Ever wondered what men think about gender, romance, and other hot topics? Well wonder no longer – introducing the Guy Panel. I asked three men what they think about some touchy subjects, and they did not disappoint. Craig (23/Black/Straight), Scott (34/White/Straight), and Poncho* (30/Hispanic/Gay, pseudonym given for anonymity) share their thoughts below in Part 1 of this two-part series.
1. Do you find it easier to be friends with men or women, and why?
Craig: I don’t care either way. Both men and women can be terrible people. I did realize that if I tone down the flirting a notch, that makes for an extremely attentive and compassionate friend for women.
Scott: In terms of making friends, I have found it to be just as easy to be friends with men as it is to be with women. I just try to be myself and find common interests with the individual that I am meeting and becoming friends with. I also feel like I do a pretty good job of maintaining friendships with both men and women. I would say that being a good friend to women is slightly more challenging in that while listening, I sometimes need to view situations from a non-male perspective.
Poncho: I find it easier to make friends with men. It is easier for me to bond and find things we can relate to. Ironically, I find myself more comfortable around women I just met than with men I just met, but it is harder to build a meaningful relationship with the girls. That said, I have a few very good friends that identify as females.
2. If you could do anything that is traditionally considered “feminine” without being judged, what would it be?
Craig: Wear their clothes. Men literally only have shirts and pants.
Scott: Wow. This is a good question, for a short-term activity it would definitely be going out for a day at the Spa. I think it is a great way to take a short relaxing vacation from life that any gender should be able to enjoy. For a more long-term viewpoint, I feel that I would thrive as a stay-at-home parent. I think there is a lot of hard work that goes into it and I would love to have that time with my future children.
Poncho: I think someone will inevitably judge you, particularly if you are a man doing something feminine. There are feminine things that I would feel more comfortable doing than others, without caring if I am being judged or not. For example, painting my nails is something I have done a lot. Putting on a skirt, not so much. So, I have a lot to work on. There are braver folks out there that are willing to challenge binary models in more radical ways and we should thank them. Also, there are traits that are wrongly considered feminine like empathy, compassion or being emotional. I tend to nurture and express those in my life without feeling uncomfortable.
3. Is being a “good guy,” “good man,” and “good person” the same thing?
Craig: Functionally, yes. Technically speaking, there are higher standards for women, so no. And also, if someone used one over the other, then I’d get the context clues. Okay, so no, they’re different, I guess. But then again, everyone’s standards are unique. And is good even the same good between different people? Your good might be too good for me and how dare you put your unrealistic standards on me.
Scott: I interpret those phrases slightly differently. I think a “good guy” is reserved for someone that you are acquainted with and checks all the surface level boxes of a “good man” or “person” but you really don’t know. Maybe that “good guy” has even been there for you when you were in a pinch or needed some immediate help. I just don’t view that label as personal as the other two. I think actually view “good person” as the next level – I see this as someone who you know their character and you know that they look out for others on a consistent basis, are good role models, and may be charitable or service-oriented. I think this is a label that is given by people who know your external self and have had peaks into your internal self as well. To me, “good man” for a male is probably the most personal of the three labels and really speaks to one’s character and commitment to others from those who know him best. When I have heard anyone described as a “good man” it’s usually reserved for those people that knew him best.
Poncho: This is a very difficult question. The word ‘man’ is associated with macho culture. A man is independent, free, strong, outgoing, privileged, a bit careless. I guess a good man would be someone that does not use those traits to be a jerk. A good man would use to traits to become a better person, be a provider, loyal, protector, trustworthy. When I think of a good guy, I just think of a guy that is not a junkie, or a troublemaker. The word ‘person’ is genderless, so it does not evoke all the ‘strong’ traits associated with a man. In that sense it almost works as an oxymoron, a man is almost never good, that makes the phrase more powerful. Of course, you could make a thousand other interpretations. It is a very difficult question.
4. What do you wish more women knew about life as a guy?
Craig: Anything about it. I feel like women get the premise of men, but none get the context. Like men are trash, but knowing that we are trash, some of us pick out the recycling. Not me, but I’m sure that’s a thing.
Scott: I think that many men live a life that they face daily doubts, insecurities and self-consciousness. I wish more men could embrace who they truly are and be genuine – I think they’d find that they would be accepted more so than the image they feel they need to put out.
Poncho: That they are better than us. We can get there with effort, to be as good as them, but right now they are better at everything.
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