never did, but others will rally to their side in support while demonizing you before any facts or proof are even provided.
On the flip side, if you're raped or assaulted as a guy, nobody believes you or they have the mentality that you "wanted it" or are always horny 24/7 so you should feel blessed/fortunate someone wanted to f*ck you so bad. That shit's traumatizing & honestly makes me sick...coincidentally when things like that happen, people (especially women) wonder why guys shy away from dating or won't get physical/intimate with them.
It's easy to get caught up in the past.
...so long as we knew what time of day it was going to be on.
What's something nostalgic for your age group?
Video games today are horrible!
Give us a 2-dimensional side-scroller of an Italian plumber fighting a dragon monster and nothing else good for many more years after that. Who needs all these fantastic releases, year in and year out, every year?
How Do We Enable "Big Head Mode?"
"Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, select, start"
"My toddler son has a toy game controller that plays a little jingle if you put this code in. I loved that they put that little Easter egg into a kids toy and it makes my husband smile every time he does it."
When Was This Old? *cries in tired old man
"Anytime recently I've tried to get back into Minecraft it breaks my heart because the game just feels so different now. I played it from 2010 up until 2018 or 19 almost religiously, but the past couple years have really changed the game. I'm sure it's just as fun to play now, but it doesn't have that same nostalgia factor anymore like it used to."
Tests Of Parenthood
"Neopets in 2005"
"My girlfriend at the time made me take care of one as a test for being a father. Literally."
Some things you long for aren't actually possible to do anymore, leading to the reasoning this is why the nostalgia is at an all-time high. What's worse than missing something that no longer exists?
The Smell, The Sounds, The Sights, The Ambience
"Going to Blockbuster with my friends on a Friday"
"Renting cheesy horror movies and making fun of them with the group!"
You Can Miss That?
"Dial up modem noises"
"Kiiiiiiiiiiii…kiiuuuu…kiiiuuuu.. it was something like that right? I even forgot."
"And then I used to open yahoo login page and do some other work for few minutes and come back while it loads, and then enter id password, hit login and then get a coffee until it loads."
Illegal, But, Yeah
"I remember the really early days of mp3 sharing, before P2P came along. There were hundreds of FTP servers that you could connect to with huge libraries of mp3s. No domain name, just a raw IP address that you found somewhere on usenet."
"But they couldn't just give it away, because then everyone would take and nobody would give. So they had quota systems: you'd upload an mp3, and for every byte you uploaded, you'd get to download 2, or 3, or maybe even 5. And this was over dialup, so uploading or downloading a single file could take 30 minutes."
"But it was FTP. Very simple and dumb. There was no memory of your "credits" between sessions, so if you uploaded a bunch of stuff and then lost your connection, you were SOL."
"It amazes me to think how much time I spent getting a few songs that today I can play any time I want on Spotify."
For some people, this next section will sound silly.
For others, this was our childhood, which sadly (when you really think about it) revolved around a television schedule we had no input on, meaning we had to plan everything out around when the next episode of Power Rangers aired.
Cartoons After School Are The Best
"Anime on Toonami. Cartoon Cartoon Fridays"
"Toonami had really great western cartoons as well. I loved watching Samurai Jack, Ben 10, Teen Titans, and Clone Wars on Toonami growing up."
"Old Cartoon Network, spiky gelled hair"
"Old Cartoon Network" is an interesting answer because people are gonna have different ideas about what "Old Cartoon Network" is. I think of Ed, Edd n Eddy and Codename: Kids Next Door. Another commenter mentioned Gumball which is still well after my time."
When Life Revolved Around Someone Else's Schedule
"Born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s...I remember huddling around the TV as a family to watch certain things."
"For some reason, they would show The Wizard of Oz every year on network tv..and it was a big deal. My mom would make popcorn...in a pot on the stove (It was the 80's) and we'd sit on a blanket on the floor and watch."
Or Friday Nights....Dukes of Hazzard (when it was new). Mom would get takeout from Burger Chef...and we'd sit on the floor eating hamburgers watching 'dem Duke Boys at it again."
"Or in the summer....they'd show Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D on tv. 7-11 would give out free 3-D glasses."
"For the younger Redditors....this was well before any kind of streaming/on demand service...and back when cable TV and VCRs were still a luxury that a lot of people didn't have. So, you really only got to watch what was on the few channels that your antenna allowed."
"Another one is coming home from school to watch old shows like Gilligan's Island, The Munsters, The Addams Family, Batman, F-Troop."
"Or staying up late and at midnight....the TV would play the National Anthem....then show a control screen and just "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" like this: https://youtu.be/Cnchea6LHN0"
The good ol' days.
When determining how to spend our life in a way that feels worthy, many place a heavy emphasis on experiences. We want to die with scars and stories.
