Even the good guys are dicks

Men thought they had won the war of the sexes the minute they convinced women to do pole dancing as a sport. As far as they were concerned, it was a wrap. After countless battles, men and women could finally settle down and live in peace and harmony; women, the passive object of sexual desire, as it had always been.

Unfortunately for them, Tinder, and other similar apps, came along and levelled the playing field. The power was firmly back in the hands of the women, and suddenly, men were left confused and hurt as their bodies were used for sex over and over again. ‘What you’re leaving already?’ and ‘you can stay the night if you like,’ fell on deaf ears as doors slammed and women skipped home with the dawn, happy with their quick fixes and empty beds. You could argue then that the war was won, this time by the women, but I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. The war is raging on my friends and it’s as fierce as its ever been.

We’ve reached a real critical point and if something isn’t resolved soon, the women are going to go all Braveheart up in here, paint blue marks on their face and run screaming into dates with battle axe and shield in hand because actually, that’s exactly what you need when dating. Forget what shoes and bag you’re going to wear, what weapons are you brining to this knife fight is the real question.

Because it’s when you’re dating that you really get to look closely at gender relations, how we treat the opposite sex and whether we’re good to each other, and that’s exactly when the uncomfortable truth hit me: even the good guys are dicks.

I appreciate that’s a largely sweeping generalisation to make about an entire gender, and hardly fair at all, but my convictions are too strong to fight with rationalism and objective opinions at this present moment in time, so don’t push me.

The thing is, I have many wonderful male friends, I’ve dated incredible guys and I’ve watched family members with their partners. Yet as these relationships unfold, the thought, ‘what a dick’, unfailingly runs through my mind again and again. They might be great guys, caring fathers, doting husbands and wonderful friends, but I’ve watched them chase casual sex and affairs. I’ve watched them leave pregnant wives and girlfriends at home to find passion in stranger arms. I’ve watched them say cruel things to the women in their lives because apparently, they ‘can’t be bothered’ to end it or ‘it’s just not a good time now’. I’ve watched them stand women up and string them along because they couldn’t find the courage to be honest. I mean, who gets stood up in this day and age, but apparently, it still happens to women. And by ‘apparently’ I mean definitely and by ‘women’ I mean me.

As you share your experiences, it becomes horribly apparent that you’re not the only one. My girlfriends all admitted to being stood up, strung along, cheated on and unnecessarily hurt by the men who came their way. Some of them never heard from those men again, some of them were happily married to them, but they had all experienced it at one point or another. We tend to separate men into two distinct categories; the good guys and the bad guys. Generally, when you’re face down on your bed, sobbing into your pillow and eating every complex carbohydrate you can get your hands on, people will tell you that there’s good guys out there. Your male friends will tell you that they’re not all like that. But actually, experience tells me they are. The men I know are not bad people. They’re not evil, nor are they manipulative or controlling, possessive or abusive. They’re great guys. Yet when they meet a woman, they revert to some kind of inherent dick status that seems to be a default setting.

I have no idea what it is. Past issues, anxiety, commitment issues...it’s anyone’s guess. But does any of that excuse just picking up the motherfucking phone and saying, ‘oh hey, I’m not going to turn up’ or, ‘hey I think this is too fast for me and I want a time out.’ No, is the absolute answer. Yet for so many men, apparently, the answer is, just don’t turn up, disappear, or fuck someone else. These seem to be the options we’re left with, so excuse me for not championing the male gender while reconciling the sexes. It seems to me that the battle of the sexes exist because men can’t articulate what they really want, like the functioning adults they’re supposed to be, and so entice rage in the women around them, who then go on man bashing crusades, a bit like this one.

People will often tell me I’m hanging out with the wrong guys, or that I pick bad boys. I will often tell them to fuck off, because it just isn’t true. I have no interest in a ‘bad boy’ and while I may have elements of sadism running through me, I’d rather not fuck myself over every single day by diving into the arms of a man who is obviously wrong for me. The men I know and the friends I have are wonderful and varied humans. Yet they become involved with a woman and they’re incompetent, weak, and above all, they’re cowards. It’s the reason they disappear, or stand you up or send mixed signals or string you along. They don’t have the courage to have that awkward conversation and it’s that cowardice that sits at the very heart of most battles between men and women.

The whole thing makes me want to collapse on the floor with exhaustion because I just can’t bear it. It’s not simple, and it’s not black and white. It’s not as easy as just ‘finding a good guy’. The good guy is probably great, but he’s probably still a total dick, and if that is the case, how do we ever reach some kind of appeasement between our genders long enough to draw a ceasefire.

I wish I had something witty and thought proving about gender relations to tie this all up with. Some profound comment about the modern male sociological experience that explains their behaviour and female reactions to it, but no, I’ve got nothing my friends. I’m too far gone for that. I’m going to buy a shield instead.

Salma El-Wardany