As sage philosopher Andrew “Dice” Clay once mused: Get a group of women together and you’ll find they’re a LOT dirtier than guys are. Women tell each other everything and do so in excruciating detail. On the flip side, they have this crazy idea that men are also dishing the dirt to their guy friends about their relationships and sex lives. For the ladies, it’s happening over Cosmos; the guys, in the locker room.
That would be great, if it were true.
For one, men do very little conversing in the locker room because that would require looking at other guys. That’s just not something guys want to do when they are half-naked. Not that men don’t talk. They just do it in other places, such as the Frisbee golf course, on their surfboards or while drinking at a sports bar.
And it’s not that guys don’t discuss their relationships, particularly their sex lives. They just don’t say as much as women. Hard to believe? Tell me, when was the last time you saw a woman walk into a room only to have a bunch of men giggling? Probably never, but it happens to men in relationships all the time.
It may seem strange that a gender whose members have no problems burping or scratching their crotches in public have a code of ethics. But we do, at least when it comes to “locker room talk.” Here are the rules:
If you care about the woman, you don’t bring her up to the guys–EVER.
That’s because every conversation that a man has with another man is based on this concept: How much ammo am I giving my pals to use against me later? When a guy has a meaningful conversation with another male friend, he finds everything he’s said, positive or negative, gets thrown back in his face if the relationship ends badly. Smart guys learn from this experience.
“Back in college, I met this one girl and had one of those awesome first dates. You know, the kind where you feel you and the woman don’t have to say anything, you just both get each other,” says Hugh Billingsley, a San Diego-based software engineer. “I made the mistake of telling my college roommate, ‘I really feel like she could be the one.’ Problem is, by the third date, all the romance was gone and she basically dumped me. After that, anytime I even mentioned a new woman, my roommate would cackle in a high-pitched voice, ‘I really feel like she could be the one! I really feel like she could be the one,’ like some pirate’s annoying parrot.”
Billingsley’s case is not unique. I know a guy who once went on a very steamy first date with a woman he met at an open mic night at a coffee house. The next day, still feeling the glow of the night before, he stupidly told his brother all about it. A week later, the guy was singing at the coffeehouse and was excited when the girl showed up. Unfortunately, the brother introduced himself to the girl as my pal’s brother adding, “Do you sing? I hear you’re real good at hitting those high notes.”
My friend didn’t get a second date.
To sum up, if a man does talk up his current flame to his friends, it’s either to say, “Yeah, I met this girl,” “Yeah, we’re getting married,” “Yeah, we’re having a kid” or “Yeah, we’re getting divorced.” Otherwise, she never comes up in conversation.
“To be honest, the less a guy says to his friends about a woman he likes, the better,” says Stephen Douglas, a southern California mortgage broker. “If you’re happy and he’s not, your happiness is like twisting a knife in his heart. If you’re miserable and tell your friend, he feels like your bad luck will rub off on him.”
That’s why the only time a man talks about his sex life with another guy is if something extraordinary happened–usually something extraordinarily bad.
Here’s an example of something we would share. One of my friends was recently dating a woman and, after three weeks, they finally decided to get it on. It was then that she decided she had “something important” to tell him–she didn’t have a left hand. He had never noticed the missing appendage, so she felt compelled to point it out before they got naked.
For him to tell me about this might seem in poor taste, but it was something pretty extraordinary (wouldn’t you say?) that he was dying to tell someone and it’s not something you confess to a priest. I’d like to tell you more, but the guy obviously really likes her because he’s refused to hand out any more information.
While it’s one thing for a guy to talk about his own sex life, the guys who actually want to know the intimate details of another guy’s sex life are usually married.
Sad but true–some married guys want to live vicariously and get a taste of what they think they’re missing. Admittedly, the average single guy’s first instinct when he meets a guy like this is to exaggerate any such conquests to give the married guy the false impression he’s living a wild and crazy single life.
However, since married guys usually can’t keep any secret from their wives, his stories ruin the single guy’s chances of ever being fixed up with the wife’s single girlfriends. It usually only takes one experience like this before a guy learns to shut up and avoid locker room talk altogether.
David B. Moye is a San Diego-based writer who learned all about the human psyche during his 11 month stint as a phone psychic.