When I wrote my review of Shy Boys: IRL, I was really just trying to spread the word to a wider audience. I only have about 200 friends on Facebook, and I wanted to convince more people they should watch the documentary. Not long after it was published, though, the review attracted the attention of two prominent love shies/incels, and Sara Gardephe, the documentary’s director.
The Kickstarter for the full-length documentary has begun, and it needs your support! Their goal is $27,000, and it’s just a little shy. If you have an interest in seeing love shyness and the community explored further, consider backing!
The love shies engaged with us through comments on the article. Governmentsgetgirlfriends was pretty rude. He didn’t have a whole lot to say about the review, though he did promise (and not deliver) a long reply “dealing with the lies and nonsense in [our] article.” Visiting his blog was much more illuminating than actually engaging with him (he is kind of weird).
Rammspieler, on the other hand, was very informative and filled us in on a lot of details we didn’t get from the film. He was willing to dish, and enthusiastic about explaining the nuances of love-shyness and the board itself. He is a moderator of the forum, and a love shy. In his comments on the original article, he was defensive. Derisive of just about everyone. Still, he cut a nice contrast to Governmentsgetgirlfriends, who is clearly kind of a piece of shit.
In case you didn’t click on the links, GGG has been arrested several times. For assaulting his parents, for threatening to murder a girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day. Aside from many, many women, he’s begged his therapist and even his own mother for sex. He’s admitted to blackmailing a woman into sex (he doesn’t admit to “blackmailing,” but he admits readily to actions that any normal person would recognize as blackmail). His involuntary celibacy is the very worst thing in this world to him, as “curing” it supercedes basically any other moral standard, such as “don’t kill,” “don’t rape,” and “don’t try to fuck your mom.”
So Rammspieler’s fairly normal tone and willingness to fill in the blanks in the documentary excited us. And his interview left us feeling pretty happy that we landed one of the normal love shies, one that unlike Advanced, Urban White Trash, and GGG, seemed to have his head on straight, and was able to look at his condition with a critical eye. Aside from an unhealthy anxiety about women and sex, he came off as a normal dude with an advanced case of a common problem.
But in researching Rammspieler further, we discovered an upsetting trend: Every love shy we’ve ever come in contact with or been exposed to is kinda nuts.
Yes, I did encourage Alexius to go buy a gun and kill his crush. Yes, in fact I do admire Cho, The Columbine Duo, George Sodini and any other individual who has found the courage to do what they did and both deliver a warning to society and at the same time challenge our collective morality. I will neither retract, apologize or somehow make my opinion more palatable. I have stood by my comments and I will continue to do so. If you have a problem with that somehow ruining the forums for you, then tough shit. I’m the owner and I say what I want whereas at a moments notice I can restrict your right to do the same.
Rammspieler, who at one point was the de facto owner of the love shy forum, in fact egged Governmentsgetgirfriends on to to threaten his crush. He seems to be in the same school of thought as GGG that people being unable to get ladies indicates a broken society that must be fixed by killing people. George Sodini, whose sexual frustration gave him the excuse to fire upon a women’s aerobics class, killing 3 and injuring 9, is the most telling member of the list. Rammspieler also wrote for The Daily Raider, a site which published an article about trolling Virginia Tech grief groups on Facebook. There is also a wealth of 4chan-y stuff about him, light doxxing, a small article on Encyclopedia Dramatica, a short comic series ridiculing his life.
It paints an ugly picture of Rammspieler, and even with the uncertainty that comes with the internet, I’m inclined to believe most of it. The shame is that love shyness, whether or not it’s a diagnosable complex, is a real problem. Like I said in my review, it’s really shitty that some people have such a tough time finding romance. It deserves to be noticed and looked into. And it’s too bad that the community’s most outspoken members are so objectionable, because normal people are affected.
Despite what we discovered, Rammspieler’s interview depicts a normal, reasonable guy, the kind of guy we thought we were going to be talking to. It’s a look into the head of a love shy one can sympathize with.
How does love-shyness differ from run-of-the-mill social anxiety?
