One man has a suggestion to solve socially-awkward men's dating woes: Institute a government program which would pay women to go on dates with them.
This is evidently not a joke. The blog "governmentsgetgirlfriends" is dedicated to discussing the issues of "incel" men (short for "involuntary celibacy"). According to the anonymous author of the blog, who says that he identified as incel from age 14 to 24, being involuntarily celibate means:
... chronic near-total or total absence in a person’s sexuality of intimate relationships or sexual intercourse that is occurring for reasons other than voluntary celibacy, asexuality, antisexualism, or sexual abstinence. It is the psycho-social opposite of having a sex life. Incel people, despite being open to sexual intimacy and potential romance with another person and also making active, repeated efforts towards such an end, cannot cause any such end(s) to occur with any significant degree of regularity -- or even at all.
He goes on to suggest that governments fund programs in which women apply and are paid for going on blind dates with these socially-crippled men. (Unclear what socially anxious gay men or women are supposed to do.) "Women would freely apply for such program, as would incel men. Every woman would have a limit of 30 dates," the blog explains. "If she doesn’t find a suitable partner during those 30 days she will be fired to prevent scammers -- however, she would be paid the full sum, as would a woman who finds a partner during one of these 30 dates."
Some of the commenters on "governmentsgetgirlfriends" seem understandably skeptical about the suggestion -- especially since it comes from a man who proclaims that he has "called some women on Tumblr b*tches, cunts and other names [but] that has nothing to do with misogyny." (Right.)
One commenter, helly, contends that the program would be insulting to both men and women. A male commenter, Johnny, expressed that this man's inability to interact with women might have more to do with his expectations of women and less to do with his awkwardness. He wrote:
Is…. Is this a joke?? I’m fat, pimply, out of shape, a WOW nerd and not to mention shy and even I can EASILY find women willing to have sex with me. (Yes, FOR FREE.) Some guys seem to believe that they’re entitled to any woman they want, at any time. Doesn’t work that way ... Try not being a self-centered jerk.
Social anxiety is a real mental health issue that can cripple both men and women's romantic lives, and those who struggle with it are certainly deserving of help and compassion. This scheme isn't the answer. The dating market can be bleak enough without introducing monetary incentives and the sexual expectations that often come along with them. How about some good ole therapy, the kind that addresses the source of the anxiety, doesn't teach that women are sexual service providers and doesn't suggest that anyone is "entitled" to sex or romantic love?
So what do you think? What's the best way to support men and women with these sort of disorders?