Twink

twink by mike green

Twink [twingk] is a gay slang term describing a young or young-looking man with a slender, ectomorph build (long and thin), little or no body hair, and no facial hair. In some societies, the terms ‘fox,’ ‘plum,’ ‘chick,’ or ‘chicken’ are preferred. The related term ‘twinkle-toes,’ which implies that a man is effeminate, tends to be used in a derogatory manner. The terms can be complimentary or pejorative. The opposite of a twink in gay slang is a ‘bear,’ a large, hairy man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.

The term’s namesake is the ‘golden-colored phallic-shaped snack cake’ Hostess Twinkie, commonly regarded as the quintessential junk food: ‘little nutritional value, sweet to the taste and creme-filled.’ In ‘Queering Pornography: Desiring Youth, Race and Fantasy in Gay Porn,’ essayist Zeb J. Tortorici notes that gay twink porn thrives on the production and performance of ‘consumable and visually/anally receptive masculinity.’

A twink is ‘memorable for his outer packaging,’ not his ‘inner depth.’ The golden color also alludes to those who are excessively sun tanned. The tanned, ‘blond California surfer’ had been popularized in the mid-1970s before the onset of the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980s, which ushered in the notion of the gay male as physically muscular, clean-cut, and extremely healthy.

The junk food reference has a number of connotations, including a perceived lack of intelligence and being ideal only for a short term, but not having lasting qualities or being very healthy. Most of these concerns no longer apply, as the definition of twink has broadened, and qualifiers (such as ‘muscle’ or ‘femme’) narrow the meaning to a more specific type of twink.

Twinks are often clean-shaven to emphasize a youthful, fresh-faced appearance, although many are young enough not to have facial hair yet. The term has been used by bears in a derogatory and pejorative manner. In some cases, it is a neutral descriptive term, and can be contrasted with bear. Closely related (in the United States) is ‘boi,’ although this generally represents a more feminine look or a generational way of defining oneself. The term is often modified by various descriptors, e.g., ‘femme twink,’ ‘Euro twink,’ and ‘muscle twink.’ The term is often used in the gay porn industry.

There is a backronym (a phrase specially constructed so that an acronym fits an existing word) that states that twink stands for ‘teenaged, white, into no kink,’ although these criteria are neither necessary nor sufficient to allow one to be classified as a twink.

Similar to other ‘codes,’ like the bear code, the twink code is a set of symbols using letters, numbers, and other characters commonly found on modern, Western computer keyboards, and used for the describing and rating of twinks. These codes are used in email, Usenet, and Internet forum postings to identify the physical type and preferences of the poster but have mostly fallen out of usage. The code includes physical traits such as ‘c’ for color of hair (from blond to black), ‘l’ for length of hair (from bald/clean-shaven to very long), ‘h’ for degree of hairlessness, ‘y’ for youthful appearance, and ‘e’ for endowment. It also includes personality traits such as ‘q’ for ‘queeniness’ and sexual preferences such as ‘k’ for ‘the kinky factor.’

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