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 DoucheLand.
Now it doesn’t work on every man or boy. There’s always a 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, 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 neighbrahhood to calibrate a man.
The guy who uses “was acceptable then” phraseology that’s become unacceptable now (e.g., that’s retarded); the dude who excessively ogles the server at dinner; the husband who jokingly belittles his wife in public (this is NEVER acceptable…and yes, E, even I know that): these are all calibrate-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. 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’ll stand for.
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 neutron bombs 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.