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Nightlife

Vegas Gets Booked

An exclusive interview with “Hot Chicks With Douchebags” author Jay Louis

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Giving new meaning to the phrase “Are you in the book?” first-time author Jay Louis’ debut, Hot Chicks With Douchebags (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2008), attempts to plant a righteous finger into a dam bursting with sightings of, well, hot chicks with douchebags, that is, men Louis would consider unworthy with the women they are unworthy of.

Aimed at educating, identifying and then eradicating the phenomenon, Louis begins with a history of douchbaggery, from the times of ancient Greece and the great philosopher “Thessedouchuous,” then leading up to the modern era with actor Richard Grieco and actress/girlfriend Yasmine Bleeth. From there, the book employs nightclub photos from SpyOnVegas.com and Louis’ unique lingo—it’s like Klingon, really—as a bestiary, outlining the nine telltale signs that one is indeed a douchebag, and then, most entertainingly, 58 species and sub-species of douchebag. For example, “The Eurobag,” which presents a “distinct otherness within their performative douchosity. Their wanky scrote is still clearly douche, but something about it is foreign.” He tortures the word scrotum almost as much as he does douchebag.

But if that made you chuckle, even in spite of yourself, you will delight in the lighthearted-yet-heavy-handed approach with which Louis ferrets out the douchebag, defined as “a heterosexual male attempting to attract a female through the use of excessive cosmetic products, hand gestures, fist-pumping, loud shirts, upturned collars, jewelry and intricately carved facial hair.”

But don’t think the ladies get off that easy. Chapter 8 outlines “The four stages of Bleeth,” in which a “young perky girl of happy disposition” has, by spending time in the company of douchebags, reached “a terminal nexus of douchebaguousness so dark and scrotey, not even Tag Bodyshot Clouds can escape its gravitational pull.” Poor Yasmine Bleeth.

Louis’ blog of the same name and mission was a perennial hit almost right out of the gate when it launched a little more than two years ago. The submission-based site calls out daily a new crop of douchebags, flanked by an ever-changing roster of hot chicks; his annual Douchey awards are the stuff of legend. The Los Angeles-based author, in his early thirties, sprang from a career as a commercial writer (that is, a writer of television commercials) to oversee the blog, the book, and now the Hot Chicks With Douchebags brand. That’s right, it’s a brand.

“I was really frustrated,” says Louis. “I was seeing all these couples in LA where all these girls were dating these uberdouchy guys.” But why describe them as douchebags? “It’s a great word. They’re not ‘assholes’ ... and I don’t like the word ‘guido.’ Douchebag isn’t ethnic; I stay away from anything racist in the book. It’s equal opportunity. It’s what a person does, not who they are. Douchebaggery is about spectacle, about a name brand becoming an object. ‘You can read Dolce and Gabbana on my sunglasses, Armani/Exchange on my shirt, Ed Hardy on my pants ...’ My question to them is ‘Who are you?!’”

Here here! As a woman, I too roll my eyes at the tribal-tatted meatheads as they try to attract the attention of females through size, faux-tans, gaudy jewelry, aggression and other would-be signs of virility. As Louis puts it, he is just “one person against a culture.”

And so, in efforts to buck the alarming trend, Chapter 9 gives us the manual for “De-douchification,” a hilarious 12-step program, of course, beginning with acceptance, urging douchebags to leave the state of New Jersey, and to remove all douche accoutrements: sunglasses, popped collars, tilted hats, “mandanas” and club sweat. Gentlemen, Louis pleads via his almost indecipherable jargon, stop shaving your chests. Put down the bronzer. Ditch the skank. Anyone who frequents a Las Vegas nightclub has seen more than enough to have written a similar tale. But they didn’t, Jay Louis of LA did, and that has a few Vegas locals pretty steamed.

Since the 240-page photo-driven coffee table tome hit the shelves on July 8, certain locals are finding themselves amid the pages of Louis’ book, familiar faces like Tracy Lee of NapkinNights.com, DJ Scotty Boy and VIP host Robert Montero, many labeled as douchebags or Bleeths. In targeting Vegas as “The Heart of Doucheness,” and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino specifically as “Douche Mecca,” this outsider has unknowingly made poster children of much of the Las Vegas nightlife community, a few of whom are now fuming and hungry for blood and monetary damages (the Hard Rock had no comment). What? A scandal in Vegas?? Get out.

