12 Things Some Guys Do, Mistakenly Thinking They’re Cool

Posted on November 7, 2013
Filed Under Being Cool, Men Attracting Women, Men's Issues, Newsletter Follow-Up, Social Networking

Women Made EasyLet’s have some fun today.

Recently I got into a discussion with a few friends—some female, no less—on the subject of what guys who decidedly don’t “get it” are like.

Essentially, it quickly became a referendum on coolness, particularly in the eyes of women.

As you might imagine it turned out to be a truly fascinating conversation. As such, I felt compelled to share the finer points of it with you.

Recalling what was said, I’ve made a list of a dozen major missteps guys make in the name of being cool which typically result in women thinking the exact OPPOSITE about them.

But before I get on a roll ranting about them all, there are at least three points that deserve to be made.

Women Made Easy: What They Do, Why They Do It And How To Be A Man About It


First off, in an effort not to overtly slam any guy who happens to be reading this and ends up relating to like three quarters of the items on the list, I’ve intentionally refrained from extensive use of the word “douche” in this post.

Never mind that it probably really should have been titled, “12 Things Douchey Guys Do”. After all, the very definition of “D-Bag” is “he who thinks he’s a lot cooler than he really is.”

Second, please don’t think even for a second that I’m talking down to anyone. That’s because: A) That would be douchey of me (ironically enough), and B) if I’m honest with you, I’m actually one of those guys who can possibly relate to three-quarters of this list. That’s especially true if I look back on my younger days.

Third, note that I’m NOT going to bore you by covering the obvious infractions as follows:

• Drinking too much

• “Hey y’all, watch this” moments a la Jeff Foxworthy

• Using women sexually without regard for STDs or birth control (having told them anything necessarily beforehand and dumping them afterwards)

• Doing drugs (let alone dealing them)

• Breaking stuff on purpose

• Bullying

• Pimping out prostitutes

• Anything else that’s a felony


Actually, some of the ones that made it to my list are in fact pretty obvious, or at least they should be. But as you’ll soon see, they’re way too much fun to talk about to get left out.

Wait…maybe there’s a fourth caveat I should clear off the table beforehand as well.

If as you tear into this list you find yourself getting all offended (or whatever), bear in mind that I want the best for you. That’s why I’m telling you the stuff that your friends won’t ever tell you (possibly because they actually think what’s on this list is cool as well).

So here we go…

Here’s just about everything my friends and I could think of that certain dudes do thinking they’re “alpha” in a way that attracts women, when in reality they’re just making them roll their eyes.


1) Calling people “chief”

If you find yourself unnerved by guys who say “bro” all the time, wait until you meet one who addresses other guys as “chief”.

Suffice it to say that NOBODY in the history of the world has been made to feel better about himself when called “chief” rather than his first name.

It’s not like whoever is addressing someone as such honestly believes him to be in a leadership position over them.

Where did this all start, anyway? I’m wracking my brain, and all I can come up with is Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

And that’s definitely not the guy we want to emulate.

Not since Hollywood producer types started calling all of their casual acquaintances “babe” has there been a more irritating way to address fellow dudes.


2) Using emoticons in text messages

I’ve cited this one before and every time I do I get taken to task on it.

Clearly, there is a multitude of particularly young guys who will argue to the bitter end that it really IS cool to use smiley/winky emoticons in text messages.

But it’s just not.

If you’re 19 years old…maybe. And even then, I honestly believe women would appreciate your messages more if you STOPPED it.

And if you’re over 35 and using emoticons, I’m hereby imploring you to trust me on this: It’s KILLING you out there in the dating world.

You see, I think there’s a VERY real negative correlation between the number of needy-ass winky/smileys being sent to women by guys and the number of women who are intrigued and attracted enough to actually ANSWER their messages.

In other words, show me a guy who texts emoticons to women and I’ll show you a guy who complains that his messages are apparently being sent into a black hole.

What’s the emoticon for “facepalm” look like?

If you feel like you’ve just GOT to use an emoticon to make sure your intentions get across, here are two decidedly cooler ways to go about things: 1) State yourself more clearly to begin with,or better yet 2) Pick up the blasted phone and call her so she KNOWS when you’re being playful or ironic.


3) “Messing with” people

We all know how this works.

Some dude and perhaps a friend or two conspire to trick some other unsuspecting person (male or female) into believing something that isn’t true.

They keep a straight face and swear up and down that they’re not kidding around.

