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Incels

So the men who can't get laid are calling themselves "incel" — which stands for involuntarily celibate.

Nah.

They're celibate by popular demand.
--David Gerrold

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In case you haven't been paying attention, the van attack in Toronto was perpetrated by a "man" calling himself an incel. That's short for 'involuntary celibate', and it's a term (ironically enough originally coined by a queer female) that has come to describe men who (a) aren't getting the sex they feel they are owed and who (b) blame women for that. There are more than 40,000 subscribers to r/incel on Reddit alone, and almost 200,000 who read r/theredpill, a related forum. These people exist. In great numbers. And the mindset they share is different only in degree, not in kind, from the mindset most, nearly all, men share. Don't believe me? Read on.
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I could have been an incel.

That's hard to admit, but it's true. I had many of the makings of one. Most of my teenage years were spent (a) alone and (b) yearning not to be. I had endless fantasies about countless girls, precisely none of whom  would spare me the time of day. I was 'friendzoned'  before that became a popular term, and yes, it spawned self-loathing that's typical of incels, no matter how hotly they try to overcompensate for it. (The Toronto criminal repeatedly demanded Officer Ken Lam shoot him and tried to provoke that response).
In a Facebook post made minutes before the terrorist attack -- and yes, that's exactly what this was -- the perpetrator stated "we will overthrow the Chads and Stacys!"

"Chads" (short for "Chad Thundercock") are stereotypically masculine men. I've referred to them more than once as "Muscles O' Greasestain": men with sex appeal out the ass and as often as not little in the way of brains. "Stacys" are the women who lust after the Chads and don't spare a glance towards the nerdy Kens incels.

I get their pain. I've felt it. Sex with me brought up as a dirty joke, a situation to which death was preferable. Every overture rejected, often cruelly. Attendant self-hatred and a conviction I would be forever alone.

I don't know if Sandy even remembers me as anything other than the prick who ruined her prom. She was more than that to me--as hard as that might be to believe from reading about how I ruined her prom.
Sandy was my first real girlfriend. My first real kiss since grade three. She had me in a state...I was perpetually horny, but also possessed of what I have been told is an inhuman amount of self-restraint, coupled with the ironclad belief that sex was out of the question for the likes of me. No amount of frantic kissing would quite overturn that conviction; even her inviting me back to her place on a shared spare didn't quite do it (although to be fair, that may have had more to do with her father arriving home most unexpectedly as the party was, shall we say, about to commence).

The horny teenager in me was ecstatic to get to second base. The inhumanly restrained (not to mention ashamed; I was going through a Christian phase and didn't like those 'base urges') teenager recognized pressing further would have been a mistake. Sandy trusted me, and said many times what attracted her was that I wasn't like other men. The last thing I would do, then, is act like those other men.

Maybe that saved me. Maybe she did. I can't say for certain what might have happened had she not come along--and of course if the online culture had existed to today's degree in 1990). But I do know this: like any cult, the incels are expert at taking alienated, lonely people and radicalizing them. You start gently, by expressing sympathy and what seems like a genuine understanding of the recruit's pain. Then you provide a scapegoat. In the case of incels, that's obviously women themselves. You learn that your failings with women aren't actually your fault: that supposedly women are programmed to seek out the men with status and power and those genetics that gift them with muscles instead of brains. The incels know all this. They've studied it, see, and they're brainy. Like you. You're one of them!
Your 'victimhood' thus becomes a source of empowerment, and as you go further and further down the rabbit hole, you further and further objectify the women who have supposedly caused you all this grief. They become Stacys. Or, even worse, "femoids": women are now subhuman.

I probably wouldn't have succumbed. I have too much empathy, and I have cared about women, plural, going back to earliest childhood. I never even had a 'girls are icky' stage.
But...there's no denying I might have. Because Sandy aside, I was rejected at every turn. In favour of guys who had looks and to my mind not much else. And mostly because, you know...I was...

A NICE GUY!

"Any man who must say 'I am the king' is no true king." -- Tywin Lannister, Game of Thrones

Ah, Tywin. You were a ruthless son of a bitch and I miss you.

Likewise, any "nice guy" who has to say he is one...isn't.`

It took me an embarrassingly long time to truly grasp this. In fact, you can read a post right here, from barely two years ago, where I still hadn't 'got it'.

It seems monstrous to state out loud that women owe men sex. Outside of incels, few men would be so baldfaced about it. But ask yourself, men: is there some number of dates, some level of material gift, or anything else you can imagine after which you 'reasonably' expect sex to occur? I think most men, if they're being honest with themselves, would say yes to that.

That's a toxic attitude, you know. It's distressingly common, and it's toxic. Women do not owe men anything: not their time, not their attention, and most definitely not their bodies. No matter what men do. Because sex is not transactional. No matter what incels may believe, women are not machines that you put tokens into and sex spills out.

Sex is a gift. If you're "giving to get", you're not really giving at all. And you're on the road that eventually leads to incelhood if you think sex is something you should be getting. "Nice guy" or no.

By the way: the 'Chads' that women tend to go for? The guys with looks and not much else? They do have something else. It might be something their looks have largely given them, but they do have it...and others can have it too. Even nerdy Kens. It's this:

Confidence

I think some women may mistake bravado for confidence, but confidence is attractive. Self-pity isn't. And blaming the very person you want to attract for their not being attracted to you...well, you know, for such supposedly brainy people, you'd think incels would spot the hole in that. Especially since holes seem to be their entire mode of thought.

Here's a thought, incels: you want sex? Try wanting a lot more than that. Then try thinking -- I know this is hard -- that maybe, just maybe, your wanting something isn't a guarantee you'll get it. Finally, try understanding that whatever you might think, women do care about more than looks. I have two partners and several very close female friends who choose to be seen with me despite mine. Q.E.D.

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