2015 has been a radical year for the way we understand straight male behavior in digitized hookup culture. In April, Matter published Alana Massey’s “Against Chill,” a transcendent manifesto advocating for emotional honesty and passion in relationships. “Chill is a sinister refashioning of ‘Calm down!’ from an enraging and highly gendered command into an admirable attitude,” Massey explained.
Chill is a concept many straight and bisexual people have been required to perform ever since they started dating. As my mother told me when I was 12, If you tell him you like him, he won’t like you back. And dating apps like Tinder have given us a sickening amount of choice, which has made us aware of the simple truth that there are millions of options out there. Why decide on one when there are a bunch of theoretically horny thotties lurking in every dark alley and well-lit convenience store?
Elsewhere, Vanity Fair published a (less highly regarded) piece by Nancy Jo Sales—this one explicitly about Tinder. She described the casually sex-thirsty men of Tinder as predatory narcissists who are more concerned with putting another notch on their bedposts than the feelings or personhood of the woman they happened to be sticking their penis in. And Charlotte Shane further expounded on the drawbacks of chill dating culture in her essay “Swipe Right for Monogamy.” She wrote:
“Ok, we get it: masculinity doesn’t indoctrinate its conscripts in thoughtfulness, kindness, or basic manners. But too many otherwise intelligent grown men wallowed in their narcissism and sexism, gaslighting one-time partners into believing that an expectation of decency was evidence of simpering clinginess rather than indicative of healthy self-respect.”
Also this year, Alan Hanson introduced the world to the softboy archetype, a sensitive brand of fuckboy who knows it’s “selfish and cruel” to “forget” to text you back, but “his desire to get laid can trump this. He feels shame. He does it again.” In “Fuccbois, Beta Bros, and Man-Children,” Emily Rappaport wrote that softboys and man-children “are defined both by their literary and aesthetic predilections and by their poor treatment of women.”
We’ve basically invented fun new ways to describe the (not so) subtle ways in which young straight men mistreat the women they casually hook up with. In 2015, we finally reached the point where we could and should comfortably scold bratty boys for their evasion of emotional vulnerability and repugnant ideas about commitment. It was the year we called this bullshit out. And I’m praying the softboy, fuckboy, and the men who fill the crevices between the two will wither away in 2016.
Finally, capping that whole narrative, comedian Katie McVay posted a helpful list on her Tumblr called “Men Not to Fuck in 2k16.” It includes gems like “The Christopher Hitchens/Malcolm Gladwell/TED Talks Guy,” who “is gonna yell at you in an Olive Garden about how he took philosophy 101 and condescend to you about your worldview,” and my personal favorite, “A Man All About Space-Based Franchises.” Nerd culture is no longer ironically cool, and, as McVay brilliantly points out, “‘nerd culture’ is founded on talking loudly and sweatily over women” anyway.
Although McVay’s list is hilarious and thorough—you can read the rest over at the Frisky—we couldn’t resist naming a few more guys nobody should fuck in 2016. And yes, a minute after midnight on New Year’s Eve counts.
The Guy Who Looooves Pussy
Straight men should love pussy, but the guy who loooooves pussy almost doesn’t deserve it. He’s the type of guy who slid into your DMs because he liked “your feminist perspective on Twitter.” He tells you you’re brave for tweeting jokes about your pussy and warns you against a mutual male friend who once sent an unsolicited dick pic (or so he heard from his ex, who he’s still on really good terms with). He’ll go down on you for 45 minutes but won’t even bother to check if that’s something you want.
The Devil’s Advocate
If he agrees with you but still insists on playing “devil’s advocate,” he is never allowed to have sex again (or at least that will be the law when I’m appointed as Secretary of Tinder and Millennial Dating in 2016).
The Earthy Beta Bro
Don’t let his love of organic products and locally sourced food fool you—his politics are seriously… off. He’s the earthy type who’s into hunting as well as farming. Sure, you ignored the “libertarian” part of his Tinder profile because everything’s been going really well, but wait until he finds out you make more money than him and watch it all fall apart.
The Critical Theorist
He wrote his college thesis on Deleuzian architecture and the panopticon—and hasn’t stopped bringing it up since then. His favorite thing, aside from poorly explaining convoluted postmodern philosophy you don’t give two shits about, is mocking you for enjoying top 40 music, tweeting about your favorite beauty products, or taking the occasional BuzzFeed quiz.
The Inexplicably Charming Hipster Nerd
He owns a plaid bedspread. He draws you in by being the type who doesn’t take much interest in being friends with women, but your femininity intrigues him. You know he is the former employee of a video store or art house movie theater, but you let that slide. He owns toys. He collects something quirky like weird thrift store memorabilia or VHS tapes. We, as a society, need to stop letting men get away with this.
The Standup Comedian
He doesn’t get why his feminist rape joke didn’t get any laughs, but “you can’t kill in every room,” so he’ll try it out at his next show.
The Douchey Pharma Bro
The whole price-gouging thing was really just to get your attention, so don’t fall for it. And that Wu-Tang album he bought? He’s never gonna let you listen. He’ll eventually get carted off to prison and leave you heartbroken, weeping like Taylor Swift in “Blank Space.” Never again!
Photo by azadam/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)