Charlie Chaplin Was The 'Distracted Boyfriend' Meme Before The Meme

Before there was an internet and before there were memes, there was Charlie Chaplin checking out another woman as his disgusted wife watched.

Do you like memes? Then prepare for your mind to be blown.

Meme connoisseurs are likely familiar with the very popular “distracted boyfriend” meme. It blew up in 2017, and features a classic scene: Girlfriend walks with boyfriend, boyfriend leers at a passing woman, girlfriend looks appalled.

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This wildly popular meme’s roots, however, can be traced back almost 100 years. (OK, maybe they’re not really roots, but bear with us ― the story is worth it.)

In a 1922 silent film featuring Charlie Chaplin titled “Pay Day,” a scene much like the one in the distracted boyfriend meme takes place. Chaplin’s character looks at a woman on the street, without knowing his wife is looking at him checking out this other woman.

Is Charlie Chaplin the OG distracted boyfriend?

You can watch the whole scene from “Pay Day” here to see the meme go down IRL.

By now, you’re probably wondering: Why is this Chaplin thing coming up 96 years after “Pay Day” was in theaters? For one, the internet is a black hole of content. For another, Twitter.

Filmwriter Peter Goldberg tweeted out an image from the Chaplin film over the weekend. Other people chimed in with their thoughts:

Bless the internet.

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