Posted by: robinsonwarner | September 11, 2008

The Male Constant

Apologies to any readers who have been checking the blog recently for a post.  I’ve been slacking lately because I’m adjusting to a new job which requires 6:30 AM wakeup calls.  This is a very new thing for me.  I’m usually entering my third or fourth R.E.M. cycle around that time.  I am no longer living the dream.  Here is my new post.  Apologies again.  I hope you enjoy.


For years and years I have been very acquainted with a certain understanding about guy social interactions.  From group to group certain things may vary as to what guys use to relate to each other.  Whether it is funny movies, drugs, videogames, sports or a general level of social cohesion, one thing remains the same once the common bond of the group has been established.  Regardless of what bonds guys together, in all groups of guys they all make fun of each other constantly.  There is no malice in their actions, but there is instead a very complex set of reasons as to why this has become an accepted norm in guy social interaction.


The first reason that guys make fun of each other all hours of the day is because action as a check on the ego of every member of the group.  For example if a member of the group of guys tells a story which can be construed as bragging, a very strange phenomenon will occur.  Let’s take a look.


Luke:  Oh man, that’s nothing.  I was once hooking up with this girl and she told me my Johnson was so big.  It was awesome.


Alex:  Haha!  Okay Luke, you’re the man.


Dave:  Hey guys, I heard that new movie Cloverfield is about Luke’s dick and how big it is.  It totally attacked that city unprovoked.


Luke:  Okay guys.  Very funny.  I was just trying to tell a story.


Steve:  Hey Luke, here are some bungee chords before we go out.


Luke:  Why do I need bungee chords?


Steve:  Well how else are you going to keep your massive schlong from falling to the ground?  That belt looks strained as is.  We might need a forklift.



Now what you can see is a case Luke trying to brag about himself.  This was done very covertly by concealing his bragging in a “story”.  His guy friends, being experts at detecting covert bragging because they’ve done it plenty of times themselves, will not let this happen unpunished.  The defense mechanism is to ruthlessly make fun of this feeble attempt at bravado by our fictional character Luke.


It is also for this reason that social coups are rarely seen within a social circle of guys.  If a new guy comes into the social group they can be received with open arms based on their interests, sense of humor, douchebag level and proclivity towards bragging.  Making fun of all members of the group insulates the group from experiencing as no member of the group is able to brag about themselves and gain influence as there is an understanding that there is a no bragging policy.  Any blatant attempts are very quickly shut down.


This system only works if the members of the group are not easily swayed by a deceptively charismatic but ultimately douchebaggy potential leader.  Like a South American dictatorship, the price of security from assholes is vigilance and perserverance and not being duped by their fake charisma.


The second reason that guys make fun of each other stems from the difficulty that guys have with dealing with emotion.  Unfortunately within a group of guy friends some guys may overstep their bounds or wittingly (or unwittingly) do something that upsets the rest of the group. This is a perfectly normal thing that happens to girls, but girls are able to talk about it and adequately express their feelings on the matter.  As human beings are indeed emotional creatures, when we feel that we have been wronged or that we are being falsely accused of a particular transgression, our emotions bubble up to the top and manifest themselves in our reactions. 


But because guys don’t deal with emotion well either as a result of cultural repression, societal expectation and probably synaptic wiring, they must develop a device that allows them to communicate their emotions without actually using emotions.  Emotions are naturally unstable things that guys cannot touch, hold or drink a beer with and this frightens them, so the device they use is making fun of each other.  Let’s take a look.


Matt:  All right guys, beer is here.  Let’s get at it.  Fratty Light for all parties.


Rob:  Yeah, totally!  I’m so glad the beer is here.  I was real thirsty.


Sean:  Hey Scrooge McDuck, you want to throw in some money for the beer this time? Haha!


