What makes a douchebag?

Douchebag is a term that gets thrown around a lot on the message boards here. But how would you define it. When I hear the term, the stereotype I envision is that of a smug, self-centered pretty boy with greased spiked hair and slight tan that you’d see trying to pick up women at a trendy nightclub. Of course the term can also be applied to any number of people who are full of themselves, but don’t really fit the image I just described.
So what, in your opinion, defines a douchebag? Also, are the terms douchebag and tool interchangeable?

Plaid shorts.

There are douches, AND there are douchebags.

Let us review them separately.

A douche is a blowhard. A douche is always spouting their bullshit out into the world. Sean Hannity is a douche, at minimum.

A douchebag is the supplier of the bullshit. Karl Rove is a douchebag.

A tool is pretty much any cranky asshole. Virtually every SDMB member, including me, is a tool at one time or another.

YMMV

A douchebag is somewhere between a fuckwit and a cock-nozzle. Does that help?

I think self-regard is a big part of it – arrogance, smugness, conceit. It’s more than just being an asshole. Not all assholes are douchebags. It’s like a subset of assholes.

I would add that there is a willful component to douchebaggery. Arrogance, self-absorption, an over-developed sense of entitlement, or all of the above. You can be a douche without intending to be such a dickwad. But you are a douchebag if our actions are deliberately douchey. A douche tends to be more of an asshat. A douchebag is a fucknugget who is unrepentant in his/her fucknuggetry.

I don’t think I buy this. Remember what they taught us in school: Behind every great douche is an even greater douchebag.

Not every douche is a douchebag. Not every douchebag is a douche. Though it is certainly possible to be both, as evidenced by many members of the US House and Senate.

I didn’t say every douchebag was a douche, but douchebags tend to to do douchey things. They just don’t care if they’re douchey. For example: this guy is a douche but these guys are douchebags. A good rule of thumb: when you meet him, if you want to punch him in the face, he’s a douchebag. If you have to wait until he says something stupid and then you want to punch him in the face, he’s a douche.

I think you got your examples exactly backward. The three guys are just ordinary douches. The couple look like quiet, behind the scenes Power Douchebags, the kind who will attend and contribute at fundraising dinners for douches running for public office.

It’s the quiet douchebags you really need to look out for. They are the power behind the douches. Like Joe Coors (if he’s still alive).

I think that this link will provide some visual guidance as to the makings of a douchebag. And the women who love them.

From a strictly aesthetic sense, pop culture has a pretty clear definition of what a douchebag is. Polo shirts, tight muscle shirts, muscular bodies, tan skin, spiked or otherwise overly-done hair, and gold chains all contribute to the image.

A douchebag is a tool, often found in and around clusters of assholes and cunts (although they are hardly ever assholes or cunts themselves, they may be asshole or cunt analogues, tainted with the qualities of either, and often only a trained expert can tell the difference).

It’s too bad all those guys: look stuck up, dumb, have horrible tattoos and clothes and hair, and are doing stupid crap. Because hot damn most of them have amazing bodies!

Great thread! We called them Yah Dudes at my college.
They take Dave Matthews seriously, use terms like bro seriously,
They are criminal justice majors and wear Abrocomrbie and Fitch.
They’re dumb jock/ frat boy types, and they date girls who wear pink Red Sox hats as a fashion statement. (OMG It’s PINK!!)

I agree that homogeneous Abercrombie frat guys are douchebags. At my school we called them Heh Heh Hehs. They were actually smart, but anti-intellectual, and usually headed for a career in private equity or something like that.

So I think the GenY definition of douchebag as an muscular, tan, Ed Hardy-wearing guy with slicked hair is funny, but too narrow. A douchebag is a narcissistic guy who thinks he’s cool, and surrounds himself with guys who dress, look and think just like him. He’s superficially attractive but lacks depth. He’s oblivious to his douchy appearance and behavior. He’s probably talking loudly on his cell phone in an inappropriate place right now.

Venn diagrams, people, we need Venn diagrams.

They’re horrible for your vagina but constantly trying to get up in it.

I don’t have access to it right now but I have a sneaking suspicion that you copied that straight from the Oxford English Dictionary and I might have to tell…someone.

Let’s not forget the female douche-muffin…

For some reason when that word is uttered I think of Jon Gosselin.

The popped collar posse are just in my mind fashion victims. There’s nothing evident from the pictures about their attitudes and behavior (though I suspect if you believe they’re shallow and vapid, you wouldn’t be far off). Douchebaggery to me is about behavior. Jon Gosselin was a stereotypical p*ssywhipped husband. Then he thought that being on a freakin’ reality show - about the fact that he has a bunch of kids - made him a “star.” Then he starts having not-so-quiet affairs with women who essentially are famewhores using him to springboard their own career. He does this all brazenly, and proceeds to air his dirty laundry anytime someone sticks a mike in his face.

And he actually thinks he’s cool, or has a chance to become famous for something other than breeding.

See John Wayne Bobbitt for a historic example.

(Wearing Ed Hardy shirts does seem to be a pretty strong indicator of douchebaggery. They’re pretty fucking ugly and ridiculously expensive. It’s one step away from people who wear those sheer skintight shirts that make you look like you have a tattoo.)