I bought a sleeveless skull shirt. I felt weird searching for it on Amazon. The weirdness deepened once it arrived in the mail.
I was a 43 year-old man standing in front of a mirror wearing a sleeveless sugar skull shirt that I bought with my grown-up money.
I thought Yes. I’m officially a douchebag. This is my uniform. I can now hang out with Jon from Jon & Kate Plus Eight. I will learn much in the ways of the d-bag. Jon can be my Yoda as I explore my full douchebag potential. This is my life now.
I trembled as you do when you make a huge personal discovery. I needed some space to think. I fled from my family and went downstairs and did some arm curls in front of a different mirror while listening to Nickelback at full volume.
Then I did a Google image search for Charlotte McKinney.
Then I took a few dozen selfies while listening to Van Halen. David Lee Roth era Van Halen, thank you. Panama.
Then I did some laundry.
All the while, I pondered What makes a douchebag?
I worried that I was dropping the ball. Was I supposed to be texting my friends about hot female celebrities and the shows they star in? Should I be working on my catcalls so I can shout at strangers and puff up my fragile ego? What about all those penis enlargement products the Internet wants me to buy? Were the sales over? I’m sure Jill would be fine if I pursued at least one of those initiatives.
SHIT! I didn’t drive a Mustang!
I thought of all the clearly defined and agreed-upon behaviors for my new lifestyle. There’s a certain look and behavior associated with the Great North American Male Douchebag. The National Audubon Society has all the criteria for a confirmed sighting. He’s easily spotted from miles away. You can usually smell his Axe body spray.
So that got me thinking: Axe sells body spray. Guys are buying it. Even though they know it comes with the label of D-BAG, they still buy it and apply it. While listening to Nickelback.
Then I thought of Nickelback. They still sell albums and tickets to their concerts. People are willing to be seen listening to Nickelback. They invite friends to go with them. Friends who enable their bad hair choices.
Douchebags wear a lot of hair product. Styling gels and . . . I don’t even know what.
It’s expensive being a d-bag. My sleeveless shirt was $15 with shipping. But I needed more sleeveless shirts and body sprays and hair gels and Nickelback albums and Mustangs just to keep up. And maybe a cocaine habit?
All of this to create a lifestyle that people make fun of. So why do it? Why be a douchebag? Everyone knows what it takes to be one. When you get a fake tan you know you’re declaring your douchey-ness to the world. So why do it? Why look orange and douchey?
I hit a wall here. My thinking had started to slow. I slammed a Redbull. I did some push-ups. I put on Justin Bieber. I felt the douche side of the Force flood back in.
It’s clear that douchebags don’t mind the label. There can only be two reasons for that. They’re not aware that they’re douchebags or they don’t give a fuck. I refuse to believe that it’s naivete. More than likely, they are self-serving narcissists who see everyone else as lesser-than. Rules don’t apply to them. What makes someone else a douche makes them demigods. Which makes them even bigger d-bags. And they are rewarded for this thinking.
Someone puts up with it. Someone approves of it. Someone in their life must actually like douchebags.
It’s probably the confidence. The ability to slip into a sleeveless skull shirt, spray on the Axe, gel up your hair, hop in the Mustang with Shinedown turned up to 11, and have no problem being seen that way exudes a perfect vibe of “I’m the shit and you wish you were with me.” Which is attractive to a certain number of people. Namely Americans.
I couldn’t do it. I would melt under all of that attention. I would be too self-aware and self-loathing to pull it off. I can’t even wear this goddamned sleeveless shirt without looking at myself once in a mirror and then whining about it on a blog.
But I’ll put a question to you: who’s the real villain here, douchebags or the people who enable douchebags? Can we really blame the douchebags for pursuing a lifestyle they enjoy? They’re just being their authentic selves.
If society shunned these guys, then they’d have to adapt and evolve into something more socially acceptable. They’d have to be less douchey. We let them get away with it. It’s on us.
My point is: when you see me walking around in my sleeveless skull shirt this summer, don’t hate. Reflect. Think about what you could have done to prevent it. Could you have shamed me a little harder? Accept your role in my choices. Don’t ask me to turn down my Def Leppard. Turn up your own consciousness.
And if you see some gel in my hair, then you know it’s too late–I probably have Mustang brochures and car dealership business cards at home.