The difference between guys and men

Georgie Hunt

I have expressed my opinions concerning certain undesirable idiosyncrasies of female behavior on more than one occasion in this column. I have pointed my finger so unrelentingly that some critics have recommended I consider writing under a pseudonym, as I am bound to make more enemies than friends with what I have to say. I am not going to change the name at the top of this column, for how many friends does a person really need? But in an embrace of fairness, I believe the time has come to give the girls a break and shift my focus. Hello, boys!

I have never been one of those girls who wear the tight pink T-shirts with “boys lie” written in white, sparkly lettering across their painfully pushed-up chests. I have never shunned masculinity in a broad, stereotypical generalization in an effort to soothe myself or a wounded friend. I like men, and I have faith that there are more than a handful of good ones standing strong in the world. I will proceed with that understood.

I don’t know how many people have ever seen the highly underrated ’80s film “Say Anything,” starring the adorably genuine John Cusack as a recent high school graduate enlivened with the giddiness of first love. Those of you who haven’t seen it, I recommend you do, if only to hear some of the greatest words of advice ever spoken.

Movies from the ’80s are not known for their depth any more than they are renowned for their fashion sense, and “Say Anything” is no exception. However, there is one line I want to share for its insightfulness and sheer simplicity. “Say Anything” is wise in blunt, basic language, proving that plain can be prolific. The profound line is spoken by a heartsick teenage girl whose one saving grace from shriveling up into a lifeless mass of bitterness and apathy is her belief that amidst all the sordid characters, real men do exist – men like her friend Lloyd. She tells Lloyd, “The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy.” I love that line!

So what is the difference between guys and men, you ask? If boys are young men, then guys are older boys who do not know how or have no desire to go anywhere from there. Becoming a man is not inevitable. It is not something that happens after a certain age. A boy does not just wake up one day and discover he is a man. It is not a biological fact; it is a responsibility to accept. A man may be “one of the guys,” but his individual character is not forfeited in their company. He can stand alone, for he knows himself. The curves of his existence are not marked by desires and appetites but by duties and satisfactions of soul. He lives for something greater than himself, and his convictions are demonstrated in his actions, not merely in his words. His strength is not measured in muscle, but in heart, in principle and in respectability. He respects himself, and he respects women.

I had a friend in high school who abhorred being referred to as a man. I think this is an unusual concept, for while boys understandably want to hold onto their boyhood, don’t they also want to become something more? Maybe boys are afraid of being called men because they know what that entails, and they are not ready for it at all.

Honestly, coming to college I thought the high school boy frightened of manhood would be a thing of the past. I figured somehow in that summer between senior year of high school and freshman year of college, the boys would become manlier not only in the physical sense of the word but, more importantly, in the mental and emotional sense. I had no idea the transition from high school to college resulted not in the growth of boys to men but in the alteration of boys to guys.

I just paused to read over what I have written, and I have decided I said pretty much all I wanted to say. If there is one thing that annoys me it is the girl who complains about the men of the world. She scorns all men as losers and liars. When I hear her complain and cry, I cannot help but think, “Maybe you’re wasting your time with the wrong ones – maybe you just have bad taste.”

I have nothing to complain about. I just wanted to offer the “Say Anything” quotation for anyone who has not heard it. I just wanted to say that there is a difference between guys and men in hopes that perhaps the people who read this paper might take a minute to ponder what characterizes one and not the other. Maybe the girls might take a minute to think about what kind of people they want. The time spent thinking may save some time spent crying and regretting later on. Maybe the boys might spend some time thinking about what kind of people they want to become – guys or men? Be a man.


Georgie Hunt is a sophomore english major from Pomfret, Conn. She can be reached at [email protected].