The Bro Code Of Dibs

by Dan Scotti

Here’s the scene: You’re in a bar with your buds and this girl walks in. It’s love at first sight. Well, it might not be love, but it’s definitely something. She’s universally beautiful and all of your boys know it.

Clearly, you can smell the competitive spirits among all your boys brewing. Not so fast. There’s an etiquette to being on the prowl, much like there is in the wild when a pride of lions lying down under a Savannah tree spots a gazelle gliding over.

You can’t expect to all come out victorious. At the end of the day, there can only be one guy who gets the chance to date her. The system of dibs keeps a friend group from physically duking it out over the rights to pursue a fair maiden.

Like all systems, the system of dibs is well-defined and understood by most groups of friends. However, if you’re still unsure of the whole process, I’ve included some of the determining factors that go into the Bro Code of Dibs.


Like most things, timing is everything. Dibs are no different. As a rule of thumb, “dibs” will always go to the person who “calls them” first. Like the rights to a buffalo wing on Sunday or calling "shotgun" to sit in the passenger seat of a car.

This same technique works for the rights to the first chance at approaching a female. For example, let’s all think back to high school.

A brand new, pretty exchange student from the Czech Republic sashays into your 11th grade history class. Later in the day, you meet with your homies and you tell them, “Yo, I call dibs on the new chick.” Boom, dibs are called. Timing is pretty straightforward, but hey, it can get complex.


Desperation plays a big factor in calling dibs. It involves use of the honor system. Say you’ve been having a really cold spell with the ladies and you’re feeling like John Starks in Game 7 of the NBA '94 Finals – you just can’t connect.

At this point, you can try to override someone else’s dibs who may have called them earlier or already had rights to them.

If you don't know what I mean, think about going to a café and there only being one big, thick, fudgy brownie left. If one of your boys calls dibs on it, but your other homie hasn't had a brownie in months... like, do the right thing.

Here’s another example: Let’s bring that Czech exchange student back into the mix. For argument’s sake, how about we assume your buddy Nick called dibs, and earned them, fair and square, okay?

You then can say something like “Yo, dude, I need this more than you." A lot of times, especially if you’re concerned with doing the “right" thing, you should defer your dibs to those more desperate.


Vengeance is not a motive to be overlooked, especially regarding dibs.

Here’s a real life example: Let’s say your buddy Sam got cheated on by his girlfriend. Sam’s gonna be in a bit of a riff for quite some time, and let’s be real, emotional, on-the-cusp-of-crying Sam is NOT a good dude to hang around -- especially for extended periods of time.

Well, Sam will continue to be that way until he finds one of two things: closure or revenge. And, obviously, you don’t want to busy yourself with finding him closure. Just forfeit all the females over to Sam until you boost his self-confidence back to human levels.

If you still don't see what I mean, here's another example: Let's say you and your boys -- in high school -- find a pair of Carmine Jordan XIs lying on the side of the road. For our hypothetical situation (and an aspect of cleanliness), they're in mint condition and still in the box.

If one of your friends gets bullied on the daily by a kid who loves sneakers, it would clearly be the just thing to give these new Jordans to him, so he can stick it in the face of his foe. Get it?


If you happen to have any virgin friends, they clearly receive priority dibs. And no, I’m not referring to high school; I’m talking about a 21-year-old virgin (or older). Any guy who calls dibs on a girl should at least ask his virgin friend first before even thinking of himself.

It’s manners. That would be like going for your third slice of pizza when your buddy over there in the corner hasn’t eaten… in years.

This is pretty obvious.

The Expiration of Dibs

Dibs are like milk, they have an expiration date. You can’t just “call dibs” on the pursuit of one girl and expect them to last forever. Hell to the no. From my experience, if you can’t pull a date or a phone number within two and a half weeks, it goes on to the next man.

At that point, the whole dibs process restarts. The first person to "call dibs" will have full freedom to court an eligible bachelorette. If he succeeds, mazels. If not: lather, rinse, repeat.

Think about finding the last cookie in the jar and calling dibs on it among your fraternity brothers. If your boys come by the kitchen days later, and you still haven't eaten it -- it's up for grabs again. There are plenty of fish in the sea, sure, but there are plenty of fishermen too. Remember that.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It