Then, as soon as the unsuspecting “victim” falls for it, they all collectively laugh themselves silly and call him or her “gullible”.

I’ve seen this prank taken to extremes where guys either held on too long vis-à-vis the other person not falling for it, or that the premise being floated was so breathtakingly out-of-bounds so as to come off as nothing short of evil.

Rest assured that it’s NOT cool to keep trying to get someone to believe your B.S. for five full minutes.

It’s even less cool to try to get them to believe their best friend just got killed in a car accident.

If you want to be a charismatic man who wins friends and influences people, the very first step might be to BE REAL with them. What I’m talking about here would be the opposite.


4) Touching other dudes’ faces or heads

In case it hasn’t occurred to you yet in this life, grabbing another guy’s face or putting your hand on his head in any way, shape or form is nothing short of an aggressive act.

If you’re doing it specifically to show dominance over someone, you’re being uncool.

Everyone else who watches it knows what the score is, and it’s not in your favor. Women in particular aren’t impressed.


5) Carrying guns and making sure everyone knows about it

When it comes to firearms, let’s just say that there’s a good, solid reason why most states only issue CONCEALED carry licenses, without any legal provision for “open carry”.

Simply stated, that’s because anyone who is actually mature and responsible enough to carry a gun as a civil right also realizes that he’s far better off if NOBODY ELSE KNOWS about it when it’s going on.

Now, whatever your opinion on guns is in general, don’t miss my point here.

Whenever a guy is carrying a guy mostly because he wants to prove to everyone else how cool he is, that pretty much means he’s not yet cool enough (let alone mature and responsible enough) to do so.

That’s as straightforward as it gets. Take it from the guy who used to work with gang kids.


6) Cursing in public (especially around children)

If you want to drop “f-bombs” and talk graphically about anal sex, go for it.

But realize that unless you’re among like-minded friends NOBODY ELSE really wants to listen to your mouth.

It’s not that people get “offended”, really. We’ve all heard it before. It’s just that it’s flat-out awkward to listen to people who are that selfish and inconsiderate.

All of this goes DOUBLE if you’re around little kids. In fact, guys who say inappropriate stuff around young’uns can pretty much expect to have an extra-awkward talk with the kid’s dad in the very near future.

And face it, the guy with the mouth is not going to beat dad up or even give him the finger. He’s probably going to be embarrassed and apologize humbly…all because he suddenly realized he wasn’t being cool.

Or at least that’s the best we all can hope for.

I still clearly remember a guy walking down the jetway having arrived in New York on a flight from Boston loudly proclaiming over and over that we’d just endured “The worst [effing] flight in the world”.

That was probably ten years ago, and he still goes down as one of the most clueless d-bags of all time in my book.

For what it’s worth, someone finally started getting a headache and told him to shut up.


7) Owning a pit bull

Apparently, there’s exactly ONE woman in the world who thinks pit bulls are cooler than the guy in her life does. That would be stand-up comedian Bill Burr’s girlfriend:

Comedy Central


Obviously, that’s hilarious.

But seriously, having a pit bull really isn’t going to help you get women. At best it’ll scare them away. At worst you’ll come off as scarier to them than the dog is.

Take my word for it and go with a Dalmatian or a chocolate lab instead.


8) Buying anything from Pep Boys’ “accessory” aisle and putting it on your car

Okay, let’s start with the premise that women really, truly aren’t all that impressed by cars than we habitually give them credit for.

THEN, let’s add to that the premise that the more custom accessories you slap on to your ride in an effort to say, “Look at me!” the LESS everyone is impressed.

So FINALLY, imagine how much of a hit you’re going to take in the “coolness” department if you festoon your hoopdie in el-cheapo chrome pinstripes, fake air vents and trailer hitch nutsacks.


9) Burning rubber/weaving in and out of traffic

Okay, if the last point was about what we as guys tend to do TO our cars, this one’s more about what we do WITH them.

Remember always, women are all about safety and security. Suffice it to say, then, that the more aggressive and dangerous you seem to be when behind the wheel the less women are going to want to be in the passenger’s seat.

Interestingly enough, if you are a skilled, confidence-inspiring high-performance driver at an appropriate venue (e.g. track day or racing school) then women may literally line up to go fast with you.

But if it’s as if the entire world is potentially at risk whenever you leave your driveway, that’s another story altogether.

