Jesse Sheidlower, an editor-at-large at the Oxford English Dictionary, notes that in its early days as an insult, douchebag applied to women as well as men. “An example of that usage,” he says, “is from a 1950 dictionary of underworld language: ‘a term of utmost contempt for a woman.’” Peter Novobatzky, a co-author of Depraved and Insulting English, points out that even though usage has transferred pretty much exclusively to males, the feminine factor still plays into its power as an insult. “We all first started using it on the playground, when girls were icky,” he says.
In the second season of The Sopranos, Tony Soprano self-deprecatingly whined to Dr. Melfi about all the “douchebags”like himself!who seek therapy because “fuckin’ Americans nowadays, they’re just pussiescrying, complaining, confessingfuck ’em!” There you have it. Tony Soprano called it. Quite a few of us have gotten a little soft, a little girlie, rather needy, and a lot entitled. We’ve turned into douchebags.
Did I mention that I really love my refrigerator?