Looking back now, Michael blames his inability to read signs.
"She started kissing me," Michael recalls, obviously still a little proud.
Afterward, he assumed that's what a girl would do if she really liked him—make the first move. You want somebody but don't know whether they could ever in a million years want you back.
He emphasized that he'd never liked the "incel" idea in the first place ("It's just a dumb term") and that he no longer even thinks of himself as love-shy. Michael is tired because, on and off for more than 24 hours, he's been stitching together a story he rarely tells in full, even to those closest to him.
In his immediate family, which includes his divorced parents, a sister, and a brother, his mom is the only one he talks to about his nearly nonexistent love life, and then only sparingly.
"How many women have you slept with because of this dog? He's trim, around 5'10", with a pale, angular face and light-brown hair that is thinning but definitely still there.
Almost everyone I told about this article asked me, almost instantly, whether he was ugly—as in ugly to an extent that it would explain his sexlessness.The question made me sad, and resistant to describing Michael at all, as if to do so were to put my stamp of approval on our whole hierarchy of beauty.But here's the thing: While I wouldn't call Michael handsome, he struck me as a fine, average-looking guy.They use the site as an advice depot, confessional, and water cooler, complaining frequently about the impossibility of making themselves understood by "normies" or "noncels." Michael has sunk countless hours into the site. But offline, he almost never mentions it—much less that he hasn't dated anyone since he was 17, and has had sex just once in the decade-plus since.(One of Michael's terms for participating in this story was that I not include his last name or exact age, only that he's on the older end of the millennial spectrum.) The woman, still petting the beagle, started teasing Michael. An escort who claims to have slept with one million men for cash is walking away from the business to start a new life.