Overall, I remain convinced that the greatest indications that a woman’s impressed with your driving skill are 1) she doesn’t notice you’re driving a car with a manual transmission and/or 2) she falls asleep while you drive.


10) Chewing Copenhagen

The brand of “smokeless tobacco” doesn’t really matter, of course. It’s just that Copenhagen is a particularly gross one.

Hey, I’ll be the first to admit that my friends and I used to do this stuff back in high school thinking we were such badasses.

But I didn’t make the connection until years later that it was right after I stopped that I managed to get two particularly cute and sweet girlfriends in a row. Go figure.

The bottom line is that cups full of brown spit don’t attract women. Mouthfuls of brown flaky crap, even less so. She doesn’t want to look that that, let alone kiss it.


11) Random, meaningless tattoos

And dare I include misspelled ones as well (e.g. “crape dime”)?

I’m not going to argue (although I could) that some women are going to find any tattoo on any man distasteful.

But geez…if you elect to ink yourself permanently, at least know what your tattoo MEANS. And be SOBER when you get it done.

Tribal tattoos and ancient symbols need to be researched, and if you’re going to write in Chinese on your left arm you’d better do more than simply trust some guy in a tattoo shop to get it right.

I’m reminded of the incident where a tattoo artist got sued for writing “I’m still an ugly boy” on a customer, who took weeks to realize why waiters at Chinese restaurants were laughing at him.


12) Self-absorbed Facebook posts

You knew this list would be incomplete without some reference to social media.

To be completely honest, I’m becoming more convinced by the day that Facebook ITSELF can’t help but be douchey.

And the weird part is that practically EVERYONE I know agrees when talking about it offline, but yet NOBODY seems to acknowledge it on Facebook itself.

For starters, I can’t believe how brazen people have gotten these days with their political leanings. Sure, you can have your ideological beliefs, but people who don’t happen to believe like you do aren’t necessarily ignorant or “bad” people.

That holds true if what’s on their dinner plate doesn’t agree with you either.

Or if they don’t go to the exact same church you do.

And geez, do I really have to read one more play-by-play account of someone’s medical condition?

But it gets worse, of course.

In the “real world” I hope you’d never ask someone to come up with all the adjectives to describe you that start with the letter “D”. After all, “D” stands for “D-bag”.

And then there’s, “If you’re REALLY my true friend, you’ll read this entire dissertation on my deepest feelings about life.”

Personally, I STILL can’t figure out all of these open-ended posts to the effect of, “Okay…only three more days to go, but it’s almost happening. I’ll keep everyone posted and hopefully have more later.” Was I really supposed to be following along? Is anyone else? Who on Earth is arrogant enough to believe that people are hanging on his every move like that?

Hey man…if you want to make true friends, try the real world. But if it’s going to be on Facebook, at least make people laugh and feel good about themselves.

Give to others rather than assuming it’s got to be all about yourself, that’s all.


Wow, it felt almost too good to get all of that off my chest—even if it means I’ve just painted myself into a corner.

So be it…maybe I could use to be held to a higher level of accountability from now on, right?

In any case, remember that this post is all in fun. I’m sure there could have been at least a 100 more bullet items on the list.

What are the biggees that you think I left out? Let me hear them, and go ahead and make me laugh in the process.

As for the items I included, do you have any stories of your own about any of them? I’d love to hear those too.

And finally, do you think I’m off base here? Feel free to let me have it if so. I’ve got my fire suit on.


Be Good,

Scot McKay

Women Made Easy: What They Do, Why They Do It And How To Be A Man About It



47 Responses to “12 Things Some Guys Do, Mistakenly Thinking They’re Cool”

  1. Manzar

    1) guys who can’t spell whatever they write. I have an abundance of women who dislike that. Funnily enough, cute girls who can’t spell correctly turn me off too.
    2) Guys talking on the phone all day, even in her presence. It’s cool to be social and popular, but only as long as you keep enough of your attention to be with her when you are in her company.
    3) texting too much as opposed to talking on the phone or meeting.
    4) impressing with money a woman who isn’t the sort. Most guys aren’t enough to be gold digger’s dinner. Don’t try to be with a woman who isn’t interested in you.


  2. I think it’s perfectly fine to post your beliefs on Facebook as long as you’re being completely respectful about them. Wouldn’t you agree Scot?


    • The key term there being “self-absorbed”, so as long as it doesn’t come off that way, sure.


