Each chapter of Men I’ve Never Been highlights a different image of manhood that Michael Sadowski saw at school, at home, or on television but could never emulate: from sports heroes, hunters, and game show hosts to his charismatic but hard-drinking father. Through wrenching tragedy and the denial of his sexual identity, Sadowski learns how not to hurt, cry, laugh, or love. Gradually, he retreats behind a stoic mask of silence, outwardly well-functioning but sinking under the weight of his past.
In Men I’ve Never Been, Sadowski meditates on the power of real human connection 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. It’s published as part of the Living Out series by University of Wisconsin Press.