Exams are over which means that I have a lot more time (for a very limited amount of time) to do more of what I love, which is writing. I am coming back to you today with something that has weighed on my mind for a very long time, and here we go…
Tough guy talk. It’s not something I’m overly fond of, nor does it impress me the slightest bit.
To be clear, I’m not here to any generalizations and say that all guys (and girls) do this. There are plenty of nice guys and girls out there that don’t do this by any means. That being said, I have seen and heard my fair share of tough guy talk from guys and girls — myself included.
As I mentioned, this comes after many months of weighing on my mind and after many incidents that make me cringe, roll my eyes, and even get incredibly upset. The most recent of them being Thursday night (which warrants another post of its own), but the gist of it was that I got a nasty phone call at the restaurant that I was at with some friends, and whoever was on the other line was looking to fill his uneventful Thursday night by bringing people down.
Posing as the manager of the restaurant I was at that night, he went off and said horrible things about women, a women’s anatomy, and completely degraded women and the human sexuality. His words were short, simple, and full of impact, and his language was derogatory, disrespectful and simply unacceptable. You can read more here.
Tough guy talk.
Beyond this, I’ve watched guys try to pick up girls by adding swear word after swear word into their sentences, making horrible comments about other girls’ bodies and trying to strike up conversation with those girls on those subjects. I’ve been at restaurants and have watched guys try to impress their waitresses by talking about their “conquests” (true story).
But girls are no good either, and I’ll use myself as an example. As a young and insecure 17-year-old I used tough guy talk to win a guy over. If he swore, I swore. I tried to make myself look cool by bluffing up my own relationships, painting myself as a fast-moving heartbreaker who could just go from one guy to the next — when I knew deep inside of me that this was so far from the truth. If anything, I didn’t want to move from one to the next. At 17 I wasn’t looking for forever, but I was looking for someone to actually care for me.
We all try to present the best versions of ourselves to the world, and for some that involves using tough guy talk. My theory is that aside from presenting the best versions of ourselves, we look to present the best and most indestructible versions of ourselves. You want me to be vulnerable and let down my guard? In your dreams, I say. You can never be too cautious, and using a tactic like tough guy talk can create that buffer between you and your other relationships. It protects you from getting too close too soon, and for some, I believe that it adds a certain element of danger and desire to you. I say this because that’s exactly how I wanted this guy to see my 17-year-old self.
But isn’t vulnerability a key factor in the development of any relationship? I’m not suggesting that you show your entire soul right when you meet someone for the first time, because trust is also something that builds in the development of our relationships. As we build up a rapport with other people, we begin to identify certain traits that we appreciate in others. We begin to trust one another, and slowly, our inner selves begin to emerge.
I’m not suggesting that when we first meet other people we are fake. But I’m sure you will agree that relationships, romantic or otherwise, do change over time. With some, you never leave that phase of constant vigilance. With others, the trust level runs so deep that you can even begin to read one another and finish each other’s sentences.
In recent years after 17-year-old me left a relationship that shook me to the core and altered my personal view of myself, I have been careful in how I approach relationships. Suddenly, tough guy talk means nothing to me, and it did absolutely nothing for me. Tough guy was nothing like me, so why was I pretending to be someone I wasn’t?
I stand by my theory that the use of tough guy talk is just a way to shield yourself from the world. Maybe there is some truth in that, or maybe I’m wrong. But in the most cliché way possible, just be yourself. In friendships, in relationships, in anything. You don’t stand to lose anything if you continually stay true to who you are.
To my fellow friends, tough guy talk does nothing for you. Be true, be respectful, and be confident in your ability to be yourself.