Man, incels are messed up in more ways than one


In this fascinating article about incels getting plastic surgery to help them get girls, we learn yet more about the twisted minds of that cult-like subculture. I think it’s fine that people who want plastic surgery can get it, even if some of them are clearly getting a little too obsessive about it (multiple surgeries to tweak slight asymmetries? Get over it. Everyone is asymmetric to some degree). If they’re doing it to appeal more to women, they’re operating on the wrong organ. This one paragraph says it all.

Mike recently got a jaw procedure called BSSO, plus a hair transplant. After the surgeries, he met two girls at his other job, teaching comedy, whom he considered “cute,” and he took this as a sign of success. Now he’s investing in cryptocurrency in hopes of getting more procedures with Eppley [the incel’s favorite surgeon]. In a recent forum thread, he posted a selfie specced out with angles and degrees, measurements of his features; he then found a photo of Tom Cruise and gave it the same treatment. (Mike’s jaw angle was 69.02 degrees; Tom’s was 76.31.) “I want to solve this woman thing,” he told me.

Women aren’t a thing to be solved. A jaw angle isn’t an objective measure of your attractiveness. Cryptocurrency isn’t going to get you rich. Your problem isn’t your skull, but what’s inside it.

The article has photographs of various incels and their ideals. They all look fine, although I sympathize with people who find their looks unsatisfactory. It doesn’t matter how much money Eppley makes off repeated surgeries, or whether they end up looking like Tom Cruise — it’s not going to fix their problems. Maybe one step forward would be to get off those self-loathing incel forums?

Comments

  1. says

    I see a lot of plain and plain ugly people have partners and children. Probably because not everybody is as shallow as the incels think. I mean, they do have eyes, right? They must see these couples and families as well, right?

  2. says

    Aaaand, looking at the pics in the article, those guys all look absolutely alright and for my personal taste, their “Chad” pictures look a lot worse than their actual faces, which are actually pretty cute if a bit young for my advanced age.

  3. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Yeah, those incels really need to work on their asymmetry.

    For example, get their head shaped into a PERFECT sphere.

    I’m sure that’ll have a big effect on their romantic prospects, you betcha.

  4. says

    #1: Don’t say that! I like to tell myself that despite my appearance, the fact that I have a beautiful wife & 3 beautiful children & 2 beautiful grandchildren, I must actually be a secret chad.

    #4: Yeah, it’s a good video, too. I’m sure many of us have what we consider flaws, I’m not going to begrudge anyone who wants to improve their appearance.

  5. hillaryrettig says

    Dr. Eppley is a slimer who obviously thinks the Hippocratic Oath is more of a guideline.

  6. says

    Wow, that was a sad read.

    I certainly can understand and sympathize with people who are lonely or struggle with having poor communication skills, being shy, etc. similar problems. Normally I’d feel compassion and sympathy for these people, and I’d wish them success.

    But statements from these incels, they were just disgusting, and misogynistic. Women don’t owe sex to anybody. Moreover, I have a suspicion that these guys struggle with getting laid, because they treat women like crap. After all, nobody wants to date an asshole. Simply being a nice and kind human being who treats other people well is pretty effective if you want to get laid, and, judging from their statements, these guys aren’t nice people. No wonder they cannot get dates.

    As for pickup artists, the statements these guys make seem repulsive for me. I’m perfectly fine with casual sex, but just not with these kinds of guys. For me it feels like these guys just exploit women for the purpose of boosting their own egos. I think that casual sex ought to be about two people enjoying themselves and getting some pleasure. Instead, for these guys, it’s a scenario where one person exploits the other one without caring about her feelings. The latter is something I don’t like.

    Whenever some guy attempts to treat me according to standard pickup artists’ recommendations, I reply with something like: “I prefer obedient, submissive, and shy guys; anybody who approaches me and tries to flirt with me gets automatically disqualified.” So far my experience is that this line does a great job getting rid of unwanted attention. This line is only half-true (my preferences are more complicated than that); in reality I just don’t want to get involved with people who show warning signs of being potential jerks.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    PZ @ 4

    Oh I’m well aware of the flaws that are preventing me from finding a girlfriend, most of them is have to do with having a head full of buggy wiring. That, and being a hopelessly fat pig.

    Oh well.

  8. says

    Giliell @#2

    those guys all look absolutely alright and for my personal taste, their “Chad” pictures look a lot worse than their actual faces

    Yes, I also can second that these guys look perfectly fine.
    My personal taste is that I don’t have a preference either for their normal or their “Chad” pictures. I find as attractive all kids of different face shapes, I don’t have a preference for one particular look.

  9. says

    I am trying to track down a scientific paper I read a while ago in the cosmetic medicine literature. In that paper they were evaluating facial symmetry vs. perceived attractiveness. Interestingly they found there was an uncanny valley. Once symmetry passed a certain point it was perceived as unnatural.

