How to spot a f**kboy in his natural habitat.
Last night I came home to my roommate chain smoking on the balcony, her winter coat flimsy protection against her feelings. I recognized that look - hopeless and hurt - an unfortunate rite of passage for every girl. F**kboy alert, it said, code red code red, and all I could do was stand next to her in solidarity, the cold burrowing into my bones, watching her weave excuses for him out of thin air. As the words fell out of her mouth I watched certain words become capitals - DOESN’T BELIEVE IN LABELS, NEVER TOOK ME OUT ON AN ACTUAL DATE, WAS SEEING OTHER GIRLS ON THE SIDE THE ENTIRE TIME.
The F**kboy world has only gotten bigger and brighter with the advent of dating apps, the rise of secret girlfriends, the constant pressure for us women to rein in even a hint of “clingy” or “possessive” in case we scare off this beautiful invincible species. They’ve learnt how to disguise themselves over time, perfecting that boyfriend material look, playing the role only to get what they want - attention or affection and sometimes your sanity - then slybounce.
I’ve been fucked over so artfully in so many different ways I feel like it’s my duty to pass on my knowledge, to stop you ladies from turning into a #wastehertime2016 meme.
These are my stories, my personal experiences and what I have gone through in my 23 years of living and loving.
Am I getting played?
The one where he doesn’t tell you he has a girlfriend
Story #1: I’m at a Parisian house party and a tall pretty boy sparks my interest. Enter David. Mixed race, I think. Beautiful. I ask his shorter friend who’s been trying to hit on me for details – David has a girlfriend, he says immediately, miffed but martyred to his role. The drunker everyone gets the more women flock to David, David doesn’t care, David is on the look out for more whiskey. At dawn David and I are part of the last few survivors, some drunk Finnish dude takes pictures of us dancing – two brown kids with light eyes, the sun hitting our faces. Its funny how belonging is easy to fake at 6am. Later he lures me into the balcony – want to dance, he says, and I laugh, I do. He spins me out and pulls me in for a kiss. We kiss for hours, our comrades passed out behind us like soldiers under a spell. We sit on a swing out on the porch and it feels like the world is ours. We touch and we talk, I curl into his chest and as much as his words and his hands twine around mine I know that he will save the real affection for his girlfriend. As much as he makes me feel safe I know that someone else curves into that space every night. I’m the kind of girl who does everything in life honestly specifically intimacy and when I ask him if he has a girlfriend he stumbles and says he used to. When it’s time for us to leave he kisses me goodbye, sweetly, sheepishly. The other guys don’t say anything for a while but even the French feel the guilt of watching a tiny Indian girl get played. He has a girlfriend, they tell me, they live together, they’re in love. Later I text David and ask him why he said no. He takes a whole day to reply. He tells me he’s sorry, that he didn’t have the courage to say it out loud. He tells me that the time we spent together was true, that it was intense and pure, that we were sincere in our feelings that night, that in that moment he belonged to me.
This will not be the last time in life I will feel cheated off someone.
This will not be the last time in life I will feel like ‘the other’.
Good guy or bad guy?
The one where he plays with your head
Story #2: Last weekend a friend of mine set me up with one of the city’s football gods - “He traveled all over Europe too, you guys should share stories” she insisted, pulling out his Instagram and showing me pictures of a dark eyed, bearded, tattoo-ed dude, his brooding football shots littered with inspirational quotes. No thanks, I think. But something about his intensity calls out to me and I hit him up on Facebook the next day.
