Dear future selves, past selves and now selves, this is a gentle reminder that, well, fuckboys really are out there, and they’re sneaking around your peripherals waiting to pounce on your vulnerable side. They’re legit, even spell check’s red squiggly line doesn’t deny a fuckboy’s existence. A myth no more, unpack your torches and get ready to shine a light on every damn fuckboy (or fuckboi) you have or will inevitably fall for. So, what exactly is a fuckboy, and how did they get such a bad rep?
Typically, a fuckboy is a straight man who generally pisses our seemingly unaware emotional spheres off, but it is important to note that it doesn’t have to be a straight man—anyone can act in the same way too. There is no anecdote to falling victim to one of these trappers, but a word of wisdom to start off with; a sense of humour goes a long way. A fuckboy can’t just be a name we call someone who hurts us by simply not falling back for us. That being said, the term fuckboy didn’t come into the world without reason.
By definition, a fuckboy is someone who doesn’t respect women but simultaneously relies on them heavily. In other words, a codependent narcissist. They reek of entitlement. They’re distant, which at the start might seem alluring and mysterious, but over time you’ll quickly realise that they aren’t trying to be, they literally don’t care about other people’s time, and won’t commit to anything but their own watch. They’re self-absorbed, and do a lot of stupid things. Emotions? What emotions? Up until they get lonely… then they’ll have just the right bit of self-conscious nonsense to get you out of yours and into their bed. Don’t expect a chat in the morning, they’ll become unusually busy and frantic about their to-do plans the next day.
There are actually multiple evolutionary histories leading back to where the term came from, and a fuckboy also seems to play different roles in various communities, which ironically makes it difficult to find a consistent and stable source. However, the term fuckboy came into popular use through hip-hop, which overlaps heavily with black culture. The term stemmed from there until very recently.
Fuckboys only really became internationally labelled around 2016 when the term peaked in Google Trends. Earlier than that though, Cam’ron used it in the chorus of his 2002 song ‘Boy, Boy’, referring to a man that was a faker.
Fuckboys are also mentioned in the 2014 Run the Jewels song ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’. In an interview with Under the Radar, Killer Mike was asked about the meaning of the word in that song. He said “Fuckboys just do all the shit you can’t believe at the time. You know, the cops pull you over and ask if anyone has marijuana in the car. That one friend who says, ‘Yes officer I do’, he’s the fuckboy in that situation.” But if you’re reading this and think ‘phew, I’d have said no’ hold up, you can still be a fuckboy if you lie to a cop.
To be called a fuckboy is obviously an insult, and insults don’t necessarily have some deeper meaning, they’re just there to shut someone up, real quick.
The funny guys who kindly offer to pay for half your Uber home. When you ask to see him again, their response is: ‘let’s stay in touch’. Also, a puddle of fuckboys often mingle with the writers, the musicians, the artists—the silent, broody, 100 per cent going to fuck up your life stereotypes. Fuckboys are also incapable of accepting any responsibility for their actions, so expect to be ghosted if you call them out on it.
Fuckboys like having options, and I’m really not saying this is an all round bad thing, but, sometimes it’s a power thing, they don’t want to choose one because that deletes the option of having options. Now, to round off, if your philosophical heart has been broken by one of these so-called fuckboys, I’ll ask you one more thing: did you really have to reply to that third flake apology text? Your life is already waiting for you babe, don’t make it wait too long—but also, steer clear of simps.
You’ve probably heard or read the term soft boy somewhere online. Also spelled softboy or softboi, the term is used to describe a specific type of man. Here’s exactly what it means and a few examples of typical soft boys.
Urban Dictionary has more than one definition for the word soft boy but all of them seem to agree on a few points. Although the term is used to describe boys, soft boys have features and behaviours that most would qualify as almost feminine. They also have a sensitive side that differentiates them from the previously used term fuckboy.
“Similar to a fuckboy but without the cocky attitude. The softboy will butter a girl up by appealing to her emotions and showing a ‘sensitive’ side long enough for her to sleep with him, whether or not he actually cares about her or not. Then, like the fuckboy, he can’t and won’t commit. Differs from the fuckboy because he goes for the heart and emotions rather than just the body,” says one of Urban Dictionary’s definitions.
@beam_me_up_softboi is the Instagram account that shares with its followers screenshots of conversations with typical soft boys trying to impress girls with their indie music knowledge and their fake philosophy of life.
As much as this can be true for some, not all soft boys are manipulative liars. Soft boys can also be recognised by their soft and gentle attitude.
Many believe that soft boys come as a package, meaning that yes, they are nice and easily likeable, but they also have a very precise aesthetic that makes them recognisable from afar. From wearing pastel tracksuits and having soft, natural hair, soft boys are, well, soft inside and out.
Many agree that soft boys are a watered-down version of K-pop and its boyfriend aesthetic which then influenced western culture. In K-pop, the boyfriend look describes an outfit made of pastel tones, muted colours and having a classic hairstyle.
This style is named the boyfriend aesthetic as it is an outfit that a man could wear to meet his partner’s parents in.
As mentioned in The Guardian’s What is a softboi? You might be dating one – and you don’t even know it, Timothée Chalamet is probably the perfect and most used celebrity example of a soft boy. His explicit embrace of femininity and rejection of traditional masculinity has struck a nerve with audiences of all ages who have marvelled at him (for good reasons).
Very similar to Chalamet is Harry Styles, who recently also showed a different approach to masculinity by wearing nail varnish, pearl necklaces and more feminine apparel.
Less famous but also coming under the soft boy umbrella are actors Cole Sprouse from the series Riverdale and Noah Centineo who starred in rom-coms such as The Perfect Date and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.
Whether you decide to use the term or not, soft boys have inundated social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok and are here to stay. And, to be honest, with toxic masculinity finally being challenged, it’s the perfect time for us to accept soft boys as a gentler, kinder sort of man.