Latest 3 Things

Monday, April 16, 2012

3 New Douches

I swear I’ve written this essay a few times before.  No writer likes to cover old ground, repeating the same insights - which, the second time around, seem unoriginal and contrived.  And so it is with douchebaggery.  Given the number of times I’ve written about it, I feel like I should have it covered by now.  I’ve opined on this tragic male zeitgeist more than three times as many times as I’ve waxed philosophical on politics, and yet, the latter seems far more thoroughly covered.  It’s seems that the need for the self-aggrandizement of the modern male is a force so powerful that we are incapable of containing it.  No matter how shameful or ridiculous it is exposed to be, it endures.  No matter how many times we shout it down, it resurfaces: rebranded, redoubled and, impossibly enough, renewed.  But despite the overwhelming odds against me, I continue to rage against this unstoppable force.  Like the Spartan 300, I have confidence that while outnumbered, I am fighting for what it righteous and just, and that I can and will prevail.  And so, in the seemingly endless fight against asshatted chodery, here are 3 new douches that should be mocked into oblivion:

1. Hotness.  The tank top is already a staple of douchery.  One cannot even be considered an entry-level “bagger” without a significant number of these undershirts-come-outerwear in their wardrobe.  The same can be said for ill-fitting cargo shorts.  But whereas these fashion scourges and thoughtless homages to doughy physiques were previously something we were only forced to endure during summer months, they have recently become a year-round measure of visual pollution.  I imagine that wearing unseasonably warm clothing in sub-60 degree temperatures is meant to evoke a kind of awe in the toughness and abject badassery it must take to don the barest measures of cover when braving chilling temperatures, but when you’re doing it at the outdoor mall, it just makes you look (even more) like an idiot.  The worst part about this is that every moron that engages in this behavior seems to be the kind of guy (a) whose partial nudity is more likely to arouse disgust and disappointment than awe, and (b) who really should be covering up (for health reasons).  Watching people this intellectually under-equipped trying to manage the faux lack of discomfort over being dressed for temperatures twenty degrees cooler isn’t even entertaining, it’s just disappointing.  I can appreciate that sometimes ladies dressed for a night on the town can be caught in similar circumstances, but for gentlemen, where a jacket is always fashionable, there’s just no excuse.  Unless it’s discovered that hypothermia grows brain cells instead of killing them, this is yet another sign that the intellectual apocalypse is nigh.  

2. On The Toes.  I have a very simple rule when it comes to mens feet: the respect I have for another man is inversely proportional to the number of times I’ve seen his bare toes.  I’m not sure where this comes from, and I’m not sure if this is indicia of some kind of weird phobia, but I do know that I’m not a fan of feet.  In fact, of all the misinformation provided by the modern mens fashion industry, there is none more egregious than the idea that mens sandals (“mandals” if you will) are somehow acceptable formal (or even casual) footwear.  Of course, if dignity, pride or the initial impression of others are matters of no concern to you - feel free to ignore this advice.  The men who actually spend big dollars for this fashion mandals are a special kind of idiot, but more and more, I have begun to see sport sandals at the most inappropriate places.  To be clear, I’m not talking about flip-flops, because that’s ground we’ve already covered (i.e. unless you’re at or near the beach/pool, you’re doing it wrong), I’m talking about straight up, one strap across the whole foot shower shoes.  Now for the record, I have on two occasions, actually owned such footwear.  Once, when I was stationed aboard a submarine and using the same shower as 10-12 other guys, for use when going to and from the facilities and also while inside (so as to avoid any nasty fungus-based events); and once more, when playing a lot of field sports, to avoid wearing my cleats to and from the field, in the car, etc., and not having to don/doff the associated socks.  As far as I’m concerned, this concludes the list of acceptable places to wear this kind of shoe.  You will note, this list does not include: the gym (while using the cardio equipment/lifting weights), the grocery store, the mall or any restaurant -  all places where I have recently seen it done.  Being shoeless or sockless makes you about as badass as being homeless, and really just makes you seem clueless.

