Do you bust his … chops?

Men often show their connection by teasing and good-naturedly insulting each other. They can make pot shots about the other’s weight, thinning hair, bulbous nose, incompetencies, shortcomings or lack of sexual prowess without taking it personally.

So what happens when a woman — especially a woman he’s attracted to — tries to join in the boys’ club teasing?

Not good.

Some women have trouble understanding that many men take it especially hard when a woman busts a man’s… chops. So if the woman he’s dating joins in the fray when his friends are torquing his jaw, it doesn’t feel like chops she’s busting to him; it feels like she’s attacked his sensitive man parts.

It took me a long time to learn this. I can quickly join in the busting repartee. All my life I have found myself the only woman in a group of male friends or colleagues so picked up the behaviors they have among the guys.

The problem is, men don’t take teasing from a woman as they would from a man. Decades ago a gal pal pulled me aside and told me to not teasingly put down my then-husband. It took me a while as he laughed when I teased him. But I did reduce and eventually stop this behavior with him, as I began to see it was not the right dynamic for us.

A year ago, a male friend asked me to “be nice” to him in front of his girlfriend. When I sincerely said, “You mean I’m not always nice to you?” He said no, sometimes I zinged him in front of her. I apologized and realized he was right. I vowed to build him up in front of her, not tear him down. I eliminated my zingers, whether she was around or not. And I promised myself I’d stop myself from the temptation to do that to any man.

So why do women zing men?

  • It can elicit laughter, often from the target himself.
  • It makes her feel like she’s accepted by the guys.
  • She feels special because other women aren’t given such alpha status.
  • She doesn’t think it hurts the target.
  • She has low self-esteem so it makes her feel good to put down others.

Most men would not let on that it was uncomfortable — or downright hurtful — to receive zingers from a woman, especially a woman with whom he was involved. They may laugh it off, but it can hurt and he’ll never let on. So the women think they are just playing around, that the guys like it or it doesn’t affect them.

So women, have you zinged men? If so, why? Did you learn to stop?

Men, how has it felt when a girlfriend/wife zinged you?


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8 responses to “Do you bust his … chops?”

  1. Julie Avatar

    A little when I was young…. but long since crealized that chop busting can be a defense against intimacy/vulnerability in a relationship… I think sometimes a guy likes to feel his woman is his emotional safe-haven, 2. It’s OK sometimes if there’s already familiarity and trust – as in if she knows it’s OK with him… but to just do it because it’s fun – I wouldn’t.

  2. Wayne Avatar

    I think I have 2 problems with being “zinged” by a woman, if it’s someone I like then their opinion matters more than my male friends so it’s harder to shrug off.

    But if it is someone I’m not into but I have to be courteous to (relation of some kind, girl friend of a friend etc) then I don’t like it because I don’t reply. With your male friends there isn’t much of a safe zone so all things are free to comment about. Where as with women there are often weak spots that if you exploit they will end up in tears and you will look like a bad person for giving as good as you got. So the line is far to easy to cross.

    If it is someone who I don’t have to hold my tongue with then all bets are off and she is getting a thorough roasting and if she ends up in tears then so be it.. she started it, if she can’t play with the big boys then she shouldn’t have started!

  3. Karen Avatar

    I don’t enjoy at all conversations involving “zinging”..I mean, what’s the point of insulting each other? So I don’t do it.

    I have noticed however that every single man I’ve ever dated has occasionally been SUPER. SUPER offended by something I said, that was so trivial as to be laughable.

