In hopes of helping girls better understand the “other” gender—without reverting to that tired, old “inside a guy’s mind” cliché—we surveyed 150 guys about a way worthy topic: you! What do guys wish you knew?
1. Calling you on the phone does not mean what you think it means.
“Please, tell me why a girl thinks calling her equals I want her to be my girlfriend,” says Mikey. Blunt, but we like blunt. Mikey is in the majority when it comes to romancing the phone. Nearly every guy we talked to says he feels tons of pressure from girls when it comes to the telephone. “It’s like calling a girl means I’m admitting I like her, but that’s not what’s up,” explains Mikey. “It’s more like I’m calling because I might like her. I hate calling because the next day the girl acts like she owns me. Or, if she’s shy, suddenly she can barely talk to me because she’s scared. It’s stupid.”
Knowledge is power. You know you’re hung up on the phone if, when a guy calls, you think you have some kind of romantic upper hand. “I’m just calling because you’re cute or nice or whatever,” says Jordan. “If you treat me like I’m a dog just because I think you’re cool enough to dial up, then you’re a b-word.” In other words, for a guy, it’s just a phone call, not a confession of undying love. Hel-lo?
2. You are much prettier without all that makeup.
Judging from our survey, boys can’t stand makeup. In fact, it seems they can’t complain about it enough. Sure, they all like pretty girls, but they also have a problem with a face that looks full-on painted. And what looks painted to a guy is far less than what you might think.
“Why do girls think they need to have so much crap on their faces?” asks Billy. “Girls at my school wear all this black crap on their eyes, and their lips are, like, thick with brown goop. It’s ugly. Do they really think that will get them a guy?”
Don’t think we didn’t set Billy straight about one thing: Not all girls apply makeup to “get them a guy.” Still, it’s true that lots of girls get all dolled up so they’ll be attractive to the opposite sex. But the makeup thing… It’s more fun than anything. Right, girls?
Knowledge is power. The hatred for cosmetics is no joke. One dude even titled his survey “Rodeo Clowns.” Could natural-looking makeup be the best date makeup? If being hot to guys is your goal, remember that. Otherwise, it’s your choice if you want to apply enough purple mascara to impair your vision. Go for it.
3. When you act spazzy and giggly, it’s seriously embarrassing.
“What is up with girls hopping up and down when they’re happy about something?” asks Pete. “A girl definitely invented the word ‘yay!’ because no guy I know has ever used it.” Are you guilty of doing the Girly Woo-hoo! dance? It’s a combo of baby claps and bobbing on your toes while emitting high-pitched squeals of delight. This all in reaction to, say, seeing the slide projector set up upon entering French class. What’s the big deal? “I really do want to know why are girls so excited about normal stuff,” says Pete. “Every other thing, it’s like, ‘Ohmigosh! No way!’”
Knowledge is power. Colin, a self-described shy boy, has something interesting to say: “I think girls like attention, and being excited about something makes people look and wonder what she’s so happy about.” Good theory.
Arnie, a jokester, has a theory of his own: “I think girls are just different. You’re raised to let your feelings out, even if they’re bad. I’ve never seen a guy friend cry, but I’ve seen a chick fall apart because some dude she liked didn’t pick her for his volleyball team in phys ed. That’s dumb.”
We’re not here to tell you how to act. Just tuck it in the back of your mind that all the boys we surveyed agree that girls could mellow out a little. Let’s have a round of baby-claps for that, please.
4. Gossiping, whispering and writing notes makes you look beyond shallow.
“Girls are always passing notes around in class, and it’s just so friggin’ dumb,” says Joey. “Or they’ll look right at me, then whisper to each other and laugh. Do they want me to think they’re talking about me? ’Cause I do. And if it’s really true and they are talking about me, then that’s just lame.”
Rude is the word, actually, Joey. Whispering, especially with the cupped hand at your girl’s ear, is just so third grade. And gossip? “When I hear one girl talk trash about another girl, it’s like I can’t believe it,” says Dominick, “like I’m in a bad movie about how mean girls are. If I heard my friends were talking about me like that, I’d transfer schools.”
