But here's the thing: While I wouldn't call Michael handsome, he struck me as a fine, average-looking guy.
In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say the aspect of his appearance that gives him the most trouble is his default expression of protective skepticism.
In his immediate family, which includes his divorced parents, a sister, and a brother, his mom is the only one he talks to about his nearly nonexistent love life, and then only sparingly.
I'm tired because it's hard to look directly at the fact that some people, for all kinds of reasons, end up desperately alone, feeling frozen out of the joys of love and sex—joys that our culture is forever celebrating.
"Tell me the truth," she said, leaning in conspiratorially.
"How many women have you slept with because of this dog? He's trim, around 5'10", with a pale, angular face and light-brown hair that is thinning but definitely still there.
But the more time we spent together, the more I saw him react with curiosity or amusement, his mouth smiling almost against his face's will, his gray eyes lighting up, calling to mind the image of an affable high school teacher still excited by his material—the kind of high school teacher you wouldn't be surprised to find had a cute spouse at home."Really, I want to know," the woman continued. "People on frequently commiserate over moments like these: moments where the assumption is that everyone is having sex, no big deal."Really," Michael said.
"None."ON MAY 23, 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, murdering six people and injuring 14 others.(One of Michael's terms for participating in this story was that I not include his last name or exact age, only that he's on the older end of the millennial spectrum.) The woman, still petting the beagle, started teasing Michael.She'd seen him with his dog at a party a few weeks back.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.Afterward, he assumed that's what a girl would do if she really liked him—make the first move.