The Poor Bastard Phenomenon

From guest contributer and AzNHeartThrob’s ex-college roommate: XliuserX. Written in 2004 for the Life of Bryan Blog (RIP 2005). XliuserX, your legacy will forever live on in the hallowed blogs of the Internets. 

I’m often told that I tell the truth, often bluntly and rarely sugar coated. Well this week I will explain some truths for you. Many of you will see this as obvious, some of you might not. Either way, I hope you get a good laugh or perhaps even learn something.

The Poor Bastard Phenomenon

I have mentioned this a few times before, and I thought it was common knowledge, but I guess not. Many people (all female), have never heard of it, and when it is explained, they don’t believe it. Well believe this, the poor bastard is real, and he’s more common than you think.

poor bas·tard – n.

1. An individual (usually male) who’s affection for another is not reciprocated

2. One who hangs on for more emotional abuse when moving on would be more appropriate

poor bas·tard – adj.

1. Having the qualities of a poor bastard

2. Lacking dignity and self respect

How does this happen? It’s quite easy actually. I was a guilty of it myself for a while. An example? A guy meets a girl and falls in love. Either he tells her how he feels or he doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is that the girl doesn’t feel the same way. Since “being friends” is a better sounding solution than “never seeing each other again”, he decides that he can put his feelings on the shelf and just enjoy the girl’s company as a friend. Unfortunately, people can’t shelve feelings like canned goods and forget about them. The guy begins spending more and more time with his “friend” and all of the sudden he is a substitute boyfriend, putting everything he has into the relationship with nothing but ignorant bliss from the girl in return. If the guy was smart, he’d get the hell out of it. But guys are idiots. He’d rather be backup boyfriend than nothing at all.

You’ve heard it all before, but recently I’ve heard both first and second hand about girls who claim they don’t know the condition. They may not know the name, but they should at least recognize it. Instead I hear things like “He’s just a really good friend”. “He’s a great guy, I’m just not attracted to him.” My personal favorite was this one. “I broke up with him a few months ago when we were out to dinner one night. He cried in the restaurant and took it pretty hard. But we’re still friends. He took me out for Valentine’s Day and got me flowers and a present, and he seems fine.” I’m paraphrasing a little, but the plot details are accurate. There are many things the guy in that story is, and fine is not one of them.

So girls, if you are spending an inordinate amount of time with a guy who is not your boyfriend, here is a handy list of questions to ask yourself to determine if he is a poor bastard (PB).

  • Is he gay? If yes, you are in the clear. It is a safe bet that he is not romantically interested in you and that you are not destroying his life one day at a time. You can skip the rest of the questions.
  • Did he already profess his love for you in the past? If yes, and you’re still spending all this time together, he is a PB. You can skip the rest of the questions.
  • Does he give you gifts for no reason? If yes, this is a PB warning sign. He is not just being nice for the sake of being nice. In general, guys don’t do things like this without having some sort of feeling behind it.
  • Do you have physical contact with him for reasons other than a quick hug hello or goodbye, handshake, or high five? Those are forms of acceptable friendly contact. Unacceptable forms of friendly contact include but are not limited to extended hugs, kissing anywhere, holding hands, anything that occurs while lying on a bed, and any form snuggling. If you do any of those things, chances are that he is taking it differently than you are and he is PB.
  • Can you ask him to do anything and be reasonably sure he will say yes? This is pretty clear, he’ll do anything for you. Maybe it’s a sign of other things. Examples include, borrowing money, driving you somewhere out of the way, shopping with you, or doing you any favor that most people would say “Do it you own damn self!” to.
  • Does he change his plans for you? Does it seem like being with you is his number one priority? If he cancels a weekend trip with some old college buddies so he can sit around with you and watch movies on a Saturday night, you can be pretty sure you are pretty important to him. If he puts you at number one, where is he going to put the girl he is in love with? Let me give you a hint, she’s already there.
  • Does he get weird, moody, or distant when you mention your boyfriend, a date, or spending time with any other guy? If yes, surprise surprise, he is jealous and heartbroken over this reminder that you don’t love him. He always knew it was true, but all that time together almost made him forget it and believe he had another chance. Well he doesn’t and he’s all the more PB for it.
So now you know if he is PB or not. What can you do about it? You could do nothing. If you wanted to, you could continue to string him along for the unconditional love, support, and gifts. If that is your choice, go head. You are evil. 

Otherwise your options are to break it to him gradually and break his heart, or cut him off completely and break his heart. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose because either way you’re going to feel guilty (sometimes) and he is going to feel like a sack of excrement (always). It’s not your fault he didn’t break it off himself, and it doesn’t make you any worse of a person for doing it for him.

Just know that poor bastards are real and you may be unknowingly stringing one along. Now you know the truth.



8 thoughts on “The Poor Bastard Phenomenon

  1. Awesome post once again. You seem to know a lot about PB in general. Evident by earlier posts, But props to you for bringing the problem to the masses. i only wish I had a PB in my life. Then i would know at least some on is attracted to me. (and I would stop stringing him along and make him my damn boyfriend already)


  2. Travp16- I wish I wrote that. But it was my college roomie. He’s a genius. I’m sure you have guys following you, but you just don’t know it! that’s the best part of PB’s. They everywhere. Your guy friends, your gardener, your RA, your childhood friend. If you want, I’ll officially be your PB!


  3. DAMN I learn some shit everyday and b/c of BCB i now learn 1 and a half things…this shit was a great post! perfect just perfect! ya’ll should consider – trade mark – i’d rather see this movie than the fucking – he’s not that into you….


  4. i want to have as many PB’s as humanely possible, once i have a few hundred i will gather these lost boys up and use them to form my own private army—giving them life meaning, and bringing power and wealth to ME! WITH ME AS THEIR BOSS, WE SHALL RULE THE WORLD!!!



  5. Pingback: An Open Love Letter to The Wire « BicoastalBitchin’s Weblog

  6. The PB Phenomenon is sad and unfortunate, but the guys who do it are idiots (I was one once) and the girls who take advantage of it are rather cold. But personal responsibility reigns, and the PB guy should high tail it outta there.


  7. If a man is willing to languish in his status as a “Poor Bastard”, it’s no wonder the woman doesn’t want to date him. Such a man clearly lacks confidance and self-respect– qualities that are attractive to women.

    While I agree that a woman shouldn’t lead on or take advantage of a man whose romantic feelings she doesn’t reciprocate, it’s the fault of the “Poor Bastard” himself for sticking around. How can you call women who are squemish about breaking someone’s heart “evil” but consider the “idiot” guys who trail after them helpless Poor Bastards?

    Please. You would be doing a greater service to Poor Bastards everywhere if you encouraged them to drop the sad sack routine, take responsibility for their behavior and go out and pursue women who are interested and available. Do us women have to do EVERYTHING for you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s