Hya Doc I’ve been reading your column for quite a while and it’s been helping me out alot lately but if feels like I just ran into a brick wall regarding my progress.
I’m a Cis dude, an older virgin (another mark of shame that’ll come up later) in his mid 20s who’s pretty much struggled with their weight and body image since my teen years. I can still remember the jokes and comments made about me like “your Chinese Zodiac is the pig cus you look like one” and I’ve been working out a lot and eating a lot healthier to, well, admittedly look good over my actual health and well being. It’s really aesthetics over health. I don’t take steroids btw.
To give you some context on my body type–imagine if William Butcher from the Boys and Thor from God of War Ragnarok had a love child and was recruited into the Space Wolves Astartes chapter. IE wide chested, big belly and hairy af.
But something that just hit me like like a ton of bricks was–well, turns out my body type isn’t even the most desirable among women. These days it’s all about Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet and any KPop group. It’s all about androgynous, soft beautiful men that are considered desirable. A look that is literally impossible for me to achieve no matter who much diet and exercise I do. People like me are considered terrifying or even dangerous just by merely looking at us. I know it’s not just about looks because what makes Styles and Chalamet desirable is their soft, vulnerable personalities which is admittedly hot when they do it but someone like me it can range from looking creepy to uncomfortable to outright pathetic–worthy of mockery and ridicule. No matter how many times I shave or shower or practice my slime in the mirror I’ll never have that kind of je ne sais quoi that makes someone like Chalamet so desirable.
On top of that I’m an older virgin and let’s just say the common opinions on older male virgins isn’t the most positive ranging from pathetic to outright dangerous. I just find the idea of someone being understanding, compassionate and non-judgmental over my virginity just ridiculous. Which admittedly is why I’ve been casually bad mouthing other older virgins referring to them as “man children”, “pig men”, “incels” and “lost causes” just to distance myself from the male virgin stigma.
So what do I do not feel this inadequate in myself? Please anything helps.
Just Hit a Brick Wall
Which, honestly, you’d think would be something of a clue that this is all about self-limiting beliefs and insecurities, not some sort of biblical truth. When half of the Only One Type crowd is insisting that you have to look like a Marvel Chris and the other half are saying you need to be as thin and spritely as a forest nymph… well, you’d think that might be something of a clue that neither side knows what the hell they’re talking about.
Meanwhile, women are talking about the depraved things they’d let Matt Berry do to them, licking frosting off Paul Hollywood or how Winston Duke could break them into itty bitty, squishy pieces.
This is one of those times where, once again, I would like to know where you’re getting your information, JHBW, because I’m going to put down some actual money that you didn’t conduct a scientific survey. Or even a poll on Twitter. I’m going to bet further that your sources come down to one of four options.
1. Reddit, redpill and incel forums
3. “Dude, trust me”
4. All of the above, as long as the answer feels like a kick to the nuts of your soul.
Because that’s ultimately what this is about. This isn’t about what women want or don’t want. This is about pain. It’s the pain you’re feeling about not “measuring up” by being a virgin and explaining that pain in ways that actually just hurt more. Because ultimately, this is about you punishing yourself for not being a “real man” – that is, being for having not lost your virginity when you were “supposed to”.
I mean, the idea that men “have” to look a certain way is kind of absurd on its face. Leaving aside that the supposed “ideal” body type for men and women has varied over the years and has far more to do with class, wealth and status than any inherent “evolutionary pressure”, there’s the fact that if we were to believe that women only wanted X… well, the human race would’ve died out centuries ago.
Even today, the idea that you have to look a certain way is obviously false on its face. Consider that, for example, nearly 41% of adults are obese according to the CDC – a little bit less (39.8%) amongst adults 20 – 39 years old and a little more (44.3%) among 40-59 year olds. Yet somehow people your age, that same cohort of 20-39 year olds, are still meeting and mating, falling in love and dating. The percentage of people who have Timothée Chalamee’s body, or Harry Stiles’ or any random KPop star is… single digits.
And part of that is because the vast majority of people just don’t look like that – or like Zac Effron or Michael B. Jordan or, shit, like Kumail Nanjiani getting Marvel-ripped for that matter – if they aren’t either paying through the nose or being paid to look like that.
Consider further that the average KPop star’s body part of an aesthetic and image that is as carefully crafted and maintained as any Marvel actor’s. They’re expected to fit a very specific, very particular brand, and – like every other aspect of their lives – that brand is rigorously managed by their agency. That is: they look the way they do and have the bodies that they do because they’re requiredto and their diet, exercise and lifestyle is entirely under other people’s control. They have people who map out their entire day – days that include regular and extended cardio in the form of dance practice and rehearsal.
So yes, even if you’re one of the people who’s gifted with a slight frame and the metabolism of a weasel on crank, you’re not going to look like a celebrity on screen. You might look like one of the candid photos of them when they’re between projects – you know, the ones where folks mock them for not having the dehydrated abs they have for three days while filming – but you’re not going to look like someone with an army of nutritionists, fitness coaches, no small amount of drugs, a makeup artist and carefully planned lighting.
Which sounds like a great reason to beat yourself up, really. How dare you not be exactly the same as one of the 1% of the 1%? How dare you show your face in decent company if you don’t look exactly like someone who’s entire career is built around looking a certain way – a way, I might add, that makes them miserable?
Because that’s basically what you’re doing. You’re weaponizing your anger at yourself for not measuring up for an utterly arbitrary and quite literally impossible standard that’s ultimately not being demanded of anyone but, well… you.
