Ever since the wife guy emerged from the internet’s primordial ooze, we’ve endured a veritable golden age of new types of “guys.” There’s the boob guys and butt guys, the reply guys and, of course, the infamous nice guys. However, it appears we’ve finally come full circle, reaching the same logical conclusion that many such discussions on the internet inevitably come to: a tautological mess of indecipherable self-referential irony. That is to say, the newest type of guy is the guy who points out a new type of guy.
Look no further than r/ThisGuyThisGuys, the subreddit dedicated to highlighting guys who highlight types of guys — or to quote the community’s simpler description: “when someone this guys.”
“So usually there will be one reply clarifying the comment above it because it’s written weirdly or something,” says redditor BigF1Car. “And then, below that explanation or clarification, someone will comment, ‘This guy [blanks].’”
For instance, BigF1Car recalls the particular post that converted him to an r/ThisGuyThisGuys subscriber. “It was an r/AskReddit post titled, ‘What Makes You Not Want to Have Kids?’ and one of the top replies was ‘not wanting to pass off disease or chronic illness. also kids = no money,’” BigF1Car explains. “A reply to that reply was, ‘Why have 3 kids and no money when you could have no kids and 3 money?’ and the reply to that reply was, ‘This guy moneys.’”
“At some point, if I recall correctly, it was a Reddit joke to say ‘this guy fucks,’” explains Casey, a 26-year-old who subscribed to the subreddit last December. “But now it’s totally spun out-of-control — people will respond to things like ‘this guy maths’ or ‘this guy birds,’ similar to how the internet has beaten to death phrases like ‘that’s the tweet,’ or ‘THIS,’ or ‘living rent free in your head.’”
That’s exactly why redditor Xyeeyx created the subreddit in the first place. “A couple years ago, the ‘this guy [blanks]’ phrase was becoming a common refrain,” he tells me. And so, again, he created the forum as a joke response because what better way to encapsulate how absurd the “this guy [verbs]” trend has gotten than to turn “this guy” into a verb itself.
“The whole thing is dumb but also has some truth to it, and that’s what makes it funny,” says Anthony, 17, who discovered the subreddit in March. “When you find one out in the wild and then link to the subreddit, lots of people get a kick out of learning it exists because everyone knows a guy who this guys other guys.”
One could argue that these guys this guy this guy guys, which Casey is totally okay with. “It’s just a silly way to point out this thing that happens all the time, but it’s all in good fun,” he tells me, pointing out that “one of the subreddit’s only two rules is to be a nice guy.” (The other rule is that post titles must contain ‘this.’”)
To be sure, the irony of pointing out guys who point out types of guys isn’t lost on the subreddit. “I mean we’re all this guysing guys who this guys other guys, so it’d be hypocritical for us to turn our nose up at this guy guys,” Casey says. “Plus, some of them are actually funny, like if the this guy guy’s response is totally inappropriate, those I honestly enjoy.”
And for Ian, a 32-year-old contributor to the subreddit, there’s another layer to r/thisguythisguys that is simply appreciating dudes who appreciate other dudes. “We share comments where people identify guys who show clear experience or skill in something,” he tells me. “So it can be used sarcastically, or as an actual appreciation of the guy displaying real knowledge and experience.”
But what does this all mean for me, a guy who, by writing this article, is technically this guy-ing the guys who this guy this guy guys? When broached with the question, both Ian and BigF1Car abstain, responding “my brain hurt itself in its confusion,” and “too confusing can’t answer,” respectively.
“Well, on one hand, you might just get posted to the subreddit with an illegible string of ‘this guy this guys’ and that’ll be it,” Casey offers. “But on the other hand, maybe this is what forces the logical foundation of the entire universe to collapse in on itself. There will be no more guys at all, just darkness.”