By Jesse Stern
We've all seen and heard him. He's at a party, telling dirty jokes and talking about his weekend in Reno with a pair of strippers — twins! Or he's having a very personal phone conversation, and everyone within shouting distance can hear him. Yes, we've all seen him, we've all heard him. But could it be that some of us have also actually … been him?
Well, wonder no more! We at Primer have developed a simple five-pronged test to help you, yes you, to determine, once and for all:
Are you that guy?
It's easy to notice when someone else is doing it. But what about you? We've all been that guy once or twice, but it's best to avoid making it a habit. Let's imagine ourselves in a few real-life situations now, and put our theory into practice.
1. At a Party
Let's say you're at a party. There's a guy there telling awesome, dirty jokes. Everyone else seems to be avoiding him, but to you, he's hilarious. As the evening progresses, the two of you start discussing sexual conquests — the hottest girls you've banged, the craziest, kinkiest stuff they ever let you do. He's kinda loud, and a few people are staring, but you don't care — this material is just too good! He excuses himself to the kitchen for another beer and you hear a commotion. A woman slaps him, and the party's host — or perhaps the security guard — asks him, in no uncertain terms, to leave.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, it's a birthday party for a five-year-old.
You are that guy. This is a classic warning sign. You don't even have to be the guy telling dirty jokes to be that guy. You just have to encourage him. Why? Because it's only a matter of time before the guy telling dirty jokes and talking about his latest one-nighter is YOU!
Of course, it goes without saying that if you are already the one telling the jokes and getting yourself thrown out of parties, you are that guy.
Guys are naturally competitive. We also tend to be very graphic and descriptive. This combination can lead to some great stories, some of them true. However, keep in mind that there's a time and a place for them. This time and place is NOT any of the following:
- A five-year-old's birthday party (or any birthday party, especially if the number is less than 18)
- In line at the bank, post office, grocery store, etc.
- Thanksgiving, or any family gathering
- The elevator
- An office party, even one with copious amounts of alcohol
- A church picnic
- A room containing one or more females, unless she/they specifically express her/their desire to enter our world by claiming to be “one of the guys,” or some such.
- Generally, any place where men are wearing ties or women are wearing dresses
The above are also probably situations in which it is best to limit your alcohol or drug consumption to manageable levels, to avoid accidentally becoming that guy. Not that we condone drug consumption under any circumstances, mind you.
But we digress. The time and place for talking about dirty jokes or sexual conquests is ONLY when you're alone with other dudes whom you know very well.
The time and place MAY include the following:
- Poker night
- Strip clubs
- Guys' night out at the bar, as long as you keep your voices down to a level where people around you can't hear you
- Prison showers
2. At the Movie Theater
Half an hour of previews and commercials are coming to an end, and the movie is about to start. A cute little message comes on the screen asking everyone to turn off their phones. You whisper to your buddy, “Yeah, I hate those douchebags who leave their phones on.”
Can you guess what happens next? During the quietest part of the movie?
You are that guy.
Silence your phone, guys. Even if you know you already silenced your phone, silence it again. And then check to make sure you silenced it. Then check it one more time. And tell your buddies or your date to do the same.
Phones, phone lights, conversations. All these are annoying to the people sitting near you, people who spent their hard-earned money to watch a movie. Besides, YOU also paid to get in, most likely.
Primer readers are generally smart and educated dudes, so this next little item is probably not even necessary…. Aw, what the heck: If you actually answer, or have ever answered, your phone during a movie, even just to say “let me call you back, bro,” you need not continue reading, because you are definitely that guy. It's NEVER okay to answer your phone or reply to a text during a movie. You may be thinking, “but texting is –” no. Texting adds a distracting light somewhere besides the screen. Not cool.
Okay, maybe your dad is in the hospital, or your wife or girlfriend is going into labor any minute. If you absolutely must know that someone is calling or texting you, leave it on vibrate. Then, if you must answer or reply, quietly remove yourself to the lobby. Or if it's that urgent, maybe you shouldn't be going to movies.
Here are a few situations where, if you don't want to be that guy, you should silence your phone:
- Movie theaters
- Live theater (like a play, opera, or any concert where you wouldn't have to shout to be heard)
- Seminars or workshops
- Yoga classes
- Weddings, Funerals, Bar Mitzvahs
- Churches, temples, and mosques
- AA meetings
- Basically, anyplace containing rows of chairs or seats facing the same direction, or perhaps a circle of chairs.
