The Classroom Douchebag

Tristan Axelrod

Are you an attention-seeking whore? Do you feel like the only way to reinforce and validate your identity is through conspicuous conduct in the classroom? Do you have an overblown sense of self-consciousness that can only be alleviated by projecting your neuroses onto your peers at wildly inappropriate times? Have no fear: these simple instructions will lead you to the highest echelons of douchebaggery. Soon enough, your self-satisfaction will blind you to the disgust and disdain of your professors and classmates.

Add to the discussion only to show how smart you are. Bonus points for starting your inane rambling just as class is ending, so that it is plain to everyone that you are trying to make up for your lack of attention and participation, and that you don’t care at all about taking up other people’s time. Your commentary should be only vaguely relevant to the discussion, making it clear that while you know what the discussion is about, you haven’t been listening to anyone. If possible, intentionally obfuscate your point because you’re sure that in doing so, people will just assume that you’re too smart for them.

Always direct discussion to your pet issue. Are you a WAGS major? No matter what class you’re in, be it music history, microeconomics, or modern architecture, be sure to steer all the conversation in your class towards gender issues. Never stray from your belief that gender issues (or concerns regarding homosexuality, Judaism, socio-economic classes, profit motives, or theater) create the conflicts that define all life experiences. Try not to allow anyone to speak, on the assumption that other opinions, in any discourse at all, are irrelevant.

Make plenty of references to your previous life experiences. Nothing brings out the best in a class discussion like hearing about how you sailed the Indian Ocean on a 12-meter yacht, or spent last summer working with HIV-positive albino orphan sex workers. Also, make your reference just random enough that everyone is pretty sure that you are lying.

Make plenty of references to previous classes with the professor. You and the professor are in a secret, super-awesome club. Make sure everyone knows that. Quote lectures from the previous class and try to turn it into a discussion just between you and the professor, and include as many in-jokes as possible. Only talk about books, movies, and other media from the previous class, and let everyone know that you have mastered all of them, and that this class is child’s play. Do your best to convince everyone through your insightful commentary that really, you could essentially teach this class. And don’t even limit yourself to previous classes with the teacher: claim to have memorized the bible, written a doctoral dissertation on the rights of women in the court of John of Gaunt, and discussed the finer points of constitutional law with your friend William Rehnquist. The more you impress people, the better. And remember that your professor is your personal buddy who is endlessly proud of your scholarship, wit, and insight.

Dress for success. Inappropriate clothing is what takes you over the top: for guys, the loafers/slacks/collared shirt/sport coat combo is pretty popular. Just make sure that if it rains, you wear a suede overcoat and velvet gloves— extra points for a tailored felt hat. For girls, the uggz/stockings/miniskirt/tanktop/scarf/gaudy earrings/too-much-makeup combo is very prevalent and highly successful. But there are numerous variations on these themes—my favorite is the skin-tight faux turtleneck with corduroys on a guy; it really draws out the femininity while still showing how much he works out. Anything will work as long as it conspicuously reinforces the self-image you are trying to validate with your behavior.

Variations on a theme

There are other ways of proclaiming your douchebaghood:
Jock Douchebag: Only wear jerseys, workout clothes, ball caps, etc. If you are called upon in class, try to convince everyone that you can barely read. Before and after class, banter loudly with other jock douchebags about the latest sports figures, a recent game, or the party over the weekend. You’ve discussed these things already, but now other people can hear you, so it’s special all over again.
A Capella Douchebag: Sing. Sing loud. Sing whenever you can, at inappropriate times. Try to pick pop songs everyone has heard, but don’t talk to anyone else: you can only associate with members of your a cappella group, which everyone knows is the best one on campus.
Drama Douchebag: Your personality cannot be contained in the iron cage of the real world! It can only be liberated by that airy bastion of artistic purity, that Mecca for all that is too truthful for reality, that glorious freedom, that fiery ensemble of divine expression— the theatre!

So, do you see yourself doing any of these things? Then maybe I’m speaking to you. But perhaps, on the lower frequencies, I speak to myself…

See you in class.

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3 Responses to “The Classroom Douchebag”


  1. 1 Sarah F. May 10, 2007 at 7:18 am

    At the risk of Tristan calling me a “douchebag,” I will now steer the conversation toward gender issues. The word “douchebag” is a term which is offensive to women. To call someone a “douchebag” is to suggest that that person is only worthy of cleaning out a dirty vagina. I appreciate that Tristan is trying to be humorous, but “douchebag” is by far not a humorous word. There are a multitude of other words which Tristan could use and I highly encourage him to do so. Given the current discussion on campus about appropriate terminology, Tristan might as well have said, “Those who steer the conversation toward gender issues are so gay!”

  2. 2 Siddharth Baveja '09 May 11, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    This is splendidly funny. The end of season sales are upon us, and I’m going to go and buy some Brooks Brothers shirts and chinos so I can ‘Dress for Success’ in class. I hope you’ll keep writing such hilarious articles for this awesome magazine!


  1. 1 Gadgets Magazine Trackback on September 9, 2014 at 11:38 pm

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