Ah, I see it’s that time of year again.
Normally on Fridays, I run questions for Ask Dr. NerdLove and help you — and folks like you — solve your dating dilemmas. But occasionally… well, occasionally I get a letter that requires a much deeper dive than most.
And then occasionally I get ones like today’s, which happen so regularly that you can actually measure the intervals between them and count down to when I’ll get the next.
Like the monarch butterflies traveling to Mexico and swallows returning to Capistrano, there’re some things you can always count on. For me, it’s the seasonal “but WHY DON’T YOU ADMIT WOMEN ONLY DATE ONE KIND OF MAN” letter. Usually this is brought on because an incel forum somewhere rediscovers the old OKCupid “here’s how women rate men and men rate women” poll I mentioned in “This Is Why You Think You’re Ugly”. Other times it comes about because someone has found some “exposé” — usually dubiously sourced, even more dubiously interpreted and reported — on YouTube or something that threatens to blow the doors off online dating or something.
And then these emails show up in my inbox, regular as clockwork. Normally, I just delete them because, well… what’s the point. You can’t get a dead plant to grow no matter how much you water it, and you can’t reason someone out of a position that they didn’t use reason to get into in the first place.
But then again: sometimes it’s worth breaking down the “logic” — and I use the term very loosely — to dig into the underlying issues. Not so much for the letter-writer themselves, but for everyone else, if only to talk about just how ugly some of this can get if you let it go unchecked in yourself.
So we’re gonna dig into a letter that, under normal circumstances, would go straight into the trash bin.
Hell, this time I didn’t even bother cleaning up the grammar, spelling or punctuation mistakes. It’s a hoot.
Hello Doc !
I read your article “Men, This Is Why You THINK You’re Ugly” and i can’t disagree more. First because you are talking about personality and all that but .. how do you explain Tinder for example or Bumble , or any dating apps? men there don’t have any success unless they are fit , tall and handsome. women only like that type of men , no woman will have casual sex with a fat guy or a chubby guy for example , hell not even a skinny dude , as a dude YOU HAVE TO BE MUSCULAR to have success with women. it’s kinda sad that as a man you are undesirable by default to the opposite gender , hetero women don’t face any difficulty in the dating world. Being a man (average , hell even above average) is a bad deal in the west , no woman will approach you unless you have money status or you are the clone of Henry Cavill. So Doc , you are spreading false hope to your customers
How Do I Get Me Alone?
Y’know, HDIGMA, I see where you’re coming from, and I’d agree with you, except then we’d both be wrong. Leaving aside the “Tell me you didn’t read my column without telling me you didn’t read my column” challenge aside, let’s break things down a bit, shall we?
I’d say your problem is that you’re reading incel forums — the “in the west” part is kind of an obvious tell — and that you managed to hit yahtzee on literally everything I talked about in that particular column. I mean, shit, the very first section is about “so… where, exactly, are you getting your information?” And I do appreciate your stepping up to be the living example of the exact sort of person I was talking about, right down to the same tired talking points that people keep thinking are “gotcha’s”, but are honestly more of a very weird way of telling on yourself. I mean, my dude: all you’ve managed to do here is reveal to the world that you’ve not talked to any women… like, ever. Hell, I’m not entirely convinced you’ve talked to anyone who wasn’t a screen name on the world’s saddest Discord server.
Because if you had… well, the answers to all of this would be really goddamn obvious.
How do I explain Tinder or Bumble or dating apps? That one’s easy: a lot of straight dudes suck at online dating. They don’t know how to take a halfway decent photo of themselves, they don’t know how the algorithm works and end up burying themselves because they swipe right on everyone, they match with people they don’t like — which only makes women frustrated — and when they do message someone, their messages are 25 characters on average. And that’s assuming that they don’t just go with “nice boots, want to fuck” right from the jump or don’t complain that women are shallow hypergamous bitches who would never date them anyway.
Y’know. Kinda like you’re doing, superchief. Can’t imagine why anyone doesn’t wanna sit right on that face.
Not to mention — getting back to the “you’ve never talked to a woman” part of the equation — women don’t have the greatest of times on dating apps either. Ask any woman over… let’s be generous and say 35… what her experience on dating apps is like. Or any woman who’s over a certain weight, has a non-standard body type or especially women of color. And of course, trans women and nonbinary folks have a hard time with apps like Tinder just booting their profiles off entirely. There are Tumblrs, Twitter accounts, subreddits and TikToks about women’s experiences on dating apps and how shitty those experiences can be.
