Ever have the feeling that, as a species, we’re moving backwards? That we’ve had some dark, shameful times in our collective history… and that this is one of them?
That’s how I feel right now, thinking about the guys who yell obscenities at female (or sometimes male) reporters on live TV, under the mistaken – and tragic – impression that it’s funny.
My husband, having watched the famous video in which CityTV reporter Shauna Hunt called out her hecklers on live TV a couple of days ago, referred to the men as textbook douchebags. I can only agree. (The term is dead-on, since douching is also a bullshit practice invented by a man and designed to make women feel like lesser beings.)
I will also state, with vehemence, that I approve of Hydro One’s decision to fire the douchebag who was their employee, and MLSE’s decision to ban multiple douchebags from attending their sports events. Sure, these men were off-duty, and sure, they didn’t invent the catch-phrase “F*** her right in the p***y,” but they deserve to be made an example of. Why? BECAUSE BEING A DOUCHEBAG IS UNACCEPTABLE.
It’s a scary trend in this part of the world: there seems to be an acceptance, nowadays, of pervasive obnoxiousness – at levels that no modern, civilized human should have to endure. What is the point of having such big brains if we use them in the service of assholery?
We, as a society, need to quit wasting our resources discriminating against women, black people, aboriginal people, gay people, and differently-abled people, and start focusing that time and energy on discriminating against douchebags. You want to watch soccer and hockey games live in the stadium? Fine – buy a ticket and DON’T BE A DOUCHEBAG. You want to get paid over $100K working for a government institution? Great – show me your qualifications, which must include expertise in NOT BEING A DOUCHEBAG. Is it so much to ask?
Perhaps there needs to be a test. Because really, most people who are douchebags are not that subtle about it; it shouldn’t be hard to weed them out. How about this: if you can’t pass the non-douchebag test, then you don’t get your Decent Human license. And of course, you’d need a Decent Human license to get a job, drive a car, board an airplane, eat in a restaurant, use the same washrooms as the Decent Humans…
I’m getting carried away.
The tricky part is, the DBs themselves seem to be the ones who have trouble recognizing the phenomenon. What if you simply haven’t realized that you’re a douchebag, and you’re just innocently living your douchebag life? Let’s try these self-queries, based on the Douchebag Textbook.
Do you have a tendency to:
- yell obscenities at reporters/athletes/sports fans/pedestrians/motorists/other members of the public who are unlikely to respond?
- think that saying random, graphically misogynistic things on TV is hilarious?
- speak rudely to cashiers/servers/flight attendants/other people in the service industry just because you can?
- drive way over the speed limit, run reds, and dodge in and out of traffic for no reason other than speed?
- punch people when you’re mad?
- vandalize others’ property for fun?
- toss garbage on the ground because there is no trash can within a one-foot radius?
- believe that your opinion trumps other people’s opinions on everything?
- do the minimum amount of work you can get away with?
- swear a blue streak in front of children?
- make/laugh at jokes that denigrate groups you are not part of?
- write repetitive malicious comments anonymously on the web?
- tweet judgmentally on issues you know nothing about?
- think the world owes you?
If you answered yes to one of these questions, chances are good that you are a douchebag. If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, it’s basically a sure thing. If you answered yes to ALL of these questions… please stop reading my blog. You’ll get douche-schmutz all over it.
So, if you’re a confirmed DB, what can you do about it? I can’t claim to be a recovering douchebag myself, but I did once accidentally cut off a cyclist who then called me a stupid bitch, so I know a thing or two.
Here are a few tips, based on the Douchebag Textbook:
- Don’t be shitty to people. I know it’s hard to believe, but decent humans actually manage – on a daily basis – to avoid treating others like crap.
- Stay away from other douchebags. If all your friends are arrogant cretins, tempting you with scumbaggish behaviour, what chance do you have at recovery?
- Try a new hobby that will take you out of your DB zone and distract you from your cravings for punching/swearing/demon-speeding. Consider mindfulness meditation, watercolour painting, flower arranging, zumba… Just make sure you start out doing these things at home alone, so that if your inner douchebag rears its ugly head, it will have no victims in sight.
- Keep a journal of your progress. Did you wait your turn on the road instead of cutting off other drivers? Did you restrain yourself from mocking that person you thought looked ugly? Did you have a mature thought about genitalia? Write it down! Those small triumphs are crucial steps to leaving your miscreant self behind.
I hope these tips can put you on the road to recovery. Once you have your Decent Human license, then you can move on to the advanced work of Actual Kindness.
Next up: DBs Part II For Parents – How Not To Raise A Douchebag!
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