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« Why Disc Brakes? | Main | A plea for sanity »

The Anatomy of a Douchebag

Douchebag I think is a great word that has crept into our language; a little less harsh than “Asshole” and therefore slightly more funny.

Some consider it sexist and think maybe it should be “Enemabag,” but that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite the same, so for the purpose of this article, “Douchebag” is what it is.

All the troubles in the world today are caused by people behaving badly; in other words by douchebags.

The world would be at peace if it were not for douchebags, we would not be in this financial crisis if it were not for a relatively few douchebags.

This is not a scientific study; it is simply based on observations of douchebags and douchebaggery I have made throughout my lifetime.

It is opinion…. mine; take from it what you can, or dismiss it in part or in its entirely.

I have no fear of offending anyone; douchebags do not recognize themselves as such. Maybe douchebags only see bigger douchebags.

Hitler was probably the biggest douchebag of all time, and all others descend on a scale down from that level.

Douchebaggery is primarily a male trait; women are not usually called douchebags. However, testosterone is not a requirement; I know because in my lifetime I have been in relationships, and at one time was married to the female version.

I am not sure if douchebaggery is inherited through DNA, or if it is acquired at an early age, maybe a combination of the two. Actually most children are little douchebags; they manipulate and control to further their own ends, and get much of their pleasure at the expense of others.

School bullying has always been a problem; today I think it is worse. Most kids grow out of this tendency as they mature, but the saying “Men will be boys,” is often a lame excuse for douchebaggery.

Maybe we all start out as little douchebags, and some grow to become full blown total assholes by natural selection.

The freeway is a good place to spot a douchebag. Traffic is flowing nicely, everyone driving close to the speed limit, all are getting where they need to be.

Then here comes the douchebag, driving much faster than everyone else, constantly switching lanes as he threads his way through traffic on a never ending quest to be ahead.

In the anonymity of his automobile he can practice douchebaggery with impunity. The douchebag puts everyone’s safety at risk for his own satisfaction or need. He is the primary cause of most car crashes, especially on the freeway.

I believe it is not because he is always running late and is in a hurry to get where he is going; it is the nature of the douchebag to be number one.

He would push old ladies out of the way to be first in line at the grocery store, but he won’t, because there are limits to how far a douchebag will go.

He knows to cross a certain line would ruin his social standing, and social standing is extremely important to the douchebag.

He will unleash his douchebaggery on innocent victims; he will bring female store clerks and waitresses to tears, but behave in a totally different manner in the presence of a person who can further his social standing.

When a douchebag reaches the highest level in his social standing, it is the point where he switches from being a pain in the ass, to potentially extremely dangerous.

Douchebaggery is all about ME. Look at ME, ME strong, ME first. Douchebaggey is born out of a primal instinct that we share with all other creatures on this planet; that is survival. The will to survive and the fear of death ensure the continuation of all the species.

It is as if we are placed on this earth and told “Survive,” but we are never told how to survive. Some of us think in order to survive we must go around pleasing others in order that they will love us. Others think in order to survive they must control others and get them to do their will.

We see it in the animal kingdom, the alpha dog controlling the others by bullying and inflicting pain, and the rest submissive and trying to please their leader.

You can see this primal behavior when people get together in a large group. Invariably there will be a few douchebags within the group, and the followers want to fit in with everybody. Pretty soon the whole group is behaving like douchebags, (A lynch mob mentality.) when most would not act like that away from the group.

It is easy to see how people from the two groups pair off in relationships, and marriages; each fulfills a need in the other. It is those who have the tendencies to control have the tendencies to be a douchebag. Although as previously stated, there are degrees of douchebaggery.

The real douchebag controls by bullying and intimidation, others control subtly by manipulation and passive-aggressive type behavior. For the most part these are fairly harmless.

If you think you might have controlling tendencies and have a desire to change, then you are probably not a douchebag.  

Real douchebags see the world as one big hostile environment, where it is THEM against everyone else.

They cannot change, and will not see fault in themselves, because THEY are all they have, they must remain in control at all cost.

As with drug addiction or alcoholism the key to recovery is first admitting there is a problem. A douchebag cannot change because he does not see himself as a douchebag. Therefore this article will not offend the real douchebag.

I came to realize a long time ago that I do not need to go around pleasing others in order to survive; I can do nothing else but survive.

Ultimately the only approval I need is my own approval, and that realization has set me free. By not seeking the approval of others, I cannot be controlled by others.

The good news is most people would rather please their fellow man than offend them. If I need someone to do something for me, I don’t need to manipulate or control; most will willingly help me, all I have to do is ask.

They also know they can ask a favor in return. In order for someone to give, someone has to receive; by graciously accepting help from another, I am fulfilling a need in them.

There will always be douchebags, and unfortunately many reach the top in government and in the corporate world. It is their nature to climb all the way to the top of the shit pile.

I was always taught that cream rises to the top; sadly in the real world what rises is the scum.

Fortunately in our day to day lives douchebags are in the minority; I just make a point of staying as far away from them as possible



Reader Comments (15)

You da man!!!!!!!

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob Tobin

This is a tangent but Paul Rusesabagina (of "Hotel Rwanda" fame) comes to mind. He was in a true survival situation, an actual genocide when society had completely imploded mad max-style. A person of douchebag mentality might be tempted to horde guns and shoot intruders, in fact many did. Instead he used his personal influence and social networks to save 1200 lives.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Souders

Amongst the biggest douchebags I have ever encountered were a select few surgeons when I worked in a hospital. The majority were great but being a surgeon gave these few guys a lot of power to abuse and boy did they abuse it.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstephen_mc

I have found many people find it socially acceptable to be douchebags at sporting events (soccer, football, basketball, etc.) The anonymity and fan ethics allows them to be douchebags towards players, referees or officials and other patrons. Utah Jazz fans are the worse I have encountered in the U.S. I know Europe has experienced worse in soccer matches. Scary.

