According to my sources, “Dude” is non-gendered, so according to my sources this is not a sexist rant.

I’m an old fart. I do “dude stuff”. I’m no longer shocked when other people can do the same things I can do, but I do have certain expectations, and I’m continuously let down.

“Dude Stuff” is when the boss comes over to you and asks “Can you open this?” and shoves a taped up package at you. You are the dude, so you flick your wrist and a 3.49in blade pops open for you to cut the tape. The boss looks in shock at the “huge knife” and tries to figure out where it came from, so fast.

“Dude Stuff” is your daughter coming to you with a necklace, hopelessly tangled and twisted, knowing that the dude in her life will just fix it. And you do.

“Dude Stuff” is the dishwasher that is getting water flowing back into it from the sink. Knowing that there should be a check valve or something else to keep that from happening. Seeing the water flow into the dishwasher sump when a pot is emptied into the sink, but not when water is just running.

Oh, the discharge hose needs a blight ABOVE the outlet to keep the bad water from flowing downhill into the dishwasher.

“Dude Stuff” is going out to do a safety inspection on the roof rack that your child just installed and instantly seeing that the cross bolts aren’t tightened, looking for why they came from the factory like that, and knowing that the rack needs to be adjusted for size and knowing how to do that.

“Dude Stuff” means you get handed the Fitbit to change the band because they “couldn’t figure out how”.

All of these and 1000s more are “dude stuff”. It is that ability to look at something and know what should be done next. Or to know how to figure it out.

I was speaking with Hagar, and we were talking about the rape statistics in this country. This is something we’ve talked about before.

As I see it, there are three or four different types of rapists out there. The first is the “accidental” rapist. These are the situations where a man and a woman are interacting, and the situation is such that she only decides it was rape the next day. Those situations where she is a little too drunk to consent. It is the situation where she thought she was saying “no” and he didn’t hear “no” but “I’m not on any birth control.” He takes out his condom and thinks it is ok to proceed, while she doesn’t actually say anything, he should have just known.

Hagar inserts the “Yesterday it was ok, today it is rape” situation. Those situations where one of the two had a birthday and turned 18. They do the same thing after his birthday as they were doing before and suddenly, he’s guilty of statutory rape.

The next situation is what I call “One and done.” It is rape. The rapist should be caught and, when found guilty, properly punished. This is a horrific crime and should be treated as such. The difference is that after that one time, the rapist never rapes again. One rapist, one victim.

The final group is what I call “serial rapists”. These are the monsters that have raped somebody, decided they liked it and then rape more. One rapist, multiple victims.

It is my unfounded belief that these serial rapists are what account for the majority of victims.

It is no less horrific if a rapist only has one victim one time, or one victim multiple times, it is a crime for which proper punishment should be given.

These are the monsters that haunt people’s nightmares.

In a bar, a woman is speaking with her friends. A man walks up and quietly asks if he can buy her a drink. She looks him up and down and tells him to get lost. He leaves, rejected.

Shortly after, another man walks up. He’s carrying a drink for her. He hands it to her and talks her up. He doesn’t really take her simple brush-offs. She has a short relationship with him. Maybe as short as the one night.

She gets bitter and posts to social media about how all men are just creeps. How all they are interested in is her body, and she’s never found a man who wasn’t shallow and crass.

She’ll never find a good dude because it is the man who takes “no” for an answer and leaves that is much more likely to be the good man she is looking for rather than the one that held his ground.

The men and women of today are not going through the same dance as 50 years ago. What they are looking for is different from their parents. YOLO is something that happened in the past, but it was the unusual, not a life philosophy.

We aren’t bringing up our children to be able to do “Dude Stuff”. We are lucky if they can tie their own shoes. Not a joke. My grandson is likely to never have to tie his shoes. Even the shoes he has with laces are really Velcro.

Somewhere our society lost something small yet important. How to do “Dude Stuff”.

