Let me preface this post by stating how much I loathe the word douchebag. This is not a word I use in conversation, pretty much ever. (Also, I have three small creatures trying to climb back into my uterus 29.5 hours a day, so there aren’t many opportunities to drop “d-bag” into a sentence.)
My point is, my utter distaste for this word made it necessary for me to put it into the title. Because I believe this is an epidemic in today’s society, as we are raising a generation of douchebags. Having two sons myself, I am very concerned that my boys may befriend future douchebags, or worse, become douchebags themselves. (This fear is intensified because we live in suburbia, where douche-baggery runs rampant.)
Therefore, let’s start our “How to not raise a douche-bag” tutorial with defining what, exactly, a douchebag is, using examples.
1. Men in sports cars who weave in and out of traffic on the interstate and almost clip the bumpers of minivans that probably have kids in them = douchebags. (Extra points for douche-baggery for flipping mom/minivan driver off and/or taking up two parking spaces.)
2. Men who call all women they work with “Sweetie” and “Honey.” If she ain’t your wife or girlfriend, she ain’t your “honey.” Learn her fucking name. Chances are, she’s of equal or greater importance than you at work. And she probably doesn’t take four-hour “lunch breaks” at the golf course either.
3. Men who think it is hilarious to sexually objectify women. (Think more than half of the male characters on Mad Men.) Does this still happen in 2015? Yes, and now their harassment is online. Even more fun. Hey, douchebag, a woman’s breasts likely fed you and kept you alive for a year after your douchebagness emerged (unfortunately) from your mother’s womb. So look at a woman’s face when you talk to her, while using her name (Please refer to #2).
4. Teenage boys who “loan” their girlfriends to other boys in order to perform sexual favors. Yes, this is really a thing. She’s not an X Box game, douche. These boys will likely grow up to have wives in four different states unless someone kicks the douche-baggery out of them.
5. Men who spend 45 minutes on their hair but ironically forget to wear a shirt. Hey douchebag, we know you are proud of your spray tan, and clearly you’ve put a great deal of effort into that orangey glow. But please put a shirt on and stop flashing gang symbols in your selfies.
6. College boys who drag unconscious girls around by their ankles and then do horrible things. And record the horrible things. But they are sort of still kids … and they are really drunk … and there is peer-pressure … BULL SHIT. Any boy who drags a half-dead girl into a room by her ankles to have sex with her, and any boy who records said act = douchebag. You’re 18. A legal adult. That’s rape. Get it together. Zip up your plaid golf shorts and find some damn morals. You’re a douchebag.
7. People with names such as Scott Disick and Kanye West, the kings of Douchebag Land. Good work making a living out of broadcasting your douchebagness and teaching all of the lowly douchebags in training how it’s really done. And now you have offspring, so the world is even better off.
How, then, do we ensure that we raise boys who are compassionate, respectful, and not boils on the face of society? How do we raise the anti-douche? I may not have the magic answer, but here’s how we can try our best to fight this epidemic:
For every hour we spend on academics or athletics, we should spend as much time focusing on kindness. From the time they are toddlers, we need to teach them that winning isn’t everything. That they should stick up for those who are bullied and help someone in need. That not all boys play sports. Some boys are into books. Some boys are into theater. A 16-year-old boy should mow the lawn and have a humbling job like washing cars or bagging groceries.
And as parents, we need to ensure our boys have non-douchebag examples in their lives, such as hardworking coaches who commit to their players even after a 10-hour workday. And teachers who inspire boys to read and write and imagine. And as for famous role models, how about an actor or musician, known for his work on fighting bullying? Or an athlete who is known for his teamwork and sportsmanship rather than illegal drug use?
What makes a boy turn into a good man is his heart, his integrity, his honor, and his work ethic. Does he call his mom on her birthday? Does he know how to do laundry? Does he help an elderly woman carry her groceries to her car? If so, I will tell my sons, befriend THAT kid. BE that kid. Don’t be a douche.
Let’s pledge to NOT raise douchebags! Who’s with me?