On His Fragile Masculinity


He liked to walk Rex through campus in the mornings when the sun hadn’t yet cut the frost. The buildings were rigid stone buildings of that era when stoicism was popularized – the thickness of the bricks seemed designed to cover what was really inside. There were few people on the grounds aside from zombies exiting the library.

The dog park on Doctor Penfield split a series of apartment buildings meant for undergraduate students whose base of reference was the college dorm. It sloped down from a line of trees and a hospital with a parking lot that overlooked the river. If you shook the trees snow would fall down from the branches and the odd frozen squirrel from the coldest winter on record. The dog was excited since the falling of a squirrel and so the man would shake the tree – although it had been weeks since a frozen body had fallen.

     Whose dog is this?

The forced baritone of the owner was unfortunately typical: the confused owner attempting to assert his masculinity by yelling about something that had made him feel uncomfortable.

     Everything okay? said the man, frozen squirrel in hand.

     He’s BITING him!

     That’s how animals wrestle. 


The man was trained that being a man was to be violent when confused.

     Okay, why is that?


     Your dog will cry if it’s hurt – his tail is wagging. This is how they play.


The man was trained to assert his presence with violence when he felt he could be wrong. 

     Picking up your dog like that makes your dog nervous: your possessiveness of your dog is the only reason there would ever be a problem. Plus, your dog isn’t neutered.


His defensiveness was indefensible. It attacked others. It embarrassed him. People laughed at him when he left the park. Rex peed on his leg and he discussed the evil intentions of all boxers. How all boxers were gay – as though an insult. He choked on his homophobia when confronted by a white lesbian.

     Just a joke! he said, with furious guilt.

The clouds split to show sun. The dogs continued to play and the man ran after his dog- the smiling yellow mess of fur – trying to separate him. 

Jog turned to a sprint when a dog mounted his; straight-masculinity such a fragile concept that the sexual orientation of an animal, of whom you have amicably enslaved, can threaten it to shatter. 

 word by Liam Lachance

colour by Luis Sipion

From the author: “Education in Canada trains boys to solve conflicts with violence – the laziest thing you could do when faced with a problem- which results in the weakest solutions and the worst leaders. The potential of our men and our communities are limited by this rusted idea that has survived centuries of innovation in other fields, to benefit nobody.”


Author: Word and Colour

words inspired by colour wordandcolour.com

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