For those golden oldies among us like myself, the terms that Gen Z comes up with on a weekly basis can be astounding. There’s little point in keeping abreast of all of them, but there is one exception: simping. In old money, it basically means you’re whipped. However, there are a few critical differences, namely that simping seems to be classed as a more wholesome alternative and people seem to love it. Here’s why so many men are so into it.
What is simping?
In plain terms, simping is when a straight guy becomes absolutely obsessed with a woman who doesn’t return his affections. The simp may go out of his way to make romantic gestures or do things that you would normally only do for someone you were in a relationship with. While this can be seen as kind and generous, to some, it’s cringe-worthy. This is because many men who partake in this trend are seemingly ignoring or refusing to accept the fact that the woman isn’t interested.
Those who see simping as a negative thing often point out that men who do it are voluntary doormats. They allow women to take advantage of or walk all over them despite their lack of romantic interest. Of course, there can also be inherent misogyny in this viewpoint. After all, the woman in question likely doesn’t want the attention and didn’t ask for it. To hold her responsible for a man’s behavior is unfair.
What are some typical simping behaviors?
- He always speaks up for women / his crush in particular.
- He puts the woman’s happiness above his own.
- Despite being rejected, he continues putting in effort.
- He asks cringeworthy questions like “Where’s my hug?” when he sees her or “You love me!” when she expresses annoyance with him.
- He thinks the only thing he can offer her is to do everything for her.
Why are so many men proud of doing it?
- It makes caring fashionable. While men used to be able to play hard to get and that be enough for them to be considered relationship material, there are different standards now. Chiefly, they can express their emotions and love for their partner and find an identity in that. Usually, men would have to bottle up emotions or convert their strong feelings into other avenues like clubbing, ghosting, or running away rather than embracing them. Now they can, and that should encourage a more healthy expectation in a relationship without othering male expressions of emotion.
- But, it can be too performative. Sometimes, and we see this on TikTok and in the media, people note how attractive these qualities are and decide to perform “softboi” personas or ‘simps’ in order to pretend that they are a safe alternative to other men. This risks creating an equivalent to the early 2010s phenomenon of being “not like other girls.” I know that all groups of people will always play up different parts of their personalities in the early stages of relationships in order to be liked, but it can start to feel much less authentic. We don’t want simping to turn into a way of making guys’ emotions fashionable or marketable rather than necessary. It sends the wrong message.
- Guys can also show off. It becomes a new metric in the relationship. A new marker of the timeline. However, like first, second, and third base, being a simp can become the new sex badge. The social buzzword. It means that they can prove that they’ve achieved a certain threshold in the relationship or conquered an element of it without necessarily feeling it. It makes the relationship feel like something that can be won. It’s not for everyone though. I know that settling down can feel really obnoxious and performative when it’s plastered anxiously all over your social media, but there is a balance.
- It creates new control dynamics. It can see the end of the master-servant dynamic in traditional relationships. Gone are the times when women wait around for men to ask them out on the first date or make the moves in the relationship. If anything, this ability to embrace more gentle, nervous personas in guys can allow for less stress in the relationship. Without forcing them to perform a more toxic version of masculinity that they see in the media, people can redefine their roles in the relationship without the same binaries. This can support their growth and communication in the long term.
- They can express their needs and feelings. As soon as we give a proper name and identity to this expression of a less masculinized role, men can “simp” and assert their needs. There is a huge myth that only women want long-term relationships and that men are scared of commitment, but we know that isn’t the case. As a result, they can express their desire for a person without feeling as much judgment. In fact, simping is actually pretty popular!
- They can demand attention in healthy ways. Rather than using passive-aggressive techniques or ghosting you, this gives guys a space to assert themselves. They’re allowed to need affection and want to be loved, as are women. It’s not only women who can be needy or want to feel seen.
- It can invert traditional dynamics. If your guy simps for you this might express itself in many ways. Maybe he cooks for you when you get home from work. Perhaps he plans a romantic picnic in the park when you’ve had a long day. Maybe he fawns over you in public and always asks how things made you feel, just because. All these things are great, not only doing the bare minimum but raising the bar. Showing you what you deserve. Guys are allowed to be totally obsessed with you if we can call it simping and give it validity.
We can see that much like the term being “whipped” comes with its own complex baggage, simping does too. It’s attached to ideas of performativity in some circles, and the term has evolved within pop culture as all linguistic additions do. However, at its core, it’s great that guys are obsessed with this term. It means they’re allowed to express their affection and no longer treat compassion with hostility.