      • Define “self-absorbed”


        • World English Dictionary

          — adj
          preoccupied with one’s own thoughts, emotions, life, etc


          • Rene

            Hey Scott, this is another Rene…I have a question regarding self-absorbed messages in Facebook: The thing is sometimes I feel anger about certain things or news that are posted by people, this is most likely in Terms of politics and the environment. To give your opinion of what you believe and feel in terms of a post, would that be considered self-absorbed? To give you an example, a friend (woman) posted an article saying that the black rhino from West Africa is considered extinct as in since this past month. When I heard this I ranted a bit about humanity and the system because I felt sad, I felt like letting it out of my chest as well…I didn´t use any F words because I don´t like using them. Sharing your Feelings about a subject, would that be considered self absorbed? Let me know because I agree with all the Points posted, I want to make things right. Besides, one has to control their Anger and emotions too in order to be a Big 4 man. Thanks Scott

          • Man, that’s a shame about the rhinos. Other subspecies of Black Rhino yet remain though, I believe.

            Anyway…simply sharing your opinion is fine. The problem arises when people get either self-righteous or narcissistic (which is incredibly often on Facebook).

  3. Anonymous

    Missed one of my pet facebook peeves: “chain” posts of any sort. Except, perhaps, parodies of chain posts.

    I have several female friends who absolutely LOVE pit bulls, some of whom make self-absorbed posts about their (admittedly adorable) pit bulls.

    Driving: One time when on a date I backed out of an “on” ramp to get out of a traffic jam. In that case, she gave me a bit of playful static, but really didn’t mind my crazy driving, because we got there on time.


    • I don’t know. I still think it’s pretty douchey to get a pit bull just so you can walk around with it and scare small children.

      As for the driving, you’re clean on that one. That was a calculated judgment call rather than reckless abandon.


      • Anonymous

        Quite a lot of chicks actually like pitbulls. Here in Hawai’i especially. Also, I don’t believe most people get pitbulls specifically “just so they can walk around with it and scare small children.” That’s pretty ridiculous, but it may be true in some cases. Great article, nonetheless. Aloha


  4. Lee

    While I normally find you to be right on the money, you’re off base with the texting & emoticons. I know you might disagree, but I’m 26, turning 27 next month, and here’s the real take from people my age:

    Perhaps emoticons are a generational thing, but growing up & learning to communicate with friends (both guys & girls) on AIM/AOL, they are just natural ways to express certain pieces of information electronically that would ordinarily be conveyed via body language. People (ie.: adults who didn’t grow up in this internet culture) who use them “just to look cool” or to articially relate with younger individuals end up looking dumb because they do not “own them.” It’s like using someone else’s pickup line you read out of a book: it comes off as false. Not only are they incompetent in their usage, but they are unsure & unconfident about how & where to use them…or worse, they confidently proceed to use them incorrectly. Like assuming a Parisian knows English, & therefore never bothering to speak their language, or far worse, butchering it with a look of accomplishment, that person “removes all doubt” in regards to their level of intelligence.

    If you keep the “AIM speak,” “lol’s,” emoticons, & CAPs out of texts when you’re serious & add them when you’re fooling around, there’s never really any confusion. Normal people ask a question if they don’t understand you & a few conversations will fill in dialect gaps…in a similar fashion to how regional variations of English words/phrases are picked-up, adopted, and used within your new social clique. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying things like “Lightning Bug” when you used to say “Firefly” or “y’all” instead of “hey guys,” then you might understand what I’m getting at here.

    A good public speaker knows his audience & speaks to them. Odds are someone the age of your mom doesn’t know internet slang very well, so you don’t lead with that unless you want to intentionally not connect with that person; the same is true for speaking to someone in business with “acronym speak” from the government or military. You wouldn’t show up to a Goth party wearing a pink tu-tu, so why would you do something equivalent via text? There are times & places for all things…as you made clear with your other examples on concealed carry & the use of foul language or fast driving, it’s the usage &, more importantly, the situation, that defines something as cool or not to someone (especially to socially adept females).


    • While I respect your opinion, I stand by my own.

      There’s a reason why some younger women go for older guys, and this *might* be one of them. I never got quizzed by women about why I avoided emoticons and spelled words correctly in texts.

      Meanwhile, a LOT of guys use emoticons in a way that craters their text game.

      Ultimately, it comes down to this: Mature men in leadership positions (which is like catnip to women) wouldn’t be caught dead using winkey smileys.