But then again: dating apps aren’t the only way people meet and mate. Shit, even in 2021, it’s not even the top method; allowing for the statistical anomaly that was 2020, it’s at most tied for second place alongside “through shared activities”. So. Y’know. Maybe Tinder just ain’t your thing, sunshine.
But let’s be real: you, like the folks I hear from on the regular, like to single out Tinder and Bumble because you have the illusion of data. Granted, it’s data that was poorly collected, doesn’t actually say what you think it says, and has little applicable relevance to the real world… but hey, why let that get in the way of things?
But then again, if you were actually going with “people’s experiences on dating apps” in good faith instead of complaining about the women who don’t like you, then we wouldn’t also be getting into your belief that women have no difficulties in the dating world. Beyond — again — the “never talked to another woman” aspect, you could see women talking about their dating troubles on social media. You could see them talking about their experiences in the NerdLove Academy Facebook Group. Hell, you can go through the archives and read all the letters women have sent in to this column, the column you are writing to, about their dating problems. This would, of course, require having both a grasp on the concept of empathy and not clinging to a catechism based out of conversations and assumptions shared exclusively with and by your fellow travelers who have also not talked to a woman. Because, let’s be honest here, just you, me and everyone who reads this column: this is post-hoc justification for why you aren’t getting laid. It can’t be because you’ve got a shitty outlook, act like shit to women, can’t be bothered to put in the slightest bit of work to improve yourself and expect a relationship that requires no work on your part. It’s got to be because women only want a certain kind of guy.
But while we’re on the topic, let’s dig into that whole “women only want dudes who look like Henry Cavill” thing.
I mean, this is so easily demonstrated as false that I’m kind of astounded that people bother bringing it up. All you have to do is go to Walmart, Costco, Target or, hell, your local grocery store on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Notice all those straight couples and families, all of whom look nothing like the cover of All Natural Muscle. By your logic, they shouldn’t exist.
Actually, by your logic, the human race shouldn’t exist. If women were only banging six foot tall muscle bros, humanity as a species would’ve died out generations ago, seeing as less than 10% of the world population is over 6′ and the world average height for men is around 5’9″.
But wait, you said “casual sex” and how no woman would have casual sex with a chubby dude or even a skinny dude, you gotta be muscular. CHECKMATE, NERDLOVE.
Except… a) citation needed and also b) you haven’t actually been to a bar and watched folks hook up, have you? ‘Cuz I have. People of all sizes — men and women and enbies — get laid by people looking for cheap and meaningless satisfaction. Hell, I was hooking up when I was a good 20 pounds heavier than I am now, and I’ve got friends who range from wiry to fat who have also had their fair share of no-strings sex.
But then again, look at some of who women go nuts over right now. Bruno Mars isn’t exactly going to win a bodybuilding competition any time soon. Harry Styles is, likewise, skinny and wiry, not a gainsbro. Folks are generally in agreement that Kumail Nanjani was a lot cuter when he was in the Big Sick — and, I might add, met his wife and frequent collaborator long before he got his Marvel movie bod. Kevin Smith was at one point famous for having been kicked off Southwest for being “too fat to fly”, and yet had dated a number of women, including Joey Lauren Adams, before marrying his wife.
And that’s before we even get into the media continually rediscovering that, as it turns out, a whole lotta women like “dad bods”.
Turns out that, while yes, women — like everyone else on the planet — like seeing people who are aesthetically pleasing, they do, in fact differentiate between “good looking” and “attractive”. Just because someone’s good looking doesn’t mean that they’ve got what it takes to be a potential partner or even a potential roll in the hay.
Hell, Netflix even has a show that is literally — literally — nothing but hot, muscular, tall sexy people who are supposed to have to fight to resist hooking up with each other. By all rights, literally everyone on that show should’ve been rotating partners, financial consequences be damned. And yet… only two people did. Hell, one woman briefly considered not one, not two, but three separate men as potential partners, all jacked and tall and ready to ball… and passed on all of them.
(Oh, and did I mention that one of the two dudes who hooked up was 5’8″? Just gonna drop that data point there for ya.)
Shit, you can even ask women what they prefer. One great example of this would be Brendan Fraser. Fraser is beloved by many, in no small part because of the Himbo period of his career, but because he’s a genuinely sweet guy. And despite the fact that he can’t look like he did 30 years ago — he destroyed his body doing action movies — women still find him intensely desirable. Even as a big beefy guy, he’s popular because he looks and acts like how hugs feel.
