'Boyfriend Air': The TikTok-Famous Dating Term Explained

If you've ever dated a straight cis guy, you know they can be, well, kind of a disaster on the home front. Let's be honest: they rarely adhere to the wash your sheets once a week rule, their bathroom is basically a petri dish of mysterious bacteria, and you're pretty sure they think the sink needs to be full of dirty dishes before it's time to clean them. Toss in a couple roommates and you can take these things, times them by three, then add that strange odor of their apartment that's somewhere between a sweaty gym sock and Drakkar Noir — or Axe body spray — and you really have a less-than-desirable living situation on your hands.

While all these things may be the case, you love your boyfriend. You think he's the bee's knees and you can't get enough of him. However, you can't have him at your apartment all the time because it's not fair to your roommate, so every other weekend, you pack up your stuff and head to his place. You do your best to overlook the things you wouldn't allow in your home, and you try to ignore the fact that every time you get a glimpse of his pillow under the pillowcase there's a myriad of weird, if not concerning stains. You do it all, because of love. Or, in some cases, because of great sex.

But all this can come at a very steep price. What is that price? Boyfriend air.

What's boyfriend air?

One of the most viral terms from TikTok to make the rounds this year is a little thing called "boyfriend air." The hashtag #boyfriendair has garnered millions and millions of views on the social media platform, with women sharing their personal stories of being plagued by it whenever they're at their partner's place.

According to one woman on TikTok's Mean Girl Pod, all it takes are two nights at her boyfriend's house to turn her into a "monster." Why? Because of the "humid air" that guys let off. TikTok user Taylor Donoghuee relayed in her video that even after taking a shower at her boyfriend's home, she'd still wake up in the morning feeling "so dirty." Not only are the videos with the hashtag #boyfriendair getting a ton of views, but the comment section is full of not hundreds, but thousands of women agreeing that boyfriend air is indeed a thing.

So what is it? Basically, as these women are pointing out, you can't seem to keep your hygiene on the up and up at your boyfriend's or male partner's place. You can bring all the products you need with you, but you're still going to end up with oily skin, greasy hair, a disheveled look, and by the time you leave, a questionable odor. You can only successfully shake the boyfriend air after getting home and showering at your own place.

How you can avoid it

The real question is how can you not avoid it? When you step into someone else's environment, especially if their idea of cleanliness is far different from yours, it's going to affect you. Feeling dirty, nasty, greasy, and like you look like a creature from the black lagoon simply comes with the territory of spending a weekend or — gasp! — longer at your male partner's place.

You can try your best to avoid it by lugging every single hygiene product you own to their apartment (even bringing your own towels and pillowcases too), but since boyfriend air is literally in the air, in many cases, your effort to be the clean, glamorous, stylish person you are is very likely, if not definitely, going to fall flat. From the intel coming off TikTok, no products or amount of cleaning can defeat boyfriend air. You might as well be fighting against windmills à la Don Quixote because this is one battle you just can't win.

What you can do about it

When it comes to boyfriend air you have two options: don't go to your boyfriend's place or accept it. That's it; those are your only choices, and there is no third option. Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't try to beat down the boyfriend air as much as you can, but you want to realize that no matter your strategy, no matter the effort or attention to detail in the areas of hygiene, hair, skin — all of it — you'll never leave your boyfriend's place looking as gorgeous and as put together as you did when you arrived. It is what it is, as the saying goes.

Although these TikTok videos focus on women who date men, it doesn't mean that if you're a lesbian or gay you can avoid boyfriend air or even girlfriend air, a hashtag that has amassed 1.2 million views. Not every partner in a relationship is equal in their cleanliness, so there's always the possibility of finding yourself being overtaken by the "air" of the person you're dating. But, hey, no one said relationships were easy or that love wasn't without its downsides. If it means sacrificing your hygiene and appearance for someone you love, then so be it. Eventually, you'll go home and scrub that air right off of you — just so you can find yourself deep in a fog of boyfriend air again next weekend. But that's love for you.