This is my biggest problem I'm struggling with right now.

From "Understanding and Raising Boys; Growing Up Masculine" - "Men are extremely important in giving boys messages about being a man," adds Canada. "Boys want to grow up to be like their male role models. And boys who grow up in homes with absent fathers search the hardest to figure out what it means to be male."

That last sentence hit me hard.

My father WAS present - but only physically. Mom once told me that he was more like our roommate than family. He was once described as being a ghost. I was never taught about sports or cars or women or barbecuing or beer or power tools or puberty...or even carving a damn turkey! And I'm still fucking clueless on all of these (except puberty, which I learned about by myself years after it was over)!

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MALE! Thanks to my dad and my CSA, I feel like a 42-year-old boy. And I'm fearful that I will never know what it feels like to be man.

I want to feel like a man. I want to be accepted by other men as a man. I want to do manly things and look manly so I won't overhear others wondering about my masculinity (and sexuality).

I KNOW not all men behave the same; I KNOW stereotypical masculinity is shallow and sometimes violent. But is it a sin or a crime to WANT it? I have SO much trouble connecting with other males - is it SO terrible to want to imitate stereotypical masculinity so I CAN connect better with other men?

I wish I could find a father figure - a really masculine guy to take me under his wing and mold I wish my own father had done.

Can you guys tell me what it feels like to be a man? Or any tips on when you feel especially male? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

With thanks and love,

You don't have to be perfect to be wonderful.