What’s the Meaning of ‘Golden Retriever’ Boy in Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’?

The singer has used this term in the song that gives its name to her new album

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Taylor Swift has finally released her new album: The Tortured Poets Department. The current music star has dropped her 11th studio album: an LP in which she talks about her recent experiences. Among all the songs, the one that’s getting the most attention is «The Tortured Poets Department,» the track that names the album. A song in which Taylor recalls a former partner with whom she had a somewhat tumultuous relationship.

But if there’s a term that caught our attention in the song, it’s undoubtedly «Golden Retriever.» The singer describes her ex-partner as a guy who seems like a «tattooed Golden Retriever.»

«I scratch your head you fall asleep like a tattooed golden retriever,» says the singer in one of the verses. But what does it mean to be a Golden Retriever when referring to a guy? And this term is not the first time we’ve heard it. In fact, it’s increasingly used to refer to a male stereotype. Especially on TikTok.


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Una publicación compartida de Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

Meaning of ‘Golden Retriever’ Boy

Many internet users describe Golden Retriever guys as affectionate and friendly individuals. The type who always has a smile, who will pick you up in a car when you need it, and whom you want to hug all the time. A loyal, affectionate person who is there for whatever you need.

A personality that aligns with that of this dog breed, often used in therapy and known for its friendly nature. Thus, Taylor Swift would be describing her ex-partner with this personality (even if it were only in appearance).

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Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have dinner at Waverly Inn on October 15, 2023 in New York City. Gotham/GC Images

A Term we Already Saw in Heartstopper

One of the series that helped popularize this term was Heartstopper. In the first season of the Netflix series, Nick (the character played by Kit Connor) is described as a Golden Retriever boy.

Netflix’s own account trended with the character to demonstrate this, sharing some images from the series. Undoubtedly, we all want a Golden Retriever in our life. It’s just that many of them end up biting.