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3:19

The Fuckboy, in his current form, aims for the night, aims for the break, goals to ghost. The Softboy strings you along under loftier auspices. He is Nice yet Complicated; this isn’t just a hookup. It’s a series of such.

The Softboy did not talk to you at the party, but he’s adding you on Facebook while you’re on the train home. Soon, he wants to know if you’d “like to get drinks.”

“Or something.”

He discusses his ex-girlfriend within the first thirty minutes of the date. He talks about her in a sad, wistful way rather than a snarky, resentful way. The older Softboy will say, “Oh well, it’s in the past.” The younger Softboy will say, “So it goes.”

The Softboy may be named Tom. Or Phillip.

The Softboy wears a plain t-shirt or sweater and orders cheap beer backed with bottom-shelf whiskey. He is neither Bro nor Nerd. He is sensitive yet amusingly crass. He doesn’t want you to know he has feelings. He wants you to know that he has feelings and he is completely okay with that.

The Fuckboy is perplexed that you were upset when he forgot to text you for three days then sent “what are you up to” at last call. The Softboy knows this behavior is selfish and cruel, though his desire to get laid can trump this. He feels shame. He does it again.

He wants to know if you’re mad at him. He already knows.

The Softboy doesn’t want to talk to you about The Wire. He concedes that it is “objectively good television” yet “ultimately problematic” and “undeserving of its lionization.” Obviously, he is an Ally.

He has some art to show you.

The Softboy does not necessarily have a soft body. In fact he is often wiry and angular.

However: the heavier the Softboy, the thicker the beard.

He is emotionally intelligent but does nothing with this knowledge. He is artistic. He is aware. He is still a dick.

The Softboy sends you songs via Gchat while you’re at work.

He hasn’t texted you back for a reason; he was not blowing you off. He’s had a Weird Day. Or maybe he’s Trying To Figure Some Shit Out. Sometimes, he finds pride in declaring that he Just Needs A Night To Himself.

The Softboy is an Underdog. He has a hurricane sulk.

He resurfaces seconds before the final ember extinguishes.

The Softboy wields guilt like a floral knife.