How Sad Young Douchebags Took Over Modern Britain
Venture out into the towns and cities of the UK on any 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 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 face masks 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 sexualized high-street gigolos. They have no concept of subtlety and they don’t care.
You probably know this already, especially if you’ve seen the TV shows The Only Way Is Essex and Geordie Shore,and any other primary documents of life in the UK. We all know that a lot of young British men now look like Ken dolls dipped in tea and covered in biro. What we don’t really know is how and why it happened. It’s easy to dismiss them as just a more extreme strand of lad culture—the Rancid to the lads’ Green Day. But there are some vital differences between these two cultural types.
Most notably, douchebags don’t have friends—they have wingmen. And while the lad might have to be cajoled by those mates into approaching a girl after a few beers, the modern British douchebag already knows every line he’ll be using to snare his prey before he leaves the house for another evening of Monster cocktails and creatine. He has a far more cynical view of a night out. He’s in it for the posturing, the posing, and the pussy, and he’ll stalk the light-paneled dancefloors of the UK’s shittiest nightclubs until he’s proved it.
Hall of Lame
“We don’t take sports seriously enough” has to rank behind “many dumb people are heavily armed,” “many of the people who are heavily armed are also popping pain pills like Mike and Ikes” and “Congress” on any list of the problems facing our culture. Pretty far behind all those, in fact. It could be argued, actually, that as a general rule we take sports entirely too seriously. Somewhere, a grown man has been on hold for hours so he can get through to some Beefer and the Squelch sports-talk radio show to ask his “question,” which is, “LSU is all faggots.” Somewhere else, there is an adult planning to walk around outdoors on Sunday in a big goofy nylon mesh football jersey with another person’s name on the back. There are—and I am sorry to remind you of this but it does us no good to ignore it—Philadelphia Eagles fans, and they’re already drunk.
But this type of unserious too-seriousness, the loud and backwards binge-drink-y kind, is not necessarily the problem. It is a problem, in the way that Adam Sandler’s movies and face are a problem, but it’s not a pressing issue; we can’t stop sports fans from behaving like peevishly entitled kidults any more than we can stop moviegoers from wanting to see Sandler’s new film, Guy in Khaki Shorts Has Smutty/Heartwarming Gay Panic Misadventures on Vacation. We, ourselves, don’t need to do either of those things. Under-reasoned overexuberance of that sort isn’t the reason for overly serious, fatuously righteous sport-idiocies like the Baseball Writers Association of America’s collective decision not to induct anyone into the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this week, despite a ballot full of deserving candidates. But low-grade, high-volume too-seriousness—the superfan’s goonish arrogation of the first-person plural and the right to send dickish @-messages on Twitter to players after poor fantasy showings; the calculated stupidity of ESPN’s pretending-to-argue programming—has more in common with the high-minded too-seriousness of the Hall of Fame voters than those voters might think.
Superficially, of course, these are two different things. The doofs happily sitting on hold in hope that they might get to tell the world some 19-year-old they’ll never meet is a gutless loser are ridiculous—loud, simple avatars of dimwitted entitlement and misplaced priorities, casually making outrageous demands of strangers in the name of no-excuses toughness. The baseball writers who refused to vote for qualified Hall of Fame candidates—whether because players even flimsily connected to the sport’s steroid scandals of the last two decades should just have to wait a year because something something “the sanctity of the game” something something, or because the voter in question is huffily fighting a rearguard action against the last 30 years of human history—are… well, this part is complicated. Like talk-radio types, these voters are blithely holding others to impossible standards in the most self-righteous way possible, and define “getting tough” as “accusing people you barely know of being cheaters instead of dealing with a complex issue.” The difference between the two groups is that, on balance, the talk radio people are slightly more drunk.
I WENT TO PATTAYA, THAILAND FOR THE SEX, I STAYED FOR THE STEROIDS
Imagine if Charles Bronson loaded up on steroids, waltzed out of prison, bought a huge apartment in Thailand, and spent the rest of his days sleeping with prostitutes, posting photos of said prostitutes to his Facebook page, zealously championing misogyny, and fighting for animal rights. And taking more steroids.
Add a couple of tribal tattoos and you’ve got Tim “Sharky” Ward, the Australian man who moved to Pattaya, Thailand, and became an internet celebrity earlier this year for taking a bunch of steroids and posting photos of prostitutes on Facebook. I suppose that makes him a worthy-enough interview subject as it is, but I also wanted to speak to him to gain some insight into why so many Australians are moving to Pattaya.
