The internet, and we at Jezebel, have made some very… unexpected selections for our collective boyfriends du jour this summer. Between Nathan Fielder (specifically on the set of The Rehearsal clad in his laptop vest), Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al in the upcoming biopic Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, and...well...Pete Davidson, we are truly living through the golden age of “ugly-hot”/“awkward-hot” men.
In fact, the tables of conventional attractiveness have turned so much that TikTok now appears to be crowning Matt Smith—particularly as House of the Dragon’s aptly nicknamed “rogue prince” Daemon Targaryen—the latest object of its thirst.
“This man has one of the most disgusting personalities I’ve ever encountered. He’s rude, he’s narcissistic, he can’t read,” a woman lip-syncs to audio in one Daemon Targaryen thirst TikTok. “Would I like to hang out with him? No. Would I sleep with him? Yeah!”
Smith is not necessarily a conventionally attractive man. He has a unique, vampiric appearance that made him perfectly suited to his role as the villain of Morbius (a role that he seems to have taken very seriously): no eyebrows; seemingly protruding and distinctly rectangular forehead; strong nose; very triangular jawline. An interesting look!! As recently as last week, his appearance spurred a bitter debate about whether he’s ugly, ugly-hot, or just hot across Twitter. And while the jury’s still out on the bird app, the clock app has certainly made up its mind.
I was initially surprised when a recent, endless scroll through my TikTok feed yielded post after post lusting for this man. Fan-cams abound. Women are trying their best to warn that you can’t fix this man, only to be seduced by his eyebrow-less charm themselves. Fan-cams, again, are everywhere.
But now I get it. I do. Matt Smith as Daemon, the king’s power-thirsty younger brother, is perhaps the epitome of an unpolished, ugly-hot bad boy—violent, kind of crazy, possibly addicted to sex and equally addicted to stirring shit up, unable to get along with his family. He is not my personal cup of tea, but I can vaguely understand the appeal. The man is clearly kind of a freak—like, that’s his thing.
Smith and his HotD persona may not be for everyone. But the TikTok horniness for him seems emblematic of a broader trend. Conventionally hot men will always be hot, but right now, women (or at least a narrow sliver of Very Online women) don’t seem all that interested in perfectly sculpted, Ryan Gosling-esque Ken dolls. Life has simply been too easy for conventionally hot straight men in this world and perhaps even fictional worlds like House of the Dragon’s Westeros. On the other hand, not conventionally hot men have had to go out and see the world—they’ve had to learn skills, like, say, bringing a woman to orgasm, or perhaps being funny (a la Fielder), acquiring a vibrant personality (a la Radcliffe as Weird Al), cooking good food (a la Jeremy White on The Bear), or scheming their way to the throne with a charmingly depraved sense of humor and palpable sexual tension with your niece (a la Smith as Daemon).
This was truly a summer of odd-balls obsessed with rehearsing every social interaction, a summer of quirky little guys with curly hair and mustaches—and, in Smith’s case, a summer of evil, plotting, dragon-riding, and very pale princes who will do anything (including incest!) to snatch up the Iron Throne… all while giving the impression of being scarily good in bed. And, look, I don’t want to get it—but for the millionth time, I do.