      • Domingo

        I like emoticons. I’m older than 30.

        That said, I don’t use them because I keep hearing dating experts say not to, not for any other reason.

        I haven’t noticed an increase in my dating, sadly.


        • I’m not about to purport that curtailing emoticons is the magic potion for success with women. We still have to be “big four” guys: confident, masculine in the way women respond to, able to make women feel safe and secure, and of strong character.


    • XYZZY

      Re: “If you keep the “AIM speak,” “lol’s,” emoticons, & CAPs out of texts when you’re serious & add them when you’re fooling around, there’s never really any confusion.”

      Ugh. Is it really even about confusion? I think not. Yes I’m older than you but keep in mind that some of that stuff just looks absolutely ridiculous especially one after another (…) and ESPECIALLY when it is graphical. Shortly it is about the message being (and sorry – I don’t mean this as an insult by any means) coherent (or not). *Mutters something about emails plagued with ugly smiley faces* And yes you absolutely can convey humour (even sarcasm!) without emoticons but it involves being skilled in writing and humour itself (I would argue that by adding emoticons you’re detracting from what could be potentially a more clever message — if necessary, with practice). I admit I’m something of a purist (about this type of thing) but seriously mastering this is well worth the time and effort.


  5. Cris

    I can’t believe you are saying it’s not all about me? How dare you ! Ha ha ! I am with you all the way on this list. I only have one question &/or statement. I am a pitbull(s) owner but never considered doing it for the reason of being “cool”. I truly love the breed ! My personal opinion, and one I am entitled to. Another personal opinion is anyone who does things to be “cool” is not, nor will probably ever be cool. (ex. Tatoos) I feel the same about doing things to impress anyone. I will clown with the best, but in the end it is for my friends and I’s benefit only. I try to be respectful and friend only like minded people.


  6. XYZZY

    Happily I haven’t done one of these things — ever. Seriously, I have not. But I also have quite some blunders in the past (not by trying to be cool but by the very fact I was oblivious to others). I’ll list two of them.

    (I swear I’m not a reclusive computer geek. Yes, that there is some what a lie).

    As for pitbulls I think it actually depends on the owner and how they were brought up (and indeed bred). Sadly many are aggressive and it really is difficult to see. But I know of some very playful very happy and non-aggressive pitbulls (and all those who met them are also in agreement). To that end any dog can be aggressive but the point of not having aggressive dogs is a good point all around (raising dogs to be aggressive is in my view animal cruelty which is an incredibly low thing to do). I would also argue that having an animal (or anything) because you think it makes you cooler/whatever, is not a good mentality to have (self esteem and trying “to fit in” comes to mind).

    As for my blunders: Let’s see:
    1. How about a girl who was always nice to me accusing me of having a crush on her, in school years, with me respond “No, I do not.” without ever having the slightest clue what it might else have meant (thinking back on the environment of those times — yes plural because it happened quite a few times with her — I am pretty sure it did mean something else). I don’t regret it though: I was not really well enough for any thing other than my denial (and I wouldn’t have wanted to hurt her even in the slightest) and I had no interest in relating with others any way.
    2. Hmm, I won’t even go there except to say that it also was blatantly ignoring any signs of interest (I did not believe it and in fact I believed it was a setup. It was the first time I had ever seen her and what this person was saying was far too much. Whether it was or was not a setup the same thing as above, applies: it would not have worked and I had no interest).

    To be fair to myself I was very asocial (starting in grade school) but it shows how oblivious I was… Who knows what else I never caught? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m very aware and observant but I’m less mature socially because for many years I didn’t have any interest in having a social life. What matters however is now and that is it.


    • No worries at all, man. Most of us go through that stage. For my part, girls in 7th grade flat-out told me they liked me but I told them I didn’t believe them. I think I quite like the UK show “The Inbetweeners” because I can relate so well personally. Fortunately, it’s all a very curable condition.


      • XYZZY

        Yes that was sort of the idea only for me it was in high school. I didn’t really think about it all until ten years later (as a guess). The second one I listed is very similar to what you mentioned. Only it was far too much – even if I was interested it would have been fairly weird (it wasn’t even just let’s go out some time; it was more of let’s do this certain thing to/with each other and while it was not all the way it was close enough to be very weird and not at all expected from someone I didn’t know even by name).

