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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Chen

100 masked men

Two months ago I decided to finally publish my podcast, The Miss Amanda Chen Show. It took a while to figure out what exactly to talk about, but I felt comfort in making one commitment to myself - whatever goes on this show must be an authentic expression of myself.

And I got to thinking, what would keep me committed? I mean we're all human and it's easy to get sidetracked, so to ensure I stay on track I opened up the show with a season I'm calling 100 Masked Men, where I anonymously interview 100 men from all around the world about masculinity, fear and self worth.

A lot of people ask me why I'm doing this - if you know anything about me, I'm the last person to "give a guy a chance." I'm your typical alpha female, no-nonsense boss lady who has worked her butt off to be where she is, and trust me, I wasn't about to share all my glory with any man. Let alone 100 of them.

But I hit a ceiling in empowering my favourite women. No matter what I did to encourage them, their magic would be stripped away as soon as they felt disappointment with a man they were intimately involved with. And I'm definitely one of these women. I'd be doing so well, and then there I go, sliding down that slippery slope of feeling unworthy, undeserving of love, my self esteem at negative 1000. And the worst part about this was climbing back up, all over again, with a chip on my shoulder and less interest in the opposite sex.

THEN, I hit a new ceiling. I hit the last of my 21st century "situationships" - and I know this is my last one because I went all in for this one. During a pandemic you really have to be 100% down because there's simply too much to risk these days. And when I finally asked for a relationship that included open and honest conversation, he kindly said he couldn't deliver. Rather than feeling anger, disappointment, or even trying to change his mind, I accepted it. And in that acceptance I felt a wave of compassion for this man I care for and love. This beautiful man who is too afraid to reveal his true self in front of women for whatever reason, to stay strong and silent and mysteriously attractive to the opposite sex, to stay ahead of the game. I realized how much this desire to "be a man" was wrapped in fear and this began my project for the 100 Masked Men Series.

And anything born out of love will succeed. At this time I've already plowed through 30 interviews from some of my dearest male companions, awkward encounters, and complete strangers. And all that I have received is open and honest conversation. I may have lost that option with one man, but I have gained 100 of them in return. And as I carefully flex this muscle, I realize how insane it was of me to demand this type of conversation when I've never practiced this myself.

Today, I'm getting comfortable with listening. With asking questions. With digging deeper behind why we are the way we are. Some interviews I am able to break through, some I'm barely scratching the surface. I hope this show introduces you to the vast variety of unpracticed souls out there that have never spoken about this subject matter.

Please join me in applauding the courage of the men who have come forward to speak with me so far. Most people get on a podcast for self promotion about a topic they feel they're an expert at. With these men masked there is no room for ego. We can't attach an expectation to a certain "type" of person without a face and a name. And with that we can't judge one person against the other, and this audio-only format is the closest I can get to maintaining an equal playing field. Best of all is by inviting men to speak candidly about these touching subjects, I end up receiving the respect I've spent my life fighting for.

Welcome to 2021. I hope you enjoy the show.

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