  10. lakitha tolbert says

    I have to say, I preferred their naturally occurring faces. (Especially the redhead. There was nothing wrong with his original face, which seemed Chad-ly enough, to me.)
    I guess if they’re happy with their new faces, I don’t begrudge. Now if only they were happy enough with themselves to jettison the online associates who are filling those newly lovely heads with angry wasps.

  11. lakitha tolbert says

    #11 Strewth:
    That would e plain my strong aversion to at least a couple of those faces. I think a couple of those guys have fallen into that effect, because I thought the faces didn’t look “natural”. (Speaking as someone who has been drawing peoples portraits for over 40 years.) Theres also a kind of uniformity to the redone faces that I find “odd”.

  12. Artor says

    Jeez, I don’t know what to say to someone who thinks making himself look like Tom Cruise would be less creepy than otherwise.

  13. says

    Strewth @#11

    In that paper they were evaluating facial symmetry vs. perceived attractiveness. Interestingly they found there was an uncanny valley. Once symmetry passed a certain point it was perceived as unnatural.

    Yep. This is also the case for drawings. If I use Photoshop to create a perfectly symmetrical drawing, it looks wrong. In my own logotype (larger version seen here https://andreasavester.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/logotype-700.jpg ) the fox image is asymmetrical. Pay attention to the ears and the fur below its chin. Also this cat drawing I made https://andreasavester.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cat-head-tribal-tattoo-2.jpg is asymmetrical. The same goes also for this https://andreasavester.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/wolf-dreamcatcher-tribal.jpg image. For these images I first created a perfectly symmetrical image and then afterwards I intentionally introduced some changes to make the image asymmetrical. In all of these images the intentional asymmetries are subtle so that you have to look for them, but they are there and they make the images look better.

  14. kestrel says

    If you have ever thought that “symmetry” and “appeal” are synonymous, sit down with a photo of Harrison Ford and a ruler. Let me know how that works out for you. LOL.

    Seriously. I hear these Incels think “reproductive capability” has something to do with “symmetry”. Let me tell you. When I take a goat in to the vet to have her evaluated for “reproductive capability”, he does not look at her face. Just saying.

  15. Chris Capoccia says

    These people really need a personality transplant and not a jaw job. If they’re saying women are shallow and just want someone with a stronger jaw, well it turns into a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. 30 seconds after she’s seen you’re jaw and you try to open it to say something manipulating, sexist and rude, only the shallowest of women will still continue talking to you. And if you can’t manage a few minutes of normal conversation, then just hang it up and go back to video games and anime in your parents basement

  16. says

    Putting a new spoiler on your car isn’t going to make it any less of a shitbox.. In fact I’ve always preferred sleepers: unassuming cars with stock body parts that have all the interesting stuff under the bonnet.

    To stretch the analogy even further: all these boy-racers are doing is enriching an opportunistic grease monkey who charges top dollar for door stickers.

  17. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin suggests the cosmetic change needed is a covering of feathers. For instance, a nice tuxedo. Historically tar was involved, but that tends to be lethal, so she suggests that nowadays a coating of milkshakes…

  18. cartomancer says

    I find myself wary when it comes to diagnosing what these people’s problems are. Two conflicting narratives compete as my go-to lens for them – on the hand I can see them as lonely, unfulfilled victims of society’s unhelpful prejudices, on the other as callous misogynistic arseholes who eschew true introspection to wallow in their self-serving misery. Neither is perhaps entirely true, certainly not in all cases, and at any rate our human tendency to think in terms of appealing narratives is not the most helpful of instincts. I am also keenly aware that I come to the problem with my own suite of hang-ups about feeling sexually repulsive and ignored, and it is very difficult not to perceive something yourself in others through a trick of selective focus.

    Nevertheless, I do wonder what it is that has made them feel that a sexual relationship is the be-all and end-all of life happiness in this world. Why they feel that connecting with friends and family is not a valid and useful focus for their time if they are lonely and isolated and unhappy. I suspect there are strong cultural motivators here. For myself it has always been pretty much the opposite – I’ve only found myself trying to attract a sexual partner as an explicit second-best to the company of my friends and family. As I’ve grown older they have all found significant others and seen me less and less and I have become lonelier. I often find myself resenting that – wishing that they were still around and we still spent as much time together as we used to. In fact, I think that in large part my falling in love with my best friend has been about trying to pin him down and draw him back to me, so he doesn’t get drawn away. Using the weapon of the enemy – the sexual relationship – to secure at least a piece of my old happiness, chaining him to myself, firm and inviolable against the painful vicissitudes of time that dissolve the rest away from me. Or, if not him, at least some third-best option – someone else to while away the time with until the Golden Time of my youth is eventually remade somehow when my friends all realise what has been lost and seek to restore things to how they should be. On that model I would be in the same situation as my friends, and we could live in parallel at least, if not the togetherness we used to have. It would provide a measure of greater connectedness to them, or so I tell myself.

