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“That Guy” is a blanket term for someone who represents undesirable traits. These can represent general traits as well as ones ascribed to a specific subculture.
One of the earliest known uses of “that guy” in a pejorative manner appeared in the 1994 college comedy film PCU. En route to see a concert, James ‘Droz’ Andrews (played by Jeremy Piven) explains to Gutter (played by Jon Favreau) that wearing the shirt of the band they were going to see would make him “that guy.” In 2002, this was included as one of Buddyhead’s Rules for Audiences of Rock, who noted that if you are the show to begin with, it is already clear you like the band and do not need to reemphasize that with a shirt.
In April 2002, a discussion thread about where the negativity surrounding wearing a band’s shirt to a concert was started on the Snopes message board, where several posters discussed the history of “that guy.” That November, fitness blog Mind and Muscle used “that guy” in the context of a gym to describe people who do not follow gym etiquette or try to show off by completing tasks they are not capable of doing. The article was reposted to BodyBuilding.com on May 2nd, 2003, where it was shared more than 1,600 times.
Also in 2003, the history of “that guy” in relation to concerts was discussed on the Straight Dope message boards. In 2004, articles defining “that guy” stereotypes from college life and online were posted. The same year, NotThatGuy.com launched, offering merchandise as a reminder to not be “that guy” who doesn’t flush in office bathrooms. In 2005, “that guy” was first defined on Urban Dictionary as someone disliked in general.
In 2006, the That Guy campaign was launched by the US Department of Defense as a way to deter binge drinking. The campaign has continued into 2013, offering videos, games and e-cards to raise awareness of the problems excessive drinking can cause. As of June 2013, the Facebook page for the campaign has more than 30,000 likes. The slogan was also used in an 2010 anti-rape campaign by Save Edmonton. In 2012, the Twitter account @DntBeThatGuy was created, tweeting embarrassing scenarios or unpopular opinions with the hashtag #DontBeThatGuy. As of June 2013, the account has more than 201,000 followers.
He didn't like Star Wars… #DontBeThatGuy— Dont Be That Guy (@DntBeThatGuy) June 18, 2013
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