It is time for you to admit that you have never hated “being that guy,” no matter how many sentences you have begun by claiming the contrary. How many times have you paid lip service to the rules of polite social interaction with “I hate to be that guy, but…” “Well, I hate to be that guy, but actually…” while internally rubbing your hands with glee at another opportunity to get to be That Guy, your truest and your freest self, at last, at last, at last.
The truth will out: if you truly hated being That Guy, you would not do it. You love being That Guy more than anything you have ever loved, love it with a fierce and a hot joy that is something more than sexual and something less than human. Being That Guy, or the prospect of getting to play That Guy at some point during your drab and grey existence, is the only hope that propels you forward; you live in constant hope of peering into someone else’s conversation, sliding your glasses up your nose, breathing wetly on someone’s neck, and That Guying them into submission. You revel in the prospect of getting to pepper your friends and colleagues and strangers on the Internet with a thousand of the kind of tiny and irrelevant hair-splitting criticisms that destroy intimacy without building true knowledge. You are That Guy down to the roots of your teeth and the bones in your heel; your body is riddled with That Guyness and you freaking love it.
It feels good, doesn’t it? Like when a murderer confesses in the last two minutes of Law & Order: SVU because he’s so sick of that smug DA and her inane questions. Like Jack Nicholson at the end of A Few Good Men. Damn right, you ordered that Code Red. Damn right, you’re going to set the record straight no matter the cost, because zeroing in on possible and irrelevant flaws — seeking the ugly and the mistaken and pointing it out to everyone around you as loudly as possible — is what your brain does best. Your brain is a garbage finding machine, and it is perfect at its job. “I hate to be that guy, but…” is not a warning, it is a triumphant processional announcement. You want everyone to know just how much That Guy you are about to be, and you want complete freedom to revel and wallow in your own That Guy-ness without interruption or complaint. The stench of That Guy clings to you, and it smells beautiful. You are That Guy, pure and perfect. You are That Guy, uninterrupted and forever. You are That Guy, truly and utterly alone.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.