Quickly, I’m going to define fuckboy first because it’s simple in my mind: younger Millennials decided to take the word “player” and make it their own. Call it neediness, attention seeking behavior, lack of imagination, immaturity and what have you from those born from 1990 and on. The fuckboy is a tool, literally, seeking only one thing from another person: sex. Sporting the latest hairstyle for men, snazzy threads, intense/charismatic demeanor and mastery of flattering words, this guy is easy to spot (not only just because his Type A personality has drawn a crowd around himself and his entourage) at nightclubs, bars and coffeehouses. There’s no deeper ulterior motive behind his actions and he’s screwed the day he fathers a daughter (or son) because “sins of the father visiting on his children” and all that. The fuckboy will use you to satisfy his sexual needs and ego but he’ll leave your heart alone. In every major women’s magazine touting to cover fashion, make up tips and dating advice there will be at least one quiz a publication year to help someone figure out if indeed, they have slept with a fuckboy (i.e. confirming players gonna play in the summary evaluating your score 😉 ).
Enter the more insidious “softboy” whose aim is the same as the fuckboy, with just more douchbaggery sauce to make him unforgettable in the most uncharming and nightmarish way. My take on the softboy comes from, unfortunately, experience in the aftermath of my break up and what I did to rectify the situation (there is a silver lining, my friend, if you have been duped by a softboy). This is the beta male’s modus operandi to getting laid in the shadow of the the alpha male (especially, if he does not have the good looks, swag and slick charm of the fuckboy/player. *note: I can’t tolerate the term “fuckboy” due to the infancy implied so, I’m going with the term player and you can do whatever it is that helps you stomach these definitions):
- He’s unassuming in appearance and not a threat to your person, much like the boy-next-door type. It’s very likely he’ll come off as shy with an air of sadness.
- Right out of the gates, he’ll appear to open his heart about how an ex broke it, so terribly that he hasn’t dated in x amount of time (weeks and months). In fact, you’re the first person who’s caught his eye and reignited a feeling he thought was long dead/impossible to feel again.
- He’ll casually let it slip that since his ex slept with his best friend/best man, he’s been isolated and uninterested in any sexual relations – implying that he’s also been celibate for the duration until the very moment he saw you. As for love, you just may be his salvation. If not, he’s always open to a platonic friendship as long as you are, too.
- As interested as he is in getting to know you better (he’s very willing to be the shoulder you can cry on because “both of you deserve better than the treatment doled out at the hands of an ex”), he’ll just as quickly proclaim a wariness towards relationships. It’s “too soon” and “he’s not ready for more heartache so, please, pretty please, be patient with him and gentle on his heart.”
- Through emails, phone calls and Skype, you’ll have amazing conversations and discussions. He’ll faun over you and how incredibly brilliant your ideas are over hours and days and weeks of finding common ground between the two of you. He will have taken notes on your birthday, favorite places, dishes, flowers, movies, etc. and make sure to play the part of being enamored to the “t.”
- You’ll go on dates 1,2,3 and 4 before anything beyond a hug or kiss occurs. He’s very adept in playing the shy broken-hearted guy, like any Method Actor, as he is in reading your body language/anticipating your desires/needs. Paradoxically, he’ll admit to being sexually inexperienced but boast about “knowing how to please in bed” because that’s what matter most to him: your sexual needs first, not his (after all, “only assholes would leave a partner unsatisfied”).
- Throughout the softboy’s time with you, he’ll remain in constant touch via texts/ phone calls and dates (not expensive ones since he’s broke/his ex tapped him out. You’ll be going Dutch or be the one covering his tab more often than not). He’ll seem attentive and sensitive to your well-being without any benefits for himself. He’s in this for the long run because what better than a fuck buddy (don’t kid yourself that you’re anything more due to #8) that he can call when his other booty calls are busy.
- If you dare bring up commitment chatter, he’ll quickly distance himself by reiterating his fear of heartache and spin bullshit about not wanting to hurt you by rushing into something so soon. You see, he has “your best interests in mind all the time” and you’re too good of a person to hurt. He doesn’t want to be the asshole your ex is and won’t make promises he may not be able to keep, don’t you understand?
- When you’re finally fed up/bored of his non-commitment issues (or someone way better comes along), he’ll agree that you should be (since commitment was never on the table) and “you should find someone who deserves you and treats you like a star.” He won’t put up a fight but he’ll beg to “stay-in-touch” with you even if you’re seeing other people because “you’re important to him, like your friendship is,” hoping to keep you in his Rolodex of fuck buddy/sugar momma/emotional hanger. His apathy no longer hidden, it’s now on you to control the situation and outcome.