    It is only recently that I have begun to think that maybe I shouldn’t pursue romantic and sexual relations at all. That they will never make me happy. That the only reason I want them is because I see them as a tool for achieving ends they really will not achieve. It is simply not fair to involve other people in my life as a means to reconnect with my friends, not as an end in themselves. Only my beloved would be someone I can truly say I love for who he is, and until he changes his heart and loves me back, that’s not happening.

    I suspect that something similar might be at work here. Sans the introspection and realisation that, ultimately, they only want the sex and partnership for personal ends that those things will not address.

  19. ridana says

    @ cartomancer:

    Why they feel that connecting with friends and family is not a valid and useful focus for their time if they are lonely and isolated and unhappy.

    Possibly because they’ve driven away their friends – if they ever had any – with their self-centeredness, and/or perhaps their families are toxic.

  20. David Utidjian says

    For the most part… the main difference in those before-and-after pics is they added an inch or two to the circumference of their necks. One can do that easily with some exercises a few minutes a day. No need to spend thousands of dollars. Unless, of course , one buys expensive shirts.
    All the guys I know that look like them have no problem getting dates unless they are total jerks.

  21. chrislawson says

    Why not go all the way and make themselves horizontally symmetrical as well?

  22. says

    Marcus @7:

    It’s easier to spend money on surgery than to invest some time in becoming an interesting person.

    That struck a bit of a nerve with me. I’ve been struggling in the dating world and I don’t think it’s quite that easy. I’m not all that social of a person and this may be the greatest hindrance for me. But how does one “invest some time” to become more social? I don’t really want to be more social. But, I guess, since I want to find a romantic partner, I must force myself to be more social?

    For being interesting otherwise, I think my problem is not so much that I’m not interesting, but not in ways that many women find appealing in a partner. For one example, I’ve been working on becoming an endurance athlete in the past two years since my late wife’s death largely as a way to deal with depression. But who would want to date an endurance athlete? I spend a bunch of time training and so that’s unappealing to women who aren’t necessarily athletic themselves. I’m also big into soccer, but that’s a more obscure sport here in the USA and, where I live, it seems to be mostly adult men who have interest in the sport. And do I even need to mention how being an atheist seems to limit my options? My gosh, over just these last two days I received emails from some matchmaking services promoting their most eligible bachelorettes. It was, I recall, 6 out ot the 8 listed who were looking for a religious man. So would Marcus suggest I fake being religious so that women will find me more interesting???
    That all said, I do recognize that my looks have little to nothing to do with my dating challenges. For me, I suspect some of my problem is the women who would be looking for someone like me have already found someone else. But the larger point I think I’m really trying to get to here is somewhat like cartomancer said @21: “I find myself wary when it comes to diagnosing what these people’s problems are.” I’ve felt frustrations similar to those expressed by some incels as of late, particularly when I heard the feedback a date I recently had left with my matchmaking service. She left rather positive feedback, noting that I was good looking and really nice, but that she wasn’t interested in a second date because there was “no chemistry.” That, in turn, makes it harder for me to swallow the idea that these incels are generally misogynist jerks that might have more luck if they treated women well. Yes, that’s getting off the quote from Marcus at this point, but I know others have suggested something similar and I can say from personal experience that isn’t enough.

  23. curbyrdogma says

    The really sad part, I’m guessing, is the thought that these guys have been raised on electronic media, perhaps preferred escaping into electronic media over RL social interaction, and have gotten their education and ideas about relationships/the opposite sex via the hyperbolized visuals and abstractions of electronic media.*

    …Meaning, they’re probably looking not just for a girlfriend, but a model-type girlfriend that they expect will conform to an impossible, caricaturish expectation.

    (…*Not that this is entirely the fault of electronic media, as I’ve had the misfortune of knowing certain jerks whose “understanding” wrt women consisted mainly of what they gleaned from their pre-internet porno addiction. But it’s now such a widespread and accessible enabler).

  24. says

    Leo Buzalsky:
    But how does one “invest some time” to become more social?

    I’m speaking from the standpoint of someone who’s been married twice (fairly happily for long times) and is a serial monogamist turning into a loner. That may be a useful data-point.

    Since being in a relationship is a social activity, it seems to me we must invest time in maintaining it and repairing it; it may be a special friendship but it’s a friendship. That means you have to be willing to make friends, as many relationships turn from friendship into something deeper. My experience is that a relationship without friendship is odd – what do you like about the person? This is relevant to the incels too, for what it’s worth: they seem to confuse sexual service with a relationship – they seem to want sex without friendship (in fact they actively dislike the women they desire) – if that’s not a good example of failing to work on being sociable, I don’t know what is.

    I didn’t say it was easy. In fact, I used the word “work.”

    “More interesting” is probably a fair proxy for more sociable but not necessarily. What I meant there was to try to express something about yourself in a way that others might find you valuable and interesting. You don’t need to go to the opera every week or have dinner parties, but you need to go where people you are interested in go – if you’re bookish try book fairs.

