I’m not talking about sex. No homo, as the cool lads say when they touch each other for any reason other than a punch. No homo, a guy says to assure his mate that even though he’s touched his mate’s face or arm or knee, it doesn’t mean he wants to touch his willy too. As ever there are ways that men are allowed to touch each other and ways that they definitely aren’t. If you want to keep your masculinity in tact, you’re allowed to touch another guy by punching him in the face—your knuckles pushing into his cheekbones—or by shaking his hand to say hello or to seal a deal.
I know he’s the mysterious one, and maybe that’s the point. I don’t know much more about him. But I know I love him. It’s a ridiculous teenage crush, of course. I could never get a boy like Zayn. For so many reasons. But I can’t help loving him.
When he announced he was leaving One Direction I was over the moon. I don’t listen to their music—I can’t even name a song—so the reason I was happy was because the spotlight shifted to Zayn. The other hapless morons in his band were pushed into the shadows while the world speculated on the mysterious one’s reasons. Was he going solo? Was he choosing to settle down? Had he fallen out with the other lads? Who knew? Six months on, do we have any answers at all?
Lee was a big guy who wore cargo pants to the office. He had a thick neck and the kind of freckly skin that looks like it has spent time fighting a war in the desert. On my first day he sat down opposite me, spread legs wide apart and said, “You don’t need me to tell you about me because you’ve already looked me up.”
That was true. (Thank god.) I was an unpaid intern writing for a relatively low-profile section of a popular news website. I was a sideshow. I watched him abuse his paid staff with shouting and swearing and mild emotional violence. They got far worse than I did. But still I hated him. He made me feel like crap. He scoffed at my ideas and he looked bemused when I handed in my work.
Hiking boots make me feel ROAR. In their thick brown leather I am strong and competent and invulnerable. I feel this especially when I wear my boots out of context, like the other day when I stomped around town in them. The boots were too big to fit into my bag so I wore them instead, and it felt great. It’s not often I remember that I’m a man. That’s usually something that just hums along in the background like white noise. But as I stomped to the train station in my hiking boots last week I definitely felt like a man. The main guy in Jupiter Ascending has a pair of man-boots too.