Posted on: Jun 12 2018

Someone Just Discovered That The ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ Meme Was Actually Created By Charlie Chaplin In 1922

We all know and love the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme. For about a week (or month, let’s be honest), it was basically the pinnacle of Twitter comedy.

In case you need a refresher, though, the meme started with this stock photo of a lecherous beau eyeing someone who apparently isn’t his girlfriend:

Inevitably, Twitter got ahold of the image, which resulted in a plethora of wonderful memes. (And by “wonderful,” I mean “stupid-but-hilarious,” obvi.)

People generally use the meme to make fun of people (usually themselves) who cannot resist a certain type of distraction.

However, one eagle-eyed cinephile just made an unsettling discovery: apparently, this meme has been in existence since the ’20s. (Which, for those of you who are bad at math, means that it’s almost a CENTURY old.)

Where did the meme first appear, you ask? In none other than Charlie Chaplin’s 1922 silent film, Pay Day.

Film writer Peter Goldberg posted a still from the film of Chaplin’s character’s wife catching him staring at another woman as she passes by — and the similarity to the “Distracted Boyfriend” meme is pretty irrefutable.

Of course, Twitter couldn’t resist playing with this delightful new (I mean, old) meme.

If you’re so inclined, you can watch the film below and watch the original iteration of a beloved meme, which was obviously well ahead of its time.

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