There’s a kerfuffle in the manosphere lately about a guy named Mark Minter, who apparently made a name for himself by writing “never get married” stuff, but recently surprised everyone by announcing his engagement — to a single mom, no less.
I’m not familiar with Minter, but this speaks to something I’ve thought for a while, which is that there are two distinct and somewhat incompatible groups that get lumped together under the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) label. One group might be called MGTOWP, where the P stands for Permanently. These men have declared their disinterest in women completely. They haven’t just rejected marriage, but all interest in anything involving women romantically. In fact, they criticize men for engaging in any sort of self-improvement that might be oriented toward making oneself more attractive to women, because in their eyes that’s still letting women call the shots in a way. The only acceptable plan for a man is a sort of secular monasticism that leaves women out of the picture entirely.
The second group might be labeled with the title of this post: MGTOW For A While. These guys haven’t entirely rejected women — or even marriage. They’re extremely distrustful of Marriage 2.0 and Dating 2.0 and wary of modern women in general, so they’ve declared their independence from Churchian/feminist “man up” exhortations, and have put their focus on improving themselves as men regardless of how that affects their relationships with women. And yet they are still interested in women and hopeful that there are women out there who are virtuous and/or sensible enough that, guided by a strong man, they could have relationships that could successfully navigate the pitfalls of Dating 2.0 and Marriage 2.0 and work out well for the couple involved. They recognize that relationships with women (especially marriage) are very risky today, but think they could be workable with the right man and woman in the right circumstances.
Of these two groups, the MGTOWP tend to be the loudest and thus lead the conversation. It’s not hard to see why: they’re angrier (often for good reason) and their position is simpler and easier to articulate: women aren’t worth the risk, period. That’s a bold stance and a striking flag to rally troops around. A man who has been burned by anything from a dishonest LJBF speech to a brutal child support reaming will find the MGTOWP flag inspiring. Any man who’s in a “women suck!” frame of mind — which again may be for very valid reasons — will be drawn to that camp. On the other hand, not many men declare themselves to be MGTOWFAW, because that’s more complicated and seems wishy-washy.
However, I don’t think many men are really MGTOWP at heart, even those who declare themselves to be so. Some men are truly able to live happily without any intimate relationships with women, and more power to them, but they’re a small minority. As someone on another blog (can’t remember which) said recently, most single men have a woman-shaped hole in their lives that feels wrong. That’s especially true for men who got used to having that hole filled by someone and thought it was forever. Such a man may tell himself that’s not important any more — may go into denial about it, basically — but that’s not the same thing as healthy acceptance. So while he marches around the MGTOWP flag, shouting his fealty to it and loudly declaring his independence from women, there’s a part of him, maybe fully unconscious, that’s thinking, “Unless someone really different comes along.”
So most men who claim to be MGTOWP, even some who build a public image around that, are really MGTOWFAW at heart. Someday, when the anger has ebbed, he’s going to run into a woman who makes him think, “This one’s different. This one doesn’t have the red flags that signal danger; she says the right things about wanting Marriage 1.0; she can be led and I’ve become the kind of man who can lead her. This can work, and I’m willing to take the risk to try it.”
When that happens and a man whose MGTOW commitment turns out to have been FAW instead of P as he claimed, his comrades around the MGTOWP flag understandably feel betrayed. He didn’t tell them (because he didn’t know) that he was only hanging out with them to work through his anger until he was ready to try dating again! He’s declared a traitor and persona non grata. Had his stance been MGTOWFAW from the start, there would be no hypocrisy to complain about, but that milder stance wouldn’t have gotten him so much attention in the first place.
So, what’s the lesson? Basically, one should assume that most men claiming to be MGTOWP are really MGTOWFAW and will switch to a softer line at some point. Understand that some of the force behind MGTOW is anger, which, no matter how justifiable, wanes with time, so a man’s commitment to the hard-line MGTOWP will likely wane with it. Most men want a woman and want to marry her to make it exclusive, so no matter how bad the legal risk, men will continue to rationalize it, even as they get smarter about it and look for ways to reduce the risk. MGTOW will always contain a small group of men who are truly done with women, surrounded by a much larger group of guys who are constantly turning over as men get burned, turn to MGTOW for solace, and then go back to the next woman. Mark Minter won’t be the last.