“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” – William Congreve
“Hell hath no fury like a woman’s for an unattractive man.” – Manosphere wisdom, captured by Badger
It seems a brouhaha has erupted across the Internets concerning one Alyssa Bereznak, an intern (until this week) at technology blog Gizmodo, and her date with Jon Finkel whom she met on OkCupid. Finkel revealed he had a thing for the card game Magic: The Gathering. Upon returning from the date, she googled Finkel and found that he didn’t just play Magic – he was a patriarch of the game, a former world champion with his own Wikipedia page.
Here’s where it gets weird. Sufficiently turned off by this revelation (keep in mind this woman works at a technology blog), she decided instead of saying uncle to go on a second date with the man, apparently with the aim of collecting further information she could use for the snarky Gizmodo post she vomited to the world Monday. She asked him pointed questions about his continued involvement in Magic, as if he were a recalcitrant heroin user. She tried to re-frame the situation as one in which he had failed to be sufficiently forthcoming about his, er, habit in his online dating profile, calling it a “must-disclose” trait akin to one’s status as a divorcee or single parent.
There are two very juicy ironies to this story, apparently lost on Bereznak:
- She complains that OkCupid set her up with a nerdy guy…on a tech blog. So it appears that geekitude is good enough to pay her bills but not grace her dating life.
- It appears that he only mentioned MTG after she noted that her brother was a gamer (either a RPGer or a video game aficionado). I’m guessing his thought process was “oh OK, gaming has now been socially proofed, so I can talk about it without being thought of as weird.”
Their relative sexual and dating marketplace values are of no concern to me. I’ve only seen one inconclusive photo of Bereznak and know nothing of her personal history. I don’t have feelings either way about Finkel’s hobby. I’ve never played MTG and don’t find it interesting, but if he enjoys it and can make money off of it, and it doesn’t harm children or animals, then more power to him.
I don’t expect many women to see MTG as a DHV, but on the other hand I don’t see how it is any different than poker games which are a guys-night staple across America.
JUST ANOTHER SPOILED WOMAN
The ostensible context of the piece is that of the travails of online dating, but that’s just a pretext to slip it by the blog editors (more on them later). The real motivation of the piece is public humiliation and shaming of a man who dares take pride in a hobby judged uncool by a young woman who awesomeness is apparently supposed to be self-evident.
That’s the only explanation I can think of to explain the catty, gossipy, bitchy tone, and the clear expectation she had that the readership would nod in mindless sympathy with her, the brilliant high-class woman who tried to give this geeky guy a chance and doggone it he just couldn’t help but disqualify himself.
Bereznak is nothing special; by that I do not refer to her apperance or writing but to her attitude, which is sadly typical among a significant segment of young women. As I stated in the quote above, there really is no end to the calumny heaped on rejected men who don’t make their 437-point checklists. If you spend enough time at tables adjacent to gaggles of girls, you will hear this repeatedly, the rank dismissal of unworthy men that really belies a deep anxiety about their own worth. You can almost hear the thought balloons emanating from their heads – “Is this really the best I can do? What does that say about ME?”
I don’t understand why public trashing of unworthy men (or men who spurned them) is such an intense passion of young female blogresses; the orgasms of anger and seeking of support from the echo-chamber comments was/is the most pathetic element of whiny Ally McBeal-esque blogs like Lilly, DateMeDC and Diary of Why. My theory is that they were raised to think they would have it all, and commitment from worthy men is the final frontier they haven’t crossed, the one thing that no one can mandate they receive, that no Reviving Ophelia movement or special workplace initiative can give them. I’m loath to scapegoat feminism when Occam’s Razor gives us closer, simpler causes - our increasingly narcissistic, status-obssessed society, and Millenial helicopter parenting that sought to ensure nothing bad would ever happen to them.
In any case, the need to broadcast men’s unworthiness is a weird, vindictive part of the You Go Girl culture – the collective Princess Complex that demands men pedestalize them and grovel to their every whim. It’s not enough for a man to be politely rejected and sent on his way; you have to be humiliated, placed in the virtual stocks so that the world knows the insufferable wrong you’ve inflicted on her by not being good enough for her dreams.
Like the guy on the train, it only has to happen once before a guy replays the movie in his head every time he considers approaching a woman, and oftentimes decides not to even when he might be slated for success.
Bereznak’s dismissive judgment of men with geeky hobbies is no different than Kay Hymowitz, whose prototyped complaint against young men is that they enjoy video games and Star Wars films (I could get behind the latter if we were only talking about Jar Jar Binks).
WHAT OF GIZMODO?
I’m stumped on why Gizmodo let this story run.
The obvious first-order analysis says that it gets page views (800,000 and counting), so it’s good for business. But there is such a thing as bad publicity, if said publicity damages the credibility of the overall product.