- In a few weeks time, there will be a pattern of “check-in’s” on the status of your new beau and feigned interest on how well your new significant other is treating you (read: he’s waiting to hear the hesitancy that will betray you and allow him/her to worm a way back into your bed). He’ll be passive-aggressive if you’re not forthcoming on details and try to guilt you into “spending time with him” or it’s “don’t you have time, anymore, for old friends?” If you sound too happy or simply refuse to “meet up” (where he’ll do anything and everything to get sexual gratification), he’ll caution you to take things slow so you don’t get hurt again. He’ll insidiously continue to imply your relationship won’t last/say a bunch of negative things about someone he’s never met.
- The cycle continues until you see the softboy for what he is and/or you give him the wake-up call that he’s the asshole he claims not to be. The latter will scare the shit out of him because he’s been unmasked OR he’ll double down and try to prove he’s not a scumbag with the very antics that make up a scumbag. Don’t let him sabotage your chance at happiness.
Now, my experience wasn’t exactly as above and the definition of a soft boy plus his m.o. is something cobbled together by the experiences of a few girl friends. It doesn’t make this any less true: the evilness of a softboy is that he deliberately and systematically toys with your heart (and wallet in one case). Don’t kid yourself into thinking the softboy’s behavior and mindset is simply a cynical response to a broken heart. Countless decent people before the Millennial softboy coped with break-up’s in healthy ways that didn’t include a required victim. The softboy carries no empathy for others and has the emotional IQ of a toddler. At least a player, the textbook definition, knows where the line between decency and douchbaggery is drawn and doesn’t cross it. Maybe the softboy is a much dumber version of the classic player but pretending to be genuinely caring with no cards up any sleeve (when he’s already stacked the deck in his favor to boot) WHILE taking up the youth, resources/time and emotional bank of anybody belies an insidiously selfish and pathological mind that is outrageous and sickening in too great of capacity for society to tolerate. Emotional and/or mental manipulation may be the greatest grievance one can inflict upon another person because those wounds are the toughest to reach and may never scar over; without visible scar tissue to reassure that the worst is over, screwing with someone’s heart and mind is a terrible violation. The extent of the damage may even be unforgivable.
This is where I become part of the solution >=oD Once my emotional tornado slowed from my break-up, I saw TX and DHS for what they were but didn’t let on that my intelligence was no longer beleaguered by a broken heart, a fragmented mind. They may not have taken down notes but I listened to everything they said and watched every move they made. I saw their insecurities, weaknesses and flaws and heard their unspoken fears and intentions. In one instance, a 53 y/o lawyer tried to putting me down and into seeing him when I protested our age difference (he’s my mother’s age and that’s just fucking ridiculous he thought it would be okay! Especially because he has an 18 year old daughter. If my father ever dared to introduce someone within 10 years of my age to me, I’d disown him and tell him that he’ll never see his grandchildren). I have to upload our phone call so that you, too, can experience the sleaziness that entered his voice when he said I was no longer a spring chicken (emphasizing how he’s had girlfriends as young as 18 within the last 3 years, ew!), ergo, I couldn’t afford to be choosy. Yeah, I pushed back by saying I’m still young enough to have children without chromosomal disorders whereas he could not say the same (in a recent analysis of meta-data on autistic children, there was a strong correlation between the age of a man when a child was conceived and the child’s likelihood of being placed on the autism scale or other mental disorder. Men who were over the age of 40+ had a significant increase in the production of an autistic child compared to their younger counterparts. It shouldn’t be a surprise when we know older women are more likely to produce a child with Down’s Syndrome every year past 40). I couldn’t believe he tried to “negg” me as a last resort and called him out on the terrible way he’s coping with aging. He thinks he looks somewhere around his 40’s (he’s muscular but the sagging skin, graying hair, etc. can’t hide the passage of time) and called himself an Italian Stallion player. Did your gag reflex hurt as much as mine? First, when someone professes to be a player at age 53 from the suburbs of the Tri-State, he’s way out of touch with lying (you really want to hear that conversation now, doncha?) and can be looked upon with pity until he behaves petty by putting you down. At which point, you coldly tell him that he looks old because he is and that his long winded theory on the Rocky films being in the romance category didn’t make him romantic. I am not kidding when he professed to wanting to “marathon all the Rocky movies” with me so that he could point out all the ways he was right and weren’t just action/sport films. Tedious and boring and I completely veered off, I’m sorry. The trauma remains and I’m working through it 😉
Back to the softboy: unless he’s a complete douche, he can be reformed. The cowboy had the grace to be embarrassed when I confront him on the way he sets out for recently dumped women because he wouldn’t have a tactic any other way. He tried to bluster with, “At least I’m not breaking any of them up, ya know?” To which I said, “No, I don’t know. It’s not enough. Explain it to me because I’m sincerely inquiring and not trying to be cheeky.”
