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Middle-Aged Men Are, In Fact, Assholes, Researchers Say

It’s like they could hear every Thanksgiving dinner conversation with your uncle

Science has now confirmed what you always knew from every family gathering ever: Your uncle is the biggest asshole in your life.

Researchers recently asked 397 men and women who they thought was the most manipulative, aggressive and entitled person they knew. A vast majority of them reported that the most monumental prick in their orbit was a middle-aged man — typically an estranged family member, boss, ex-friend or romantic partner. Or in more quantitative science speak: “Targets were typically male (79.35 percent) with an average age of 42.71 years. Approximately one-third of targets (35.26 percent) were identified as romantic partners, co-workers, bosses, family members or friends of participants while half (50.13 percent) formerly held such a role (e.g., ex-partners, estranged family members).” 

Lead study author Brinkley Sharpe and her colleagues defined being an asshole as someone who generally lacks agreeableness, modesty, cooperativeness and empathy — i.e., the kind of person you don’t want to spend much time around. “On average, participants didn’t think that they were very close to these individuals, which makes sense because these people are being described as having pretty aversive behaviors,” Sharpe said in a press release. (Some other commonly cited aversive behaviors included voting for Trump, abusing alcohol, animals or children and eye-rolling.) 

“When we talk about behaviors, the asshole was not necessarily being antagonistic toward people, but they just didn’t really care about what others were thinking or how they were perceived by others,” Sharpe continued. Not surprisingly, she added, “people didn’t really have very much trouble figuring out who the ‘biggest asshole’ in their life was.” 

Again, he’s been sitting at the family table this whole time — spouting his bad political opinions, bragging about how he smacked all of his children when they got “out of line” and rolling his eyes whenever anyone else dares to challenge his worldview.