Rammspieler: Whereas in social anxiety, the idea of general social interaction drives you into a state of panic, in the case of a love-shy, it’s just limited to the idea of casually interacting with a woman that you feel attracted to that drives you into panic mode. Of course, there could be self-proclaimed love-shies who may just be suffering from general social anxiety issues. But I think that there are plenty whom have no problems socializing with people in general and may be part of a large and diverse social circle. They may even be what most people would never consider to be a “shy guy” because they could be the conventionally good looking and popular guy in school or work, or the life of the party. But when it comes to approaching and speaking to that cute girl they may as well be running for their lives from a Bengal tiger. You desperately want to talk to her but your body responds with the classic fear response. Some may even feel physically sick.
What are some misconceptions of the love-shy community? What do you most wish you could make people understand about love-shyness?
R: The first misconception people have is they tend to group us along with those who consider themselves “incel” or involuntary celibates, and sometimes even with the now defunct “True Forced Loneliness” movement that started on YouTube a few years back. We may all share the same “symptoms” of not being able to enter and maintain a romantic/sexual relationship with someone else, but the causes are different.
A love shy may blame it on personal issues and social anxiety. An incel may blame it on external factors such as not being conventionally attractive enough, not being an “asshole”, not being tall enough, etc and lay the blame on women or society in general. On the other hand, a TFLer would blame his lack of romantic/sexual success on The Illuminati.
Then there is the misconception that love-shyness was made up by white, privileged, North American males with too much time spent on the Internet who found some obscure research study about the subject and decided to self-diagnose. We in fact have many members from different continents and non-Anglo based cultures over there so to dismiss it as a “nerdy middle class white guys” problem is unfair.
The basis for the site is on the work of Dr. Brian Gilmartin, so I wouldn’t call this an Internet nerd’s invention. Many of us believe that Dr. Gilmartin’s study was deeply flawed with pseudo-scientific concepts like astrology and that some of his suggestions for treating LS were kind of “out there” (selective abortion of male fetuses, banning school sports, etc), but that doesn’t mean the idea doesn’t have merit.
What are the demographics of the forum? Who uses it? What’s the overall tone and climate?
R: It’s pretty diverse, actually. Most of our members are from either North America, the UK and Australia. But we also have members from Europe, Russia, South America and we even have someone from mainland China. I myself am from Puerto Rico. We also come from varied racial backgrounds and socio-economic strata. From what I can gather, Dr. Gilmartin may have been right when he said that most love-shies are either underemployed or unemployed, as I can only identify a handful of truly successful members, career wise. Most of us may have college degrees, but we aren’t what you would exactly call “successful” in a career setting, as either a love-shy may be denied a promotion or can only find more menial jobs.
Although our female segment is small, we do have an active member who identifies herself as a lesbian love-shy, so I guess that should put an end to the argument as to whether or not women and LGBTs can be love-shy as well. Of course there are still those who beg to differ, despite the evidence right in front of their noses!
You mentioned in comments that therapists don’t take your condition seriously. What was your experience? Are there any forum success stories of people who got treatment, or simply broke through and were able to interact romantically?
R: Seeing as how the problem is pretty complex and based on the individual, I don’t believe that there is an easy solution. Some may go to therapy, although there isn’t any real improvement. There are those who even say that they feel worse after seeing a therapist or going on drug treatments, as they feel as if the therapist doesn’t quite understand their problem or the drugs make them feel even more depressed than before. Pretty much the only exception is an ongoing log from one member about his interactions with his therapist and the different assignments that she assigns him to. There is a hint of positivity and hope in that thread. And believe me, that those kinds of threads are rare these days. I personally believe that it’s because the member is from Colombia and perhaps treatment methods are different over there.
The only true success stories I have seen so far have been cases when one has persevered on an online dating site, or got to know somebody online first and then later on met in real life. It was through the Internet that I have managed to go on the handful of dates that I have gone out on, so I can attest to this. Despite the fact that the number of active female users on our site can be counted on one hand, a love connection being made on our forums is not unheard of.
