"Tell me why, I'm stuck as a virgin with rage,
Tell me why, I so need a cute girl my age,
Tell me why, I never wanna hear you say,
'I have a boyfriend!'"
- Christian Weston Chandler, c. 2005
Ahhh, the manosphere. Also known as the Men's Rights Movement, MRAs, the manarchy, the redpill movement, or other suchlike. It's one of those networks of loosely affiliated men (natch) who hang out on iffy corners of the internets and, if certain feminists on Twitter are to be believed, are about six inches away from thrusting women into barefoot and pregnant domestic servitude, and possibly reinstating slavery as well because fuck you. In actuality, they're a bunch of pathetic sad acts who spill inordinate quantities of virtual ink about how it's men, not women, who are really the oppressed gender in society and that feminism is basically a giant conspiracy to cock-block them from the vast volumes of pussy that they (the manosphere) are entitled to, most of whom, if left to screech and howl and ululate into the aether, would probably get bored eventually.
The basic tenets of the manosphere are as follows, roughly:
- All women enjoy the benefits of sexual liberation at the expense of men.
- Women are out to get you. They are genetically hardwired to spend their youth and attractiveness bed-hopping with Bad Boys until they hit THE WALL, start to become slightly less attractive, and then find a suitably pathetic Nice Guy to impose themselves on and be provided for at his expense, while still continuing to engage in the in-out, in-out with the aforementioned Bad Boys. This is called the "cock carousel" or "alpha fux, beta bux."
- Women are just itching to do you over by making false rape accusations or marrying you then fleecing you in the divorce for most of your stuff.
- Other men are either pathetic beta cucks or arseholes.
- Because women are all out to get you, and are using dirty tricks to get you, you have to prepare yourself.
- This can be done either by shunning all contact with them (so called "Men Going Their Own Way").
- Or you can marry women from South America, Eastern Europe, or East Asia, where they've not been polluted by feminism.
- Or, if you really want to deal with Western women, hypergamous whores that they are, without getting your ass in a sling, you need to learn special mind tricks to manipulate them right back. This is called "game" or "pick up artistry."
I could go on here about how appalling and sexist all this is, and I'd probably get a few easy chings and upvotes, but I wouldn't be saying anything that others far more informed than me about same hadn't already said. What I intend to address here, though is this: why do people ascribe to all this in the first place?
So, I asked someone who, in 2008-9 roughly, almost fell in with the manosphere themselves. Me.
Yep, that's right, boys and girls, in another universe, I'm spending my days parked on the internets foaming about how women are the enemy and must be conquered and bent to your will and how you must RESPECT THE COCK, AAAAAAND TAME THE CUNT! No pussy has nine lives. It's time to drop the pretense of being nice and subservient to women and instead become a smooth talking bastard who knows how to hack women's brains using NLP and word play to get them on your side, but never be more than Friends With Benefits to them, or they'll get you and then it'll be all over. Yeah. But instead, I didn't go down that route, and I'm here now.
So, what happened in 2008 that caused me to almost fall in with the manosphere?
Well, it was my last year at university. At the time, I was feeling that in many ways, I'd wasted my time there in that other than a 2.1 in Law, I'd not had the life experiences that I felt I was supposed to have had there. I'd not fucked my way round the entire campus. I'd not managed to fuck anyone, in fact. Or even come close to it. And I was alarmed about this. Nobody's supposed to graduate from university in such a state. It's weird. And it meant nobody would want to fuck me in any way whatever because they could secretly detect that I was a virgin and think that I was clearly some sort of creephat because of it - after all, were I not a creephat or a loser, someone would have wanted to fuck me, yes? Well then.
The nadir came in February 2008 when I posted on here a grumblesome pile of salt about how the bloke down the hall and his lass were getting to it even before they'd got through the door while I was stuck in my room with a pint of bitter and a massive supply of online pornography. It's still here. You can look it up for yourself if you want; I'm not linking it. I felt bitter and annoyed at this. I, Hazelnut, was trying to break into an august and reputable profession. I was trilingual (well, two-and-a-half lingual). I could play the clarinet to a fairly good standard. I was exceptionally knowledgeable and had a finely tuned bullshit detector. I was handsome and cunning and my haircut had style. I was six foot three. So why did chappie down the hall manage to score despite having a face like a weasel, artistic stubble which made him look like he hadn't shaved for days, and a shirt that looked like a barcode, as well was barely clearing five foot seven. Had he read grands écrivains in their original French? From what I'd seen of him, his interests included pretending to be Cockney and bullshitting about football. I thought he was a peasant. (He probably thought I was up myself, but that didn't occur to me at the time.)
