By Esther Zuckerman
Updated October 21, 2014 at 02:15 PM EDT
Credit: TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images

In a new GQ interview, Matthew McConaughey takes a stand for the work he did in romantic comedies, before the narrative of his career changed with the McConaissance.

When asked if he was proud of the work he did in romantic comedies, McConaughey replied:

Absolutely. These things aren’t easy. What’s hard is to make them look easy. Those kinds of movies are what they are. They get pooh-poohed by critics. They get pooh-poohed by actors themselves. And in a way I get it, but in other ways it’s completely unfair. There’s a buoyancy you need to make them work. I believe I gave them buoyancy. And some of the shoots were very difficult, with me trying to fight for the balls on the guy.

McConaughey elaborates by arguing that he kept the men in his rom-coms, well, manly. He told GQ that in rom-coms, “a lot of times the male is somewhat emasculated, meaning he has to crawl back and say, ‘I’m nothing without you. If you don’t take me back, I’m nothing.’ And I was always like, ‘What girl wants that guy?’ I’ve got no problem saying, ‘I’m sorry. You want to give this another shot?’ But I’ve got to come back with some integrity—even if it’s on a moped with a veil on my head.” He adds as his kicker: “Look, I’m happy if you think I ‘cruised through’ those. I did my work.”

The interview, conducted by Brett Martin, is also full of other McConaughey-isms. For example, Martin asked McConaughey, “When you talk about God, do you imagine him as…” and McConaughey responded: “The Prrime Moovah! The Waave Maker!” Also Martin notes that at one point McConaughey “drops to the Oriental rug on the floor of the hotel room we’re in and begins absentmindedly doing push-ups, ‘just to wake up.'”