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.