And sticking our necks out inevitably leads to a whole lot of struggle. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't do the same thing the very next day if we could go back.
Some things, though we'll never do them again, were too important an experience to pass up.
Redditor JackIrishJack asked:
"What should you do once, but not twice?"
Many people talked about the life experiences, big and small, that influenced their outlook. They recommend people go through some discomfort to gain important awareness.
A Capacity for Empathy
"Working in the food industry I feel like everybody should do it once so they can have a respect for food workers but it's also a hell I never want to go through again"
Paying for a Daydream
"Buy a lottery ticket"
"You're not going to win, but buying a lottery ticket gives you the chance to dream and pretend. Having a second lottery ticket isn't going to make your dreams more vivid."
Plenty of Implications
"Visit Auschwitz. I firmly believe everyone should go visit it so as to not forget what humans are capable of doing to each other. But no need to visit twice. Once was enough for me."
Others brought up things which, if done twice, would be a sure sign that something is very very wrong.
Supposed To Be Permanent
"Learning how to walk. The first time - good on you. Having to
relearn a second time means something went terribly wrong."
Only Two Sets
"Lose all of your teeth" -- Outrageous_Cream_112
"Haha I had to think about this for a second" -- ApplesauceDoctr
Don't Wanna Find Yourself There Too Often
"Get beaten half to death breaks the concepts of your limits. Second time breaks the spirit. Third time is overkill."
Others apparently viewed the question as an opportunity for a little cleverness.
If You're Good
"Cut...you measure twice before." -- wxguy215
"For me its more like 'measure twice, make sure it's just a teeny bit too long then go back and shave it off little by little until it wedges in perfectly' " -- pistpuncher3000
As the Saying Goes
"Fool me" -- Thia_suzieUzi
"FOOL ME THREE TIMES FU** THE PEACE SIGN LOAD THE CHOPPA LET IT RAIN ON YOU" -- nixusthegod
Only a Couple to Work With
"Donate a kidney" -- RealisticDelusions77
"Donate one kidney, you're a hero. Donate two kidneys, you're a corpse. Donate three kidneys, you're a felon." -- Drach88
"Be born. Going through the birthing process again would probably kill my mother." -- cylonrobot
Here's hoping we can all find the healthy balance between living a full, experienced life and punishing ourselves a little too much.
Whenever I visit clothing stores, I make it a point to fold the clothes I unfurl. That is apparently my downfall as a customer.
Because of this, fellow customers often peg me as an employee and always ask me questions like where the bathroom is, or if the store has certain sizes left in stock.
Umm, no, I don't work here. I'm just a responsible customer. As you were.
Many of us make assumptions about other people just by looking at them. Who knew we were so presumptuous?
Curious to hear the experiences of strangers online, Redditor lilmizzvalz asked:
"What do people assume about you, based on your appearance?"
People often misinterpret moods based on how someone looks. That's unfair, wouldn't you say?
"That I'm caring and supportive. I have a resting nice face."
"That I am always mad. Nope just dissociating and staring off into space."
Not Meaning To Be Mean
"That I'm mean. I have a resting mean face for a dude I guess. Also lately it's worse because I'm bigger now. I don't really notice how my face appears but apparently, I seem angry when I'm looking at stuff."
"'You should smile' and 'are you ok?' comments followed me from busboy, waiter, bartender my whole career."
When it comes to measuring intelligence of others, some people are just way off.
Hard To Live Up To Expectations
"That I'm clever. People keep saying it to me, but I'm dumb and that sh*t is hard to live up to."
"I have glasses."
Eyes Full Of Wisdom
"I apparently have something similar going on mixed with looking like I know sh*t, because people come up to me in public and ask about directions, bus schedules and stuff all the time. Like, they'll deliberately avoid other people to ask me. Including when I'm abroad and should look a bit out of place."
"They assume I have an intellectual disability. (And also that I'm deaf, since I'm not able to speak.)"
"No, I am a person with two university degrees who happen to need a wheelchair because of a nasty neurological illness."
People don't always look their age. Some don't even act their age. But these Redditors have gotten their fair share of wrong guesses for their ages.
"That I'm 15."
"I'm 38 and a doctor. 'Did you just finish school?' EVERY DAY."
"This thread was depressing to read as I am 38 but often get mistaken for 50. I hate y'all and your youthful beauty."
Some people are typed out as certain types of people with just one look.
Watch Your Tone
"That I have a southern accent. Not one stranger has ever suspected that I have a 'New Jersey' accent (Born and raised in New Jersey before moving south)"
Not A Biker
"That I ride a Harley and/or work on them. I'm bald with a long goatee and tons of tattoos, but I'm in IT for a living and don't ride motorcycles at all."
Like others have expressed in the thread, I've also been accused of having "resting b*tch face."