I really like the new term, for me....Douchebaggery. Gotta share it.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarge

Very interesting.

I had a revelation the other day about the few "famous people" I've had a chance to speak with. I realized that, regardless of how they are on screen etc, they're very engaging at a personal level. In other words, they're very charismatic. They make you feel important.

It's hard to separate that from the charisma that evil people have/had. For example, Hitler, from all accounts, was truly charismatic at the beginning of his leadership in Germany. Later, as things disintegrated, it was an unhealthy combination of ignorance (like soldiers believed that Germany was bombing the US using long range rockets), douchebagness (i.e. SS etc), fear (regular soldiers - some said they had Allied guns in front of them, their sargent's gun behind, and may German soldiers were hung by "more loyal" German soldiers), pride (soldiers trying to do their job, like protect their town/family/comrades, especially in the east), and probably cognitive dissonance (mainly the public, although soldiers etc too) that kept his minions loyal to him. I'm astounded at the losses the various armed forces suffered yet they still fought on.

September 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAki

Fun post Dave, enjoyable and informative at the same time. If we are to no longer be treated to tales of cycling legends (still go back and read your pieces on Copi and others) then this will do just fine.
I would suggest only one change. When douchebags gather and begin to feed off one anothers douchebaggery, it is not a lynch mob mentality but a Douche Mob mentality.
what say ye to that?

September 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

Too true and douchebags can be typically found in their vehicle of choice, road hogging SUVs (on bikes though too). But blaming them for "all the troubles in the world" misses another class I would label clueless. Whether the excuses of this second group are do to lack of experience or simply denial, they too exhibit group behavior that is often destructive to civility, but it's "not their fault"! Over-expansive highways and local streets that destroy neighborhoods and walkability are favored by the clueless. Trouble is these public resources subsidize doucbebag behavior.

The best thing about the clueless is that they are not as aggressive as douchebags.

October 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Does our culture, laws and/or mindset favor douchebag behavior? Woman turns herself in after realizing she killed a police officer on his bike:

“I think there will be evidence that she panicked; she was scared, she panicked,” Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane stated.

Doesn't motorized freedom require personal responsibility and fair-balanced legal ramifications?

October 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

I have been using the term Douchebaggery for a couple years now. It came from the ancient Douchebagoriam theorem , from ancient Rome.

I was a sociology major in college , and so studied many facets of varous D-bags.

One recent and incredibly fascinating study was a documentary I saw on PBS, an anthropologist, Robert Sapolsky, studied a colony of Baboons, their social interactions, and their stress levels as they fluctuated in group conflict.

You gotta get a copy of this :


The Alpha-males would terrorize the pack, but when they were killed off accidentally by tainted garbage ( at first, they got first dibs at the dump, because the were so fucking douchey)

The pack then began to thrive, because everyone had less stress. Brilliantly, it flashes ahead to scenarios in the corporate workplace.

Beware, it could be used as a vehicle for LGBT rights, but maybe not. I mean it's wierd, you just gotta watch it.

Just remember, throughout history , tribes of men have conquered others with axes , guns, and bags filled to the brim with pure organic, unfiltered douche. (which they then hoard secretly for the next assault)

Generally, cyclists are not douchebags, but there are some, like the team Cinzano guys in "Breaking Away", and the new hipster movement.

In CT we have a lot of rich dudes with a lot of bling who don't really ride, I think that qualifies too. I mean they ride racing bikes on Rail Trails. WTF? That is douchey as hell.

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Graves

primarily male? Hmmmmm..... years ago, in a previous career my work exposed me to a large group of women, who commonly referred to offending women within and without their group as "bags." I had to ask of course, and was then introduced to the term Douchebag, of which "bag" is the contraction/slang.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpsmith

Not sure if I'm stretching the bow too far here, but may I add into the Minor League of douchebags those who ride past you without so much as a glance, let alone a 'G'morning' ? I ride to work quite a bit.; on a hand-built 80s steelie. I'm 65, not overweight, reasonably fit. I don't go all that fast, but am no slouch either. Most weekday mornings I've got the ride to myself; it's northern Sydney outskirts, very bike-friendly route.
This morning, Saturday, I'm up on that route early. Being the weekend, the warriors are out. First a 30-something guy on a carbon De Rosa. Nada.
Then, a little later a bunch of 5 on expensive carbon. again, I am the invisible man. They passed me reasonably sowly; not like they zoomed past and didn't have time. Again, nada.
Is bicycle etiquette dying? Is there an internet gen of self-absorbed people, some of whom are cyclists? Maybe it was the grey hair at the back of the helmet... another old geezer; not worth the effort. /-:
Ahh! That feels better! Off my chest.

January 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Brett Gyllenskog

April 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStacyW

Sorry to resurrect an old thread.

I suspect a big part of it is douchbaggery is a self-reinforcing behavior. The obnoxious person is treated as such, and therefore thinks, "well, if they're not going to be nice to me, then why should I be nice to them?" And so, they are once again treated as such, perpetuating the cycle.

January 18, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterZ. Fechten

And now that douchebag minority has elected President Douchebag and his minions to run this country.

September 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

An old post but, holy cow, so incredibly appropriate today. You really nailed it, as every point has been illustrated repeatedly by our DB in Chief.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Barner

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