Natural Masculinity

I see it all the time online: "Masc 4 masc only" but I never pay much attention to it. If you're sucking dick, you can be masculine, effeminate, bearish, bullish, I don't care. I find masculine hairy men attractive sometimes; I find smooth slender, slightly feminine men attractive sometimes. There's a whole package to connect with, right?
But I've got this new job teaching in San Diego, and 2 of my classes are special classes for what used to be called vocational tech - guys who are in the welding program and don't need or want to study Shakespeare or poetry. We study non-fiction, we learn to write and communicate and read and comprehend, but it's more basic.
But it's all guys. And they act differently when it's all guys who all work together all the time in the same classes like a cohort.
It's very locker-roomy.
And I'm so fucking out of place.
I don't feel that easy masculine vibe that they share. I've always chosen to be guarded, secretive. Growing up gay I didn't get to horse around with guys because I was afraid they'd find out that for me the horseplay was foreplay and that they were the subject of my late-night fantasies.
I don't understand their fascination with dicks and balls and grabbing ass - for me that's so sexual, for them it's so much goofing around.
So today I took 100 high school welders on a field trip, and I watched how the other teachers interacted with them.
midway
So manly, so locker-roomy.
This teacher joking about how that boy can't ever get a girlfriend because his ears are so big when he starts flirting with her his ears will catch the breeze and take him away so he never gets the girl he wants.
That teacher joking with this other student about how winded the student got going up and down the decks of the ship we were on - what will a girl do to him if he can't keep up with a ship that's not moving.
Casual banter, playful and easy to them.
All I heard was bullying.
All I could imagine was that kid going home and feeling bad about his ears or his weight.
And the students treat each other so horribly, yet claim to be best of friends. Punching each other, climbing on each other, pushing each other down and sitting on each other.
I could never do that in school; I could never touch the guys I knew in high school because the guys I wanted to touch I wanted to touch. And if I did play grabass with them, they might find out my secret.
So many secrets.
And so today, I felt so fucking unmasculine. So unnatural. I didn't know how to behave. I stood around silent a lot. I let the students lead themselves mostly.
And then after the trip, over lunch, I watched these welding teachers and these industry professionals (welders, welding suppliers, executives from welding-related businesses) all socialize with the easy comfort of old friends even though they'd just met. Natural masculinity recognizing itself in the others.
And then me. Eating my chicken salad sandwich, talking to the one female teacher who went along on the trip.
And I don't know how I feel about that.
Masculinity isn't the same as being "butch" and being able to joke about a guy's small dick doesn't make you a man. But then why do I feel a bit "less than" after today's experience?
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