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Ask Jono: Odd Things That Make Guys Self-Conscious

Ask Jono: Odd Things That Make Guys Self-Conscious

Dear Jono,

I love your posts! Just thought I'd add that.

Now on to the asking part of Ask Jono: why do guys make a huge deal when their voice cracks? Whenever I'm talking to a guy and their voice happens to crack I hardly even notice it, but what I do notice is the fact that the guy feels that he has to be all like, "Oh haha whoops my voice just cracked haha wow guess my balls haven't dropped yet hahaha... haha... ha." Sometimes it's an even stranger, longer, redundant, unneeded justification for why their voice cracked. Once or twice a guy brought it back up later (it's not just one specific guy, it's been a lot of guys).

Why do guys do that? Is it just a high school guy thing, or just a "guy thing" in general? I would love to get your feedback on this.

This is an awesome question. I know it might seem kind of random and bizarre, but it gives me the chance to talk about the many things that guys are arbitrarily self-conscious about, which are random and bizarre. To answer your question, yes, being self-conscious about voice cracking is a high school guy thing. Well, more accurately, it's a Recent Puberty thing, so if you were in high school with a guy who was, like, 27, then he would not have this problem, although he would presumably have many others. But I digress.

The short answer is that guys are bending over backwards to make excuses about this because it's a thing that brings their masculinity into question. To be fair, dudes are self-conscious about errrything when they're talking to you, but even more so if it's something that implies they are insufficiently masculine. Here are some examples.

Voice cracking
The conclusion of puberty (at 17-ish) means you are Literally A Dude, and not just a boy with a wispy, inconvenient moustache. Voice crackage is a clear indicator that this process has not quite finished yet. Any time a guy frantically explains that his voice only cracked because he was super busy last night bellowing manfully into the night air after slaying a wooly mammoth, the subtext to what he's saying is,  "No, seriously, I am Genuinely Male. Please believe me."

Crying during a movie
I never start bawling outright, but I tear up during two scenes in Requiem for a Dream every time, partially because the music is so perfectly dramatic that it has since been used in every single trailer for every single movie ever released. I'm actually not too self-conscious about this, because the movie is so horribly tragic that if you don't tear up, I contend that you are a human-shaped robot. But I can easily imagine a dude desperately explaining away his movie tears by any means necessary. ("No, I just, uh, got popcorn salt in my eye! See, I am pouring salt in my eyes right now, ouch ouch aargh.")

Failing at athleticism
See the graphic. Dudes are pretty sure that they're obligated by their gender to be good at physical things; even dudes who have complete disdain for traditional sports secretly believe that they could clench their fists and shout "Animeee!" and then karate a bully so hard that he apologized and then died. When a guy throws an airball right as you walk into the gym, or does the world's fewest pushups, there's the nagging suspicion that he has failed at being a dude, even if he claims not to care about sports of physical stuff at all.

Showing pain after failing at athleticism (or ever, for that matter)
If a guy tries to show you that he can do a backflip, but instead lands directly on his spine, he will clamber spinelessly to his feet and be like ,"HA HA I'M FINE IT'S COOL," while quietly realizing that he actually cannot feel his extremities, or his anything elses. Showing pain around you is unacceptable, even if it's not a failure of athleticism and is simply a random terrible thing. ("Oh wow that snake bit me repeatedly! That is pretty funny, ha ha, I'm fine though, and I am only throwing up and passing out ironically.")

Being short
Some lazy Googling informs me that the ideal height difference in a relationship, from the woman's perspective, is for the guy to be eight inches taller. I am only eight inches taller than the shortest of girls, and the tallest of dogs, unless they are standing on their hind legs. So I was pretty self-conscious about this sort of thing in high school, and I'm sure that guys who are shorter than I am live in mortal fear that you'll show up for a date wearing unusually high heels and suddenly be taller than they are, at which point you will scoff at their shortness from your lofty perch up there in the cloud cover.

Romantic inexperience
I'm an optimist at heart, and I choose to believe than when awkward guys make snarky comments about a girl's appearance or say overtly sexual stuff that seems really out-of-character, they're not revealing that they're sleazy people; they just really, really want to look discerning and experienced. You see this more on the internet than in real life, but I think dudes have the same concerns in both cases. They want you to think this is all mundane to them. ("Oh, sexytimes? Yeah I did those yesterday like ten times, it was totally... not.... fictional.") A lot of guys who act weird in this way just really don't want you to realize they have no idea what they're doing.

We're gradually getting much better on the whole Gender Roles thing, but I think that even a lot of progressively-minded guys still think they're supposed to be a tall, dark stranger who has bedded countless women and punched countless bears to death. So when you're talking to a dude and his "Hello" comes out "HeAAallo!?" he's concerned that his voice cracking makes him Insufficiently A Dude in front of you. The best thing you can do is not laugh or comment, and he should get over this COMPLETELY HUMILIATING DISASTER (that you did not even notice) in short order.

Topics: Life
Tags: awkward situations, advice, guys, ask jono, puberty

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