I write a lot about femininity, but trust me, I think about it even more. What is it, what does it look like, what does it feel like. Can it be also powerful and authoritative, or does that negate its very existence? (That's a real question, by the way, because we say, oh, of course it can be!, but society and blogs and magazines and coworkers and friends tossing off thoughtless comments lead me to genuinely ask it.)
But for all that, the silent, and very real, other side of this coin of conversation is masculinity. And how broad a spectrum men are given to be real men, to be considered and seen as manly. This lovely tribute to Patrick Swayze on Jezebel has comment calling his masculinity (partly born of a football playing father and ballet dancing mother, both activities he did very well) "unforced masculinity".
This is now a phrase I love.
Because it IS the "unforced" part that makes a man so delightfully masculine, whatever kind of man he may be. (And it's not about being sexually attractive, though he may be, because it's much more expansive than a dual hetero-homo view of the world.) It's a little bit of self confidence, it's a lot of devil-may-care, it's a dash of choices made well - and if not, of lessons learned with humor - and it's an effortless grace with and true interest in talking about, experiencing, viewing, reading, feeling and enjoying both ends of the gender spectrum in ways we see it - weeping and punching, nurturing and seizing, listening and talking, dancing and footballing.