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562: Broken Monogamy

What happens to a society with a surplus of young men who are convinced that they have no hope of ever finding a wife and starting a family? It ain't pretty. KMO talks with First, the author of Black Pill Documentary – Online Dating 2020 and Beyond: An Exercise in Futility.

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  1. Wally Driver on June 23, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    The post-conversation wrap up for this episode was extremely well reasoned, which is all the more so impressive given the controversial nature of the subject.

    Anyone who has even a superficial understanding of what an “incel” is understands the radioactivity of that label. The simplest and safest course of action is to reject it outright.

    You have done the exact opposite an emerged untarnished and shed some much needed light into that darkest of internet corners. Well done!

    • KMO on June 27, 2020 at 8:03 am

      This podcast came about because First, my guest in this episode, has been leaving thoughtful comments on my YouTube videos for months. When I learned that he had made a documentary, I knew he’d be a good guest.

      Also, looking back on my 20s, it seems like I was having a lot of sex, but I know that there were long dry periods, and I remember what a source of mental and emotional torment that was, though I never thought that I would remain a perpetual virgin, so my frustration never pushed into hopelessness. Straight, white, young men have become the undeserving whipping boys of the contemporary scene. It’s not easy being young, regardless of one’s ethnicity and sexual orientation. They have my sympathy and consideration.

  2. L33tminion on June 23, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    The “red pill” is such a powerful and interesting meme because it encapsulates the “black pill” idea, I think more so than other ideas about secret truth. Most ideas about secret truth are more straightforwardly “this will help you be happy and successful”. Taking the red pill, on the other hand, well, the truth will set you free, even give you superpowers eventually maybe, but the immediate effect is replacing your pervasive sense of unease in your otherwise relatively normal life with a terrifying nightmare struggle. It’s a powerful analogy, often an apt one. But that framing also gives it a bit of extra power in coalescing communities where the norm is that community members start unhappy and get unhappier.

    I was a lonely young man, I didn’t have a serious relationship until I was 25, and I never had much luck with online dating. That was in the OkCupid days. OkCupid was all right, they at least tried to get people to break the ice with other people they might match well with, tried to get a little more depth in their first impressions, and tried to provide some additional elements of sociability and fun (starting with those little shareable personality quizzes, “memes” in the old LJ parlance). From what I saw, paid dating sites were generally much worse. Still, I only got a few first dates through the site and its Crazy Blind Date spinoff, and never a second. OkCupid got gradually worse, and my hope faded that they’d find big creative solutions to make that landscape better. That was pre Tinder, so I was never on Tinder. My assumption is I would’ve done much worse on Tinder.

    Still, as much as I think the rise of online dating is part of an alarming trend where the in-person social sphere has become much more impoverished in all sorts of ways, I think there is some element of catrostrophizing in your reaction to that in this episode. Women on Tinder have an easy time finding hookups, but that doesn’t mean that dating five Brad Pitts is the new standard. People can be mean, but instant escalation from “I don’t really want to talk right now” to accusations of sexual harassment seems like the sort of thing most people would find rather extreme. Is that really what you’re seeing in your own life?

    There’s some element of the incel crowd that seems to be really in favor of shame or other means of social control in order to promote monogamy more strongly. Even when I was frustrated by dating, that never appealed to me. (And I think there is some irony in going from “taking the red pill” to wanting a society where people are forced into conformity, either living in happy ignorance or experiencing a pervasive but inexplicable sense “that there’s something wrong with the world”. To put it another way, a “problem that has no name”?)

    I do wish there was more good help for men who are having trouble meeting people or building the sorts of relationships they want. I don’t think doomerish thinking really helps with that (though of course the doomer rejoinder would be that nothing helps). Back when I was dating, a lot of the useful advice along those lines came from the adjacent online community of “pick-up artists”. Though it was a bit like picking coins out of the muck, sometimes, there was plenty of misogyny / misanthropy / generally taking a very transactional approach to relationships in that community, too, and the advice was tailored to a specific scene. Still, there was a lot of stuff there about specific ways people could improve their social skills, how many aspects of attractiveness are mutable and it’s counterproductive to get hung up on things that you can’t change, how thinking someone else will fix all your problems gets in the way of fixing some of your own problems, how despair and desperation block social connection. Plus there were definitely some clear examples of how objectively being a huge dork is not necessarily an obstacle.

    • KMO on July 19, 2020 at 11:19 am

      Sorry it took me so long to approve this comment. I just now saw it and haven’t even read it yet, but your comments are always on topic and well-reasoned. Thank you for years of high-quality feedback.

    • KMO on July 19, 2020 at 11:26 am

      People can be mean, but instant escalation from “I don’t really want to talk right now” to accusations of sexual harassment seems like the sort of thing most people would find rather extreme. Is that really what you’re seeing in your own life?

      Are you asking me or First? I’m not dating or trying to establish new romantic relationships. On this front, I have no presence and so I am not seeing anything at all. All of my information here is coming in on a vicarious vector.

      I’m just waiting for my cat to die before I take the dog pill. She’s probably got another five years left.

      • L33tminion on August 5, 2020 at 2:34 pm

        Well, the question wasn’t just about the first-hand, and it wasn’t about dating per se. (I get that meeting people to date is a significant reason to strike up conversation with relative strangers, but it’s not the only reason.) You can also consider past experience, along with estimates about how fast norms are changing. If you really have no idea what to expect is normal behavior in that sort of situation currently, that’s quite a case of future shock.

      • KMO on August 5, 2020 at 2:48 pm

        It seems like you don’t grok just how seriously isolated I am here in my little village.

  3. Kay Robison on June 26, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    What a great pod cast. While I had heard of the problems of young men finding mates and what a meat grinder the dating scene was, I don’t think I have heard it articulated as well as First did. Great job. It has given me lots to think about.

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