    I used to have a friend, Boyd R, who was an Australian expat who lived in Paris, and played guitar in a bar band. He was always in relationship hell of some sort or another because he was looking for stable and nurturing relationship and was throwing himself drunkenly at drunken people hanging out in bars. I suggested he look for love elsewhere, and he took my suggestion and put up some fliers in a library and some art schools offering guitar lessons and “looking for a jam partner.” He and his lover that he met (through the guitar lessons) were happy for a decade until a heart attack ended it. The point is that he was a really interesting guy but he was taking the lazy option and not thinking about who he wanted to find. Once you figure that out you don’t have to be a social butterfly so much as in the right place at the right time.

    PUA have turned sex into a numbers game – lots of attempts based on likelihood of success – but long term relationships are a social partnership that needs something more to hold them together. Being interesting, as I put it, is your way of putting your cards on the table, as it were.

    But who would want to date an endurance athlete?

    Another endurance athlete?

    So would Marcus suggest I fake being religious so that women will find me more interesting???

    Not at all. Besides, if you do that you may wind up with a bible-thumper who drives you nuts in short order, because you have to hide your atheism.

    Dating sites, in my opinion, are terrible. For one thing, they focus people on shallow qualities of other people. Like religion, to your point. You just said that you need an endurance athlete, or someone like that. Look for a running club, a yoga club, or something like that.

    Alternatively, are there other things you love? Last time I was between relationships I spent 6 months learning to swing dance. It was that or pastry-making classes. I dunno.

    I will observe that being a swordsmith has its disadvantages. Some people with anxiety get upset by a partner who keeps grinding chunks of themself off and who might blow themselves up with propane and whose idea of a hot saturday night involves wearing Darth Vader protective gear and smashing 2300F steel to the sound of tuvan throat singing. I think the population of endurance athletes is bigger and you’re less likely to attract homeland security…

    That, in turn, makes it harder for me to swallow the idea that these incels are generally misogynist jerks that might have more luck if they treated women well.

    I think they have adopted a lazy, low-cost strategy that optimizes for likelihood of sex over likelihood of finding someone who cares about them and who they can care about. Their problem, in my opinion, is not that they are misogynist, it’s that they are shallow, vain, narcissistic, and have nothing to offer a prospective partner.

    My g/f (the witty and lovely Anna) and I connected over going to museums, movies, and playing co-op games like Left 4 Dead it’s nice that we can’t exactly run out of movies or games and we have a great time going to movies and ripping them apart over pizza. While we have been working toward white genocide she’s been schooling me on racism. It’s fun.

    The problem with incels is they are sex-obsessed to the point where it’s creepy and the intensity of their wants drives away that which they desire. Wouldn’t you be a bit skeeved if you met someone and realized that they would do anything or say anything to stick part of themselves in you? Shit, no, I’ll go play with nice well-behaved white-hot steel instead.

  25. F.O. says

    Been in that camp. Wanting to pull my face off of my head, thinking that I was “born wrong” and thinking that I would never be happy with a partner that didn’t look super conventionally hot.

    Then I got a bit more my shit together which allowed me to understand what I wanted in a partner, I learned about privilege which allowed me to behave a bit less like an asshole, and I faced my fears and gave the middle finger to my fucked up ego.
    All this stuff was very much not easy to do and took me years.

    But in the end thanks to all of that and thanks to enormous luck, I found a wonderful person I am in love with and I want no one else.

  26. lotharloo says

    Nevertheless, I do wonder what it is that has made them feel that a sexual relationship is the be-all and end-all of life happiness in this world

    My theory:
    1) Western society puts too much value on sex. Sex is overrated, it is basically just mutual masturbation using different positions. Yet, having sex is glorified to be the best thing a young person (specially male) can pursue. Many commercials use sex to sell. In movies, ultimately the “winners” (specially male) have sex with beautiful people and so on.
    2) Toxic masculinity: The idea that the manliest man will attract the “hot supermodels”, a manly man, an alpha, can talk to any woman and make her want him so that if you are not having sex, you are worthless.

  27. Dunc says

    PUA have turned sex into a numbers game – lots of attempts based on likelihood of success

    Basically, they’re the spammers of the dating world. And nobody likes spammers.

  28. says

    Marcus Ranum @#27

    Wouldn’t you be a bit skeeved if you met someone and realized that they would do anything or say anything to stick part of themselves in you? Shit, no, I’ll go play with nice well-behaved white-hot steel instead.

    If somebody seemed desperate to get into my pants, I’d assume that they are probably a jerk for whom this is just a game and who wants to exploit me.