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By awa

5 thoughts on “Dude Stuff”
  1. Every day I see multiple incidents that demonstrate exactly how F’in DUMB people have become. I think us old guys are the last generation that can do “dude stuff”….very few of the new can think for themselves.. I am extremely lucky I found a lady who can do dude stuff remarkably well too. Oh and the bar scene is the LAST place to meet quality people… “all he wants to do is drink and party!” Where did you meet him? “In a bar”… well duh.. sigh.

    1. There are many many people who can still do stuff. 90% of the men I know are capable. 90% of the women I know are not. I’m not in some conservative utopia either, I live in CT.

      I thnk most of it comes down to delayed responsibility these days. Lots of people I know once they had to grow up all of a sudden started to care about how do I change my oil and service my furnace abd how do I become more self reliant? I wasn’t a ton different, didn’t give a shit about tools, fixing things, etc till I got older. I just wasn’t forced into it by responsibility, that was the difference with me.

      The other part is confidence and knowledge to do takes a while to build. The wisdom to known when you are in over your head must develop as well; at the beginning, you are in over your head on everything. Eventually you’ve built all the confidence and knowledge necessary to do all the dude tasks and undertake all kinds of unkowns with confidence, ability, and the wisdom to know when you are actually in over your head.

  2. Two convergent related trends, I think.
    One is that the “stuff” of everyday life relies on things too small to see working with the naked eye how they work (e.g a toaster with a couple of ICs rather than mechanical relays and timers). You can’t fix as much anymore, and you can’t learn as much by taking it apart. (Sorry, Mama B…)
    Two is that we have more things intended to passively entertain us rather than engage us. Books make you use your imagination; the tv just shows you the spaceship. Even immersive fps games like CoD or Halo, still have prescribed methods for interacting, and it can be very hard to do things not within those limits. So you learn what you can and can’t do, and that pushing boundaries leads to frustration, not enlightenment.
    The result is, most people don’t stop and think, they just either call someone to fix it or, more likely, get another one.

  3. The older I get, the more I realize that things are actually quite simple. And, complex things are really just simple things working together as a larger whole.
    If something was constructed, it can be repaired. Someone put it together, so take a few minutes and be patient. There is a way to take it apart. If you lack the tools or experience, sure, that is a valid excuse, but do you have the desire to figure it out?
    Dudes are the ones that might not know how to do it, but want to learn, the non-Dudes are the ones that have no desire to learn how to fix stuff. The first step in troubleshooting is understanding how it should work in the first place. Not enough people take that step, and when it does not work correctly, they have no idea where to even begin diagnosing. Dudes want to know how it works. It is part of being a dude.l

  4. I was blessed to have a father who taught himself to do everything out of a sense of curiosity and pure stubbornness. His philosophy was that as long as he had the money to pay someone to fix it if he messed up he would give it a try after studying the problem. This is a man how doubled the sized of the house I was born in mostly on his his by building additions that were not just up to code but were beautiful and functional.

    We moved a lot and I helped build a large workshop in every single home if there was not an structure already. His reference library was multiple bookcases wide and it is one of my lasting regrets I could not take them when he finally began to downsize. They went to my older brother who threw them out during one of his moves.

    Part of passing down the Dude culture is having a willingness and love of teaching and in today’s busy world the amount of people who love to share their knowledge and can do so efficiently is dwindling. Think Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin.

    The other side of that coin is a younger Dude or Dudette who is receptive to learning. Sure there is other factors like the Dude not approaching the lessons in a way that makes the younger person take interest but it’s ultimately on the younger person to follow up and get engaged in the lessons. Sometimes they miss their opportunity with their parent or parental figure and have to figure it out on their own when they move out. Or worse they have parents who never learned the skills and so never taught.

    I’ve seen and heard a resurgence of the Dude attitude with younger kids just not having the money to pay for take out, or a repairman, or whatever else the people who failed them were able to do. Often they’ll get together and try to puzzle out the problem and work on it using the massive resources of the internet or trusted older Dudes. These little lessons and problems can build up resiliency and confidence that leads them to take on more problems and build more skills and they carry that toolbox now with pride.

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