We salute the overlooked moments of badassery in your wordaday life.
By Drew Magary
Ilustrations by Chris Philpot
This is the fifth annual Badass Issue of Penthouse (though it contains its fair share of good asses as well), and every year we use this special occasion to salute a particularly noble subset of the male species: independent, principled, grizzled, motorcycle-bound, and, most of all, rare. There aren’t a lot of guys out there who can rescue a hijacked aircraft, disarm the terrorists, land the plane after the pilot has been murdered, and nail the stewardess just before landing. Those guys are a precious commodity. But badasses don’t have to be so rarefied. The truth is, we all have an inner badass. Maybe we can’t be badasses every waking hour, but we can at least have our badass moments. When you finally got your girlfriend to scream out “Fuck me!” during sex without prompting? That was you being a badass. When you didn’t cry once after getting in that fender bender? That was a badass moment—count it. When you were able to get those skateboarders to move out of your way simply by shooting them a stern glance? Again, that was totally you being a badass.
Let’s take a moment to salute the everyday badass lurking inside each and every one of us. The following men may not be badasses 24 hours a day, but they sure are in these instances:
The Stranger Next to You at the Bar or Game Who Willingly Accepts Your High Ten After Something Cool Happens
Holy shit! Your team just scored on a 95-yard kickoff return! You gotta high ten every motherfucker within a six-foot radius! Your friends! The hot-dog guy! And the random dude next to you, who doesn’t know you but knows exactly how you feel at this moment and reciprocates your turned-up palms without any (a) hesitation, (b) social awkwardness, or (c) inaccuracy. It’s a fantastic moment, which is why I spend most of my time drinking in bars and rooting for teams I don’t actually like. I just want to be accepted.
You in a Tuxedo
Goddamn, you look good. Especially now that the wedding is over and you can take that tie off. Suddenly, your shirt studs have come undone and your undershirt is poking out and you’re a little bit sweaty but not too sweaty … just sweaty enough to be alluring to all the bridesmaids. Goddamn, you feel like Daniel Craig when that happens. Ever have sex while wearing a tuxedo? You feel like a god.
The Blackjack Dealer Who’s Legitimately Rooting for You to Win Money
Everyone who plays blackjack happens upon the occasional perfect dealer. He’s jovial. He’s lively. He busts all the fucking time, and seems genuinely pleased that you’re winning and enjoying yourself. His brilliant social skills make him clearly overqualified for his post. Within ten minutes at his table, you want to invite the guy to your wedding. And then, in a flash, your new best friend Kenny is gone, replaced by a hollow-eyed 50-year-old with one leg who may or may not have had his tongue cut out. And Kenny is sent back down into the basement, only to come out once every month to tease you with the idea that every blackjack dealer should be so pleasant.
Your Dad After He Finds Your Porn Stash and Says Nothing to Your Mom About It
God bless him for not telling your mom that you have this magazine stashed in the toilet tank. You would have been so mortified. And you really owe him your life for deleting your entire web history from Google Chrome before your sister found out from the browser’s autofill feature that you repeatedly watched that video of Alexa Rae getting fingerblasted. That little porn omerta you have with your old man is the kind of thing that helps forge deep, lifelong bonds. In fact, I’d like to give badass points to any parent who has the grace and discretion to give you a break when you really need it. You thought Mom was gonna have you gutted with a table saw after you came home from the prom drunk at 7 A.M. and bleeding from both elbows—but she let it slide. What a remarkable woman.
The Bartender Who Buys You a Free Round Every Three or Four Beers
I don’t know when buybacks became such an endangered species in the drinking world, but I doff my cap to any bartender out there who still recognizes that a customer who throws down for three beers and tips a buck each time deserves a free High Life the next go-round. And bonus points to that bartender if he passes off your round
count to the next bartender working a later shift.
The Guy Who Flashes His Brights to Let You Know a Cop Is Up Ahead
Now there is a guy who takes care of his own. He didn’t have to do that. He’ll never even know your name. And yet, he just saved you $200 and two points off your license by signaling five-O to you out of the goodness of his badass heart. Even Jesus wasn’t so indiscriminately kind.
Any Baseball Player Who Can Stare Down a Fastball Traveling in Excess of 80 Miles per Hour and Not Flinch
I don’t care if it’s a high school player or a major leaguer. If you can stand in the box and let a pitcher throw a rock-hard ball faster than a bullet train at your goddamn head without running for the hills, I salute you. Bonus points if you get hit by a pitch, shake it off, and return to the plate two innings later. You must be a superhero or something. I’d be a shell of a man if I got beaned.
The Guy Who Can End a Bar Fight Without Throwing a Punch
Someone just tried to grab your woman’s ass. You take offense to anyone horning in on your main squeeze like that, so you try to channel your inner badass and step to the guy. “You wanna go outside, bitch? Oh, it’s on!” But you’re not the badass in this scenario. No, the badass here is the dude working the door who weighs 290 pounds and has a body mass index of negative three. He’s walking up to you and your opponent and asking, “Is there a problem here?” which causes you to immediately crawl back inside your own gaping vagina. There are lots of asshole bouncers out there who overstep their bounds, but my hat goes off to those rare Dalton clones who can end a conflict simply by making their presence known.
The Guitar Player Who Can Play Without Looking at the Guitar
You know it’s Amateur Hour at the 9:30 Club when you see some jayvee guitarist up there staring at his fret board during a critical solo. The truly badass guitarist is the one who knows his instrument so instinctively that he doesn’t even bother looking. He automatically knows where his fingers need to go so he can proceed to lose his fucking mind onstage. And man, does that make a girl’s panties flood.
Your Grandpa, Who Fought in World War II But Steadfastly Refuses to Speak About It
You know he fought in Europe. Other family members whisper that he was at Normandy on D-day. But you’re never getting it out of him. He’s taking that shit to his grave. Which is too bad, because if you knew how many Nazis your grandpappy personally disemboweled, you’d never blanch at clipping his toenails.
Your High School Weed Dealer
Where’d he get all that awesome weed from? He looked vaguely Venezuelan. No one actually knew where he lived. There was an air of mystery and danger to him. That must be how he was able to bang 25-year-olds despite being just 17. If only you had been a weed dealer in high school. You would have driven a Camaro and girls would have given you road head and life would have been delicious.
The Roommate Who Knows Instinctively to Vacate the Premises When You’re About to Get Laid
You’ve had a great date, and now Jenny who works in payroll is asking to come up to your place. You squire her upstairs and your roommate is there, playing Call of Duty and eating Marshmallow Fluff out of the jar. Does he need not-so-subtle prodding from you to get the fuck out? No. Upon seeing you and your potential conquest, he reacts instantly, gets his pants on, and clears out of there. And when Jenny says, “Oh, I hate to make you leave,” he’s like, “No, no. I totally had plans for just now. Have fun, kids!” Then he’s gone. It’s like a perfectly executed no-look pass. Buy that man a round. Buy all the everyday badasses a round, people. They’ve certainly earned it. Here’s to them.