There are some men who just have a certain je ne sais quoi. They’ve got some idea on how to dress, though they don’t take it too seriously. They have some eccentricities that, when viewed generously, could be considered charming. They’re sort of a Kramer type — they definitely have the kavorka, a raw sexual energy — but they’re a little more shy. And yet, despite all this characterization, we’re still not entirely sure how to describe them, or exactly how we feel about the whole thing. This indescribable predicament has recently been summarized in a simple, yet nearly unintelligible phrase: “Quirked-up white boy with a little bit of swag busts it down sexual-style… Is he goated with the sauce?”
Well, is he?
As Adam Downer first reported for KnowYourMeme, the phrase originated on December 27, 2021 when Twitter user @minga__ tweeted the question, seemingly just to throw together a series of memeified, cringe-y phrases. In a broad sense, it describes a white man with some unconventional quality and stylish flair, who also conveys a slightly erotic presence. As Urban Dictionary states, to be “goated with the sauce” refers to the acronym GOAT (greatest of all time), while “with the sauce” implies completeness. As the website states, “to be goated with the sauce is to reach nirvana.” But really, it’s just a string of words that mean nearly nothing, and thus, the phrase has become broad enough to apply to almost any white man in history. In fact, it’s been used to describe everyone from David Lynch, to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, to Harry Dean Stanton in Alien.
“I think of a skinny, nerdy white dude,” Downer tells me. “Slightly non-traditional hair is optional. He has a weird hobby that he’s extremely good at, like making bedroom pop [the music genre] or Smash Brothers. He’s socially awkward, but not off-puttingly so. Funny among close friends, but quiet among strangers. Think of a viral video where a nerdy white kid unexpectedly tears the house down at a dance off — or McLovin.”
While it originally circulated on Twitter, the phrase has had its most viral success on TikTok. It took off on the app after @dillvveed posted a video of herself reading the phrase in a news anchor voice, prefacing it with “our top story tonight.” From there, the audio has been featured alongside thousands of rather average white boys basically just doing a little dance.
Part of the appeal of the phrase is its absurdity. “It’s such a vomit of modern slang words that it’s either completely impenetrable or you’re unfortunate enough to understand it exactly,” says Downer. In a sense, then, participating in the meme communicates that you speak a very specific internet language that, for better or worse, allows you to connect better with other people online.
My personal favorite version of the meme comes from @chiknasen, who posted various videos of himself reading the phrase as if it were in the scene between Christian Bale and Willem Dafoe in American Psycho. In some versions, he says it in Dafoe’s voice. In others, he mimics Bale’s, or does a combination of the two (his videos have several million views each).
While the TikToks are simply the result of @chiknasen being decent at impressions — and American Psycho having a bit of a moment on TikTok — the scenario speaks to the fundamental absence that the phrase presents, as well as the unobtainable nature of what it implies. You either have that “little bit of swag” or you don’t. You’ve either busted it down sexual-style or you haven’t. And yet, the question still remains whether you’re goated with the sauce. It’s as though this “quirked-up white boy” is the character Paul Allen, the source of Patrick Bateman’s many insecurities. Bateman is indeed a quirked-up white boy, but he doesn’t quite have that little bit of swag needed to bust it down sexual-style. He will never be goated with the sauce, and that’s why he kills people.
As Downer also points out, the “quirked-up white boy” meme has emerged right at the peak of celebrity hot girls getting with weird, lanky white men, like Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly or Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson. We may have not called them quirked-up white boys two months ago, but that’s essentially what they are. And maybe they, too, have a little bit of swag. Given the collective thirst for Davidson — and other men we’d describe as more funny than conventionally handsome — it seems fair to say they do bust it down sexual-style. But are they goated with the sauce? It’s a question nobody can actually answer.
Built into the meme itself is a fundamental unanswerability, a perpetual open-endedness. We won’t know if anyone has achieved this status until the question need not even be posed. For now, the meme serves as an attempt to get at the core of that ineffable quality it takes to get there. Or maybe it’s just a fun string of phrases smashed together. Either way, it’s come to describe something we otherwise lack the words to say.