Are my socks gay?
"I mean, they're knee socks, like girls wear, and the pattern makes me look like I'm in the Brownies or something.
"Are the other guys gonna think I look gay?"
And there it is, the thought all men have so fast, we can't stop ourselves from having it. It takes less time to have the thought than it does to write down that you had the thought.
It's 2017. I'm 60 years old. It's a lot more OK to be gay now than it was when I was a kid.
I wasn't a bullied kid. No one ever beat me up because I "acted like a girl." I can box. I can shoot. And I can ride a horse. I had a father in my house. I'm not trying to live anything down.
But there, faster than you can write it, was the thought that torments every man in his most quiet moment.
"Does this look gay?"
You're not worried that you ARE gay; you're worried that you LOOK gay, at least to other men.
I didn't ask my wife if the socks looked gay. Nobody but a fool would ask his wife that question. Just asking it, and seeing her eyes roll, would drain at least a juice glass full of testosterone out of my body.
But still, the question. After 60 years, and a number of rounds in a boxing ring, and a wife, and the careful cultivation of a masculine manner, still the question.