What it really means to be 'one of the guys'
By every basic definition brought upon me by society, I’m a very girly girl. Makeup, sparkles, shoes, fashion, perfume: Check to the fifth power. A tomboyish girl I know often used to scoff at me for wearing a sundress to fifth grade, and I taught a girl with a masculine childhood aesthetic about how delicious liquid watermelon Lip Smackers taste if you lick it from your lips. (To this day I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.)
But, according to the mother of one of my friends, at whose house I play Dungeons and Dragons, I’m a boy. Not specifically. The two female humans present that night were my best friend and me. With us were five boys. Often she would call out, “Do you boys want something to eat?” “Would any of the guys like some gum?” On the way home, my female friend and I theorized that our straight male friends don’t think of us as girls, but as platonic gay boys. I know, it sounds a little weird, but hear me out: They know we are attracted to their kind, but they see us as completely non-threatening to their current relationship status. (I learned that lesson the hard way: I fell for one of these same guy friends, and it did not end well. I’m actually thrilled, in a way, not to be considered a “girl” anymore because it means that most of them have forgotten about it.)
I’ve never considered myself one of the guys. When I picture the Future Me, I can’t see myself cracking a beer and discussing sports figures with a group of men. I wasn’t a rough and tumble kid who preferred climbing trees to dressing Barbie like a fashion model. My best friends have always been two or three intelligent, hilarious, opinionated girls. Recently, though, on the way home for a stressful session of decorating the hallways of my high school for our Homecoming, I found myself thinking the unthinkable, something I’ve never even thought about thinking: “I think I get along with guys more than girls. Girls are way too much drama.”
My reference was a bus ride home after a faraway tournament where my male-dominated quiz bowl team competed. We all started to roast each other and tell stories that we all laughed at. That felt right for me, about as right as sleepovers or shopping trips with my best girls had felt in the past.
What is being one of the guys? Do you have to be like them? Surely the boys I get along with recognize me as a girl. I don’t act in the sort of gross-out, legs open, blatantly screaming “guy” way they do. Almost none of the girls I know with a lot of male friends do. It’s the stereotype, but I rarely see it in real life.
The back of my mind tossed and turned about this issue. Finally, I asked my Dungeons and Dragons friend if he sees me as a girl. His response was something to the extent of “You’re a girl, but like a really cool girl who can, like make awesome jokes and be a bro. You’re a female bro.”
Despite the uber frat boy wording of that, I have come to the conclusion that the best friends, male or female, don’t see you as a gender, but as a person. That’s the difference between the people I call my friends and the people I find obnoxious. Are girls too much drama? I would rather ask the question, “Are these particular people not pleasant to be around?” All of us should be judged on the same standard.
In a world where we see the merit and personality as opposed to what sort of chromosomes a person has, we might finally reach equality. Until then, I am fine with identifying as either a girly girl or just one of the guys. I am a young, modern woman. I am whatever I want to be.
Kait Wilbur lives in the middle of nowhere, but her soul lives somewhere between Portland and Candyland. She has the music taste of both a twentysomething woman from 1996 and an East Coast college student from the present day, and she once said the word “pizza” and laughed for fifteen minutes. You can find more of her ramblings on Instagram.