fuckboys and where to find them


From early 2016 onwards, “fuckboy” has been as scathing a one-word character reference I can give to someone I’ve been romantically involved with. To be labelled a fuckboy with any degree of sincerity is offensive. It makes a person look in the mirror for a little longer. They message their friends, perhaps even message you over the following weeks and months asking, “Am I really a fuckboy? Like, I don’t know what a fuckboy is. How would you describe a fuckboy? Can you explain it?” A fuckboy is the worst kind of person, romantically speaking. Where did it even come from? Everyone’s heard it. The word has been embedded in popular culture for around a decade now, featuring prominently in my own register for the past five years or so. Its definition has evolved and mutated in that time too. One must experience a fuckboy to ascribe their own definition, so I consulted a few and came up with my own.

Like any good influenza virus, we can categorise fuckboys into two types. A - not easily avoided, at worst feels like a bad cold, usually something you pick up after you went a little too hard at that club again. Load up on vitamin C, your immune system will bat it off in a couple of days. The other type, B, is the nasty one. Oh you know when you’ve had B, everyone says. You feel like you’ve been hit by a car. You’re in bed for days, sipping tea, weeping and aching. You’re angry at yourself for ignoring the signs and getting struck down in your prime. Friends and family show concern, your employer offers you 5 days paid sick leave.

The A-type is a caricature. You smell the CK Euphoria 20 seconds before you see him. He maybe wears sunglasses indoors. He likes The Chainsmokers and vodka redbulls. He wears  t-shirts with Rihanna’s face on (or whatever his friends wear) and his hair has looked like an iced gem at some point over the past few years. He’s either the best or the worst kisser you’ve ever experienced. He rinses one specific emoji with you, usually on the dick pic he sends you when you’ve had a bad day. He shows your nudes to his colleagues. He’s never eaten a pussy in his life. He says his ex wasn’t into it. He has been on a lads holiday every year since he was 18. Take me back, he laments. He accidentally added 45 girls to a group chat on Instagram. He doesn’t care what you want as long as you want him. If you don’t want him then fine, he wanted your friend first anyway.

B-type, on the other hand, does not dress a certain way. B-type is not gendered. B-type is found in every demographic. B-type is really quite hot. This person operates in such a way to do the most damage to you and you in particular because this is someone you really, really like. They are charming, funny, and cool. The way they pursue you is so intricately crafted you’d think they’d rehearsed it on you a hundred times before. And maybe they did. Hopefully they did. Hopefully they’re stuck in a blizzard in Punxsutawney living the same day over and over until something finally clicks for them. The B-type fuckboy wants to hang out with you, drink whiskey with you on a rooftop until the early hours, play you their music and sing over yours. They want your attention, not your opinion. Unlike A-type, the B-type doesn’t always want sex. More than anything, all B-type desperately wants is for you to want them. They won’t understand why or even notice when you’ve stormed off, let alone stop you, but they’ll be annoyed at you for not saying goodbye. Sure, they get you in a way nobody else does but they don’t know where you live. They will not wish you a happy birthday. This is the type that wants all the benefits of a relationship without the commitment, and they will demand those benefits of you. Their emotional needs come before yours every single time. No exceptions.

The bottom line is that a fuckboy is absolutely, unequivocally, 100% unavailable but they will do anything and everything before they admit that to you or themselves.

You hate them the more you see them and you hate yourself for the lack of self-restraint. You can make any number of excuses for why they won’t commit to you, why you won’t commit to them. You deny a B-type infection to the hills as you watch yourself rapidly succumb to the symptoms. I’m fine! It’s not the bad one! It’ll be gone in a few days, honestly. But you know. You know and you persist, hoping they surely don’t have this kind of relationship with anyone else because they have it with you. And it’s true. They don’t need to. Because you’re always down. By the time you realise something is up, you’ve already lost too much of your time and energy.

So why on earth would anyone want a person comparable to a strain of influenza? From personal experience, it’s the universal appeal of the cat and mouse chasing game, the heady dopamine rush. Dating a fuckboy, however, isn’t a game of cat and mouse, because there is no mouse. There is no prize when you’re dating a fuckboy. You’re the cat and they’re holding the laser pointer. There’s only so long you can spend chasing around a little red dot before you realise you’ve not had any nourishment in a really long time. Once that realisation hits, it stops being fun, and every last one of the repressed kill and consume desires rise up like a geyser. You are hungry and angry. Meanwhile, the person holding the laser pointer wants you to keep chasing the dot, blithely unaware of your increasing agitation at best and at worst somehow amused by it.

Because a fuckboy is, regardless of type, someone who ultimately does not care about you. They think that you’re just playing the game too. Their behaviour and the motivations behind it are nothing to do with your feelings whatsoever. They don’t see things from your perspective because they’re too wrapped up in themselves, busy obsessing over their insecurities. In their mind, this attention is owed to them by the universe. Naturally, he is the last person on earth to think he’s a fuckboy. The word doesn’t pass his lips. We created the term fuckboy, not him. It’s group chats on Tuesday mornings as you scurry home from his place to change before work, angry Skype calls, emotional lunar eclipse diary entries, three-thousand word think pieces. He doesn’t know what a fuckboy is. Ask him what a fuckboy is, go on, it’s hilarious.

What does it say that I had this conversation, candidly, with my mother? Why does this topic still resonate with her at the age of 58? A fuckboy is not a healthy dating style, as hard as that is for me to admit. “Fuckboys”, she tells me, “have been around for donkeys years, they’ve just got a name now.”


- Molly Arnthal