    Leo Buzalsky @#25

    Back when I was 19, I ended up being involuntarily celibate for almost two years. My problem was that I was raised to believe that there were “rules” for how to find a partner. You had to date and flirt and do all that indirect communication. On top of that, a woman was supposed to be passive and wait for the guy to take initiative. That didn’t work for me. I cannot flirt; I cannot correctly interpret other people’s non-verbal communication. My brain just doesn’t recognize hints. Moreover, whenever some guy tried to actively pursue me, that made me feel uncomfortable—I felt like I was being treated as a piece of meat, a prize to be won rather than a human being who ought to be respected.

    At one point I got fed up with all this, so I decided to change my strategy—I just started asking my friends and acquaintances for sex. Since I couldn’t flirt, I just had to ask directly. Simply asking, “Do you want to have sex with me?” worked surprisingly well. Problem solved.

    My point is that individual circumstances, which make standard dating strategies ineffective, can be overcome with a bit of creativity and just trying something different.

    But who would want to date an endurance athlete?

    The obvious answer is “another athlete.” But seriously, this one doesn’t even sound like that big a problem even with a girlfriend who isn’t that much into sports. My current boyfriend likes soccer, I couldn’t care less about it. I’m an artist, he isn’t particularly interested in art. That’s not even a problem for us. You need some shared interests, but there’s no need for a 100% overlap.

    One of the quirks with my brain is that I cannot feel some emotions. Thus a loving romantic relationship just cannot work for me. So I just look for people who are OK with being friends with benefits instead. My only relationship that has lasted for years is with a guy who’s been diagnosed with autism. We are both former debate teachers (we met in our university’s debate club) and we both are pretty unemotional. That’s super convenient, because it makes getting along really easy.

    Whatever your individual circumstances are, there’s probably somebody out there in the world who would be perfectly fine with them.

    And do I even need to mention how being an atheist seems to limit my options?

    I live in Europe in the atheist country. Here most people I know are nonreligious. So at least this one’s never been a problem for me. Maybe you can try seeing if you can meet people in some place where atheists tend to gather? Are there any atheist events or organizations near your home?

  29. leerudolph says

    Thirty-three comments in, and no comment yet on “his other job, teaching comedy”. Where is the snark of yesteryear?

  30. says

    @#7, Marcus Ranum

    It’s easier to spend money on surgery than to invest some time in becoming an interesting person.

    I kind of think that if you set out to deliberately become an interesting person you set yourself up for failure on the basis of Trying Too Hard. None of the interesting people I’ve ever met or read about, at least, started off by saying “I am going to become an interesting person” and then deliberately went out and chose to do things which would make them interesting.

  31. says

    Random anecdote: Back in the 80s, somebody I knew said he was, as an experiment, using the precepts he found in Andrew Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and seeing if they got him laid. (This is more or less how he put it.) I asked how it was going. “Depressingly well,” he said.

    The topic never came up again.

  32. says

    @Kip T.W. – A minor correction – that was Dale Carnegie, not Andrew Carnegie.
    I have read that book. I loathed it and dubbed it “The guide to dishonesty and brown-nosing”. I do not wish to live in a world where that book is a good guide to win friends.

  33. says

    Dale! Well, there you go. Thanks, Charly. Shows how highly I value it, eh? H. Allen Smith wrote of a time when his son started acting like that—loud greeting, firm handshake, learning people’s birthdays—until he managed to get his attention off the book by getting him a basketball. I’ve had a copy of the book sitting around for decades and have never gotten farther than the preface. Ripe for culling, at my usual glacial pace.

    Actually, I came here to post <href=”https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/the-incel-song-of-j-alfred-prufrock?fbclid=IwAR2C6iQgySdXJbs1On-gfh3jMVJmcLz1wvG5IYMApD822uYQsAbN7ITcdj0″>this, which I just saw referred to on File 770.

  34. says

    on the hand I can see them as lonely, unfulfilled victims of society’s unhelpful prejudices

    Which prejudices are those exactly?
    The pictures I see are of normal to good looking guys.

    +++
    I’m not conventionally attractive.
    I once was. When I see pics of myself back then I keep thinking “damn was I hot” and yes, flirting back then was easy enough.
    But, and here’s an important data point, I wasn’t conventionally attractive back when I met my husband. And to many people he wasn’t either and despite the fact that he was almost 30, I was the first girlfriend he ever introduced to his parents. I’m some years younger than him, so he was probably in a similar situation as most of these guys, yet he didn’t start complaining about how girls were doing him wrong (the internet wasn’t much of a thing back then). He simply kept living his life, just like I did before we met. We both had friends, and not just friends of the same sex, so part of it was probably this simple idea that we’re all people who can connect on many different levels, until we found one person where we could connect on a romantic level.
    What Marcus says is true: close relationships require work.
    So is what Andreas said: You don’t need a “soulmate”, but you do need some things you like to do together (except fucking, probably)

  35. cartomancer says

    The very real prejudices they have acquired and taken to heart, not the imagined prejudices they assume exist in the world. They clearly got the distorted, misogynistic world view that makes them miserable from somewhere, and I do feel pity for people whose own mental world is what makes them unhappy. They may not be the primary victims of toxic masculinity, but they certainly are victims. They seem, in many ways, to be the quintessential poster boys for how toxic masculinity harms men as well. Prejudice against women, prejudice against non traditionally masculine men, prejudice against the single life, take your pick.

