Three Things Guys Want Us to Know
Originally Published: July 25, 2013
Revised: July 25, 2013
Teenage boys are subject to just about as many, if not more, stereotypes than any other group of people. In pop culture, there are basically two types of guys: the obnoxious, horny jock whose goal in life is to score girls, and the pathetic nerd who just wants to lose his virginity before he leaves high school. Granted, these stereotypes didn’t come from thin air; there are guys out there who fit these descriptions. However, the majority of guys I know don’t fit into either category. They’re complex individuals who possess a mix of character traits.
I talked to different guys from all around the country. They got to tell their side of the story and share what they really want people to know.
It’s Not All About the Sex
When I ask 18-year-old Chris of New York City about the idea that all guys want is sex, he says, “Not all [heterosexual] guys are interested in girls just to get sex. Many want meaningful relationships.”
Oftentimes, people write teenage boys off as horny animals who are controlled more by what’s in their pants than in their heart. But for every guy who fits this description, there’s another guy who’s genuinely looking for someone he can trust and support and someone who can meet his emotional needs.
Taylor, 18, of South Bend, IN agrees, “I hate when guys I meet assume I want a one-night stand just because I’m gay. I want a relationship.” Some people view the gay dating scene as non-committal, especially when it comes to teens. Yet Taylor tells us that he wants to find a partner whom he connects with on more than just a physical level.
And when it comes to the physical stuff, Andrew, 16, of Azusa, CA says, “Whoever said guys don’t like cuddling? I love it!” I hear so many girls complain that boys are insensitive and rough when it comes to the physical aspect of relationships, when in reality many of them enjoy cuddling as much as their partners do!
The thing is guys can express their masculinity in different ways, because not all guys are the same.
Real Guys Don’t Need to Be Macho Men
Traditional ideas about masculinity have long defined what makes a guy a “real guy”—things such as the love of sports, a deep voice and the refusal to show emotions in public come to mind. This old-school idea of masculinity tells us that a guy’s sense of manhood is only legitimate if he lives up to all of these traditional standards, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
John, 19, of Lansing, MI explains, “I hate when people assume that my boyfriend is the ‘feminine one,’ and I’m the ‘masculine one.’ We both have qualities seen as feminine and qualities seen as masculine and are sick of people stereotypically separating the two.”
Everywhere in the media, gay couples consist of the “girly” guy and the “manly” guy. Yet John argues that each person is unique and can possess qualities society still associates with femininity, such as love of fashion, as well as qualities people still see as masculine, such as watching sports.
But Hunter, 17, of Midland Park, NJ, says, “Because I don’t play, know or care about sports, guys automatically find me to be feminine, when I’m perfectly comfortable with my masculinity.”
In our society, whether a guy is interested in sports or not has long been associated with how masculine they are perceived to be, but now it’s safe to say that guys don’t have to love or take part in sports to feel “manly.”
The thing is guys can express their masculinity in different ways, because not all guys are the same. Masculinity can, in fact, differ from person to person; it isn’t “one size fits all.” The problem with society’s definition of masculinity is that it pressures guys into becoming “macho”—or acting like some stereotype portrayed by the popular jerk in every high school movie or the guys on Jersey Shore. This type of guy is not only domineering, but generally unpleasant to men and women alike. If guys could just express their unique personality, it would be a lot more pleasant for everyone.
Don’t Assume What a Guy Wants
Even though lots of heterosexual people are supportive of those who identify as gay or bisexual, they often misunderstand what that means as far as relationships go.
Ricky, 16, of Miami confesses, “A lot of times when straight guys find out I’m gay, they think we can’t be good friends because I’ll eventually develop feelings for them. But most of the time, I just want to be friends.”
It should go without saying that gay guys can have platonic relationships with heterosexual guys, yet many of the latter don’t understand that.
Guys who are bisexual run across a similar problem with girls. Jason, 18, of Plymouth, NH, says, “When I tell girls I’m interested in that I’m bi, they automatically rule me out and think I prefer guys. Hello people, I like both equally! Why else would I identify as bi?” Jason goes on to say, “If a guy tells you he’s bi, he could be sharing that information with you because he cares about you, not because he wants to subtly hint that he’s not interested.”
In our culture today, it seems as if the goal of meeting someone new is to start a romantic or physical relationship with them. If teens approached each other expecting nothing more than friendship, we would have a lot less confusion about what kind of relationship another person wants with us, no matter their sexual orientation. It’s clear that regardless of your sexual orientation or gender, being honest with someone about how you feel can help avoid a lot of confusion.
Guys are as varied as girls, and if we keep the ideas above in mind, we’re less likely to assume we know exactly who guys are. They are complex human beings who don’t fit into any mold defined by the media or their peers. And the only way we can truly understand a guy is to talk and get to know him.
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