So guys, to sum it up, here's a simple rule. Burn this visual pattern into your brain, and make it a habit: Look for rows (or maybe circles). Anywhere you see rows or circles of chairs, seats, pews, mats, etc., check your phone. Silence it. If you can take a break from saving the world long enough to sit through a movie (or play, or opera, or yoga class, etc.), then the world can probably wait an hour and a half for you to call them back.
3. At a Restaurant
This one is pretty much an extension of the first two. Basically, if people turn to look at you, or if someone at a table next to you whispers to the waiter while pointing at you, you are probably that guy.
We've already discussed dirty jokes and sex talk in public, so we can let that one rest.
Same goes for talking on the phone. This is not only rude to the people you're eating with, it's also rude to people around you, who don't want to listen to your dumb conversation. That's right, I said dumb. And no matter how cool or important you think your conversation is, it's dumb to everyone else who is forced to listen.
As a rule, if you must answer your phone in a restaurant — even if it's just to say “I had fun last night too, baby, but I can't talk right now” — excuse yourself, leave the room, and have your conversation there. If, instead, you say to yourself, “I'll make this quick,” or “I will keep my voice down,” you are definitely that guy.
If you call your waiter names, or complain loudly about the people next to you, saying things like, “I was here first. Why did they get their food first?” you are probably that guy. If there's really a problem, use your words, use your inside voice, and work it out. Talk to the manager if you must, but keep it cool.
Last word about restaurants. There's a special place in hell for people who find things to complain about just to get a free meal. You know who you are. Yeah, sometimes a meal is terrible, or the service is so bad that you may really deserve to get your money back, but don't make it a scam.
4. At the Store
Nothing says “that guy” more than taking your loaded shopping cart into the “10 items or less” line. You may also be that guy if you leave your cart (or stroller, or bicycle, or puppy) in the middle of the aisle, blocking everybody while you look for the right color of whatever.
Here are a few tips to make everyone's shopping experience more friendly:
- Use the express line ONLY if you have the requested number of items or less. This includes shopping with your girlfriend or bros, and splitting up your stuff.
- That guy stands in line with an empty cart while his girl or bro runs around with a basket. Finish shopping, then get in line.
- When you stop to enjoy the coolness of the frozen foods aisle, or can't decide whether to get white or yellow cheese, move your cart out of the way.
- That guy races just to get ahead of someone else in line. Even if that old lady was a rude pig to you earlier, let her go in front of you. Sometimes kindness is the best insult.
- If you are preparing for the apocalypse with a cart piled high, and someone directly behind you has a candy bar, let them go ahead. It's just a nice thing to do, and will make your next fart sweet like blooming jasmine.
These at-the-store tips also apply pretty well on the road, drivers. There's plenty of that guy on the road. But that's another story.
5. At Home
Here are some indications that you may be that guy at home.
- You live in an apartment, and spend your evenings getting ready for your “Lord of the Dance” auditions
- You own a drum set or saxophone, but not a soundproof room
- You host a party every weekend
- You leave trash in the hallway, sidewalk, street, outside your car, etc.
Performing artists — dancers, drummers, guitarists, and so on — check with your neighbors before you start practicing at home. This could be the difference between a neighbor who doesn't mind the noise — or even encourages you — and a neighbor who calls the cops.
Same deal with parties. Most neighbors are reasonable, and don't mind a bit of Bacchanalian revelry every now and again. Let them know ahead of time if you're going to have a party. Maybe even invite them. It could make all the difference.
Again, a special place in hell is reserved for people who litter. Dropping trash on the ground is just plain ignorant, no matter how small. If you chew gum, save the wrapper and throw your gum away in it later. Keep a small plastic bag in your car for trash. When you get home, empty out the bag. Smoke? Grind it out and put it in a can. It's not about obeying authority, it's a matter of self respect. You wouldn't just drop trash anywhere in your living room, would you? That guy would. Don't be that guy.
The Last Word
It's really easy to find other that guys. Sometimes, they seem to be everywhere. This article is not about finding that guy, pointing him out, embarrassing him, kicking his ass, or laughing at him with your friends. It's about making sure that you —
Ok, you get it. That guy is a preachy hypocrite. He finds other that guys, but doesn't notice that he's being that guy. That's what makes him that guy. So, let's turn it around, just for a minute, before we get back to saving the world.