The headline you see above caused a minor Lifehacker-comment-section controversy last week, with several a reader questioning whether there had been some mistake. Surely we meant to write “sucks,” no? No. The headline is as intended. It’s a play on the internet-popular expression “this guy fucks,” which at least some of our staff was intimately (ahem) familiar with. But the confusion did make us curious about the origins of the phrase, so I decided a little explainer was in order.
The definition of “this guy fucks”
According to urban dictionary.com’s most-approved definition, “this guy fucks” means “This guy/girl gets it done. They know their shit and they are a boss.” So “this guy fucks” generally means, “this person is so worthwhile, other people will sleep with them.”
You often see it in comment sections in response to a particularly insightful post from someone with expertise in the matter being discussed. It can also be applied to inanimate objects — bands, video games, pre-cooked Cajun turkey from Popeye’s, etc. — for comedic effect. Less common: Some internet contrarians use it ironically to mean “this guy doesn’t fuck.”
The vulgarity at the heart of the idiom means it’s probably used more often online than IRL.
The origin of “this guy fucks”
There’s a definite point of origin for the widespread use of the phrase “this guy fucks”: Season 3, episode 2 of HBO’s Silicon Valley.
In “Bad Money,” first aired on April 26, 2015, Mark Cuban-esque venture capitalist Russ Hanneman takes a look at the wan nerds that make up Silicon Valley’s cast, zeroes in on the (arguably) nerdiest — sunken-eyed CEO Jared Dunne — and declares, “This guy fucks. Am I right? ‘Cause I’m looking at the rest of you guys, and this is the guy in the house doing all the fucking. Am I right? You know I’m right. This guy fucks.”
Here’s the clip:
It’s a simple scene on first watch, but there’s actually a lot going on. Jared seems like the opposite of someone who fucks — Gilfoyle, with his LaVeyan Satanist lifestyle and polyamorous girlfriend, is an obvious choice for the actual “most likely to fuck” among the crew, as is smarmy PR dude/stoner Erlich Bachman. It seems like Hanneman is screwing with Dunne (who is rife with psychological problems and lives in a garage) to make him feel uncomfortable about his lack of social value. But Hanneman is actually right: Jared does fuck. While he voluntarily gave up his social life to concentrate on his job, Jared doesn’t have any problem getting dates (and sleeping with them) in his garage-turned-bedroom.
The phrase was spread further by sardonic host John Oliver on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, and from there everywhere else in the world, including our discussion of Popeye’s $US50 ($68) Cajun turkey, which, against all sense, actually does fuck.