        My main issue is that I have quite a lot of health problems which makes getting out and about fairly difficult which means even if I try to be more social (like I did tonight, for instance – more than I expected but I’m happy about what I accomplished) it will be hard to maintain the momentum. Aside that it is a matter of not really knowing what I truly want (there is of course some parts left out of the story but needless to say I’m amazed I am even here as I never expected it and I flat out refused to believe anything non-reclusive – in real life, that is – would matter to me).

        And that is it from me for the night. (Long term sleep deprivation has been taking its toll on me lately and at already 9pm it is very likely I’ll be awake until 12 or 1 in the morning, again. My own fault on the time, however).


  7. Anonymous

    Another obvious infraction: checking out MOTOS at inappropriate times,
    e.g. men or women that check out MOTOS when they are on a date, etc.


  8. Hey Scot,
    I actually agree with you on the emoticons. But rather than making someone “douchey,” I think it’s someone trying too hard to not scare a woman away.
    Reading my old text messages with females, I couldn’t tell who was the female and who was male…

    BUT, as far as “text speak” goes, I know in the past you’ve gone against saying things like, “lol” or “haha.” Because I know many masculine men that can convey, “lol” or “haha” in their messages. and still be masculine. Furthermore, you’ve advocated saying something like, [wink] or [laughs], and while it may have worked for you – I’m having a hard time running those in my messages and not feel self-conscious. Furthermore, a girl even made fun of me on Facebook once for just using, [laughs] in place of “haha jk”
    “make a snarling comment here) [LAUGH OUT LOUD]” followed by “(insert another shot at me here) [LAUGHS]“.

    I hope I made sense…


  9. Trevor

    I have to chime in on this emoticons thing; I also grew up using AOL and I spent a lot of time chatting with other teenagers on there. It’s ingrained in my “chatting” personality. So much so, that as I receive messages from women on dating websites now, I wonder why they are not using any smileys, or exclamation marks, or anything, and I find them boring! It occurs to me this person has no personality, or she would inject more of it into her message. She’s not supposed to be writing a damn book report. It’s supposed to be FUN.

    Texts and email messages are notoriously difficult to convey and understand. Why would you pass up a very easy chance to convey more information? It’s like if someone asks you, “hey would you like to be able to convey non-verbal communication in your texts?” And you’re going to say no? That seems crazy!

    As for the argument that it’s possible to convey humor and everything perfectly without emoticons or any kind…well fine…but why be so stubborn about it? They’re much easier than spending two hours making drafts and running the drafts by a peer group to test if your sarcasm is not misconstrued.

    I would like to hear womens’ opinion on this. If I really am coming across as some immature dork, then I would stop doing it.

    p.s. I will stop calling guys chief and boss, etc. I always thought it was a friendly thing to do. I didn’t mean it with any sarcasm, but it just sounds too sarcastic.


    • Well, for what it’s worth I somehow think that “boss” is indeed friendlier and more social than “chief”. Perhaps it’s because “chief” is more often used in a negative or derogatory context (i.e. “Hey…ease up, chief!”) Weirdly, guys who use “boss” almost always seem to mean well. With “chief” you’re never really sure.


    • XYZZY

      Re: “As for the argument that it’s possible to convey humor and everything perfectly without emoticons or any kind…well fine…but why be so stubborn about it?”

      I admit I’m stubborn but that’s not really the case here. If anything I am a “purist” (it is more of the old-timer in me; command prompt is more powerful than a graphical interface when skilled in it and so by that extension and coming from the days of less — if any — graphics I prefer actual words/text over emoticons). Mind you I don’t care if someone uses them but they can get obnoxious when over-used. For instance: the original smiley is quite old but… context is key and so too is learning to better craft your words.

      As for why “spend two hours making drafts and …” it is that I do not NEED to spend the time doing that. As I wrote it is a skill and it is a GREAT skill to have. Did Gore Vidal need to use emoticons for his wit? Of course not. I don’t either and I use it a lot. I should point out that being quick witted is a wonderful advantage to have. Now mind you I’ve always been quick witted but it still is a skill that can be learned. By using smiley faces/etc to express meaning you are not stretching your brain as much as you could be (instead you’re relying on emoticons which take little to no effort). But make no mistake, you can (and should) improve your skills — with everything you do, even (and perhaps some skills that you don’t actually have to begin with, just to expand your knowledge and open your mind).

      So by all means use them if you need/want but becoming quick witted is quite useful. Yes, easy for me to say as I’ve always been this way, but the amount of times I have used it to start a conversation or if nothing else make people laugh, is much higher than I can remember, for sure.


