Feminism / Health / Internet / Movies / Sex

Not-getting-any-itis: Shy Boys: IRL

"I want it to be as if I never existed."

“I want it to be as if I never existed.”

In the wee hours of the morning my sister messaged me on Facebook.

everything hurts. My anger bones hurt and my injustice bones hurt and my pity bones hurt. Also the PUA is like a bitchy jerk/grown up Michael Scott

My interest was piqued, and I started the video as soon as I got the message. As I watched the opening five minutes, I got more and more worried about what I was about to see. It was like three in the morning, did I really want to watch mega-nerds try to talk to a girl, or find a crazy accessory that would draw the female eye? I decided that, no, I would rather just sleep than watch this and risk a nightmare afterward.

When I reached a safe space (Ari’s apartment,) I fired it up again. Shy Boys: IRL, a short documentary about love-shy men and so-called involuntary celibates, or “incels.” These types of guys are not so remarkable; they’re all over the internet. What’s interesting about these particular dudes is that their inability to ask out a lady, or their inability to get a “yes” from a lady has crystallized into a pathology.

World governments refuse to recognize love-shyness as a problem.

World governments refuse to recognize love-shyness as a problem.

The documentary follows three men, all members of the love-shy support forum. Michael is the founder of the site, who is not a virgin, but last had sex when he was 17, at least ten years ago. Advanced is an incel who claims to have a 100% rejection rate after three thousand proposals. The last, UrbanWhiteTrash, is a reformed love-shy who turned to PUA techniques in an attempt to cure his condition, but has become an incel instead.

All three of them have this attitude that there’s something inherently wrong with them. And while it’s not hard to see how that happened, it’s also not hard to see how they’re wrong and that their resignation to being incel is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s moments where I felt sympathy for all three of the guys. They’re cripplingly shy and unconfident, which, yeah, that’s rough. But it’s pretty inescapable how desperate, creepy, and misogynist they are. The PUA wannabe and Mister Three Thousand both end up saying some pretty crummy shit, and each exhibits crazy sexist behavior.

Looking through the love shy forums, I saw a lot of the same stuff. There seems to be a pseudo-MRA presence on the boards, talk of misandry, oppressive feminism. It’s unclear whether they blame feminism for their failures, or if they blame it for the lack of respect paid to the condition of love-shyness. Probably both.

"Come on, tell us why shoes are so important." "I don't know!!"

“Come on, tell us why shoes are so important.”
“I don’t know!!”

The director and her cameraman have a small presence in the film, and sometimes get involved in the discussions between the three love-shies. Their advice tends to be shrugged off. At one point Advanced is unable to explain why women have sex, “I think it’s something that they do, I dunno, just because, I mean, like, the guy wants it, I guess….” And declares that women don’t have high sex drives. In the next cut, UWT says Kyle, the cameraman, seems to be a feminist. Kyle responds that he thinks women are people, and Advanced says “That’s bullshit! And if you don’t realize that, you’ve been brainwashed!” It’s odd to see them rejecting advice from people who have what they want. It’s odd, too, to see such a lack of knowledge on a topic they seem obsessed with.

Even as they complain about women never ever ever wanting to go out or have sex with them, they’re unwilling to educate themselves or consider that maybe their attitude is hurting them. They have no problems decrying modern society, the focus on sex, the expectation for men to pursue, for men to get girls, be successful, but tend to accept these values anyway, without really thinking about the effect they have, only being angry because they can’t succeed within that framework. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with them. Everything about them that makes women say no can be changed. Advanced says his main problem is that he’s ugly, but then later in the documentary, he pulls off the raddest look fucking ever:

Three thousand women didn't see this.

Three thousand women didn’t see this.

UWT is likewise fixated on looks and clothing, saying that to have success with women, you just have to look good, be attractive, look good, be hot. He points to Kyle’s late-high-school getup as a model to emulate in some kind of cargo cult get-laid-quick scheme, but it doesn’t seem to occur to him that Kyle’s “feminist” mentality might be the secret instead.

"Look at what Kyle's Wearing."

“Look at what Kyle’s Wearing.”

