How Internet Nice Guys Evolved Into Today’s Simps

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Every once in a while, Twitter will come up with a word that will get used by a certain group, whether it’s the K-pop stans or the astrology accounts or the progressive coalition. Regardless of who starts the phrase, once it’s spread enough and diffused to enough corners of the web, it becomes a global sensation, evolving and changing depending on where it lands.

We saw it with the word ‘normalize,’ which is how annoying people who think they’re a lot deeper than they are communicate that they don’t like something traditional. We saw it with the word ‘chief,’ which started as an innocent title of endearment for friends with bad takes, before becoming every preteen’s go-to nickname for their friends.

Well, now we’ve got a new one, and it’s been all the rage for the past year.

Yes, welcome to the Era of the Simp.

A simp, as per the Internet’s best encyclopedia Urban Dictionary, is defined as someone who does way too much for a person they’re into. It’s generally targeted towards men, especially young men, who will bend over backwards just in the hopes for a little attention from a woman.

Now, because people online have no originality, what started off as an innocent meme has become the number one insult to be found among conversations on Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram.

Check under any model’s posts – or any social media influencer’s thirst traps – to find dozens of horny guys begging for attention, followed by hundreds more calling them out for what they perceive as simp-like behavior.

In fact, I believe it was the great intellectual Aristotle who first theorized the equation that for every man who demonstrates himself as a simp, there must be no less than four more men who judge him for this behavior, publicly and without consideration.

So why the anti-simp hate? What does it represent for our culture that guys who are overly-nice are so resented for it? Well, in truth the answer has two branches, one moderately funny and one very much not.

To start with the less-funny of the two, simps are often associated with guys who equate being nice in their heads to automatic sex. They assume that if they send enough good morning texts to a girl, if they buy her flowers enough time or bombard her with attention 24/7, or heaven forbid be her shoulder to cry on, then they’re first in line when the girl is looking to get her rocks off.

If they just accept that it’s not happening, they’re simping (note the verb form), especially if they keep up their behavior in a weird self-hating, self-defeating cycle of courting. However, if they don’t accept the fact that the woman is just not into them, they enter incel territory.

Incels (short for involuntary celibates) are sort of like the unfunny, horrible version of simps. Simps want you to fall in love with them for their actions; incels expect to be rewarded for their kindness with sex and can commonly flip out if they don’t get it. These guys are psychos.

Now, a vast majority of simps aren’t toxic, misogynistic creeps, they’re just lonely guys desperate for some attention. This is the other branch of why simps get such a bad rap – they’re consistent, they’re public, and they’re often pathetic.

Think of a person you’re into, or a partner you’re dating. Now imagine that, under their Facebook posts, you have one of their friends consistently commenting, consistently sending hearts and jokes and flirting with them. Every time there’s a chance to be present, that person takes it.

After about a month, it’s exhausting. After about three, you start to grow resentful, both if you’re the person being bombarded and if you’re the other people watching. Quite simply, no one wants to watch that much desperation constantly.

Simping very much falls into this trap, where a guy gets a moderate return on his consistent barrage of affection towards a woman. Perhaps he buys her dinners and gifts and a new car, and is too blind to realize that no, she’s not busy for the eighth Friday in a row, she’s just not interested in dating you.

Simps fall partly into conflict with toxic macho culture, because as a society nobody wants to see men bending over backwards for women. They make think they’re pushing the conversation with their ‘Every woman is a queen’ discourse, but in reality they’re just building resentment and scorn.

There is another definition of simping, one less commonly-seen but still very much a recent development on the interwebs, and that’s more of a mood than a character trait. Simping is the act of being in your feelings to an almost gratuitous degree.

That guy who’s always got his guitar out (never playing, though), staring off into the distance? The guy who brings up depression any chance he gets, just to show how unique and interesting he is? Those guys are simps.

Think 2011 Drake, or 2010 Kid Cudi. We’re talking about, sitting at the bar with a nice drink and looking down at your hands as you think deep thoughts. Even better with those thoughts are linked to a girl you see on the street outside for a moment but for whom you’ve already convinced yourself to fall.

Much like the original definition of simping, this second, less-common definition is more commonly found in men than women (though some women do be sending thirsty tweets to Ryan Reynolds, and he’s absolutely noticed you simping ladies). Generally speaking, men are more often working to get laid, leading to a myriad of strategies.

So, to recap: how bad is it to be a simp? Eh.

As long as you’re not bordering incel territory (in that you’re beginning to feel entitled to women and their bodies), you’re fine. Some guys are just inherently more passive, more likely to let beautiful girls walk all over them, just for some time with them.

Is it healthy for either of you? Hell no. Is it perhaps just a symbol of the times we live in today? Quite possibly.

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3 years ago

Small penis…you forgot the eternal simp motivator…small penis.