I ended things with Andy* after an argument one night when he complained about my pajamas — they weren’t attractive enough to lie around and watch TV in. But I am convinced that his years of being manipulative with women to get what he wanted as a PUA — a phone number, a one-night stand — taught him that the opposite sex was something he could control.
Nope, I’m not making this up: that was really his concern. He freaked out at various points in our relationship when he was fearful of relinquishing control.
My ex-boyfriend didn’t advertise his PUA past, especially not on the online dating site that first connected us.
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Ladies are called difficult, needy, manipulate, crazy, shrill, and a whole litany of other qualities which make you wonder why these men are obsessed with the opposite sex (especially given how MRAs so revile us).
Clearly, I’ve set the stage to make my ex-boyfriend sound like a douchebag.
I tried to ignore it, or at least explain it away, but I couldn’t help but become concerned by the uncomfortable vibe he gave off.
“Dehumanizing” is too harsh a word for his attitude, but over time there was no doubt in my mind that he thought that some women were not equal to other women and not equal to him.
Not coincidentally, comments about sticking to writing about makeup or fashion are the same dismissive remarks that get made to me online by MRA trolls. I guess I saw Andy* in these individual moments as more curmudgeonly or persnickety rather than misogynist.
It was only when I looked at them in aggregate that I realized he was relentless in his complaints about the fairer sex.
But when the red flag is that he sees you as part of an entirely different species, you should run.
[dc]W[/dc]ithout a doubt, online dating can be quite challenging.
But the honest truth is that Andy* was intelligent, witty, good-looking and funny — the complete opposite of the basement dwelling loser that some other feminist bloggers would have you believe all PUAs to be.
Whatever you’re thinking a PUA might look or be like, I bet Andy wouldn’t fit it.
(A decent background explanation of online PUAs is here on Buzzfeed; my piece about men training to be PUAs in NYC “charm school” classes that ran in the a few years ago tells you how they behave “in the field.”) Sounds dehumanizing? It’s disturbing then, but not entirely surprising, how some PUA sites overlap with “men’s rights activist”/MRA sites — best known for being angry hornets’ nests of bitter men who rant their misogyny in any comment thread that doesn’t ban them.