So what we’ve seen here is a case where Rob hasn’t thrown any money in for beer in quite some time.  Now this is a completely understandable occurrence because guys get so excited about beer that sometimes all other thoughts go right out the window.  As we can see, Sean was able to communicate Rob’s lack of monetary compensation as unacceptable and this needed to be remedied without Rob actually saying it.  Guys are masters at this.  Rob, picking up in the social cue, will do one of two things:  1) He will make with the money for that day or the past couple of times, or 2) Provide a socially acceptable excuse as to why he has been like Scrooge McDuck with the beer.  Both responses will satisfy the friends and the tense moment has passed.  If a guy does not satisfy either requirement he will slowly be fazed out of the social group either in the form of avoiding him or not inviting him to parties.


Now it is indeed quite interesting because of how guys will often translate this affectionate ribbing into their social interactions with the fairer sex.  They make fun of girls in the same way, but the aims are different.  More often than not guys make fun of girls because they’re not quite sure what else to do.  It is a safe way for guys to try do something familiar to deal with a situation that is entirely unfamiliar.  That is, dealing with women.  I mean guys might have “talked” to girls before, but talking to women is like that moment in Season One of Lost when they are trying to transport the dynamite.  Things could go smoothly.  Things could go “okay” where only Ardst blows up.  And maybe that dynamite sweats way too much and everything goes to shit. 


See girls are an infinitely more complex offshoot of the human race than any one man can comprehend.  Guys are still trying to figure out what makes them tick, figure out what they like, how they are sometimes so crazy, and also maybe discover an absolutely foolproof way to get women to come back to a super fresh bachelor pad to watch Love, Actually to showcase their sensitive side. 


But that’s just the problem, guys don’t even know if girls like sensitive guys.  Maybe they don’t like even manly men, to quote Hermione Granger, with the “emotional range of a turnip”.  Or do girls like something in the middle?  Or assholes?  Well we all know girls like assholes, but besides that, guys have a very difficult time figuring out women because of how relative things are in the female world and absolute they are in the guy world.


It is important that you understand that guys embrace and celebrate absolutes.  These are the people who, during the age of exploration, had to know if the earth was flat or not.  I mean they just had to.  So they took off.  They couldn’t stand the uncertainty of not knowing.  Guys like things clear, defined and easily categorized.  For example, for your dollar, Natural Ice brand of light beer has the most alcohol content.  It’s a fact.  These are things guys have to know. 


But you can’t do this with women.  It is impossible to say, as a guy, that if you are nice to a girl and treat her well she will fall in love with you.  It’s impossible.  It’s not that guys can’t understand why girls sometimes behave erratically, it’s just that they are terribly perplexed by as to why no one has figured it all out and sold that particular product at Ace Hardware.


This is why guys go to their old stand by of making fun of people in order to express their acceptance and maybe even fondness of an individual.


On any given day a girl will probably feel upwards of 27 different emotions with unique responses to day to day activities.  Guys might have 27 different emotions and responses, but they don’t know how to adequately address them, express them, or channel them.  I mean sure they have a secret Mandy Moore file on their iPod that has been renamed to a band called Bicep Fusion, but beyond that, guys are very often emotionally illiterate, or at least reading below their grade level.  Let’s put it this way.  If emotionality was like reading books, girls would be reading War and Peace and steadily advancing towards Plato, whereas guys would still be stuck on If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  “Why would anyone give their cookies to a mouse?  This is bullshit!” they would cry from the rooftops.


However, digressions aside, the point is that when guys struggle in finding a common bond, they revert to the way they strengthen other social ties:  busting your balls.  Well, not real balls; metaphorical balls. Geez.  That’s just gross.


It should count for something that they’re trying to get to know you better even though they made fun of you for being a vegetarian or wearing Uggs or how “The Hills” is your favorite show.  Just understand they’re trying really hard.


Oh God, “The Hills” is seriously the worst show though.


I hope this has helped everyone understand why guys act the way they do.


  1. For a post that includes the words “schlong” and “douchebaggy” (which I have already promised myself to use in a sentence tomorrow), you have actually done a great job of getting to the heart of the issue.

    Now I’m going to change one of the song titles on my iPod to “Bicep Fusion”. LOL

  2. I’m in awe of your clever Harry Potter reference. Well done.

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