The sex trade there is no secret. Prostitutes charge about $15 a night and most rely on that money to feed their entire family. However, since many men are looking for a girlfriend or wife in these women, those with families have to pretend they are single and child-free, which has led to bloggers like StickmanBangkok, a friend of Sharky’s, conducting surveillance on the women to make sure they’re telling the truth. It’s exploitative and sad and everything else that usually goes along with the sex industry in developing countries, and most other countries for that matter.
But sex isn’t all that’s drawing people to Pattaya. Sharky is part of a growing community of Australian bodybuilders who move there for the cheap steroids you can buy over the counter at pharmacies. As you can probably imagine, this anabolic-fueled sex-tourist paradise is on its way to becoming the historical zenith of douche-baggery, with Sharky as its king. I spoke to him to find out how life there is unfolding for him.
VICE: So when I called you earlier you said you were busy. What were you doing?
Tim “Sharky” Ward: I was eating. I’d just finished fucking. I just finished smashing a bird and I went out and got some food.
Smashing her? How was that?
Fucking great. I loved it. I love pussy. I always have. People think I didn’t fuck girls before I came to Thailand. I owned nine nightclubs. I got more pussy in Australia than I get in Thailand.
Wow, that’s very impressve. Can you estimate how many women you’ve slept with?
Well, it’s over a thousand in Australia and it’s over a thousand here. To be honest, it took me a lot longer to do my thousand in Australia ‘cause I had relationships.
So I take it you’re not a one woman kind of guy?
No. Fuck ‘em. They’re all cunts. I’ve been through too much to know that it just ends in heartache.
But there can only be a limited number of bar girls in Thailand—what happens when you’ve slept with them all?
Oh, they come from the villages, like Isan in the north. There are new girls arriving every day and the old ones leave. It’s the circle of life, you know? I do double up, but it’s been brand new girls for the last two days. They all want to come to Pattaya. They want gold. They want to live the dream. They wanna meet the rich Western guy that’s gonna take her back to his country and look after her.
The Giant Insane People of the NFL Are Back, Finally
For the next 21 or so weeks, America is about to get 20 percent more American. Billion-dollar stadiums—constructs of steel and glass hulking at the edges of our major cities—will overflow with screaming, costumed fans frightening in their tribalism. Young men, muscled and disciplined and serious, jacked up on drugs designed to make them faster and stronger and impervious to pain, will pour out onto fields specially demarcated by white lines. Fireworks and smoke will fill the air. Tanned women with impossibly smooth skin will kick and gyrate as the young men crash into each other. Bones will break, ankles will twist, players will lie limp on the field before being carted away to be cared for by teams of physicians. Each instance of athletic violence committed in service of moving a ball forward will be filmed for study later by dozens of experts. The achievements in these games will be translated into numbers, which will be painstakingly recorded and disseminated to the general populace. After each contest there will be rituals of celebration and atonement by the winners and losers, respectively. Men will speak words into nests of microphones and cameras. The same plays will be shown over and over and over. People will crowd into bars that are plastered with high-definition television screens. The games will be interrupted by images of helmets crashing into each other and exploding and robots playing electric guitars. This will happen every Sunday. The NFL, in all its horrifying, incomprehensible, violent glory is here.
A Complete Dipshit’s Guide to the Roger Clemens Verdict
Roger “Rocket” Clemens, maybe the greatest right-handed pitcher in baseball history, is a little fat in the face and also a free man, having been declared innocent/not guilty of six counts of obstructing Congress, committing perjury, and making false statements. (The statements were about whether he used steroids to ostensibly become better at baseball, which is pretty much why we care in the first place.) The trial may be the biggest waste of baseball-related tax dollars since a couple of brain surgeons posing as lawyers in California found Barry Bonds guilty of a teeny weeny count of obstructing justice, which carried a sentence of 30 days house arrest in a palatial abode that is bigger than the grocery store I go to.
We realize this whole thing is all still a bit confusing, so we’re here to answer all of your idiotic questions about what exactly went down.
Dipshit: So, I remember you telling me that the CFL guy Pinhead Clemons is still wanted for murder and Rockin’ Roget Clemens, the pitcher, is on trial, right?
VICE: Right. Well, was on trial.
Oh. So was he found innocent or was he found not guilty?
Well if you’re innocent you don’t have to pay in the civil suit, but if you’re not guilty it’s just a technicality. That’s what I read in a pamphlet.
No, that’s absolutely not correct. They are exactly the same thing.
So he got off?
Yeah, all counts.
How about his lawyer?
Rusty Hardin? What about him?
No, I’m saying, “how about his lawyer.” He’s real cool. He made some good arguments, huh?
You know, he didn’t do a bad job. He helped establish that Clemens was a super workout fiend and his former personal trainer was a sicko.