Ask A Guy: Do Guys Like Tomboys?

Do Guys Like Tomboys

You'd rather skateboard than shop. So? | Source: Freakinaye.Tumblr

I’m a bit of a tomboy. I love skateboarding, I wear lots of dark colors, and sometimes I think I talk like a guy. But I’m afraid guys won’t like me because I’m such a tomboy. If I’m like this, will they still be into me?

One of the keys to a successful relationship lies in finding someone who will complement you properly. No, not compliment – although it’s always nice to hear how awesome your eyebrows look – but complement, as in compatible with your personality. Ideally, you want a boyfriend who can both appreciate your best assets and help smooth out some of the rougher edges.

So if you possess some more masculine qualities, you might find that you’re best matched with a more passive guy who can be the yin to your yang. On the other hand, if you’re attracted to athletic, studly men, you might be better suited with a younger, beefier version of Tony Hawk who can keep up with your tomboyish lifestyle. It all depends on what you’re into – but the partners of the best relationships are able to balance and support one another.

Don't be afraid to let your true self shine through | Source:

While it’s great to be living in an age in which traditional gender roles are increasingly blurring, I do think all heterosexual men like to feel like men sometimes (if not all of the time). So don’t be afraid to let your boyfriend take control. Flirt, and allow him to make some of the moves. Whether he’s a sweet nerd, a tough jock, or somewhere in between, he’ll likely still want to see your feminine side. Feel free to try on a dress or let your hair down once in awhile just to remind him that a tomboy can still be a gurl.

But don’t confuse this with compromising yourself for a guy! Be willing to experiment outside of your comfort zone to see how he might react and how it makes you feel, but never continue to do anything that feels like forced acting. In the end, the only way you’ll find true happiness in love is with someone who can love you for who you truly are!

Good luck!

Are you confused about a guy? Do you find yourself wondering, “What is he thinking?” Tell us everything in the comments! And if you have a question for Ethan, email him at!


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Posted in: Ask A Guy, Help&Advice, Love Advice, Love&Sex, Your Life
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  • River

    Ok, this is another one of those times when i think straight people need help from the queers. First off no one needs a feminine side to be able to express their emotions and be complete, emotions are not feminine they are just coded feminine in society because they are associated with women.

    Gender expression in straight language translates to tomboy, girly girl, macho man, feminine man etc. It is separate from sexual orientation meaning tomboys can still be attracted to macho men and girly women can still be attracted to feminine men. How masculine or feminine a man or woman is has nothing to do with who they are attracted to. Queer people have all this stuff taken care of because we are open not just about the gender of the person we prefer (i.e man or woman) but also about their gender expression(masculine and feminine). In straight society people dont get to be open about what gender expression they prefer in the opposite sex, so men who do prefer tomboys dont come out and say it, in part because its assumed that “masculine” behaviours indicates a woman is a lesbian or because men fear being accused of really wanting to be with another man.

    If you’re a tomboy know you never ever have to stop being who you are, you have a right to be it until you are old and gray, its another way of being a woman and its not a lesser way then the girly girl version. Its just that you are heading in a different social direction, and the men who can’t handle it need to step away in another direction. Sometimes gender expression changes, because its highly socially influenced and if anything girly girls could learn from tomboys as a lot of tomboy behaviour would be useful to them.

    Also all people who identify as tomboys or passive guy etc need to read up about how social gender roles are constructed, because most of these ideas of what a man or woman should act or behave like are constructed, the fact they are policed shows they are constructed.

    I am bisexual and much more to the “masculine” side then a tomboy, i have in the past had gender identity disorder and overcome it completely through political analysis, i was one of those people who confused social roles and gender expression with my gender identity and ended up thinking i was born the wrong sex. Nothing sucks more than that, and its happening to more people and not just queer people some straight women and straight men end up going down the same path because of gender role constructs.

    In the queer scene we have really girly girl lesbians and really macho gay men who date each other. What makes them gay is same SEX attraction, not if they prefer men who are macho or more feminine. What makes a person straight is opposite SEX attraction, how tomboy or girly a woman is is something which consists of personality and socially constructed interests, nothing about it makes a woman less female or a man who dates her less straight, even if a man is considered feminine if he likes women only he is straight. Its as simple as that, and also he is no less a man based on how well his personality and interests fit around the current cultural definition of masculinity.

    Also many men have a lot of their views shaped by what they see in the media, here women who are outside definitions of femininity are presented as anti man or a threat to men, this is a lie. Infact even the really butch lesbians have male friends, the ones who tend to hate men are those who have choose to be lesbians after getting involved with radical feminism and interpreting it wrong. (Many radical feminists are straight btw.)

