beauty & brawns

Welcome to the hot land of Himbos: Brawns without the brains

A shirtless man with abs in underwear.

If it’s wrong to be gorgeous, muscly, and well, that’s it, then himbos don’t want to be right. And fortunately for them, they typically aren’t.

The himbo is beloved in culture because they reject toxic masculinity while embracing masculine traits. Let’s explore the renaissance of the male bimbo.

What is a gay himbo?

A handsome man with abs shrugging his shoulders.

A himbo, in simplest form, is an attractive but unintelligent man – the equivalent of a bimbo, but re-gendered for him. If you want to sound fancy, it’s a portmanteau. Wrong crowd, though. 

Many men in your life might come to mind, but saying something silly on occasion or playing stupid for laughs is not the same. Himbos obliviously make being hot and dumb a lifestyle, aspirational even. 

Imagine the body of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger colliding with the male energy of Paris Hilton, except a true himbo wouldn’t plan to turn it into a billion-dollar empire.

Beyond their gullible brains and hard bodies, himbos are lovable because of their eternally pure hearts. They appease what they lack in words or actions with kindness and good intentions. 

The rise of the himbo in culture 

A handsome Black man with dreads tugging at his pants.

The himbo archetype was first dubbed in a 1988 Washington Post article by film critic Rita Kempley titled “THE HIMBO ALL POWERFUL AND ALL BEEF! IT’S THE REEL MEN!!!”

Ironically, its predecessor, the ‘bimbo,’ was originally a label for an attractive, brutish man, but the patriarchy quickly appropriated it for their female counterparts. 

GQ’s Justin Myers attributes the himbo resurgence as a “natural reaction to the once-lovable sexy nerd, the alternative heartthrob of the last decade and antidote to stereotypical bad boys or confident geniuses.” 

However, whether you’re a bad boy or a jock, nerd, or prince charming, you’re flawed in one way or another by the grip of toxic masculinity. Nerds want to be tough. Bad boys and jocks are afraid to seem soft. And Prince Charming can’t exist without a damsel in distress. 

A man wearing a crown with sunglasses in a suit.

The himbo presents the most masculinity while rejecting the personality traits associated with manhood. The absence of ego makes straight and gay himbos alike so desirable. A guy who is gorgeous and always means well? Many consider this the idealized safe man.

The most noticeable difference between the gay and straight himbo would be the gender of the person taking them home; however, a gay himbo’s personality might more closely resemble the nuances of his surroundings and gay culture. Yasss Queen!

Is your love of himbos problematic?

Two shirtless men dancing at a Pride festival.

In 2020, the allure of himbos divided the Twitterverse, now a sloppy X, on whether it was wrong to sexualize stupidity. Some viewed being attracted to himbos as predatory or a form of ableism. But many self-identifying himbos came to their own defense.

For trans himbos, identifying with the word is gender-affirming.

To be clear, himbos don’t have any mental disabilities. Sure, they’re not the brightest regarding logic or academia, but their intellect can manifest in other ways, including using their hands or a particular trade.

Their child-like wonder and spirit don’t negate their adult emotions, needs, and libidos. They fall in love and get horny, just like most of us. Unlike other male personality tropes, himbos are most likely to be upfront and honest with their feelings. Consider them the paradox to a f*ck boy.

So, while most are self-aware enough to know their intellectual limitations, that doesn’t mean they don’t expect respect.

Movieweb‘s Parvane simplifies their likeability in media to them being capable of self-improvement while still maintaining their best qualities. He says the “true flexibility of the himbo is in movies and TV shows, where he begins as a joke but grows to be a wholesome and lovable character.”

Let’s meet some of the lovable gay himbos in culture

The himbo character trope is all around us and has been before there was a term for it. Think Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove, Joey from Friends, the first unofficial gay superhero, Hercules, Jason Stackhouse from True Blood, or any role Jon Hamm is in besides Mad Men

Whether aligned with good or evil, the himbo always comes out with innocent naivety, unyielding loyalty, and a pure heart. That’s what gets him in trouble. Let’s see how the tribe has permeated gay entertainment. 

You can now binge daddies falling in love with himbos on reality TV

This Ken was more than just beach… he’s a himbo

The first animated gay himbo was portrayed in Paranorman nearly ten years ago

Who else was swooning for Luke Mcfarlane’s Big Himbo Energy in Bros?

The gays love the himbo

A sculpture of a greek god.

Let’s face it: a tribe that manifests as gorgeous masculinity while rejecting stereotypes on what comprises manhood sounds like many gay men to us. 

Unfortunately, we’re not exempt from the flaws of ego or petty insecurities, which might make himbos queerer than the gays themselves. Their broad shoulders are a safe space to lean on.

Yes, intellect advances society forward, but it often pushes the goodness of human nature back. Himbos have their nipples bursting through their crop tops and their hearts on the sleeves. They say what they mean and mean what they say 

As Paris Hilton would say, that’s hot. 

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