TX: “I see it as no harm is being done. It’s not like I’m trying to get someone to cheat on their boyfriend or husband.”
Me: “You don’t see how fucked up it is to mess with an already emotionally damaged person by acting sincere but meaning none of it?”
TX: “I was sincere when I asked you about your ex and your relationship. I told you about my college ex and my ex best friend. Isn’t that sharing?”
Me: “Sharing implies a consensual exchange in which both parties receive equivocal benefits without one person getting more than they gave!”
TX: “You didn’t?”
Me: “Nope! You denied any homosexual inclinations [he got a little huffy here] when I told you I’ve had girlfriends in college and yet, when you’re completely drunk, you allude to a desire for a male partner/sexual acts I can’t perform without a prosthetic. So far, I’ve covered 3 of our dates when the other two we split and it’s not the money in as much the lack of decency. I was raised with the etiquette expected of a host/hostess when the invitation is given by me and to expect the same thing vice versa. But the worst is your pretense of affection when I’ve told you from the get-go I couldn’t handle shit like that so freshly out of a 6 year relationship!”
(TX guy is so repressed that my heart hurts for him a little because he wants a loving relationship but he can’t find it with women and is too afraid to seek out who he really wants. He’s never said it out loud but he hasn’t corrected me when I say it for him. This is what I mean about hearing what people don’t say. It’s a waste of my time and resources when dates are mediocre at best and predatory at worst.)
TX: “I like it when you’re sweet and you don’t become that if I don’t engage in hugs and silly pet names first-”
Me (very close to blowing up): “Did you NOT hear me when I told you on date ONE how I couldn’t comprehend my own tumultuous mind and heart and that I don’t lead people on, I don’t like others who play games so I wouldn’t act all lovey-dovey if I didn’t feel a genuine connection? Could you think of no one else but yourself when you wanted me to be a sweetheart without considering the negative consequences of your words and behavior-”
TX: “Well, how was I supposed to know you were getting serious-”
Me:” Oh, FUCK NO! You do not get to weasel out of your antics by trying to turn this on me as if I was being the manipulative asshole! I never considered you more than a temporary situation and I didn’t get sweet/cutesy with you because I didn’t want to lead you on! I know you think you’re slick but you’re 37 years old with a double chin, beer gut on your beanpole body, nearly complete gray hair on your head and white pubes that are just gross, with no real significant relationships in NY no matter how often you hang out with your coked up transplant friends. You’re professing to wanting a meaningful and loving relationship, but a relationship involves more than just one person’s needs and wants, which is why you’ve been experiencing a deep loneliness you can’t even analyze, dickhead! You’re not as desirable as you think you are, my friend.”
(Yeah, I got mean but it’s a cheap tactic to make someone else feel like shit for your own shitty actions. I think that shocked him into a silence long enough to let my words cut through and deep)
TX: “I thought you were having a good time. You haven’t complained…”
Me: “I’m not a nitpicker and I can let a lot just roll off my back. My silence is not compliance and neither was it for the others before me. You never asked if I was satisfied, once and I know you didn’t ask because you either didn’t care for an answer or knew the answer would be negative.”
TX: “Are you always this ruthless? What the hell has been going on?”
Me: “Your ignorance is at an end, right now-”
TX: “If you weren’t happy, why do you bother to keep in touch?”
Me: “Because I pity you. Because I knew a form of you in my college ex, Jed, and I can see that he’s going to be exactly where you are now because no one gave him the notice he desperately needed-”
TX: “I’m not your ex or anyone you’ve known! I don’t need this shit.”
Me: “Then why are you always texting and calling me? I know I don’t initiate any of our communications-”
TX (with an eye roll): “Yeah, talk about selfishness.”
Me: “- because I don’t want to feel obligated to pick up the bill when I already do even though you extend the invite.”
TX: “I have bills to pay and I’m living from paycheck to paycheck!”
Me: “Then, you save up your money until you have paid off whatever monthly or yearly obligations you have-”
TX: “Nobody lives like that!”
Me: “I do! I don’t know how your parents raised you but my sister and I were taught to save our money and not spend it on useless nick-knacks and shit if we wanted to go on vacations or to start a family.”
TX: “You make it sound like I’m an idiot with money.”
Me: “You are! You have so many boxes from Amazon filled with things I wouldn’t even steal! A kale stripper?! Has vegetation become so complicated you can’t just take a knife-”
TX: “I wanted to see if it would work!”
Me (exasperated): “My point exactly.”
(holy hell, we’re at 2,500 words! Break, brb! I promise I won’t forget to come back to this like I may have in past posts ;-D )