If you’ve been online in the past week, you’ve probably heard the term “big dick energy.” In the ’90s we called it swagger, and any normal person calls it confidence; it just means that you’re giving off the vibe that you, well, have a lot to offer in the dick department. (Please note: Actually having a larger-than-average dick is not a requirement, and no one cares.)
A barbecue is basically a BDE reckoning, so if you’re going to a barbecue this week—and you should be—here’s how to give off that BBQ BDE:
If someone is kind enough to host a party on the 4th, bring them something. It doesn’t have to be red-white-and-blue Jell-O shots, but don’t show up empty-handed. If you have no idea what to do and don’t want to think about it, bring ice. Every 4th of July party needs ice, and it will save you from volunteering to make an ice run later.
Don’t get plastered
Get tipsy. Get toasty. Get talkative and tell terrible stories. Don’t get fall-down or pass-out drunk. It’s not a good look, especially at a 4th of July party where the drinking can last all day. Drunkenness is never sexy. No one thinks it’s cool that you puked but caught it with your paper plate. It’s gross.
Take over the grill at your own peril
Only take over the grill if you’re asked and you know what you’re doing. Assume that the host wants to be in charge of his or her grill. Men are especially protective and territorial about grilling, so unless you’re asked, stay away. (Nobody knows how women got tasked with all of the cooking throughout history except for the grill, but it happened and now the grill is basically treated like an extension of a man’s dick.) Play horseshoe or drink on a pool float; grilling is not your job. There is a caveat to this: If you are asked to take over the grill, only agree if you’re good at it. It’s not cool or sexy to serve everyone rare hamburgers.
Wear red, white, and/or blue. This is one day to dress like a dang idiot, and we don’t get those days very often. You aren’t “cool” for not following the theme of the day. You’re a grouch. Wear white pants. Go overboard. Even if you aren’t exactly on board with where America is heading, treat this like the theme party it is and participate.
Suggest something stupid—
—but not too stupid. One great thing about men is that they so often come up with the dumb idea that makes the party memorable. At some point in the night, there will come an opportunity to suggest something really, really juvenile. Whether it’s setting off a bottle rocket in the driveway or jumping into the pool with your clothes on, be the one to suggest the dumb thing. But keep things safe: You want to be the guy who drunkenly ordered 250 chicken nuggets on Postmates after the grill wouldn’t start, not the guy who sent someone to the ER with a firework.
Pay attention to your date
This goes for all parties, really, but if you brought your maybe-girlfriend-but-we-haven’t-used-that-word of three months to the cookout, don’t abandon her. Of course, you’re not supposed to hang by her side the entire time either, but don’t go off to play beer pong with your friend Dan and then turn up again two hours later. Stay in touch.
Don’t eat corn on the cob
No one on earth looks sexy picking corn on the cob out of their teeth afterward, and they certainly don’t look hot during-ward. Maybe Michael B. Jordan or Timothée Chalamet could pull it off for a role, but you? You cannot. Stick to hot dogs.
Don’t wear flip-flops
I know summer shoe options for men are woefully limited, but for the love of God and country, skip the flip-flops. Slides are marginally better, so at the very least try those. I will begrudgingly allow that boat shoes are okay on the 4th of July, even though they mark the wearer as a tool. (If you do choose slides, you’ll need to be extra kind all evening long so it doesn’t seem like you’re waiting for your father to die so you can take over his law firm.) Just don’t wear flip-flops.
Don’t be the fire-pit guy
Fire pits. It is a universally acknowledged truth that if there is a fire pit at a party, there will be at least one single guy who turns it into his thing. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that he feels like by tending the fire, he’s providing for the women at the party in some way that harks back to the cavemen. But it doesn’t stir some ancient desire women have, it just makes you look like a weirdo. Put a log on the fire and leave it alone. Don’t try to teach anyone the best way to build a fire. Don’t try to take credit for starting the fire. Don’t brag about how big it’s getting. Don’t even say the word kindling. No one cares. Don’t talk about the fire at all; it’s boring.
Bring a change of underwear
Not because you might shit your pants. Dear Lord, why did your mind go there? Bring them in case you get in the pool. Many a handsome man has made the mistake of wearing his swim trunks to the party for an easy, breezy, beautiful summer vibe, but then forgetting to bring extra clothes to wear after he is sopping wet. And maybe your friend who is naively hosting this shindig will let you borrow a pair of shorts if he’s nice and you guys are the same size, but no one is going to have spare undies for you. So bring a pair. In fact, bring your own shorts, too.
Always wear sunscreen
Not because of cancer, but that too. Wear it because getting sunburned is miserable and you’ll look like an idiot and want to leave early, neither of which gives off a sexy vibe.
Drink Bud Light
Or drink whatever other shitty beer your host is offering. Now is not the time to make a fuss about piss-water beer. It’s a time to drink seven beers over four hours and maybe make out with your best friend’s hot cousin who’s visiting from Spain. Don’t be the craft-beer guy. Don’t try to impress people with IPA knowledge. No one cares. We’re celebrating the American tradition of shit beer today, and you better get on board.
Dominate at lawn games, but be gracious about it. The only thing grosser than a sore loser is a sore winner. A free life lesson: Don’t play lawn games, board games, card games, reindeer games, or rec-league soccer if you can’t handle the outcome. It’s not cool that you tried really hard and started yelling and cussing about cornhole. It’s weird and scary and now no woman wants to fuck you.
And above all…
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever refer to your own “big dick energy.”
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