Real Men Wear Pink

New study shows men are more uncomfortable saying “I love you” to each other than going to a gay bar

There’s always been a stereotype that straight men are uncomfortable being perceived as gay — but yeesh, we didn’t know it was this bad.

A new study from international research group YouGov surveyed more than 4,000 U.K. citizens to see if certain actions that are generally associated with femininity would make them feel uncomfortable. Survey questions included having to share a bed with a friend of the same gender, saying “I love you” to a relative of the same gender, and even wearing the color pink. In all but one category, men were more uncomfortable than women.

Only one survey category directly referenced queerness: going to a gay bar, which 44% of men said would make them uncomfortable. But apparently, more men would be uncomfortable saying “I love you” to a male relative (45%), crying in front of their male friends (48%), or being naked in a men’s changing room (49%).

The survey results were illuminating for lots of folks on the internet. Many didn’t realize just how restrictive toxic masculinity can be, preventing such innocent acts as applying sunscreen to a male friend’s back (which would make 42% of men uncomfortable) or receiving flowers as a gift (26%).

Others simply felt grateful they aren’t held back by archaic beliefs — and that all the activities on the list would actually make for a pretty great night out.

The study doesn’t denote the sexuality of the respondents, so who knows if the men in this study are straight, as most folks are assuming. Toxic masculinity and homophobia affect all men, even if they’re queer, so regardless, men are clearly in a cultural crisis.

What’s the solution? Exposure therapy, naturally. Go cry around your bros, wear all pink, buy flowers for everybody, hit up the gay bar, and — yes — end the night in the same bed.

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