Question: at what point do you stop being a dick. Surely, after 40, the dickishness should recede. We expect all sorts of things to happen after 40: a numbing of emotion, a settling, a dumbing down of rollercoaster feelings and, along with that, a reduced impulse to act out on those triggers. But what about the dick stuff? As in ‘being a dick… sounding like a dick… acting like a dick’ and, of course, most pertinently ‘feeling like a dick’.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? Hearing your own voice and thinking, ‘Why????? Why did I say that? Why did I feel the need? Why have I got so much to prove? Why do I have this awful voice anyway?’ And then trying not to think about it because if you open the dick floodgates, then all the past dickishness (and there has been a torrent of it over the decades) will concertina up and crush you. So you sit there, while your teeth itch with mild mortification and pretend that everything is absolutely fine.
It’s the self-monitoring and the self-judgement. It’s the inability to forgive ourselves. It’s the crazy amplification of our own perceived indignities until we are so self-conscious that we make ourselves unloveable. We get jittery; we no longer quite know what we think because we become concerned with getting it right. Our skin feels tight. Our ears ring a little and our eyes do that faint flashing thing.
And the wild part is, nothing has happened and no one has noticed. No one cares if we are very faintly dickish – they have too much going on in their own lives. When we are arseholes, then they notice and sometimes we don’t. And so I ask you this: why is it easier to forgive ourselves for being arseholes than it is for being dicks? Is it because, when we are arseholes we hurt other people? But when we are dicks, we truly feel the sting.