5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science
There are men whose very appearance can compel you to turn your head in disgust, muttering the word "douche" in a long whisper. They're flexing in their skin-tight t-shirt, invading women's personal space at the bar and going on and on about their goddamn promotion.
For all the times you've muttered, "What's the deal with that douchebag?" science has actually taken the time to answer what was probably a rhetorical question.
The Egocentric Douchebag
The child who screams "Look at me! Look at me!" is all grown up and he can't wait to tell you about himself. You want to talk about the football game last night? He'll talk about how he quarterbacked his high school football team to the state championships. Wondering about a good place to grab a bite to eat? He'll tell you he can make reservations anywhere because he's the man. Concerned about poverty in Africa? Why the fuck do you care! This dude has banged like twenty models! Seriously, you're talking to a legend, and he'll be the first to remind you of this fact.The Disorder:
Histrionic Personality Disorder or HDP. The disorder is characterized as an overwhelming desire to be noticed and willingness to engage in any attention-seeking behavior. This was the kid who was the first to jump off the high dive--if there was an audience to watch him.
These drama-queens know all the world's a stage, and they have been cast for lead role of MacD'bag. Those with HDP have a self-esteem that is dependent on the approval of others and they posses no clear concept of self worth. They're way more likely to lash out at criticism or disapproval than they should be. They'll flirt with anyone, any time. They tend to mistake any attention as sexual attraction ("I'm tellin' ya, she totally wants me, bro"). Their opinions are easily influenced by others, and they find it difficult to support them if pressed for details. They travel in packs.
The disease is not socially debilitating, since most sufferers maintain good networking skills, but they manipulate these relationships in a way that brings notice only to themselves. Thusly, sufferers of the disease tend to pass their suffering onto us.
The Weightlifting Douchebag
The only thing this man loves more than his own reflection is sleeveless t-shirts. Sure, we all wouldn't mind toning up or putting on some muscle, but this guy's artificially tanned muscles are his full-time job. After hearing the guy go on about it for 20 minutes or so, we don't feel so bad for putting a video game controller in our hands and watching our body turn to dough.
Muscle Dysmorphia or what is commonly referred to as "Bigorexia". This mental illness is seen as a male inverse of anorexia, except this disease lands you in a sideshow for freaks instead of the fashion runway (Yes, we know not all top models are anorexics. Some just do coke). Researches believe that the roots of both self-perception disorders come in early adolescences. While girls are dreaming of lounging poolside in Barbie's dream house, men want to be tearing down Cobra's infantry as a G.I. Joe.
Seeing the sculpted action figures sets up an unattainable goal for some young men. They carry the notion of always being too "small" and "thin" into their adult years, after they've become rippling man-beasts. Let's all take a minute to thank the parents of these impressionable youths for going Joe instead of Ninja Turtles, or our society may presently be plagued with mutant reptilian half-breeds roaming the sewers. Media has also had its impact, parading images of perfect pecs and washboard abs. Who honestly thinks that stuff is attractive? Seriously.
Alright, even we can admit that the occasional push-up, or marathon 25 turn Mario Party session on Wii can help you feel better, but for these men it's never enough. In 2000, researchers discovered a man who abstained from sex with his wife in order to focus all his energy on working out.
If you are worried you may have bigorexia ask yourself a few simple questions; How many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror since starting this article? Do you think that Carrot Top "looks good but could use some work on his delts"? Does your desire for a ripped body make you act like a total douchebag?
The Drunken Douchebag
This heavy-drinking ass stumbles around parties, slobbering on strangers and telling people how buzzed he is... after two beers. Later in the night, after he's polished off his second six-pack, he'll tell you he's cool to drive home, just after he finishes pissing on your living room couch. This guy never seems to know where he's at on the sobriety scale, although on the douche scale he's always a perfect 10.
This guy displays signs of what is known as the Mallenby effect. Basically, this causes a person to overestimate the effects of alcohol during the first few drinks (called the "absorption phase" by people who study drunkenness) and will underestimate them later in the night (during the "elimination phase"). If you want to see this concept in action, buy a lot of nonalcoholic beer for a party full of teenagers. If drinking with teens isn't your thing (and legally it shouldn't be anyone's "thing") then check out most college frat parties where the masses will start screaming "WHOO!!!" within the first 15 minutes that the keg is tapped, long before their system has actually had the chance to absorb any alcohol into the blood stream.
