Tuesday, June 03, 2014


“Venture out into the towns and cities of this country this weekend and you’ll find it hard to avoid the conclusion that young British men are in the midst of a crisis. A crisis of time and role, of both maturity and masculinity. A crisis that, in their search for purpose, has driven many of them to become completely contradictory lifeforms. The sort of people who wear facemasks to bed but will happily neck a pint of piss for a dare. People who train all year round for Ibiza’s party season, only to suck up legal highs they bought off strangers on the internet. Their heads are too small for their bodies, their shoulders are wider than a pub television and they have shit Robbie Williams tattoos. They look dreadful and bizarre; they are the modern British douchebag – pumped, primed, terrifyingly sexualised high-street gigolos.

It’s really fucking hard to feel sorry for them but douchebags don’t exist in a vacuum. Yes, arseholes have always existed, but not this particular breed of arsehole and would that be the case if social mobility hadn’t taken such a whack in recent years? Would that be the case if young men didn’t feel constantly undermined? They’re the sad, lost children of the metrosexuals and the miners. They are analogue men in a digital age, imported via America. A Calvin Harris remix of a Springsteen song that just doesn’t really work.

The institutions that gave British men a sense of wellbeing have been ripped apart. Nobody trusts the police any more; nobody wants to join the army because no one believes in its wars; traditional industries have been decimated and the only thing to replace them are stifling, mind-numbing positions in service and retail.

Because of this, British men have tried to reimagine masculinity, in a hyper-realised, childish, desperate way. A new kind of machismo, built on fake bravado and vanity. Of course, not every young male in Britain today is an internet drug huffing pick-up artist – not even every young British douchebag is – but a significant number of them are looking up to faux-hawked, peacocking, rich maniacs like Mario Balotelli for inspiration, because they really have nowhere else to look. Their bosses hate themselves and their dads hate them.”


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