Home Lifestyle Hot rodent men are the flavour of the summer, but why?

Hot rodent men are the flavour of the summer, but why?

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Left to right: Matty Healy, Josh O’Connor, Mike Faist, Barry Keoghan and Jeremy Allen White are all considered ‘hot rodent men’ (Picture: GETTY / REX)

Over the past year or so, there has been a growing infestation of ‘hot rodent men’ (as they’ve been dubbed by the internet) scurrying across our screens.

Gone is the hype around the perhaps more conventionally attractive celebrities. It seems that what has Gen Z going feral now is a man who is otherwise known as a ‘sexy rat boyfriend’.

While the term seems obviously problematic, it has taken root online, and is being used to describe fangirls’ favourite male celebs. It stems from the idea that there are different ‘types’ of attractiveness.

In a viral tweet, which hit 6.7 million views, @marieprairiee wrote on X: ‘Men are either eagle handsome, bear handsome, dog handsome or reptilian handsome.’

Ryan Gosling was classed as ‘eagle handsome’, Henry Cavil was classed as ‘bear handsome’, Heath Ledger was ‘dog handsome’ and Timothee Chalamet was ‘reptilian handsome’.

But it’s this last category that has morphed and shifted since last May when the tweet was published, into the now explosively popular ‘rodent attractive’.

The celebs that the internet have dubbed their favourite ‘hot rodents’ include the likes of Barry Keoghan, known for his controversial performance in Saltburn, and Jeremy Allen White from The Bear.

But these men aren’t just scurrying round mansions and kitchens, Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist, who starred in the hit Challengers movie, have also made the cut.

The 1975’s Matty Healy is also considered a ‘sexy rat’ – especially since Taylor Swift seemingly pulled their rumoured romance apart on her latest studio album, The Tortured Poets Department.

The ever popular Timothee Chalamet is considered ‘rat-like’, too, as is Penn Badgley, best know for his roles in Gossip Girl and You.

What do all of these men have in common? They all look relatively unkempt, with longer, messy hair, pointed features and smaller eyes.

They’ve also played less conventional characters in films, and give off what Gen Z would call ‘the vibes’ of a brooding creative or someone with some grit to them.

The ‘sexy rat’ type all also smoke, either in real life or in their roles. Think ‘bad boy’ with a twist.

Courtney Boyer, relationship and sexuality expert and author of Not Tonight Honey, tells Metro.co.uk why the internet is so ‘hot rodent’ obsessed.

‘I think that many are tired of the polished, cookie-cutter men and are wanting something different – edgier, grittier, on the fringe,’ Courtney explains.

‘These men aren’t prioritising more superficially appreciated attributes, such as the muscles, tanned skin, and clean-shaven look. They’re comfortable in who they are and what they have to offer which isn’t generic.’

It’s this look that Courtney says people attribute to a ‘rogue’ personality type.

‘These men aren’t conforming to the pressure to be the pretty, preppy, polished person that has been expected of them for decades,’ she says.

‘Independence, confidence, and being them – unconstrained by society’s expectations – likely perpetuates the attractiveness of these men.

‘You don’t look at these men and think “Wall Street” or “finance bro”. You think “creatives:” those who think outside the box, who don’t conform to the capitalist (and contentious) dogma.’

As society keeps encouraging individuality and asking people who express themselves through their personal appearance, Courtney agrees that ‘traditional standards of attraction’ will become redundant.

She adds: ‘Social media has evened the playing field in a sense and allowed us to get to know the less well known actors and artists, allowing their personality to shine. Now that is sexy.’

It’s not the first time Gen Z has reduced a group of men they fancy to a simple term though.

At the start of this year the term ‘babygirl’ became widely used to describe the likes of Saltburn and Euphoria star Jacob Elordi.

As Urban Dictionary puts it, a guy who’s so babygirl ‘is extremely sexually attractive with a good personality’.

In other words, it’s a term of endearment. Other internet babygirls apparently include Paul MescalColin Farrell and Ryan Gosling as Ken.

In Mashable’s horny dictionary for 2022, a babygirl is described as being ‘the new submissive and breedable’. Thus, they are sweet, kind, earnest and hot.

Going back even earlier in Gen Z’s dictionary, we’ll find ‘the shrimp guy’ – a very damaging term for a man who’s body is considered attractive but whose face is not.

The comparison comes from the fact you remove the crustacean’s head to eat it; effectively the ‘butterface’ insult of yesteryear for a new generation.

Despite X insisting that ‘hot rodent men’ is a compliment, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be received as one by its subjects, and this creates a similar issue to the shrimp – though it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon.

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