Later, the same people will physically display all signs of being drunk, but will claim to be sharp as a tack, because, as they'll tell you, they drink so much that it, like, would totally take all the booze in this place to get them drunk. Then they'll plow their Mustang into a drainage ditch and take a swing at a cop.
Related: The Drunken Wisdom of Harry Potter
The Raging Douchebag
Don't step on his shoes, don't make incidental eye contact and don't talk to his girlfriend. If he doesn't have a girlfriend, don't talk to any girls because they could be his girlfriend, someday. It doesn't take a whole lot to set this type of guy off, and after he's pissed, screaming and swinging you'll wish you'd actually done something worthy of such a tantrum.
He's easy to pick out in a crowd, there'll be one man yelling while everyone else in the crowd exchanges confused glances along with sympathetic shrugging shoulders. He's the screaming one, the one trying to finish an imaginary fight with a person who didn't start it. A douche that can't be ignored.The Disorder:
This is a classic case of Intermittent Explosive Disorder or IED. This guy is a time bomb, and nobody can see the timer but him--he can go off at any moment. Although his aggression normally isn't life threatening, it's really fucking irritating. Medically diagnosed IED is defined as a behavioral disorder characterized by repeated episodes of aggressive and violent outbursts grossly out of proportion to the situation. Wearing a sleeveless rayon body vest while stinking like Axe body spray is common but unfortunately correlation does not equal causation.
A 2006 study by the National Institute of Mental Health has determined the condition to be more prevalent than previously thought, affecting around 2 out of every 25 adult Americans, most commonly seen in male youths. How the researches went about collecting data is not disclosed, though we hope they ruined many a striped shirt on nickel-beer-night while gathering subjects' reactions.
Cases of road rage, domestic abuse and destruction of property usually involve one or more parties with the disorder. Often those with IED will feel a great deal of regret or remorse if bodily harm or destruction of personal possessions occurs. It's uncertain if the same remorse is felt after chewing out a waitress for forgetting to refill a water glass, though the spit and pubes now hidden in the rest of their meal may balance out the situation.
This disorder can become a severe disruption in the lives of the afflicted but medications can be prescribed to help alleviate anger impulses. We are not licensed to give medical advice here, but if we were we'd suggest taking muscle relaxers, washed down with your favorite liquor, to help calm the nerves. Now go warm up in a hot tub and feel those angry thoughts drift away.
The Aging Douchebag
It seems no matter where you go there's a grumpy asshole making things awkward for everybody. He'll bitch about why his coupons aren't scanning at the checkout. He'll complain when someone has an accent while in America. And that goddamn hip-hop is always too loud! He won't hesitate to tell you about how much better things were in the past, before the whole world turned against him.
This man is suffering from what is known as andropause or "male menopause." It's a frustrated state accompanied by anxiety and anger resulting from a lack of testosterone, the production of which diminishes in midlife. The term "male menopause" can also be used as an early detection method, since most men with IMS will hear this term and respond with a loud grunt while shouting about "New Age psychobabble bullshit."
The onset of this disorder is common at ages 40 to 55 but may happen as early as 35 or as late as 65. Although, a definite age is difficult to pinpoint if the male in question has been a prick their whole life.
The development of IMS is also dependent on environmental factors associated with stress, such as uncertain financial security, strained personal relationships and whatever happens to be wrong with kids these days. The physical symptoms (which can include loss of sex drive, loss of physical strength and increase in body fat) only exasperate the sense of frustration and nervousness and increases behaviors that society classifies as douchebaggery.
There are free tests and screenings available online to check for IMS, but if you already have it, you probably think the internet is a waste of time for freaks and perverts.
Read David Wong's 7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable for some more scientific-ish explanations of why you're such a miserable bastard. Or if you're just in the mood for some more douchey behavior, check out Ross Wolinsky's Nooner from yesterday and behold as the lead singer of the most atrociously named band of all time gets busted lip-synching while falling off the stage at a concert.