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A Quick but Important Primer on Becoming a Douchebag

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Douche

We all know him. We’ve all seen him.

He roams malls and beaches. He is on our televisions and movie screens.

He’s everywhere, and he is multiplying.

The Douchebag.

This primer, dear reader, is here to help you understand why douchebags (aka assholes, yuppies, self-promoters, or pretty much anything else you don’t like) always get the girl, the job, the money, the book deal, and why you, dear reader, do not.

That’s right. There is a potential you, another version if you will, that gets all this cool shit. He or she is better known than you, has a better job, and in pretty much every respect his life is better than yours.

Except one– everyone hates him.

Why do we hate the douche? Because he is a loud asshole? I am going to hazard a guess that NO, that is not why.

If he were just a loud asshole, there would not be a problem.

The problem with the douche is it that he is high up, when we are low. He gets girls and we do not, while on the cover of some magazine (or something), when we sit here working hard for no appreciation. That, dear reader, is the problem.

That is why we need to deconstruct the douche.

Is it the spray-tan? Because he is a suck-up? Could it be because he randomly starts fights in bars or his love of Scarface? Goddammit, it could be anything. This is going to be hard.

But stay with me, because I am convinced that there is a place, a lovely middle path, where you can take on a few qualities of the douchebag, while still retaining some of the vestiges of your precious old world morality.

As a result, you get what you want, like the douche, but without the need for Ed Hardy or any of his other markers of lack of taste that go with it.

How does that sound? Good? Cool, let’s move on.

But wait! Old world morality? Yes. They are based on a Pride and Prejudice-like ideal that respects being demure and modest as positives when there are no rewards for doing so.

Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are only given that respect, you’ll notice, because they are being written about in a novel in the first place. Otherwise, no one would care about them. They would vanish, like many demure and modest men and women before them, because they thought people would be able to read their mind and see how awesome they are.

In other words, because they are idiots.

This is called checkout-aisle syndrome, and it’s an important misunderstanding of how the world works. This includes things like waiting your turn, as well as believing that you are special and should be treated differently, but doing nothing about it.

This is the kind of attitude that leads to you being the last wolf in the pack to be allowed to eat.

Yes, the douchebag is basically eating your lunch. I know, I think it’s sad too. But this will keep happening unless we figure out why the douche is getting all this stuff we want. We need to figure this shit out right now.

Why does the douche gets dates?

Well, that’s easy. He walks up to them. Go to a bar and watch this happen. They hype each other up and say she wants you bro, or get drunk enough that they just go up and talk to them. So they go to bat more often than you, that’s why.

Why does he wear stupid clothing?

This one is obvious. He doesn’t give a fuck what other people think. He likes something, and even though his taste may be bad, he doesn’t care what other people think. So he stands out, right?

Why does he gets promoted?

He gets the boss’ attention. He raises his hand when asked. He has the balls to tell the boss that he can do the job better than anyone even though it may not be true.

Why does the douche get TV shows?

He does stupid shit for attention. In other words, because the TV people know he exist, so he has a seat at the table. Not all of them get this high, but many more do than we think. Or, they start becoming douches because they have TV shows, that happens a lot too.

These are signals, dear sir or madam

… and they are all signals for the same thing. Confidence.

Girls like guys who are confident. If you are confident, you get dates. You also tell the boss you’re worthy of being promoted. People hear about your project more because you’re excited and sure of it (and yourself). All good things happen with faith in yourself. You get all of the good things in life.

Do douchebags do it too much? Sometimes, but not necessarily. Why?

It’s possible that some people you consider douchebags are actually just confident, and that you hate them because they have the balls that you don’t. It’s possible that you’re jealous. And it’s possible that it’s a matter of perspective, and that if you had balls, they wouldn’t bother you.

Do I think it’s a problem that douchebags get attention? NO. I think it’s natural.

The problem is that good people like yourself do not.

It’s time to bro the fuck up.

Put on some spray tan. The same muscles look better when tanned, so give your stuff a shine instead of just hoping that it’ll market itself.

Turn up the hype. Not all the way, but a little.

Do crazier shit. It’s possible that your shit is just straight up boring. Give it an edge.

Love yourself a little instead of being fucking embarrassed all the time.

But for God’s sake if you keep hoping that you’ll get more attention than douchebags, you are doing the whole world a disfavour and the good stuff you do will drown.

Assholes will always win if they can drown you out.

Maybe it’s time that changed.

Maybe you should put your big girl panties on.

Maybe you should fucking ask someone to the dance already.

Go. Now.

Yesterday, you said tomorrow. This means now. Get off your ass and deserve the attention. I am confident you can do it without being an asshole.

