It doesn’t matter who you are or what you bring to the table — no man can compete with Nathan Fielder.
This is obvious from the breathless remarks of the women who love him, and the men who know they cannot be him. And ahead of the release of his forthcoming HBO show The Rehearsal and his New York Magazine cover this week, the love for Fielder has reached its pinnacle.
“You ask your girl who they’d use their celebrity hall pass on expecting Michael B. Jordan or Andrew Garfield or something and they always answer with like, Nathan Fielder,” one viral tweet from @catholicdad420 argues. “Nathan Fielder is kind of the new Marilyn Monroe,” a post from @bunnygirl415 adds. In response to the magazine cover, which features Fielder shirtless, you can find several comments that range from people being horny, to afraid they’ll lose their girlfriends, to the “raw sexuality” he exudes.
What’s hot about Fielder is that he appears to be an empty vessel. As Vulture described him in a profile this week, he has a “bland charmlessness” that he wields into absurdity. By presenting himself as so painfully and awkwardly devoid of a personality, he’s able to draw out the uncomfortable quirks and realities of others. In doing so, he displays a certain observant capacity and a deep understanding of human nature — real hot shit, if you ask me.
What some women fantasize about, then, is the prospect of being known by a man whom there is seemingly nothing to know about in return. It is to elicit desire from a person who has otherwise never displayed an emotion. It is to have carnal familiarity with someone who has made himself impossible to be truly familiar with. And in that sense, it is to experience desire, unencumbered by anything else.
But also, there’s this: Nathan Fielder is handsome in an undistracting, unintimidating way with his salt-and-pepper hair, obvious wit and demonstrable success — you don’t get a Comedy Central show followed by another one on HBO without some talent (though I’m sure a few have managed with less). It seems somewhat apparent that the Nathan Fielder we see on TV is a persona, a very good one, and it’s therefore clear that somewhere beneath this character lies a living, breathing man capable of emotions beyond droll indifference. He was even once married, meaning he has likely felt love and had sex before.
Beyond that, we know little of who he really is. Even in his Vulture profile, we catch only glimpses. For example, he once broke down crying in the middle of a big meeting while his divorce was happening and then began seeing a therapist. We don’t learn much about him from these anecdotes, yet they remain illuminating and endearing just the same, particularly in contrast to the element of cringe his comedy tends to deliver. More so than laugh, Fielder makes people wince. His work can feel impossible to watch. But what better to contrast pure revulsion with than unbridled horniness?
This is really all we have when we talk about Nathan Fielder. His willingness to explore the depths of the human experience in such an uncomfortable way suggests a more pleasurable antithesis may be at play. And yet, he remains a total mystery. This is why no one else can do what Nathan Fielder does to women online — with anyone else, we already know too much.