Dear 100 Hour Board,
I'm a guy, and I'm glad to be a guy... but I also think I have much more of a feminine side than a lot of other guys. I feel like in many situations, I relate much better with girls. In fact, I relate with them so much that a while ago I briefly wondered if I was attracted to guys. I almost immediately realized that no, I am not attracted to guys. Definitely just girls.
That being said, there's a part of me that's really jealous of girls. When I see a girl in really cute clothes, I don't only feel attracted to her, I also just... like her clothes. And it's frustrating because I feel like girls have so many more cute, fun options for outfits and accessories that I don't have as a guy. And also, I kind of don't just want more options, I would like THOSE cute options. I'm also jealous of cute hairstyles... relationships and closeness girls have with each other... even their bodies and female body parts and physiological experiences (such as how they experience pleasure). There's a part of me that really wants to be pretty. That just wants to be a girl.
It's not that I want to be trans, because there are definitely things I like about being a guy and I do prefer it and I do believe that my spirit is male. But it's frustrating when I have these feelings and desires and elements of my personality that I can't and/or won't ever have or experience.
I'm honestly not totally sure what my question is, but it does feel good to write this out to someone. I guess my question is, what should I do about it? How can I feel happy and fulfilled with what I have and am?
I just want to say that it's okay to feel that way. It doesn't make you a bad person, and it's okay to like what you like. It's also okay to be really into fashion, even if what you like is not typically masculine. Wear the clothes that make you feel good.
If this is causing you distress, you might consider talking to a therapist. Not because you're broken, but just because they can help you work through some of your feelings. If you're a BYU student, the Counseling Center is completely free and confidential.
This answer is intended to be entirely informational. If what I say seems unhelpful/irrelevant/redundant to your existing knowledge, please feel free to ignore it.
Some people prefer an androgynous gender expression instead of a definitively masculine or feminine one. That doesn't have to mean anything about their gender identity.
With regard to gender identity, not everyone identifies as either cisgender or transgender. For example, some people identify as non-binary or having multiple genders or as being partway between genders. Sometimes learning about different labels can help people to put words to their experience. I am not sure where the best places are to read but here is a good Wikipedia article about genderqueer identities if you are interested in learning more. Additionally, on the right under the flag there is a non-comprehensive list of some specific gender identities if you'd like to read more (also, there are many more than what the Wikipedia list says).
I totally identify with your question. For the most part, men's fashion is just... boring. Like, a well-cut suit is snazzy and all, but where's the fun in that? Where are the cool colors, cuts, and fabrics? If you look at menswear internationally and historically, the options certainly open up, but Western stuff is sorta meh. Sure, some guys can dress really snazzy, but it seems to be all variations of pants, shirts, jackets... you know. Women seem to have more hair options. I occasionally see guys with long hair, but it's difficult to pull off—we can't all be Fabio.
There's also a weird double-standard with who can wear whose clothes—it's cool and stylish when women dress in menswear, but it's pretty stigmatized for a guy to dress with women's clothing. Also, because of the way it's styled and cut, when I do see it happen, it doesn't really seem to work as well.
Three things I don't like about women's fashion, though: Weird shoes. Purses. No pockets. For the love of all that is portable, why?!?
You said you don't want to be trans, that's fine and I respect that. On a semi-related note I recently enjoyed reading a Time article about trans people in America who compared their experiences—including those with sexism—as men and women. You may find it interesting.
Particularly relevant to our topic is this discussion of male and female friendships.
Most trans men [the author] spoke to also identified another commonality: Once they transitioned, walking became easier, but talking became harder. To be more specific: walking home after dark felt easier, casually talking to babies, strangers and friends felt harder.
“I have to be very careful to not be staring at kids,” says Gardner. “I can look at a mom and her baby, but I can’t look for too long. I miss being seen as not a threat.” Ditto for kids on the playground and puppies, multiple guys said.
And to a man, everyone said they’d experienced a moment when they were walking at night behind a woman, and suddenly realized that she was walking faster or clutching her purse because she was scared.
“If I start to get too close, I can feel her fear, I can feel that she’s getting upset,” says Milan. “And it’s really just an indication of how dangerous this world is for women.”
Some other notes on relationships:
Many white trans men said they felt it was easier to walk through the world, freed from the myriad expectations placed on women.
“As a female I felt I had to smile all the time, just to be accepted,” James Gardner said. “As a male I don’t feel a sense of having to be pleasant to look at.”
Many also noticed a shift in their friendships after they transitioned, with some struggling to make friends with cisgender men, unsure of the social cues of male friendship.
“I’m still trying to figure out all of the different secret codes that guys use to talk to each other and to make friendships,” says Mitchell Davis. “But I still I don’t know what the language is. I don’t know what that punch on the arm meant.” He says he doesn’t know what a close male friendship looks like, only that it probably looks different than a close female friendship.
I find myself wanting to have stronger platonic friendships with women, including married women, because just because they got married doesn't mean I don't care any more about what happens in their life, or stop enjoying their company, but as a guy I find this challenging without feeling like my intentions are regarded as suspect. It might be less a construct of maleness and more one of culture—anecdotally, I feel like the married women I know who aren't Mormon are easier to befriend, just more, I dunno, friendly. But maybe it's all in my head.
In the end, am I glad I'm a guy? Generally (partly because periods sound lame/excruciating). But are there some cool things physiologically, stylistically, and culturally about being a woman? Also.
In the end, I don't have any solid advice about what to do other than what Sheebs and Alta have already said, but thanks for writing in. I know I appreciated it.
-a writer, a friend