I’ve been introduced to the boy vs. man phenomena most recently by my mom. After sharing my unexciting and rather disappointing experiences with boys, she’s opened my eyes to see that it’s time to stop pouring my energy into the people who don’t deserve it and start attracting a man. I can hear the common boy’s response to this comparison; “I’m already a man; I’m like 19 years old.” Well, boys, I’m here to break the news to you that being a man doesn’t mean being old enough to get drunk off of Bud lights every night and having the ability to grow shaggy facial hair. Manhood to me, and I’m sure a lot of other girls out there, means a little more than hitting your pubescent growth spurt. While I understand that everyone grows (both physically and emotionally) at their own pace and not everyone is ready to turn into their best self at such a young age, the boy vs. man analogy is not just about setting yourself up for positive relationships but also about learning how to avoid wasting your time on people who just aren’t on the same page as you.
Confidence is my first key sign to identify the difference. I’ve most recently learned the difference between confidence and cockiness. We all know that a boy that storms into a party, expecting everyone to drop everything and turn to acknowledge his existence. That walk and tone of speech that just screams, “I’m overcompensating for something.” While he may think that this exudes confidence and the “I don’t care” attitude that boys often think is desirable to display, to me this just tells me he’s lacking in other departments.
While on the topic of overcompensating, one thing that has always made me shake my head, is when boys think its charming or funny to make fun of you as a form of flirting. Don’t get me wrong; I love sarcastic and dry humour more than the next girl but usually when I make jokes lightly poking fun at someone to flirt, the jokes land! You being unkind isn’t funny, its quite uncomfortable, especially when we find out later that that was your attempt at trying to flirt. Kindness and compliments, especially in front of others, show that you don’t care if the boys think you’re “soft” for having feelings and exemplifies the kind of confidence that girls want to see.
While the examples above of boy behaviours seem exciting to those craving self-sabotage as I once did, there’s nothing more refreshing than a man unapologetically showing interest you, not to mention it would definitely get him some bonus points in your girls’ group chat.
While experiencing all levels of boy behaviours and growing up with a group of guy “friends”, I’ve found that there’s definitely a purpose for every type of guy you meet. First, we have the real guy best friends – the ones who genuinely care about you and will stick up for you if they find out another one of his kind tried to mess with you (we love these guys). Then there’s the fake guy “best friend” – the one who rips you to shreds but has no real interest or care for you (no thank you!) Thirdly, now getting a little more interesting, we have the short-term fun boy – the one who you naturally gravitate towards that could bring you some temporary satisfaction, perhaps a laugh or two, but can’t really keep up with you emotionally. And lastly, one group of males I’ve yet to come across: men. Notice how the “men group” doesn’t have the bells and whistles of an explanation like the other ones, because I think the title is arguably self-explanatory.
For those who are reading and may be questioning why a feminist-oriented person like me is putting “men” into their own category, let me clarify. For me, the phrase “being a man” is solely about one’s character and the way they treat others. It’s time we start normalizing putting someone’s politeness, comforting personality and witty sense of humour in the category of what we expect of men. So, ladies, next time you question whether a boy is worth your time, remember that boys react, and men act. Boys do things for self-benefit, while a true man should go out of his way to do things for the mutual benefit of both of you. And if he wanted to, he truly would, no questions asked.
Peace & Love,