You know how you watch a silly teen or young adult movie where personalities are overly embellished?
What I mean by that, is you have the protagonist who fills the role as the “good guy”, and the script exaggerates his goodness so that the viewer can obtain a better understanding. He’s sensitive, which makes him a sympathetic character, but at the same time it usually means he gets taken advantage of. However, almost all of the time he ends up getting the girl.
Along those same lines, you’ll have the “hot girl,” who only does and says things that an attractive girl would say, and of course she only has hot friends (but not as hot as her.) And inevitably there will be a scene where we figure out that there is more to her that meets the eye, and that underneath all the hotness, she’s actually a genuine, authentic person. Like maybe she devotes her spare time volunteering at a hospital, or she writes beautiful poetry in a notebook but “never lets anyone else read it.”
And finally, you’ll have “the douchebag.” The majority of the time, this character is the boyfriend of the hot girl. Just like the previous two archetypes, the douchebag character will do and say stupid things, and be extremely rude and ill-natured towards other people. He’ll typically be self-centered, spoiled, and drive a really fancy car. And obviously he openly admits to his friends that he cheats on his girlfriend.
These character types are extremely cliché, but they exist. It’s a scriptwriting technique so that the viewer understands what role each character fills.
Just for clarification and to help resonate my argument (Because I even had to look it up on dictionary.com to make sure it was the right word,) the word ‘caricature’ literally means “ludicrously exaggerating the peculiarities or defects of persons or things.” So it fits perfectly for this.
Now let’s get back to the douchebag character in the movies. Usually this character exists not only as plot mechanism (he represents a barrier that prevents the “good guy” from immediately getting with the “hot girl”), but he also serves as comic relief. His douchebaggery is so over-the-top and so exaggerated that it’s actually funny.
But you can’t help but think, whenever you watch these movies, that people like this don’t really exist. You think there there’s no way that any single person can be that ridiculous that they would truly act this way in real life.
And then you meet somebody exactly like that.
Every now and then, you will have the honor — or the curse, however you choose to look at it — to meet somebody who so blatantly embodies the role of “the douchebag” that it is actually hysterical.
It’s almost a shock when you meet somebody like this. As I stated earlier, you never actually believed that there was a real-life person who could act in such a manner. Not only do they have that physical look that is abhorrent, but every words that comes out of their mouth is annoying. And that would be tolerable if they were actually saying kind or profound things, but instead, they are immature and mean. For no reason.
But the thing is — it’s actually funny.
These people differ from actual “bullies.” When I meet someone who displays this unique personality, I become extremely amused by them. First of all, you can’t take a person like this seriously.
Sorry, but when you know a lot of people and have a lot of friends, you come to appreciate the ones who are good eggs. You value their friendship. So considering these people, who mean so much to you, as an equal to someone who acts like a douchebag is an impossible thing to do. In my eyes, these douchebag-acting people are not real. They don’t deserve to be treated as a genuine human being.
And again, that doesn’t mean that I act mean towards them. If I’m mean, then I’m just being a douchebag myself. So I do the exact opposite — I act extra nice towards them.
Since I don’t consider them real people, anything they say or do can’t actually affect me. It’s like when a six-year old kid makes fun of you. You can’t hold it against them because they don’t know any better. The same thing goes with these douchebags.
Also, I know for a fact that everyone they encounter will think the same exact thing as me. Whoever they meet or associate with throughout the course of their life will immediately acknowledge how awful and repulsive this person is. Knowing that gives me enough satisfaction.
So I act extra polite, I laugh at their immaturity and terrible attempts at jokes, and I don’t let anything they say phase me in the slightest. I’ll admit that I will probably also mock them behind their backs (…or on this blog) but it’s truly impossible not to. With the way that they act, they’re asking for it.
Just think about the movie character again. The scriptwriter, when crafting the character, will think; “Okay, let me think of every annoying trait I can think of, and encompass all of them into one character. That will give me the ultimate douchebag.” They aren’t even trying to create a realistic portrayal of a human being. They’re creating them as a joke.
So when you experience the rare treat of actually meeting one in real life, then you can only behave the same way that you would when watching them in a movie.