The Quick Report

Unpacking Why ‘Rodent Boyfriend’ and ‘Rat Boy Summer’ are Hot New Dating Terms

In case you didn’t know, it’s the season of rat boy summer and rodent boyfriend. It’s the latest evolution of a 2023 viral trend that rated men on a scale of either eagle, bear, dog, or reptilian handsome. Let’s unpack it!

What is eagle, bear, dog, or reptilian handsome?

Back in 2023, a viral tweet stated: “Men are either eagle handsome, bear handsome, dog handsome, or reptilian handsome.”

The tweet went on to use four different celebrities as examples of each one, naming Ryan Gosling, Henry Cavill, Heath Ledger, and Timothee Chalamet.

The tweet said, for “bear handsome,” there was undeniably something bear-like about Henry Cavill’s broad shoulders. Bear handsome is defined as someone with a rounder face, broad shoulders, and lighter hair and/or eyes.

For “dog handsome”, the tweet cited Heath Ledger’s blonde hair and wide grin as being somewhat reminiscent of a golden retriever. Dog handsome is someone with a rounder face, darker hair and eyes, and often a goofy grin.

“Eagle handsome,” cited Ryan Gosling for his long nose, small eyes, and lighter hair and eyes.

Timothee Chalamet was dubbed “reptile handsome” due to his strong features, dark hair and eyes, and straight nose.

Are you ready for a rat boy summer or a rodent boyfriend?

Expanding on the trend above, this year, people are looking forward to a “rat boy summer” and a “rodent boyfriend.”

A “rodent boyfriend” or a “rat boy summer” is not an insult, despite the negative connotation of the word “rat” in America. (The Chinese rightfully acknowledge that rats are actually very wise animals).

On a recent episode of Today, hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager weighed in on the terms “rodent boyfriend” and “rat boy summer” to clear up any confusion about this new dating term.

“Hot, rodent boyfriend,” Hager said, “or a sexy rat man. They’re one and the same.”

“If somebody comes up to you and says, ‘Hey, sexy rat man,’ they’re also calling you a hot rodent boyfriend,” Hager continued.

“This means you should want to date Stuart Little,” Hager added. “Stuart Little is actually quite attractive, right?”

“I never thought of it, but okay,” Kotb responded, then did a face-palm.

Many are proclaiming that it is the season of the “rodent boyfriend” in the dating world and have declared we are approaching a “rat boy summer.”

Where did “rodent boyfriend” or “rat man” even come from?

The terms came from a meme that compared large-eared heartthrobs Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist to the beloved mouse Stuart Little or Roddy St James, the rat from Flushed Away.

Essentially, this unconventional attractiveness is defined by men with rodent-like features who have angular faces and are often more slender or svelte than muscular. Some at that they don’t give off toxic masculinity vibes. The fact that these looks aren’t the conventional norm makes them even more hot.

“Rodent men are the types to buy their girlfriends ridiculously huge bunches of flowers,” the Dazed wrote. 

Examples the Internet has cited include Kieran Culkin, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Allen White, Logan Lerman, Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, John Mulaney, Jack Schlossberg (JFK’s grandson), Jerrod Carmichael, and Matty Healy (who was the inspiration for the rat in Flushed Away). Some say Timothy Chalamet could also make the cut and could be considered more weasel-like than lizard-like now that this category exists.

Personality-wise, according to The Mirror, unlike golden retriever boyfriends, rat-men are a bit odd but crucially, in a sexy, humorous way — think Pete Davidson.

Where the term came from is unknown, but some speculate the Dazed may have coined the term after someone made a Stuart Little comparison on X, expanding on the “eagle, bear, dog, or reptilian handsome” trend.