雰囲気イケメン (ふいんきいけめん, fuinki.ikemen) is a Japanese slang word that literally means ‘handsome-vibe (guy)’, where 雰囲気 (ふいんき/ふんいき) — multiple readings, see Related Word 2 — means ‘vibe’ and イケメン means ‘handsome/good-looking’. It describes a ‘quasi-handsome’ man — a man who looks handsome at a first glance, but in fact, only has a ‘handsome vibe’, not a good-looking face. For instance, if someone says, ‘I thought he’d be handsome at first, but it turns out he was just 雰囲気イケメン’, that means, much to their disappointment, he was not a bona fide handsome guy as they had expected.
On the other hand, 雰囲気イケメン can also be what many young men aim to be. For instance, a myriad of men’s magazines feature how to become ‘handsome-vibe’ in their articles. They provide some knowledge and know-how about how to achieve ‘handsome vibes’, such as fashionable hairstyles and clothes or tips to behave in an ‘handsome’ way (be kind, mysterious, etc.). Of course, it’s always better to be handsome than ‘handsome-vibe’, but for most men, having handsome vibes is crucial to be the best of a bad bunch.
Related Word 1: イケメン
イケメン is a well-known slang word that means ‘handsome’ or ‘handsome guy’. It is an abbreviation of a phrase ‘イケてるメン’ , where the first word ‘イケてる’ is an outdated casual word meaning ‘cool/awesome’. The second word ‘メン’ is said to come from either the English word ‘men’, or the Japanese word ‘面(めん)’ meaning ‘face’. Not only a handsome face, イケメン can also describes cool behaviour. For instance, when your friend says to you ‘You look busy these days. Please let me know if there is something I can help you with.’, you can say ‘Wow, you are so イケメン!’.
On the Internet, some people also use ‘イケメソ (ikemeso)’ when they say ‘イケメン (ikemen)’ in a playful way (e.g. when your friend says something cool), but some people may argue that it sounds cheesy and outdated (although I personally use it sometimes, by the way).
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Related Word 2: 雰囲気
雰囲気 (ふいんき・ふんいき) means ‘atmosphere/vibe’, and is often used to describe vibes of things (e.g., restaurants, cities) or people. What’s distinctive about this word is its reading. Technically, it reads ‘ふんいき’ and that is what you should write on a Japanese kanji quiz; but in reality, people usually pronounce it ‘ふいんき’, as it’s much easier to pronounce for Japanese people. This reading is so common that now Japanese typing software allows both readings to type 雰囲気.
Tanaka, I guess you are ‘handsome-vibe’
What, Is that a compliment or not?
Many people say that a hairstyle is important to become ‘handsome-vibe’.
To make a girlfriend, first you should aim to become ‘handsome-vibe’
Synonyms in English: quasi-handsome, having handsome vibes/aura
Related Words: イケメン, 雰囲気 (ふんいき/ふいんき)