D is for douchebag

Squeamish readers, click elsewhere now. The tone is about to get lower.

The other day in the car, Child 1 (aged 12) remarked that someone, I forget who, was “a total douchbag”. And when I asked him what he thought a douchebag was (not my best idea) he told me, with a slightly defiant and teen-like jut of his jaw, that a douchebag was a prick. Oh great. Another fab moment in the annals of parenthood.

I decided not to disabuse him. For although literally his definition of a douchebag was inaccurate, in the slang manner in which the term is now commonly used over here, he was pretty much on the money. Besides, who wants to explain what a douchebag really is to their son? Not I.

Funnily enough, I very clearly remember the first time I ever heard the word douchebag and it was from an American, but it was about seven years ago and long before our transatlantic adventures had ever been dreamed of.

We were in a pub with a couple Mr T’s American work colleagues when the term came up, used in just the same manner as Child 1 employed it the other day. But I had no idea what it was. I’d never heard of a douche, far less a douche bag. In fact the closest I could come to it was scraped from my schoolgirl french according to which douche meant shower. A shower bag? Eh?

So, being me, I asked, in detail, what a douchebag was. And with some embarrassment, the couple explained it. And I was gobsmacked. Even now, I am not sure I believe in it. Really people? Here is my favourite illustration of said item. I like that it’s a drawing. Makes it seem less real.


I think I can pretty safely say that the term douchbag will not be crossing the Atlantic anytime soon. I had never heard of douching I can’t find much evidence of women douching in the UK at all.  And douching seems to be pretty frowned upon over here nowadays too. I would imagine the term would have to exist in a language in its original sense before it could start to be used as slang. But now that it is I wonder if and for how long the pejorative use might outlive the literal? It has a certain ring to it… But don’t tell Child 1 I said that.


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