Posted on April 04, 2018
I Fear Working Class Men (extract), by Scottee, writer of Bravado
Sometimes you have to say things that may annoy folk because it’s the only way into discussing a painful truth. My painful truth is that I fear working class men.
I don’t like being around them, especially when they are drunk. I fear their capabilities, their loose tongues, banter, unpredictability, fast tempers and their appetite for violence.
I don’t like being on a train or bus, or waiting in public when groups of working class blokes are present. I fear encountering football supporters, stag dos and lads on a night out – I worry what they might do to me, what they might say, what might happen – I fear their potential.
I hate talking to working class men, being in changing rooms or public toilets with them, going into boozers, greasy spoons or DIY shops. Any space working class blokes dominate creates a recognisable response of sweaty palms, my eyes darting around the room pre-empting danger and an umbrella of worry.
However, this fear isn’t one sided, it's a mutual exchange of fear. They fear me and my effeminacy and they find it hard to hide it. They stare, they point, they laugh and nudge each other. Sometimes they take photos of me, sometimes they chant insults or point me out of a crowd.
I pose a threat – I look like a man but I’ve abandoned the rules of so-called normative masculinities. To borrow the thinking of Nando Messias, I ‘misalign masculinity’ and in doing so I wonderfully fail at traditional maleness; men are competitive and so this failure, this weakness cannot go unnoticed. It’s exposed because, in their eyes – why or how could someone get it wrong? This exposure is a veiled misogyny – why would you devalue yourself from maleness? Why would you ‘choose’ effeminacy?
To complicate matters, I also love working class men, I am working class and some people might call me a man (an identifier I refuse). I’m married to a working class man and I’m sexually attracted to working class men. For the record, I refute this to be fetishisation – I’m not a middle class tourist seeking some rough trade in Adidas tracksuit bottoms. I am rough, I am common, they are me, I am them – perhaps that's where the biggest threat exists, that I represent the fragility of their commandments.
I equally loathe and love working class men – I live with a complex version of Stockholm syndrome or ‘trauma bond’ because of my violent, dominant encounters with blokes. These thoughts are often only truly understood by working class femmes who sleep with men – an unspoken contract of love and hatred we share but cannot shake, leaving us in a complex headspace of feeling simultaneously loved and used.
In 2016, sat in a pub in Yorkshire, I opened my laptop and decided I would attempt to cleanse myself of this unearthed fear, dread and worry. I purged all of my early, formative experiences with working class masculinity into a document. The result is my first text for stage: Bravado.
Jack of Diamonds
16 – 18 May, 7pm