Michael is the only love-shy the documentary really focuses on. UWT and Advanced approach women, and are shut down constantly, but Michael is too afraid to even try. He’s a very passive guy, and was easily the most agreeable. His problem likely stems from the same source as UWT and Advanced, a failure to sufficiently relate to women as humans, but the difference in attitude is really striking. Where the incels are aggressive and energetic, Michael is quiet, depressive, submissive. He’s defeated, wishing he didn’t exist just to spare him the pain of loneliness. Late in the film, when it’s just him and the crew, he jokes about leaping off the tower they’re filming on, and how it would be the ultimate artistic expression.

The documentary is planning a kickstarter for a full-length feature. Advanced and UWT are not on-board, displeased with the way they came off. The love-shy and incel community, from my very brief research, wasn’t too happy either. Personally, I would love to see more of this. It’s an interesting topic, and explores nice-guy resentment with a very up-close and personal lens. Regardless of cause or cure, it’s made clear that love-shyness is affecting these men in a powerfully negative way. Whether it comes out in blatant misogyny, or suicidal musings, their condition is causing them a lot of pain. But with a condition that arises from misconceptions, from damaging societal rules and roles, how helpful is a forum like Love-shy, when its members so often buy into and preach the same sexist ideas and norms that put them there?


55 thoughts on “Not-getting-any-itis: Shy Boys: IRL

  1. “But with a condition that arises from misconceptions, from damaging societal rules and roles, how helpful is a forum like Love-shy, when its members so often buy into and preach the same sexist ideas and norms that put them there?”

    Because in an Internet where feminists hate us because they think we’re all on the MRA and misogyny bandwagon, while at the same time, the very same “movement” (MRAs) that claim to stand up for all men, ridicule us for being sexless and dateless losers (Just read the shit they say on places like the “Return of Kings” blog or any “MGTOW”/Men Going Their Own Way forum) where else can a love-shy or incel guy turn to? Believe me, as a staff member of that place that I would love it if we could have more “normal” people to come on over and try and convince us that the world isn’t a bleak hell for socially awkward single men. But the angry incel segment of the board will make damn sure that no one that is either female or sexually successful will stay for long.Hence why all the disagreements and outright flame wars you see between members over there. But we tolerate them because we know that like us LS guys, they too have no place to turn to for a sympathetic comment from someone who knows what they are going through. The “conditions” are caused by different causes, but the pain is the same.

    As for real life? When the few friends you have are all happily paired off or have no problems seeking short term companionship, you quickly lose any common ground you may have with most people. Some of us would rather take their secret shame to the grave, if they could. Others just get ridiculed not only from their so-called “friends” and coworkers, but from their own family as well. Our therapists seem to belittle our feelings of shame and loneliness, as they can’t seem to comprehend our problem. Hence why I feel that having a forum such as ours is imperative.

    • That explains why the forum is/feels important, but it doesn’t answer the question of how helpful is it really in terms of recovery. I think that as a support group, it is valuable to know others with the same difficulties, but you didn’t address the idea that it’s a self-reinforcing cycle, or that the community harbors elements that are holding the rest of you back. Also, incels do have another place to go — http://incel.myonlineplace.org/forum/

      • Most of the incels on love-shy.com are refugees from that forum because Incel Support is the farthest thing from a “support group”. Unless you think that banning someone who is suicidal is a good thing, or that venting your frustrations with dating, or even daring to disagree with the general consensus on that board are grounds for being told to “seek psychiatric help” swiftly followed by a permaban are also good things. I’ve even seen people there getting banned after one or two posts just because one of the female members simply feels “creeped out”.

        As for whether it is a self-reinforcing cycle? Yes it is. But we’re not professionals nor do we believe that there is a universal solution to the problem. Some try PUA, others get into fitness and bodybuilding, some just call it quits and turn to prostitution just to experience what it’s like to be intimate with another human being. If there is one thing that is widely advocated over there, it’s that we would like for some serious research to be done on the matter, because it doesn’t help that the only scholarly research study done on the subject is so riddled with woo and overall bad science.

        And like I said. They may be holding us back, but they deserve to have a place too. We’re big believers in free speech as we feel that is what sets us apart from Incel Support. They are in pain too. Do you suggest that we kick them out as well and act like every other “normal” person in their lives who has rejected them?

  2. Frankly, if I made a blog that parodies at how stupid and unreasonable liberals and feminists are it wouldn’t be any different from this… No offense. Anyway, you guys are serious, right?

