The '90s was full of toxic boyfriend stereotypes. And yet somehow, these were the most covetable types of boyfriends. Bleeding over from pop culture into reality, girls swooned over personality types our older, wiser selves now know universally as "f*ckboys". You know the type. His hair was either spiked or flopped dramatically into his eyes. Sometimes it was blonde tipped. He was mysterious, hell bent on you, and would always end up letting you down. And for some reason, we were smitten with these boys. They were all over the television shows and movies we loved, and promoted unhealthy ideas for women and relationships. Namely, that we should be with the boys who were bad for us because it was so romantic.
So many toxic boyfriend stereotypes from the '90s rested on the premise that a woman must sacrifice something to prove her love, whether that was an element of her personality that was undesirable, or her own ability to decide what was right for her. Of course, these male stereotypes still exist, and women are still told to be attracted to them, but the '90s had a very specific menu of toxic boyfriend stereotypes that were the most coveted as romantic partners. From men who loved the sound of their own voices, to men who took and gave nothing back, to men whose desire for a woman was a war of attrition until she gave in, these guys kind of sucked. Here are some types of toxic '90s boyfriends (and if you see them popping up in your own 2016 world, run, run for the hills!).
1. The "Friendzoned" Guy
In every '90s love story there's a "friendzoned" guy, who, by hanging around long enough, manages to convince his female love interest that he is, indeed, Mr. Right. Because obviously when she said no, or never noticed him romantically, she didn't really know what she was talking about. Think Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in 10 Things I Hate About You, who was just kind of hanging around waiting to be noticed by gal-pal Bianca (Larisa Oleynik). Or Ross on Friends, whose unrequited love for Rachel invented the whole idea of the friendzone. Somehow this guy's pathetic, silent suffering and weird, obsessive persistence was cute in the '90s.
2. The "Bad Boy"
There's a bad boy in every generation, and in the '90s his hair was unruly, and he lit things on fire with bunsen burners. Yes I'm talking about Heath Ledger's Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You. Or Jeremy Sisto's Elton in Clueless. These boys were just kind of mean, and sometimes they managed to redeem themselves (although you know they'd end up just being terrible boyfriends in the end anyway), but they were always the sexiest, most consistently desired boys in both fictional narratives and in the posters we put on our walls and kissed goodnight. (What? I never did that. No. Never. Not me.)
3. The Narcissist
Remember when walking around a European city all night with an annoying guy mansplaining everything and anything he could think of to you seemed? Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise was the ultimate narcissist, and yet somehow so very sexy, everyone in the '90s just wanted a guy who talked about everything as though he was the most right, but also insecure enough about that that he needed to constantly be endorsing his own points as gospel.
4. The Guy Who Made A Bet
In the '90s, there was always a bet. And for some reason you always imagined you were the nerdy girl who would be the subject of that bet, and the guy who made that bet (probably a sexy jock), would take notice of you. Because a lot of what romantic teen movies told us in the '90s was that you could change to make a guy like you. She's All That is the ultimate makeover movie, and a toxic reminder that male desire dictated how women should look and act in order to be considered dateable.
5. The Emotionally Unavailable Guy
Two words: Mr. Big. For whatever crazy reason, we all wanted a Mr. Big "romance" in the '90s. There was something about emotionally unavailable guys back then that doesn't quite fly the same way now. Now we see those guys as emotionally stunted (if early seasons Nick on New Girl is anything to go by, for instance), and they might be cute, but they're not quite as sexy as we imagined them to be in the '90s.
6. The Guy Who Desperately Wanted To Lose His Virginity
Losing one's virginity will always be mythologized. Especially for horny male virgins. But the '90s seemed ripe with movies where virginity was a big deal, whether the obsession was by one character, like in Can't Hardly Wait, or it was the entire premise of the movie, like in American Pie. If we can learn anything about the boyfriend or guy who was desperate to lose his virginity or take his girlfriend's, it's that he could turn out to be a serial killer, which is the moral of the story in Scream. While that's not a rational reality, it's still a toxic boyfriend that will try to pressure his girlfriend into sex when she's reluctant.