Here is a thought: do not beat people who are already on the ground.
Not too long ago, someone created a Tumblr blog called Nice Guys of OkCupid. This blog featured profiles from OkCupid from so-called nice guys. These were men who could not get dates even though, they felt, they were the good guys. The blog is down now, probably because posting the profiles violated OkCupid’s terms of service and copyright, and also because doing things like this and this legally counts as character defamation.
While some of the comments from the profiles were hateful rants against women, plenty were simply justified complaints about not being able to find at date. Of course, some feminists do not see it that way. Hugo Schwyzer graces us with his opinion about these men:
What’s on offer isn’t just an opportunity to snort derisively at the socially awkward; it’s a chance to talk about the very real problem of male sexual entitlement. The great unifying theme of the curated profiles is indignation. These are young men who were told that if they were nice, then, as Laurie Penny puts it, they feel that women “must be obliged to have sex with them.” The subtext of virtually all of their profiles, the mournful and the bilious alike, is that these young men feel cheated. Raised to believe in a perverse social/sexual contract that promised access to women’s bodies in exchange for rote expressions of kindness, these boys have at least begun to learn that there is no Magic Sex Fairy. And while they’re still hopeful enough to put up a dating profile in the first place, the Nice Guys sabotage their chances of ever getting laid with their inability to conceal their own aggrieved self-righteousness.
One cannot call it self-righteousness if all the men are doing is repeating exactly what they have been told to do. One cannot also claim that all these men and boys believe that expressions of kindness should lead to sex. Most of them are not even complaining about not getting sex; they cannot even get a date.
Yet beyond that, who would not feel upset that all the cues they have been told women will respond to do not work for them? If you do all the steps and still end up home alone without a date, who would not begin to ask if there is something wrong with themselves or if women are not being honest about the type of men they want?
That thought does not occur to Schwyzer. Instead, he writes:
Besides the near-universal sense that they’ve been unjustly defrauded, the great commonality among these Nice Guys is their contempt for women’s non-sexual friendship. They rage about being “friendzoned,” and complain about the hours spent listening to women without being given so much as a hand job in return for their investment. Niceness, they make clear over and over again, is a mere tactic, a tool that they were promised would work to give them access to women’s bodies. Their anger, in other words, is that their own deception didn’t work as they had hoped. It’s a monumental overask to expect women to be gentle with the egos of men who only feigned friendship in order to get laid.
Except it is not clear they feigned friendship in order to get laid. The current social narrative is that women want sensitive men, men in touch with their feelings who will listen to every minor, trivial complaint women have. Men are told, almost exclusively by women, that this is the way to women’s hearts. If you want women to even begin to think about dating you, then you better become their friend first, not just ask them out on a date.
So this is what countless men and boys do. They befriend women and girls, hoping that all their cues are read properly and the girl will be willing to take it to the next step. However, many women and girls have no intention of dating the guy, and instead of telling him that so he can take his efforts elsewhere, they allow him to continue on in the pointless hope that she will change her mind.
Let us be clear: few people are so blind that they cannot tell who is interested in them. In most instances of people missing the cues, they miss them because they have no interest in person. Even then, someone around them tends to notice the other person’s affection and mentions to the admired. It is cruel to let someone think they have a chance when they do not, and plenty of people are willing to do that.
However, the true insensitivity of Schwyzer’s comments is that he appears to think these men reach this point after one rejection. If this were a one-off thing, it would be understandable to mock the guy. But it is not. Many of these men and boys are constantly “frienzoned”, and over time the pain of being routinely rejected adds up. They are doing everything they were told to do to attract women, and not only is not working, but the people rejecting them then turn around and complain about not being able to find a nice guy.
This would be akin to a writer wanting to be published by a certain magazine writing exactly what the editor says she wants only be resoundingly rejected each time and then having that editor complain that she cannot find anyone to write the kinds of stories she wants to publish.
That would make anyone angry, but it more so would make them wonder what is so wrong with their writing. Likewise, the rejection these men go through after following all the rules not only hurts them, but also makes them wonder what is so fundamentally wrong with them as a person that nobody wants to be with them.
