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Ever since California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced his political opponents as “girly men,” I’ve been intrigued with the term. In fact, I have to admit I’m kind of a girly man myself. Girly men are in short supply here in Forest Park but our numbers may be growing.

What is a girly man, anyway? Well, in Arnold’s parlance, they’re wishy-washy Democrats. You know, environment-loving, war-hating, namby pambys. But I think the term goes beyond that to include men who aren’t afraid to display their so-called feminine side.

Girly men like myself love to cook; derive great satisfaction from ironing and work up a sweat washing windows. Yeah, love clean windows, got to get those corners. We enjoy doing domestic things and wish we could stay home as househusbands. 

Sure, I used to be a he-man growing up. Loved violent physical contact, was mean to girls and hated housework. But maybe the effect of having five sisters and a female mother and wife softened me up. It’s gotten to the point where I complimented a local barkeep on his Hawaiian shirt. My wife wanted to cross the street and pretend she wasn’t with me.

Complimenting shirts and cologne I found out is a practice of girly men younger than me. They’re called metrosexuals. These are young men who actually care about their appearance. My son attended college with some guys like this. He thought their group trips to tanning booths and clothing stores were a bit strange.

But that’s because he’s used to Forest Park guys. His townie friends are not invested in their appearance and don’t compliment another guy’s look. They play softball with their bare hands and judge a man for his actions not the color of his shirt. Does he hit the cut-off man? Is he going to buy a round after the game? Is he a bad bluffer during Texas Hold-Em?

So, you can see girly men like myself can feel a little out of place in Forest Park. When we first moved here, most of the men seemed to be amateur auto mechanics. Me, I’m such a girly man; I don’t even care about cars. Also, I seem to be on the softhearted liberal side of many issues.

He-men are for law and order; girly men are for gun control. He-men want to restrict immigration; girly men wish they knew Spanish. He-men love NASCAR and can spend a whole Sunday watching football; girly men go to book-signings.

I can’t help being a girly man. I wish I didn’t have the urge to attend fashion shows and wedding showers. But I do like socializing with women and that’s the kind of stuff they go to.

With the demographics of Forest Park changing, we may have more girly men moving in. I welcome their company. We can exchange recipes, share our liberal views and attend lectures together.

In fact, maybe the world would be a better place, if we had more girly men and fewer he-men. Girly men don’t resort to violence, they write angry letters. They don’t cut you off in traffic; they wave you in. And if you’re wearing a really nice Hawaiian shirt, they’ll let you know.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...