When you think about it, douchey entitlement has surely been aided and abetted by economic forces bigger than all of usthe real-estate bubble and the latest dot-com boomcreating grassroots-level douchebags everywhere. Call it trickle-down doucheonomics. These days you neednít point to Mark Cuban to illustrate an Internet-enabled douchebag, or Donald Trump to cite a real-estate-enabled douchebag (an elder statesman of douches). Chances are, certifiable douchebags of both varieties reside right next door. Or right in your own home.
For Barrett, douchebag comes in handy particularly for describing certain hyper-self-entitled residents of his obnoxiously gentrified neighborhood in New York. ďI often couple it with fucktard, as in, ĎWe live on the edge of Park Slope, far enough from the douchebags and fucktards so as to not be annoyed, but close enough to the shops and restaurants for convenience.íĒ I feel his pain, but then Iím also part of his pain. Because he and I are both part of the same continuum of strivers, of consumers desiring comfort and convenience. Mind you, Iím fully aware that because Barrett is a thoughtful public-radio linguist and Iím a guy who writes for a scent-strip-laden glossy magazine, I am the douchebag, or at least the bigger douchebag.
I donít live in Park Slope, but I do live in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in New York. I also happen to live in an apartment (in a warehouse building that used to be full of artistsí studios) equipped with a Sub-Zero refrigerator. I didnít order the Sub-Zeroit came with the placebut until recently, Iím pretty sure, I thought of anyone with a Sub-Zero as a douchebag. Now that Iíve got one, well, Iím sorry, but I love it. Itís douchey of me to say this, but I love my really excellent refrigerator. Iím at the point in my life where itís really nice to have a really excellent refrigerator.
I am douchebag, hear me roar!
The alternative is . . . what? Remaining a grubby quasi-slacker all my life? Eventually you just get tired of being uncomfortable (I did my time in a crumbling fourth-floor walk-up with water-stained ceilings and floors so warped that Iíd trip on them in the dark). As you grow up, hopefully your financial situation improves too, and you can start to realize that youíve taken on certain trappings of douchedom, and thereís nothing you can do about it. Because you donít want to do anything about it.
Twenty years ago, a guy settling into a privileged lifestyle would have been labeled a yuppie. But now the culture demands a wordthe revival of a wordthatís more pointed, more evocative, more suggestive of a certain dickishness. Which is ironic because, of course, the word started out as a technical term for a vagina-cleaning device (and still means exactly that).