On Being a Dick, Part 187
June 18, 2012 Leave a comment
I don’t know if I heard it somewhere or if I came up with it on my own, but at some point I took to saying, “Every man hates spiders until he’s beset by flies.” And it’s true – almost no one likes spiders. But spiders serve a very important role in the world, which is to keep the rest of the insect population under control. Without them, this is what your Saturday afternoon in the park looks like:
Being a Dick, much like I suppose being a spider is like, is rarely a barrel of laughs. It’s the masculine instinct to maintain some semblance of order, even at the expense of your own enjoyment and sometimes at the expense of your popularity. Being a Dick is predicated on Doing What’s Right, regardless of what the other people in your life, even – especially – most of your loved ones have to say on a given matter. The concept of “Tough Love” was coined and developed by a Dick.
For example, a father may love his son or daughter, but if has has any sense of ethics or responsibility, he’s not going to let his kid run around like a little asshole. Most parents want their kids to be happy, but not if the child’s happiness comes at the expense of someone else’s well-being – particularly, the child’s own. Most would agree that a good parent corrals their child when the child is being a bane on society, doing what’s in the child’s best-interest rather than what the child wants or demands. Most parents love their children so much that they are willing to let their children hate them, if that’s in the true best interest of the child.
True Story: when I was 17, I solicited my older cousin to buy me booze for a camping party I was having. By “camping party”, I meant orchestrating a threesome with two 17-year old girls with the help of my close associates of the time, Malibu rum and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.
My cousin is five or six years older than me, and when I first told him what I was up to, he happily agreed to help me out. The idea that his 17-year old cousin was propositioning him to get chick-friendly liquor so he could gently persuade a pair of high-school girls into double-teaming him was music to his frat-boy ears, especially since he had a recent reputation of being a bit of a partier himself.
This is obviously the highlight of my calendar year. I am giddy, anxiously counting the days and getting all the ancillary details in order. The girls are amenable to the idea, since at the time they already spent 90% of their day holding hands and smacking each other in the ass. It’s not a situation when one would have to get them drunk for them to get physical with each other, but as they say, Alcohol just helps people do the things they want to do anyway.
On Wednesday before the weekend, I call my cousin. No answer. I call him again Thursday; my aunt says he just left the house. He was clearly ducking me. I call his cell phone a leave a message that one might call half-frantic, half-livid. I am a rage of emotions, wondering how I am going to have a drunken orgy without the drinking. What were were going to do for entertainment and foreplay? Roast marshmallows? Whittle?
Eventually, on Saturday morning before my planned Saturday-evening group-sex party, he finally returns my call, leaving a message on my cell to the effect that, “he just didn’t feel good about getting stuff for me,” and had concerns about what the repercussions might be for him personally if his very-underage cousin got into trouble with the copious amounts of liquor he was requesting. I vividly remember shaking with anger and thinking what a pussy he was.
(Note #1: everything sort-of worked out, as in desperation I turned to a lonely, portly hockey-league manager named Tim who ran to the liquor store for a $50 dollar tip. My sneaky plan of continuously-feeding the girls Zimas with Jolly Ranchers in them was working like a charm: clothes were coming off like the wrapping paper on Christmas gifts and everyone involved was taking turns Rounding Second Base when one of us (I won’t say who) decided it would be cool to start chugging the Malibu rum like it was a bottle of YooHoo and ended up passing out in the campfire. The other two quickly moved to pull said Party MVP out of the fire, but the mood was somewhat ruined and the game was called on the count of someone impersonating Johnny Storm. This, my readers, is why I am Legend, despite what other people may tell you.)
(Note #2: I say it sort-of worked out because I was lucky enough to subsequently date both of them in high school. If you happen to think that particular pickle sounds delicious, I recommend you try dating best friends; it sounds great, but it’s exhausting, like working two full-time jobs except the jobs take turns hating each other and then you. Where was my Jewish Mentor when I needed him?)
I was pissed at my cousin for weeks, at least. Years even. My 17-year old brain couldn’t fathom why a 23-year old party guy would pass on the chance to help a brother out.
Of course, in the years since, the shoe has since landed on the other foot. While I’ve never had a 17-year old ask me to buy him booze, I have frequently been put into the position where I have had to be the responsible kill-joy. I have spent a positively absurd amount of my life teaching manners and considerate behavior to adults, many of whom are my age or older (in some cases, considerably older). I like to have fun like everyone else, but unfortunately many of the people in my orbit have forced me into the position of being the heavy hand.
