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Does this man look like an asshole?

What Am I, an Asshole?
John Osvald


I am a really nice guy. I'm friendly, I don't lie, I try to be nice to people. Therefore, I think I should walk around looking like a nice guy. A friendly guy. A guy you can trust. A guy with a firm handshake, a ready smile, and a crisp shirt. But observation makes me fear otherwise. In fact, from what I've seen I believe that I must walk this earth looking like an asshole all the time.

I think this because assholes often mistake me for one of their own. In conversations I've had involving at least one asshole, the asshole will wait for the non-assholes to leave in order to speak to me in sleazy, womanizing, lying assholeaze.

The things the assholes decide to share with me always involve women: having sex with women, lying to women, stealing from women, or some combination of the above. They mumble terrible stories under their breath, eyes darting conspiratorially about the room in thinly veiled manly glee, confident that they are speaking to someone who's been there---someone who understands-in other words, a fellow asshole. Perhaps it is my gift to be an unwitting asshole anthropologist, getting to see the world from time to time through asshole-tinted glasses. The effect is somewhere between traveling to explore another culture, living with the apes, and watching "Booty Call". I am very lucky.

I guess I should expect it when I go to a bar. One should always expect a high concentration of assholes where there is a fountain of alcohol. For example, one night I was sitting at the bar with a friend of mine (a girl), talking and sharing a pitcher of beer. Eventually, she had to go to the bathroom, and I was left to sit and watch the crowd. So here's this dude, asking a girl to spin around. At the point her back is to him, he makes some gestures at his friends. Not very friendly gestures... or well, I guess very, very friendly gestures, depending on how you look at it. Watch me pretend to grab her ass guys, watch! Look, look, I'm doin' it again! Well that's great fun for a drunken asshole, I'm sure of it. Catching my eye, he felt the need to come over, tap me on the shoulder, gesture back to the object of his affection and slur, "You know you'd hit that, dog, you know it." Profound.

I signed up for a gym recently. A month after I joined, I had a free personal training session with this guy Chuck. I really enjoyed it. Other than the conversation we had about me doing "3 more 3 more!!!...good job, get some water", we talked about martial arts--no harm there. Oh, and of course, he tried to sell me stuff at the end. I told him I was poor, and we parted friends.

Now I go to the gym regularly at about 9 AM. This is great, because most people are at work. One morning, I was working out in one of the rooms, and Chuck was giving a training session to some dude. We were the only ones on the floor. He told his guy to do some push-ups, and came over to talk to me.

"Hey... this is a great time to come."

"Yeah, I love it, it's empty!"

"Like I was telling you, it's better because you have no down time, don't give your muscles a rest. It's isometric."

"Yeah, it's awesome."

With an asshole-type voice (slightly lower and under the breath) "You are missing the ladies that come in here later though man... whew! Unbelievable!"

"Yeah, I guess it's a good job to have huh?"

At this point he thinks I am one of his own, a real asshole. "Yeah but it's hard man... you can't taste the candy! eh?"...and he gives me a little slap on the arm and winks.

What a prick.

On a recent trip to Boston I decided to take one of those shared airport vans to my hotel. There were 3 elderly couples and myself at the start of the trip. The driver was a young, respectable-looking Yugoslav named Marceau* (*this name has been changed). Marceau is friendly, Marceau is funny, Marceau is charming. Marceau points out landmarks on the way and makes little jokes with everybody. Everybody leaves the van thinking "Hey, that Marceau is one swell guy!" I am not so lucky. After everyone leaves the van, I remain; my hotel is last, so I am in for a 5 minute tête-à-tête with my new buddy.

"So, you are in town for a conference eh?"

"Yes" I say "blah blah blah unimportant chittity chat-chat".

"Yes, you will do ok... You have to love this town, the women man... they love to fuck."

Wait a minute! That wasn't charming! That wasn't nice! I try to segue to a regular conversation: "So, how long have you been here?"

"Two years man, the women, they love me here. Love my accent; I have two girlfriends as soon as I get here. The one she teaches me English for free. English lessons for free, I don't like to pay for anything. I live with both of them."

Warning: segue has failed. "Wow, you've really got your hands full, two girlfriends."

"It's nothing man, they love me, love my accent, and that's not even it, I still go out too. There is another girl I like right now also."

OK, so couples 1, 2 and 3 from before are now having a pleasant time in their hotels, wondering if they might be able somehow to get their daughters in touch with that charming young van driver. Meanwhile, I get to hear about his child with girlfriend #2 (the one without the English lessons who pays for the apartment and likes to fuck, I think). I struggle through a conversation where my preferred, but withheld retorts to each of this man's statements would be, "I think you suck."

"I do not tell them about each other."

"That must be a lot of work. (Man, I think you suck.)"

"They have no idea, and then I still go out on Friday and fuck, and the women, they love to fuck."

"Great, you are a real ladies man. (Wow that was offensive! I think you suck.)"

"Enjoy your stay."

"Bye, now...(hope it all works out with the lying and the sex.)"

So here I am, putting my grand asshole vibe out to the world. Is there anyway I can make money off of this? Are any companies serving the asshole market in need of some field research? I could do it on weekends. I'd have to be very targeted though, to maintain my integrity. If someone called and was like "We've got this product we think is going to be great for the dumbass market." I'd have to say "Stop right there, I am an asshole consultant only. I don't know square 1 about dumbasses." I'd probably walk away a little offended also... can no one see my smile, my crisp shirt? Did he not feel my firm handshake? Here I am, just coming to grips with the asshole thing, and now all of a sudden I'm a dumbass, too. (Man, I think this sucks.)

DUCTS summer issue 2001
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