And as a fellow bro, please do your duty and tweet the shit out of this. Thanks.

* Filed by Julien at 1:04 pm under guide


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

Check out more of my blog, my free book or add me on twitter. Also, we're hiring. Check that out.

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41 Responses to “A Quick but Important Primer on Becoming a Douchebag”

  1. John Anyasor Says:

    Julien, I wholeheartedly respect you, but saying ‘bro the fuck up’ is like throwing a computer on the ground to get it to turn on. But I do think you’re on to something and I believe there is a deeper issue underneath this problem:

    People not understanding their sexuality. Their masculinity or their femininity.

    These douchebags aren’t exactly good guys, but they’re obviously MEN, make no mistake.

    When you hear, BE A MAN, what comes to your mind? What does that even mean? I especially think that this is a big issue in America, where boys and girls are no longer taught to be men and women anymore. Reason being there are no longer just two genders.

    This is a topic I will be exploring on my new blog.

    Thanks for encouraging these thoughts out of me! Can’t wait for your next post.

  2. Ryan Critchett Says:

    This is rad dude. I don’t think anyone could have talked about this subject any better.

    I’m getting from this:

    To cultivate a healthy balance.

    I like your message of “don’t be a fucking jerkoff, but don’t be a timid little shithead either.”

    Ultimately, there is a way to get all of the results, but not be some dumpbag twirp, like the douche man!

    Dude, there are like 5 posts that I consider to be the Emperor of blog posts, and this is now definitely one of them.

    Ryan

  3. Matt Says:

    Bro The Fuck Up!

    CLASSIC!

    Move over Tucker Max – I hope Julien joins me in Hell!

  4. John McLachlan Says:

    Humour with a punch. I like it, though I have to say, the whole “be a man” “be a woman” thing is kinda a societal problem we could do without.

    To me, it’s about fighting mediocrity within ourselves and kicking our asses to step up to the bat at least. After that, it’s a fine line between hitting a home run and walking to first. In other words, being a douchebag or not.

  5. Jeff Says:

    There’s a fine line between confidence and delusion.

    In many cases, that confident douchebag is actually very insecure.

    Nonetheless, the article is awesome! Take action. Do something. Be somebody.

    “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, BE nothing.” ~ Elbert Hubbard

  6. Michele Welch Says:

    Putting on my “big girl panties” and getting my non-asshole confidence groove on… LOL

    Awesome as always Julien! ;-)

  7. Stephen Garner Says:

    OMG I love it! I know a few of these guys, only they rarely get the girl, just a lot of laughs-from ME! Bro The Fuck Up! I almost pee’d on my “big girl panties” LOL

  8. John Sullivan Says:

    That picture is absolutely hilarious (perfect for the headline)! I think this article’s great. You have to put your neck out there to get what you want… whatever that might be.

  9. AJ Says:

    I don’t think it’s enough not to merely be assertive and non-jerky to yourself and others. How can you go further and bring out the awesome in yourself and the people around you?

    I worry that far too many people subscribing to the competitive-violent-metaphor-cliché (kicking ass, crushing it, killing it, pulling the trigger — can we have a moratorium on these please?), R. Lee Ermey drill-sergeant boot-camp line of thought, thinking that by being cruel to others they’re doing them a favor. Or thinking that being grownup means *never* being nice, gentle or polite for its own sake.

    Sure, some people, in extreme cases, only respond to tough love, but most people, in my experience, respond better to a little bit of praise, mentoring and listening.

    On another point, I don’t think your analogy with P&P really holds up at all…have you read the book? It’s entirely about a kind of chess-like gamesmanship relating to social privilege (and revenge, in bits), and who ends up playing the game better. The rules of the game, in circa-1814 rural England are different: marriages were as much, if not more, about merging ownership of wealth / land than romance.

    In effect, since the Bennett sisters could not, by social custom, be the pursuers, they did use all the social affordances available to them to meet up with and create good matches. They stood to inherit nothing of their father’s estate under the law of that time, so the only power available to them was to reject a bad suitor (Mr Collins, and Darcy’s ill-advised first attempt). Elizabeth is chided by Bingley’s sisters for not being as ‘accomplished’ as they are (i.e. not as out-there, on display, extravagantly dressed, multilingual, musical, i.e. douchebaggy) but wins out in the end thanks to her independent spirit and quick wit, and also discovering more than the superficial perception of Darcy (in fact, in some interpretations, he is really the pursued object here). She’s no wallflower, she’s more Juno-esque before her time.

  10. Reid Walley Says:

    My favorite part is:

    It’s possible that some people you consider douchebags are actually just confident, and that you hate them because they have the balls that you don’t. It’s possible that you’re jealous. And it’s possible that it’s a matter of perspective, and that if you had balls, they wouldn’t bother you.

