In Defense of the Incel

Incels (involuntary celibates, or people who can’t get laid despite an ostensible interest) are now painted with the broadest of brushes after one person who called themselves incel (Elliot Rodger) went on a killing spree.

We might imagine a more charitable view of these folks, except that by modern victim hierarchy standards, they’re the lowest of the low — most incels are men, and most of these men are white. Yecch.

That observation might seem nefarious until you realize it’s downstream of demographics that in the US still means most people of any particular stripe are white and/or men. Not exactly noteworthy to notice that the largest demographic group has a presence in even the seediest back-alleys of the modern world unless you’re hellbent on proving your culture war bona fides/intellectual dishonesty and ineptitude.

This is about the point where the mid-wit gets blinkered into coming to the astute (to them) conclusion that if I’m saying a kind word about incels (white and male as they are) I must therefore be an incel. Triple-digit SAT scores might impress in some circles, too. I’m thankfully not a member of that tribe, having been engaged several times and married once, and the father two times over of kids way cooler than most of the people reading this screed.

A kinder, more necessary, truer observation is that incels are mostly unlucky. Either they’re unlucky to be born outside of wealth or societal privilege, or they’re unlucky to be one of the millions with bad looks, uncharismatic personality or find themselves somewhere along the spectrum of autism that makes it hard if not impossible to interact with the fairer gender, or any gender at all.

I’m firmly of the opinion that most people are a car accident or medical emergency away from being 100% unfuckable by anyone. If you’re not an incel, count your lucky stars that you haven’t been in one of those circumstances. I do. I count them. All three of them. I’m a guy who earns an above average income, and I can string together a few coherent sentences in front of women. I met a woman who puts up with me and even lets me lay with her biblically. Winner winner winner.

How about you: are you getting laid? Have you had sex in the past year? How about the past five years? The past decade?

If yes, then congrats, you’re not an incel. If you play your cards right, you probably won’t die alone, never knowing the warm embrace of a lover’s touch. You should be pretty thrilled about this circumstance.

I can’t imagine living a life as an incel. If you’re not an incel, you probably can’t either.

So maybe cool it with the “Elliot Rodger” comparisons, because knowing you, you’re not making those unfavorable comparisons between all Muslims and Osama Bin Laden. And guess what? There’s a lot more fundamentalist Muslims who want to cut your head off for apostasy and throw gays off of buildings than there are mass-shooting incels.

Ask yourself if you’d rather be in a room full of incels wearing your rainbow shirt or a roomful of fundamentalist Muslims. Don’t think too hard, you need those brain cells for breathing.

If you’ve ever met or conversed with incels, the one thing you’ll notice is not murderous rage but deep, unfathomable sadness and loneliness that only comes from a life of rejection and solitude. These people aren’t taking up arms except perhaps against themselves.

Even worse: many of them are mentally and physically ill. Many of them suffer from depression, agoraphobia, deformity, sexual dysfunction, abuse, trauma — not to mention crippling poverty. You’re not punching up on these people, and as proof, ask yourself if you’d ever for a minute trade places with them. Would you go from fuckable to unfuckable? Be honest with yourself at least. You can lie to me, I’m not your therapist.

Incels don’t need our scorn. They’re the embodiment of scorn. They need help. Many of them are beyond help or believe themselves to be. That’s not a reason to despise them further. It’s a desperate cry that only a real monster would ignore.

Edit to add: if any incels are reading this and you want to talk, send me a message at kevin dot michael dot mcelroy at gmail

I don’t judge you or think less of you. I recognize the fragility of human sexual compatibility and I think you and I are a few unhappy/happy accidents away from being the same person.