Like most of pop culture, "fuckboy" is a term largely appropriated from black culture. You can find an early version of the term used on the hook of Cam'ron's "Boy Boy" ("Oh this cat over frontin'? Fuck boy, boy!") back in 2002. In 2003, Petey Pablo rapped, "I don't blame you, I blame yo mammy bitch / She shouldn't've fucked yo daddy, she should've sucked his dick / You a punk boy, a fuckboy" on "U Don't Want Dat." The implication here is that the fuckboy is a man who is weak, or lame—a worthless poser of sorts, who might not even deserve to exist. However, in the last few years, a new definition of fuckboy has emerged, thanks to the internet's habit of recontextualizing everything. Today, the fuckboy has come to mean a promiscuous man, the kind of promiscuous man who is manipulative and cocky while still being a worthless poser. He is the perfect combination of a "basic bitch" and a "slut," two insults that are rarely levied against men.
Before fuckboy assumed its current form, there wasn't really a term for this special snowflake of a man. Sure, there are words like "manwhore" and "asshole," but the latter lacks the sting of "basic bitch," and the former is still unnecessarily rooted in the idea that there's such a thing as "too much sex" for a woman. Men with active sex lives tend to be congratulated more than degraded. (Although, that's not to say promiscuity is the problem. In a perfect world, we would all be able to have equally active sex lives as long as we weren't hurting anybody else in the process.) But the fuckboy is not interested in the feelings of others, and that is why he is a fuckboy.
Fuckboys are men who date to serve their egos. They are entitled, predictable, uninteresting, and hollow. They attempt to make conversations about things only they know about. They tell horrible jokes, and are offended if you don't laugh. They complain that you are clingy and say things like, "you need to chill" when you ask why they haven't texted you in five days. They are easily intimidated by women who are smarter or more successful than them. Heterosexual women needed a word like this in our lives, a word that could serve as both an insult and a warning as we try to date in the age of swiping right only to receive a deluge of unasked for dick pics (it's different if I ask for them, which I usually do). It's a sign that we are no longer willing to tolerate the bullshit. Not only do we know what you're up to, but we can finally call you out on it.
The biggest lesson this fuckboy phenomenon has taught me is that they're not going anywhere. In fact, they're increasing in numbers. Some fuckboy behavior I have encountered includes: being texted by a man who claimed to "miss me" a year after we had only been on one date, only to hang out with me one more time and then tell me he couldn't see me again because he had met someone new; a guy telling me he wanted to see me (but only in the context of me going to see his shitty band play some shitty show); a guy sending me furious text messages until four in the morning because I didn't want to have sex with him on our first date; and a guy who refused to believe that I had gotten food poisoning on a date and instead insisted that I was just drunk and didn't realize it.
This past year has not been so great for me romantically. I've attempted being in an open relationship, which failed miserably. I got back together with two different men from my past, which failed miserably. I attempted to use self-help books to find love, which (you guessed it!) also failed miserably. I've been ghosted, both in the "guy stops texting me" sense and the "guy leaves the country for good" sense. It has been exhausting to try to encounter deep, romantic love, to the point that I have often considered giving up on the whole endeavor completely.
But what am I going to do, not date at all? Sincerely sit around and wait for the right guy to come along? Fuck that. I'm too impatient and too horny to wait, and too broke to not accept free drinks.
This is where fuckboys re-enter the picture.
I shouldn't have to distance myself from casual sex, dating, and everything in-between, all because I fear it might hurt me. That's letting the fuckboys win. And when the fuckboys win, none of us win. In this new year, rather than quitting fuckboys for good, I'm going to tackle them head on.
The biggest mistake I've made with these men in the past was to let their desires have priority over mine. I let them dictate to me what my feelings were, without questioning their fuckboy logic. But if this past year has taught me anything, it's that I no longer have a problem standing up for myself. It's possible, empowering even, for a woman to engage in fuckboy-esque behavior as a method of genuinely expressing what she wants. Something tells me they really won't mind my non-committal attitude, to the point that I will be able to use their fuckboydom to my advantage.
It can be fun to have a fuckboy in your life, as long as you know he's only that—a boy to fuck, and nothing more. A boy whose lectures about craft beer and half-written screenplays you can drown out with your own lectures about whatever you want. A boy whose invitations to see his bad band play at some bad bar you can wholeheartedly ignore. A boy you can force to watch reruns of Wahlburgers with you. A boy you can deal with strictly on your own terms, because he's so interchangeable there's a whole word for him.
Although maybe in 2016 we should work on calling them something else, seeing that fuckboy was never meant to be what it is now. I'm going to propose "whateverman." As in: "Why are you with that guy?"