I used to know this dude that could turn on a dime into an aggressive macho dude.
‘C’mon, right here. Right now. Why wait?’ he’d say as he squared his shoulders and snapped his toes to the imaginary line he’d draw between himself and whatever dude he was challenging.
He was different from the dudes always trying too hard to be badass assholes and who always missed the mark terribly and instead landed at asshole. Asshole dudes aren’t worth the time of day.
The badass asshole dudes I’ve met are not badass because they’re assholes, but assholes because they’re truly bad-ass. Most of them earned their bad-assery doing shit that would crush most people. They exist in a natural state of assholiness earned through life experience.
Badass asshole dudes are simultaneously highly forgiving of the ignorant and swift punishers of the willfully stupid. This means they’re great to be around as long as they’re on your side and you can stomach listening to their advice that’s doled out with the zeal and frequency of evangelicals. Additional downsides include them being assholes and sometimes serial killers.
Anyway, macho dude practiced his routine on dudes he’d meet as an icebreaker because his natural resting dude state was jester dude. Laughter usually ensued when they realized he was clowning, but on occasion there’d be a mutual, chest-puffed out, standing-on-tiptoes heated shouting match. Cooler-headed dudes from both sides would wade in and pull them apart, soothing inflamed egos in the process.
The one time I watched him in an actual physical interaction, his eyes went wild, sweat poured from his head, and he transformed into a serpentine, sparking electrical wire ready to zap anyone in his arc. An 18 year-old man-boy experiencing a mainline epinephrine shot from the amygdala during the fight or flight response is an amazing thing to behold.
Afterward, he was a trembling, motor-mouth joking, squealing with pleasure limp noodle scared rabbit that needed steadying by others. In other words, the exact opposite of his macho dude image. The universe is pretty wicked that way when it wants to be.
Macho dudes are easy to spot. They’re loud, they brag, and they thrive on being the center of attention and pout loudly when they’re not. They’re also highly predictable. Macho dudes are almost always sexist, misogynistic, narcissistic, and unconsciously compensating for a real or perceived deficit of something, be it prestige, dominance, virility, or meaningful emotional attachment.
Maybe it’s all of those things. Who knows?
Asshole dudes can be safely ignored up until they turn into angry dudes.
Angry dudes taunt all comers and are happy to tangle with other angry dudes, any bystander in the way, and the police, in that order. Being stuck between angry dudes and the police is not a good time. Avoid angry dudes.
Bully dudes get their mental rocks off by feeling like they control other people and thrive on victims that don’t fight back. They receive a little squirt of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that fuels the reward system in your brain, from their bullying, which then gets converted into epinephrine.
While bully dudes still bully people who fight back, they bully them less than someone who doesn’t since fighting back dampens their pleasure feedback loop.
You need to stay the fuck away from and get the fuck away from abuser dudes. They get dopamine and epinephrine from all interactions with their targets.
One interesting thing about people in the throes of epinephrine is that they don’t hear. They are 100% focused on what they are doing and sounds are not being processed by their brains.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of a dude who’s being physical, talking, screaming, begging, yelling, or pleading won’t do much good unless there’s someone else in range to hear you, and even then you can’t count on people to show up in time, if at all.
Instead, channel that energy into getting away any way you can. Writhe, kick, push, shove, bite, slap, hit, punch. Don’t forget spitting, pissing, and shitting. It sounds gross because it is, but the smell of feces or urine encourages most people to back off unless they’re really hopped up on something, in which case you have other troubles to worry about beyond taking a shower and doing your laundry later.
Fighting back also has two things in its favor: if you don’t already have your own epinephrine shot it can help you get one and the boost of energy it provides, and if you do, it directs more energy to tactics that will aid your escape.
Bad dudes are any dude that makes you feel uneasy for whatever reason at any point and has you running through your mental checklist of how to get the hell away from him.
There are lots of bad dudes out there.
Lastly, there are regular dudes. Regular dudes are spectacular in their diversity of thought and opinion. A word to the wise: avoid concentrations of regular dudes in confined spaces. It creates a critical mass of dudes that leave ‘Dude!’ ejaculations and tipped-over red cups all over the place.
Otherwise, regular dudes are found through the normal triage of navigating the groper dudes, the sexist dudes, the whiny dudes, the sullen dudes, the clown dudes, and all the other myriad variations ranging from annoying to criminal in the dudedom kingdom.
Once you find a regular dude, sure, he’ll have some issues. Who doesn’t? But you probably won’t need a restraining order against him.