What adjectives are weird if used for the wrong gender?

From what I understand, it’s awkward to call a woman handsome or a man pretty. What other adjectives/descriptions/behaviors have you encountered while reading IF that seem “off” when used interchangeably for men and women?

Also, are there any adjectives/descriptions/behaviors that feel off when referring to an nb character in the same way flipping handsome/pretty feels off?


what? Really? Let me try…

‘Hm, you got one pretty man there. He is very handsome, introduce me?’

‘Hm, that is one pretty lady! I love a handsome woman with a strong Jaw. Are you free for drinks?’

The internet didn’t break…yet. Did it? :joy:


Damn, I wish I came up with “handsome woman with a strong jaw”, now it’s unethical to steal it :joy:


I’ve seen ‘coquettish voice’ used for a man lately.


I can’t remember where I read it, but somebody called my female character “rugged”, “burly” and a “knight in shining armour” because she beat the crap out of some bad guys. Like, it definitely could have worked for a more defined woman I guess, but I snorted a few times over it since I only ever play as very short and petite women. It just didn’t fit, haha.

Btw to any authors out there, just know that being called a pretty boy is 100% a hell yeah in my books. And if it’s said by an RO, then you can bet your carpal tunnel syndrome ass that I’m gonna spam the heck out of them!


I’m butthurt now…

As a shortass, I’m also offended. Highly!

if you catch me when I wake up, I totally look ‘Rugged’ enough to scare the neighbor. And I’m large enough to have the word ‘Burly’ stamped on my ‘Burlyness’…aint gonna tell you where that is!

And yes, shortass peoples can kick ass, cause…we come with a fucking megaphone for the hard hearing Tall ladder peoples.

I see myself out…and go hunt for coffee now :joy:


Me: stands on the highest shelf in the room and apologies


To be honest, even if I find it “weird” at first, I don’t actually mind descriptions like that. I’d actually like to see more people doing that. Especially if being gender nonconforming is part of the character in question, and/or the description just suits them well. Lines between the genders are blurring more and more these days :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve seen men being described as beautiful in romance books aimed at straight women. On the flip side to that, I don’t usually see women being called dashing, but that could be a good description for the knightly types.

Edit: +1 to being called a pretty boy, whether that’s directed at MC or an RO xD


Unless she is a pirate and stealing your loot, wearing an open blouse showing a large bossom…

Then all of sudden, she is dashing :roll_eyes:


I think there are no adjectives that would be weird for any gender. I’m gonna admit, I dislike then adjectives used for MCs change with their gender, because these differences are based on gender stereotypes. It assumed, if you play a male MC, your character must be masculine in a traditional way, therefore the best word to describe him going to be “handsome”. But what if I want to play a more androgynous or feminine man, in that case stereotypically feminine words, such as beautiful/pretty/etc. would fit this character much more. The same can be said about women, who player might imagine as more masculine, and nb characters, who don’t have to be androgynous, and can also look stereotypically masculine or feminine. In my opinion, nothing should ever be assumed about MC appearance based on gender. After all, customization options are available for all genders equally in most games, so why male MC can wear dress without problem, but can’t be called beautiful, I don’t understand. So it’s better to use the same adjectives for any gender, even if they have to always be gender neutral. Or even better, I think it would be amazing, if in a game while customizing MC appearance we would be asked, what adjectives are more fitting for our character in general (just simple choice between masculine/feminine/gender neutral would be enough).

I don’t really care what adjectives are used for ROs, because unlike MC, these characters are fully under authors control, so I’m okay with whatever they think is the most fitting description.


I fully agree with you. Some men’s good looks can only be described as “pretty,” while some women are decidedly “handsome.” It’s much more about looks and style than gender, in my opinion.


This give me the idea to ask for the type of non-pronoun physical descriptors they are ‘known to be described as’. It is an interesting, if a bit annoying to retroactively go back and adjust, bit that could be added to a story for customization.


I love this question, have come across some real doozies but don’t remember most. My two faves that I recall are:
describing my muscular, male RO as curvaceous. I mean, technically correct but never a term I’ve heard in this context.

Hair described as fluffy. Obviously this is common somewhere because I see it all the time in WIPS, but so help me I’ve never heard this spoken in my life. Frizzy, big, wind blown, unkempt, tousled… these are common. Pets are fluffy, not usually hair.


The term fluffy seem everywhere, just Google it lol

Fluffy hair is considered to be a style that is the happy medium between a messy texture and a blowout . So, while your strands sport a smooth, shiny, and bouncy appearance, it has a bit of texture for a balanced look. Poofy hair refers to a state where the hair has a lot of volume and a frizzy appearance.

It is also used for food!

Cream together the margarine and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.

and Object like a Towel! Fluffy Towel! Fluffy Bathrobe! Fluffy Pillow!


Now I’m picturing having whipped cream for hair.


hand over spoon :rofl:

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