What's The True Meaning of The Term "Fuckboy"?
It’s not something you should be proud of...
It's 2020, and yet, somehow, when people talk about "fuckboys," you don't know what it means. It's awkward, because it's too late to ask what "fuckboy" means (especially if someone calls you one). When you first heard it, you were too embarrassed to admit that you didn't know what it meant, so you let it go, assuming that the word would eventually fall out of the vernacular mainstream — but instead it's becoming omnipresent.
Fortunately for you, I too often come to the party late. So I decided to go for a deep dive into where the term "fuckboy" came from, and what exactly people mean when they throw it around today. (I really wanted to make sure, actually, I'm not a fuckboy.)
Where did the term "fuckboy" come from?
First, let's talk about where the word comes from, because its meaning has evolved over time. As Jezebel notes, the term "fuckboy" originated in African-American Vernacular English and Black slang. It grew popular through hip-hop music, including the 2002 song "Boy, Boy" by Cam'ron, where "fuckboy" refers to a man who's 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: "The way you can identify fuckboys is because they are always doing fuck shit. Just the dumbest, weirdest, lamest possible shit ever."
There was a huge spike in search and usage of the word directly following "Oh My Darling Don't Cry," according to Google Trends. The term peaked between 2015 and 2016.
Around that time, the broader culture (a.k.a. white people) appropriated the word and tried to give it a different meaning—the one you've probably heard before in regards to sex, dating, and relationships.
What does that version of "fuckboy" mean?
Believe it or not, dictionary.com offers a definition of the word fuckboy. (Alternative spellings and styles of the word include fuck boy, fuckboi, and fuccboi, but the latter actually has aspecific meaning in the fashion world.) Of note, Google Docs also is not giving me that red squiggly underneath, so they, too, apparently know the word is legit.
“A fuckboy is that guy … the one who doesn’t respect women, but relies on them heavily. He’s distant, doesn’t care about other people’s time, and won’t commit. He’s self-absorbed, does stupid things, and fucks with others’ emotions.”
Can we take a moment to appreciate that dictionary.com dropped all dictionary pretenses, and went ahead and said that (in bold!) followed by an ellipsis?! I have half a mind to believe that dictionary.com was once screwed over by a fuckboy.
But back to the definition, which explains a few key elements of the term:
1) It’s a man who doesn’t respect women.
2) Simultaneously, he’s dependent on women.
3) He engages in selfish behavior without caring whether or not he hurts women.
While this definition is a great start, it only scratches the surface of a true fuckboy's actions. Like, what are these “stupid things” of which you speak, dictionary.com? I need details. Examples. Receipts.
Not to mention, the definition is missing the the most prominent factor that defines a fuckboy's true nature: sex. A fuckboy is all about trying to get his dick wet. (A fuckboy’s words, not mine.)
The third most popular definition of "fuckboy" on urbandictionary.com—the go-to site on all slang—posted by mediocremind on February, 16, 2015, provides a careful analysis of how, exactly, a fuckboy behaves:
Asshole boy who is into strictly sexual relationships; he will lead a girl on and let her down, then apologize only to ask for "pics" once the girl has welcomed him back into her trust. Boys like this will pretend to genuinely care about the girl but always fail to prove the supposed affection. He almost never makes plans because he has to hangout on his terms which could be the most whimsical of times, and if the girl rejects those plans because she has a legitimate reason for not being able to hang out, he will get pissed. However, if plans are made he will bail on them without a second thought. If a girl tries to stand up to this asshole he will most likely deny everything and turn it all around on the girl making it seem as though the conflict at stake is her fault and he has done nothing wrong and hates when girls bitch at him for "no reason." He will always come crawling back because he is a horny prick and can not withstand the dispossession of one of his baes, because he has more than one that's for sure. Texting such a boy will consist of the girl carrying the conversation and the guy responding with short answers 10 or more minutes after the girl's response, but when she asks why he takes so long to answer it will be because he is "busy" but he promises he likes her. Boys like this are egotistical assholes who can not be trusted and are hard to get rid of because they say all the right things to get the girl back.
Boom! This was the level of detail we needed. This definition explains how a fuckboy will:
1) Do or say anything (i.e., lie) to have sex.
This includes flattery (e.g., "You're so beautiful, baby. You turn me on so much."); saying he has romantic feelings when he does not (e.g., "But I really like you"); gaslighting ("You always turn nothing into such a big deal!"); and groveling (e.g., "Please baby, I'm so sorry. I miss you so much").
2) Simultaneously do the bare minimum to have sex.
This is the complex irony your 10th-grade English teacher was lecturing about. While all he wants is sex, a fuckboy wants to hang out “in the most whimsical of times.” TBH, I’m not exactly sure what mediocremind was implying by the use of the word "whimsical" in this context, but I’m assuming they meant late-night booty calls. Do fuckboys not get horny during the day? Are they the equivalent of sexual vampires? Unclear. But while their sole goal is sex, apparently they don’t want it that badly. (But, also they do! The fuckboy paradox!)
What’s more, they don’t text back promptly, and if they do, they only answer with a few words. Fuckboys want to have sex on their own terms without putting in any work.
3) Keep women “around.”
It seems like fuckboys just like knowing that a woman is there, and they could have sex with her if they wanted to. They like having options. I think it's a power thing, IMO.
4) Be fragile.
They seemingly combust at the drop of the pin! Can’t hang out one night? A fuckboy will send you a barrage of texts calling you flakey (if you’re lucky) or something far worse (if you're not). Call them out on their BS? Oh, fuck no, they can’t handle that one bit. These boys are incapable of accepting any responsibility for their shitty behavior.
5) Always be selfish.
Dictionary.com started addressing the selfish behavior of fuckboys, but mediocremind really brought it home. These guys literally don’t care about anyone but themselves. Maybe the treat their boys with a morsel of respect, but probably not. They are users. They use women.
What should you do if "fuckboy" applies to you?
After reading this, you may have realized that you are a fuckboy, or that you embody certain less-than-flattering fuckboy-esque qualities. Congratulations, you admitted it! Most fuckboys would never be able to acknowledge it. You, unlike other fuckboys, actually have the capacity to change!
In your recovery, I'd first learn how to have casual sex responsibly. There's nothing wrong with casual sex, but there is an issue with lying, manipulating and taking advantage of your casual partner. Second, get into therapy. You might be struggling with issues related to masculinity, or with internalized sexist beliefs.
Therapists rule. They can help you out.
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