(Incidentally, Fraser is a great example of how no matter how manly you are, it isn’t enough. Despite being literally everything that men were supposed to be: tall, handsome, jacked, rich, dude was constantly beset with folks accusing him of being “just some pretty boy” who wasn’t tough or butch enough. He broke himself into pieces trying to live up to broken, toxic ideas of manhood, and it derailed his entire career.)
But then again: this requires being willing to actually talk to them and listen. I have literally — literally — watched folks, like you, tell women that they’re lying when those women talk about the guys they’re into, the guys they hook up with and the guys they’ve dated. You can see it in the comments on this column on the regular, as well as on Twitter, Facebook… anywhere you care to actually look.
And really, the willingness to spin around and call women liars because they tell you who they’re dating is kind of a tell about what the real issue is.
Here’s a hint: it’s the rather glaring resentment that women expect men to… well, honestly, to clear a bar so low you could step on it, but mostly to meet them half-way. There’s a real and constant undercurrent of “I shouldn’t have to work at this, it should just happen for me” to complaints like yours that’s kind of hard to ignore. And then there’s also the part of having to actually work at the relationship and be a meaningful partner.
In fact, let’s dig into a great example that you helpfully provided, my dude. Specifically, this part:
“it’s kinda sad that as a man you are undesirable by default to the opposite gender”
So what, precisely, does “by default” mean in this case? Well, going by the rest of the letter, I think it’s fairly simple: you mean “just existing”. And… well, yeah, dude. I don’t know how to break this to you, but folks who are successful, socially, didn’t just show up out of nowhere and start to slay. Nobody was born a ladykiller or a playgirl, a thot or a bro or a non-binary ho. Every single person out there who’s hot, sexy and desirable had to work to get there and has to continue to work to stay there. Social skills? Had to learn ’em. Talking to girls? Had to learn how to do that. Dressing up sharp? Someone had to teach ’em. Even folks who were gifted in some way — they won the genetic lottery and have the exact facial features and body type that’s currently and culturally desired — had to work at it. They may have had a bonus to their starting stats, but those bonuses mean nothing if you don’t actually do something with ’em. Bill Gates would never have been able to code the way he does if he hadn’t gone to a high-school that specifically allowed him to spend all his time writing code, no matter how smart he is. If he hadn’t, he’d just be another well-off guy from a rich Seattle family.
Part of the issue you’re running into is that you don’t like the fact that you have to work at it. You’re coming to this from a place where you assume that attraction is just a given. Women show up, you get a tingly feeling in your no-nos, that’s how it works, right?
I hate to break it to you big shoots, but women “by default” don’t look the way you think they do. You — like a lot of dudes with your same attitude — tend to miss or ignore just how much work women put in to be attractive. Make-up alone is an investment of time, energy and education; there’re reasons why Make Up YouTube is a 1000 lb gorilla in the world of new media. Hell, Marilyn Monroe — someone held up as a pinnacle of beauty — had plastic surgery to become who she was. Of course, when guys — the ones who carry the same attitude as you — notice or remember that make-up, support garments, hair care etc. are a thing, it’s to accuse women of cheating, lying or otherwise tricking you because you’ve convinced yourselves that FaceTune’d photos are the baseline standard for women.
But hey, seeing as women aren’t showing up “by default”, maybe that should be a lesson to you. You, as a default, aren’t attractive? Good news my fine fuckless friend, you can fix that! Turns out, self-improvement is a thing! Even if we accept your bullshit premise that women only date Geralt of Rivia clones — they don’t, but go off, I guess — you can muscle up, buttercup! You can down some creatine, hit the gym, lift heavy shit and work for them gains. In just seven days I can make you a man. You could even work on dressing well, do something with your hair and, right, deal with your shitty attitude. Y’know. The way Chad did.
But c’mon. You and I both know the truth: you don’t want to. You think you shouldn’t have to. This is the entire concept of “looksmatches” — the idea, prevalent in the incel community, that women are supposed to be automatically open to dating someone at their “level”. So if you’re a four, then women who are fours or below should be ready and willing to hook up because hey, you’re at the same level! No effort required! Unlike the popular memes about Millennials and Zoomers, you actually want that trophy for just showing up.
Which you kind of give away. Let’s zero in on a specific part of your letter here: “Being a man (average , hell even above average) is a bad deal in the west”
(emphasis still mine)
This is something that comes up a lot in the manosphere — that weird Venn diagram of MRAs, Red-Pillers, MGTOWs, PUAs and incels. But what, I say, what could “in the west” possibly mean? West of the Mississippi? West of the continental divide? West Hollywood? West Berlin? West Philadelphia, born and raised?
