by Jodie Brooksbank


I’ve encountered the softboy; he’s sensitive, he’s going through some shit, he knows he’s a mess and he’s sorry. You understand though don’t you? You’ve been hurt before, he’d never want to hurt you, he’s just scared, he’s still getting over his ex that came before you. He’s so in touch with his emotions, maybe you’ve even seen him cry, he won’t reply to you for weeks but you’ll forgive him. He’s had a lot on his plate. He resurfaces seconds before the final ember burns out. He talks to you about philosophy and literature and music, you’re on the same wavelength, you’re his intellectual equal, it’s not easy to find girls like you. 

Yeah he’s read Sartre in his spare time, but he dropped out of University because he couldn’t follow the routine of formal education, he’s in his mid twenties but still lives at home. He uses alcohol to numb the pain but you understand don’t you, you get it, we all do, right? It’s human nature, we’re always fleeing from ourselves. You want to mother him, nurture him, fix his broken heart, he’s a tortured soul but you understand him. He’s politically engaged and savvy, he’s a feminist, obviously. He does a better job at explaining feminism to his friends than you could and your eyes light up; down with the patriarchy, he respects women! He’s intelligent and tuned in but he’s also funny. He’s into the newest comedies and the cult classics. Peep Show? He calls it painfully relatable, tells you he’s an awful mixture of both Mark and Jez, You laugh because you are too, right? We all are, we’re all a bit of a Mark. We’re all a bit of a Jez.

He’s standoffish but tactile at the same time. He wants to be looked after and so do you, when he touches the small of your back to bend down slightly and tell you something about the latest politically satirical programme he’s been watching, you go weak at the knees. He laughs at all your jokes, he offers you his cigarettes and makes niche puns. He’s a softboy but he’s not very soft, he’s angular and chiselled, he’s tall and thin but has a kind smile. He should be out of your league but he says he doesn’t believe in all that, anyway. He says he thinks you’re beautiful and instantly you are held by the steely blue of his eyes. You feel lucky to be in his presence, he’s funny and he’s sensitive and he has a boyish charm. Isn’t this why you make so many excuses for him? For all his sarcasm and nihilism there’s a naivety there, he’s always been looked after by his mum and if you just look past that flowing head of hair I’m sure you'll find a scared boy. 

You love him? Do you love him? You think you love him and you think he loves you too, until he, the scared boy (he exists!) runs away and leaves you. You understand though don’t you? He’d never want to hurt you.

image: Netflix