I was one of the guys in high school.
Saying this can evoke any number of responses or images from other women, but one I hear quite often is, "Oh, that must have been fun! I wish I could've been one of the guys." Recently I've seen a lot of romanticization of the position, as I live in Japan, where the girls-crossdressing-as-guys thing is a huge trope. When I was actually in high school, I heard this lament from my female friends almost weekly.
I'm here to tell you that no, ladies, you probably don't.
Don't get me wrong — I loved it. In high school I was not interested in dating, had no real romantic inclinations (except a preternatural attraction to men who turned out, without fail, to be gay), and would have been horrified to discover any of the guys I hung out with were interested in me. I loved the freedom, the fun, the complete lack of expectation of how girls were supposed to act in high school. I loved being able to joke with them and have conversations they'd never, ever have with other girls. I just don't think it would have worked for everyone.
This "one of the guys" thing has gotten romanticisized in a way that makes no doggone sense. The popular culture image of said girl is always one who's ridiculously attractive while liking whatever non-stereotypically-girly thing the boys like (sports and beer, if they're jocks; comics and gaming, if they're nerds, and so on), and most of the guys secretly want to have sex with her. I imagine that's how the girls I was friends with saw this — that I was, somehow, privy to a whole level of dating potential that they weren't. Unfortunately for them, there's only one actual rule to being "one of the guys", and that is:
None of them can want to have sex with you.
None of them can even see you as pertaining to sex at all.
Being one of the guys is basically a girl's version of the "friend zone", only moreso. I'm pretty sure all those girls in high school who had crushes on the dudes I flung my orange peels at would've been exceedingly frustrated had they actually been in my position. Where popular culture portrays us as being sex queens who are hot enough, awesome enough, and "not girly" enough (whatever that means) to get past the "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" door and into a private sex party, I can assure you it really, really isn't like that.
To reiterate: if any of them want to have sex with her, she's not one of the guys. If any of them hit on her, she's not one of the guys. The same works in reverse: if she is attracted to, or hits on, any of them, she's not one of them.
I mean, it might be possible. But most high school girls would get tense hearing their boyfriends speculate on which other girls either had, or would end up having, fake breasts, or who would be the best to sleep with if you were gay and didn't want anyone to know, and therefore, who would be the one to avoid sleeping with if you were straight and didn't want people to think you were gay. And, frankly, they'd be right to. That's not the sort of thing you generally talk about with the person you're dating.
Being one of the guys is not a privileged rank that I brag about. It means I was so far from even being on the sexual spectrum with these guys that I didn't trip any filters in their minds, the same way they wouldn't think sexy thoughts about their buddies. On one hand, that meant there was no wall between me and them, which was, I admit, pretty cool. But it also meant that I had to self-censor all the freaking time, because being one of the guys and being a feminist are two very difficult things to reconcile. Even though the guys had forgotten I had lady bits, I never did — and I knew that one wrong move would get me booted out, for good.
When they were sexist or patriarchal (which was, let's face it, about 80% of the time), at first I kept my mouth shut for fear of reminding them I wasn't actually one of them. If a guy makes a rape joke, what do you — ostensibly as one of them — do? Make a big deal out of it, ruining the friendship, or sit in silence, hating everyone and feeling guilty? Eventually I got the hang of telling them off without sounding like a girl, which usually involved being sexist right back, with a good side dose of mockery. It did get to the point where I could call a guy out for saying something sexist or offensive and have him back off, without tripping his defenses or derailing the train of the conversation. Sometimes a simple, chastising "duuuude" was enough; sometimes more. It just took a lot of concentration, and always felt uncomfortable.
Being "one of the guys" can be fun, illuminating, liberating, and challenging. It can also be awkward, uncomfortable, and give you the sense that you're compromising your values. Some days it's great, cracking jokes about Shakespeare and the Salem Witch trials and blackmailing them into dressing as girls for a school project; other days you look through magazines telling them which girls have implants and how to tell, and feeling vaguely icky about it. Like anything, it's a mixed bag. It's not, though, the plot of any movie where the girl ends up in an all-guys' school and ends up in a love quadrangle.
Anyone know any popular culture representations where the girl actually is one of the guys, and not in an uncomfortable way? Let me know! (The only one I can think of offhand is the blacksmith in "A Knight's Tale", and I love her.)