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The internet is going nuts over ‘Hot Rodent Men’ - What does it mean?

The internet is going nuts over ‘Hot Rodent Men’ - What does it mean?
The internet is going nuts over ‘Hot Rodent Men’ - What does it mean? Copyright Evan Agostini/Invision/AP - Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP - Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Copyright Evan Agostini/Invision/AP - Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP - Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
By David Mouriquand
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Gen Z want Hot Rodent Men - and they are being very vocal about it. What does it mean? How does one qualify? And how is being compared to a rodent a compliment?

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“Dad Bod”... “Babygirl”... “Short King”...  

The internet loves to label, often in mildly baffling ways, and a new term has been going viral lately: “Hot Rodent Men”.  

Apparently, anyone who falls into that category is the most desirable thing to be right now.  

So, what does this unusual compliment mean and should we be worried?  

Here’s the lowdown.

What is a Hot Rodent Man?

A “Hot Rodent Man” - or a “sexy rat boyfriend”, depending what corner of the web you've landed in – is the new term for the internet’s favourite men.  

This category seems mostly to refer to men who look a bit like mice or rats.  

Dig a little deeper, and it describes unconventionally attractive men who seem to share some common physical features:  

  • Svelte as opposed to muscular 
  • Angular facial structure  
  • Prominent ears 
  • Sunken / beady eyes  
  • Unkempt hair 
  • Pale – to the extent they could very well be calcium deficient.

 

What about personality? Or is this all about looks?

Mostly about looks, but attached to physicality seems to be a certain vibe, an equivalence that states that if you’re not stereotypically good looking or masculine in the traditional way (whatever that means), the man is a safe bet and feels less threatening. And might write you a poem.  

In that sense, a Hot Rodent Man could be likened to the TikTok craze of the “golden retriever boyfriend”, which describes someone who is loyal and openly affectionate. 

Otherwise, this feels like the Gen Z equivalent to what Millennials would refer to as a "hipster" or "indie guy". 

Who is a Hot Rodent Man?

Matty Healy from the band 1975; The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White; Barry Keoghan; the cast of Challengers (Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist)... Basically a lot of current, very white A-listers who don’t fit the traditional archetype of the Hollywood heartthrob but who are apparently getting everyone’s attention.

So, essentially, out with Chris Hemsworth and his conventionally perfect face and ripped body, and in with Adam Driver and the lanky hottie army.  

Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist
Josh O’Connor and Mike FaistRebecca Cabage/Invision/AP

What about Timothée Chalamet?

He’s just an angel. Leave him out of this. We’re all rodents compared to the standards that young man is setting. But if you must lump him in a category, he’d be more feline than anything else.  

Back up – Where did this new obsession come from?

Hard to say, but it seems like credit is being given to a viral tweet from 2023, which suggested that men can be four kinds of attractive: Eagle handsome; Bear handsome; Dog handsome; Reptilian handsome. 

Are Hot Rodent Men feeling OK?

To be confirmed. It’s hardly the most flattering term and it makes them sound like a rat-based science experiment gone amok.  

The trend has garnered some criticism online, mostly to do with how the term feels like a backhanded compliment, and how all the men mentioned under the Hot Rodent Man umbrella are whiter than Britney Spears in a snowstorm. Some have called it "white mediocrity", or called out the elevation of mediocre standards that women aren’t granted. Model / actress Julia Fox highlighted that she wished "women were afforded the same luxury," highlighting the double standards of body image in the media and society. 

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Should we be worried about a Hot Rodent Summer?

No, everything’s fine. No need to baton down the hatches or invest in anti-vermin repulsive sprays. This is just the latest dating craze for Gen Z, and this too – like the elusive “so babygirl” term of endearment - shall pass.  

After all, the internet has the attention span of a particularly distracted gnat, so it won’t be long until the next ephemeral obsession comes along. It’ll probably be another odd comparison to animals, but if it’s about celebrating differences and how you don’t have to be conventionally handsome to be appreciated as hot, then who are we to complain?  

These viral terms categorizing men’s desirability tend to reclaim traits that might traditionally be considered less attractive – see: “Dad Bod” and “Short King” - so there’s something to be celebrated in embracing a deviation from traditional masculinity signifiers.  

But for now, prepare for a Hot Rodent Man Summer.  

And wear sunscreen. Especially you, Hot Rodent Men – you and your melanin-deprived skin will need it.  

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