    Also one thing never to do is dating women if your straight based on the idea that you will fit together with women better, it won’t work, i know as ive identified as lesbian for over a decade when im bi and more into men than women, all so i could be myself without feeling pressure to be more feminine. But i the past year ive had my knowledge base broadened and am willing to try and push social norms in a way i wasn’t before. By having the guts to be with a man and still be the way i am, im aiming to see if i can meet a bisexual man because i am beyond tomboy and dont think i could get myself into a tomboy mould, im somewhere between tomboy and soft butch.

    • Thomas Sperl

      Agreed! It’s a well voiced argument and I totally agree! Nobody needs a feminine side (crappy expression because what is feminine and what isn’t has of course changed over time, especially in the 1940’s and 50’s – during the war women worked in factories and stepped, while still being considered feminine, and later on that (wearing pants, having short hair (which doesn’t get caught in machines as easily!) etc.) was suddenly considered a privilege of men again and considered overly masculine if a woman did it? Nope, what a shitty argument!) to express their emotions (I know enough men who cry – but they don’t do so in public…they go to say a funeral and wear a stony expression, but after they are back home they might sob and cry! Hell, most men have no problem expressing their emotions, they have a problem with women doing so in public and expecting men to make allowances for that!)

      ps: I love TOMBOYS! I don’t need a woman to stroke my ego an letting me be “the man” (I want a relationship among equals, so nobody is in charge exclusively and I love women who pitch in and aren’t afraid of getting dirty, or – god forbid: chipping a nail!)

  • Zox

    Sure, I love tomboys…my favorite kind of girls 😉

  • curtis chugg

    I married a tomboy because I like my women to be a little masculine.

  • taiganaut

    Don’t be too cerebral with the “let the guy be the guy” omg omg omg am I doing it riiiiight crap. There are guys out there that’ll like you the way you are, whether you’re a take-charge tomboy or boyish and shy.

    And yes, there are plenty of guys who are into tomboys. Big time. Go look on tumblr. It just takes a while to find people sometimes, leaving the house speeds it up a lot 🙂

  • Marie

    thanx so much, i’m a total tomboy and now my boyfriend can be the man he was meant to be!

  • Reg

    > I’m afraid guys won’t like me because I’m such a tomboy

    Never be afraid to be who you are. Stop trying to fit into what others expect you to be. Do you know why? Let’s take an example.

    Suppose you become all girly starting today. Some man attracted to girly women might find you attractive and marry you. However, you are merely putting up a facade. It takes effort for you to be girly, while being a tomboy comes naturally to you. Over a few years, putting up that facade will become frustrating to you. The man who married you actually married the facade, not you. You will change. He will not like the change. Both of you will realize you do not get along. You will go your separate ways. Life gets harder alone as you get older. Don’t end up alone when you most need someone.

    If you are your true self now, you will be happy. Whether that is girly or tomboy or whatever else that makes you feel right about yourself, regardless of anybody else’s opinion. Remember that everyone has an opinion and 99.99% of their opinions are useless to your life. Only your opinion really matters.

    There are close to 7 billion people on earth. That means there are at least 700 million people within +/- 10 years of your age, roughly speaking, perhaps a lot more. You need one partner out of those 700 million people, perhaps one man out of 350 million men in your age group. Men don’t pick women based on categories of girly and tomboy. They pick women they feel attracted to. You have a choice too. Never forget that. You are not powerless. Of the 350 million men, I’m sure you will find one who is the right one for you, as long as you don’t sit at home doing nothing. Internet dating and real life dating presents a lot of potential partners.

    > I do think all heterosexual men like to feel like men. So don’t be afraid to let your boyfriend take control.

    This is the most rubbish advice I’ve seen. Any man whose masculinity is threatened by yours is very insecure within himself. Dump him right away and run.

    If you have to be girly to make your man feel masculine, there’s something wrong with your man. Gender identity is an internal thing. It is not caused by someone else’s gender expression. If someone’s gender identity increases or decreases based on his/her spouse’s gender expression, then … run, divorce, separate, whatever! Your life is going to be miserable with that person. Your freedom to be yourself no longer exists.

    Look for men who are secure within themselves.

    I’m a guy who likes tomboyish women. I actually prefer the tomboyish look. Shorter hair with some makeup and the ability to look great in boyish or girlish clothing is just hot! Most of all, I like women who are comfortable within themselves. If you try to be someone you are not, especially to please someone else, that’s a huge turnoff!

