FUBU, fubu, FuBu

(Content warning: the F-word and the F-act (especially between men) figure prominently, though not vividly, in what is to come. So do hiphop clothing and tofu burgers, but if you’re uncomfortable with the harder-core F-stuff, you should skip this posting.)

Caught in passing on Facebook, a guy reporting something he heard from his FUBU, which baffled me; I was dimly aware of a FUBU clothing line, but this guy must have been talking about something else.

I realize that many of my readers will have recognized the (complex) acronym immediately and so think I must be dim-witted, but I had to go look it up. The acronym is a distant cousin of FUBAR, and its abbreviatum is something I have fairly often written about on this blog, but always spelled out in full.

FUBU the personFUBAR: abbreviatum fucked up beyond all recognition (with figurative, non-sexual, fuck). FUBU: abbreviatum fuck buddy (with sexual fuck); also abbreviated as fubu and FuBu.

OED3 (June 2008) on the compound noun fuck buddy:

coarse slang (originally U.S.). A friend or acquaintance with whom a person (regularly) engages in sexual intercourse without the expectation of a romantic relationship. In early use esp. among homosexual men. [1st cites in the 1970s, surely lagging its use in speech.]

There was much discussion at the time about the lines separating tricks, boyfriends, and fuck buddies. Which sometimes morphed into one another — repeated tricking with the same guy turning into a fuck-buddy relationship, fuck buddies becoming boyfriends, and (in my case) ex-boyfriends continuing as friends (in fact, buddies) and fuck buddies. Note that fuck buddies are not necessarily buddies — frequently, they aren’t; see the careful “friend or acquaintance” in the OED definition.

(Much later, the label friends with benefits, as applied to relationships between men as well as between men and women, became current; it named still another form of sexual relationship — lacking the regularity of fuck buddies; extendible to oral as well as anal sex; and allowing for mutuality in the relationship.)

There was also some discussion at the time about the details of fuck-buddy relationships. The canonical fuck-buddy relationship involved anal sex (oral or manual sex by themselves wouldn’t do, though they could be engaged in as foreplay), and the anal sex was strongly asymmetric (insertive fucks receptive, no flipping, sometimes no sexual service for the receptive at all). Meanwhile there were questions about the language to be used in describing these relationships: there’s a receptive partner, who has a fuck buddy, the insertive partner; but then there was some question about whether the insertive could refer to the receptive as his fuck buddy, or just as a buddy, or with a label borrowed from dom-on-sub sex, like boy or bitch). In real life, there was (and presumably still is) considerable variability, in both sexual practices and linguistic usages.

My first acquaintance with the acronym had it in the form FUBU. Here are cites from the net with the other orthographic variants:

fubu: *my fubu asked me out for real to have a romantic relationship with him.* (link)

FuBu: Forgetting my FuBu: Last winter I met this guy via a dating app. We started having sex regularly. He is the man of my dreams, however, he is not into relationship. … I just enjoy the moment every time were having sex. This fall I found out that he is moving out from the state … My question is what advice can you give to me to unlove my fubu? (link)

(Both passages were written by receptives — fuck boys — talking about their insertive — fuck buddy — partners. And in both cases, the insertive guy takes the leadership role in their social / familial relationship. But in a tribute to the great complexity of real life, in the first case it’s the insertive who does the romancing, acts as suitor; while in the second, it’s the receptive. Sexual, social, and romantic roles can be mixed and matched in many ways. And I haven’t mentioned gender roles at all, since I have no information about any of these men’s masculinities as seen in their presentations of themselves.)

FUBU the clothing company. When I went searching for FUBU, what I got first was an avalanche of stuff about that dimly remembered clothing company. Which turns out to be quite an enterprise. First, in one of their t-shirts:

(#1) It comes in a wide range of colors, so of course I went for the purple; and no, I don’t know what to do with my hands in photos like this one, any more than this earnest young man does

From the FUBU website:

about FUBU: In 1992, four friends from Hollis, Queens came together with one vision — to defy the odds and create a line of sportswear made by the people who wore it — for us, by us. The brand they started launched the streetwear industry we know today. In 2020, FUBU returns to its roots, launching a new collection that combines the contemporary and the classic.

And from Wikipedia:

FUBU (pronounced “foo-boo”) is an American hip hop apparel company. FUBU stands for “For Us, By Us” and was created when the founders were brainstorming for a catchy four-letter word following other big brands such as Nike and Coke. It includes casual wear, sports wear, a suit collection, eyewear, belts, and shoes.

The site and the Wikipedia article both manage to talk about the company, its four founders, the stuff that it makes and sells, and its target clientele without using any racial identifier whatsoever. Meanwhile, the male models range over pretty much the whole domain of black men, from the lightest to the darkest, with all manner of presentations of themselves, plus a smaller visiting cast of sporty white guys — so it’s really For All of Us.

Bonus: BUFU. Looking to see if there was FUBU fuck u, buddy / buster, I got impelled into BUFU by / buy us fuck u. From the 2001 movie How High. Young black men high on weed at college — as if Cheech and Chong from Up in Smoke joined Martin Lawrence and Will Smith from Bad Boys on the Animal House campus. With a parody of FUBU clothing, in the fictitious clothing line “Buy Us, Fuck You”.

Yes, it’s kind of a sophomoric mess. Wikipedia:

How High is a 2001 American stoner comedy film starring Method Man and Redman, written by Dustin Lee Abraham, and director Jesse Dylan’s debut feature film.

In the film, Redman and Method Man portray two cannabis users who are visited by the ghost of a deceased friend after smoking his ashes. The ghost helps with their exams, and they receive scholarships to Harvard University.

You can watch the YouTube video BY US FUCK YOU, the best two BUFU Scenes from the movie, here.

FUBU the food. The sheer good fortune of googling. Which brought me a restaurant called My FuBu, which specializes in Tofu Burgers — a fast food restaurant in Meycauayan in the Philippines, so I won’t be checking out their specialty; they do deliver, but not this far away:



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