Right, I thought, this needs to stop. I need to work out how to resolve this state of affairs. So I went onto some forum aimed at students, I forget which one, set up a burner account, and wrote a thread lamenting my situation and how I was disgusted with myself and my inability to cause fit birds to throw themselves at me that everyone else seemed to be able to do, which I knew to be fact because I'd seen this happen with my own eyes.
It didn't work. One third of the responses were trite bollox about being myself. Another third were sneering at how I was clearly a desperate loser and didn't deserve to get lucky ever. The other third were patronising flattery about how there's someone out there for everyone and I just have to be patient. Thing is, I didn't have time to be patient. I was behind everyone else and needed to catch up or I'd never have a happy and fulfilling life. So I went looking for solutions. And I stumbled across the wondrous world of Pick Up Artistry.
Wow, I thought. This is the answer. This is how I do it. Someone has helpfully written, and posted for free on newsgroups and internet fora, a definitive how to guide at scoring with women. And better still, it's not just generalisations like "be yourself" or suchlike but is a step by step guide on how I can get stuck up Roberta from up the stairs, in the form of IF, THEN, ELSE statements, logic, and flowcharts. There's ways and means and suchlike. Let's be trying this.
So I did. I quickly handwrote a bunch of principles and pinned them to my wall so I could remind me of them. Things like, always approach from the front diagonally, never hesitate, and suchlike. I learned how to neg - this is a backhanded complement like, "nice dress, are you wearing it for a bet?", to DHV or display higher value, which is basically humblebragging and trying to look wealthy even though you're not. I learned to do the Yes Ladder, which is where you overcome Last Minute Resistance by effectively using a Jedi mind trick to fox the girl into saying she wants to bed you; you ask her loads of questions to which the answer is "yes," then ask her if she is up for it and she'll be used to saying "yes" enough that she'll do it again upon where you get stuck in before she can change her mind. (I feel dirty just typing that.) I learned to pass Shit Tests - this is where she calls you out on whether you're a REAL MAN or just another beta who's pandering to her, i.e. she says, "So are you some sort of player then?" To which the correct answer is to do what she least expects and say "yes, I'm an incorrigible womaniser and I fully intend to give you a thorough rooting, and I won't call the next day," or brush it off. Yeah. I learned all these things from reading questionable stuff on the internets. I learned about IOI, AIA, Reverse Kino, and peacocking. This time. It had to work this time. Even though I'd managed to talk to women beforehand, it didn't get me anywhere because they didn't fancy me and maybe this would make them fancy me rather than stick me in "the friendzone" (another piece of manosphere jargon).
Basically, although I didn't realise it, I learned to act like Sid the Sexist. But, all these people who posted about it on the internets and sold mountains of books on it couldn't be wrong, could they? Well then.
So I tried to put it into practice, and do you know what? I failed abysmally.
This can only be because I wasn't trying hard enough. Or because I wasn't doing it right. I then discovered another facet of the manosphere - the "incel" or involuntarily celibate communities. I signed up to one of them. This was in the back half of 2008. It's not about any more, don't go hunting for it, you'll not find it. I discussed my inability to score even with pick up artistry tricks with people on there. I cursed out the PUAs as charlatans and mountebanks who were only interested in selling books and conference tickets (not an inaccurate description, to be fair). And on these fora, I was advised that at the end of the day, pick up artistry is a numbers game and that it's all about selecting your targets wisely. You have to approach as many women as you possibly can. This time. It had to work this time.
So I did, and guess what?
I failed abysmally. Moreover I came over as a creephat and ended up getting slung out of pubs because people were complaining that I was acting like a creephat. Which I probably was; wouldn't you be creeped out if a fat ginger headbanger came up to you and started systematically attempting to chat everyone up willy nilly? Well then.
So I cursed my inability to do this. What was I doing wrong? Why could I not seem to get any? What was wrong with me?
Well, I'm doing all the right things. Maybe if I got someone to "shadow" me and tell me what I was and wasn't doing wrong. After all, everyone else has the instruction manual, right, or knows how to do this, because I've seen them. So I thought, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. Maybe I need to grill people I know and trust about what exactly to do and what the right thing to do is to score. I would spend ages on Facebook (we're now in the front half of 2009) talking to people I'd known about this demanding answers from them. I thought, though, that they wouldn't tell me if I asked straight because they wouldn't want to be giving their secrets to the competition, so I put it in the form of competence based interviewing. Tell me about a time that you got with your current girl friend. Tell me about a time you chatted someone up. What did you say and do exactly. And they told me. Hahahaha, I thought. I have beaten you. I have extracted your pulling secrets from you without you realising it. Victory shall be mine! This time. It had to work this time.
