The harsh and inflexible gender roles reinforced by our patriarchal society hurt everyone, including men. Just ask this Redditor who was humiliated by his brother.
User @Poabplane took to the infamous /AmITheAsshole Subreddit for unbiased insight into this extremely bumpy ride. For context, he (24M) was on vacation with his friend Leon and his older brother Paul. @Poabplane has “pretty bad” flight anxiety that everyone knew up front.
“Usually the worst is during turbulence, takeoff and landing. [breathe] You go fast and your muscles get really tense,” he explained. “and occasionally [when] I am so scared that I am going insane. So I always find touch to be my solace. ”
Both were aware of @Poabplane’s concerns, but took very different approaches to supporting him, he wrote. We believe that emotions should not be shown. [men], So he’s been teasing me about it since I was a kid. Leon is the complete opposite of Paul, he is caring and very sweet. ”
Making fun of someone with anxiety is…not cool to say the least. But hopefully Paul has matured over time and recognized the validity of his brother’s mental health struggles?
Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case. Their flight got off to a bad start when @Poabplane started the spiral and asked Leon to hold his hand after the trio boarded. “Paul saw it and looked at me with dirty eyes and was clearly annoyed,” he recalls. “After 10 minutes, I felt better and let go of each other’s hands.”
It was fine for a while, but later in the flight, the plane hit turbulence.
“It was very unexpected,” explained @Poabplane. [where] I almost cried. When I woke him up and grabbed Leon’s hand, he quietly comforted me. When I explained the situation, Leon readily responded. Paul, on the other hand, was very annoyed and pulled my hand away from Leon and told me to stop crying. [that] Shame on Paul and Leon.”
Naturally, @Poabplane tried to protect himself and his friends, but Paul didn’t. In fact, his brother called him “gay” – in a derogatory way, as Hilary Duff warned us in that haunting PSA.
“[Paul] He said he doesn’t want us to be judged or assumed to be negative by those around us just because we showed our emotions.
Needless to say, but just to be clear, holding hands with another man doesn’t make you gay, and being gay isn’t a “negative”. Homophobia aside, everyone has feelings, and it’s perfectly normal to express them outwardly. does not make it “unmanly”. This is a normal human reaction in moments of intense stress, fear, or tension. This is especially true if you have a mental health disorder such as anxiety.
Redditors in the comments staunchly defended @Poabplane.
“NTA. Your brother has been subjected to a lot of very toxic attitudes about gender and orientation when it comes to expressing emotions.‘ wrote one commenter. “I encourage you to read about the ongoing mental health crisis facing men because of the unrealistic, toxic and frankly stupid expectations that men will not express their emotions. …and Well done you and your buddy for being supportive humans who don’t filter all the decent responses through your pants!”
“Paul deals with toxic masculinity,” opined another.He is not happy with himself and projecting it onto you. Keep doing what you’re doing and if the pole bothers you, ask him to sit away from you. ”
“Paul got pretty emotional there too,” quipped another commenter. “National Tax Agency”
The Redditor was also encouraged to seek help with his anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this common mental health problem affects an estimated 6.8 million adult Americans, but only 43.2% of them receive treatment.
“Mild anxiety is perfectly normal, but you’ve been flying a lot and it sounds like you’re still in serious trouble.”
Before you go, check out these affordable mental health apps we love.