The Angry Old Baby-Man: The Online Dating Bully Phenomenon Empowered by Trump
During a rather quiet Sunday here in Bali, I was working on a couple of articles for my local client. I had also joined Zoosk, the online dating site, if nothing more than for the comedic value. As someone in her mid-sixties who lives a bit of an outlier life, my chances of finding someone online at this age are probably zero to zero, especially because those waters have been so badly muddied by dishonesty and scammers. Still, I joined, paid my pennies and have actually been-if nothing else- highly amused. Truth, you never know. I’m more likely to find someone out on my running trail. Looking forward to getting to my gym, too. Like attracts like in this situation. I like fit folks if I’m going to date anyone.
Which is clearly a problem for a great many people.
In my profile, in which I have taken care to be very clear up front about my preferences for a very athletic partner, I am also careful to be honest about my adventure travel responsibilities which keep me on the road. That profile, along with the only two photographs that I had available to me here in Bali (the others are on my laptop at home) is very clear (it has to be, there’s limited space). It also only appeals to very particular kind of potential match. That’s intentional.
If a guy has an easily bruised ego, or is angry at women in general, still pissed at his ex, sick or in terrible shape, he’s probably not dating material. He’s therapy material. Get to the gym, man. Do something with your life already. Get well. This goes for all of us who are in terrible denial about where we are in life and then expect someone vastly younger to be fascinated by our aging selves. That goes just as much for me as anyone else.
The other day one of my favorite writers on Medium penned a piece that set the stage for this article.
So with her article on parrhesia as a perfect backdrop, this:
This is an actual email from a Zoosk Member who refers to himself as “Aristotle.”
Dear Julia, I an (nearly ) at a loss for words After perusing your profile All I can say without this turning into a nasty-gram is that you come off as incredibly hostile. If you really feel you are a medium, the cards should have foretold you not to post photos that you have previously uploaded to the internet.. Its hard to imagine what kind of relationship you expect to find given by your own admission that you are an online dating asshole. So by now you probably have guessed I very easily have found out who you are. I have been an adrenaline junkie all my life and have come across a handful of women that seem to fit that definition. I hope to actually find a woman that has a very adventurous makeup .obviously you are one. . You seem to be looking for someone that can challenge you in life ..I would like to make a suggestion.You don’t have to set up a virtual gauntlet for potential victims to transverse before you execute them figuratively. Change your photos, Then rewrite your profile and have a friend that you haven’t already intimidated give you an honest opinion of how you come off. I have to wonder why haven’t you been able to find someone at your gym that is a good fit. I’m not sure if you feel you need to get in the last word usually, so please respond if it makes you feel better. otherwise, good luck!
It did, of course, turn into a nasty-gram, which is precisely what he intended. He virtually telegraphs his anger, insecurity, and his need to control, put down and punish someone who isn’t in any way interested in him. Not my type at all- and that apparently is what made him so righteously angry that he would invest part of a Saturday night to research me. Just so that he could bully a complete stranger, try to intimidate me ( I know who you are) and deliver what I am sure he believes is superb advice (which is nothing more than poorly-disguised ill-will). Not only did I not claim anything he says I do, but he makes the amazing assumption that I should actually care about what he says after flinging verbal dog shit in my face.
No. All I care about here is making him an object lesson in asshole-itis, a disease that seems to have invaded (pun intended) a certain portion of the greying generation of white males.
My profile is brief, to the point. I prefer athletes, typically younger men, and if a guy isn’t either, we aren’t a match. That is the simple, God’s honest truth. If a man doesn’t share my lifelong commitment to a very high level of fitness then it’s not likely to work. If someone chooses to see that as an insult that is not my problem. It’s my preference.
This article refers to this harassing online bullying as “grandiosity”. Perfectly put.
I blocked him, and then copied and pasted his email to Zoosk customer service. I’ve also called Zoosk and discussed the potential need for police or legal action. If this guy is that dedicated to spend his Saturday night tracking me down, there’s no telling what he’s likely to do next. He telegraphed his intentions by letting me know “he knows who I am” and implied he believed I should be surprised, if not scared. Oh PLEASE. I’m all over the goddamned Internet. Books, 1300 Medium articles, promos for speeches, corporate programs, national conventions, YouTube, for god’s sake. How infantile.
