Dating sounds like fun
I heard the woman calling Michael's name before he did. The woman, thirtyish and friendly-looking, was under-dressed for the cold October day and kept moving in place to keep herself warm. A member of the opposite sex was nerve-racking enough, and I figured that I was adding to his stress—that Michael feared I'd inadvertently reveal why I came to Boston to meet him.
" When she knew for sure it was him, she got louder, trying to make herself heard above the crowd exiting the subway station: "" Michael tensed up, as if preparing for the possibility that he'd have to flee. Michael's eyes darted back and forth, from the woman, to the dog, to me.
Just last fall, Chris Harper-Mercer, the 26-year-old who killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, was posting online about being "involuntarily" celibate.
For several weeks, I'd checked in on almost daily, and much of what I read there was blithely misogynistic—nothing as extreme as what Rodger posted, but pretty dark. Four years prior, he'd arrived anticipating, like so many, a fresh start with dating and sex.
Other users call themselves "incels," meaning "involuntary celibates," or "Forever Alone," which requires no explanation.
They use the site as an advice depot, confessional, and water cooler, complaining frequently about the impossibility of making themselves understood by "normies" or "noncels." Michael has sunk countless hours into the site. But offline, he almost never mentions it—much less that he hasn't dated anyone since he was 17, and has had sex just once in the decade-plus since.
Almost everyone I told about this article asked me, almost instantly, whether he was ugly—as in ugly to an extent that it would explain his sexlessness.
The question made me sad, and resistant to describing Michael at all, as if to do so were to put my stamp of approval on our whole hierarchy of beauty. " She sat on a nearby step and beckoned over Michael's skittish beagle, rubbing its face and cooing: What a nice dog, what a cute dog, what a friendly dog.