3. Stockings Hung.  On balance, there aren’t a whole lot of good reasons for a grown man to be wearing a hat of any sort these days.  Aside from the few obvious exceptions: ball caps if you’re actually playing baseball (or at least at the ball park), cowboy hats if you’re an actual cowboy (e.g. you can ride a horse, rope a calf and fix a fence - without help from YouTube), or a helmet if you’re riding, well, just about anything; you’re really better off just going with your hair - no matter how ill-conceived it might be.  The one universal and unqualified exception I have always made to these rules was the stocking cap for inclement weather.  There’s just no reason for pride, vanity or fashion when it comes to keeping your brain, head, ears, etc. from actually freezing. That said, while I wasn’t paying attention, these most utilitarian head coverings appear to have gone from functional staple to hipster stupid.  And while you might think it difficult to tell the difference between these two diametrically opposed uses, it’s actually a quite simple test.  If you see someone adjusting their stocking cap in front of a mirror, that’s the douchey kind.  Because if you’re using this device to keep your head alive, you check if it’s working by walking outside and not by making sure your hair is poking out of it just so.  Seriously, if you’re getting your fashion ideas from Fat Albert re-runs, what do we really have to lose if your head freezes?

* * *

Look, I want to stop writing about this.  I really do.  Much in the same way that cancer researchers would love to stop their efforts, food banks would enjoy not having to stockpile provisions, and police would appreciate not having to investigate violent crimes - because in each of those circumstances, we would have solved an epidemic.  The replacement of the traditional American male with the douche is not just about visual pollution, having to keep an even closer eye on the modern teenage female, or inexplicable bravado of youth.  It’s about the displacement of the most revered male archetype the world has ever known with a hastily thrown together and abortive amalgamation of Chris Angel, Levi Johnston and all the male cast members from the Jersey Shore.  By failing to guide the twenty first century young man, we’ve unwittingly created a facile and feckless twenty first century man.  But it may not yet be too late.  As while I’ve often said you can’t save the world with what you wear, it turns out that you might just be able save it with what you don’t.


Jen and Tonic said...

The thing about the tank tops is DEAD ON. Even if the tank top wasn't douchey to begin with (but it was) it is pretty hard to make a case for it once Kevin Federline made it a regular piece of his wardrobe.

In regards to #2...those slides are just awful. They're made for soccer players and the shower and that's IT.

I agree with some of you've said about the hat thing. I think guys look ridiculously sexy in a baseball hat or a beanie, but I think they have to know how to wear it. It's one thing to be casual and "sporty" about it, and another to be wearing a color-coordinated cap in a club for a team you don't even watch.

Kristina said...

#2, I think you limit guys too much. They should be allowed to let their feet breathe a little, especially in Vegas' 100 degree weather. I do wonder about the constant flip flops indoors, at clubs, out for a night kind of thing. And people that just take off their shoes in a public place, and walk around, which pretty much is disgusting.

#3, give guys a break, It's not like you have that many options to set yourself apart. You don't have to be an actual cowboy to wear a hat, just like you don't have to be a teenager to wear chucks; there's just not enough of them to keep the industry afloat. It's a fashion statement, and some guys look amazing in them, and only half-so amazing without a hat!
Although I agree, there are limits, don't ALWAYS wear a hat, everywhere, no matter what you are doing....

Sam Peterson said...

I have an exception to #2, that is, in the state of Hawaii. There, flip-flops are called "slippers" and are what most people wear most of time. But perhaps the exception for proximity to the beach you've carved out covers this one already, since most places on Oahu are no further than 2-3 miles from a beach. But I defer to your judgment. Clearly, the life-saving work of a fashion guru is never done.

Eric said...

I think that ball caps get an exception simply because they've become the go-to "I-Don't-Feel-Like-Screwing-With-My-Hair" alternative for both men and women.

CODA: Any time that the bill of your ball cap is, however, pointing in any direction except directly forwards (other than those limited cases when it would be actually obstructing your view of something,) you're a douche. This is particularly obvious in that, first, girls don't do it with their ball caps; and second, in order to be wearing your ball cap at some angle other than directly forwards or directly backwards, you must actually apply *thought* to the question of at which angle your hat most perfectly expresses your disdain for conformity.

My only comfort is that it seems VERY unlikely that the calories your brain burned to come up with the appropriate angle for the bill of your cap to point were otherwise destined to help you come up with a cure for cancer.

And what the fuck is "chodery"?

OZ101 said...

You forgot to mention the little hat. I can't stand the little hat!!! What the hell is up with the little hat. Every time I see a douche bag out here with one of those little Fedoras on I want to smack it right off the top of his head and urinate on it. F***ing Little HAT!

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