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Male Loneliness is Killing Us
A review of The Unplugged Alpha by professional feminist hater, Richard Cooper
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On dates, Richard Cooper describes his job as, “a board adviser in a national financial services business, real estate investor, and I do my own private equity investing.” Most women, he writes in his book The Unplugged Alpha, don’t know what that means. That’s why he says it.
He does this to assert that his SMV (sexual market value) is higher than theirs. They are supposed to infer from his jumble of LinkedIn buzzwords that he earns money. It’s a dominance tactic. And in the game of relationships, Cooper is a violent tactician.
But if you Google Richard Cooper, his job is simply “YouTuber.”
Whatever he claims he does for work, Cooper is best known for his YouTube channel “Entrepreneurs in Cars,” which has over 687K subscribers. In his most popular videos, he warns men against dating single mothers and women with tattoos.
Cooper also occasionally goes viral on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, by posting screenshots of women’s dating profiles to make his point that women are leeches and just want a high-value man to take care of them. On August 12, Cooper shared a screenshot of a Reddit post ostensibly by a 41-year-old woman who regretted her divorce. She left her husband, the post read, because “I thought I was a great catch because I’m still very beautiful for my age and I lost my mom bod so I thought I could do better than him so I left him…” The post goes on to describe how her ex is married to a beautiful woman 10 years his junior, and now she — the post’s alleged author — has gained 20 lbs and is alone, and miserable.
The post went viral, in part because of people noting that a woman most definitely did not write it. “Of everything that never happened, this never happened the most,” one user wrote.
After he triggers the feminists with his bold red-pilled truths on Elon Musk’s X, Cooper shares a link to his book The Unplugged Alpha.
Read this book to learn the truth about women and about life, the marketing copy reads. Naturally, I ordered a copy.
But America is in the vise grip of lonely men. Their politics and their violence are choking us to death.
Even positive online reviews of The Unplugged Alpha are quick to point out its obvious factual errors. Cooper uses a lot of unsourced statistics and observations to declare things like that men are worse off financially after a divorce (false: statistically, it’s women) and that women are driven by a biological clock (also false, and an increasing number of women are choosing not to have children). In the opening chapter, he declares that the world is female-oriented because there are more efforts to have women become CEOs than work in the coal mines (okay, both are male-dominated fields); because men are more likely to be victims of violent crime (true! But it’s violence by other men, which is something men and women have in common — we are victims of male violence); and because men were killed in wars while women were just made to be war brides (sir, that’s rape). He also loves to point out that women are more likely to take low-paying jobs so they can find a man to take care of them. He gets everything at least 20 percent right. Yes, women still earn less to the male dollar; live in a country without affordable childcare or parental leave; are more likely to be the primary caretakers; and do the majority of the housework. It’s not that we are taking low-paying jobs to be drains on men; those jobs are often the only ones that work with the realities of our lives.
Cooper’s book, self-published, is another error-riddled angry screed from another angry man who felt entitled to relationships with women, got dumped, and then decided to gamify the operation. He is a living double standard: a single father who hates single mothers. He’s a divorced man who hates divorced women. He brags about his sexual experience but warns against women with sexual experience.
For Cooper, relationships are explicitly transactional. “Men and women have little in the way of common interests; other than men wanting to have sex with women and women wanting to extract attention or resources from men,” he writes.
So the lesson is to treat women like useless broads. Run them through tests. See if they’ll tattoo their name on you. Treat them like spinning plates in a juggler's hands — keep many of them spinning at once.
Cooper is almost worth writing off as another loud voice of angry men in a culture of isolated angry men. But America is in the vise grip of lonely men. Their politics and their violence are choking us to death.
Every day I wake up to see another story of a lonely and angry man who got a gun and shot up a school, a church, a grocery store.
To read the headlines, the male loneliness epidemic is at a crisis point. New York Times columnists encourage women to just have sex with men, as if perhaps the seething rage and isolation weren’t contributing to a lack of sex. Or maybe, people suggest, men should play pickleball. Even an article in the Washington Post seems to indicate that women are surging ahead and men are struggling. (Not exactly true, but okay.)
It’s hard to be a mother and a woman and more than three years into a pandemic and see this concerned hand-wringing and not be reminded that women fared worse in 2020; that women are also isolated and lonely and are still doing poorly, and in response are now facing a country that is further restricting their rights to bodily autonomy while men play the victim.
This isn’t to say men aren’t suffering; it’s just that their suffering apparently merits a level of concern that women’s suffering never has.
