Behind every tanned woman posing in a Missguided two-piece is a man in a too-tight cable-knit sweater taking the photo, but also quietly cheating with someone who looks exactly like her but with slightly bigger tits.
He is her more muscular mirrored image: the Dark Fruits to her Fiat 500, the Boohoo Man to her Pretty Little Thing, a Love Island Lad who’s her type on paper. He has a full hand tattoo of a grandfather clock and SW4 is his Glastonbury – but also, he doesn’t really “like” music.
He likes to go big on Valentine’s Day (red roses, a cuddly toy and a nice three-course meal deal with pink bubbly) in an attempt to alleviate the guilt he feels about his constant infidelity, but also so his 6k-follower girlfriend will post photos and boost his chances of becoming an influencer. He’s started dressing the part, in Urban Outfitters band T-shirts, and won’t be caught dead flying back from Mykonos into Stansted in anything other than the Urban Celebrity airport collection.
The Boohoo Man is a descendant of the 1990s “metrosexual”: enjoys fashion, spends a sizeable chunk of his income on male grooming, but is definitely “not gay”. He doesn’t necessarily have a problem with homosexuality – as long as they don’t try pull anything with him!!! – but is keen to make sure everyone knows that he loves fit birds and is in fact a boob man.
In the summer he wears all-over print resort shirts and V-necks with spray-on jeans, upgrading to colourful matching-shirt-and-shorts two-piece sets for his annual Croatian festival. There, he does his bit to entrench overseas hatred of the English by slamming a Jägerbomb out of Harry’s arse in a busy family restaurant at 2PM, “for the Insta story”.
In the winter he wears ripped jeans and muscle-fit long-sleeved polo shirts that somehow still show off his waxed chest, under a camel coat – just so people know he puts some thought into his look. His favourite brand is Balenciaga, but he can’t afford it yet so owns a lot of NICCE. He prefers Off White to Supreme, but wouldn’t mind a classic box logo hoodie if he could get his hands on one.
He keeps a meticulously detailed workout diary-cum-spreadsheet with information about every rep he’s done for the past three years. He has unsettlingly strong opinions on the pros and cons of using cable machines over free weights for pectoral flies and tricep workouts. Everything he wears is tapered in ways you didn’t even think a garment could be tapered. Legs? Tapered. T-shirt? Tapered. Collars? Tapered. Socks? Those weird invisible foot liners, to ensure his shapely hairless ankles are always on show.
The Boohoo Man does not spend six days a week at the gym and deal with his girlfriend’s monthly “bitch-fit” – when she begs he take a break from his diet this one time and go to Vapiano’s on a Wednesday, please JUST ONCE, Darren, I’ve just been fired from my job, for Christ’s sake – to hide his gains under a loose tracksuit. He has sculpted this body to perfection and he needs you to look at it, all year round. He spends his Sundays meal-prepping for the week in order to ensure optimal protein intake. He has a weakness for chocolate.
Every single one of his meals is meticulously planned to fit his 40/40/20 protein/carb/fat macros, down to the last grain of rice and a slice of unseasoned chicken breast, except for cheat days, which will typically consist of a McDonald’s drive-thru meal.
This cheeky, easy-going lad (his words) is covered head-to-toe in tattoos, but despite being inked from the chin down – his favourite is his chest-piece of a lion wearing a Native American headdress – he has never done anything subversive in his life, can only afford to be covered by the age of 24 because he skipped going to university (wise) to get a kick-start on his career as a recruitment consultant.
He likes his job well enough, but finally hit 3,000 followers on Instagram last week so has started thinking about applying for Love Island 2020 (he’ll have to break up with his girlfriend, but he’s sure she’ll understand), and making a five-year plan to become an influencer, or at least an ASOS model.
He loves #didnthappen Twitter, and tags the account every time he comes across an instance of something entirely mundane happening to a woman. He isn’t fooled by this lying slag’s tale of someone giving her a free cookie in Pret! Some women think they can get away with anything because they’re hot, but he can see right through it.
He looks much older than he actually is.
Ultimately, this guy is basically the average 20-something man from this vitamin-D deficient nation. His wholesome exterior – “loyalty” scrawled in furling script across his forearm, Instagram posts of pale roast dinners he’s cooked for “this one x” – belies a man “emblematic of a particular type of veiled racism and small-mindedness in the UK”.
He’s the kind of person who listens to ~urban music but feels offended whenever he’s reminded that he’s not the target demographic, and defends his girlfriend’s use of quasi-blackface by using “mental health awareness” to clap back against the #haters and #trolls telling her to lay off the fake-tan. He voted Conservative in the last election because his dad worked hard to get where he was, and he doesn’t see why he should have that taken away from him just because some scroungers are too lazy to put in the effort themselves. He liked Stormzy until he did that interview where he said the UK country is 100 percent racist – there’s not a racist bone in his body! – and now thinks he can fuck off back where he came from (by that, he does not mean Croydon).
If everything works out for him, you’ll see him on a screen near you soon. If not, you might stumble across him on your Instagram Explore page, dressed head-to-toe in a Quavo x boohooMAN fit, captioned with a 100 emoji.