Fred,

I know you wonder why women are allowed to have WCWs, but put up a photo of a man as your Man Crush Monday, and you will get inbox messages asking you if you have “switched teams”. Girls can check each other out and comment on each other’s features, but you cannot say “wow, ripped abs” or “hey, I like your beard”. I once ran into a doctor, and I couldn’t help notice that he was smoking hot, but I had to slap myself to keep my thoughts in check, because, society has labels for that.

As men, we must love Football, avoid Fanta and Glee, pick Power over Empire, watch Game of Thrones, and subscribe to at least one brew. We are meant to be fashionable, but we cannot be too colourful. The other day I was on a bus and in the middle of a heated exchange between a man and a woman, I heard the woman say “look at you, man like you, talking and talking”. Yea, we cannot talk too much, Gwen will say she “doesn’t like loud men”….but we cannot sulk or resort to “silent treatment” either, that makes us immature. You’re marked for derision if your interests lie in Bollywood clips and chick flicks when Marvel and DC are up for discussion.

Ladies want flowers from us, yea, we should be romantic, but we are not supposed to be too sensitive. In essence, we are not supposed to feel hurt, we should look the other way, we are supposed to let everything slide, including rejection. We are asked to open up, but we know how many called us weaklings when we talk about the pain, the anguish,  the wars in our minds. We are not meant to “gossip like women”, but we cannot be silent when we’re inside them either. There is no winning, no winning with the world.

Fred, I know that they won’t let you wear the pink shirts you like, listen to the girl bands,  or even love who you want. The other day the hairs on your skin stood when your name rolled out of James’ tongue, but you can’t tell anyone, you’d mark yourself for lynching if you do. You can’t tell your mother about the goosebumps you feel when the stubble of his beard touches your chin, or how his lips feel like butter mint, she’ll clutch her breasts and curse her womb for your abomination.

Fred, It’s fine to have never seen an episode of Game Of Thrones, it’s ok to pine for Shameless and Big Little lies instead. It doesn’t make u less human if you swooned over Desperate Housewives and Gossip Girl while the rest of the boys argued Prison Break and 24. They file into the cinema to pick tickets for Twilight and Fantastic Beasts, well, you’ve done nothing wrong by sticking with 21 & 22 Jump Street, Sausage Party, Pineapple Express and Bad Neighbours. Fred, it’s fine to adorn your hands with watches that look like they’ll find your sister’s wrists better…..these are your choices. You’ve never been a regular John Doe, and it’s late in the day to conform now.

Fred, you do not have to be “strong”  for anyone. All your emotions matter, your feelings are yours, really, and no one should have a say over how you handle burdens that they are not carrying.

They say you are too sensitive. Let them know that no one should tell another how to process emotions. It’s ok to sulk, to mull over that breakup for as long as you want, to feel slighted over that action or remark. They say you let stuff get through to you too easily…yea, as if they do the thinking for you, as if words have suddenly lost weight.

“They say, you whine too much…grow up”. What if it is that bickering and groveling that keeps you going? Who would have thought that silence would become an index for maturity? They won’t be there, they will be miles away when you’re lying still on the floor within an inch of your life, reeling from the effect of an overdose… so why should you even bother about your ratings in their eyes? Wail if you have to, so long as you get by.

They say “suck it up, the world owes you nothing.” That is true…. but it is also true that people are free to express their discontent however they want. Maybe groaning will get you the big break you want, so do it, you do not have to pretend to have it all together. You owe no obligations to the world either; scream all you want.

All in all, Fred, own your weakness, own your low pain threshold, own those things that may not really be acceptable, but which define you! Stick to your voice, do not tune it down for anything or anyone! If they avoid you or cut you off, then they were never meant to be around you in the first place. You owe no apologies for your intensity, heck, you owe no duty to fit into any boxes! Do not be afraid to be “too”, those who really care will be fine with that!

Stay afloat, Fred, I’ve got you!