  3. I found all subjects of the short film fascinating, and wanted to learn more about them. The documentary left me with more questions than answers, and a lot of who these people were wasn’t explained. Where are they all from? What are their living arrangements? How do they make their money? How did they grow up? Where did they grow up? What do their parents think of their situation? Are they aware of it? Do they think they’ll ever have a wife and kids? Do they want that? What WOULD be their ideal living situation? Were they bullied as children? WHY do they think they’re so introverted? What porn do they watch? I suppose I really just want to talk to these guys myself, but they’re probably wary of strangers bombarding them with personal questions anymore. I plan to help fund this movie on kickstarter if the director is clear that this documentary will be about the original subjects, and we will find out more about their lives.

    I thought the dynamic of the director, cameraman and subjects coalesced quite well; it came off as an intimate dialogue where the boys felt they could talk freely, even if at times it was awkward. It’s a shame that Advanced and UrbanWhiteTrash in particular felt they came off poorly – I think any time you put your life up for scrutiny, especially when you’re allowing yourself to become poster boys for a little-understood movement, you’re going to get hate mail and psychoanalysis from unqualified liberal arts students (not an attack on this blog, but rather comments made about this film in general).

    Michael was by far the easiest incel to relate to. I don’t remember him making any misogynistic comments in the film, but rather just laughing uncomfortably as the other two did? (I could be wrong). I felt the most for him and I think we can all relate, at least in part, to that aching loneliness he seems to feel. I hope he’s okay now, I just spent the entire film wanting to reach into my computer and give him a hug. It’s hard to see a person talk openly about their depression and not want to help. You have to admire their courage in voicing their pathos. Actually, I felt that way for all three of the subjects interviewed at some point or another.

    The misogyny element of this film was unfortunate, but I felt a level of sympathy, as the subjects came off as emotionally and socially immature, and having a general dearth of knowledge when it came to women, which made a lot of their generalisations sound like something you’d read on a sexually-frustrated fourteen year old boy’s twitter rather than general, hate-filled diatribe. Advanced’s view of women in particular was something I’d like to see explored in far more detail, because on the one hand he said he’d fight in the bloodiest battle on Earth to get an obese woman as a partner (I’m paraphrasing), but on the other he alleges women aren’t people. This leads to all kinds of questions about what he wants a female companion for, how serious his misogyny actually is, etc.

    I’m really hoping against hope the director somehow gets UrbanWhiteTrash and Advanced on board again, otherwise I don’t think I’ll be as interested in it. They could use the documentary as a platform to respond to criticism and maybe clarify how they came off in the film? I don’t know.

    • I think that it could be good without them. A documentary about the community and stuff, its personalities (such as governmentsgetgirlfriends up there, who I discovered is pretty well-known), could be super interesting and still get at the issues you want to explore.

    • Tiff, I would love to invite you to our board, where I’m sure that you can at least get a sense of what the answers to your questions about us would be. But as you’ve said, I don’t think a lot of the guys would be all that welcoming. It’s an attitude that I would love to change. But there is a sense over there that any and all outsiders who come there either will never be able to comprehend what we are going through and come off spouting out general well-meaning advice and platitudes that never really address our problem, or that they come over there to mock and belittle us (what trolls normally come to do).

      I agree that the film did leave more questions then answers as well as outright exaggerate some of the subjects behaviors (i.e. Advanced). I know all three of them as personally as an online forum allows and I know that while UWT and Advanced do indeed have extreme personalities, at least I know what the typical view doesn’t know about them. Michael is the only member that is still active over there (he’s an admin now) and I feel that he’s getting as stressed out about the whole attitude that the forums have taken as I do. I doubt that UWT and Advanced will be up to doing a feature length version though. UWT was pretty paranoid about his privacy and was involved with the whole conspiracy theory community. Advanced was disappointed with how he was portrayed in the film and after trying to discredit the director, he decided to disappear from the face of the Earth. I do have some news about him and he’s now working somewhere in the Far East. Although he still claims to have trouble with women and blames it on his looks. However, if the full version does get made, I’m giving some thought on appearing in it myself.

