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A young gay man, usually in his late teens or early 20's, getting his first taste of gay life. He might still be a closet case or he might have been out and proud since he was 12, but he has only recently started prowling the bars as a legal adult, especially if he's in college and away from his parents' watchful eyes for the first time. He starts out naive, but is usually soon exploited by the older men around (mind you, the older man doesn't have to be old per se, just older and wiser in how these things go, and could still be in his 20's himself).
Appearance-wise, he's stereotypically rail-thin with a boyish face and minimal facial or body hair. If white (and he usually is, where fiction is concerned), he'll be bleached-blonde with skin that's either pale or artificially tanned. He tends to buy all his clothing from Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch, and the like, and will wear flip-flops in the dead of winter. However, it's important to note that the twink aesthetic and the twink persona are not the same; a person can be one without the other.
As he adapts to the gay scene, he will begin to realize the power he holds over other men with his youthful looks and might become full of himself. Or he'll tire of the "Meet cute, fuck fast, bye-bye" routine and slow down before he risks ending up with an STD or drug addiction (or sometime after). If the story covers enough time, he'll hopefully be brought back down to earth sometime in his mid-20's or early 30's, when his maturity kicks in and/or his boyish looks start to fade. At which point, he begins to morph into some other gay trope.
If he's underage, expect some story about how he's jailbait and complicating the lives of older men to follow.
Essentially the caterpillar to the butterflies of the other gay archetypes. Truth in Television, since almost every queer person (male and female) goes through a naive Twink phase, unless they were older before they started acting on their same-sex attraction (though even they may have some symptoms of it). Similar terms include "baby dyke" for lesbians, and "baby queer" as a more general term. How long the phase lasts varies: the less conventionally-attractive ones come to grips sooner for obvious reasons, while the prettier ones can be vain and flighty well into their 30's.
The etymology of the word is a little ambiguous, but it's generally agreed to refer to the snack food Twinkies, because they're both gold, delicious, and full of cream, but have absolutely no nutritional value.
Not to be confused with "Twinking", a gaming term referring to either lower level characters using hand-me-downs from their higher level characters that are still enough to make them overpowered, or God Modeing.
- Jetlad in Top Ten: The Forty-Niners, though he notably avoids the "full of yourself" phase.
- Fanon example: Utivich is almost always portrayed this way in Fanfic (unless it's a Mary Sue story) because he is generally accepted as the youngest and certainly most Bishonen of the Basterds.
- Ryan Evans. Every time. No exceptions.
- Jason in The Opposite of Sex.
- Eric and Neil in Mysterious Skin.
- To some extent, Michael in Parting Glances. This movie also contains a subversion in the form of Peter ("you're into the realm of the Supertwinkie") who is actually "a wolf in Twinkie clothing." Also Nick used to be 'quasi-Twinkie'.
- Eric from Edge Of Seventeen.
- Benji and Kevin from The Broken Hearts Club. Yes, Zach Braff plays a bleach-blond twink.
- Beecher in his relationship with Keller in Oz.
- Also, Timothy Kirk, though he's a much more minor character. Pretty well summarized by Reverend Cloutier, after Kirk makes a sexual advance on him: "You've made a lifetime out of being adorable, sexy in a lost-little-boy kind of way, but ... it's time for you to be a man."
- Justin from Queer as Folk.
- And Nathan, the equivalent character in the original British version.
- Marco from Degrassi the Next Generation, particularly when paired with older boyfriend Dylan.
- Jack from Will and Grace, in the episodes which flash back to his teens.
- Kurt Hummel from Glee.
- Justin in Ugly Betty.
- Brandon Wright and Dante from The Wire are both twinks, but played in slightly different ways; Brandon is more the naive and easily led type, while Dante shows signs of arrogance and a tendency to try to manipulate Omar, with his jealousy being one of the factors to drive a wedge between them.
- Richie in the first season of The Secret Life Of Us.
- Maxxie of Skins fits the description in appearance, but in personality he seems to be a bit savvier. We think. He never gets enough screen time for us to really tell.
- This term was referenced in a Family Guy Manatee Gag, where they're watching a documentary about Twinkie the Kid, which implies him to be gay.