A fuckboy or not, you’re very familiar with the fuckboy antics.
They’re non-committal. They’re self-absorbed. They’re horny and only pursue someone for the sheer pleasure of getting inside their pants. When they’re done with you, you’re out— you know the likes. But not until recently when the world became witnesses to the rise of their new and improved version— the sweet, smart, sensitive, art-loving, aesthetically pleasing cousins of the generally frowned upon fuckboys.
Or as we call it: softboys.
During my research process, I sought the help of my social circle and asked them if anyone had any experience with a softboy before and if they could share it with me. I was surprised by how unsurprised I was after hearing what they had to say.
Most of what I got are stories I’ve already heard and read about, merely confirming the main stereotype on softboys being emotionally manipulative.
Ugh so many of my Twitter mutuals are Twitter mutuals with my shitty ex who is a heartbroken woke softboi on Twitter but is actually emotionally manipulating (and sorta cheating on) multiple women at the same time ugh oh my god he is so full of shit
— emhoetional idiot (@enthuCutelet) December 1, 2019
wow…i cant believe!! i actually let a softboi use me as his “catalyst” to recover from his ex…THE NERVE lmao ladies don’t ever do this to urselves if you think it’s going in that direction block his ass IMMEDIATELY think about the children!!
— aij #JunkTerrorLaw (@aijalonica) March 28, 2018
But then something unexpected happened: I got a message from another friend, offering to lend me a hand not as a victim, but as someone who admits to having been a softboy before– doing softboy things and saying softboy words just so you know, get what they want for the sheer pleasure of it.
Ok, back up — what are Softboys really?
Some guys get labeled as a softboy for legitimately being interested in non-mainstream music, books, fashion, etc. But some guys get the label because they actually wear these “unique” interests as accessories as a means to pursue someone with the intention of just getting them in bed. So, in terms of complete transparency, I asked this friend of mine which of these two he thought he was.
“I was probably a mix,” he said. “All the stuff you see on my socials– my music recommendations, the artworks I reshare– are real. But it’s also true that they’re my go-to topics when I want someone I’ve just met online to feel connected with me.”
And herein lies, the part where they use such as baits to get women to not only notice them but to basically hook them.
When asked how their conversations usually happen, he said, “It starts out as a usual convo. We talk about basic details, how-are-you’s, and the likes. And then we talk about our interests and shit. For some reason the girls I like happen to like artists as much as I do, so I ask for their IG.”
He added, “As much as possible, I would ask about them and speak less about me to make it seem like I really care.”
What happens after the welcoming formalities?
Most articles exposing the softboy scheme would tell you that it’s mostly about the “front act” they put up, whether it be that they’re a hardcore Rex Orange County stan, or they’re a deeply unhappy old soul who lives by Charles Bukowski quotes. Everyone in the online dating world is warned against this predominantly effective act, as this aesthetic facade could be just an attempt to disguise a softboy’s true and darker motives.
My friend would confirm this. Although he acknowledged that this act does not work all the time, during the times that it does is when the fun part starts. I asked how he could tell if it’s working on his part.
“When it’s been a week and you’ve been talking as if you’ve been doing so for a long time already (may connection na); means it’s a good thing for me. Another way to tell is when I start jokingly getting flirty and they bite.”
“But it depends, actually.” He relayed his story with his ex-girlfriend, a special case where he didn’t plan on committing long-term but had a different effect on him as she made him happy whenever they were together so a “them” happened.
About those countless other affairs that failed to actually lure him to commit, he said, “I bench them if they’re still good people to converse with.” Benching is dating term which is like dating someone you’re not crazy-in-love with, so you keep them around and date someone else in search of some clarity.
“If I could sense that they know that they bore me but I still want them around, I still try to catch up with them, sort of like giving them enough to stay. But if it isn’t really going anywhere, I stop replying. Ghosting, as what you call it.”
Although the two are the same in many areas, many people would consider a softboy to be worse than a fuckboy. This is because the latter is a hit and quit it kind of player, whereas the former goes beyond just physical pleasure. They actually make the effort to get to know you and all, then they go in for the kill and actually sweep you off your feet after which, they dump you like a hot potato, all of which includes an emotional manipulation and the blackmailing element in the drama of it all to strengthen their grip on you.
I asked this old softboy friend if he agrees.
“Yes,” he said with full certainty. “If you said yes to a fuckboy, it’s partly your fault because you’re aware of the intentions of the person. If you fell for a softboy, you can’t be blamed for your situation because he made you believe he’s a decent person.”