The year was 2005, and I was in the sixth grade. I’d just finished saying my goodbyes to my “boyfriend” as we parted ways to go to our respective classes after lunch. Just as he got out of earshot, my friend turned to me and said, “You’ve got him straight simpin’, girl!” “I know right?” I replied, not having a morsel of a clue what the hell that meant. Unfortunately, there was no iPhone for me to pull out to do a quick search on Urban Dictionary, so I went about my day conjuring up as many definitions of “simping” as my 12-year-old brain could muster.

Finally, 3 p.m. arrived. After saying bye to all my friends and my “simping” BF, I ran to find my mom in the carpool line, hopped in the front seat, and exclaimed, “Please tell me you know what ‘simping’ means!” She laughed in what I now understand was a mix of confusion and horror and said, “Who called you a simp? Ain’t no child of mine a simp!” Oh no, I thought. Simping is bad. I knew it! Then my mom explained to me that a simp is a person who takes a subservient role in a relationship. Someone who values their S.O. a little too much. Someone who mistakenly thinks having game means bowing down to their person’s every need (emphasis on “mistakenly”). I broke up with my BF the next day. 

Because “simping” has made a comeback in the vernacular of Twitter and TikTok users everywhere, it’s time we pause for a moment and unpack the negative implications of the word. Why are we so hard on simps? Why are we so quick to make them feel bad?

“The negativity behind the term ‘simping’ is unnecessary [and it’s there] because the people who use it are the ones who are afraid to show their emotions,” says Kennedy, 22, seasoned dater and, yes, my sister. “I’ve been called a simp so many times just for expressing my real and raw emotions toward whomever I’m dating. But what’s wrong with that?”

Some would say that’s just her Virgo rising rearing its emotional head, but, for once, I agree with her. Whenever I hear someone discrediting another person’s relationship in the name of simping, my first reaction is to question if they’ve ever actually dated a simp. Something tells me if they had, their tone would be completely different.

“I’ve been called a simp so many times just for expressing my real and raw emotions toward whomever I’m dating. But what’s wrong with that?”

“I’ve been with my boyfriend for a little over two years, and I can honestly say it’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in,” Mia, 31, says. “But when we first started dating, all of my friends called him a simp. They legit made fun of me for even considering him. But he still treats me the way I deserve to be treated, and those same friends always tell me how much they admire what we have.”

This begs the question: If you’re given a choice of who you’d like to be with, are you going to pick the person who acts uninterested or the one who believes you’re the most fascinating and important person on the planet? Yeah, that’s what I thought. 

We agreed a long time ago to stop criticizing people who express their feelings freely and openly. Why are simps an exception to that rule? I’m proposing a motion to let simps live free of judgment. If you’re not convinced and still feel inclined to perpetuate the simp hate, keep it to yourself. 

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