The first question is why an intern’s stream-of-consciousness personal dating journal was fodder for publication in the first place. To pretend the story is about online dating is akin to saying the Gettysburg Address is about a cemetery in Pennsylvania. Maybe her editor is a cat lady herself and can’t say no to exposes of unworthy men, or they were looking for an edgier format. Maybe they’re all tired of the socially-awkward geeks they meet at trade shows and conferences and this is some kind of release of pent-up institutional rage.
The next question is why they wanted to alienate a core piece of the technology product market, that being geeky guys who like gadgets, by allowing their intern to publicly insult, for no good reason, an extremely well-regarded man in a massively popular geek hobby.
Whatever the reasons the piece ran, it was really stupid, and calls the wisdom of the entire organization into question. I’m not advocating a boycott or anything but I don’t plan on clicking any Gizmodo links in the forseeable future. There are too many quality content sites on the Internet for me to waste time at a site that thinks a puerile rejection diary is good web journalism.
As long as we’re on the topic of good editing, I have long been bemusedly critical of young-woman-marketed blog The Frisky for some of the same reasons I’ve outlined just above. However, I have to give credit where credit is due – the finest, most complete response (other than here of course) I’ve seen comes from The Frisky’s Amelia McDonell-Parry. Among many good points, she pointedly touches on the fact that her dating commentary is always anonymized to protect those involved, as most are not bad people but just poor matches, whereas Bereznak insists on heavy personal details and the use of full names, seemingly to inflict the maximum amount of vengeful damage to Finkel.
THE MACRO EFFECT
The kind of petty cruelty perpetrated by Bereznak damages the relationship market in systemic ways. McDonnell-Parry notes in a heartwarming display of empathy:
“See, it finally clicked for me that dating can be just as soul-sucking and disheartening for men as it is for women. That encountering women like Alyssa could easily take the wind out of even the most confident man’s sails and make him distrustful that he won’t be judged so harshly by future dates. It made me think that perhaps some of the guys I’ve met through online dating, who frustrated me because they weren’t more clear about their intentions, were wary of taking the lead, and whose interest I questioned, might have had a few Alyssas in their recent dating past and damn if I don’t blame them for being guarded with me as a result.”
Think about it…as a man in the marketplace, you really have two choices (I’m going to guess that MGTOW is not a palatable alternative to most men):
DOOR #1: Trade innumerable emails (or get set up by friends), have the awkward “I didn’t expect her voice to sound like that” introductory phone call, take the initiative to set up a date doing something you hope she might enjoy, go on the actual date (hope she doesn’t flake), talk to her, try to figure out what she’s like and whether you’d be interested in a long-term partnership (and oh by the way pick up the bill with no expectation of her investment), and hope you don’t slip up and say something she’ll sneer at and have to start all over with somebody else. Then do the whole thing all over again two, three, four times until you no longer have to convince her every time you want to go on a date with her. She might hold off on sex saying “I don’t want to rush it because you’re so special,” when you suspect she had a one-night stand with an Axl Rose impersonator a month before she met you.
At best, you’ll suffer a long series of rejections – mostly silent ones, where your online messages go mostly unread and unreturned, your texts and phone calls fall on deaf ears and your invitations for follow-up dates go into the aether never to be accepted, never really knowing what straw broke her back.
At worst, you wind up the victim of a high-tech lynching by an over-privileged young woman with an Internet connection who wouldn’t know a quality man if he sniffed her packets up close. If it’s not a blog post, it’s twitter, facebook or a girls’ night out where they exchange exclamations of “You won’t believe the last date I went on…OMG, as if!!!” while they try to drop their hankies for the next alpha badboy they see making his way to the club bathroom.
DOOR #2: Pursue a pump-and-dump lifestyle. Go hard into PUA game praxis, building a toolbox of seductive skills in accordance with your God-given personality while you emotionally firewall yourself from the betatizing effects of romance. Pluses of this strategy:
Within five minutes, you’ll know if she has rejected you out of hand.
Within thirty minutes you’ll have a pretty good idea if she finds you attractive.
Within two or three meetings (Mystery posits a seven-hour acculturation period) she’ll sleep with you, if she’s going to sleep with you at all.
Rinse and repeat until you get laid, then assemble a sexual Ponzi scheme using your notches as preselection “pivots” to attract even more women.
Rejections are soft, because little has been invested when they occur and because your skills at attracting women make them, in a sense, fungible.
There are consequences. Disease risk, obviously, and eventually you’ll bang one or two crazy girls you’ll have to work around. You’ll even learn to be a little bit paranoid, as you’ll be taught to navigate the most base and disturbing motivations of human psychology.
But at least you won’t get played for a chump. And if you wind up in a blog post by someone like Bereznak, it will be titled “the sexy alluring heartthrob I couldn’t manage to keep” instead of “the creepy geek I dated – I mean, srsly?”