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The 'soft boy' is the undercover f*ck boy you've probably encountered.

Attention, single women: there is a variety of f*ck boy out there we all need to be aware of.

via GIPHY

And while we’re not in the business of peppering your love lives with extra obstacles or turning you wholly against the male race, it’s always good to be informed.

Let us begin with a brief description of the f*ck boy, who you’ll no doubt recognise if you’re in the midst of navigating the terrifying yet necessary world of 2018 app dating.

The f*ck boy is a commitment-phobe, a night-owl, his aim is to ghost. His Facebook and Instagram profiles are full of topless photos; many at EDM festivals, some on Contiki tours.

He hangs out with “the lads”, he fires off text messages like “you up?” and “wyd?” at 3am in the morning. Come to think of it, you’ve probably never seen him during the day. (Is he a bat?)

When you swiped right on Tinder, you were drawn to his “fun” side, even if he did overuse emojis a little.

He probably had a bio that alluded to “looking for some fun”, and to be honest, you could have seen the ghosting coming, but thought you’d give it a crack anyway.

We know the f*ck boy, we know him all too well, and hey, sometimes he isn’t so dangerous – at least you know what you’re getting.

We talked about the softboy on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud, the podcast with what women are talking about. Check it out right here. 

But maybe you’ve come to a point in your life where you’ve moved on from the f*ck boy, and have decided you’re looking for something more tangible.

Well in terrifying news, it might be becoming harder to make this transition, because the f*ck boy has evolved.

Nay – he’s developed a disguise to reel us in, then ultimately vanish to whichever far away tropical island f*ck boys disappear to once they’re…finished (seriously, where do they go?).

Enter the soft boy. The snake of the modern dating world. He’s manipulative, he’s calculated, but guys – as he’ll tell you when it eventually comes to an end; it’s because he’s complicated.

The soft boy is the new and improved version of the f*ckboy – drawing in women who are done with the bad boy vibes of his predecessor, to which many of us have become attuned.

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His profile in no way indicates that he’s “looking for fun”. Instead – he’s “in touch with his feminine side”, he claims he’s after someone to “take his dog for walks with”, to “eat pizza/ice cream/(insert delicious food here) with” or my personal favourite “an adventure buddy” (pls).

By all accounts, he appears friendly, wholesomeHe wants you to know he’s emotionally intelligent, socially aware and “woke”. He might even refer to himself as a feminist – which many great men out there are.

We’re not here to accuse any guy who says he’s a feminist of being a secret f*ckboy, by the way, but the soft boy knows he’s not going to win you over by being a misogynist (ie asking for nudes after the first date), so he plays the complete opposite role. In the end, the fact he sees you as an object to “win over” by lulling into a false sense of security makes him so far from a feminist.

I’ve had my own experience with the soft boy, and you probably have too.

My soft boy experience was bred from a Bumble date I went on while living in the UK. He was a Brixton-based, satchel-wearing hipster with a the beginnings of a Jesus beard and a very extensive Spotify list connected to his profile. He was very politically-engaged, and he talked endlessly about how close he was with his sisters and his mum. He was intellectual, sensitive and interested. We hit it off. He was different, after all.

After about our fourth or fifth date (after which we’d slept together), Christmas was approaching, and he was going home to visit his family out of London.

As a token of his ~dedication~ to our budding romance, on our last date before the holidays, he handed me a battered copy of his favourite book; his prized possession.

“You can this book borrow over Christmas, so you know we’re definitely going to catch up when I get back,” he said.

…And that was the last I ever heard from him.

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He quite literally vanished off the face of the earth.

I still have the book. It’s gathering dust on my book shelf at home; mocking me.

But, you see, the soft boy can be more dangerous than merely a festive ghosting. Sometimes, he’ll play on your vulnerability – encouraging you to open up about your feelings, sharing but a glimpse into his own.

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He’ll talk about real f*ck boys with disgust. He might even say things like “I would never ghost a girl, that’s just cruel”.

BUT when things don’t go his way he might start to speak to you in a condescending tone, or worse yet, call you a “slut” if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Case in point: this 33-message text chain that proves love is dead.

The cringe-worthy text chain above is a classic case of a soft boy. The Disney movies? The love of pyjamas? The aggression when his “soft” advances are rejected? Pls, put yourself promptly in the bin.

via GIPHY

When it’s time to break things off, he’ll probably pull the: “I have a lot of personal shit to work out”, or “I’m really messed up right now” line.

…Or he’ll just disappear.

The soft boy is complex remember – and you don’t need that in your life.

BUT, don’t be afraid of all nice guys – they’re not all f*ckboys in disguise (we hope).

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