      • Well played.

        To quote Gore Vidal himself, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”

        Having style will ALWAYS be cool, as will having a quick wit. And you are absolutely correct about that being a learned skill.


        • XYZZY

          Thanks – appreciate it.

          Yes, it definitely is a skill one can learn and I would challenge those who are not quick witted to actually stretch themselves and give it a try. They might be pleasantly surprised. I have the advantage that I was pretty much always this way but that is not to say I was always as good as I am now. Absolutely not – I strive to better myself in more than that but also this way too. Just paying more attention to your surroundings and being well read (= having a decent vocabulary) is enough to get started. Combine that with practice and you improve more and more. I will include a tip even, at the end.

          As for Gore Vidal, there’s so many quotes of his that it is hard to choose a ‘best’ (at least for me). The same goes for Mark Twain. I think one of Gore Vidal’s best — while perhaps mean spirited – is about F. Scott. Fitzgerald:

          “I like best what he leaves out of The Great Gatsby. A unique book. Incidentally, I think screenwriting taught him a lot. But who cares what he wrote? It is his life that matters. Books will be written about him long after his own work has vanished – again and again we shall be told of the literary harvest god who was devoured at summer’s end in the Hollywoods.”

          (That’s of course if I am not counting things that many would deem beyond arrogant — they may or may not be but that does not mean they can’t be funny).

          To those willing to try improving your wit, here is a little tip (whether it seems silly/stupid/obvious or too easy to be of value, forget that part and simply do it!): whenever you think of something amusing, witty, clever (whether you think it is that great or not, even – there is always room for improvement and this is from personal experience), write it down! Even if it isn’t worded perfectly you now have it some where so that you can later on make it sound better (which will exercise your brain which is healthy by itself but in addition it will improve your wit). What’s the worse that can happen? You don’t like it so much after all but you still gave it a try and you still get the benefits of it: exercising your ability to think and that is half the battle right there (I’ve thrown out quotes I at first thought were great but then decided I was wrong; many are however are great and some times better than expected).


  10. Jammer

    I like to break stuff for the nookie, chief.

    It’s all about the he says, she says bullshit. But you could never quit, making shit slip, or you’ll be leaving with a fat lip.

    Edit: I believe “Chief” had its origins in Cuckoo’s Nest, describes the big dumb guy in an AMOG-esque interaction.


  11. Jammer

    For the record, I’ve only pulled the first six. Maybe did 12 in some past Facebook incarnation (MSN Messenger) but man, that’s a needy douchey move. I cringe even thinking about it (and what many, many people still do today).


  12. Pat

    Just want to say off the bat Im a big fan of your work Scot, but I gotta agree with the other guys here regarding emoticons. Im 26 and if youre a member of Gen Y at the very least, not using emoticons is texting suicide. Someone else mentioned in here its important you “own it.” I couldnt agree more. Of course you can come across as a wuss if you overuse them (trust me ive seen it), but failing to use them also usually shows too much seriousness or lack of playfulness, and deprives you of a whole level of communication, particularly in witty banter.

    I can say with 100% certainty as a man who “deserves what I want” and is engaged to the girl of my dreams in no small part due to some of your material that I would have lost a lot of amazing girls- including my current one- if I had eschewed those goofy little faces. I know because my texting was horrible before when I thought I was too cool for them. Just saying, muse on it- what youre saying may be true for 30, 35+ but for a generation that grew up on these things, its decidedly not.


    • Well, hey…how does a guy like me argue with a man who says emoticons saved his relationship with the woman of his dreams? (but I’m still not putting a winky/smiley at the end of this, mostly because I think XYZZY is right on the money)


    • XYZZY

      Re: “but failing to use them also usually shows too much seriousness or lack of playfulness, and deprives you of a whole level of communication, particularly in witty banter.”

      It all boils down to skill. I am online a lot (I would argue more than you for specific reasons even when you consider that I don’t use Facebook/etc and a lot of the time I’m online can be not counted as it is more of in the background) and of all the friends I’ve made over the past two decades over almost every continent of the world (Yes, that means online which means no voice involved!) I’ve very rarely been taken too seriously when writing. The only continents I’ve not had friends from: Africa and Antarctica (go figure, right?). I’ve “met” people from Africa online but most of my contacts are old contacts, these days. That includes people from the UK, Ireland (unless my tired brain is failing only North Ireland is part of the UK), several European countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, as well as many others over the years), Asian countries, both of the main countries down under, South America, and I’ve known many more over the years.

