Amid white pants, struggling crop-tops and a downright unruly amount of sequins, something began to stir deep inside me. A combination of years of boyband adoration and two semesters of Feminist Theory and Gender Studies created a perfect bubble of lusty, confused bliss at the Bruno Mars “Moonshine Jungle” show.
Bruno. Before the obnoxious exploits of Sacha Baron Cohen, this name evoked pure testosterone (and the possibility of low reading comprehension). Perhaps the name alone is enough to mask a dainty, size-related androgyny and show me instead a pint-sized pop star who oozes non-threatening masculine sexuality. Or maybe I’m grasping at straws because I’m an admitted “heightist” and have never been sexually attracted to small men. I’m a large girl, after all, and I want to feel like a 19th Century lady. I want the potential danger that comes with being the (physically) weaker partner.
Or maybe I’ve just always been taught that boys are big and girls are small.
So when a minuscule man-muffin like Bruno Mars starts bopping around on stage it confuses my carefully cultivated ideas of gender roles and heteronormativity. His persona is easy. There’s a…I don’t want to say “swagger” because it calls up douchey images of Justin Bieber…but a confident gait. A certain something that, when combined with an effortless cool and a body awareness that can only be described as ballerina-graceful, reaches into my being and pulls out the same belly flutters I get when I see a really convincing Drag King performance.
Soft Masculinity. In all the right ways. Casually confined hip thrusts, so quick you’re not even sure they happened. Certain Drag Kings and Bruno Mars have managed to dig through the social constructs of gender and masculinity and pick out all the attributes that make me squeal like a hormone-wracked teen and leave out those that might be really into driving trucks through mud. But why am I attracted to it so strongly? I know that underneath the smirking pelvic thrusts of Drag Kings there are only lady parts. I know that my urge to have Bruno Mars perch atop my shoulder like a smolderingly sexy parrot isn’t exactly mainstream fantasy fodder.
It comes down to smoothness. There are no clunky motions in Bruno’s repertoire and that sets him apart from many other male drool-mongers. The cast of Magic Mike, though rippled with muscles and presumably human-sized, were awkward. If you can tear your eyes away from Channing Tatum and watch the guys in the background, do it. It’ll ruin everything for you. The gliding-on-air existence of Bruno (and the aforementioned kings) suggest no room for awkward. They’re just utterly cool. And sexy. And that’s ok.
We can make it work. I can carry around a step ladder or tote him around on my hip like a well-worn single mother. I can get really smarmy and tell him that “we’re all the same height laying down”. Which I’ve heard from some shorter men in my life. And which isn’t even true. If you think about it. I feel better about my desire to have Bruno’s tiny, tiny children. My biological clock won’t stop ticking and maybe it just wants to produce a 5-pound baby that won’t render my own lady parts inoperable. I’ll take it. I’ll take a comically small kaleidoscope baby. Swirled with Filipino, Black, and whatever nonsense I’ve got going on in my blood.
Mostly, I just want Bruno to jump into my pocket and live there forever. And yes, pocket is a metaphor.