~ Guest Writer, Andy Lerner ~
I think Wally has taught me…
…more about being a man than anyone in my life. That might have been a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is clear. Wally and I go back about 12 years. Was it love at first sight? Well, for me it was. We met at a fundraising party. He was a bit confused by my instant interest and enthusiasm. Even a little standoffish. But my instincts were right, and we’ve been together since that night.
Wally knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it or, in some cases, just take it. It’s kind of a marvel to watch sometimes. Complete confidence. He knows he can use that kind of power anytime.
Having a kind of role model for that kind of assertiveness has helped me through some uncertain times; but that’s not to say he’s tough and assertive all the time. He has his moments when – and I think this may be more important than the assertiveness…
… he’s tender, vulnerable and sensitive.
Not necessarily what this culture has defined as masculine… so I guess it might be termed “traditional feminine characteristics”. He can be a real softie. He can easily get what he wants this way too, either because he’s so comfortable having that softness… or because I’m a push-over.
Wally’s whole thing is that he has found as much, if not more power in the “feminine” as in the “masculine”. It’s unconscious, not a tactic. He’s just at ease being Wally. It kind of redefines what “masculine” might mean in a way I think. In that he’s comfortable with all the sides of himself. He’s neither masculine or feminine, while at the same time both. He’s just being Wally. There’s a good lesson there.
Andy Lerner is a director and photographer living in Encino with his dog Wally.
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