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Men I've Never Been

Men I've Never Been

by Michael Sadowski
Men I've Never Been

Men I've Never Been

by Michael Sadowski


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Men I’ve Never Been recounts Michael Sadowski’s odyssey as a boy who shuns his own identity—and, ultimately, his sexual orientation—in order to become who he thinks he’s supposed to be. Beginning with the memory of a four-year-old sitting in a dingy dive bar, sounding out newspaper headlines while his boasting father collects drinks from onlookers, each chapter highlights a different image of manhood that Sadowski saw at home, at school, or on television—from sports heroes, hunters, and game show hosts to his charismatic but hard-drinking father. As he learns not to talk, laugh, cry, or love, he retreats further behind a stoic mask of silence—outwardly well-functioning but emotionally isolated, sinking under the weight of the past.
Through wrenching tragedy and tense, life-threatening challenges, Sadowski learns to find love, purpose, and healthy self-regard. In coming to understand his identity and his place within his family, he meditates on the power of real human connection and comes to grasp the damage of his troubled upbringing and the traumas caused by toxic masculinity. By turns comic and tragic, this nuanced memoir uncovers the false selves we create to get along in the world and the price we pay to maintain them.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780299330903
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 04/27/2021
Series: Living Out: Gay and Lesbian Autobiography Series
Pages: 232
Sales rank: 1,138,814
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Michael Sadowski is an award-winning writer and author of several books, including In a Queer Voice, Safe Is Not Enough, and Adolescents at School. He is an administrator and professor at Bard College.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix


The Professor 3

Part 1 Noise

1 Schoolboy 11

2 Athlete 15

3 The Men in the Mirror 29

4 My Mother's Savior 38

5 Role Models 50

6 Hopeless Romantic 63

7 The Boy Who Didn't, Part 1 71

Part 2 Silence

8 The Boy Who Didn't, Part 2 85

9 Family Man 94

10 The Captain 107

11 Big Man on Campus 120

12 Suffering Artist 131

13 Straight Man 146

Part 3 Voices

14 Lover 157

15 Actor 167

16 Tin Man 188


Man Walking 203

Acknowledgments 207

Sources 211

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