Nah, let’s be real. It means the global west. Western civilization. America and (most) of Europe. In other words: white people and American/European culture.
(This, incidentally, is what Proud Boys mean when they say they’re not racist, they’re Western chauvinists. They don’t hate BIPOC folks because they’re not white, they just want everyone who isn’t white to give up their inferior ethnic cultures and act white.)
So where is this mythical East, where even an average man can get laid, there are no cats and the streets are lined with cheese? Well… depending on exactly which dude you scratch and when, it’s either former Soviet-bloc countries (y’know, home to tall, blonde Slavs, as long as you ignore the Tartars, the Kurds, the Roma, etc.) or East Asia. The idea, of course, is that “these are the women who know how to treat a man,” who will lavish some lucky Western man with service and blowjobs because that just be how women do over in the East, not like all those mouthy entitled thots back home. No demands of equality here, not when they’re going to put all their effort into making you happy and remaining pretty for your pleasure. After all, the very fact that you’re an American (by which, 99% of the time they mean “white”) puts you head and shoulders above the local, inferior Asian men who could never measure up to your masculinity. Nor could they, poor, impoverished souls that they are in the Third World, match the financial prosperity you represent; your very presence means that women will submit to you in hopes that you’ll grace them with your largess and bring them to a better life.
This, of course, is kinda crazy racist, what with both the “exotic Orient with its submissive women” thing and/or the expectation that Asian women are going to dote and swoon and fawn over someone just because he’s a foreigner (and, therefore, superior to the local men) or that this is the last place untainted by feminism or something.
Or, for that matter, the idea that women in former Eastern bloc countries are going to be so grateful for someone to get them out of there that they’re going to use sexual submission as their means of escape. Which is kinda hilarious considering how famous Ukraine got for the whole mail-order bride scam. But it appeals to a lot of folks because it caters straight to the toxic masculinity ideals that y’all complain about without realizing it — fetishizing the very system that is fucking you over right now. “The problem isn’t me, it’s feminism. I need to go someplace where men are still allowed to be men and certainly won’t treat me as badly or worse as the jocks in high-school did.” It’s a fantasy that plays into the whole “Virgin West vs. Russian Chad” strongman fantasy that Putin and others wrap themselves into.
These are, incidentally, the literal trappings of fascism. Just in case you missed that point. Or think that somehow it’s going to benefit you. Spoiler alert: it won’t. You’d get ground under the boot heel, same as everyone else.
But this, again, brings us right back to the whole “can’t imagine why you’re struggling with meeting women, Chuckles” factor. That little line is a reminder of your “women are too choosy, too independent, too able to only fuck guys they want to fuck and it’s not fair” attitude, combined with some really ugly ideas about other ethnicities and cultures and Orientalism.
Which gets right to the heart of the matter: I’m not selling false hope, my friend. I’m selling honesty. It’s honesty you don’t want to hear because you want to hold onto the idea that this is something being done to you, rather than the sum totality of your attitude, beliefs and the choices that you’ve made. It’s easier, possibly even more satisfying, to put all the blame on the women who refuse to touch your penis, even women you think should be grateful to you for deigning to notice them. But more than anything else, it makes you a victim, rather than someone who has landed where he has by dint of his own actions.
Now, plenty of folks struggle with dating. That’s part of what drives my entire career: I’m here helping folks do better. But the key to doing better is the doing. It’s about recognizing that your situation is untenable and deciding that you’re going to do everything in your power to remedy that.
There’s nothing wrong with struggling or having a hard time dating. There’s nothing shameful about admitting that you need help, nor about feeling frustrated or depressed. There is, however, shame in blaming others for your own mistakes and for demanding of others what you aren’t willing to give, yourself. How many times have you been willing to give a woman a chance, even when she’s not conventionally attractive? How compassionate have you been for women who’ve struggled with feeling desirable or meeting people she would want to date?
As the sage once said: “If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody.”
If you want a better life and a chance at actually finding love, then your first step is to stop pointing fingers. You’re gonna have to start looking inside yourself and the attitude that you’ve let fester into a malignant gangrenous mass and step away from the other crabs in that bucket that pull you back down. There are literally hundreds of articles, along with podcasts and my books to help guide you.
But you’re the one who’s gonna have to make the choice.
Fix your heart or face life alone.