While reading Cooper’s book I laughed at the ridiculous tropes of misogyny, like the idea that feminists all have blue hair and are obese and all live with cats. But I also had the gut-sinking realization that I’ve encountered his belief system in the wild, in the minds of men who identified as good liberals — men who thought a woman shouldn’t have male friends, men who thought a woman shouldn’t be posting selfies, men who thought that single mothers were broken or good only for sex. The ridiculous extremes are easy to quote and mock; it’s the more insidious expectations that settle into the psyches. Even now, as I write this, I can hear the keyboards typing away, “Not me! Not all men!” Or worse, “I’m sorry you chose to date those men” as if in the choosing I was the one who erred and not the men in their behavior.
We want to make misogyny the outlier, the realm of the shitposting red-pilled men online. Still here we are. Reproductive rights are being taken away. Trans kids are being harmed. Mass shootings are on the rise.
And I still have people tell me that women should band together to solve these problems.
Men are lonely. Everyone is lonely. But Richard Cooper has weaponized his loneliness. He’s started a group where men who give him a couple thousand dollars can hang out with him and other dudes. They can chat together. They can bond over cars and how to bring down no-fault divorce. Cooper also has moments where he is right. He advises men to dress better because it will help them feel better. This is true. He says men should hire a photographer to take better pictures of themselves for the apps. They should! It’s great advice. Even better advice would be to have your friends help you out here. Nothing makes me feel more loved by my friends when they grab my phone and take a flattering picture of me.
While reading the book I had some moments of himpathy, as Kate Manne calls it. I am sorry, I can’t help it. But there were moments that felt so sad. A man who says he has nothing in common with women still desperately seeking a relationship with them. A man who wants love but finds nothing lovable in the world he sees. I’m not being a pick-me, it really seems like an awful life.
As the sociologist Jane Ward points out in her book The Tragedy of Heterosexuality, men crave companionship from a gender they’ve been raised to despise. Women, by contrast, are socialized to love and embrace male interests and hobbies. It has to be awful — to be trained to hate everything about a person, and yet still desire that person. Cooper wants to be with women, but he doesn’t even know how to like them.
But the place to work that out is therapy, not in a YouTube channel where you full on monologue for hours about the dangers of single mothers.
I sometimes wonder about the thin membrane that separates me from Cooper. After all, I too have written a book about divorce. I’ve written about how marriage is a government-funded system that does not benefit women. Reading Cooper’s book, I wondered if I am just the inverse of Cooper — a woman who thinks marriage is just a scam for men to eke unpaid labor out of women.
But Cooper’s response to heartbreak is to gamify and commodify love and relationships, until it is nothing more than a Bitcoin exchange. Where even his self-worth is built not on who he is, but on his external sexual market value.
Cooper doesn’t believe in relationships.
But relationships are what I have always believed in — relationships, stripped of capitalist enterprise, are what I want to redeem. But there can be no relationship without love and there can be no love without justice and there can be no justice without equality, and that doesn’t happen when your version of relationships is oppressive, small, and built on gamesmanship.
This version of connection I believe in is intentional and actionable and it’s radical and it’s love, love a word that never ever appears in Cooper’s book except in reference to cars or to sneeringly dismiss it as a feeling that cucks fall for. Because despair and oppression are easier systems to embrace than the raw-skinned vulnerability of love.
But why listen to me? I am the kind of woman Cooper warns about. I have more than one red flag from his list of red flags. I’m a feminist with tattoos, daddy issues, and children. I’m the woman these men warn about. I am a woman who loves cats, dyes, her hair, loves her friends so fiercely, and is so happy in her solitude and community. In sum, I am a woman so unruly and impossible, that I’ll never settle for less than full love and equality.
Of course, bell hooks wrote about this in All About Love,
“Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner's love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother's love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant.”
I found this article by Hilary Clinton on the weaponization of male loneliness thoughtful and comprehensive.
I also thought this newsletter byon how to encourage your sons to have friendships was very helpful.
This review of Cooper’s book made me laugh. “The first thing you need to know is that Richard Cooper is divorced. Very, very divorced. Possibly the most divorced man in the history of divorces, but he’s honestly, honestly, honestly not bitter. Except he exudes so much Dark Divorced Man Energy that we are in danger of possibly seeing the birth of a Supermassive Divorced Man at the centre of the galaxy.”
But also, the review could do without the body shaming. Men, stop body-shaming each other!