A sign of adulthood is when you ask yourself questions like, “Wait, is it a good idea to get my 17-year old cousin a Box of Booze so he can get two 17-year old girls drunk and have group sex with them at a public campground?”
Until later in life, it didn’t occur to me that my cousin’s refusal to get me alcohol wasn’t about his concern over getting caught purchasing for a minor; in fact, I think it was probably a very difficult phone call to make to me, knowing how disappointed/pissed I would be at him and how contradictory it was to his own lifestyle choices at the time. Being a Dick is all about the hard decisions, rather than the fun ones.
I was reminded of the spat with my cousin this past weekend, when I walked into my apartment to find five people I didn’t know huddled around a pile of drugs and paraphernalia in my living room. I thought I’d walked into Rupert’s House from The Rules of Attraction. My new roommate apparently likes to party, and gave license to his friends to use our coffee table as a cutting board.
As you may or may not know, my general policy in life is “First one’s free,” meaning that as far as I’m concerned, you’re entitled to one mistake. Up to point, I’d had several conversations with my new roommate about common courtesy and keeping the place clean, but I bit my tongue the first time I came home and the place smelled like a Hot-Boxed Hyundai. First one’s free. I was pissed, but I had thought maybe he would approach me at some point and ask if it was alright to smoke in the house, let alone bake the living room.
Coming home after a long day to find a good impression of a crack house was more than I’m willing to tolerate. I fumed. I am scary when I’m angry. My roommate’s guests scurried out of my living room like cockroaches under a light switch. I went upstairs long enough to talk myself out of punching everyone there in the face, and when I was under control enough to avoid re-enacting a prison fight scene, I found my roommate and gave him a brief dressing-down before continuing to the gym.
This is not meant to be a “bitch-about-the-roommate” article, but to illustrate a point: Being a Dick often means doing something wildly unpopular, and exposing yourself to social scorn.
Do I look cool having to ream out my roommate, one year younger than me, about not having drug-parties in the house? Having to remind him that he is renting a room in a condo someone else owns, and that this landlord is probably not 420-friendly? Of course not. I sound like the grumpy straight-man in a bad buddy comedy. But the alternative is that I do nothing, break the terms of the lease, and get evicted when the landlord realizes he’s renting out his condo to some Rasta white boys. Such is Life as a Dick.
Guys who are married and especially guys with kids are reading this, nodding. These men have had responsibility forced onto them. They probably know what it’s like to drag their drunken wife or daughter out of a room kicking-and-screaming because she’s passed the point of being fun and at the precipice of embarrassing herself:
It’s not about Being a Dick just to throw your weight around and belittle the beta-males around you; it’s about Doing the Right Thing, even at the cost of criticism and probable social backlash. It’s about making sure the electric bill is paid before taking a trip to the strip club. It’s about taking the keys off a guy who’s too drunk to drive, even if he calls you a pussy and shoves you away, because he could get behind the wheel and kill someone. It’s about egalitarianism, the Greater Good, and protecting the human race as a whole. It’s about Being a Better Man.
I recently wrote an article contrasting the Life of a Dick versus that of an Asshole. I used to really be an Asshole, and I won’t lie: it’s a lot of fun. Ask anyone who’s ever smashed a pumpkin and she or he will tell you what a blast the Asshole bent can be. The path of an Asshole is a journey of destruction, entertainment at-all-costs, and nonsense. Beyond that, women tend to reward Assholes by continuing to not just sleep with them, but to clamor after them and even idolize them. It’s easy to like Assholes, because they live life ten minutes at a time and make every room they enter a more-happening place.
As I wrote prior, the rewards for a Dick are far more subtle. It’s about staying in control of yourself while everyone else around you is selfishly indulging whatever whim they happen to be feeling. But rest assured, both Dicks and the natural male instinct to maintain order play a vital role in society, and both become rarer and rarer as society becomes more androgynous and sensitive.
If you’re a man of ethics, I encourage you to stand your ground and fight the urge to suppress the natural instincts to protect society-at-large and the interests of the community. I strongly encourage you to continue to do the Right Thing, even in the face of shrill protests from strangers and loved ones alike. Lastly, do not be so quick to doubt yourself – you may often find yourself to be the sole, unpopular voice on an issue, but in a room of degenerates, you may also be the sole voice of reason.