  36. pinkpandakatie says

    I find it interesting that these guys are essentially wanting the exact opposite of what I’m considering – they’re concerned about looking too feminine, while that’s exactly what I want.

    I’m not necessarily trying to make myself more attractive, I just want people to see me as a woman and not call me “sir”. I don’t really even care if I “pass” at this point.

    I’m not dead-set on getting plastic surgery at this point. The only thing I’m doing is laser hair removal on my face.

  37. cartomancer says

    I also think that modern culture has a lot to answer for in the way it presents love and relationships, and colours our thinking about them. The truth is that lots of us will never find love. Lots of us will never find partners. Lots of us will remain unfulfilled in this sphere of life. I’d venture to say maybe more of us will than won’t. And that’s ok. Being single and never finding a requited love is ok. Spending years of one’s life on the fruitless pursuit of something we will never have is fine, and nothing to feel ashamed of. It doesn’t reflect badly on us. It doesn’t make us weird or freakish or failures in life. Sure, we might like it, but we all have to put up with not having things we’d really quite like in life.

  38. says

    The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) @#34

    I kind of think that if you set out to deliberately become an interesting person you set yourself up for failure on the basis of Trying Too Hard.

    Yes, this is why I would suggest to just do the things that you find interesting or important. Afterwards try to find another person who shares your interests/hobbies/values. Even if you are passionate about something like collecting stamps, there has to be also other people of your preferred sex who also share this interest.

  39. says

    @27 Marcus

    Dating sites, in my opinion, are terrible. For one thing, they focus people on shallow qualities of other people. Like religion, to your point. You just said that you need an endurance athlete, or someone like that. Look for a running club, a yoga club, or something like that.

    This isn’t bad advice for the general case but it get SUPER hard to meet a potential partner in a club or other social setting when all attempts to express interest or flirt or anything like that are met with social punishment.

  40. says

    The very real prejudices they have acquired and taken to heart,

    This is not an answer to my question, as you fail to nane any prejudice they have been victims of.
    In fact, it muddies the water as now it can also mean “the prejudices they hold” .

  41. cartomancer says

    It is precisely the answer to your question, because one can very clearly be a victim of a prejudice one holds. That’s the very opposite of muddying the water – it’s clarifying the details.

  42. says

    You still need to clarify and name the prejudices.
    This is like saying “there are problems with the project” and when asked to specify, you wave your hands and say “problems”.
    Also I call bullshit. Racists aren’t the victims of racist prejudice, misogynists of misogynistic prejudice. Incels are a group that has gone on multiple killing sprees.

  43. vytautasjanaauskas says

    Aren’t these the same people who complain that women wearing make-up is dishonest? Or am I getting my nutjob groups confused?

  44. vytautasjanaauskas says

    @45 the social punishment is largely imagined though. As long as you’re not annoying you can approach people wherever. Yes it takes practice to pull it off but it’s definitely doable.

  45. says

    With incels et al. pretty much everything women do is bad. One of the recent We Hunted the Mammoth posts discusses how some members of a forum get upset when women smile at them. You can bet the same guys get upset when women don’t smile at them.

  46. says

    Abbeycadabra @#45

    it get SUPER hard to meet a potential partner in a club or other social setting when all attempts to express interest or flirt or anything like that are met with social punishment.

    I agree with vytautasjanaauskas @#45 that the social punishment is imaginary. Richard Carrier and Joe Biden etc. similar cases happened, because these people were behaving inappropriately. The backlash was against sexual harassment, it wasn’t about simple misunderstandings that happen whenever one person tries to flirt with somebody else who just isn’t interested. As long as you follow some basic common sense rules, you shouldn’t get in trouble for just trying to approach another person:
    1. If there are rules against sexual relationships, obey them. For example, a university professor shouldn’t try to flirt with their students.
    2. Don’t grope, don’t touch another person’s butt or breasts without permission. Do not sexually harass. No catcalls, no rude jokes. Don’t be a jerk.
    3. Before touching another person, ask whether they are OK with it. For example, some people like hugs while others don’t like them.
    4. Don’t scare the other person, don’t make her feel vulnerable, don’t stalk. If she indicates that she’s not interested in you, respect that.
    5. Don’t overdo the flirting. I once ended up spending an evening with a guy who spent several hours discussing at length the beauty of each of my body parts. For me it felt that I was being treated like a piece of meat. I don’t mind being told that somebody perceives me as attractive, but listening for hours to another person dissect the looks of each of my body parts just gets annoying. Unfortunately, I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t go away, and I also had to be polite, so I couldn’t just rudely tell him to shut the fuck up.

