I’ve sort of been fascinated with the incel internet presence for lack of a better term.
I’m a 35 yo male and have been married about 5 years but thinking back to my early to mid 20s I would have definitely been considered an “incel” - although I think more of the frustrated “forever alone” flavor of incel rather than the popular caricature of an angry misogynistic incel with violent fantasies.
Even though I’m not incel I kind of sympathize with a lot of their issues and it really makes me angry when people try to belittle their problems or basically bag on them to make themselves feel better (essentially bullying them under the guise of fake moral superiority.)
Looking back I think being extremely introverted led me to that point more than anything else. I also did not have much interest in a lot of hobbies that lead to social interaction - I like sports but more individual rather than team sports, and I never had the patience to watch sports. I was never really big on socializing for it’s own sake. In many cases it felt unnatural and forced, trying to navigate a laundry list of unwritten rules. I think this lead to being a bit behind others in social development and dating experience which perhaps in my mind I made into a bigger hurdle than it should have been.
It certainly wasn’t for lack of trying but I could never seen to land a girlfriend. I got along with most people but never had a friend group either. Occasionally I’d get a girl’s phone number and a date but they’d all seem be too busy to meet up a second time. At some point I figured I was simply fundamentally unattractive and basically stopped pursuing women seriously.
I got out of my situation by what I call “NPC-maxxing.” What happened was I ran into an acquaintance from high school who said he needed a roommate. I knew the clock was ticking for me so I jumped at the chance. I basically bent over backwards to get him and his friends to like me - laughing at all their jokes (even at my expense), being the designated driver, pretending to be interest in their favorite sports teams etc, being super careful never to say anything “weird.” Eventually I met my first girlfriend and later my wife through this group.
That’s the short of it but there was basically a decade worth of rejection and heartbreak crammed into 2 years along the way. I wouldn’t want to do it again. It wasn’t a matter of just being confident, memorizing PUA routines or cutting my hair.
To me socializing still feels kind of awkward and forced a lot of the time. I definitely don’t hate people but perhaps I’m an outlier in the sense my need for socializing is very low.