In the past few months, I’ve heard the term “f*ckboy” being tossed around a lot. In my mind, without any research on the topic or its history, I figured it was a boy who was kept around for, well, f*cking.
I mean, with a term like “f*ckboy,” what else could it possibly mean? American slang may be confusing at times but this one seemed pretty clear-cut, and in not having a f*ckboy, I turned my attention elsewhere.
But the term didn’t go away.
In the most recent Vanity Fair, Nancy Jo Sales defines a f*ckboy as “a young man who sleeps with women without any intention of having a relationship with them or perhaps even walking them to the door post-sex. He’s a womanizer, an especially callous one, as well as kind of a loser.”
Sounded good to me, but before anyone could let that marinate a bit, writer Alana Massey suggested we hold the phones on Sales’ definition by insisting that a f*ckboy isn’t a “dating style.” A f*ckboy, by her definition, is a man who wants a girlfriend but without all the responsibilities that come with having a girlfriend; they’re “emotional vampires,” explains Massey, “to women who aren’t even their girlfriends.”
You’ve also probably encountered a few in your lifetime, too.
With two different, yet similar definitions present, the next step in figuring this out is the historical factor. Exactly where does the term come from? How long has it existed?
According to Slate, it came to be in 2002 in a song by Cam’ron, in which a f*ckboy was a “contemptible faker,” and nothing more. He may have used the term over and over in his song, “Boy, Boy,” giving it a secure place in our pop culture, but even then his definition is a bit cloudy.
In an attempt to make the term more clear, at least in the world of hip hop, in 2014, Killer Mike explained a f*ckboy as the following: “[Y]ou can identify f*ckboys … because they’re always doing f*ck sh*t. Just the dumbest, weirdest, lamest possible sh*t ever.”
(So … every single one of my ex-boyfriends? At least that’s what I take from that.)
But there’s more; oh yes, there’s more.
Enter: Prison slang for “gay for pay.”
It’s suggested that f*ckboy is somewhere between being gay for pay in prison or being the victim of a prison rape. There are also gay men, powerful and rich ones, who consider a f*ckboy as a boy who’s “kept” by a sugar daddy of sorts.
F*ckboy has also been linked to being the definition of a weak man, but YouTuber Damian Alonso says that anyone who calls a man a f*ckboy for being weak becomes the f*ckboy for using the term. Say what!? (Yeah, I’m confused, too.)
The fact that it stands without explanation makes it powerful, according to Slate’s Jacob Brogan, but before he stuck to that notion, he suggested its power exists because it can’t be explained, further deepening the confusion of it all.
I’ll ask one more time: What’s a f*ckboy? Well, it’s a man, we know that for certain, and he basically sucks, whether we acknowledge “sucks” as a metaphor or literal.
As for the rest of it, I guess only time will tell if it finds an exact definition on which we can all high-five and agree.
In the meantime, I’m going to call this pillow a f*ckboy, because why the hell not? Why not throw another absurd possibility into the ring and see where it gets us?