General Question

Riser's avatar

Why do we say "he's got balls" to imply that someone (male or female) is tough?

Asked by Riser (3463 points ) March 24th, 2008

I am confused because… I have balls. I know how vulnerable and sensitive they are. I don’t like them tampered with (too much) and I certainly wouldn’t use them as an all time symbol of my unflinching manliness, because the truth is a simple flick of the finger in a strategic position can send me crawling on the ground asking any deity that will listen to end my life quickly, so why would the most vulnerable part of the male body be used as a symbol of tough courage?

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20 Answers

Randy's avatar

I’m just gonna take a stab at answering this, so it’s only a guess. I’m thinking though, it’s because in the past, men were stereotyped as tough and able to handle things no matter how bad they are and women are looked upon as fragile and in need of protection. So, balls are connected to men which are connected to being tough and strong.

Hahahaha, I love “find the relation” puzzles.

Riser's avatar

So men should be proud that something that will make them cry in falsetto is the symbol of their courage?

bulbatron9's avatar

Testosterone, plain and simple! Which doesn’t make you a man, manhood is in your heart!

iceblu's avatar

yes riser thats basically it lol

As Duke Nukem would say ”I’ve got balls of steal” implying he’s a hardass, such a hardass, that nothing would make him cry, even a kick in the nuts, cause hes that tough….

Riser's avatar

see, now balls of steel I can understand because that implies that not only are you courageous and tough but you are also virtually immortal.

Randy's avatar

There ya go iceblu. Exactly what I was trying to say. hahaha.

iceblu's avatar

@Randy anytime bud =]
@Riser sorry i misunderstood your question =X

oneye1's avatar

When I talk to people about losing my eye I tell them I use to thank geting kick in the nuts hurt

Riser's avatar

@Iceblu: Tis ok sir. I wrote it in a state of being “attacked” by the fiance and the fatigue that comes from an eleven hour drive from Lake Tahoe so… it’s probably my fault in that I wasn’t clear enough with my question. :)

iceblu's avatar

@riser i love how you type, i feel like im reading from Dr. Jackal and Mr. Hide for some reason ahahha or that time era =D its np, no worrys =]

oneye1's avatar

could it be because lots of times when its used its because someone is doing something that could very easily hurt them

Riser's avatar

@Iceblu: That is hilarious. I have been accused of being a Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde many times and I have always appreciated the accusations whether intended to be compliments or criticism. I like the idea of being that two sided coin because… I have balls. :P

iceblu's avatar

@oneye1 or another instance is when someone does something heroic or unexplainable..

“Dude hes gonna jump 57 old retired vietnam vets. in his moped!
Wow, that kid has some balls…”

@Riser it wouldn’t surprise me at all =D np, its my pleasure

Randy's avatar

I definitely think oneye1 is on to something there.

oneye1's avatar

ya ice they say he’s got balls because he’s going to get hurt

Bsilver's avatar

so on the opposite end of the spectrum of women being fragile and men being tough, would someone who’s to afraid of doing something, or whonisn’t courageous, would you say “dude, he/she’s got ovaries!”?

I suppose calling someone a “pussy” or a “pansy” is sort of the same.

I don’t really understand how the saying came into existence either…

scamp's avatar

Is a guy with brass balls more manly than one with steel? Which one is more macho?

syz's avatar

My take on it would be that someone who puts himself forward (puts himself in a risky position) is courageous exactly because he is making his most vulnerable area accessable. He’s making a statement, that although he could be injured, he’s taking that chance anyway. Isn’t that the definition of courage? Do something in spite of the inherent risk?

Jaybee's avatar

Because generally bravery is equated with being mascaline. Masculine >male>balls.

walkie's avatar

The expression ‘got balls’ probably does not refer to the fact that he has. Most males have them. What marks out the person for being said to ‘have them’ is confidence in a given situation. Think ‘he’s got the guts to do it’ and you’re almost there. Whereas text books tell you that size does not matter away from sexual activity, to most males size matters a great deal, even away from sexual activity. To them, genitalia can help, or hinder, their self-confidence. Once you’ve accepted this link for males between size and self-confidence, it is not too difficult to see that a self-confident person may have bigger balls. Of course, there’s no science to it. You can’t say how big equals confidence, or that to be confident you have to have them. Just think ‘balls’ instead of ‘guts’ and you’ve understood it, so long as you appreciate that balls mean a great more to males than females sometimes imagine. It’s all about being male: the more male you are down there, the more male you might be in that you are confident.

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