In other words, the angry white male syndrome. How DARE I have a voice, a choice that doesn’t include him?
This is precisely the kind of puerile online trolling that Wildfire was referencing. Of course it’s not limited to AWMs, but this is an article about online dating, where they lurk, bite, bark, threaten and posture.
Let’s be clear, though. It wasn’t just this man’s email. It was a slew of them, from people just like him. Late sixties and seventies or older, very out of shape, mostly Republican, Trump voters, drinkers, couch potatoes. In every way not the kinds of men I spend time with in any sense. I do not owe these people my time, attention, or my intimacy just because they happen to find me attractive (any more than some gorgeous hunk of flesh owes ME his time because I happen to find him attractive.)
Artistotle’s missive is just the latest, and his was of interest because he went to so much trouble to try to bitch slap me for being who I am. There’s no Good Luck about it. His agenda is to bully.
Bullying is bullying is bullying. No matter how you sugarcoat it.
It’s sad that online sites have legal departments that deal with this very behavior. This is where we are a society. Online dating is a war zone. I’m ex-military. Bring. It. On.
In the many years I’ve been around, and 66 is a few so far, I’ve largely chosen to be single, and date at my convenience due to my lifestyle. I’ve learned a few things about men during that time. I love men, most kinds, and really enjoy their company. That said, I have no time for abusers, online or anywhere else. I’ve loved my share, befriended scads more, and ultimately have come to prefer a very specific type when it comes to my intimate company.
That is my perfect right- just as it is any man’s perfect right to prefer a much younger woman with more curves, bright pink hair, a nose ring and a tat sleeve.
A great many of these folks are Gray Divorcees . While this is tough, that doesn’t give anyone the right to take their anger out on another single person who simply doesn’t find them attractive: man, woman, gay, bi, transgender or anything else.
Don’t get me wrong. I have great empathy for anyone in pain. That empathy comes to a screeching halt when those in pain make concerted efforts to hurt, damage and make someone — especially a stranger who could care less about them — bleed because they are unhappy, or in this case, threatened by a woman whom they feel is way out of line. I draw the line at bullying, in any form, because someone feels that the world owes them a living, a favor, a fuck.
Losers bully. Just look at Trump’s behavior around women, minorities, disabled. Because, like Trump, when you bully,
You’re just a prick.
A monumental loser, an embarrassment to your gender. To the human race, that you would put so much effort into causing damage, particularly to strangers who mean you no harm whatsoever. Grow. The. Fuck. UP.
Good men, confident men, do not take someone’s profile copy — which is not directed at them — as a personal affront and spend several hours tracking that person down just to try to deliver a beat down. That’s precisely what Trump would do. As do those who are asshole narcissists in his image. Trump’s vicious put-downs of women far stronger, better-informed and better-educated than he is — Trump knows it and it scares the living shit out of the man --have given license to every angry online “Aristotle” to do the same in the name of putting “uppity women” in their place.
Let’s be clear. We are all terrified of aging. We are all terrified that we aren’t enough, aren’t handsome or pretty enough. All of us deal with these fears. I’m not saying they aren’t real. I am saying that it isn’t exactly a solid strategy to throw acid at people just because you’re not happy with your condition.
This is classic bullying.
Truly good, confident and genuinely strong men of all ages get a bang out of adventurous, accomplished women. They like women, period. They understand that we want to be with someone who shares our fundamental values- whatever they may be, fitness or finding truffles in France. Good men are not intimidated by potent women who are very clear about what they want. They’re confident in themselves, active, happy and with a full life. Good men also don’t feel invisible.
Feeling invisible is a widespread problem for a great many of us. When folks get angry about feeling like they don’t matter, social media is the perfect platform from which to take out their anger on a world that they feel is ignoring them. It’s a lot harder to get outside, get busy, make friends, and make ourselves useful which would end that feeling of invisibility. But then, that’s too much like real work.
Kindly, this goes for all of us, but for this article, I’m just focusing on the angry online guys that have made online dating an absolute joke for women like me.
