Of course, being an extremely manly man, by “cross my legs” I mean rest my right ankle/calf/shin on my left knee. This is a typical masculine pose for a man who is holding court in his corner office—hands behind head—regaling hilarious stories of debauchery and excess or, in my case, waiting at Great Clips for a $6.99 haircut because I have a coupon my wife clipped out of a mailer.
So yeah, I can cross my legs … for like three or four minutes, until my leg starts to get numb. I have long legs. This is how I have lived my life—crossing my legs like a man during moments of idleness until my leg goes numb.
Well, not anymore.
All of a sudden—seriously, this happened overnight—I am crossing my legs the real way. Like Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, before that thing happened that put me through puberty. Like, you know, a woman, OR, in my case, a mature man oozing comfort in his own skin.
Like most men (?), I occasionally experimented with true leg crossing in my youth. It just never felt right, and even if it had I would never risk such an act in public. Yet, there I was a couple weeks ago at work, having just finished penning a wonderful email and, basking in the satisfaction, sitting in my chair with a genuine leg cross.
It struck me just how right it felt. Physically, certainly, with no leg numbness or scrunching in the, uh, man area. But also emotionally. I felt like a seasoned college professor, or a psychologist listening intently to some wacko, or just a wise council people go to for advice like, “Mike, there’s a 98-year-old man up front who wants to place a classified ad for a boat,” which is exactly what a coworker did say to me that snapped me out of my indulgent fantasy.
I’ve been crossing my legs ever since. During meetings. At church. During elaborate pre-school graduation ceremonies, which are a thing now. And you know what? Nobody makes a comment. Not even my wife, who always notices when I venture out of my comfort zone by saying things like, “No. Nope. You can’t pull that off. Put that back on the rack. No. Uh uh. Who do you think you are, Zac Effron?”
It’s like there was an unspoken agreement between me and society that it is now OK for me to cross my legs like a mature, manly adult. I’ve earned it. When this was all revealed to me, I had just turned 36, so I’ve pinpointed that as the exact age when it’s acceptable for a man to cross his legs the right way. Not that you, fellow man, will require a definitive age. Trust me, you’ll know. In your heart. (And your pants.)
So if you see me out there, at a coffee shop or a bus stop or something, legs crossed like a woman but straight pulling it off like a man, don’t be surprised. Actually, if it’s a bus stop, please be surprised and please help me. Something must have went wrong.
He may dress hipper than me, but he's not ready to cross his legs.
Note: This column appears in the 6/12 issue of The Glendale Star and the 6/13 issue of the Peoria Times.