Hello! I've been reading XMFC fics for a while and I'm wondering where some of the common tags on AO3 came from! (a kink meme perhaps?) For example, "Charles You Will Be Drunk" or "Erik Logic is the Best Logic" or "Emotionally Crippled Erik is Fun to Read". Sorry if this is a silly question and thanks ever so much for the excellent fic recs!
This is a lovely ask to receive, thank you so much! I’ve been here for quite a while now and I really just accepted that these were standard tags and never looked into how they came to be. Researching (trolling around AO3 and LJ more like) has revealed quite a lot about us as a fandom, and the three tags you mentioned were originally created in 2011-2012. Fandom hype in general peaks right after a movie/episode/book release, and in the months following June 2011, fandom was so productive we even had two simultaneous kinkmemes going on, xmen_firstkink and 1stclass-kink. According to Fanlore, XMFC also came out just after Tumblr established itself as a fannish hub, and along with Inception was one of the first Western media fandoms to form on the site.
AO3 tags work in such a way that once a tag has been created, it will be automatically recommended in the posting process. Due to the inherent nature of fandom, a joke oft-repeated becomes elevated to meme status, which our hilarious tags are a prime example of.
Charles You Will Be Drunk can be attributed to theletteraesc on their fic Slight Return (published August 2011) a graduate school AU where they “have sex and be all academic and stuff”. What is interesting to note is that the complete tag for it is actually “Charles You Will Be Drunk, and possibly high” but I suppose Charles You Will Be Drunk succinctly summarizes a great number of other fics, and is quite amusing by itself.
The next person to use the tag is GabrielVincent on In the corner of my bar with your high heels on** just a month later with an additional “existing tags are the best tags i love this fandom”. 2011 sees it with only 4 uses, but 2012 racks it up to 14, and with fairly popular fanfics using it. I’ve noticed that the secrets to a tag’s success are its relevance to fandom, its memorability and its use in fics which have a lot of readership. As of Aug 2015, there are 49 works with the Charles You Will Be Drunk tag.
World At Your Feet by professor was created April 20, 2012, first published at the kinkmeme and then published on AO3 five days later with the tag Erik Logic Is The Best Logic. The fic is unabashed crack, and the tag is ridiculously appropriate. Erik starts a robot revolution, and Charles is kept in a birdcage. There are 80 works with the tag.
You can thank rozf for the Emotionally Crippled Erik Is Fun To Read tag. It was created on November 2011 for the aptly-named Baggage Never Looks so Good series, and was utilized two weeks later in a collab with nekosmuse for An Ideal Grace, a popular longfic where Erik has the social skills of a potato and thinks he’s dating a student, not a fellow professor, thus also warranting the Self Imposed UST tag. There are 72 works under this. I like this tag especially when it is paired with the next on the list haha!
Erik is Crushing Harder than a 12-year Old Girl has a whopping 199 works, created by Dangereuse in January 2012 for Amour in the Time of Armed Robbery, where Erik is an ex-hitman with terrible, horrible, no good very bad social skills trying to woo his “floppy-haired, outrageously enthusiastic, beautifully intelligent” banker. The same author who made the Erik Logic Is The Best Logic tag also delightfully used this for their 10-part We Welcome Our New Sexbot Overlords series. It seems fitting that Erik’s smittenness would go hand-in-hand with his insanity—ahem, his special brand of reasoning. Overall, this would have to be one of my favorite tags in the history of ever, and it seems that a lot of people agree with me too.
The Charles Xavier has a Ph.D in Adorable tag has 130 fics and counting. Clearly, we value Charles being no less than absolutely endearing. In July 2011, I ♥ NY (It’s My Friends I’m Not Sure Of) by oddegg is the first to be tagged with this, followed up by The Proper Care of Actors in September and then City by the Sea, all of which have at least 30k hits.
I could wax on and on about XMFC fandom history and its changing values throughout time but I think it would turn out too long-winded. Some other notably hilarious tags are Erik is not a Happy Bunny, created again by oddegg (July 2011) with 156 works, Erik has Feelings by beastofeden (December 2011) with 185 works and Erik has Issues (aesc, September 2011) with 66 works. Interestingly enough, the Charles You Slut tag (heyweirdkid, July 2011) has 131 works compared to Erik You Slut (rebooting, December 2011), which only has 27 works, although their creations had only been months apart. Charles Is a Big Dorkface by isabeau (July 2011) has 130 works while its derivative Erik is a Big Dorkface by firstlightofeos (December 2012) has 33 works. Honestly Charles What Are You Thinking by introductory (July 2011) has a stunning 191 works. I may create an index of all the hilarious tags I can find one day, just for my own amusement.
In sum, if you judge the XMFC community by its tags, you will see that we have an unfailing sense of humor enhanced by Capitalization Of Key Words, an ability to poke fun at our canon and ourselves, a penchant for adorkable emotionally-constipated idiots smitten with each other, and a creativity that knows no bounds.
Thanks for reading! This is your mod velvetcadence signing off.