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Japanese Boyfriend Scale

A decade or two ago in a book of Japanese slang I read a list of terms that trendy young ladies can use to rank their boyfriends. "Mr. Reliable" was one of the phrases, referring to the guy you can always call at the last minute if you're desperate for a date. I can't find the book, alas, but an equally good list dated 2004 appears on [1] as "The Gyaru Boyfriend Scale" (a "gyaru" being a Japanese neologism for "girl"). Abridged:

  1. Honmei-kun: the favorite, most desirable, leader of the pack, from the horse racing term for the winning horse; tall, well-educated, with a high salary
  2. Kiipu-kun: from the English word "keeper", the boyfriend that is kept for now or just in case, until honmei-kun shows up; loveable as "good enough", but second best
  3. Mitsugu-kun: an unselfish boyfriend who gives gifts, pays for meals, etc.
  4. Asshii-kun: the boy with a car who is an available chauffeur or who will fix the gyaru's car
  5. Benri-kun: the sweet boy who's useful to have around, from the word for convenient or handy

Another discussion of Japanese slang gave various categories used by wives to describe their husbands. I still recall the meaning of "Wet Leaf Husband": the retired old man who has nothing to do and who follows his spouse around the house, like a wet leaf stuck to the bottom of her shoe. Ugh!

(perhaps my half-remembered source was the 1993 book Doing Business with Japanese Men: a Woman's Handbook by Christalyn Brannen and Tracey Wilen, where I see tantalizing fragments in an online preview; cf. They Have a Word for It: A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases by Howard Rheingold, 1988) - ^z - 2009-07-01