I had a conversation with someone the other day. It went a little like this:
“No, you just don’t get it Marisa, all guys want is sex.”
And all five-foot-five, curly-haired, feminist of me responded strangely: “Well, not every guy.”
I think this conversation surprised the both of us. But especially me, since I was arguing with a guy. And your average, good-looking guy. Someone who had lived what you’d call a “typical” boy life of sports, girls, and friends. Someone who had his share of girlfriends over the years, but wasn’t a womanizer.
Anyways, the turn in the conversation surprised me. We had switched roles. I was supposed to be the anti-guy, ‘I don’t need a man’ feminist, right? And he was supposed to be the one convincing me that men aren’t all terrible— there are good ones, like finding flowers growing between the weeds—right?
Well, I’ll be honest, I’ve never been one of those feminists. I’m all for female power, for female decision-making, for female rights and fairness, and especially for female strength. But if there’s one thing I don’t agree on, it’s the stepping on men to achieve what we want. That’s just stupid in and backwards in my opinion. But before I get on a rant, let’s flash back to the conversation: We are standing in my living room, him running his hands through his hair in frustration and me with my hands on my hips (I think this makes me look like I know what I’m talking about).
“I like the way you think,” he says, “I really do. I wish I could think like that. But I don’t. I know how guys are. I’ve known a lot of guys and they all are the same. They don’t talk the same around girls.”
“Well, yeah.” Can’t argue that one. How guys talk with their ‘bros’ is different than they’d talk to their moms or girlfriends. But it’s the same for girls. You better believe I’m not talking about my PMS problems, my nail polish, or my boy troubles with anyone other than a female. “But not all guys are these terrible people. Sure, there are the scumbag guys, but not every guy is scumbag.”
“I didn’t say that,” he argues (but he kind of did), “There might be a good guy here and there but the majority think the same. Want the same things.”
I roll my eyes. What does that say about you? I think. I wonder what category he fits in. If he’s scumbag guy, good guy, or slightly-scumbag guy (a somewhere in-between category he’ll probably make just for argument’s sake).
I scroll through a mental list of guys in my life. There’s my dad, who I would say is one of the most loyal men I know. But I’m not even going to think about him and his potential past scumbag ways. Next. My dog. Okay, he doesn’t count. But he’s definitely not a scumbag, unless you count when he rolls in the dirt outside in our garden. Then he really sucks. There’s my boyfriend, a genuinely great guy with a ‘normal’ past. Not scummy. There’s a good amount of guy friends in my life, to my boyfriend’s dislike. But if I’m being completely honest with myself, the majority of these guys have been close with me going on six years. They know the times I’ve cried over stupid stuff, they were in my group for prom, they know that mosquitos legitimately freak me out and that I can eat an entire pepperoni pizza by myself if you don’t take it away from me. Sure, a few of them have some sketchy ways. They’ve hurt a few girls along the way, done some dumb stuff like talking to two girls at once or sleeping with their girlfriend’s classmate. But the way they treat me has always been different. They don’t look at me like I’m an object (or if they do, it’s behind my back which is irrelevant anyways). And they genuinely care about me and would be there for me if I called or if I seriously needed anything. I guess I’ve just surrounded myself with non-douchey guys.
At this point in the conversation, I’m actually getting annoyed. Here I am, the woman in this battle and I’m the one defending the male species like I’m one of them. It’s this weird feeling. Am I betraying all women right now? Oh my gosh, am I like, an anti-feminist right now? I’m starting to freak out (okay, I’ll admit I can get a little dramatic at times) but seriously, the world isn’t all terrible and all guys aren’t terrible. I’ll stand behind that.
The conversation ends with this basic statement from him, “Well I guess you just see the good in people.” As if that somehow is an understanding between the two of us. It’s more like an agree-to-disagree and I hate those (I like to be right. But in this case I totally am).
We continue on with our evenings like nothing happened (sort of, not really). But the entire time I’m mulling this over. I just don’t agree. I guess I can see one point of his argument: men and women think differently, and are wired differently. I guess I can’t really go against that. I think that women have a way of thinking that’s more connected to one another, more in-tune with things like nurturing, listening, friend/mother/sister skills. But that doesn’t mean every single woman is like that. I’ve met my share of women who don’t want to have children, who are ‘players’ towards their male counterparts, who ‘talk like a guy’ (yes, a biased and sexist stereotype, but you know what I’m talking about). And then there’s the reverse. I’ve met guys who are better listeners than any of my female friends. And they’re the guys you wouldn’t expect—bulky football players with tattoos (see how stereotypes suck?!) Anyways, I’m standing behind my position no matter what my male argue-er (is that a word?) believes. Not all men are scumbags. And to the guys out there: you’re welcome.