      • Rammspieler, I’d be really interested in your appearance in the film, if you do make that decision. Obviously you cannot speak for the entire community, but you know it really intimately, and you sound thoughtful. I don’t think the filmmakers intended to portray UWT, Advanced, or Michael in any “angled” way. I like that the love shy forum has a stance on PUA, and that it recognizes it as creepy. I also agree with Tiff that Michael was the most sympathetic because it seems as though he recognizes that the problem he faces is much more complicated than it appears. (Whereas for Advanced or UWT, it’s all about looks, for example.)

        • Want to know the difference between a “true” LSer and an incel? Ask them why they are the way they are. An LSer will probably recognize that he has deep-seated anxiety and fear issues as well as poor social skills. An incel will most likely blame anything and everything from feminism to modern culture in general.

          • Rammspieler, would you be willing to be interviewed? This is a really interesting topic and I’d like to get your input on the issue. This article was mostly about the documentary, and as you’ve pointed out in your posts, it obviously isn’t the full story.
            We’re honestly pretty fair-minded and you would have veto power over whatever we end up with. I just think this is a cool thing to talk about and you seem like a knowledgeable insider.
            If you’re interested, shoot us an email and we’ll work out details: write@beyoungandshutup.com

      • In the FarEast? I live in Hong Kong and as I was watching this, I kept thinking that I recognized that Advanced guy…maybe from Bangkok..I wonder.
        He’s mad to think he’s ugly. he has a really cool androgynous thing going on. He’d be a perfect lead for a band…something gothic.

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    • In that being a feminist requires you to have more understanding for and of women. Feminism, anti-racism and so on, any movement devoted to ending oppression of a given group, increases empathy for that group. It’s not necessarily a ‘cure,’ but it’s certainly better to be in a place where you understand the person you’re trying to bone down with.
      Like, not to suggest that one should be a feminist for those purposes, but understanding, real respect, and empathy go hand in hand with certain avenues to sex town.

      • Empathy has jack shit to do with it. Psychopaths even by clinical definition have very promiscuous sex lives. Understanding someone’s thoughts and caring about them are two very different things. As for feminism and other leftist bs, all I’ll say is, thank god there are libertarian, anti-feminist women who read Ayn Rand out there.

  9. There are times I’m convinced that incels are just playing an elaborate joke on the Web.

    They take all the worst elements of MRAs, PuAs and “Nice Guys”TM to such an extreme that it borders on parody.

    I think these guys are just trolling everyone while mocking the “manosphere” in an ironic way that’s meant to draw attention to its misogyny.

  10. These people are suffering from something called “Avoidant Personality Disorder”. It occurs in both men and women, and the reason this “incel” thing appears to be purely a male phenomenon is because AVD causes people to avoid risking social rejection, but they are more than willing to accept the love of others, and in our society the expectation is 100% on men to approach women, and not the other way around. If women were equally expected to approach men, youd be seeing a lot of female “incels” as well. And i dont think i should have to point out that the very significant rates of spousal abuse in this country prove that misogyny alone is not a significant obstacle to being found attractive or dateable by women.

    • Its like printing money from the computer: fill everyones pockets with gold, and you wont be seeing poor people anywhere. The same problem is here. If womens sexual power would diminish, then the concept of good motherhood and fatherhood would soon be yesterdays news. If you earn something such as sex only because you are a citizen of a society, which automatically “owes” you a mating partner, then the rules of any humane civilization would be thrown to the trash.

      Once the good generation turned into a garbage generation and you are dragging it down to more close of a rotten generation. Sex would be as causal as drinking your morning coffey. The rates of rape, sexual abuse and sexual assaults would rapidly grow high, resulting to a living hell on earth. Instead, own your life, get social skills, do what it takes to be happy because the world is not accountable to make you happy, because you are accountable for your life. Dont make the world more miserable place to live or you dont deserve to be here.

  11. I didnt think any of these guys were ugly at all. the one giving the list of dos and dont..”don’t be ugly…do be attractive…” I thought he was really good-looking. The long-hair guy, its all down to the Asperger’s twitchiness and weirdness…he could get therapy to calm hi. Shiatsu and somatic therapy work wonders. The red-hair guy is really cute, again, its just nerves. i have met loads of guys like that and they are always sweet attentive fathers. And the one with the incel boot-camp was hilarious.
    Its all attitude. They are all brainwashed. This alpha beta stuff..its like a cult. People placed in boxes..again Asperger’s trying to classify and organize the bewildering world, because they dont have the tools to naturally do so.

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