The feminist response to that is “Everything”. Instead of showing any compassion to these men, feminists mock them, and Schwyzer thinks that is the right move:
The plea to replace mockery with understanding is a familiar one; it’s what lies behind the calls to stop using the word “creep,” because men find it shaming. But in the case of Nice Guys of OkCupid, disdain isn’t rooted in meanness as much as it is in self-preservation. While only a small percentage of these guys may be prone to imminent violence, virtually all of them insist, in one way or another, that women owe them. Mockery, in this instance, isn’t so much about being cruel as it is about publicly rejecting the Nice Guys’ sense of entitlement to both sex and sympathy.
So the way to deal with people who suffer from low self-esteem, who feel utterly worthless and unlikeable, and think that there must be something fundamentally wrong with them because no one will love them is to mock them? To make them feel worse than they already do? And when one of these men hurts or kills himself (which none of the feminists taking shots at them will care about), what then? Is driving them to the brink really the best thing we should do?
How about teaching them that they should not seek self-validation in other people? Why not teach boys and men that they do not need a woman to prove their worth as a person or as a man? Why not teach boys and men that they should seek out women and girls worthy of the love they have to offer, not those who will judge them by their appearances or social awkwardness? Why not teach girls and women to be clear in their rejection and not leave guys they know are interested in them hanging just because it is beneficial to them to have a “break glass in case of emergency” friendzoned guy in waiting?
We could do that or we could do this:
So how should we respond, when, as Penny writes, “sexist dickwaddery puts photos on the internet and asks to be loved?” The short answer is that a lonely dickwad is still a dickwad; the fact that these guys are in genuine pain makes them more rather than less likely to mistreat the women they encounter. A rage rooted in anguish is no less dangerous because it comes from the Great Big Sad Place. For that reason alone, we shouldn’t make men’s pain into women’s problem to solve.
Let us get one thing clear: if these guys were as big a threat to women as Schwyzer claims, there would be a lot of dead women right now. There are not because, wait for it, these are nice guys. Even in the midst of their pain the most outrage they can muster is to angrily tell women how great a guy they are and how much it sucks that none of them seem to notice. Certainly there are men who are less polite, just as there are plenty of women who moan about men choosing the pretty girl over them (which coincidentally gets nothing but feminist appraisal). However, most nice guys are just that: nice. As much as they are hurting, they do not take it out on anyone but themselves.
It takes a grand amount of antipathy and jackassery to call someone in pain a “dickwad” just for voicing their pain. At the end of the day, that is all these guys did. They did not attack anyone, did not assault anyone, did not harass anyone, or even specifically seek anyone out. They simply complained about their lot in life. Ally Fogg calls this bullying, stating, “I think it is not only immoral, but potentially dangerous to place them in the 21st Century equivalent of the medieval stocks to be mocked, abused and humiliated.”
But is not just bullying; it is abuse. Make no mistake about that because that is clearly Schwyzer’s intent. He wants to hurt their feelings so he can “disabuse them, once and for all, of their insistence that in a just and democratic society, hot young pussy ought to be distributed equally to every Tom, Harry, and Dick who demonstrates a minimal level of civility”, despite few of them thinking anything of the sort.
He ends by stating:
What the Nice Guys of OkCupid need far more than fresh shaves and new shirts, however, are two essential reminders. No one is owed love. And no one who uses friendship as a strategy for sex has the right to complain if he ends up with neither.
Ironically, this comment comes from a Christian man. My understanding of Christian beliefs is that everyone is entitled to love, no matter who they are or what they have done. If what Schwyzer means is romantic love, then he has a point. No one is obligated to love you in that way. However, it really hurts when no one does, especially not the person you love. That may not be something Schwyzer understands because as an attractive man with a history of womanizing, he has never had that problem.
As for using friendship are a strategy for sex, it would be fair to trash it if it were clear that the person doing that were only interested in sex. However, it is hard to make that argument to a man seeking a relationship with women when women themselves tell men that the way to relationship status is a strong friendship.