I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to say that the introverted/emotional/approachable/“soft” male persona does not necessarily correlate with a propensity for manipulative behavior, and I think your comment here addresses what I wanted to.
Waypoint’s discussion on this whole topic hit a lot of important points. For me, I was especially glad to hear them bring up (1) How there’s a difference between the “performative” softboy and the sincere softboy, and (2) instances like this controversy with Nick have a great power to poison the well for what should be seen as otherwise positive behavior. It’s disgusting how there are men who perform in such a manner as a means to seduce people (I’ve known guys in my own life who acted this way), and the danger they can pose is very real.
Instead of saying something akin to “Not all softboys…” here, I’ll instead say to any men who might present a “soft” persona: if you think you are not a deceptive soft boy, truly reflect and ask yourself why you present in such a manner. If it’s for reasons beyond a want for sincere self-expression, then you probably aren’t as soft as you’d like to think. And if you truly believe you are sincerely expressing a soft boy persona for the right reasons, as @cyberspacecat said, be aware of the responsibility that comes with that. The “performative” and sincere soft boy personas are very real, and just because someone falls into the latter category, that does not give them a legitimate reason to downplay the prevalence of the former.