This isn’t just about their bodies though. It’s their personalities too; you’re beating yourself up because you’re not able to be “soft” or “vulnerable” and… well, says who? Never mind whether that’s the only personality type women want (it’s not), but who says that you can’t be soft or vulnerable because you are built like the literalStrongest Man In The World? Barrel chest, big belly… yeah, that sounds like The goddamn Mountain to me. But you know what’s kind of significant? Just how gentle and soft Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson can be. Look up pictures of him posing with his Pomeranian, being an absolutely besotted dog daddy.Then show them to some of the women in your life and watch as the ambient humidity of the room starts to increase dramatically. Watch the times when Dave Bautista is being sweet and nurturing or vulnerable and how people respond to it. If anything, the combination of physical strength and softness and vulnerability is what gives so many women (and many men) screaming thigh-sweats.
And all of this is before we get to that last paragraph of your letter, where you talk about mocking other people, in part because you can’t imagine other folks being kind and compassionate about your being an older virgin. You’re externalizing your pain in a very “I’ve got bad feelings and I’m going to make them everyone’s problem” sort of way.
Well, how’s that working out for you? Has it actually made you feel better? Has it improved your life in any meaningful way by mocking or insulting people for the very thing that bothers you? Does it give you even a moment’s of peace? Or is the only thing you get out of this the very slight satisfaction of thinking that at least you made someone else unhappy? And how long does that last before the darkness creeps back in and the voice in your head continues to tell you how unloveable and unfuckable you are?
I’m going to go ahead and lay my money down that the answers are “not at all” and “as soon as I hit ‘send’”.
So unless you decided that the best way to break this cycle for yourself is to perpetuate malignant stereotypes older virgins – and again, how’s that working out for you? – perhaps it’s time to take a different approach. Y’know, seeing as how you asked how you can stop feeling this way.
Now, normally, when I get these letters, I tell people that part of the process of changing how you see yourself is to change how you talk about yourself. As weird, sad and woo as it sounds, positive self-talk makes a huge difference in your self-image, in your emotional resilience and your overall outlook. I recommend that they dress in ways that make them feel like a sexy motherfucker, to compliment themselves while looking in the mirror and to find things that both bring them joy and make them stand out. And of course, I tell them to get the fuck off the sites, forums and videos that they’re using to self-harm.
But in this case, I want to do things a little bit different. If you’ve read my column for a while, then you already know this, or at least you should. So instead, I want to zero back in on how you perpetuate the same stereotypes that hurt you so much. You say that you can’t imagine someone being compassionate and non-judgemental about your being an older virgin? Well it’s time to change that.
It’s time for you to be the person who you think doesn’t exist. I want you to start practicing some serious compassion and acceptance and embracing being non-judgmental. But not for yourself. I want you to practice this for other people. I want you to start being the person who says “Hey, being a virgin doesn’t say anything about you other than you haven’t had this experience yet” to the people in the same predicament as you. I want you to start telling people that their worth or value as individuals has nothing to do with how many people they have or haven’t slept with and that the folks who are the loudest about shaming people for being virgins are pushing bullshit ideas because they need other people to buy into it. I want you to tell people that they’re awesome, that they’re looking good today, that your sexual history or lack thereof is nothing but a data point.
I want you to start sincerely working towards being someone that friends and acquaintances can come to and say “hey, I feel bad because I’m a virgin” and know that they will be received with understanding and support. Support that doesn’t just focus on “ok, so here’s how you get laid ASAP”.
I want you to put compassion and empathy into the world at a greater rate than the misery and pain you’ve perpetuated. If you find those stereotypes and assumptions hurtful – and considering how much they’re fucking with your self-perception, I’d say it hurts you quite a bit – then it’s time for you to be one of the voices that break that cycle. Not because it’ll get you laid, but because it’s the right thing to do. As the man once said: you gotta be one of the good guys, ’cause there’s way too many of the bad.”
Oh, and one more thing. Besides the advice I’ve given to other men who’ve convinced themselves that women would never love them because they’re not some platonic ideal, I would suggest that you watch Thought Slime’s video “Can I Learn To Love My Body?” I’m not gonna lie, it’s a rough watch. They get very raw and honest about how they feel and how they are their own worst enemy and their struggles with their weight. But for all that, I think it’s going to be vital watching, because I suspect you’re going to see a lot of yourself in this and a lot of the same hurt and pain that Thought Slime expresses is going to be very familiar to you.
Why should you watch this? Because I think not only does it demolish a lot of the supposed “arguments” that your jerkbrain whispers in your ear, but I think seeing just how much other folks are hurting in such real, raw ways will help you realize what you’ve been doing to yourself and, importantly, the way you’ve been spreading that pain to others. And how none of it helps. It doesn’t make you feel better, it doesn’t make the world a better place and it doesn’t change anything. It just means more people are miserable, a net negative for everyone.
Breaking the cycle of hate and pain and hurting others because you’re hurt needs to change. It needs someone to say “Enough.” It needs someone to say “I’m going to be the person I needed in my darkest hour, and I’m going to be that person for others.”
Create some compassion and understanding for others, and you’ll be amazed at how it manages to help build some for yourself. And you need that right now. Just as much as the others do.
Someone’s got to get that ball rolling. It may as well be you. And if it helps you learn to love yourself and to love your body, no matter what shape you’re in? Well, that’s going to be a hell of a gift to you too, isn’t it?
This post was previously published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished on Medium.
You Might Also Like These From The Good Men Project
|Compliments Men Want to Hear More Often||Relationships Aren’t Easy, But They’re Worth It||The One Thing Men Want More Than Sex||..A Man’s Kiss Tells You Everything|
Join The Good Men Project as a Premium Member today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
A $50 annual membership gives you an all access pass. You can be a part of every call, group, class and community.
A $25 annual membership gives you access to one class, one Social Interest group and our online communities.
A $12 annual membership gives you access to our Friday calls with the publisher, our online community.
Register New Account
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: iStock