Paul Wilson: ‘Affliction’ Backwards Spells ‘Douche Bag’

affliction_livefast_X1QThis isn’t the story I’d planned for my big comeback and first writing misadventure of the New Year in the choppy seas of KCC…

And while I plan to unleash a full explanation for my absence shortly, this was just some low hanging fruit from a vacation I couldn’t pass up.

The question I’ve been wrestling with since last Saturday in the Buzzard Bar at Big Cedar is this; do all douche bags wear “Affliction” clothing or do you put Affliction on and instantly turn into a D-bag? I find it hard to believe 100% cotton can wield that much influence and power over a human being, still I think it’s a valid question.

According to Wiki, Affliction Clothing was founded in 2005 by a handful of dudes with close ties to mixed martial arts, or MMA.  Maybe that’s the answer right there; it’s an extension of the TapOut and Ed Hardy curse. You put it on and you think you’re an instant bad ass.

Interesting aside: it only took until 2009 for Maxim to label Affliction clothing the “douche bag de jour of shirts.”

Not that I have anything against the clothing line, outside of it being ugly and the primary design concept seeming no more creative than, “When in doubt, slap a skull on it.”

ce6e83_525417026b082b3e365937553a187a4dSecond only to the company’s use of skulls is the application of the French Fleur-de-lis symbol. Because most wearers of Affliction’s attire don’t appear to have sufficient IQ points or culture to know the fleur-de-lis a stylized image made up from a bound lily.

And a compliment in passing of, “That’s a very pretty French flower on your shirt, son,” would likely leave them feeling a lot less bad ass.

You know, I’d assume.

Which brings me back to that night at the Buzzard. Axe Body Spray filled the room as 5’8”, Crown and Coke drinking Danny D-bag and his friend strolled into the bar, taking the table next to me where I was having drinks with friends. Danny had the fully blown out Jersey Shore hairdo. And his man pal instantly reminded me of the Monday-Friday CPA who breaks out his Harley wear on Friday when he closes the office and heads to bike night with the other weekend biker bad boys.

hotchicks-douchebags-ed-hardy0000The pair were in the company of simply stunning women.

None of whom were wearing rings of any kind. CPA’s gal could have passed for his daughter. Danny Boy’s lady  – either rented or there by choice – was more age appropriate. And clearly the dudes were of means, unless they just drove down from Springfield for dinner, since the going rate at Big Cedar is like $800 a day.

Their conversation was sprinkled with the all too frequent use of the term “brah” when referring to each other and the entire repartee between the two men revolved around their personal feats of manliness, covering the entire span of their bromance.

They had to be close friends because their conversation skipped from 502 horsepower dune buggies jumping hills, to their latest boat project with “two new turbos this year,” drunken nights in various cities, etc..

Most captivating was the retelling of, “Remember the time you were in the boat and I flew over the lake in my plane, rolled it upside down and flew over you 10 feet above your head, pacing the boat at 100mph under the bridge?”

Of course, it goes without saying –  although it was mentioned 50 times – that the “brahs” were VIPs no matter where they went.

Both girls were virtually silent during the entire two hours of “Let’s top that story with a bigger one” and brah-to-brah jerk offs. The women would occasionally glance at one another with a disgusted smirk then stare back into space.

The men, with thick necks and small bladders, left together twice to go to the rest room, serving as the only occasion I heard the girls speak in whispered tones bemoaning the plight of their evening.

Bragging about their toys did not cover the dudes mega douche status, no matter how hard they tried and the women knew it.

Fads: how do they begin and why do they hang on so long?

teeshirt_orange_smallThere was a brief moment in w003 when Von Dutch t-shirts were kinda cool – but only when worn by people who followed the pin striping and rat rod trends. And it took Maxim nearly five years to  label this one for what it is.

So there you have it;  now, you’re no longer “unique” wearing Affliction’s $80 dollar, poorly designed t-shirts. Kinda like tattoos; now you’re considered more unique by not having one.

Maybe it wasn’t the clothing line’s fault, maybe it was just two self-absorbed gas bag dudes who didn’t realize they were with two really nice, hot girls. Or, maybe it was that the girls weren’t going to become important until later in the evening,

I’m betting they didn’t need to talk then either.