    I did not say manly women. I said tomboyish. So don’t walk around like a gorilla with your arms and shoulders swinging. Even I don’t walk like that. Don’t spit, swear, ogle, whatever. Be a decent human being. Watching football, shooting guns, fishing, etc do not make you a man. Those are just pass times and anyone can choose to have them. Painting your nails, going shopping and talking with your friends don’t make you a woman. Gender roles are rubbish anyway. Sex is biological. Gender roles are man made. Nobody is born preferring pink or blue. Before 1940, pink was the color for boys and blue was for girls. Gender roles are all socially constructed fictions.

    So just be yourself, whether that’s girly or tomboyish or some combination of the two, and you will be a lot more happy in life and the right one for you will find you too.

  • my chemical suicide

    I have been told off guys i am a tom boy and they like it because i act my self and i dont hide behind make up. I was bullied when i was younger because i didnt act like any girls in my year and i still dont but i now know i can hang with the guys and they make me feel myself. I dont know how to step out of the friendship stage with guys because i have been like one of them for years plz plz plz help me !!!!

    • Jessica

      Yeah, I have the same problem, about not being able to step out of the friendship stage because the guys I hang around like me, but I think of them as brothers. Then when I do find a guy that I like that likes me back, I have trouble being a girl friend rather than one of the guys. When Ethan said to be with someone who balances you out, I get what he’s saying, and I’ve tried it. But it usually ends awkwardly. The first time I tried being with a sensitive guy, the guy said he loved me, but never wanted to hang out with me, so I ended up breaking up with him. Right now I’m in a sort-of relationship with a very sweet guy, but there are times when I could swear up and down that he’s gay. Its very hard to find that balance. But I’m going to keep trying.

      • Reg

        All sweet guys are not gay. Get that out of your mind. The only way someone would be gay is if he is attracted to other men. And even then, he could be bi. What matters is how much he loves you.

        Even feminine and sensitive guys are not necessarily gay. Let me give you an extreme example. There are guys who think they are women. They become transgender. However most transgender male to female people end up lesbian. In other words, their own femininity does not stop them from preferring feminine partners.

        My point is, a guy’s sweetness, sensitivity or femininity does not make him gay. If you have doubts, try this … Start being very nice to him. Tell him that one of your close friends has come out as gay. Say that you support your friend regardless of his sexuality. Say that it’s just wrong that gay people have to be in the closet and cannot date the people they want. And firmly state that you will not name your friend because your friend trusted you with the most personal secret of his life. Continue this mindset for a week or two, while also being very nice to him. Also be vulnerable to him. Talk about the difficulties you encountered in life. Talk about some friend who did not like the way you dressed or your parents who did not like you hanging out with your friends or whatever else that’s not a dealbreaker. Seeing you sharing will open him up.

        If he’s gay, he’ll eventually feel comfortable confiding in you. If he’s not gay, he’ll probably love you more for being accepting of other people’s difficulties and vulnerable to him. Trust me, no man is perfect and every man knows it and wants to be loved regardless of his imperfections.

        • Jessica

          Reg, It’s not the sweetness that makes him gay, it is the fact that he confessed to me that he was gay, and then later asked me out. So it leaves me confused as to whether he lied to me about being gay, or he is bi, or he wants me to cover for him. It’s all very confusing.

          And I don’t date people I don’t know. I always get to know someone before dating them. The friend zone is not an issue for me, but what I find difficult is being romantic with my boyfriend and being a girlfriend, rather than a girl friend…. which is what I was before we decided to take our relationship to the next level.

          I can see how my comment might make you think I was judging him unfairly, so I thought I might clear that up.

    • Reg

      I don’t know how old you are. Stop worrying about friend zone and friendship stage. That’s rubbish. If a guy likes you, he’ll ask you out in most cases. He could also be shy and not sure if you want anything more than a friendship. So if you like him, ask him out. If he is threatened by you asking him out, he was not the right one for you anyway.

      The best way to figure out if he would be interested in more than friendship is by asking him about his interest in women. Ask him what he likes in women. See if he’s telling you traits which match your own. If he is, he probably likes you.

      The best way to ask him out is to ask him if he wants to hang out with you, just you two, in a public place of course. Ask him to be your dance partner or tennis partner or whatever kind of activity which requires a partner which you both enjoy. See if he enjoys being your partner. If that goes well, ask him if he wants to go have dinner with you, or go have coffee or go have ice cream. Whatever catches your fancy.

      In life, if you want something, take the initiative! It’s your life. If you keep waiting for a man, you’ll wait for ever.

