Since Alexandra has decided to pop off to Mexico this week, I, Camilla, will be taking over the blog.
I’d best begin with the simple definition of the soft boy.
Found more freely on Bumble, the soft boy is the fuck boy’s much more pleasant younger brother. They sport the same upbringing, the same goals, but adopt wildly different methods to get between your legs. We know the fuckboy; tall, sporty, showered in aftershave and smiles with teeth evidently bleached.
The soft boy, however, is kind.
The soft boy, doused in humming pale hues, is calming. They want to know you. They search inside of you with prying questions about your family, or your dreams, or your opinions on David Hume and existentialism. They take you to leather booths in wooden pubs, lit only with flickering candlelight. They order the cheapest ale. They smoke dewy rollies on crisp December nights and tell you stories of their drug-hazed travels to Berlin. They send you nudes with carefully placed bookshelves full of political philosophy in full eye view. Even whilst looking at their dick, they want you to know they are just so god damn intellectual.
They fuck to Bon Iver to get over the pain of their girlfriend leaving. They tell you they are finally kicking the drug habit, or that coke once a week is their “recovery”. In the evening, they say you make them vulnerable, that they’ve never felt so deeply connected with someone. They will paint you a universe with their words like this is the first time they’ve ever felt a woman before.
They listen to a band that you absolutely could never possibly have heard of. Probably Tame Impala or Pink Floyd. They make art. And when I say art, it is normally homemade drum and bass on their Mac, sampled from the infinite other soft boys that exist on SoundCloud. But God, they need music. You will hide your Fuck your ex, but don’t fuck your ex Spotify playlist, populated by Taylor Swift, and talk about your love for Joni Mitchell’s Blue, or that your first pressing Nick Drake’s Pink Moon is your prized possession. This intrigues them, enough.
The soft boy will ask what you do. “I write poetry”. They want to be the subject of your poetry, but will never read it. You lack the intellectual or emotional depth of those Keats poems they’ve only ever read once, after buying the anthology of love for 50p from Oxfam. Probably after the immediate break up of the girlfriend. They will tell you how much they know literature.
They will all have “that” girlfriend. Inevitably, the girlfriends fit into the type just as easily as my soft boys. Girlfriends with angular dark hair and soft eyes, who take 35mm pictures of old people smiling on subways and call it art. They speak French, or are French, or have the air of Parisian superiority that you think might just make them an art student. They have girlfriends with storybook names, smudged black rings around their eyes from their latest trip, and dainty silver rings that populate long fingers. They have girlfriends who tortured them. They will tell you about the girlfriend before you finish your first pint.
There is never a morning with the soft boy. You are given nights of passion and indulgence, where the hours roll into one, and love sounds like worn bedsheets and not birdsong. They slip secrets as they kiss the tattoo you got in protest of their own assumptions. Calculated secrets; enough to give honestly a human face, not enough for them to be honest. “I had therapy” is the classic. Then, they perform their cruelest and most rehearsed trick.
Or at least, for some time. The soft boy could never be perceived as egotistical so they will come back, days later, after finding themselves in homemade gin and another woman. They will be kind as they explain that this is not the right time, or that they are far too fucked up for commitment. Of course, they are fucked up; they reap and roll and wallow in pain like it is tattooed onto their very existence. They are designed for pain.
They will tell you that you scared them, that they could never let anyone in that could hurt them. They will shower you with the compliments you never had; they love your intellect, your morals, your bookshelf or just simply “how your pussy felt”. There will be something you are missing. They like you not for the intellect, or the sharp tongue, but for the words that slip out because you are sat beneath illuminated olive trees, and their touch burns the slip of skin between your top and your trousers. You worship them like Cathy worships Heathcliff. But Heathcliff, in your story, wears all black and talks about Ernest Hemingway, and forgets to ask you a single question. Instead, Heathcliff is a narcissist with a desperate need to be mothered.
Then, the soft boy will find another, just like you. One caress of the ego is never enough to satisfy those who monopolise their pain. Their world exists in grey, extending as far as their own stories of their own travels. They won’t remember yours. Fundamentally, the soft boy has a precarious ego. Gentle enough to break, desperate enough to need you, and strong enough to make you doubt every love story that sits on your shelf.
But they need your words for their ego, so inevitably, they respond to your Instagram stories.
So here are our characters. Me, and my soft boys. My incessant desire for affection, and my freedom in giving it way if a boy simply asks who I am. And my unattached, commitment-fearing, “I’m so fucked up” soft boys.
Already, we have been on quite the adventure.
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