He seemed quiet, except for his clothes. He wore a jaunty plaid hat and his wool coat reminded me of a Confederate soldier’s. There were anti-PC pins on it.
“I’ve met a lot of women,” he said. “I’ve noticed that the girls in their 20s like to have fun and the women around 30, they want to get more serious…”
I’d met up that night for drinks with a fellow Thought Catalog writer. He’d just left. Elias told me he didn’t like mainstream media. I referenced Paglia. He countered with Evola. We both read Robert Greene. We kept going until I pulled the trump card:
There’s a point in a girl’s life when she needs it. This was that point. In 2017 I almost got married. I failed. I’d only lived in New York for six months when I met him; I was definitely influenced by Sex and the City.
But it was deeper than that. Freud teaches us about the repetition compulsion: how we get used to patterns. Our past. Our families. I grew up listening to a very specific brand of redpilled firespeak. Not about government. About sex. My line is full of bad men and the women who lost their souls to them. I guess my id still thinks that if I can earn the approval of these men full of hate: the men who are least inclined to grant it-then bad men won’t hurt me. I told Elias about my recent borderline personality disorder diagnosis as he walked me home.
The next day I sent screenshots of the pages from Man and His Symbols that described the male rite of passage towards marriage.
She never loved again
“The novice for initiation is called upon to give up willful ambition and all desire and to submit to the ordeal,” the text portended. “Only by such an act of submission can he experience rebirth.”
“Most of the Proud Boys want to get married,” Elias said, answering my question before I asked it. “I think some of us kind of need a father figure to tell us what to do.”
Elias has what I’ve found to be a not-uncommon conservative origin story. His parents are divorced. His father was married three times, to progressively younger women. His mother was the second wife. His father’s third wife, a girl in her twenties, left him. Now he’s old and alone, too.
The son wants to be better than the father. He wants to know love. Which means, sometimes, that we have to ignore our base instincts. Christianity is as much a set of principles as a man in the sky.
Elias was on a Tinder spree
“Gavin wants to teach us responsibility,” he said. “We can’t have guys running around in their 40s, trying to act like they’re 20. The Proud Boys are saying ‘hey guys, step up. Marry these girls already.’”
We met again in another bar. This time he wore houndstooth. He’d gone vegan. He was eating a cucumber. I ordered pumpkin ale and he pulled out a bottle with some purple liquid.
“Minerals,” he said. “I’m trying to live a clean lifestyle.” In accordance with the Proud Boys’ steps towards enlightenment, he was also doing No Fap.
Sort of, he said. But he lived a temperate lifestyle to begin with. Despite believing Christianity is the best moral guide, he’s a Buddhist. He was a Buddhist before he was a Proud Boy. I wondered how deeply he was going to get into this. His room is colorful and full of multicultural tchotchkes. Elias is mixed race and comes from a well-traveled family. He talks about race as identity, and racial differences. He gets really into music. He likes all kinds, but his favorite is ’80s.