    I have never tried dating websites, because I didn’t feel like I needed to. I never have had problems with other people reacting poorly to my attempts to approach them. My inherent inability to flirt is why I ask directly instead. Some people have agreed to sleep with me. More often than not I got refused. I just always try to be careful, I try not to make the other person uncomfortable or scare them. Most importantly, whenever I get refused, I always respect that.

    If you try to approach another person who simply isn’t interested, then that’s not a problem. Nobody gets upset about such misunderstandings. Just accept the refusal and look for somebody else.

    What can result in social punishment is sexual harassment, and that’s an entirely different thing than an unsuccessful attempt at flirting.

  47. says

    To add to the issue if flirting and social settings, it comes back to the “seeing others as people” thing.
    Spend time with a person to see if you like them, regardless of sexual attraction.
    If you really enjoy being in that person’s presenceb invite them out.

  48. Rob Grigjanis says

    Giliell @49: What precisely do you find objectionable, or unclear, about this, from cartomancer‘s #40?

    They may not be the primary victims of toxic masculinity, but they certainly are victims. They seem, in many ways, to be the quintessential poster boys for how toxic masculinity harms men as well. Prejudice against women, prejudice against non traditionally masculine men, prejudice against the single life, take your pick.

    Is it the non-Giliell-approved use of “victim”? Do you think using that word is an implicit excuse for their bad behaviour? It’s not, and never has been. I certainly think that a lot of the people who joined ISIS were victims of toxic influences. That doesn’t excuse any abominable behaviour they may have engaged in.

  49. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Jeebus, we need another term for these guys. How about D-cels (like the batteries) for deservedly celibate. I mean, have these guys ever even talked to a real woman?

    If people want to do just one thing to make themselves attractive to the opposite sex, my suggestion is to learn to make other people (people, not just women) laugh. And if you want to make people laugh, the best thing you can do is learn to laugh at yourself. All people do stupid funny things, and if you laugh at yourself, you give others permission to laugh with you. They understand that you get the joke rather than just being the joke. Just try to be the sort of person someone might want to actually spend some time around.

  50. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Rob,
    Personally, I think that the main problem with considering incels victims is that it diminishes their agency in the matter. Ultimately, they have a choice in whether they buy into a worldview that makes them feel miserable, and given that said worldview is demonstrably ludicrous and pathetic, choosing not to buy into it ought not to be that difficult.

  51. says

    Rob
    Cis men are not the victims of prejudice against women.
    Just like gun owners who shoot themselves in the foot aren’t victims of gun violence.
    Men who cannot find a sexual partner because of their own abominable behaviour and ideas are not victims of social prejudice.
    Men who go on killing sprees are not the victims of toxic masculinity.
    There’s a hell lot of way too much sympathy from other men for these guys here and way too little consideration for their victims.

  52. Rob Grigjanis says

    a_ray @57 & Giliell @58:
    Toxic masculinity harms men as well.
    Adults are responsible for their words and actions.
    Do you think these statements are contradictory? I don’t. It’s not about “oh those poor menz”. It’s about recognizing the forces that can twist one into a person capable of horrible things, and perhaps not being as simplistically dismissive as saying “choosing not to buy into it ought not to be that difficult”. Maybe have a chat about that with people who have managed to extricate themselves from toxic environments/worldviews.

    And no, recognizing someone is a victim does not necessarily imply sympathy for that person.

  53. curbyrdogma says

    On a sidenote, how many are old enough to remember the Unabomber (apparently an incel before they had a word for that)?

  54. says

    @51 @53

    No. Also fuck your assumptions.

    Last time I got punished it was for being highly compatible with a stranger on OkCupid (just before it ruined itself) and sending a tentative, nervous, harmless message of interest. Turned out she was a friend of a friend and proceeded to complain about getting an unwanted message from me so I had to endure a lecture from that friend about being bad at this.

    This was the last straw, because I learned from this that there is NO setting so appropriate, no venue so clearly about being where it is okay to express a romantic interest, that such a thing coming from me could ever be anything but Not Okay.

    “Don’t over do the flirting” says the guy making fucked-up assumptions. I don’t flirt. At all. I have been taught it is dangerous and I actually go carefully out of my way to never let on when I find anyone attractive, ever.

    Prior to that I have had experiences like asking an acquaintance out and getting actual uncontrollable laughter as the response, or being told to ‘ask again in a month’, or being thrown clean out of a whole social circle. Fuck everyone who assumes this doesn’t happen without super creepy behavior because I have NEVER been handsy or initially asked for anything other than a coffee or dinner date to talk, have never in my entire life propositioned someone for sex, or any of the other creepy behaviors falsely assumed attributed me by Andreas. For fuck’s sake, I’m a 40-year-old lesbian and everyone has to act like I’m a sex-crazed teenage boy!

