"Your masterpiece," you'd probably snicker. You might even pat me on the head for it.
The Incel Excels at Art
I made this for you.
“Your masterpiece,” you’d probably snicker. You might even pat me on the head for it. And you’d be right. You were always the artistic one, after all. For me to do something like this would be downright shocking. Accountants don’t dabble in artistry.
And yet here we are. My chalk creation.
And it’s clearly identifiable. It’s definitely you. You can’t dispute this at all - I caught your curves just right in it. Perspective, shading, nuance: all things I have neither the aptitude nor the training for. But your profile? Yes, I’ve got your silhouette down perfect here, I’d have to say. Even you couldn’t argue that now.
I think back to your masterpiece, the one you wouldn’t even show me. “It’s too dark,” you’d explain, feigning embarrassment, pretending you didn’t want me to judge you badly for it. But as time went by, I realized that wasn’t it at all. The real reason you didn’t want to show me your prize creation was because you didn’t think I’d comprehend it, that I couldn’t possibly possess that depth of feeling. You deemed me to be too shallow, conventional… dull. How could I possibly feel or relate to the angst you conjured for your greatest achievement if I was nothing more than a vapid sheltered Johnny-want-to-do-his-best-and-please-everyone cardboard cutout?
It’s understandable, though. It made sense. The problem was that you really didn’t know me at all, and you expressed no motivation to dig beneath the surface of what it was that I let the world see. You always claimed to be an empath but somehow neglected to notice the inner tenderness beneath my crusty seer (“Ugh, a steak metaphor?” you’d reply. “Really?). Just because I liked a burger and fries didn’t mean I couldn’t relate to the feelings of someone who preferred tofu and sushi. That was your shallowness at play, not mine. I thought that everyone had potential somehow.
You’d pretend to be woke well before it was ever even called that. Whatever social cause’s hook was fashionable at the moment you’d unhesitatingly hang your moral high beret upon. All vim, outrage, and condemnation yet no actual contemplation beyond that to the implications of it all. Did you really want to defund the police? In your neighborhood?
You’d rail against misogyny and homophobia. I’d point out that men were bigger than women, that the propagation of the species called for heterosexuality. It was simply biology – why’d you need to go and make it all convoluted? I’d accuse you of just being bored, of creating your own entertainment just by stirring the pot. You needed a harmless hobby, I figured. It’s a shame you never got into sports. It would make our Sunday afternoons so much more compatible.
You’d call me simple, too easily influenced by my parents, my friends, by the media circles I followed. I’d argue that we all are, just in different proportions, everything always coming back to math in the end. Life was orderly, the universe itself was ultimately orderly. Why did we have laws of physics, after all, if there wasn’t some sort of logic and plan beyond everything? You’d concede to agree with me on this point to some degree, at least as far as the field of astrology was concerned. At which I’d just throw my hands in the air.
Even the fact we were together for so long, I figured, was a testament to biology at work. In no right world should our lives have been so long intertwined if pheromones and natural selection weren’t at play in some way. If you were a guy, I’d have never even said hello to you. But with your doe eyes, pouty lips, perfectly wide hips, and preference for jeans that would hug your backside in just the ideal way, I really had no choice. I was simply a slave to my sexual psyche. And while you’d be loath to admit it, you no doubt felt the same, taking special pride every time your grandma told you what a handsome young beau you had or when your friends would giggle at my jokes when I’d innocently flirt with them.. Instead of admitting it, though, you’d chalk it up to you enjoying a challenge, to opposite personalities attracting, to whatever moon sign the sun was rising for in Venus at that moment.
I don’t know. It didn’t seem complicated. I just thought we dug each other. We really did, at least for a while.
Fast forward to now, though. To you now, with him. To him, who supposedly did understand you. To him, who couldn’t ever hold down a stable job and would depend on you to pay the rent every month. To him, who took the little money he did make and quickly flushed it into Pabst Blue Ribbon and weed. What on earth happened? Was he in your stars, did Mercury just happen to be in retrograde at the perfect time when he first walked by?
It doesn’t make any sense. I’m a scientist, I’m a logician, I’m an analyst. Things are supposed to make sense. I find myself playing the Coldplay song “The Scientist” in my car incessantly on the way home from work now. You’d mock me for that of course, and I honestly couldn’t even argue. We both hated Coldplay. Still do, I imagine.
It’s not just Coldplay either. I find myself playing commercial radio a lot now too, finding myself mouthing words to songs by Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. It feels like their whole catalog is about them getting jilted by an ex-lover. It’s all so girly, and yet at the same time, so universal. You see? I can relate. All too well, unfortunately.
Do you understand now? I can hurt too. But I’ll bet he’s seen your painting. All that PBR and weed must suggest to you a crippled soul, someone who needs to be numbed to the negative experiences he’s had. Well, did it ever occur to you that some of us might try to take the high road out of our misfortune? That we don’t need to revel in self-destruction when things don’t go our way? That we see it as a chance to learn, a chance to grow, an opportunity for self-actualization? Or is that maybe just too mystical of a concept for you, for you the unfair and unjust Libra who so believed and advocated for everything that was supposedly so right and true?
Oh well, no matter now. You won’t be going home to him tonight, at least. You always said you wanted to defund the police, and for once, I did something to imply agreement with you. I’m actually going to save our law enforcement officers some labor tonight, some material cost too, that way their budgets won’t need to be as exorbitantly high as you would certainly claim them to be. Because as I lay your limp body down on the ground and leave it there for the rats and flies to devour while you decay, I know that when your body is finally discovered, the police will notice that the chalk outline I’ve drawn directly underneath you is already an absolutely perfect match for all your curves and crevices. Because it truly is a masterpiece. They’ll decide that it’s pointless to even try to draw another one themselves, saving them both man-hours and materials.
You see? For once, we agree.