How To Tell If You’re Behaving Inappropriately

When George Washington, (the guy on the dollar bill for you Gen Zers), was sixteen, he copied by hand the “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”.  This was likely a penmanship exercise as there were 110 rules about manners, originally created by French Jesuits in the 16th century.  George Washington’s version of these rules cover a wide range of social and ethical behaviors.  They emphasize good manners, consideration for others, and a sense of decorum.  Clearly, people today could use some of these rules.

When Washington became president, these writings of his went viral (via horseback I imagine), and became a publication some time in the late 1700s.  We thought it would be fun to revisit Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior and perhaps update them for modern times.

Lets Define ‘Manners’

The American dictionary defines manners as:

Ways of behaving toward people, especially ways that are socially correct and show respect for their comfort and their feelings.

That’s what Washington’s Rules of Civility reflect. The rules are about focusing on other people, instead of just thinking about your own narrow-minded self interests. In addition, they’re about making small sacrifices for the sake of the community and getting along with others. Something we all could use more of today.

Some of my favorite maxims from Washington’s Rules of Civility include:

  1. Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.
  2. Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy.
  3. Be not curious to know the affairs of others.
  4. Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.
  5. Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

You gotta love the old English prose here. Play not the peacock! 😃

Now Lets Define ‘Douchebag’

The term being used to describe someone (and not the medical device) dates back to the 1940s but didn’t get popular until the 1980s.  Urban Dictionary offers several definitions of the word ‘douchebag’.  Here are some of the popular definitions:

  • A person with an over inflated ego, coupled with a low intelligence, who has no idea people are making fun of his style or personality.
  • A person (typically a man) who is self-absorbed and in love with himself and is very obnoxious and chalks up any negative criticism to jealousy.
  • Pronounced “doosh-bag”, is a derogatory term that describes someone who is a pompous jerk, often mean to others without caring about hurting their feelings.

And my favorite

  • Someone who has surpassed Jerk and Asshole but hasn’t quite reached Motherfucker.

What Does a Douchebag Act Like?

So basically a douchebag is someone without care for others and only thinks of themselves in social situations. We all know douchebags (or bros), they are literally everywhere – on your plane, at your gym, and definitely at the closest sports bar.

We touched on some of Washington’s principles in our article: What All Men Should Stop Doing By Age Thirty.  But how do we get the douchebags to read Washington’s Rules of Civility?  One of the problems is that these rules were written in Old English which has very complex grammar.  Bros definitely don’t like that.  Another problem is that some of these rules are antiquated; they no longer apply to society.  The third problem is that bros don’t read.

You know where this is heading. Yep, we are going to rewrite New Rules of Civility in modern English so even the douchebags can understand 🙂. Buckle Up!

How You Know You Are a Douchebag

  1.  You talk on your phone on an airplane.  There is no greater need to be considerate of others than on an airplane.  There is literally zero need to talk on a phone on a plane unless you are a surgeon. Douchebags like to pretend they are important when in close quarters.  Texting doesn’t bother anyone.
  2.  You try to get on an elevator before others exit.  Impatience is a sure sign of douchebaggery.
  3.  You ride your bicycle with a speaker, annoying everyone in your path, a sure sign of insecurity and total disregard for others. Get some headphones you tool.
  4.  You own a motorcycle with a radio. You are clearly missing the point of riding a motorcycle.
  5.  You allow your kids to annoy people on planes without care.
  6.  You allow your kids to annoy anyone, anywhere. 
  7.  You have deep pockets and short arms when it’s your turn to pick up a round of drinks.
  8.  You are oblivious, to when its your turn to pick up a round of drinks. Continually shorting your friends when you go out is part of douchebag DNA.
  9.  You bring your dog to a loud restaurant or bar so you can use it to pick up women.
  10.  You own a dog and leave it in your apartment all day with no outdoor space. More self-centered douchebag behavior.  Your neighbors should call Animal Care Services.
  11. You own a dog and live in New York City. Nuff said.
  12. You text while someone is talking to you.  More self-centered behavior. Douchebags often feel they are the only one in the room.
  13. You text while driving.  This is just pure idiocy, risking the safety of other drivers so you can DM ‘Whattup gurl?’ to a complete stranger.  It doesn’t get more self-centered and douchebag than that.
  14. You ride a Bird scooter, anywhere.
  15. You ride an electric bike and you are under the age of sixty (60).
  16. You hit on your friend’s girlfriend or boyfriend and chalk it up to chance encounter.  Yes women and gay men can be douchey too.
  17. You give your phone number to a friend’s girlfriend/wife or boyfriend without letting them know.
  18. You secretly DM a friend’s girlfriend/wife or boyfriend. Very common douchebaggery.
  19. You are continually late when meeting friends & family.  Douchebags think the world revolves around them. They don’t care who they make wait.  Being punctual is cool and women like it too.
  20. You talk on your phone in the gym. Take the call outside meathead.
  21. You ski or snowboard with a speaker in your backpack.
  22. You own a selfie stick.
  23. You have never given to charity in your life, money or time.
  24. You root against your friends favorite team, when you are at his house and you don’t have a dog in the fight.
  25.  You have no style.  We wrote about the importance of having style years ago. Douchebags typically have no style, they are always changing their look, drink, haircut & music to match current trends.  Be unique, find your style. People will dig it and they will dig you too.

There you have it, twenty five ways how you can tell if you are a douchebag. Unfortunately there are so many more.  Don’t be a douchebag.  Be a standup guy. It takes much more effort, but it’s much more rewarding.  You will sleep better at night, women will dig you and you will make George Washington proud! 😃

Thanks for playing along and reading the Best Men’s Lifestyle Blog!