    And here we have why it is not even safe to talk about. Nobody can imagine my experiences, my life, as real – you all have to assume anyone who got rejected with something more vicious than an easy-to-swallow ‘no’ must by definition be a creeper. Thanks for that.

    If you try to approach another person who simply isn’t interested, then that’s not a problem. Nobody gets upset about such misunderstandings.

    Yes they fucking do, and it is an absolute act of privilege on your part to assume this cannot happen.

    PS: Anyone who feels the urge to respond to this with ‘you must be creepy in ways you’re too Dunning-Kruger to detect’ can shove that response up their preferred personal orifice, I have been afraid of that possibility for DECADES and worked very hard with lots of trustworthy external feedback to make sure it could not happen.

  55. says

    abbeycadabra @#61

    I am not making any assumptions about you. I merely explained that my own experiences have been very different from yours. I cannot know the reason for why your situation differs from mine, there are plenty of potential possibilities, for example, I don’t live in your part of the world, I’m not your age, I generally don’t try to hook up with lesbians…

    For example, the last time I got refused, the answer was “no, but thanks for asking anyway.” Apparently the guy felt flattered that I had asked.

  56. vucodlak says

    @ Andreas Avester, @ 53

    If you try to approach another person who simply isn’t interested, then that’s not a problem. Nobody gets upset about such misunderstandings.

    I’ll answer to the list first:
    1.) I’ve never been in a situation with that sort of rules. I’ve also never had sex, so I guess I’m in compliance anyway.
    2.) I don’t touch people. I don’t like being touched and I don’t like touching outside of certain, very specific relationships. It upsets me greatly if I accidently brush up against someone. I don’t joke with people I don’t know. I don’t discuss anything sexual with anyone I don’t completely trust. I don’t catcall. I don’t even raise my voice in public outside of the direst emergencies.
    3.) I don’t touch people at all if I can keep from it. I tolerate it from others, who NEVER FUCKING ASK, because it’s required. If I didn’t, I’d get yet another lesson in just how real the social punishment that insist is imaginary actually is. I grit my teeth and put up with the handshakes and the hugs and the grabbing and the people who stand too fucking close because I have to.
    4.) I do everything I can not to scare people. I stand as far away as I can without it being considered totally rude, I speak as softly as I can, and I even pitch my voice higher to make me sound less threatening. I don’t approach people for romance outside of a dating website, I don’t approach anyone for sex at all, and I sure-as-fuck don’t stalk.
    5.) I don’t flirt, period. I don’t even really understand the concept. I’ve been told by friends that this or that person was flirting with me, and I’m not sure I ever believe it. The behavior is indistinguishable from being nice, as far as I can tell. Because I do not understand it, I do not attempt it. I treat people with respect, and address them politely. I try to get interactions over with as quickly as possible, to minimize the chances of misunderstandings. Or of being touched.

    Yeah, this “there is no social punishment” is just 100% pure bullshit, and insulting besides. I never approach people, I never flirt, and I’ve still gotten nasty, mean-spirited rejections from people who were apparently so disgusted by the idea that I could, theoretically, ask them out that they had to tell me how repellent they found the very idea. I try not to even look at people’s faces anymore, because sometimes I catch them looking at me with utter disgust when they think I’m not looking. I take great pains not to be offensive to the senses or in my behavior, so I don’t have any idea why they do it.

    I’m not asexual or aromantic, but I know better to approach people about either topic in meatspace (and especially if I don’t know them very well), because not only is the social punishment real, it’s fucking brutal. Even living as I do, which is to the point that people have often asked me “Don’t you ever think about sex/dating?” I still get people who very much want me to know how revolting they think it would be if I ever expressed any such interest in them.

    And, by the way, the answer to that question is “Only every gods-damned minute of every day for at least the past 25 of my nearly 35 years on Earth.” I just don’t do anything about it, because it seems like the whole bloody world has made it so abundantly clear that they don’t want anything to do with me. I didn’t ask, but I got my answer anyway.

    So why the fuck would I actually ask?

  57. says

    @62 Andreas

    I am not making any assumptions about you.

    Oh no? Not even:

    I agree with vytautasjanaauskas @#45 that the social punishment is imaginary.

    …in response to me saying this happens? Not the rather insulting list of creepy and disturbing behaviors about which you asserted “As long as you follow some basic common sense rules, you shouldn’t get in trouble for just trying to approach another person” implying the only way to have my experience is to engage in the creepy and disturbing behaviors? Not even:

    If you try to approach another person who simply isn’t interested, then that’s not a problem. Nobody gets upset about such misunderstandings. Just accept the refusal and look for somebody else.
    What can result in social punishment is sexual harassment, and that’s an entirely different thing than an unsuccessful attempt at flirting.

    … which again asserts that no social punishment exists unless the person claiming it has committed sexual harassment?

    If you did not MEAN to make assumptions, I recommend revisiting your comments. I’m not even the only one repudiating them now.

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