Dating sounds like fun

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(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.

She'd seen him with his dog at a party a few weeks back.

Now they're losers, weirdos, and potential monsters.

This contributes to a climate where, as Michael sees it, it's better to "just keep quiet, because otherwise you can be misinterpreted in all sorts of negative ways." For Michael, our conversations were minefields, with the potential for misspeaking—or being quoted out of context—lurking in the shadow of every question. Too much hate, too many "crazy ideas." So why, I ask, is he still running the place? "Partly habit." We're sitting in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment.

But here's the thing: While I wouldn't call Michael handsome, he struck me as a fine, average-looking guy.

In fact, if I had to guess, I'd say the aspect of his appearance that gives him the most trouble is his default expression of protective skepticism. " People on frequently commiserate over moments like these: moments where the assumption is that everyone is having sex, no big deal. "None." ON MAY 23, 2014, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree in Isla Vista, California, murdering six people and injuring 14 others.

" She sat on a nearby step and beckoned over Michael's skittish beagle, rubbing its face and cooing: What a nice dog, what a cute dog, what a friendly dog.

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Previous mass shooters—from Marc Lépine in Montreal in 1989 to Pittsburgh's George Sodini in 2009—had expressed similar sentiments.

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.

Other users call themselves "incels," meaning "involuntary celibates," or "Forever Alone," which requires no explanation.

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.

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