From page 81 of his manifesto: “I was desperate to have the life I know I deserve; a life of being wanted by attractive girls, a life of sex and love. Other men are able to have such a life… so why not me? I deserve it!”
Elliot Rodger killed 6, injured 13, then shot himself on the night Friday, 23rd. Since that time, YouTube videos and writings by Rodger have been released showing a mentally disturbed man, extremely confused about life, love, and women. This is such a complex issue, one I could take many avenues down, but I want to stick with that first quote from Rodger.
The internet is full of all kinds of people, including those hailing Rodger as a hero. Or those agreeing with his ideas that women “owe” men sex and “owe” men chances. Even after killing innocent people, there are those who agree with him. And I’m writing because of them.
I didn’t have a girlfriend for the first 24 years of my life. I was despondent about it on numerous occasions. I have binders full of horrific poetry I wrote. I was lonely. I was sad. And I couldn’t understand why. I thought many times, “I deserve it!” I remember crying, wondering why the “assholes” got the girls and I didn’t.
And I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I was once in that place where Rodger was: confused, lost, hopeless.
But unlike these men, nay, assholes, who think it’s the woman’s fault, I slowly came to realize something: it’s my fault. And not my fault because I was overweight or shy or had a weird sense of humor. Women like those things. It was my fault because of one simple truth:
I didn’t love myself.
I wanted to believe the frat guy getting the girls was an asshole. It was a stereotype I chose to believe was true so I felt better. I didn’t know those guys. They could very well be really nice dudes. They could hold doors open for their girlfriends and give them shoulder massages and treat them respectfully. But I had this construct in my mind that if you had a popped collar and drove a truck and said, “bro” more often than a person should, then you were an asshole. And why would women want to be with assholes?
Oh, because of abs and nice cars and money! Right? That makes sense. Because women are superficial people desperate for superficial things! If only they could look past all of that and see a good, loving person, then maybe they’d have a change of heart and want to be with me. Right?
No. This is all wrong. It’s a narrow way of looking at the world. Mark Cuban got in trouble recently for discussing the prejudices, saying if he were walking down a street alone and a black kid in a hoodie was walking towards him, he’d cross the street. And if a white guy in tattoos was on that side, he’d cross right back. He said we all have prejudices we have to get past, to deal with, to move away from. And the thoughts that frat guys are all Keystone-chugging morons and hot girls are all superficial are no different.
But more than anything, I finally realized one day: “What woman wants a guy who does nothing but say mean things about himself? What woman wants a guy who doesn’t have the confidence to just have a conversation?” And it was that day I discovered that the only way to find someone who loves you is to love yourself. You can’t expect someone to love you and heal you. Life isn’t a romantic comedy. (Trust me, I took plenty of hookers to polo matches and it failed every time.)
What’s more disturbing is this trend that Rodger was a part of: the Men’s Rights Movement. It’s a group of men who believe women control too much, they control sex and reproduction and therefore need to be controlled. That idea makes me laugh but then makes me very sad because of how delusional it is.
Is it wrong that women have a choice? That they can say no? That they might not want to have sex with you? There is a whole group of men out there who would answer “yes” to all of those.
Here’s the deal, guys. Women don’t owe you anything. They are free like you and I. If they don’t want to sleep with you, they don’t have to. Just because you have a dick doesn’t mean you have the power to get what you want. FREEDOM and POWER are not the same thing. Get that out of your head. Maybe if you were nicer, more fun to be around, less into the idea that you are a God to women, then you’d find yourself dating more women.
And the “friend zone.” It’s a phrase that makes me roll my eyes. It’s probably the most immature movement in the last few years, the idea that a “friend zone” exists and it is bad. “Oh, man! Sally just told me I was a good friend and gave me a side hug. Shit!” said one douchebag. “Dude, that sucks. Now you’ll have to like her Facebook posts and eat lunch with her and maybe go to a movie but never get to have sex! Gross!”
Men, grow up. There is no friend zone. It’s just called being a friend. Quit defining everything with your dick.
I feel for the families that lost so much last Friday. I feel bad for Rodger’s family, too. They tried to help. They notified police weeks before about his videos. They had him in therapy. They knew something was wrong. And there is no easy answer to what happened. We are immersed in a culture hellbent on easy answers. If we had tighter gun control, this wouldn’t have happened! If he didn’t watch violent TV or play violent games, this wouldn’t have happened! If he had been getting help, this wouldn’t have happened!
None of those are the answer. There are even men going around saying if women had given him a chance, this wouldn’t have happened. The only thing that statement proves is there are many men with a lot of growing up to do. Stop pointing a finger at others and point it at yourself. See what you learn.
I’m glad to hear a rational man’s perspective on this. This whole story has been so tragic considering how misguided this guy was in his expectations of women like they owe men sex for any reason.
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In middle school and a little bit in high school, when I had a crush on a girl, the thought process was “I like her. I don’t know if she likes me. Does she like me?” and then my brain would do mental gymnastics gathering evidence to support the idea that “Dude, she always smiles when I’m around she totally likes me. Like I’m 50% sure…no, 70%, etc.” and it wasn’t so much “I like her, /therefore/ she likes me back” it was more “I like her, let’s cherry-pick instances to support my hypothesis that she might like me back, because I like her.” It’s a self-serving and narcissistic way of thinking, and even though I was always too scared [of being rejected, because that ish hurts] to ask anyone out it’s not a complex way of thinking and that’s bad. People need to imagine others, and the world, complexly.
Thankfully the internet challenged that old way of thinking and I learned to become a better person. It sucks that there are people who fall to the other end of this spectrum, because I also used to think I was worthy of a girlfriend, or I believed that I was nice and would be nice to hypothetical girlfriends, and that should be enough. But that’s wrong, I know now that nobody is entitled to anything. Nobody owes anybody anything except your parents.
I’ve never had a girlfriend. I do get bummed out a little when I see a couple here and there, but they don’t bother me. I know it’s my own inaction. I’m terrified of rejection so I just don’t ask girls out. I’m fine with that. I don’t want to force anything I’m not comfortable with. It sucks that assholes are assholes, though.