How does Men’s Rights Advocacy (MRA) influence the climate of the board? Do you think feminism is a partial cause or stumbling block for love-shyness?
R: While there are members on the forum that subscribe to MRA/MGTOW ideas and would call themselves as such, we original members of the forums like to keep a distance from such movements, as we feel that the goal of the forums is to provide a safe place for guys to vent their frustrations, encourage each other whenever there is a chance for success, and the rare success story.
It is frustrating to see over the past two years, a rise in MRA sentiment on the board spurred on by newer members who have come who identify as incels and whom may have heard about us from other sources. It’s a shame really, as the original idea that we had was for the forums to be an inclusive place where “normal” people and women could come by and offer us their input. But thanks to the more angry MRA-ish incel segment who are frustrated with women and dating, there was an attempt to steer the site into a more MRA-leaning place and try to earn its acceptance into the “manosphere“. These newer members took it upon themselves to drive out most of the female posters that we already had and to turn the place into a sort of “men only” club. Of course, some of us staff members saw this and decided that if we let the forums go that particular route, then nobody would take us seriously. The only reason why we never banned them or took any action initially is due to our free speech stance. But yeah, it’s basically thanks to them that feminists see us as they do.
While I may have my own reservations about feminism (I have the same reservations about MRAs, as neither has convinced me enough to fully support one or the other), I don’t see it as a cause for love-shyness. As I mentioned before, Love-shyness is a problem of the individual.
Is the forum a volatile place? You mention disagreements and flame wars. What topics commonly cause drama?
R: It can be pretty volatile. You see, most everybody that comes on there is an incel. These are the guys who are most bitter. Everybody has a pet theory as to why they can’t get a girl, and these theories usually come into conflict with each other.
There is the so-called “Looks-ist Crew” which believes it’s not looking like a perfect specimen of classical male beauty that hurts their chances with women and therefore, they are doomed to a life of solitude. On the opposite end of the ring, we have the “Confidence Mafia”, that says it’s all about not projecting yourself in the proper manner, and they are the ones who most likely follow PUA advice. Yeah, the names may be silly, but I guess it sort of reflects the dark humor that goes on over there.
There are arguments regarding politics and ideology. Before, when the forums were mostly populated by love-shies, it had, on average, a sort of center-left inclination. However, with the arrival of the more MRA-ish incels, it has sort of shifted towards the Far Right. There are Theist vs. Atheist arguments. Basically the sort of arguments that you can expect from fairly intelligent grown men with the social adaptation level of toddlers.
Of course, a topic that will always be popular is any topic trying to understand and analyze the modern woman. “Why are women so irrational?” “Why did they give me their number or friend me on Facebook and then ignore me?” “Why do women sign up for dating sites saying they are ‘looking for friends’?” “Are modern Western women amoral?” I think the most misogynistic topic is also the funniest. “Women are hypergamous sluts!” always has me laughing because the term “hypergamous” just sounds so funny to me. I don’t necessarily agree with these topics. But it’s an interesting reflection on how bitter these guys must of have become and on what drove them to such bitterness.
For the most part it looks like we normally shit on each other and engage in constant flame wars and arguments, but I don’t think that there is any real animosity amongst us. We tend to band together when we feel that we are under attack or when of our own is going through an emotional rough spot like if one threatens suicide (even though, as shown in the documentary, someone started a thread on painless methods of suicide).
Governmentsgetgirlfriends believes governments should run a social program that connects love-shy individuals with paid volunteers in order to match them up and build romantic skill. Is this a commonly held view on the board? Are there other proposed government or societal solutions?
R: GGG is suggesting that the government basically do what Dr. Gilmartin suggested in his study as a possible treatment. Of course I don’t agree with the way that GGG structured his program, but of all the suggested treatments that Dr. Gilmartin advocated, the most feasible one that we all agree on is the concept of “practice dating”. Dr. Gilmartin suggested that love-shy men be paired off with equally anxious women, where they could go on “practice dates” and gauge each other, while practicing on social skills that are required for pursuing romantic or sexual opportunities. This and sexual surrogate therapy were both suggested in his original study.
