Of all the words used to describe a dude, one that most would run far, far away from is ‘soft.’ Until maybe now, that is. Created by a student in Manchester who goes by Iona, she’s coined the term ‘softboy’ to describe the type of person who wants to seem like they’re one of the better ones—but they’re faking it. In other words? Think of a ‘softboy’ as someone who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and will say whatever it takes to woo his prey, but doesn’t mean what he’s saying:
You’ve likely been there, done that—and probably felt bad about it later.
Let’s just hope you don’t end up on her Instagram account that’s growing more viral by the day—beam_me_up_softboi—with an impressive 110K followers. Here, she posts screenshots from Tinder or other dating apps from women who have been lured in by a soft boy. These conversations seem earnest and sincere, but in reality, it’s all an act to win over a girl, and yep, get her into bed. In an interview with Dazed, Iona explained, “
The softboy lures you in with seemingly interesting conversation, a “good guy” attitude and his speeches about gender equality – cool! – before eventually needing some time to ‘figure himself out’, then ghosting you, all the while continuing to watch all of your Instagram stories.”
While we have to hand it to Iona for rounding up these gems—especially ones where men call women queens or claim they miss them before they meet ‘em in person—we do have to say the theme is a bit sexist. Though sure, most of these guys likely aren’t serious about their mythical theories and fantastical thought processes—it’s not necessarily ‘soft’ to approach dating differently. Or rather, to say what you think, even if it’s a little weird:
As the world tries to shift gender dynamics to allow men to express themselves without measuring up to unrealistic (and unfair) standards of masculinity, we think the term ‘soft’ is a mis-step. Men aren’t soft because they don’t go full-throttle testosterone into messaging. And being ‘soft’ doesn’t quite translate into being a jerk, as it seems some of these labeled guys seem to be.
As we laugh along with the concept of soft boys and their messaging, it challenges us to think about how we talk about men and their emotions, and perhaps, how we can better accept different versions of what it means to be a ‘man.’
After all, there’s no standard definition for it. And let’s be real: some of these guys could actually be sincere in their initial messaging, and then joke about it afterwards because they weren’t well-received.
And yeah, some of them are just screwing around:
So instead of labeling it soft—let’s call a spade a spade: some guys are being guys, however you want to define it. And some are royal asses that deserve the Instagram fame for their ridiculousness.