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If you must be a douche, could you at least not use nauseatingly florid language while you’re at it?

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, December 16, 2010 20:46 EDT
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What is it about douchebaggery and overdoing it in the prose department? Well, I know what it is—douchebags are trying to be hyper-intellectual in order to distract from their basic “bitches ain’t shit” message. A nice bit of pseudo-intellectualizing, some nauseastingly overdone prose, and of course going on at length are all nifty disguises for your basic assholery. But please, douchebags, can you tone it down? When I read your douchey prose, my judgments about your lack of character are getting conflated with my aesthetic distaste, and I like to keep those two things in neat, separate compartments.

The examples online are infinite, but a recent favorite had to be the anon douchebag who wrote the “consent is overrated” post at Jezebel. The guy is, I suspect, a professional writer and so he loses a couple points by being at least clear in his prose, but on the whole, the pretentiousness meter hit 10 across the board. A taste:

I once fell madly in love with a woman named Madeleine. I thought she liked me too because she kept agreeing to see me and she once elegantly blew me a kiss as she descended into a Metro station. We were never intimate because the moment never seemed right to try to kiss her. Lovesick and unsure of what to do, I complained about Madeleine to a female French friend who said to me, “Have you tried getting her drunk?” Obviously my friend’s recommendation was based on the assumption that after getting drunk Madeleine would be easier to seduce.

Words that this guy needs to banish from his vocabulary immediately: “madly”, “seduce”, and “elegant”. He can use “lovesick”, but only on the condition that the circumstances are appropriate. No more using it to describe how you feel about someone you’ve been on fewer than two dates with. But what really pushes his essay over is the attempts to impress the audience with how worldly he is because he spent time in Paris, a city with a mere 11+ million people living in and around it. Really elite, that. He gets extra points for having no discernible sense of humor and a terminal case of taking his penis way too seriously.

I bring this up now, because more revelations about Julian Assange’s over the top douchebaggery are coming out, thanks to Gawker. Assange is first rate at overdoing the prose when it comes to writing about his own dick, which he takes very seriously. On top of it all, he has an affectation in his writing that took me awhile to put my finger on, but I finally figured it out—he writes as if English is his second language, and he learned how to write in it strictly from reading overwritten, pretentious fantasy novels and erotica. Gawker published a series of harassing emails the then-33-years-old Assange wrote to a 19-year-old that he was taken with. A sample of how he tried to bully her with bad prose into sucking his cock:

According to Gawker, it took this woman a very long time indeed to get it through his thick skull that she did not want to have sex with him.

I do think the link between douchebaggery and overwrought prose is such that dating websites could easily build filters into their email systems to screen out red flag emails sent to women. At the A(n)nals of Online Dating, you get some examples of words that should be flagged and filtered, at least if they are opening gambits. Take this example:

Why am I even on this site? I’d recently had a deliberate incident, which I’d tell you more about later, that has me examining/re-evaluating my life. And I have this intense desire to connect with someone who is not immediately known to me. And I want this connection – even if it doesn’t get physical – to be deep, platonic, and erotic at the same time – as paradoxical as that sounds?

A program that analyzed first emails and killed any that had the word “erotic” in them would be a good start.

Or, example #2:

Anyway, I am offering to give you what you’re looking for in a man – masculine energy, a good listener, stimulation, a happy life, friends, romance, and worldly skills. Let’s just take our time to get to know each other and earn each others trust, become comfortable sharing some laughs, go on romantic walks, star gaze and have some fun!

A filter that kept opening gambit emails with the words “worldly”, “energy” and probably anything in the “stimulate” family would help, but the real red flag is the word “masculine”. If that’s in an email, nothing good will come of it. Or “feminine”, for that matter.

Which is why, at the end of a long stint of reading florid douchebaggery, I like to go over to Man Boobz and read David make fun of douchebags in their douche environment, when they let down their hair and talk only to each other, douche-to-douche. Like with this message on an MRA message board:

but what exactly can I get my GF for Christmas for about $30 that would not inflate her ego too much? Is there a book? A CD? Anything?

Granted, this man is an emotional abuser turning to other abusers for advice on how to gaslight someone, but at least he writes with an earthy transparency and straightforwardness. Other douchebags should take notes.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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