When Ricardo F. Jaramillo was 8, he would often walk hand-in-hand with his best friend, Pedro. After another boy their age split their hands apart, proclaiming that their hand-holding was â€œgay,â€ they never held hands again.
In the essay â€œWhy Canâ€™t Men Say â€˜I Love Youâ€™ to Each Other?,â€ Mr. Jaramillo describes that interaction as the first time he experienced societyâ€™s oppressive norms regulating male behavior, and he goes on to question those norms, especially the ways in which they suppress tenderness and vulnerability among men.
On this weekâ€™s Modern Love podcast, Ncuti Gatwa reads Mr. Jaramilloâ€™s essay, which was a finalist in the Modern Love columnâ€™s 2019 college essay contest. Mr. Gatwa is a Scottish actor who plays Eric Effiong in the Netflix show â€œSex Education.â€
Mr. Jaramillo is a teacher, essayist and Fulbright scholar. His latest essay will be published this week through WHYY, Philadelphiaâ€™s public radio station. Stay tuned after the reading to hear more from him, Mr. Gatwa and the Modern Love editor Daniel Jones.