Between her goth Barbie look and her tendency towards office gossip, Christine Quinn is the obvious antagonist of Selling Sunset, the Netflix reality show that’s like Mean Girls meets Million Dollar Listing. So frequently does she instigate drama that Refinery29’s episode-by-episode recaps have a section for “Christine’s shenanigans” in each. But with the release of season two in May and the drop of season three late last week, Selling Sunset has slowly teased out an alternate suggestion: While Christine knows she’s villainous, perhaps the real snake in the grass is Davina Potratz.
Though Davina initially seemed like one of the Oppenheim Group‘s more understated and less Regina George-esque real estate agents, she’s become the catalyst for some of Selling Sunset‘s juiciest conflicts. In season one, her dig at coworker Mary Fitzgerald’s engagement ring led to her inevitable snub from Mary’s wedding to the French hunk Romain Bonnet in season two. Her controversial lack of support for colleague Chrishell Stause after her surprise divorce stoked more tension in season three. By now, Davina has earned scathing yet well-deserved responses across the Selling Sunset social media-sphere.
But you know who was warning us about Davina early on? Who repeatedly called her “rude” and “disrespectful,” but whose criticisms we may have once waved off as the rants of a not-very-smart man with a bruised ego? Romain: Mary’s young, hot, French husband.
Twenty-seven years old and a pastry chef-turned-model, Romain is the archetypal himbo, a term coined by the Washington Post‘s Rita Kempley in 1988. “Their chest measurements rival Dolly Parton’s,” Kempley wrote. “Their brains would embarrass a squid… They’re bombshells with a Y chromosome.” The term has morphed slightly, in a kinder sense: Unlike your run-of-the-mill hot man, the himbo is kind, described in a recent Urban Dictionary entry as “not very bright, but usually extremely nice and respectful” like “Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove, or maybe a golden retriever.”
In any case, the world has seen a resurgence this summer as we all need something good and dumb to latch onto, like the thick arms of beefy man with a blank space of brain. It’s the summer of the himbo, and the rest of us are just lucky to live through it.
True to form, Romain is hunky, tan, classically handsome, and self-obsessed enough that his Instagram feed is a barrage of photos showing off his six-pack and a chest tattoo that reads “Impossible is Nothing“—some of them taken while posing in a gym’s bathroom stall, because who else poses like that in a gym bathroom except a himbo? Romain seems nice, albeit slightly simple; at least on the show, he never says anything particularly smart—but who in Selling Sunset really is, and how much of this is a result of a language barrier remains unclear.
Even himbos, however, can be smarter than their appearances let on. Despite the himbo’s initial association with vacuousness, VICE’s Gita Jackson recently suggested that perhaps the himbo warrants a more thoughtful read: “Unlike these previous articles, that emphasize the dumbness of these men, the 2020 version of the himbo isn’t necessarily stupid. They’re more selectively intelligent.”
It is here where Romain, beautiful as he is and numbskulled as he may seem, shines. He’s more emotionally intelligent than most on Selling Sunset, and he metes out his knowledge and wisdom only through specific social guidance. He knew earlier than most that Davina was not to be trusted, and over time, Romain has proven to be more than Selling Sunset viewers once bargained for: mostly vapid maybe, but well-meaning and perceptive enough to cut through all the bullshit. We can’t say the same about the rest of the cast.
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