Being An F-Boy

Like many girls in Singapore, I’ve had my share of experiences with F-boys. You know how it goes: the chasing, the passion, the heartbreak.

It always ends the same—with tears, a pint of ice-cream and our girlfriends telling us what a “heartless jerk” that guy was.

But I never got the closure I needed, because I never understood how they could go around treating women like playthings. To find answers, I took to Tinder and asked the F-boiest F-boys I could find: Matt, Zac, and Brendan.

Disclaimer: This article is based on the opinions of three self-identified F-boys and is not representative of all men
*Names were changed to protect identities

The F-boy behaviour

My first and most burning question was: Why do F-boys think it’s okay to take a girl home, make her feel special for a day, get bored and then move on to the next target?

Matt, 21, believes it’s his duty to share his “gifts” with the world. At 18, he realised he was a “sex beast” and felt a responsibility to bring pleasure to the female population.

Zac, 23, shares with me his “scientifically-backed logic” on why “guys should naturally want to sleep around”.

He also reminds me that everyone has a right to “have sex with anyone they want”. “Feminists tell you not to slut-shame girls, but they forget about us guys,” he explains.

I get his logic, we shouldn’t shame people for their sex lives. But that doesn’t excuse their habit of leading women to think they’re falling in love, and then leaving and breaking their hearts.

Zac tells me it’s a misunderstanding, and that I shouldn’t assume a guy wants a relationship just because he’s nice to me.

Brendan, 25, shares a similar sentiment. Most guys, he offers, aren’t aware of the different expectations men and women have in relationships.

“I’m genuinely interested in the women I sleep with, just not interested enough to become exclusive. I didn’t realise my care translates to them as wanting to take things further.”

Despite the ‘Tender Loving Care’ he shows his bed partners, they aren’t notified when the relationship is over. Instead, he ghosts them because “the breakup process is too messy”.

I was appalled how these guys could justify treating women like they were disposable. I wondered how they got this way—F-boys can’t just happen to be inept at feeling empathy.

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What makes an F-boy an F-boy?

I figured there had to be a reason for their thinking. So I got to the root of the issue and asked them how they became F-boys.

Matt reveals his ex-girlfriend was seeing other guys, which emasculated him. After the breakup, he started picking up girls to prove to himself he was “man enough”.

“But now, I have nothing to prove, because I know I am a sex beast.”

Zac also had an ex cheat on him, leading him to “take a break from serious relationships.”

While Matt and Zac’s f**kery seems like a result of a broken heart unhealed, Brendan, on the other hand, believes he didn’t choose the F-boy life—the F-boy life chose him.

“It was a result of circumstances. At 20, I was young, hot and available. I didn’t know how to deal with the attention I got from girls, so I did what society told me was ‘cool’. I slept with them all.”

To the broken-hearted, the F-boy life is a defence mechanism, a means of shutting themselves off from feelings so they wouldn’t get hurt again.

And like many Singaporean guys on the cusp of manhood, Brendan was blindly following traditional notions of masculinity, which to him meant proving his sexual prowess.

F-boys and love

“I do believe in love,” Brendan shares. “I’m just not actively searching for it.”

I ask if one of the girls he ghosted may be the one that got away, but he doubts it. “I don’t want to waste time getting my hopes up, only to get dumped.”

He confesses part of being an F-boy is being in control of your emotions. He can’t be seen as ‘vulnerable’, because that would just be the worst. I suspect toxic masculinity at play.

Matt, admittedly not over his breakup, isn’t sure he believes in love anymore.

Either way, he believes him staying out of relationships is in everyone’s best interests. “If I’m breaking hearts now, imagine how much I’d hurt a girl if we’re dating.”

Matt is aware of his emotional unavailability and seems resigned to it. I wonder if this is the mentality of most F-boys, preventing them from ever getting too close to anyone.

As for Zac, I ask whether he longs for a deeper connection beyond sex. He says, “Sure, only if you’re interested.” He punctuates his sentence with a winky face.

I tell him I’m only here for research, and he promptly unmatches me.

F-Boys In Singapore

Everyone has a choice in how they want to treat people. But my little experiment shows that sometimes, we fall into categories and fulfil stereotypes without meaning to.

This article was first published on 28 May 2018 and last updated on 23 May 2024. 

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