    For example, one guy was offended by my response when he compared his penis to (I’m not kidding) the Space Needle in Seattle. I laughed because it was so over-the-top “typical male” and I thought he was making fun of that typical male tendancy (we weren’t in bed, we were hanging out and making jokes & random conversation), and wow, he absolutely lost his temper, and his bad mood lasted the rest of the evening. I still don’t know what kind of response he expected from me–I mean, c’mon—I should stop the jokey conversation, get all serious, place my hand on my heart, and express my reverent agreement? Geez……! Another guy I dated, who had an MD-PHD degree (ie super smart) became SUPER offended because I apparently used a word in a conversation with him that he didn’t know the meaning of! And he thought I did it on purpose to make him look stupid (!??!). I still don’t know what the word was that he didn’t know. Another guy I dated recently would get offended if we were out somewhere (ie the movies, chucky cheese’s) with my young kids, because I might say something that someone would overhear that indicated that he wasn’t my kids’ father (he wasn’t, and we were just dating, so he wasn’t their stepfather either…very weird.)…I guess he felt people would think he was cuckolded by me (!?). Another guy hated for me to pay at the restaurant myself (after the first few dates, I try to step up and pay for my share of dates with a man)–he still wanted me to pay for the date, but he wanted me to pay HIM so the restaurant would think he was the BMOC always picking up the tab (!)?. And then there’s my ex-husband, who, when we were dating before getting married years ago, would get MORTALLY OFFENDED if I even alluded to the fact that I’d dated other men before him (now I know that’s a “red flag”, but oh well, live & learn!).

    So I wouldn’t dare try to “zing” a guy on purpose. In my experience guys are way touchy around a women they’re dating (or me, at least) anyway. It’s hard enough to avoid blundering into the minefield of the weak male ego as it is!

  4. Craig Avatar

    Before dating a former girlfriend, she would relentlessly rip me at parties with people I didn’t know. I would then fire back at her, matching her teasing mettle escalating the exchange into a rip fest. I think she saw it as a way to break the ice while meeting new people but she didn’t realize how it makes everyone feel, including the people listening to it. Aftewards, I told her how it made me feel uncomfortable and had her stop it. We ended up dating for a long while and put it behind us. It helped earn her respect and when we began treating each other like adults, the relationship blossomed. (And it turned out her self-esteem was in the dumps.) A good natured tease is ok once in a while, but watch the timing. Ripping at a roast is hilarious but not at most other situations. (Too many to list…)
    I believe it is all about respect. The perception zinging shows a lack of respect between individuals. If you want respect from people, it should be given as well as received.

    Karen, the problems you listed aren’t with zinging. Your problems come from crazy ass dudes who act weird no matter what their gender or species. That must just be a maturity thing. I used to do that kinda stuff in high school.

  5. Mike Lowrey Avatar

    It depends on the guy.
    Some guys are too macho to handle it.
    Some guys are too insecure to handle it.
    And guys like me, don’t mind at all.
    Just know there will be a return zing. lol.

  6. Mark Avatar

    It’s just different when there’s an intimate relationship on the line.

    Between friends, sure, some zingers back and forth are ok. There isn’t nearly as much at stake so everything is that much more forgivable.

    Between lovers or potential lovers, there are all sorts of confusing undercurrents going on so things said in jest or as tossed off comments by one party can easily be misunderstood and taken to heart by the other.

    I think it all comes out in the wash. If two people are good together, they can weather these kinds of awkward moments, discuss them, and learn what works and doesn’t work for the other person.

    If two people aren’t good together, little innocuous comments can become torpedoes that sink the battleship.

    I have a lot of faith in the idea that two people can have an affinity for one another. If they have this, most obstacles can be worked out.

  7. Marriage Agency Avatar

    It’s a matter of self respect so you can also able to respect your boyfriend. I don’t like the “zinging” thing. I don’t insult my boyfriend when we are in public either friends or his family.

  8. Richard Avatar

    I don’t mind zinging when everyone knows we are joking around. I have noticed a tendency of some people to hit too close to the truth. I think that is where the problem comes in. They may claim to be joking, but it seems like with some people, they have a subconscious (being charitable) desire to hurt the other person.

    In Karen’s examples, I think the guy is just too insecure for anything.

    It might be an ego thing that guys have (which is why a classical role of the lady is to build up her man). It can also be that some women tend to be nasty (I have heard from multiple women that it is easier to get along with men). I’m sure that is not the case with DG.

    Just to be safe, if you zing someone, make sure you follow up in private by showing how untrue it is (trying to keep this family friendly).