Knowledge is power. People talk about other people. That’s life. But there is a big difference between gossip and character assassinations. Not to mention, it’s bad form to let anyone believe you’re saying negative things about him. So, sorry to get all motherly on you, but if you absolutely must exchange information, be cool about the notes and discreet about the whispering. Oh, and do be sure that the “information” isn’t going to hurt someone’s feelings, OK?
5. Boys worry about what you think of their hair, skin, weight and clothes.
“My best friend is a girl, and the other day she said my hair looks exactly the same every single day,” says Luis. “I couldn’t believe it because some days my hair is jacked up.” For the record, Luis is a cutie with great hair.
If a guy suffers vanity, he doesn’t talk about it—at least, not to girls and not as much as girls. What we know: Guys totally think about their appearance even if they don’t say it out loud. “I had to ask my mom to take me to the dermatologist because I was breaking out on my cheeks and back,” says Jay. “I couldn’t stand it.”
His friend Robert has a different issue: “Girls like guys with good bodies but, when I try to get six-pack abs, it never works. I just feel like I have a spare tire all the time.”
Knowledge is power. If you could get a view of Robert, you would tell him what we told him: He’s out of his mind—the boy is a total babe! But here he is trippin’ on his gut. Moral of the story? Boys have self-image issues, too. Isn’t it a relief to know that?
6. PMS is no excuse to be mean.
“I know girls get weird at ‘that time of the month,’ but I don’t get why they have to act like I’m their worst enemy,” confides Sean. “Sometimes, my sister acts like she wishes I were dead because I won’t give her the remote control, but all that’s going on is she’s PMSing. Screaming at me and freaking out on me isn’t right.”
We know what you’re thinking: Boys just don’t understand what it feels like to wake up with serious cramps and have to get up from that warm bed at 6 a.m. to put on tight jeans over a bloated belly so you can go do fractionals in homeroom. So, yeah, we feel your pain—and we really mean feel it. But that’s the point: Boys don’t.
Knowledge is power. So, you’re pained? Look, face it—the hormones that go with menstruating affect moods and, yeah, sometimes make a girl mean as a hungry dog. But barking at a boy because you don’t feel well? Just deal the best you can by taking care of yourself. This includes not totally indulging in caffeine, sugar or greasy foods—all three aggravate physical and emotional symptoms. Get plenty of sleep, drink loads of water, and take lots of warm baths—yes, even in the afternoon when you get home from school. Soaking in bubbles while daydreaming is an on-your-period girl’s best friend.
We’re not saying you should become a menstrual recluse just because you’re wearing a maxi-pad. But sometimes maybe it is better to bow out of a social opp if you’re really not up to it. What’s the point of going to the party if you’re not gonna have a good time? Oh, and if you do snap at your boy for no other reason than those nasty hormonal intrusions, a short, simple apology (“Sorry—I was in a bad state of mind yesterday”) could go a long way. No lengthy, drawn-out explanations necessary. He’ll never fully understand, so don’t even try.
7. Talking about your “big” butt is so boring.
“If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when a girl asks me if she looks fat,” says Stephen. “For one thing, I don’t know if you’re fat. For another thing, shut up.” Ooh, Stephen is feisty, but a lot of the boys echo his sentiment.
Boys do not want to listen to a girl’s insecurities about her body. True, some guys have issues with what a girl weighs, but they all have different tastes when it comes to the feminine physique. Some guys like booties. Other guys like their girls thin as a fence post. Who cares? You are what you are, so talking about your body is about as interesting as studying the Dead Sea.
Knowledge is power. Whether you’re questioning a guy friend for his honest opinion or fishing for a compliment from a guy you like, asking about your body is a no-win situation. You’re just putting the guy on the spot. And, guess what—if a boy likes you, he likes you for the way you are right now, this second. A shy boy named Paul says it awesome: “Girls’ bodies are an endless mystery to me. I think you’re all beautiful.” Ah.