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29 Responses to Paul Wilson: ‘Affliction’ Backwards Spells ‘Douche Bag’

  1. Jim says:

    Bravo, Paul! My GF has the same reaction every time to seeing an Affliction shirt at our local watering hole. Make eye-contact with the tool. Chuckle. Small head shake with her eyes closed. Chick’s gonna get my head ripped off some day, but it is amusing.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Jim, “tool” is correct, but I doubt you get your head ripped off; most are posers. I told our esteemed Admin, I was standing in line at a local coffee shop, standing in line behind a small fry in a TapOut shirt and misc tattoos. He turned around to leave, made eye contact with me which gave me a chance to say “thank you” to him, and replied, “Thanks?”
      I said, yes, and explained after I saw his shirt, I was terrified that at any time he may unexpectedly turn around and kick my ass for no apparent reason!
      He simply huffed and puffed while his short little legs walked him to his car!

    • the dude says:

      No, by all means DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT make contact with these types of special D-bags. They might try to engage you in babbling talk about brah-iness or how EXTREME their last bowel movement was. You have been warned.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Dude, thanks to your sage advice, I shall remain moot when in their presence from this day forth!

  2. CG says:

    Yep like Ed Hardy, its past its due date…everything has its time. I bought both when they came out, a year later after I saw how it went and who wore them, I gave all my t shirts away…damn one of the Ed Hardy’s was like 125 bucks…rip off…oh well. Happens.

  3. Libertarian says:

    Dedicated followers of fashion. Oh boy.

    Paul, that sounds about as much fun as an installment of “The Craid Galzer Show”.

    Welcome back.

  4. chuck says:

    I have no idea what those guys were talking about and have never heard of the clothes, but I DO know they were doing rails in the crapper.

  5. harley says:

    whoa…wait one minute paul…you come back and your first article is about
    probably one of the greatest success stories in the apparel business.
    Charlie “mask” started that business selling t shirts out of his trunk.
    This was not some small time operation….he and his partners made millions
    which were never spent.
    I met Charles/Charlie at a sports apparel convention …thought the
    guy was a crazy m-fer. I helped some friends get an mlb apparellicense
    thru our connections with mlb commissioners office.
    Maybe you’re usedto the tux and suit crowd at the Kauffman center but
    get out of your comfort zone and the t shirts of the 18-45 year old
    male at the time was tapout and the rest of the ufc apparel that originally
    came from people in other action sports like snowboarding. Go down south
    where the entire country is now moving and youstill see these shirts
    everywhere!!!!!!
    Yes…some of the people who wear those shirts are douchbags…but so are
    some of the tux and suit wearing crowd that goes to the high dollar charity events.
    Tapout was a huge huge success started by an entrepreneur working parking lots
    but the same for many very successful music artists who started out selling
    cd’s out of their trunks in beauty salons and car repair shops.
    Mask and his partners were very very business savy people…and so were
    the rest of those original owners of those small time apparel companies who
    made millions…think about it…a $10 shirt selling for $80-$125…those were
    smart dudes.
    I had the opportunity to meet many of them at different events along with
    many of the fighters theysponsored along with dana white who built the ufc.
    These are not low rent foolish people….these people worked their asses
    off for years to get where they were. Yeah…you are what you wear but the
    tapout trio and salter were some of the best business minds out there who made
    billions off new action sports before anyone knew about them. Now …every
    sports network is foaming at the mouth to get these events on the air…
    And by the way…didn’t you wear those parachute pants put out by mc hammer
    in the 80’s…I thought I saw a pic of you in those things.
    anyway..welcome back

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Harley, I don’t know who Charley “mask” is, but they were founded by Courtney Dubar, Todd Beard, Eric Foss, and Clifton Chason.
      A little less than two years ago, Dubar bought Beard’s interest, the others are minor shareholders I believe.
      Sure, they have been hugely successful; they’ve stayed at $100-150M since ’08, nothing to sneeze at.
      But to keep things in context, I was observing what seems to be the demographic of their customer, I wasn’t questioning the business acumen of the founders. Add to that, their margins are incredible; make it for $8 – sell it for $80-100!
      The founders of Summer’s Eve did well for themselves too; a douche bag is involved in both business models.
      Coincidence?
      I think not……

      • harley says:

