A Complete Guide to Recognizing the Internet’s Boyfriends in the Wild

Harry Styles
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Since the Internet’s Boyfriend™ was first identified in his natural habitat—Benedict Cumberbatch of Sherlock was among the first documented specimens, his traits and identifiers illuminated in detail over at New York magazine’s The Cut—the genre of beloved famous guys has quickly expanded to encompass a whole array of boyfriend-subsets. Whether Marvel men like the Chrises and Andrew Garfield, character actors like Riz Ahmed and Kit Harington, or the almost-famouses like Idris Elba and Tom Hardy, here, we break down how the constellation of Internet’s Boyfriends™ fit together and take a closer look at how to identify each species in the wild. With an emerging freshman class including the new Spider-Man, Tom Holland, and Star Wars’s breakout star John Boyega, as well as evergreen favorites like Oscar Isaac and Jon Hamm, it’s about time to get to know the 10 types of Internet’s Boyfriends™ you might encounter in your travels.

Slightly Alien British Character Actors

Who: Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matt Smith. Where: The BBC. Wearing: Burberry.

The Prestige Stars

Who: Riz Ahmed, Kit Harington, Rami Malek. Where: HBO or adjacent. Wearing: Dior Homme.

The Sugar Daddies

Who: Jeff Goldblum, Kyle MacLachlan. Where: The hotly anticipated remake of the project that first made them famous. Wearing: A turtleneck; Balenciaga.

The Actual Daddies

Who: Mahershala Ali, Oscar Isaac. Where: The playground, but also the Oscars. Wearing: Unfortunate hat choices. (Not pictured.)

The Marvel Men

Who: Chris Evans, Andrew Garfield. Where: In a cryochamber, until the corporate overlords permit them to talk about the new movie. Wearing: Lycra.

The Musicians

Who: Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper. Where: The festival circuit; Tumblr. (Actually on the internet.) Wearing: Custom coveralls.

The Objectively Beautiful Almost-Movie Stars

Who: Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Jon Hamm Where: Playing the antihero on that show you never finished; vying to be the next James Bond. Wearing: Doesn’t matter.

The Nostalgia Boyfriend

Who: Milo Ventimiglia, Adam Brody. Where: A network dramedy everyone says is great but no one watches; the walls of your teen bedroom. Wearing: Whatever’s “in” among Brooklyn dads.

The Man Who Can Do Both

Who: Donald Glover, Harry Styles. Where: Your dreams. Wearing: Fashion with a capital F.


Who: John Boyega, Tom Holland. Where: This year’s blockbusters. Wearing: Ask them in a couple months.