So I tried doing what others had done. It failed. Clang.
I tried online dating, having read up on what to say and do and having thrown together a Word document that I could alt-tab to containing useful words and phrases to insert to come over as charming. I had a number of responses. One of them started probing about how much I earned, so I wasn't up for that because she was obviously out for my money. Blocked. Another stopped replying after a few lines and never came on again. Meh, suit yourself. A third actually I managed to get a date with. Oh yes. Victory shall be mine. I went out with her and she seemed to clam up while I was out there. It didn't end badly; we kept in touch. For a bit anyhow, upon where I tried to procure a second date and was turned down because I. I was allegedly a rebound, and II. I came over as a creephat. I think this may have been the pick up artistry showing through even though I had long since decided it was all woo.
The resentment continued onwards. I didn't show it overtly but was annoyed by every blocking, by every friendzoning, by every obvious lie about having a boyfriend or being given a deliberately wrong number (I even read up on the UK phone numbering plan so I could detect this and call them out on it at the time, not thinking that this is creepy as fuck in and of itself.)
It took me till about 2011 to snap out of this. And what got me out of it wasn't realising that all my preconceived manospherical and PUA notions were wrong. It wasn't having my privilege checked by some woke slay queen. It was realising that I'd gone through university and out the other side and into my professional life without having had a girl friend, and in the real world, nobody cared about the lack of girlfriend. I realised that if I didn't tell anyone about it, or better still, lied about it, it went away. I realised that if I went out places, and simply drank and headbanged and talked to anyone and everyone, I'd enjoy myself far more than trying to be an intercuntinental ballistic missile. Because I did. And do you know what else happened?
It bloody worked, so it did.
(And yes, for the record, I did call her the next day.)
Now, can you work out why I almost fell in with the manosphere? Well, I'll spare you the effort if you haven't already. It's because I had this fundamental notion that women were some odd and alien race that had to be studied and then solved, like a puzzle box. I don't think going to an all boys school helped with that, if I'm honest. I don't think Lana the Tsundere helped with that either, but then she was not a good person in general. I don't think that not being very sociable in the first place helped. But most of all, the thing that propelled me towards the land of iffy Reddit boards with names like "r/Mensrights" and r/Theredpill" and "r/Trueincels" was feeling not good enough. Feeling inferior. Feeling that despite having a 2.1 in Law at a Russell Group university and being on track to becoming a member of an august and reputable profession and having achieved wasn't good enough because I didn't do better. Feeling that despite me being smart and well educated and witty of repartée and stylish of haircut, I clearly wasn't good enough because I was failing at something that people I was better than in other things were succeeding at. In short, being a huge bag of resentment and ill will.
And that's what the manosphere trades on. Resentment. It takes it - probably not by design but by a shared mass of confirmation bias - and each individual manospheroid feeds of each other. In fact, it probably started when one virgin with rage said to another, probably aged 18 or so, "You know, Bob, I'm really narked that all the pretty girls throw themselves at sporty handsome popular types. It's really not fair. Something should be done about that. I mean, look at these popular guys. That one there probably has to remind himself to breathe." And the other one probably said something like, "You're not wrong, Sid. Maybe we should try to look into ways in which guys like us - you know, losers and nerds - can get some." And they then proceeded to post about it on the internets and it snowballed, and the resentment at not being able to get lucky and at being bullied by the popular kids (and probably some of them had reason to be bitter), and then they met the divorced older men who were bitter at their wives for getting a divorce settlement that shafted them (and probably some of them had reason to be bitter as well). And then this snowballed and... well, here we are now.
Do manospheroids have a reason to be resentful? Sometimes, yes. There are valid points behind all the sneering misogyny. Yes, society has a really fucked up attitude to sex and sexuality. Yes, male domestic violence victims are treated as a joke. Yes, family courts can be biased against fathers. Yes, there are a lot of times where feminism, especially online and on university campus, is a caricature of itself. But the idea that the reason why you can't get laid, why marriage is like a tornado (lots of sucking and blowing then in the end you lose your house), why your children hate you, and so forth is all because feminists are conspiring against you and therefore you have to conspire against them right back is, well, it's bloody stupid is what it is. And the people who push the manosphere? They don't care about the average manospheroid. They just want you to buy their ridiculous book on pulling or donate to their Patreon to build a woman-free world on an abandoned oilrig (allegedly). They're in it for themselves.
A bit like any other cult.