Men Who Hate Women
He wasn’t very good with women.
Not that, you know, he had a problem. No. It was nothing like that.
Sometimes he would read articles about the kind of men who formed misogynist groups—men who had terrible body odor or perhaps a club foot, things like that — and feel a profound sense of thankfulness that he was different. No, he was a regular man, well-formed enough, just a little nervous in his interactions with women.
His first real crush was on a girl in high school — gray eyes, he remembered, and a body all the seniors talked about—and he’d suffered it quietly, not dreaming he could do anything about it. Not in high school, when he had constellations of pimples and the hint of an overbite. He’d always been intelligent, he did exceptionally well in school, but that didn’t count for much with teenage girls. He resigned himself to being sexless in high school, but he hoped things would change in adulthood; that the cliché of reinventing yourself could hold true.
It did, kind of. He grew a little taller — though he knew five feet nine inches didn’t really qualify him as tall — and he filled out some in the shoulders. The thought of going to the gym intimidated him: He couldn’t relate to the kind of men who lifted weights there and interrogated each other about their macros. There was a primitiveness to it, a kind of performativity he found distasteful.
He could grow facial hair now. He thought this added a quality of intensity to his face women would appreciate. He’d never had a real girlfriend, though, and he wondered why. Once, a teacher told him he could come off abrasive, as if he were judging the students who didn’t do as well on assignments as he did. He supposed this was true, but he secretly thought people should be able to see past the façade. In truth, he was not at all judgmental. Cerebral men, he knew, were often mistaken to be harsh.
There was Jane, in college. Jane was the closest he had come. They’d met in Greek Drama, a course he’d taken only because it fit into his weird schedule. (Much to his surprise, he loved it. He thought the Greeks had the right idea about the tragedy of existence.) She had dark hair, long dark…