“10 Guy” is a relic of a bygone internet when memes could thrive from sources as simple and pure as a photo of the slackened face and unfocused eyes of a man stoned out of his mind. While online culture has moved on from celebrating funny expressions as the height of shared comedy, the people behind the memes have bided their time, waiting for the right moment to return to the spotlight.
10 Guy, for example, has now decided to mark a solid decade of existing as anonymous photographic shorthand for being absolutely totaled by now coming forth to share the story behind his meme.
Following the launch of a YouTube video and social media accounts where he’s unveiled himself as a man who is, in fact, capable of fully opening his eyes, Connor “10 Guy” Sinclair has now begun sharing his story. In an interview with Know Your Meme, Sinclair, who grew up in Northern Ireland, explains that the famous picture was taken while he was on a trip in Ibiza, Spain in 2011 with a bunch of friends. One of them, a woman named Emma, took the photo “probably like three or four days in” when he “was definitely a bit worse for wear.”
Though the pictures were meant to be private, Sinclair’s neighbor uploaded it to Reddit’s weed-loving r/trees and it spread from there. (Being a “10" on r/trees refers to a level of high just below the psychic oblivion of an “11.”) Sinclair remembers he “didn’t think much other than it was funny,” but he did start getting recognized by strangers because of it—including his girlfriend of six years, who he met during a conversation about being the guy in the meme during “a night out in Edinburgh.”
Otherwise, he kept quiet about being 10 Guy because the picture came out when he was 19 and he didn’t “want to reveal myself for the sake of five minutes of fame and have it haunt me down the line.” For that reason, he also turned down money-making opportunities based on the meme, but now thinks he “was probably being overly cautious.”
10 years on, Sinclair has followed the path of other bygone memesters and decided to leverage his internet fame to get into the NFT game, since he “never made any money” from it in the past. For our part, we wish he would avoid non-fungible tokens and stick to regular-style tokin’, but c’est la vie.
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