    - Totally fuckin true. How I react IS my life!

  11. Ken Brand Says:

    No kidding, right? Persuasion is a transference of confidence, nobody digs a milk-toast, except maybe a dominatrix or a whatever the dude version is called. Nice!

  12. Vernita Says:

    Loved your article – Bro the Fuck up was great!

  13. Ray Martin Says:

    Love this!

    I know exactly who you are talking about and seriously, I’m tired of them and their spray tans being the golden boys of the company.

    My new three words for 2011…Bro (the) Fuck Up!

    Awesome.

  14. Juli Says:

    Or you can just read “No More Mr. Nice Guy” for advice on rising to the confidence occassion without being the douche bag everyone sees at the top.

  15. Diane Says:

    You are talking a bit for shock value, but I appreciate your point – which is, the confident and outgoing one will stand above and make aerials over the shy one, the reticent and polite one, and the fool!

  16. Jay Says:

    Dude! I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago (I don’t know what fucking rock I’ve been living under) but it has immediately become my favorite, and this post is the one that put it there!

  17. Jean Burman Says:

    Hi Julien.

    You’ve made this such a blokey place there’s hardly room for a girl in it. Except perhaps for the big girl pants reference… [but who wears those these days]… and the douchebag reference [which is highly offensive to women].

    Personally… I think “you do stupid shit for attention” and agree with AJ above that you missed the point entirely in Pride and Prejudice.[It takes a clever strategical mind to decipher the moves in a Jane Austen plot]

    It might be time to Bro the Fuck Up [as you say] but unless you sit the hell down you risk alienating more than half the world’s population. Women.

    The tragedy is you could have got your message across way more effectively if you’d read and understood Jane Austen. There is a huge yawning gap between having confidence and being boorish. I can’t begin to imagine “what Jane would say” about this [grin]

    We are what we write about.

  18. zkkmin Says:

    bro,
    you just had huge impact on me.
    rock on!

  19. Katherine Says:

    I read this once and then went back and substituted “she” for “he” and “Bitch” for “Douchebag” and it imparts the same message but for women. Bottom line: it is all about confidence and not being afraid. Afraid of what other people think; afraid of being laughed at; afraid of getting fired. Fear, I think, is the biggest downfall for anybody. Confidence keeps fear at bay.

  20. Delisa Says:

    I love it when people tell people to quite being dumb assess and get their shit together.lol. It is something I have been struggling with in my biz. I don’t lack any real life Bitch-ness, but I seem to keep misplacing it when it comes to my biz which results in the whole thing just sucking.

    It is scary as shit to put yourself out there. I’m in awe every day of people that are out there doing their thing and totally rocking it.

  21. Susan Murphy Says:

    I have to disagree with you on this one, dude. Most of the douchebags I’ve encountered are anything but self confident. They act like jerks because they are completely insecure. They come off as better than everyone else because they need to push others down to pump themselves back up. They may get the girl, but they will often treat her like crap.

    I wouldn’t recommend people act like douchebags to get ahead. I’d recommend they just be themselves, do their best, know what theyre talking about, and then suck it up and put themselves out there.

    Real confidence is sexy. What a douchebag does is just, well, douchey. Thanks for making me think, as always!

  22. Robert Somerville Says:

    I can see it now…the douchebag’s guide to marketing :)

  23. Sara Says:

    I thought I would hate this post based on the title and the text people included in links on Twitter, but decided to give it a shot, anyway, just to see for myself. It’s a good thing I did because I really love this post. Confidence is sexy, powerful, important. I am just learning this now. I was always taught that humility was a virtue, but now I see that you have to balance it with confidence in your own abilities and judgments. I’m taking note, Julien. Thanks for the extra push.

  24. Bill Szczytko Says:

    Hilarious and true. We can mock The Situation for being a total douchebag but he has no problem going out and DOING. You are too damn funny Julien.. thanks.

  25. Shelly Says:

    LOVE IT! How to reap the rewards of the douchebag without being an obnoxious douchebag.

  26. designexpertise Says:

    So, to be “successful,” you have to be noticed or overtly noticeable, and to do so your have to “bro the fuck up?”

    Some people are quiet and introverted, and not strictly because they’re insecure, but because it’s part of their nature.

    I think it’s very unfortunate that our generation has evolved to the point were this “hey, look at me, I’m the best!” mentality has taken over. The success of utter crap like the “Jersey Shore” and “Keeping up with the Kardasian’s” are perfect examples of this epidemic. None of those clowns have an ounce of talent, other than being really good at acting out as self-promoting buffoons.