      On the other hand, I make people laugh a lot (no canned lines mind you; it is all spontaneous) – be it friends, family and even people I don’t know. Online and offline. And here are two things to think about which will make my thoughts even more interesting:

      1. I never learned to smile. Seriously, I cannot smile without someone making me laugh. It might be circumstantial (as to why I never could smile) but it would come off as worse than fake. It would be fake and forced. So if I cannot even smile then how do I manage these things in real life? After all, if emoticons include winks, smileys and such, and I can’t even do that in real life, then how is it necessary? Exactly. And that is why I know smileys are not needed any where (besides, when you can make people laugh it loosens everything up and then the lack of a smile is now instead people having fun). Do I like that I cannot smile? Well, no but its still the truth and I’m not afraid of that truth (being unable to smile is something I in fact need to work on more!). Would I change my natural wit for the ability to smile? Absolutely not, no chance in the world. It is one of the most significant parts of my personality.

      2. You think it is a generation thing (or suggest that it might be). To which I give you a most interesting fact: if you’re 26 then I am sorry but when a smiley face (in text) was first used, you weren’t alive yet. Yup, you are (depending on when in the year you were born) a good 5 to 6 years younger than it. And yes it was online (of course, the web was not around then but that does not matter much).

      The truth of the matter is that while it CAN be used to convey something is a joke it does not mean it HAS to be used (and if you can convey it without it then the joke/whatever is much better).


  13. Cris

    Scott I would like to thank you for all your views. I am trying to become the best man I can be. There is so many parts of my life in need of improvement. Learning begins with an open mind and a cosed mouth. I read and enjoy your newsletter. Keep it coming.


  14. Dan

    Hi Scot, I absolutely agree with everything except for #7. I have a beautiful, friendly, goofy pitbull that I found as a stray puppy who is now four years old and she is a chick magnet like you wouldn’t believe. Seriously if I want to meet women all I have to do is take her for a walk. Every woman I’ve dated since I’ve had her has fallen in love with her. That said, I think I understand where you’re coming from, as the stereotype for those dogs can be bad. But really, the only scary pitbulls I’ve ever come across have had scary owners–you know, the types who do everything else on the above list.


    • Maybe we just tend to have scary owners here in Texas (and everywhere else I’ve ever lived…or visited).

      But again, think of it this way. You didn’t really MEAN to end up with a pit bull. She sort of found you, so it’s not like you’re the “Pit Bull Guy” I’m referring to in this post.

      AND, your dog is female which has to make a difference in the scariness/aggression dept. I can only imagine there’s a MASSIVE diff between a spayed female pitbull and a fully-equipped male one.


  15. Domingo

    Most of your list contains things I would never do or in the case of #2 (emoticons), I have stopped doing.

    The only one I have to strongly disagree with is #8 (no PEP boys accessories). I really haven’t added much to my car (money is tight), but accessories are a great way of personalizing your ride. Especially if you have a piece of junk. It looks cool when you do it right.

    That said, women don’t notice your car unless it’s expensive, then it’s a Babe Magnet.

    P.S. Scott, #4 Touching other Guy’s faces? Seriously? I think guys who are touching other guys faces aren’t worried about MOTOS in the slightest.


    • Good luck with #8, I suppose. IF you’re going to customize your car, I’d HIGHLY suggest doing so with quality accessories rather than el cheapo ones.

      As for #4, absolutely. It happens all the time, especially when one guy feels threatened by another guy who he thinks he could physically overwhelm.


  16. Trevor

    I thought of another one. This has happened to my cousin at the gym, although never to me. He told me that a couple times, when shaking hands, bigger guys would squeeze his hand as tightly as they could and stare him down, as if saying I am alpha, what are you gonna do about it? Since then, my cousin has taken Krav Maga classes and can twist an arm behind your back quicker than you can say Uncle! I also recommend krav maga to any man that wants some really practical self defense knowledge.


    • Ha…definitely. Breaking dude’s hands on purpose when shaking hands is actually the exact opposite of what handshakes are intended to convey, right? Good one.

      As for martial arts, another one might be dudes who flaunt their stuff in that regard. Kind of like the dojo of douches (how’s that for a band name?) in “Karate Kid”.


  17. J.D.

    Is Pep Boys the modern equivalent of J.C. Whitney?


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