How To Be A Dick, Because Sometimes You Have To Be

Being nice is my preferred method of operating, but sometimes you have to push and shove to get anything done. Sometimes you have to be a little rude.
Publish date:
June 3, 2013
etiquette, careers, how not to be a dick, concerts, behavior, how to be a dick, M

We’ve all been getting better at not being dicks. Emily started it by telling us how not to be a dick to your tattoo artist. I gave you some unsolicited advice on how not to be a dick at the veterinarian’s office (because my mom’s a vet, and I don’t like it when people are mean to my mom). My most recent favorite is Selena Luna’s How Not To Be A Dick To A Little Person.

This series has been enlightening, at least for me, as it has made me reconsider certain actions that I wouldn’t usually think twice about. I have enjoyed this series, and I think these articles have real value.

But sometimes, kittens, you simply have to be a dick.

By “dick” I don’t mean “evil” or “cruel.” I mean "not so fucking nice all the time." Being nice is my preferred method of operating, but sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to push and shove to get anything done. Sometimes you have to be a little rude. Sometimes you offend people, but you can’t go through life worrying about offending everyone. If I did that, I couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving (because I am the most offensive person in my family, you see).

Here are some situations in which I feel being a dick is justified.

1. When someone is being a dick to you.

This is the most obvious, but I think it’s worth mentioning. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so if someone is dishing out dick casserole, they should be prepared to eat a bowl of dicks in return. This is physics; there is nothing I can do about it.

Several years ago, I was in Rome (because sometimes life is awesome), waiting in line to see a Caravaggio or something, and these two old Italian guys fucking cut right in front of me.

I am a big fan of the Rules, and while “lines” aren’t technically a thing in Italy, I was still not going to let this stand.

So began a passive-aggressive game of line-cutting leapfrog. I don’t even remember who got in to see the paintings first, but I’m pretty sure that those dudes realized they had tangoed with the wrong redheaded tourist.

Or maybe not, but it did make me feel better.

2. When someone is going to fuck everything up.

This one mostly applies in the work place. If you are right, and someone else is wrong, and that person is being pigheaded about doing things their (wrong) way, you should probably be a little bit of an asshole about it. Don’t charge in there with the express goal of being a dick, but if you try and (politely) reason with them and they won’t even enter into a discussion with you, you are completely correct in telling him/her that they are fucking wrong and about to fuck everything up. And, if they still don’t listen, tell their superior.

If someone at my place of work were going to acid clean a metal fixture or something, I would probably be a dick about it. Why? Because acid dissolves metal, and if you don’t know that, get out of my lab.

Note: It does really suck if you’re being a dick about your way being correct and then you’re the wrong one, so keep that in mind. I try and keep my level of dickish behavior proportionate to how certain I am of my rightness.

3. When someone is all up in your shit.

I’m a pretty affectionate person, but only with people I know it is OK to be affectionate with. Some people don’t like to be touched, and if you are one of those people, it is perfectly OK to tell people not to touch you. You can do this nicely at first, but if someone doesn’t get the message, turn up the intensity. You don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to your body. If you don’t want to be touched (even in a non-sexual manner), you don’t have to explain why you don’t want to be touched.

I’m sure we can all think of our own examples on this one.

4. When you need to get yours.

This also applies mostly to career situations. It’s unfortunate, but sometimes you really do have to be a dick to get ahead. I tend to err on the side of not being dickish enough in situations like these, but I’m working on it.

I’ve had bosses who are very uncomfortable with confrontation. Being confrontational with this type of person always makes me feel like I’m the bad guy, but sometimes it must be done.

I’m not saying to be overly dramatic and threaten to quit when someone else gets a promotion you feel owed, but do get an explanation of why you didn’t get it, and why the other person was a better fit, and what you can do to get the next one.

If your employer can provide you with satisfactory answers, great. But, if you got passed over because “you wear too much/not enough makeup” or “you don’t have a penis” or some other type of shenanigans, fuck it, maybe you should threaten to quit and/or go to HR. I know people who have done this with great success.

5. At concerts.

This is only necessary at some concerts. Everyone at Flaming Lips shows is usually the nicest (high) so you probably don’t need to be a dick at those, but sometimes concerts bring out the crazy in people (especially the "real fans"), and it becomes necessary to dickishly stand one’s ground.

Case in point: I went to see the Black Keys by myself in Philadelphia and some Eagles fans started heckling Kurt Vile (the opener). This irked me, because heckling is rude and I love Kurt Vile, so I conspired with the other folks who were right up against the stage to form an impenetrable layer, preventing them from getting close when the Black Keys came on.

This made the Eagles fans angry, but there wasn’t much they could do without getting kicked out (which had already happened to other Eagles fans) and a skillfully positioned elbow prevented them from trying too hard to push me out of the way.

And I always, ALWAYS have to be a dick at of Montreal shows, because all the 19-year-olds on E will just keep crashing into me if I don’t yell at them a little bit.

People also get unnecessarily crazy over set-lists and guitar picks, and there is no way to get one without being a dick. I once made some girl cry at a Tori Amos concert (by reaching over her head to get the set-list), and I feel a little bit bad about it, but not really. (I gave it to my husband, because he's a big fan, but much nicer than me.)

So there are the instances in which I feel being a dick is justified. This is not a complete list of all the times I am a dick (I turn into a horrible creature while bowling or playing any games, really), because we don’t have all day and I want you guys to like me.

Did I miss any? When do you guys feel it’s okay to be a dick?