There is no way that these bottom dwellers would have the balls to say any of this to me or any other potent woman in person (unless they’re in a White Supremacy Parade). They know it, too. Which makes them even more angry when they realize their cowardice.
Interestingly, those military men online? They have been, to a man, gracious, polite, kind, funny, appreciative and complimentary. My military peeps stand out, stand tall, and they are admirable, even when they know my preferences may not include them. I am by god proud of my military brothers in so many ways but this one really stands out.
That’s why my profile states the following, which to my mind, since it hits home, is likely what set this person off:
ISO very hard laughs until I spew my coffee. Emotionally mature company. Here’s what that looks like, gentlemen: you do NOT fire nasty grams at people who have specific preferences. Let’s please be adult and civil. I should not have to say this, but clearly I do.
If he sees that as hostile, then there’s a reason for it. HE is hostile. How dare I call rude, angry men on the carpet for their behavior, just like his? How dare I indeed? Who do I think I am, anyway?
That’s appalling. How very, very Trump. How very Angry White Male.
To explore that perjorative (and in this case, apt) term, see this.
The real Aristotle (c. 384 B.C. to 322 BC.) was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who is still considered one of the greatest thinkers in politics, psychology and ethics.
The actual Aristotle would likely have a heyday with a man who has the hubris to hijack his name and behave like a right ripe reprobate attacking strangers for no reason whatsoever other than to inflict as much pain as possible.
Ethics expert my ass. Please.
As Wildfire states in her article, there is a way to deliver parrhesia that doesn’t do harm. Gracious people who might disagree with something I say on Medium make a point to go private, state their case, and let me do with their input what I will. I have often changed an article, toned it down or reworded it because of those comments. That most certainly includes people whose politics I don’t agree with at all. That doesn’t make their comments useless. I take the comments seriously when they are delivered with respect. Those people teach by example, and often offer a perspective that adds value to my world.
Key phrase: adds value.
In this case I was doing this guy no harm whatsoever. Minding my own biz, chatting with a badass, funny, muscular-like-me 66 yo ex-military firemen (with whom I get along like a house on fire, damn it the guy lives three states away). THAT guy- a very, funny, opinionated and hilarious man, made my day. He proved the point perfectly. The right men GET IT. They aren’t offended. In fact I had a number of delightful exchanges yesterday with men just like that, military veterans like I am who have no patience for online baby-man bullies.
Here’s another Emmy-Award winner that just came in: Just this moment I got yet another nasty gram from yes, another angry old white male, pronouncing that my “BF and I probably fight over who gets the most time in front of the mirror.” What a statement. This flung at someone who barely brings five (out of a thousand) photos of herself home from a one-month adventure trip.
This is what Wildfire said that resonates with me:
The most radical truths don’t come loaded with insults, like we see so often today. They don’t simply shame individuals. They call out wider habits and assumptions. You can address truth to a single person, while talking about something even bigger.
Trolls cite their first amendment as a reason to spew nasty insults at anyone who disagrees with them.
When online dating becomes yet another environment where vicious, small-minded little people (of all sexes, thank you) hurl their bile at folks who don’t happen to find them attractive, then it is far more a statement of why they’re trolling online sites. Nobody wants to be around them.
Just like the selfish student in Wildfire’s class who left after being called out, and another student thanked her. If Artistotle and his baby-bros bully me, they are likely sitting in their little man-caves doing it to others. Suggesting that Zoosk might want to can the man and bump him off the site is a gift to all the rest of the powerful women who have our preferences, which most clearly do NOT include baby-men like Aristotle. I will stand up not only for myself but for anyone else who might be on this idiot’s radar.
I’ll give him this: he’s excellent article fodder.
Wildfire writes, silence is complicity.
I won’t be complicit in online bullying, in the dating world or anywhere else. As Robin Williams said, if you want to stop a man in his tracks, all you have to do is laugh at the Mighty Sword. Clearly, these guys seem to be missing that part of their anatomies. Bullies are essentially cowards at heart, baby-men with the backbone of a nematode and nowhere near as interesting.
Laugh, then report, then block, and if necessary call the police or the FBI.
Do. Not. Be. Complicit by putting up with it, ignoring it, tolerating it.
Bullying is just that. Bullying. The favored tool of cowards from time immemorial.