Stage 2

The curse of masculinity: what it was like to grow up in small-town America

In a family, there’s no distinction as pronounced as the one between those who fit and those who won’t. Ours was an unreasonably masculine household. Reared by a single father and his ultra-macho brethren, in a working-class New Jersey town improbably named Manville, I was a bad match for so much strutting testosterone: too small, too bookish, too nursing of my myriad fragilities: