Insta Spotlight: Awards for Good Boys

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be feeling extra cynical about all things love and dating-related. We get it, and we have a suggestion: follow Awards for Good Boys, aka your new favorite Instagram account. Created by Shelby Lorman, a Brooklyn-based writer and illustrator, AFGB perfectly captures the pitfalls of online dating through comics guaranteed to make you chuckle in their cringe-y relatability.

With its blend of real-life experiences and Reductress-esque satire, AFGB has struck a serious chord with its audience. Case in point: Lorman posted her first comic on June 15, 2017. Less than a year later, the account has over 11,000 followers, and she recently collaborated with Comedy Central.

We spoke to Lorman about the unexpected evolution of her account, how Instagram can function as a platform for artists, and of course, her advice for Good Boys this Valentine’s Day.

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What was your motivation for creating this account?

I’d been obsessed with awards since forever. Somewhere along the line that idea merged with my penchant for making fun of the subterraneanly low bar we’ve established for men as a way to find humor and catharsis in my experiences of dating in New York.  

It’s an idea that seems a natural extension of the countless conversations I had with my friends about the lengths we go to, individually and collectively, to assure men that they’re doing a good job! At really basic things! At things that women do daily and receive not even a dignified head nod for!

Can you tell me a bit about the evolution of AFGB? When did you decide to ramp things up — creating merch, doing giveaways, etc?

The evolution was totally unexpected. I started to make these drawings for my friends who had pushed me to share my experiences, and though I’m not surprised that so many people can relate to the trials and tribulations of dating, romance, bad men, good men, etc., I’m still totally surprised by how fast the page has grown.

I created merch and started the giveaways when I started to let myself believe what was happening, that people were into what I was making and would pay to own a tote or a drawing, etc. Around the time the page ramped up I left my job writing about technology and science and made the full-time pivot to working on comedy and comics.

It’s still pretty unbelievable. I don’t think I myself would pay for a tote, but then again I know how the sausage gets made and my creative process can be a nightmare.

Was there a strategy behind publicizing the account and growing your audience?

Not at all! It’s been so wild. I learned so much about social strategy from my friends in media who’ve been my mentors and cheerleaders through both my written and illustrated professional evolution, and that has really helped me connect with my audience.

The strategy is something I’d called “informed recklessness,” which means I have no clear, written-out strategy, no editorial calendar, no post schedule, no analytics, nothing of the sort. I’ve been basing my copy, comics, giveaways, etc. on what I would do on my personal account. I’m so tired of seeing brands try to engage with people and it feeling trite and forced, so I’m just being myself, and I think people really appreciate that.

What is your definition of a “good boy”? How do you spot one in the wild?

Oh god. This is tricky because good boys can be elusive. Shapeshifter-like. I don’t think they fit into one static definition. But the key differentiation between a Good Boy and a Bad Man is that a Good Boy needs people to know he’s Good: he thrives off saying the right things, reading the right articles, using buzzwords. He’s the guy who “gets it” and tells everyone how much he “gets it,” but that makes it nearly impossible to give him constructive feedback. And that’s the real problem.

What are your thoughts on Instagram as a platform for artists? Are there other illustrators on the platform who have inspired you, or you admire?

I think the internet and social media can be and are incredibly toxic in many ways, but it’s also an incredible platform for artists and illustrators. I’ve connected with kind and smart people from around the world. Instagram is an inspiration hub, which can be a bit overwhelming, but I look to artists like Liana Finck, Hallie Bateman, Exotic Cancer, Andrea Roussos, Polly Nor. There are so many incredible lady artists sharing their experiences online and it’s really, genuinely, very powerful.

What does the future hold for Awards For Good Boys?

Who knows! I’m not sure. Somewhere down the line I’d love to scale my merchandise (right now I hand draw everything and it takes forever) and ultimately get a book going. I just did a partnership with Comedy Central for some comics, which was super fun and makes me feel like a “Real Comedy Boy,” the kind who used to scoff at my attempts to make jokes on first dates. Take that!

For now, I’m just going to keep drawing (I can’t stop even if I tried—my boyfriend @alecwithpen and I never speak to each other, we only draw) and sharing, and see where it takes me.


Tote bags are having a moment — stand out from the sea of canvas with this hand-drawn Little Good Boy Utility Tote.