You know, that neutral expression where you're not smiling the one time you're not in a situation where you have to be "on" for other people?
Yeah, that one.
If someone's resting face comes across as unfriendly, well, perhaps it's best not to upset them by asking them what's wrong all the time. Just sayin'.
Ideally, a teacher should take the job because of a genuine interest in helping students, furthering their education as well as their self-development. Of course, it's not as simple as that (administrative issues aside). Unfortunately, there are some teachers out there who aren't cut out for the job––and they even have a mean streak when it comes to their students. The effects this can have on the learning process are dire.
Teachers don't get paid well, and they're well aware. Many stick with the job because they have a passion for teaching; many others stick with the job because of the position of inscrutable authority it offers them over helpless students.
People shared their experiences after Redditor Ara-Rat asked the online community,
"What did your teacher do that made you call them 'the worst teacher ever'?"
"Questioned 5th-grade teacher's manner of pluralizing a word on the board. Got sent to the library to look it up in a dictionary and report my findings to the class.
Decades later and I'm still mad at that woman for trying to publicly humiliate a ten-year-old student."
That's awful. What is with adults who try to deliberately an example out of children?
"My old band teacher..."
"My old band teacher threw a projector at his students. He left the district later that year."
That was... probably for the best, when you think about it. (I had a teacher who threw a girl's pencil case out the window when she wouldn't stop talking; no, he was not fired.)
"My 3rd-grade teacher..."
"My 3rd-grade teacher got frustrated with a kid's stutter and started pounding the kid's desk with a closed fist while mocking his stutter."
Hopefully this teacher was disciplined and/or fired. That's the sort of behavior that thankfully would not fly today––it would go viral so fast.
"The worst were the teachers..."
"The worst were the teachers who would take books away from me and hold me up for ridicule because they disagreed or didn't approve of the genre or subject material. I was always into science fiction and horror genre's and many of them didn't consider it true literature worthy of reading. I remember my father getting into it with one of the teachers who disapproved of Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, to which he pointed out it was on the required reading list of a lot of major universities. Dad was awesome like that, and chewed the teacher and principal out for having the temerity to try to stop any student who wanted to read, regardless of what the genre was."
Teachers who mock students for reading are the worst. Reading is one of the best things any student can do––there are so many benefits! Hopefully you have not lost your love of reading.
"When I'd instinctively try..."
"She tied me to my chair. I was hyperactive, and also 5. She would also hold my hand during formation in the mornings and squeeze so hard my tiny knuckles would crack. When I'd instinctively try to pull my hand away, she'd hold onto it and smile at me and ask me if it hurt."
The abuse here is almost incomprehensible. But it happens: a few years ago, a teacher made headlines for hanging a student by his coat on a coatrack. You can bet there were lawsuits.
"I was in the only dress I owned..."
"Tried to get me suspended for a dress code violation when I was 15. I was in the only dress I owned at the time because I was going to my best friend's funeral. She'd committed suicide two days before. I was crying and begging her to just let me stay till my mom picked up my remaining friends to go to the funeral. Said teacher then took me to the office and I had to sit in the front office under a tarp until my mom picked me up."
"My 8th grade English teacher..."
"My 8th grade English teacher never published grades and every time I'd ask her about it she'd answer with, "I don't know, what do you think it is?"
IF I KNEW WOULD I BE ASKING?!"
I've had a few teachers like this. Makes one wonder: Are you actually grading anything? WHAT are you doing, exactly?
"My biology teacher..."
"My biology teacher took my yearbook away right before the summer break. I didn't put it away in time.
That year my parents divorced and I was moving away. I told her this after class and she didn't care. She kept it until the last day. I didn't get any signatures.
Ended up throwing it away. What a witch."
"My university lecturer..."
"My university lecturer was the most incompetent bloke I've ever met. He taught I.T and for the life of me, I can't figure out how he got that job.
- In the first lesson, he got us to sign up to Twitter so we could share lesson content, tweet at each other so we'd get to know one another, and also tweet him. Everybody, including the lecturer, used Twitter once. We just used the university intranet to share stuff.
- Again, during the first lesson, he announced he was going on holiday for four weeks during our first term.
- All of his lessons were PowerPoint presentations, each slide had about a paragraph of text written on them which he would read out loud while awkwardly looking over his shoulder. Once he was done doing that he would essentially repeat what he had just said.
- One day he asked us for help in booking his airline tickets online because he couldn't figure out how to use the website.
As sad as these stories are, consider that these teachers are very much the exception to the rule. The majority of the teachers I have known over the years genuinely care for their students, work tirelessly on their lesson plans, and would never tolerate a single moment of the behavior featured here. Thank you to those teachers for doing their jobs––we appreciate you. (And ya'll deserve a raise, it's honestly messed up how little lawmakers understand about how hard your jobs actually are.)
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments section below!