Over coffee last week my friend Joe asked me if I thought vulnerable men were sexy. It’s been a long time since I dated a man who didn't show some emotion, so yeah I find vulnerable men sexy, but that doesn’t mean I want a big cry-baby or emotional oversharer either. There’s a time and place for the vulnerable man, and while being open to sharing feelings and going deep with a partner is one of the hottest things I can think of, being whiny and spontaneously bursting into sobs, not so much.
Opinions range on if vulnerability makes a man, or woman, weak or strong. But the right amount of vulnerable can make any relationship stronger. Sure it can feel annoying and uncomfortable at times, but vulnerability is also attractive and admirable.
Just look at when Bradley Cooper cried during a taping for Inside the Actor's Studio. James Lipton asked Bradley about an influential acting coach and his emotions overtook him. Loudly. He acknowledged this and even discussed his vulnerability with the audience. His visceral response, and emotional struggle, were endearing. Now, if he got all gooey on the first date, that could be weird. He'd seem overly emotional. But, a man who knows how to show emotion, I can handle that.
If you define the word vulnerable literally, then of course being an easy target for an emotional or physical attack is obviously not a good thing. But vulnerability is about shedding that tough exterior and showing his soft underbelly. When we get a glimpse of that man, we feel closer to him. When a man shows he’s hurt, that he has feelings too, I can relate to him better. I’ve been hurt! I have feelings too!
I can get closer to a vulnerable man. It makes me feel like we have something special. That he trusts me most to see who he really is. And we share a bond that he doesn’t share with his drinking buddies or co-workers.
When a guy realizes he doesn't always have to “act like a man” (how does a man act anyway?), he can be open to exploring what a man acts like anyway. I’ve had more than one boyfriend sob in my arms. Whether it was about loss or love, that didn't matter. What does matter is that he trusted me with his vulnerability.
I used to think a man who wasn't vulnerable wasn't man enough, now I think he's manned up.
Do you find a vulnerable man sexy?
Image via Josh Pesavento/Flickr