      Finally, think of it as the best thing to be friends with guys. Being friends first gives you the chance to evaluate men in their natural habitat. You get to choose the ones you like and reject the ones who would not make you happy, without ever having to date them. How awesome is that? The women who never become friends first get lied to all the time during the dating process because those women never get to meet these men in their natural environment. You are lucky! Stop worrying about friendzone stuff. It’s just urban myth for the immature.

  • Jazzi

    I personally love to act like a tomboy sometimes. Hanging around with guys a lot can be really fun because a lot of them are really jokey and that’s what I like. When hanging with guys like those they don’t seem to flirt with you and that’s what I like. I don’t know whether they might see me as guy or a girl but I know they do try to flirt with me sometimes, but only sometimes. There isn’t anything wrong with being a tomboy, it’s really fun. I can also be seriously girly sometimes but I never wear anything too revealing, not even a simple dress. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a “tomboy” or a “girly girl”, just act yourself and don’t label.

    • Ethan Fixell

      Great point, Jazzi. Ultimately, you need to date someone who can allow you to feel like yourself. You don’t want to do ANYTHING for the sake of someone else that makes you too uncomfortable. As i said above, experimenting outside your comfort zone is one thing, but playing the role of a different person is totally something else!


      • cindywela

        I sometimes acted like a tomboy. and yes! I think most of the guys find tomboys as cool. But at the end, it doesn’t matter if you act like tough guy or annoying bitch, the thing is.. if the guy truly loves you, he’ll accept you for what/whoever you are even the rough sides you have. You don’t need to change yourself just to hook the attention of the guy u are interested in, you don’t need to mimic the styles of the bitches just to enthrall them. It nice to know that love goes well naturally and believe me it’ll last..

  • Anna

    so basically, you’re still saying that you want tomboys to be more girly girl. wear their hair down? wear a dress? so what, they’ll feel more comfortable about themselves? more like completely out of their comfort zone.
    pfft, i’d rather just not bother to date anyone. plus, if you’re a tomboy, you have to be a pretty one, otherwise you just become like a non-girl – but youre not a guy either. its a weird limbo.

    • Ethan Fixell

      Hey Anna,

      It’s not literally all about wearing a dress or letting your hair down — it’s more about how you interact with the guy. In other words, if you have a more masculine style in general, it’s important that you allow the guy to at least occasionally express his own masculinity within the relationship. Ask him to plan a date or two; let him pull out a chair or open a door; flirt with him like a girl who likes a guy!

      Does that make more sense?


  • Sammi

    You know, this really helps my image of myself. I’ve been a tomboy for as long as I can remember, and I thought that turned guys off. Thanks for telling this, this really helps! ^_^

    • Ethan Fixell

      Awesome, Sammi! Glad I could help.

      Thanks for writing,


  • RJG

    I completely disagree. Guys always want me to be their best friend, and never see me for the woman I am. If I have a daughter, I’m praying she’s girly girl.

    • Ethan Fixell

      Hey RJG,

      I see what you mean — but that’s why I suggested that she should show her feminine side once in awhile. There’s nothing unattractive about a tomboy, as long as she can allow the guy to be the guy now and then!


  • Shyanne

    Most movies the tomboy gets the guy. The internet guys always say they want a girl who can play video games with them. I don’t know why you had doubts in the first place.

    • Ethan Fixell

      Video game playing is definitely a check in the “pro” column for most guys! That much is true…


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  • DD

    I don’t think a tomboy of a girl should go for a passive guy. I am still feminine but I do act like a guy and talk like one at times. Passive guys drive me insane. Being the girl that is outspoken, do NOT find a man that is passive. Passive guys won’t speak up when you are out of line and won’t tell you what is on your mind. You will get frustrated.

    • Ethan Fixell

      Hey DD,

      I hear you — passive guys drive some outspoken women totally bonkers. I totally get why you would want someone who can stand up to you and say what’s on his mind (hence the Tony Hawk example I gave above). Gotta be careful not to generalize, though, as some girls do like to feel like they’re in control and are more attractive to less aggressive dudes. It all depends on what you’re into!

      Thanks for writing,


      • Mjdex

        i’m actually tomboy “it’s what everyones says :p” it’s not bother me because i know myself, but there is something very annoyed: i can’t be romantic! O.O’ , i don’t like compliments >.< ,and know i don't how to be cute =p
        i can't take it…….=/
        what to do…..?!!

        • Mjdex

          oups i’ve make mistake sorry !!
          in 3rd ligne it’s not ” know i don’t how to be cute ”
          it’s “i don’t konw how to be cute”
          sorry again!!