8. Tight clothes look uncomfortable, cheap, and sort of desperate and insecure.
“My sister complains that boys always stare at her boobs, but she wears tight shirts that totally show off her boobs,” says Chad. “I’m confused.”
Chad, nice boy, you should be confused. Fashion is stupid. If TV execs dressed the world, the official girl wardrobe would be a tireless supply of all-occasion bikini tops, mini skirts and thongs. But the too-much-skin fashions can be, well, bimbo.
“I like the way my last girlfriend dressed,” says Miguel. “She wore some stuff that showed off her great athletic body, but it wasn’t like all hanging out. Sometimes she wore baggy pants and just a little of her belly showed. Or sometimes, if she wore those tight jeans girls always wear, she wouldn’t have her boobs all out.”
In other words, Miguel’s ex struck a balance between teen fashion’s obsession with skimpiness and some actual good taste. Just a peek of a shoulder exposed in a side-cut shirt can be fabulously glamorous. You can take your best assets and display them gracefully. You have a great, flat belly? Then, if you must share it with the world, wear a midriff paired with a full-length denim skirt. Want to show off those great legs? Go with the mini skirt, but save the midriff for another day.
Knowledge is power. “I think girls get mixed up because of how people dress on TV,” says Matthew. “Showing a lot of skin in super-tight clothes just says to everyone, ‘Please look at me!’ If you need to wear those kinds of clothes, you’re obviously not confident.”
If you find wild popstar garb cute, just know that they have lots of perks—one of which is wearing costumes. However “street” they look, these duds are designed for performing. If you copy a skin-tillating take on everyday clothes, you give off a very definite vibe that’s all about exposure and “look at my bod” exhibitionism. Is that really what you want? Think of it this way: If you overheard a boy say about you, “I want to go out with her because she has great cleavage and I can see part of her butt every day in her short shorts,” would you be offended or flattered? Hint: Be offended!
9. Most boys are looking for the right girl.
Daniel puts it so eloquently: “I would love to find a girl who’s cool and doesn’t act like such a girl.” We’re not sure what acting like a girl means, but it could have something to do with much of what’s been addressed right here in this article.
Whatever his logic, Daniel is not the only boy looking for a girl to like! Don’t believe it? “I’m sick of everyone acting like boys aren’t as mature as girls,” says D.B. “It’s just that we also think about other stuff. If it happens, it happens, but I’m not going to talk to my friends on the phone about girls every day.”
D.B.’s friend Raymond has another, um, interesting point: “So many girls at my school are hot, but me and my friends just wait for them to figure out who they want because that’s what girls seem to do at my school. It’s like they’re all spazzed out about finding a boyfriend all the time. We just have to wait and see who they act dumb around because that means she likes you.” Wanna slap Ray? Take a number.
Knowledge is power. One thing that is abundantly clear is that boys think girls are way too into finding a BF. As Eric says, “Do girls want any guy or the right guy?” Sending signals is good because some boys are shy just as some girls are shy. But check to see if you and your girls are overdoing it. Do you constantly discuss guys? Is who-likes-who the topic du jour, every jour? If so, pull back a bit, at least around the guys. This way they’ll be able to see what’s really important to you: makeup (kidding!).
10. If you like him, just tell him.
There was one major statement that kept popping up on our surveys: “Girls should not flirt and act like they like me, and then later ignore me.” Maybe the flirting thing is to girls what the phone is to boys: You’re just flirting to feel him out, and it doesn’t have to mean anything heavy. We get that.
But for guys, if you’re smiling and being nice to him, well, then you want him for a boyfriend. At least, that’s how many of the surveyed boys see it. “There is a big difference between just being cool and flirting,” says James. “I can tell if a girl is just talking to me or if she likes me.” Maybe. Maybe not.
By that logic, when you want to make friends with a boy, striking up a random convo could be misinterpreted as major flirting. So what is the safe middle ground? “If you like me, just tell me. If you don’t, say you’re not into me like that,” says Ray.
Knowledge is power. OK, just telling a guy you like him isn’t as easy as it sounds. But all the guys agreed on this one, which means it should work. Courage to be honest? You can do it.