Hurrah for the Man Crush

Who fancies Poldark? He does!

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It was so darned refreshing to read Robert Crampton’s piece on man crushes in The Times last week. He, along with three other valiant male journalists, was honest enough to put up his hand and say yes, he had a crush……. on a bloke. For him the current object of his affections is the actor who plays Poldark. I don’t watch it myself but apparently, to summarise Cramptons yearnings, he’s, well, pretty damned fit. For Matthew Syed it’s David Beckham – a little late to the party, but welcome anyway Matthew. For Giles Coren, who ironically I have something of a crush, it’s the fair Ben Fogle. As Giles delightfully and very male’ey put’s it ’I could do Ben probably after a couple of pints’. For David Aaronovitch - Jurgen Klinsmann - sorry David but you’re on your own there.

None of these men are gay or even bi-sexual. So what’s the news here? Women have been having girl crushes for years. We, or at least I, have openly discussed it with girlfriends ever since Beth kissed Anna in Brookside. It doesn’t make us ‘lesbo’s’ and even if it did who the hell cares. Women it would seem are far more at ease with their sexuality and its various ‘grey areas’ (and no that’s not a euphemism) than our male counterparts. But why is that?

To me it comes down to the age old issue of what it means in our society to be a ‘real’ man. Men don’t show emotions, men don’t cry, men don’t hurt. Men have big muscles, are tough and grunt a lot. They certainly don’t discuss who their current male fantasy fella is with their mates down the pub. ’ Oi Gary did ya see Redmayne in FHM last week – ‘F*** me I’d well do ‘im’. It’s a form of inverted sexism. It’s pretty dangerous.

Trying to bulk up, be muscly and manly was my young son’s raison d’etra last year whilst in the grips of anorexia. The bigger he was, the more masculine he was the more popular he was and the less likely it was he would be bullied. Or so his young mind had reasoned. Where had he learned this? Tv, online, though music videos, in society and may be a little through us, his parents. Absolutely everything they see, everything they do, everything they hear shapes our children’s development and we all have to take responsibility for our own part in that.

I’m not saying that we should send our little boys to school next mufti day dressed as tinker bell. I do however think it’s important we continue to break down and challenge sexist stereotyping that persists in our everyday lives. For our daughters sake AND for our sons. Boys can often get overlooked in the battle for equality, but often they can have just as much stacked against them as girls. They hurt, they bleed, they cry and that should be ok. We’ve come a long long way already and for that we should be proud. It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves from time to time though.

So If our little boys shed tears because they are hurting we must allow them their hurt and hold them and soothe them and comfort them. And one day our little boys will grow up and become Dads, and they will be AWESOME Dads. Then we can say, we did that, cos we are AWESOME too!

Susannah Hebden


Person centred/existential counsellor, stylist, mum of two, adoptee


Go to the profile of Jeff Billings
over 5 years ago
Funny article Susannah, thanks :) I always had a thing for Giovanni Ribisi