I’ve always been a ‘good guy’, someone my amigas’ parents won’t even bat an eyelid about. I’ve shared flats with women without developing ‘feelings’ for them, been all ears to hours of gossip and endless rants about period pangs and late-night misadventures. I happily spend time in the women’s section at a store, cook for my mother’s kitty party, and boast my lavish range of toiletries (especially perfumes), which is larger than most women’s. Apparently, blokes like me are a rarity — one of the only supposed compliments that make my heart sink.
By the time puberty rolled into our high school, the ‘high rollers’ were bro-clans with ‘chicks’ to flaunt. This cool crew proposed to ‘babes’ with confidence, and not awkwardly, try to slip the ‘out of league’ girl a note before having a near heart attack. Pink was ‘girly’, crying was for ‘sissies’ and ‘faggots’, and consent was for ‘crazies’.
You scored a ticket to the bro-club if you were the ‘bad boy’ women supposedly drooled over — the veritable Casanova, the outlaw, the wildcard. We were preached of ways to trick women into ‘falling for you’, ways to ‘work your charm’ with riddles, and other similar commandments that would often use some truly unthinkable yet creative innuendos. While most young men seemed besotted by the idea, the sombre, somewhat timid good guys disagreed in silence.
Looking back at all these years, it’s unthinkable how much the ‘bros’ lost out on — everything from a personal stylist, a relationship counsellor, a career coach, a wing-woman, a trusted aide; I can keep going on. Not to mention the endless stream of juicy office gossip, news about the new brunch, the haunting spots in town, and folklores about being ghosted on Hinge and Jeevansathi. The good guys I knew aged like fine wine, turning into men their partners would praise at office gatherings or flaunt at house parties. The bros, on the other hand, went from being yesteryear stars to misogynistic train-wrecks who get blocked and cancelled on social media regularly.
If you’re a teenager reading this, the next time you’re taught to charm the ‘pants off’ some girl in school – help her test her makeup on your hand, carry her purse, buy her tampons, do cute and thoughtful things for her no matter how goofy, annoying or ‘not bro’ it might be. You don’t need to constantly try to be ‘man enough’ — you were born one. It’s perfectly fine if she stumbles a few times on her way to you — she is not a conquest. And while there’s something to be said about first love, the last one truly ‘lasts’ — the one that makes its way into fairytales and family albums.
Be good enough to finish last, work towards it every day.