“I don’t think it’s right,” says DJ Shift (AKA Justin Bueltel). “I don’t think people should profit off defamation of character.” Shift is understandably concerned that he may lose gigs because of his inclusion for making a “spectacle” of himself with his tattoos, mohawk and piercings.

The Bank’s busser Levi Dowling, pictured with girlfriend, Natasha Meade, as “The Last of the Mohawkans,” takes his lumps as “a rock-star wannabe, a music major überpud who takes things to an extreme level of shaved headed ballsackery.” Similarly, Jet Promotions Manager Kevin Finch gets called out as “Chinbag,” one who “cannot control the doucheyness of his jawline. It is there from birth.”

But for all that harshness, the women—outside of Chapter 8—get off scot-free. “I would worship her used towels discarded after forty sweaty minutes on the Stairmaster 2000,” Louis writes of Natasha Meade, a server at The Bank. And of Mist Promotions Director Joanna Park, clinging to Finch in his unfortunate mug shot, Louis heaves, “Her lightly powdered cheekbones sing harmonic twelve-tone compositions performed by the Kronos Quartet. In my pants.”

“I don’t like the fact that I found out that I’m in a book that’s being published and sold without my knowledge,” says Park. One wonders, did Louis get ejected from a Light Group venue at some point?

It continues like this for a good while—slam the guy, pant over the girl, rinse, repeat. Jay Lologo of Brand One Clothing was none too pleased with his own inclusion as Step 12 in Chapter 9, as the tongue-wagging, devil horns-waving “scrotefungus.”

“There should have been a lot more thought put into it. [Louis] is the biggest douchebag of them all.” Lologo also points out a rift that could erupt in Vegas if anyone should decide to seek legal satisfaction against author Louis, publisher Simon Spotlight Entertainment (a division of Simon & Schuster), or SpyOnVegas.com, which is credited with the lion’s share of the provided photography, the other being Getty Images, a known photo clearing-house.

Says DJ Hollywood (“The Chaos Theory ’Bag”), “It sold out at Borders? Good for him. But it’s a good thing he didn’t put my name in there …”

DJ Mikey Swift agrees that the douchebag phenom is entertaining overall, as is the book, but that not knowing that his audience are also his victims could be his ultimate downfall. “I think 90 percent of what he’s saying is right,” says Swift. “I just think he picked four or five people he shouldn’t have. It’s negative for my image. Half of what we’re hired for is how we look … But he stands to gain, he’s making money off making fun of me.”

With regards to SpyOnVegas’s involvement—Spy being a popular nightlife photo site owned by WENDOH Media—Swift is most keen to find out how his picture, taken with DJ Michael Toast and an attractive “Rehab girl,” got from Spy’s archives to the book.

“For the book I had to buy the photos,” says Louis. While Getty is a well-known source for red-carpet celeb shots and event pics, SpyOnVegas has never been known to sell photos, though co-owner Ryan Doherty admits Spy does regularly give photos to outlets like TMZ.com, Us Weekly and In Touch. “He definitely didn’t purchase them. To my knowledge, we’ve never even sold a picture.”

In a later e-mail, Louis asserts a second time, “As to the pics in the book, all were purchased legally. The credits in the book are accurate.”

This will prove troublesome for those wishing to take anyone involved to court, which is where this case might eventually end up. At press time the book’s publicist at Simon Spotlight Entertainment had not provided information about whose name is actually on the contract for allegedly selling the photos.

And whoever did sell them, is that even a crime? Perhaps, says attorney Ira David of the Morishita Law Firm. But it depends on a laundry list of factors, beginning with whether or not the people pictured are in the public eye. Others, especially DJs, will have to prove actual damages, like a dramatic reduction in bookings since July 8. It won’t be easy.

Louis says he doesn’t know anyone pictured in the book. He says he’d be really surprised if anyone turns out to actually be upset. “It’s part of the douchebag persona—if you can take your lump, get called out and then be cool about it, you look so much better, instantly heroic. If they’re a little self-deprecating, it goes a long way towards redemption.” Richard Candido (“Prince Asspian” pictured with his ex-girlfriend) jokes, “I’m gonna do a book signing next week. At least I’m fortunate enough to have a full page and it’s a good pic. I’m not really that upset about it because hey, its PR!”

Looking to the future, and minding that brand, Louis says his next book, focusing regionally on the Mid-West, Vancouver, or maybe Texas, will get a little more personal, with Louis taking the photos himself. Probably a good idea.

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