Hey you, so Rachel has been selling you hard and thinks we should be best friends. To subscribe press #1, to exchange scar stories press #2, to get a drink press #3, to smoke a j press #4
When he does find me it’s like I made him up. He has a restlessness I recognize, his words getting me riled up and loved up, our friction so frantic I want to do this face to face. A part of me knows he’s playing the game too but I don’t know how much or how far. On Saturday when he finally makes it over it’s midnight. I joke about it being “u up?” time and he tells me I’m more of a “u on this hemisphere at 4pm kinda girl” - if the beauty of that lie doesn’t light up code red I don’t know what will. But I’m an idiot, curious like a cat with zero impulse control. We’ve been flirting all day so while we get high and confess our sins a part of me waits for him to make a move. He doesn’t. When I lean in to kiss him he doesn’t kiss me back. Now him not being interested in me I can handle, rejection I understand and can thus control, but instead what I get is “I don’t want to do this because if I do I won’t be able to respect you”. I also, for good measure get “I can’t give you a piece of me right now”. For someone whose texts have been shooting into my veins all day I’m understandably frustrated and confused. To make this even more entertaining he puts on a show of holding back - fists clenched, veins popping, eyes on fire. Dude, unnecessary.
The basic assumption is men are animals and men always want to bone. This f**kboy breed here is incredibly rare, emotionally unstable, ridiculously hot and gets off on the idea of controlling you. They know you want them and the best way to hold you there is to deny you. What better way to deny you than to act like they’re trying to preserve your equation? Good guy or bad guy? Fact is they’re not interested or they’re enjoying watching you squirm. Either way, RUN.
Anyone who argues with me on this one hasn’t lived the tale, these boys will reel you in telling you how desperate they are for you, how it’s killing them to hold back, how they dream about you at night. And still when you hang out with them visage-a-visage they will never let you in - mentally or physically.
“If I touch you I will I get addicted to you”, “If we do this I wont be able to hold myself back, I will destroy you”, “I’m so into you it hurts me to even see you talking to other guys”.
As my Canadian comrades say - Boy, BYE. I’ve been lucky enough to experience this twice.
Dominant, beautiful, sexy and…boring?
The one where he sleeps with you then asks for the lowdown on one of your girlfriends
Story #3: Oh man, THIS one. When I’d just moved back to Bombay I ended up reconnecting with an actor/model boy, you know the type, a 6 pack and 6 brain cells. He wasn’t on my level but we always had a good time together, the air charged with the dare of the situation, of which of us would make the first move. He was beautiful to look at, dominant and confident, ordering me around in a way that was so sexy resisting was futile. We played the game a couple of times but I got bored or he did, it was inevitable when you don’t have much in common.
Now for context, my best friend is stunning, especially by Indian standards, legs for days, fair, big brown eyes and an air that says ‘don’t mess with me’. She’s always in and out of my profile pictures and Snapchats (like you don’t already know how this story ends). He would pop up every time I’d put up a picture of her “Is she single”, “Is she naughty”, “Tell her to meet me”. Now I understand the 6 brain cells conundrum but courtesy is key and this boy extended me none. Bombay probably has 5 million eligible women (I did not Google this), so why pick my best friend?
Using you as a distraction
The one where he's not over his ex-girlfriend
Story #4: This is a very real very emotionally gutting one. Not being over someone is forgivable but bringing another human being into the fray to feed off her feelings while you’re still wounded is beyond unforgivable. Make peace with your situation, don’t use someone new and exciting as a distraction and then discard them when you realize it isn’t working (you know who you are). While I’ve personally never experienced this I’ve seen it happen over and over to fabulous strong women with no expectations except emotional availability. Men reading this, I know the temptation of Tinder etc. etc. has made this process unbelievably easy but know that human connection is an art not an excuse.
And that ladies is all we have time for today. I’ve left out “the one where he doesn’t believe in labels”, “the one where he doesn’t want to introduce you to his friends”, “the one where he’s shady with his phone”...there’s a list, and we’re putting our Stan Smiths down. Those shoes weren’t made for running.
1. If he tells you that he’s not into you - without leading you on (key!), it doesn’t make him a fuckboy, it makes him honest
2. A lot of episodes are situational and while that doesn’t make it fair, perspective often makes things easier to deal with
3. Don’t place your self worth on someone who has chosen to see you as a statistic
4. Trust your instinct
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101India.com.
Illustration by Eshna Goenka