President Trump's supporters love how manly he is. They wear "Donald Trump: Finally Someone With Balls" T-shirts at his rallies. They should reconsider, and not only for reasons of propriety. For all his machismo, Trump is the least macho president in American history.
Think about it: His behavior defies the traditional definition of what it means to be "manly." He wears bronzer, loves gold and gossip, is obsessed with his physical appearance, whines constantly, can't control his emotions, watches daytime television, enjoys parades and interior decorating, and used to sell perfume. He dislikes the NFL, Harley-Davidson, and female porn stars — the holy trinity of toxic masculinity.
Sure, he talks a lot about being a man — "it is a very scary time for young men in America" — but real men aren't supposed to talk a lot or get scared. Trump talks all the time and he's scared of everything, including stairs, sharks he sees on TV, rain in France, and not talking.
The guy who hates handshakes because he's scared of germs claims he would stop a school shooting "even if I didn't have a weapon." His supporters hail him as the savior of masculinity. But his machismo, like everything else about him, is a charade. Trump is not the savior of masculinity. He is a parody of it.
His supporters proclaim him a fighter, but he fights only when he can't get hurt: in the safe space of cyberspace and in sell-out arenas. At WrestleMania, an event where men with big muscles take off their clothes and run around on a stage, Trump got in a fake brawl with Vince McMahon and shaved his head. Rather than punching or kicking his make-believe victims, Trump gives them bad hairdos. On Twitter, Trump picked a fight with Joe Biden, who, like Trump, has Secret Service protection. It's been 10 months, and he hasn't cut a follicle.
Unlike at WrestleMania, Trump's fans are no longer in on the joke, but they still applaud him. They don't care that Nancy Pelosi forced him to reopen the government last month. According to a new Monmouth University Poll, 44 percent of his supporters said he looks stronger after losing to a 78-year-old grandmother.
You'd never hear Pelosi talk so much about her hair. Trump explained his daily routine to Playboy: "I get up, take a shower, and wash my hair. Then I read the newspapers and watch the news on television, and slowly the hair dries. It takes about an hour. I don't use a blow-dryer. Once it's dry I comb it. Once I have it the way I like it — even though nobody else likes it — I spray it and it's good for the day."
He uses Twitter to ponder about his hair ("Re my hair-Should I change it? What do you think?"), to confide about his hair ("I will not have to wash my hair this morning!"), and to defend his hair when under attack. After Bette Midler made fun of it, he said she had an "ugly face."
This is the way Trump writes — like a parody of a 12-year-old girl. His favorite words are "sooo," "soooo," and "sooooo." His favorite TV show is "soooo much better" than the other ones. "The Emmys are sooooo boring," but he’s watching them anyway. "Sooooo important, get out and VOTE for Brian!" Trump tweets. "In war, the elememt [sic] of surprise is sooooo [sic] important," he says.
Meanwhile Trump gushes over strongmen and strong men. He chose as his acting attorney general a guy whose Twitter picture is of himself lifting weights. He said that Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who body-slammed a reporter, was "my kind of guy." But his favorite guy is Vladimir Putin. In 2013, Trump asked the internet, "Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow — if so, will he become my new best friend?" Because this is what manly men do: They go to beauty pageants, meet other manly men, and become best friends.
Why, then, do so many men admire Trump?
Every man, Aldous Huxley said, has two choices: He can either repress his instincts or indulge them. Trump says and does whatever he wants, like a child without any supervision. He eats hamburgers, has sex with porn stars, and insults people while lying in bed and watching people on TV praise him for the job he isn't doing. He's like the guys in Mötley Crüe and Poison — who wore makeup, permed their hair, and screamed unintelligibly — except that he's 72 and not on drugs.