        mask founded tapouT by selling t shirts from his
        car trunk at mma fights…an incredible business success
        story which many guys on here would not appreciate.
        mask was killed by a drunk driver…met him several times
        aloing with his partners at apparel shows…they and
        several other groups made millions selling those t shirts.
        I find that those t shirts were as freakingstupid as the
        women who bought the fake coach purses and fake
        designer goods at the nail salons in Kansas city.
        And whats worse is that you puteveryone who wears
        those shirts in to a negative category.
        I know many many people who wear that…seen it at
        so e nice places.
        Go south and they’re still worn everywhere.
        And no the guys who came out of high school wresting
        aren’t the fools youthink they are. Some have made
        it big….college wrestlers just from the Midwest who
        made it big are Michael chandler/askren/t wood…
        its not the low rent people you make it out to be.
        some very intelligent people and I suggest yougo
        to some of those bike nights and see who’s there..
        been to several with friends and they’re doctors/lawyers/
        business owners (big businesses)….some of kc’s largest
        contractors were there.
        sure there are d bags wearing those shirts….but lots of
        even bigger d b ags wearing suits and ties too.
        salter is another big time guy…the networks all want to
        cover these action sports because they draw big bucks and
        big viewership.
        I was at an mma fight in vegas for ufc….the gm of the
        hotel told me that when they hold these fights
        in vegas some of the biggest bettors come to town….
        its not what youthink….I’ve seen it….sure they might
        act like unusuall to the people you might hang with but
        they’re some very very shrewd smart and succsseful
        people.
        get out morevoftern Wilson…you’ll see these styles
        of shirts in some of the most craziest places….and I wouldn’t
        call the ozarks resorts the mecca of style and class for
        anything!!!!!!!!! even at an overpriced $800 a night!!!!!!!

  6. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    I can honestly and proudly say that I’ve never worn one stitch of clothing made by Ed Hardy, Affliction, or TapOut. Without fail, every guy I’ve ever seen wearing that stuff is an asshat.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Guy, “asshat” was almost used in the title, last minute I went with D bag. Regardless, I agree with you 100%; thanks for re enforcing my point.

    • the dude says:

      Yep, same here. Guess I am not as cool as Glazer to wear that kind of D-apparel.

  7. rostam says:

    Harley is upset that you didn’t introduce yourself Paul.

  8. CG says:

    Brainless ones…
    cool guys, like me, bought the stuff when IT FIRST CAME OUT AND NOBODY HAD IT…then everyone had it, dope types, and the cool kids…me…stopped putting it on…like six years ago…see…simple huh. Nobody wears that today but Red Necks. Unless you are a major workout MMA guy then Tap Out is ok.

  9. expat says:

    Be careful they may threaten to sue you.

    Paying too much for an Affliction shirt is in the same category as paying too much for a Louis Vuitton bag or Hermes tie in my opinion. They all sell cheap China-made crap stamped with some design/branding that doesn’t contribute anything to the quality of the item; I’m ok with paying a lot for clothes but only if the money is reflected in quality and not branding.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Expat, I agree totally. I actually find my bragging rights in quite the opposite direction. My tastes run deep in vintage cars and vintage clothing, but at 6’1″ and 250 it’s a little harder to find but I’m always on the quest.
      Two of my favorite winter items are a bespoke, full length black wool winter coat with a tux collar, hand made to order in Hong Kong. Picked it, as well as a full length HF/Wolf Brothers casmire coat for a percent of its original cost. The William Yu coat was over $1500 twenty years ago when made.
      That’s a lot more fun to me than logo’d anything!
      All of a sudden this story has turned very
      G
      A
      Y
      (Spacing used to avoid the Admin filter)

  10. Kerouac says:

    “with thick necks and small bladders”

    – and of 11-5 regular seasons & 0-1 posts…

  11. balbonis moleskine says:

    It is pretty hilarious when you go to the gym to lift and work out how many of these wanna be MMA guys there are at even a normal non-boxing/mma gym.

    It’s like every undersized loser decided they were going to do something once their high school wrasslin career ended. UGH

    although it is kind of fun to go to Whisky Tango and watch those dolts fight– the level is only slightly higher than your average bar fight

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Well said, Balbo; posers pose, it’s what they do.
      Thanks for your always insightful comments.

  12. Orphan of the Road says:

    The Axe body spray had me confused. That is usually the smell of the middle school hallway.

    Tough guys don’t walk around showing it. But the 3lb-thrust-will-crush-your-kneecap, 5lbs-of-torque-will-break-your-neck guys usually let it slip between confessions of not knowing how many street fights they have won.

    Charley was the toughest guy I knew as a teen. A Teamster organizer he was very good with his fists. But one night another guy got under his skin and they went to Fist City.

    Charley was getting the worst so he pulled a gun and shot the other guy. The other guy then took away the gun and pistol-whipped Charley untill he could no longer stand.

    He was wearing jeans and a madras shirt if my memory serves me right.

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-signs-that-someone-isnt-actually-badass/

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRWlnv0_svU

  13. Mike says:

    I would assume the term “ass hat” would also apply to those douche bags who continue to wear a ball cap with the bill to the back and sun glasses resting on the bill “at midnight” when there is no sun!!! Wonder if they own the T shirt as well.

    • the dude says:

      Dunno, ask Crag the trendsetter that ‘allegedly’ dumped all his uncool gear waaaaay long ago.

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