Death to the ‘Good Guy’

It’s a Performance.

Death to the Good Girl was all about upholding a title that silently erased me as a woman. Many women and men alike could relate to the sentiment of behaving, speaking, and thinking a conformed way in order to embrace the title “good.” At the root, good is what we should strive for but what do we miss when we focus on performing instead of living? This topic was briefly explored on LBF Podcast for the episode titled “Good Guy: FACT or Fiction;” where I had a conversation with a self proclaimed good guy in an attempt to understand if “they” are stuck in the same mindset that this reformed good girl found herself in years ago.

Women are often chastised for not “loving themselves enough.” I wonder though, do men truly love themselves or just the reflection of themselves through the eyes of others? Is that the fuel for our characters and performances?

I think in both cases this statement can be true for performers who have yet to kill the character.

death to the good guy

Most men who’ve seen this title admittedly found it off putting; believing that the message was aligned with the “Men are trash” mentality that has actually done a great job of holding men accountable. However, It is my duty to inform you that this topic is not one centered on accountable (although you can expect that); it’s message is one of liberation.

Death to the Good girl was a personal piece in which I gave myself permission to be honest, real, and raw in my self expression while shedding the many masks I had been conditioned to wear in life. I was putting on a whole Shakespearean play out here and I was working on my third act when I just got tired of pretending to only be what the character allowed. I want to offer you the chance at that same freedom. First, we must dive into the ideas around what and who is a “Good Guy” and then kill it to birth an honest reflection.

Photo by Sebastiaan Stam on Pexels.com

It takes more. It takes being an honest, thorough communicator. It takes being attentive to the small and the major. It takes commitment. Presence. Self awareness. It takes you embracing yourself, sharing yourself and not just living for the expectations of others. It takes you knowing you.

Death to the Good Guy

So Everyone’s a ‘Good Guy’ ?

What I found was beautifully complicated. I asked random men, male friends, coworkers…everyone I could get my grimy hands on this simple question: What is your definition of a good guy? I listened as they explained their own personal experiences as examples of what a good guy is. A provider. An active father. Dependable. Chivalrous. The result I gathered was that Good Guys were just decent adults. Those who held values, provided financially, and showed chivalry. This was the foundation sprinkled every few men or so with the “listens to women” or “remains faithful.”

It wasn’t that these answers weren’t good but that they echoed a sentiment that I myself had written about and lived; the performance. Who are you underneath performing as you think you should?

“Who are you outside of this title you’ve given yourself?” The answers got hazy, delayed, stuck. They couldn’t understand that many of the things they were performing were only performances and not actual attributes of their real selves. Who are you without the title? This question complicated things because after donning a mask for so long how can you remove it to recognize yourself?

The title Good GUY is much like the Good Girl. Are we assuming the roles we’ve been expected to perform to the detriment of the details? I noticed the devil was in the missing of the details. Their answers spoke to this because they were devoid of emotional understanding and overall presence. This is the easiest way to ask questions that show how important the details are outside of the performance: If you built the house for your family does that excuse from being mentally present? If you open every door and pay for every meal but haven’t developed emotional intelligence; are you still chivalrous. If you perform in all the right ways for self serving reasons are you really a good guy?

The performance looks great but without heart it’s just an empty costume on display.

The performance looks great but without heart it’s just an empty costume on display

Death to the good guy

Fuck Boy in Sheep’s clothing

The problem is you’re a fuck boy who thinks he’s a good guy.

The Good Guy is a costume many don including those who intentionally use the trope to manipulate and deceive.

There are many who consider themselves a good guy but perform in a variety of ways that range from being emotionally unavailable to condescending to downright neglectful; all while thinking themselves good and decent. Simply being the alternative of blatant toxicity doesn’t free you up to snag the title of “good.” These problematic qualities hold no place in those able to securely connect with others in a healthy manner. In other words, why should she swoon for the performance when behind the curtains is a mess.

In our honesty about motives and masks; we can grow. Plus, I’m tired of thinking I’m counting sheep only to face a surprise ending. It’s not fair to yourself or others to use pretty words and chivalrous actions like face paint to cover up the true intentions underneath. If you’re the wolf; be the wolf but don’t play as something other than what you are while proclaiming yourself a good guy.

The provider

This was a solid answer that decorated the conversation from man to man in a way I anticipated long before I asked. Being a provider is a noble feat; hell in this day and age……However many men didn’t understand the concept that it takes more than money to build something worthwhile. Take that sentence and apply it to every area you can think of and still I will stand correct. It takes more. It takes being an honest, thorough communicator. It takes being attentive to the small and the major. It takes commitment. Presence. Self awareness. It takes you embracing yourself, sharing yourself and not just living for the expectations of others. It takes you knowing you.

Women are often chastised for not “loving themselves enough.” I wonder though, do men truly love themselves or just the reflection of themselves through the eyes of others? Is that the fuel for our characters and performances?

I think in both cases this statement can be true for performers who have yet to kill the character.

Great expectations

There was an undertone of expectations when it came to masculinity (What a man SHOULD be) that neatly drew lines in what these men saw as good.

Being stoic,

never showing weakness,

fatigue,

frustration.

They had built up the costume of their good guy to match the ideas surrounding healthy expression of masculinity; which in many ways aren’t healthy for the performers. The frustration I recognized in conversation came from feelings of being under-appreciated, tired, and stretch thinned. Yet, these men never spoke to the truth of these emotions; they had to wait to be asked by a curious mind because the costume didn’t allow room for that kind of truth.

Death to the Good guy is about releasing yourself from only performing to discover the actor underneath. Are you holding back expressing yourself in certain ways for the sake of the performances? For the Good girl, it was never being too complicated, being modest, and dressing the part. It may look different for you; it may be the ways you allow yourself to express, feel, love. The ways you hold back true interests for ones better suited with the character you’ve chosen to play. But who is the actor? What are the things he really likes?

We play it so safe when we perform; let’s take the risk and live to be the truest, healthiest versions of ourselves. Kill UM DEAD & Live.

Follow LBF On Instagram @lets_build_futures or the mind behind @kantoinette_theblogger

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Great Clip of Will Smith discussing this concept:

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