Here at Standard Issue we’re usually all about brilliant women. But seeing as tomorrow is International Men’s Day, we thought we’d let our writers shine the spotlight on some particularly top-notch fellas for a change.
My big brother Damian was hilarious, kind and an amazing dancer. As adults, my two sisters and I couldn’t get enough of him: we always hoped he would be there, at home, on nights out, at Christmas. He completed us, the only male among a trio of female siblings. He gave us a different perspective and alternative answer to all our woes and worries. He could also make us laugh ‘til we cried. I went to him for advice because I knew he would always be honest while still being sensitive, and wise without being condescending.
Even now, in times of anguish and uncertainty I hear his voice, his words, rational and frank. Even though he’s been gone four years now, I don’t doubt he will influence me forever.
Most days I have a panic pang at the thought that one day David Attenborough might die. He makes me so amazed at our world, his presenting is second to none, he has a GSOH. His voice is so comforting – surely you must be able to get it for your satnav by now?
My son has inherited this love of Sir Attenborough or ‘THE MAN’ as he’s known in our house. My father is an ornithologist so perhaps he is a Freudian extension of him, but I will honestly fall to my knees and weep huge elephant tears (yes, they cry when stressed!) when the ‘DA Day’ comes. And while I’m down there I may have a little look under a rock at the minibeasts and narrate my own documentary.
“Raising a boy is turning out to be very similar indeed to raising a girl. With the possible exception that only my son claims that bogeys are ‘delicious’.”
As much as I adore my husband and all my male relatives and friends, as much as there are so many men from history and the current public eye that I admire, I’m going to go with my son here. I have no brothers, and only one male cousin. I grew up around girls. I wasn’t really sure how to raise a boy, how to make a man.
It didn’t help that every time he was difficult as a toddler, I’d get told, “It might just be a boy thing – they’re just different to girls.” It wasn’t that. A lot of his early difficulties communicating and concentrating were actually down to hearing problems; once we’d finally managed to get those treated with grommets, he started opening up to us again almost overnight.
I’m raising two children, one female, one male. Both are caring, gentle, nurturing, affectionate and creative (she’s into art, he’s into music). Both are competitive, sporty and great with technology. Raising a boy is turning out to be very similar indeed to raising a girl. With the possible exception that only my son claims that bogeys are “delicious”.
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
My husband is my very favourite male human. He’s my best mate, the person who can make me cry laughing, scream into a cushion with anger, rush to get home to and excite the butterflies in my belly when I see him. He’s the most amazing dad to our little girl. Seriously, amazing.
He is the reason I can work. He has seen me through the worst of my postnatal depression and loves me even when I’m a shit to him. He is the reason I’m still alive at all. Thanks love, thank you for making our daughter’s packed lunch every day when I’m getting her dressed for school. Thanks for making us both laugh. Thanks for waiting up for me to get in from work. Thank you for everything you do for us.
My big brother Michael is my favourite chap. He’s only 18 months older than me, so we used to hang out in the same social group when we were teenagers, and have always gotten on pretty well. Since the death of our eldest brother, Stephen, to suicide 11 years ago, I feel like Michael is really the only person who understands that, which, fortunately, has made us closer.
A 6’2” keen judoka, my big brother gallantly offers, “Do you want me to punch him for you?” every time a man has made me cry, even though we all know I’m much harder than him.
He knows everything there is to know about music, he’s a history geek and an ardent lefty – in many ways I’ve been spending my whole life trying to be like my big bro. He’s funny, kind, one of the most intelligent people I know, and he’s always supportive of me, even if I’ve been a total douchebag. He doesn’t even complain when I write stories about embarrassing things he did, like crying at the end of Scrooged.
Stephen Colbert, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: An improviser, a writer, a satirist, a liberal-thinking Catholic, an LGBT ally, a philanthropist, a fair host to any guest and a genuinely kind man. If I were plucking petals there wouldn’t be a flower big enough.
I met him once when I was interning at Comedy Central in America. He very rarely needed a desk in the office and once popped into a cubicle next to mine. He spent half an hour asking me about myself and offering wonderful advice. He didn’t even know I was a fan. NBD. Just Stephen Colbert spreading cheer.
You know that friend that wakes up the best in you? Frankie is that friend. He opened my eyes to my own potential and empowered me to be more productive, more alive and even a stronger feminist. He’s challenged me and my own perceptions of myself and the world in only a good way. And he makes me laugh when I’m crying.
He has never ‘rescued’ me, has let me figure out my own problems for myself and has never told me what to do (unless I’ve asked). He’s kind, considerate, respectful, enlightened, hungry to learn about the world and experience new things. He awoke those characteristics in me. Meeting him was the beginning of a whole new, more exciting phase of my life. Before meeting him I had been living life half asleep.
Some of Standard Issue's brilliant women's carefully crafted words for your reading pleasure.