I originally posted this in 2013, but given the amount of bad bro behavior going on, I think it’s worth an update and a repost. -dp
I ran into an HR situation today that was quickly resolved with three simple words:
When used in combination, they form a phrase of surpassing power, an incantation capable of transmogrifying a raging jackass into a repentant basset hound.
“Dude, not cool” (DNC) is a defacto code that’s pretty much guyiversal. And it’s applicable everywhere and anywhere a male (of any age) has crossed over into Jerkistan.
Now it doesn’t work on every man or boy. There’s always a troll subset that delights in pushing buttons and making people uncomfortable, head-shakingly annoyed or downright angry. Such individuals are hopeless and can be simply described by an equally powerful term: D-Bag.
But DNC works wonderfully on those who really DON’T want to hurt feelings, and have no bad intentions but occasionally display a deficit of the appropriate sensibility for any given occasion (e.g, me.)
If it takes a village to raise a child,
it takes a neigh BRAH! hood to calibrate a man.
The guy who uses “it was acceptable then” phraseology that’s become unacceptable now; the dude who excessively ogles the server at dinner; the husband who jokingly belittles his wife in public: these are all recalibrate-able men. But the only ones who can truly make this adjustment happen are male peers using “Dude, not cool” or one of it’s many variants (e.g., “Don’t be a fill in the blank.”)
Boorish, obnoxious, and blatantly antisocial male behavior happens when respected peers say nothing. ‘Locker Room Talk’ only happens when others in the locker room tolerate it. And you don’t have to go all Puritan to make your point. All it takes is a simple “Dude, not cool.” and you’ve saved a decent guy from embarrassing himself, and given him valuable calibration on what’s acceptable—and what you won’t put up with.
Is there a female equivalent of this highly effective rejoinder? Yes. It’s not verbal, but doesn’t have to be (it’s that formidable.) It’s called “The Look,” a facial communication of visceral distaste that is the human equivalent of using a magnifying glass on ants.
But even these lasers of personality course correction never work on those who depend on “Wha’d I say?” to smooth over their purposeful missteps. That type of behavior requires an opposite-gender boycott—for life.
– D.P. Knudten