How to be a “good guy”

I was at a typical Silicon Valley business meeting last week, filled with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Note: I was one of three women out of 25 people (I DID say that it was a typical Silicon Valley business meeting!)

One phrase I heard over and over again was “He’s a good guy.” This phrase is often invoked when the person saying it has done something with that guy, thinks highly of him, and suggests that you should get to know him as well.

And I got to thinking that probably no one has ever used that phrase to describe me — not because I’m not a worthy person but simply because I’m not “a guy”. So it’s kinda hard to be “a good guy”. I also realized that I never use that term to describe someone.

So when the VC sitting across from me said it again, I took it upon myself to ask him how he defined “a good guy” because, frankly, I wanted in on the action! We discussed it for a while, and I shared my opinion that it’s a phrase that excludes unintentionally. My suggestion: replace the short hand with the exact meaning, such as “I think he’s smart” or “I think it would be worth your while to get to know him.” The result: the now-enlightened VC committed to not using “a good guy” in the future.

So, you may be asking, why am I writing about this on a mommy blog? Because as moms, I think we owe it to our children to be on the watch for the use of subtle language like this. I’m not advocating the return of the politically correct police, but rather, a greater awareness in every day situations and every day conversations of opportunities like this to enlighten the people around us of a different perspective.

Am I being hypersensitive about this? Probably, so I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic.

Cross-posted on svmoms.com

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~ by charleneli on November 20, 2006.

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