Is the documentary widely-known and watched on the forums?
R: How many have watched it, I wouldn’t know, but I suspect the latest rash of new members means “a lot.”
Although many believe that having Advanced and Urban White Trash in the film actually hurt our image more than help it, some of the guys have managed to find humor in it, even if it was unintentional. We have to keep in mind that both Advanced and UWT had a reputation on our forums for a reason. Advanced because he was basically the father of the “Looks-ist Crew” and for his desire to pursue plastic surgery to look like your average androgynous-looking Asian male pop star.
UWT, on the other hand, was basically known for bringing entertainment value to the forums, with his sea shanties and “forum fan fiction”. When he found our forums, he dabbled in PUA and even joined one particular PUA lair in the DC area. It seemed to operate almost like a cult, and he was prohibited from even talking to us. I guess that was when he appeared on the film. Both have left the forums ever since filming wrapped up, as Advanced felt that he was portrayed in a negative light, and UWT left because he felt that his real-life identity would be known after a series of troll invasions occurred on the forums.
Why are you love-shy?
R: The toughest question is always the last one, right? Heh. Well, from what I have experienced, I can say that it’s mostly due to my shy and introverted nature. When I was a child, although I was shy and was bullied a lot, I did manage to have friends and I had no problem interacting with girls. Shit, I even had some girls as friends and playmates! As much as I miss those pre-pubescent carefree childhood days of interacting with girls without anxiety, I don’t think that was the main reason why I am what I am now.
I lived in California until I was like 13 years old. By then I started to like girls and I was going through a shy phase, so I never talked to any that I liked and I was also bullied by many girls. Then, my family moved back to Puerto Rico, and in an act of adolescent rebellion, I refused to learn to speak Spanish. Of course, we never moved back, so I eventually picked up the language, but I was so self-conscious about my accent that I didn’t like speaking to others. I still am self-conscious about it.
At best, my peers described me as the shy and quiet kid who never spoke to anybody, except when spoken to, and at worst as haughty and aloof. I remember one particular episode during my high school years, when one of the school guidance counselors, randomly said to me “Sieg Heil” and gave me a Nazi salute. This was before Columbine and certainly before I discovered my love for German rock bands. I suspect that some kids may have thought that I was a racist.
My mother would tell me how a “good woman” would eventually come into my life and that all I had to do was be patient and wait for her. I was skeptical, even back then, but I hoped against hope that this would be true.
Then college came and I noticed that not only was I still incapable of talking to women on a casual level (or anybody for that matter as I didn’t even make friends in college), but that I felt that I was way behind everybody else on the sex and relationships learning curve.
Then I discovered Internet chat rooms, IM applications and Internet forums. I met some girls in those sort of places, but save for a few, I have never met most of them in real life. I eventually went out on a few dates that never led anywhere, due in part to my shyness and in part to the fact that we may have never been compatible anyway. I then discovered Love-Shy.com during an episode of heavy depression that has never really let go and the rest, as they say, is history.
As of this day, I still have never been able to talk to a woman in an informal setting without feeling sick to my stomach, much less have a significant other. I’m still a virgin and I still feel like shit most of the time. But I feel like I have learned from my past mistakes and realized that maybe all I really ever needed was to feel like I could talk to a woman like I used to talk to my girl-friends back when I was a kid. Without pressure. It would be kind of hard though. I don’t even have any close male friends in real life, much less a social circle and I feel like an outsider in what is supposed to be my own culture.
As for sex? I figured that if I reach 39 and I’m still a virgin, then I’ll take up forum member sareias’ offer to visit him in Germany, treat myself to what most people take for granted and hire an escort. I know that some will ask why I don’t just masturbate more or something. But I’m no fool. I’ve been masturbating for most of my life and even I know that it’s not the same as the real thing. I feel like I would have nothing to lose. I don’t think that most women would want to have anything to do with an inexperienced older virgin anyway.