In the days following Alek Minassian’s deadly Toronto terror attack, reporters have sought to explain and diagnose the so-called “incel” ideology that inspired it. What any literate person can agree upon is that the online community of incels — “involuntarily celibate” men — enfolds a ghastly vein of rage aimed primarily at women but also at certain male specimens they call Chads.
Like most incel jargon, the “Chad” label is both wildly ambiguous and viscerally understood. There’s a sort of “I know one when I see one” ethos to Chad identification. Nonetheless, assumption holds that Chad is conventionally attractive, enough so that his female counterpart, the “Stacy,” will freely pleasure him without expecting emotional or intellectual labor in return. You or I, then, might imagine Chad as a muscley but unenlightened fellow — aka the popular jock. Yet by some reckonings, any non-incel is Chad.
This is confusing. I’m tall, have a decent jawline and am in a long-term romantic relationship — but does that make me a Chad? I’m not, like, a bodybuilder or wealthy venture capitalist. I don’t pick up a steady succession of bombshell Stacys at the club.
More importantly, as a guy, I need to make everything about me, so I wanted to understand how I fit into the extended incel universe. Do they consider me a Chad, or is there some other epithet they’d use? They seem to have no shortage of terminology — surely they’ve made room in their worldview to characterize a somewhat gawky, bookish fellow like myself.
So I went straight to the incels on Reddit and asked which archetype fit me best.
Although a majority of the incels took issue with me, an admitted sex-haver, even posting in their forum — “OUT,” one commented, while others noted my “low IQ” — I did garner a few enlightening replies. “What the fuck is Becky?” asked user dasyhdskj. “That’s some shit made up by journalists. The correct term is ‘roastie’ as in ‘roast beef labia’ which journalists don’t want to circulate because they know men will find it funny and start using it.”
It’s an interesting theory that points to the misconception that vaginas are gradually ruined by coitus, though I happen to know for a fact that some incels do separate sexually available women into Beckys and Stacys, as in this meme:
And so far, I hadn’t read anything to the challenge theory that I’m a Becky-presenting man — a basic white dude with a sex life. Then redditor zsiwpoprod jumped in with quite a bit of useful information on the ecosystem of Beckys and non- or near-Chad males.
It dawned on me here that there’s no strong prescriptivist authority for sussing out the precise definitions for all this slang — and as such, incels develop highly personalized glossaries. But I have, since puberty, been “able to hook up with relative ease,” and am therefore, according to one metric, a “Brad” or a “Chadlite.”
Still, for whatever reason, it was important to me that I got a proper name, which feels at once more evocative and translatable than most of the incels’ derogatory buzzwords for men who manage to catch women’s interest, such as “numale,” “soy boy,” “beta” and “cuck.” These slurs have slightly different valences, but in sum, they refer to weak-willed men who have debased themselves on the altars of feminism and political correctness to get laid. “Norman,” being merely an homage to the overly broad and diluted “normie,” isn’t much better.
“Brad,” too, strikes me as a bit of a cop-out and not sufficiently discernable from Chad. They sound like brothers with a YouTube prank channel.
So why not ask my actual friends to help me figure out the male-Becky name that continues to elude the incel community? Presently, the binary between Chad and incel is far too polar; there ought to be a rich spectrum from total sexlessness to constantly fucking, with me somewhere in the middle. I took to Twitter to solicit ideas and suggestions toward this noble end.
Offered two new name options that sounded promising, I was able to poll my followers on which suited me best: Chad, Brad, Todd or Dale. (Clearly the truncated, single-syllable names are ideal for categorizing men, while the flouncy two-syllable names ending in “y” are irrefutably feminine.) The voters were split, though they more or less dismissed the notion of a “Brad” identity, while a fifth considered me qualified for Chadhood. More than a quarter, however, were satisfied with Todd, and a plurality went with Dale. I can see why: Dale lacks the meathead masculinity of a Chad persona, slotting neatly into a softer, innocuous mold. Dale probably has a liberal arts degree and at least believes that women aren’t commodities in some “sexual marketplace.” He’s read Simone de Beauvoir and can flirt without making his crush text her roommates to call the police if she’s not home within the next hour. Maybe he likes his sexual partners to dominate him a little.
Yes, damn it, I’m a Dale — and I’m not ashamed to say so.
Incels have a lot of problems, the biggest being that they misunderstand the very nature of those problems: They believe their hostility toward women is the result of continued rejection, when in fact the attitude precedes and preserves sexual failure. But even the backwards ideology they’ve crafted to legitimize their baseline hatred, however baroque, is only half-formed. Their archetypes have no basis in reality, and so they lack the vocabulary to observe the world the rest of us live in.
Until they adopt language that reflects the numberless shades of gray to human attraction, they’ll be stuck in a realm of forced absolutes, of normies and incels, Chads and Stacys. They can’t become Dales if they don’t know Dales exist.
I can’t pretend we’re perfect models for how men ought to be, but hey, it’s a nice alternative to despising half the population while craving their bodies. It’s not too late, boys — the Dales are always accepting new applications.