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The Early Asshole Warning System

June 24, 2013

It used to be you couldn’t tell whether a guy was a flaming asshole until you went on a date with him. I remember a date I “chaperoned” (agreed to observe from the other side of the bookstore cafe and intervene in case it wasn’t going well) when my friend had a funny feeling about the guy but couldn’t put a finger on it.

Turns out she was absolutely right to have back-up. Not five minutes into her date, she just so happened to spot her good friend across the room and invite her over to their table for a chat! And once I acquiesced, it took all of three questions from the date to me to figure out why this guy was an industrial-grade douchebag (although I’m not entirely sure why “douche” has taken on this connotation, considering actual douches get way closer to a woman’s vagina than any of their namesakes are likely to).

“So, what religion are you?” he asked the women he’d known for all of 30 seconds who was NOT, bear in mind, even his date.

“I’m an atheist,” I said, and went on to explain that the most I could accept as a potential higher consciousness was a force that regarded us as we regard our liver cells but found evidence even for that to be lacking.

“Oh, so you’re really an agnostic, then,” he declared smugly.

“No, I consider myself an atheist. I don’t believe there’s evidence for any higher power, and definitely no evidence that there’s a higher power that gives a damn about us. Besides, it’s rude to tell someone they’re something other than what they themselves just told you, no?” Who knows how long the inanity continued after that, but suffice to say, I completely supported my friend’s efforts to extricate herself quickly.

Luckily for hapless romance-seekers in today’s world, it doesn’t take a date of any length to figure out who the jackasses are. Most of them put themselves in full flaming asshole regalia right out on the internet for all to see. And for those who disguise themselves a little better, there are now innumerable online materials one can peruse to learn about detecting dickwads in ten seconds or less.

Take, for instance, Reddit. Occasionally hailed as an internet prodigy (but not the kind from the mid-nineties with the horrible background scheme and load times that made watching glaciers move look fascinating in comparison), Reddit is more commonly dismissed, at least in the articles I read, as being a breeding ground for misogyny and misanthropy (the latter induced not in posters but lurkers who read the misogynistic crap that too frequently passes for insightful commentary).

Perhaps there are some sections of the site that restore one’s faith in humanity. But too often, all I find myself coming across are references to the dude who ran a thread devoted to pictures of “jailbait” and the seduction thread, seddit. Read at your own peril.

But just as I found it simultaneously horrifying and insightful when I read a copy of Neil Strauss’ The Game, I find the seduction boards and their spin-off horrors to be both sickening and akin to taking self-defense classes. When one of seddit’s contributors launched a Kickstarter project to turn his seduction tips into a full-on seduction guide entitled Above the Game: A Guide To Getting Awesome With Women, the outcry over the content caught the attention of the media, Kickstarter (which issued an apology, thankfully, though only after the project’s funding period ended), and yours truly.

Thanks to that media attention, I easily found a link to some of author Ken Hoinsky’s original posts that earned him such back-slapping from his fellow underwear stains on the name of men. Most notable probably to shuddering women everywhere but particularly to touch-averse me was this gem:

Screen shot 2013-06-24 at 2.27.36 PM

I could do a full-on deconstruction of what’s wrong with these two paragraphs, but the simple answer is: everything. There is nothing not wrong about this excerpt. In fact, this excerpt goes beyond awful because it just forced me to use a double-negative to describe its awfulness.

But I read all eight parts of his seddit post, again for the same reason as I read the entirety of The Game. I read it because it’s good to identify a useless cum-dumpster like a pickup artist or personal-space violator like Hoinsky and his followers. If you can recognize The Game early on, you have a better shot of flinging the entire board across the table, hopefully to be dumped corner-first in the initiator’s lap.

So this is why I’m reserved on complaints about Kickstarter’s dithering. And glad as I am that the company has decided to ban future projects featuring seduction guides (disclaimer on the First Amendment and its “free speech” and “freedom of the press” provisions, for anyone who wants to get into that: those only apply in PUBLIC spaces. As in, truly open, non-proprietal locations. Kickstarter users may rely on the public to raise funds, but the company itself is privately owned and can, therefore, set its own rules on what can be said and what the site can be used for), I’m just a twinge sorry that other women who want to avoid pathetic sods will have to dredge seddit’s waters to figure out the latest change in rules applied to The Game.

But be warned, Fed-Up Nice Guys (TM) of the world. I’m just as fed up as you, and I have seen your playbook, and I will continue to be on the prowl for new iterations. So any one of you who starts negging, pressing on my personal bubble, or picking me up and spinning me around must be prepared to be vomited on, have your ‘nads bruised, and/or have the very essence of your soul reduced to subatomic particles. And if we’re going with the “and,” not necessarily in that order.

So maybe you should stick with asking about my religion right off. When I go with, “The Holy Church of Douchebag Bursting,” it’ll at least give you a head start to make like Pink Floyd and run like hell.

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7 Comments
  1. Brilliant beyond words.

  2. I love you for writing this.

  3. nice one, as per usual 😉

    notwithstanding your views on hugging 🙂 i think you might like this piece at
    http://randomacts.channel4.com/
    choose video clip #330 ‘reclaim touch’

  4. This is so perfect I can’t even stand it. Amazing post.

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