Image by Ben Thomson
This week VICE created the Ultimate Basic Bitch Tournament to see who is the most basic of them all. Amid all the usual comments calling us dicks, or communists, or sellouts, or asking if we’re ready to live chat with sexy Ukrainian MILFs, a few of you made a pretty interesting point—what’s the male equivalent to the basic bitch?
Since I read that I’ve been consumed by finding the testosterone fuelled mate to the Internet’s favourite insult. To fully explore the elusive male basic bitch (basic bastard?) you need to first start by unpacking what a basic bitch actually is. According to the coverage it’s had on this site, cultural tomes, and the fashion blogs I read before I can bring myself to put my glasses on in the morning, she’s a woman, usually blond, probably rich, who for reasons I can’t quite understand everyone is super mad at. In celebrities it seems like it’s anyone with questionable talent who drinks $13 bottles of mineral water, but what about for us normies? There the definition is much murkier.
Navigating the things people say when they’re abusing women in the comments of festival photo blogs, a basic bitch is someone who sits right in the middle of all the cultural trends. They probably have their high school haircut, shop at places with car parks, read Cosmopolitan, and buy coffee from stores that don’t have almond milk. In short, they’re the antithesis of the hipster, and kind of the exact same thing. Both are extremely popular middle-class insults that everyone uses and no one understands. All you know is that you don’t really want to be called either.
Despite common perception, the male version isn’t the much discussed bro. No matter how annoying a bro is they’re too aggressive to be basic. Basic guys want you to like them and follow their tumblrs. Bros want attention and to maybe get punched in the face. No, to qualify as basic you need to walk the fine line between bogan and classy in the boring way where you know what tuberose means.
The male basic bitch isn’t necessarily badly dressed either. The key seems to be totally inoffensive but also completely lacking charisma and kind of looking like it’s 2009. Usual boy fashion faux-pas like cargo pants or those shoes with toes won’t fly because they demonstrate personality and that the wearer doesn’t give a fuck. The uniform needs to be almost invisible in its ordinariness but still somehow say: dear god please approve of me, also I promise I have a fun personality, please approve of me, also I have one of those mini kegs in my fridge if you want to come over and watch American Dad. Nothing communicates all these messages like a pair of $400 jeans with some kind of customisation that isn’t immediately obvious but lets you know that the wearer doesn’t totally get it. A fake back pocket or a weird fade will do it.
For the “fun guy” statement element, nothing does it like a band t-shirt from a band you didn’t know were still together. Try Maximo Park. Are they still together? I was going to Google it but the idea of actually doing it was too boring. Top that off with a haircut modelled on Liam Hemsworth, Calvin Harris, or any of the male leads from True Blood.
Basic guys have lot of interests you don’t care about. They like sports, but probably soccer and not AFL because they lie awake at night terrified of being perceived as bogan. Basic guys are always trying to be interesting, and their weekend activities reflect that. They’re the dudes learning to tightrope walk in the park or taking part in wall-ball tournaments. If you want to develop a totally redundant skill marketed to seven-year-olds go for it, but why does it need to be around strangers? For the male basic bitch, an opportunity to exercise is an opportunity to “reluctantly” draw attention to oneself.
In terms of personality they’re boring in the way that is deeply steeped in good behaviour so you don’t notice for a while. You know, like when you meet a guy and he’s so nice you don’t hear what he says for the first few minutes because you’re thinking, “wow this is such a nice conversations, what a nice guy, this is a very easy exchange”. I get that, that sounds nice, and you should endeavor to spend time with people who are legitimately good, but the boringness of this guy is ultimately unavoidable. You’ll go to a few dinners and then suddenly realise you’ve only eaten sliders, tacos, and Korean fried chicken for the whole week—basic guys love food trends and hot sauce—and then he’ll say he’s the Redfoo of his group.
If you’re still in doubt ask the one question they’re all dying to be asked: who is their style icon? If they say Scott Schuman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Gosling, or Jay Z they’re fucked. Also for some reason hipster girls and basic guys have the exact same taste in dudes. Why is that?
In short, the male basic bitch does exist. In place of a pumpkin latte he has low sugar Rush chocolate milk, he trades Rita Ora for Flume, and eats at Crust rather than Boost, actually they both love Crust. But also who cares. It’s probably better to be Basic As Fuck than spend 30 minutes agonising on a piece of writing trying to expertly unpack the nuanced personality types of dudes who buy Pepsi. If you’re basic, be the most basic. Get the new iPhone and bask in the cultural attention, because in 20 minutes the internet will hate a new totally-normal set of human behaviours. Enjoy it while it basically lasts.
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