Home Ideas The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: The ‘Soft Guy Era’

The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: The ‘Soft Guy Era’

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the out of touch adults guide to kid culture the soft guy era

This week, I dig around in the cesspit of online “alpha male” influencers to find out what “soft guy era” means. I also look into the wholesome “Utah Fit Check” trend, find out what happens when AI starts making memes, and investigate the Humane AI pin, a new tech gadget I decidedly do not want.

What is the “Soft Guy Era?”

Man-space influencers on TikTok and elsewhere have been hyping the phrase “soft guy era” for the last week or so, working hard to get the hashtag trending and plant the idea in people’s minds. And it seems to be working—at least on young men. So I looked into it, and I wish I hadn’t.

According to Scarfacemark, the person at the center of the soft guy trend, a man in his “soft guy era” wants to find a woman who will “take care of him in ridiculous ways.” Seems straightforward enough, but Scarface isn’t expressing a desire to be what used to be called a “kept man.” Like most everything from red pill and red pill-adjacent people, the “soft guy era” is a reactionary and dishonest concept, a troll driven by misogyny and money.

“Soft guy era” is a reaction to the “soft girl era” trend that became popular, particularly with young African-American women, in 2023. “Soft girl” seems to mostly be about self-care and living a life that isn’t about struggle. For some women, that means expensive vacations and lavishness, or it means looking for a more gender-traditional relationship, where the man makes the money and the woman keeps house. And that’s the inflection point for man-fluencers.

In the world of online woman-hating-for-cash, the “soft girl” thing is an affront to men—an injustice, even though a man supporting a woman is rooted in patriarchal ideas that online dude-guys usually support. It’s another gender-war double-bind: Women who want careers are hated, and women who don’t want careers are hated too. The hatred is the real point. Influencers come up with slightly unique wrinkles on time-tested misogynistic ideas and use them to rile up weirdos and increase their view-counts and sell ugly t-shirts and cryptocurrency, or whatever they do to scrounge up the rent for their condos.

I dug around on both the #softgirlera and the #softguyera hashtags. The most-trafficked videos on the former are sappy odes to successful relationships, yearnings for romance, and pleas for peace and gentleness. The top “soft guy” posts are not like this. They are nearly uniformly unfunny “comedy videos” made by a cadre of weird, greasy cranks acting like they’re making jokes when really they’re being assholes. All these dudes pretend they’re rich “alpha males” turning away super-models, and it’s a transparent act to everyone but the children and teenagers they prey upon. Maybe the soft girls are working an online hustle of their own, but at least they don’t make me feel like I need a shower and a nap.

What is a “Utah Fit Check”?

Remember when it was funny to gross out your friends by making up sexual practices like the “Mississippi Mudslide” or “The Angry Algonquin?” The “Utah Fit Check” is nothing like that. It’s an innocent TikTok challenge where you wear some baggy jeans, give a thumbs-up to the camera, then jump in the air and try to spin twice before landing. Or just spin once—no one is keeping score. 

The trend was started by Utah TikToker Michaelmal568. He posted the first video with the hashtag. It seems like he just wanted to show off his outfit, but he went a little too far, and people found it amusing/endearing, and thus a trend was born. It’s now spreading across TikTok, Instagram, and everywhere else. Everyone is trying it, and some are failing. Some are pushing the envelope. (Apparently cleanly landing even one spin is not easy, so props to Michaelmal for the semi-clean 720.) 

There’s an interesting cross-generational wrinkle to the story: The song you play for a proper Utah Fit Check video is “Harness your Hopes,” an obscure B-side from 1990s alternative band Pavement. I’m always happy when something I liked a million years ago finds a new audience, although more annoying TikTokers have started using Billy Joel’s sappy “Vienna Waits for You” instead of Pavement. They should be ashamed of themselves. 

AI is taking over meme creation

Online people have started outsourcing meme creation to artificial intelligence, and it’s going as well as you’d expect. In this subreddit devoted to the subject, the memes are either incomprehensible or just not funny. They’re not even “so bad they’re good,” they’re just boring. One redditor asked AI to make memes only AI would understand. AI didn’t make anything particularly interesting with that prompt either.

As artificial intelligence gets “better,” it’s losing the one interesting thing it has going on—that surrealist edge that gives everyone a queasy feeling—and replacing it with absolute averageness, complete mediocrity. The future is going to be computer-generated boredom on a level we are only starting to see. But at least we’ll all be unemployed.

Viral video of the week: “The Humane AI pin: The Worst Product I’ve Ever Reviewed… For Now”

When a trusted, respected, even-handed tech reviewer like Marques Brownlee posts a video where he calls a heavily hyped, this-will-change-everything tech device, “The Worst Product I’ve Ever Reviewed,” a lot of people take notice—especially when the product, the Humane AI Pin, is backed by hundreds of millions of investor dollars, and was invented by two ex-Apple higher-ups who worked on the iPhone and iOS.

The Humane AI Pin is a wearable AI assistant that promises to take users beyond the cell phone by packing a camera, light, laser projector, a phone, and more into a tiny, slickly designed device you can stick on your lapel. You can ask it questions in plain English, dictate to it, take pictures, make calls, send texts, and other basic assistant functions. It will even project information onto your hand with a laser if you can’t talk to it.

So what’s the problem? According to Brownlee, everything. The Humane AI’s artificial intelligence is slow to respond and often factually wrong (like AI always is). The battery life is terrible. It overheats easily. It’s heavy. The projector function is hard to read, and it often doesn’t understand what you’re saying. But the worst thing about it is that it doesn’t connect to your phone or anything else. The Humane AI pin is like paying $700 and a monthly, mandatory $24 subscription fee for a second phone that’s markedly worse in every way than the one you already own. It turns out, a touch-screen interface is way better than a voice-only interface. Who could have guessed?

Source: LifeHacker.com