Not Allowed to Love

I am a giving person. For most of my adult life, I have aspired to generosity. Furthermore, I have a lot to give. I experience pleasure from giving. I want to give. I want to care. I want to help.

However, it is generally believed that when a man does something nice for a woman, it is because they have an agenda (romantic or sexual). Trying to prove that they have value or something. When you look at it logically, it’s a ridiculous thing to do, unless you’re talking about monkeys bringing food to potential mates. Nevertheless, it’s a thing that guys do. It’s one of the first things guys are taught about attracting women.

And in my social circle, I am known to be single.

So when I try or offer to do something nice for a female friend, especially if they are married or in a relationship, I am required to justify myself. Literally, the intended recipient will feel confused and conflicted and ask me to explain until I provide a satisfactory explanation. They want to know why I would do that. What isn’t asked, but it is what they are trying to determine, is whether I’m trying to be nice to them so I can get inside their pants. Only when another explanation is understood am I allowed to be nice.

It’s a deeply humiliating conversation. (Let’s not even think about how horrible it would be if I was trying to express an interest in someone, and how degrading it is that even my friends would be so careful to avoid it.) It usually makes the giving not worth it, and as a result, I have (mostly) learned to not offer any of the kindnesses that occur to me.

I am dangerous because I am single. You might inadvertently obligate yourself to have sex with me if you accept help from me.

It is perhaps this more than anything that has caused me to withdraw from my social circle.

Dating Sites

One of the girls I follow on IG has been posting about needing to meet someone. (She lives far away, so I’m out of the question.) She’s probably been single for a whole week or something and is having a crisis about it. However, she posted about a dating site/app I hadn’t previously known, intended for a narrow class of people, a class that includes me, and it got me thinking, or rather daydreaming.

The daydream is as follows: I overcome my hatred of dating sites, and I actually find someone who I am interested in and who is interested in me. (It’s this girl in my fantasy, even though I know it cannot happen.) I subject myself to the tortures of dating, I’m on my game, she’s not a disaster, and we hit it off. This continues, and I strategize about how I will communicate with her toward being a couple. Then I consider all of my deeply entrenched bachelor ways that will change, and how I will happily accept those losses in trade for not being alone anymore.

And then I remember all my other attempts to use dating sites. They don’t work for me (obviously).

First I have to make a profile. I have to write something about myself, and maybe a little about what I want out of a relationship. Honesty and openness doesn’t work here, not because there’s anything wrong with me, but because honesty and openness is so extremely unusual that it sets off alarm bells. I have to answer a bunch of categorical questions, and I feel judged by them, because so many don’t really apply. My age? My height? My education (even though I am more intelligent, learned, and skilled than most “educated” people). My income (which is impressive, but seems unlikely given my education).

Then do I sit back and let the candidates come to me? Oh, no. Because even on a dating site, women feel constrained against to not make the first move. The exceptions, of course, are the scammers and the desperate women.

The scammers are plenty. Frequently, after I’ve paid money to join, and then paid more money to be upsold the basic functions of a dating site, I find that there are no real women, just fake profiles. They are easy to spot, though. They are 18-24 years old, gorgeous, have a profile that says nothing about themselves, and suggest right away that they are interested in men my age, for no-strings sex. It’s frequently obvious that they haven’t read my profile.

(The scammers want my email address, to direct my browser to some hack site, or simply money.)

I don’t want to speak ill of the desperate women, but they are what they are, and I’m not interested in them either.

Then assuming there are any real women on the site, if I find some that aren’t hideous, there’s a long list of disqualifiers. You can argue that this is a significant reason I’m still alone, and you’re not wrong, but I just can’t imagine being happy with someone who has these issues.

So then what? I have to contact them, because they won’t contact me. Form letters are no good. One word messages are no good. I end up writing individually crafted messages based on what I’ve read in their profiles (being obsessive about this is also no good). Again, openness and honesty is still no good. It’s a significant amount of effort, and it’s all wasted, because …

Maybe 10% of the people I contact will respond. 7% of them will be scammers I hadn’t managed to weed out previously. The other 3% will apologize and inform me that they don’t date people like me.

After a week or two of obsessing over the site, I will have squeezed every drop of possibility out of it, with nothing to show for it. My little spark of hope will be fully trampled, and I will be sufficiently depressed to stay away from dating sites for another year or two.

FB has been advertising their dating app to me. They do this by showing photos of me, captioned with my age. That probably works better for people whose age isn’t a liability.

The Treatment of Creepy Men

Once upon a time, there was a guy who we will call “N”. Let’s just accept as a given that N was very, very creepy. He was going to a lot of shows, and all the female performers had him on their radar. He came by himself, he always sat up front, and he always walked around with a shit-eating grin on his face. He was undoubtedly on the spectrum. He followed all the performers’ public Facebook pages. He drove quite some distance to attend shows.

I was talking to one of the performers, and the topic of N came up. The performers were worried about N. Something needed to be done about him.

I went into problem-solving mode when I heard that. Also, I felt some distant kinship to N, and I figured if I could do something about him, then perhaps it would serve to make up for some of my own creepiness.

So I started probing. What was N doing that was a problem? What were the performers worried he would do? To make a long story short, he hadn’t done anything. He was just as I’ve described him, nothing more. N hadn’t done anything to anyone, he hadn’t threatened or even implied anything inappropriate. He hadn’t said anything offensive, demeaning, or suspicious. In fact, there wasn’t a drop of toxic masculinity in him. He was just extremely creepy.

