Lo But For The Grace of God

What is a douchebag? I posted a link the other day to a collection of beautiful women with them, but what do we know about Homo Douchian? We all know when we see one, but there are so many variations on the art of douchebaggery that it can be difficult to map out the characteristics of a toolbox with any kind of scientific precision. HCwDB makes a valiant attempt:

“A douchebag is not defined as simply a series of hand gestures, facial expressions, overly gelled hair or a giant Jesus bling around the neck. A douchebag is a state of mind. It is a place where men go to become scrote. Where machismo mixes with testosterone to form a foul cocktail of rank sewage that smells vaguely of cheap cologne.”

via American Scene

Intriguing, and a good start but I feel like there is more to say. Wikipedia helpfully provides this bit of information:

“Terms such as shower pocket, douchebag, d-bag, DB, doucherama, doucher, douche turd, douchington, or simply douche are considered pejorative terms in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. Initially, it was used to insult a woman, originating as an insult derived from lesbian activities.”

A truly tantalizing bit of etymology, but it doesn’t help us get any closer to the core characteristics that make up a douchabg. You can find a useful set of criteria here. The list is good, but I don’t think it’s comprehensive enough and it is too focused on merely one douchebag. Some key elements:

  • Pink Shirt (especially with Popped Collar)
  • Wristband, now likely to be a Livestrong
  • Cocktail instead of beer

But I would also include things like:

  • Gelled Hair
  • Frosted Hair
  • Bling, especially of the bejeweled cross variety but also including pinky rings
  • Rampant lack of sleeves, or
  • Inappropriate Shirt-lessness
  • The word “Bro” used unironically, or at all
  • Faux-hawks
  • Headbands
  • Wearing a Headband over your Faux-hawk
  • Sweats
  • Wearing two collared shirts, with one inexplicably used as an undeshirt

While by no means an exhaustive list, I feel like this provides a useful taxonomy. But there is something about the personality of the douche that marks as a member of the tribe. It goes beyond the accouterments of the asshole and pervades the demeanor and the very essence of the man.

But douchebag afficianados should take care. It can be all too easy to fall into the trap of being a douchebag. Nietzsche once said “Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one” and that holds true here. As a Details writer puts it:

“Over time, the word has come to denote “somebody who can’t help but to be an asshole,” says Grant Barrett, a co-host of the radio show “A Way With Words” at KPBS in San Diego and the editor of the Double-Tongued Dictionary website (doubletongued.org). “Somebody who’s blithely in your way, in your face, or in your parking space.” Only thing is, if someone’s in your way, you’re probably in his way. If a douchebag is getting—demanding—something and that’s bothering you,
it’s probably bothering you because you think you are entitled to it.”

link to the whole article (Also via American Scene)

So beware…

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