    Be secure in who you are, don’t try to be something you’re not, in the end it will never work out. If you have a positive attitude and believe in your ability to succeed, you will be successful. I’ve never seen anyone with successful attitude, whether reserved or gregarious, fail.

  27. Martyn Chamberlin Says:

    Oh, such dreadful language, Julien.

    Seriously this is … interesting. I’ll give this to you – you constantly make me think in a different way.

    Maybe it’s time I started getting confident about something. Like seriously.

    That actually might be a good thing. You know?

    I shall think about this.

  28. Kevin Says:

    Absolutely loved this post! Im a loyal follower as of today. Keep writing and doing it well

  29. NomadicNeill Says:

    Surely the best way to side-step the whole ‘bro / douche-bag’ thing is by authentically expressing yourself?

  30. Corey Koehler Says:

    I started following you because you say fuck a lot. There is something really trustworthy about people who use that word openly. Not sure what that has to do with this post but, other than thinking about how I should apply this to my situation, that is what I was thinking at the time.

  31. Meshach Says:

    OMG, teas in eyes. Funny. And so true in some ways. Well done,Julien!

  32. Peter Paluska Says:

    Hmm..

    Maybe favoring attitude over substance on this one, Julien? Just my thought. I always appreciate the abandon, of course!

    Best,

    Peter

  33. David Cain Says:

    Ah, you reminded me of a great site that I forgot about: http://hotchickswithdouchebags.com/

    Some serious douchebags in there.

    I’ve grown to like douchebags though. I like their willingness to be themselves with no apologies, and I’m not really competing with them for anything anyway. If intelligent women are a limited resource, they don’t take up any of them.

  34. Jesse Pappas Says:

    Julien,

    I had to read this post twice this week. It was motivating and makes sense.

    Thanks for pushing us all to do more.

  35. JM Tohline Says:

    This post was forwarded to me by my dad, of all people. This is an abbreviated version of the email I returned to him:

    “That was an interesting read. I think it would have been more interesting if I believed it was a satire.

    “I can answer the question much more simply: Why do people hate douchebags? There are two reasons, and they vary from group to group.

    “1) There is the group that hates douchebags out of jealousy. They want to be on the cover of magazines and on pointless television shows instead of these guys. But no matter how much they work out or how often they tan or how rude they are to other people and to females in particular – no matter how much they drink or party or do dumb stuff for attention – they still have not managed to find a way to make money off of ‘living the life.’

    “2) There is the group that hates douchebags for having no ambition for anything worthwhile, and for collectively leading a generally pointless existence.

    “There is more to life than getting the hot slut to dance with you at the club. Success is defined in more ways than getting phone numbers from girls at the bar and being on a magazine cover.”

    True confidence is rarely paraded about. Be confident in who you are, and uncover a bit of ambition for something that cannot be achieved by spray tans and “doing crazier shit.” If you do this, you’ll find that you are happy and successful…and what’s more, you’ll be successful at something more lasting than landing the girl who won the Thursday night wet t-shirt contest.

  36. Jeff Goins Says:

    Good word, Julien. Thanks for the motivation. I am sometimes reticent of being too aggressive, because I don’t want to be another douche bag. I needed to hear this.

  37. Christopher Pineda Says:

    Hey Julien,

    Thanks for giving me a new goal for my five-year plan. Not sure how to explain this one to my parents, though. Also wanted to let you know you made it into a round up of top links for the week, and have been published in a new series I’m writing for a publication about technology and startups called NextMontreal.

    http://nextmontreal.com/three-bags-full-round-one/

    Thanks for the blunt advice that too many people are not douchey enough to actually say these days.

  38. ella Says:

    I appreciate a lot about this post, doll. But it’s sexist as fuck. And if I ever see you wearing a spray-tan I will cut you. Just sayin’

  39. Jason Says:

    I read it over a few times and, I gotta agree with some of the other posters, the whole thing sorta works as a satyrical piece, but as an editorial it ranges from beligerent, to confusing, to downright incoherent. You’re deeper than this, Jules. I can appreciate your point about “knowing your enemy”, and having the nerve to sometime jump in head-first, but “bro-ing up” sounds more like something that sexually repressed jocks do while smashing beer cans against their foreheads. My 2 cents.

  40. --- Says:

    I dated a douche bag and he had the lowest self esteem I’ve ever seen. But, his trick was to be a chameleon. He always conformed to what he thought other people wanted or liked. He was never his own person and he hid all his faults from the public. Douche bags are not confident they’re just good liars and outwardly charming to compensate for who they really are, weak and pathetic. Girls that are with douche bags are either in the same boat or miserable but too afraid to get rid of them because sadly they aren’t sting and confident either. Average Joe’s are way more attractive!

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