I did end up chatting him up one evening shortly after. N was a quintessential geek, but he seemed like a pretty nice guy to me. He worked in IT. He had no style sense. As I said, he was probably on the spectrum. In fact, I question whether N had ever had a malevolent thought in his life.

He was just creepy.

And because he was creepy, and for no other reason, he was nearly ostracized — from a community that preaches acceptance and tolerance, no less.

I want to be careful about generalizations, but it seems that women have an aversion to creepy men. I don’t just mean women don’t want to date them. They want them gone. They get angry about creepy men. To hear women talk, when a creepy guy talks to them, it is some kind of injustice. Again, I don’t want to make generalizations, but when I’ve heard women commiserate about creepy men, they all agree.

What if ugly women were treated that way?

Okay, ugly women are treated that way. However, it’s not condoned. The general consensus is that it is an awful way to behave. This is so universally espoused that a whole movie was made about it. It is immoral, or at least “shallow”, to treat a woman like less of a person because she is unattractive. The guys who do it tend to be ashamed enough that they rarely talk openly about it. Most of us have mothers, and we are taught early on.

What harm is done by creepiness? None. They are simply unattractive.

It is shallow to treat a woman as less of a person if she is unattractive, which for women is a mostly physical characteristic. However, it is completely normal and accepted to treat a man as less of a person if he is unattractive, which for men is mostly about personality. Do men with unattractive personalities really deserve to be treated the way they are?

A Real Consequence of Loneliness

Here is a ridiculous truth: Being attracted to a woman makes me depressed. I’ll meet a woman who is attractive and has a great personality, we’ll hit it off, and I’ll think to myself how awesome it would be to engage in a romantic relationship with her. However, she is unavailable. She doesn’t have to explicitly reject me, but the rejection is implicit because she is married, “has a boyfriend”, or we have met in a context where making advances toward a woman is not allowed. So I’ll be depressed, because I will have had a glimpse of what I cannot have in my life.

Eventually, I will detect a pattern. I will learn to associate some activity with depression and loneliness. Engaging in that activity frequently puts me in contact with attractive, unavailable women. The activity becomes more and more unpleasant because I become increasingly aware of the painful side-effect.

So, I cut the activity out of my life.

Without revealing too much about myself, I can think of three activities that were once a major part of my life, but I stopped doing them, going completely cold turkey*. Two of them I was quite passionate about.

Now, I am contemplating a fourth.

Years ago, when I quit the first one, and then the second one, I thought they were temporary. I thought that I would inevitably meet someone and be in a relationship again. If that had happened, then I would no longer feel lonely and depressed when interacting with desirable women. Thus, I could return to those activities, a healthy male who doesn’t have to view every desirable woman as an opportunity and/or a rejection. However, that never happened (a fact which should be obvious, since I’m writing this blog).

It is ironic, perhaps, that each of these is to some degree a social activity. Technically, I am helping to seal my fate of being alone the rest of my life.

Perhaps instead I should come up with some other coping mechanism than running away. However, the coping mechanisms I’ve tried so far suck.

[* The etymology of the phrase “cold turkey” is fascinating.]


For men, creepy is the opposite of attractive. Socially confident men are attractive. Men who are not socially confident are unattractive. Men who are not socially confident, but who pretend to be, are creepy.

When a woman puts on a fake smile, she is sparing someone’s feelings, or she is behaving professionally, or something else innocuous. You may be able to tell her smile is fake, but there’s nothing wrong with it. When a man puts on a fake smile to talk to a woman, it’s creepy.

[This is not a lesson for men on being attractive. For that, read the PUA literature.]

The difference between attractive and creepy can be razor thin, and it’s completely subjective. That’s probably the reason it’s such a problem for women. It’s also the reason I have so much anxiety about whether I’m creepy or not.

My father was creepy sometimes, and I am much like him. During the few years he was divorced, he used to hit on girls, mostly cashiers half his age at the grocery store, and he was so bad at it. It was obvious to me at the time. Was it obvious to him? Did he know his dry humor was going over like a lead balloon? He didn’t seem to. If he was blind to his own creepiness, then it stands to reason that I am too. Did my mom know he was creepy when they dated and got married? She certainly knew after they divorced. I’m fairly certain part of my mom’s self-esteem issues result from having been married to such a small man.

I’ve basically asked women, though not in so many words, if I’m creepy, but who’s going to give you an honest answer to a question like that? Anyway, I’ve only asked this of women who were into me one way or another. I can’t rationally put any value in their responses. It’s no different than all the women who told me they liked my mullet.

I’ve certainly done some things that, in retrospect, were definitely creepy. Sending flowers to a girl, or kissing a girl, who I mistakenly thought was interested in me; that kind of thing. [Actually, I can’t think of any examples of creepiness on my part outside of that. Interesting.] Worse, they didn’t just happen; they were reputational. They occurred in the presence of people who were central to my social circle.

The more time that passes, the creepier I get. This isn’t because I’m getting old (although if I didn’t act my age, it would contribute to my real creepiness). It’s because I have been intentionally embracing antisociality, and I am shedding social habits. I guess that’s not creepy by itself, but it seems creepy when I imagine myself then trying to meet a woman.