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Blake Nelson’s The Red Pill

1,620 words

Blake Nelson
The Red Pill: A Novel
Bombardier Books, 2019

This is a novel about a divorced man in his early 40s learning to navigate the contemporary dating scene. Martin Harris grew up in Portland, Oregon, went east for college and worked for an advertising agency in New York for ten years. Returning home, he cofounds a successful agency. But this professional success does not seem to translate into the new world of internet dating. He meets a series of middle-aged women at Starbucks, converses with them for forty-five minutes, discovers that all are “seriously flawed in some obvious way,” and never sees any of them again.

The action begins in early 2016. Martin’s sister Sadie recommends he get advice from her husband Rob who “got into that pickup artist stuff in his twenties.” This embarrasses Martin because he feels superior to his brother-in-law who dropped out of community college, works in construction, and drives a pickup. Worst of all, Rob likes Donald Trump. Nevertheless, he agrees to talk to Rob, who begins by explaining why internet dating is usually futile:

“It’s what they call a buffer. It’s a thing that allows you to do something, without actually doing it.” “It’s easy to write up a profile. You’re sitting there in your basement and you write some crap about yourself. Then some girl, sitting around in her sweatpants, she writes something about herself: ‘I live life to the fullest, blah blah.’ So you match or whatever and go on a coffee date and talk about what TV shows you watch. And that’s the problem, no adventure, no excitement, no risk. And so naturally nothing happens. It’s boring. It’s routine. But it’s easy. So you do it.”

“But what’s the alternative?” asked Martin.

“The alternative is, you approach.”

Later on, Rob accompanies Martin to a café to practice approaching women, with the following result:

The women ignored Martin as he approached. They were still talking when he stopped beside their table and stood over them. At that moment, the “friend” was speaking while the “target”—Rob’s words—was listening. That was unfortunate timing. But there was nothing to be done. “Hi,” blurted Martin. The word fell tumbling out of his mouth like something thrown out of an airplane. The friend continued to speak as though Martin wasn’t there. “Hi,” said Martin again, louder this time. Without stopping her flow of words, the friend turned her face up toward Martin. The target also turned her attention toward him.

“Excuse me?” said the friend. “Can I help you?” Martin felt his face flush. But he forced himself forward: “Uh…hi,” he said for a third time. “My name is Martin….” He was speaking to the table, unable to make eye contact with either of the women. “I… uh…” he stammered. “Excuse me?” said the friend. “But we’re having a conversation? In case you didn’t notice? A private conversation?” This was exactly the response Martin had expected. In a way, it helped him relax. He turned to address his target. He lifted his eyes to her and saw that she was visibly alarmed. “I wanted to say…” said Martin, trying to keep calm. “I’m with my friend.” He turned and pointed at Rob sitting at the table behind him. Rob was leaning back in his chair and casually scrolling on his phone. He didn’t look up. “And I happened to say to him, that you….” He focused again on his target, and despite being unable to hold eye contact, forced out the words, “that you were…the kind of woman…I would want to go on a date with.” The two friends looked at each other. Martin managed to raise his eyes and glance at the target’s face. Now she was blushing. “That’s very nice,” said the friend, forcefully, “but like I said, we’re in the middle of something” “—I’m married,” blurted the target. “And she’s married,” said the friend.

“Oh,” said Martin. “You know, there’s a thing called online dating,” said the friend. “If you’re that desperate.” “I’m not desperate,” mumbled Martin. “It’s just that… um….” “Okay, that’s enough,” insisted the friend. “Thank you. But we’re not interested.” She waved him away with the back of her hand. Martin wanted to obey the gesture. He wanted desperately to retreat. But his feet remained where they were. There was one more thing he was supposed to say, and he wanted to say it.

According to the pickup gurus, no approach is complete without the “number close.”

He refocused on the target. “Can I have your phone number?” “No!” said the friend. “Are you crazy? Are you deaf? She just told you she’s married! Could you please leave us alone? Or do I have to call the manager!?” The target had not spoken. Martin, with great effort, raised his gaze to her face. When his eyes met hers she shook her head no. But her face had softened somewhat. Her expression was more pity than fear. And a tiny bit of curiosity. But it didn’t matter, she was definitely shaking her head no. “Okay, thanks,” said Martin, turning quickly away.

“That’s right! Gu’bye! Thank you very much!” said the friend to his back. To the target she said in her still raised voice, “Can you believe that? What is wrong with men these days? They’re pathetic!

Older readers will not find this scene believable, but it is a caricature well-grounded in contemporary reality. I know of men who have been confronted by the police after attempting to flirt or ask a woman out. Today’s young women have been taught—and believe—that expressions of male interest are “sexual harassment” and a violation of their rights. This is one of the main messages of lesbian-dominated “Women’s Studies.” Men, of course, are getting the message.

Rob recommends some manosphere blog posts which Martin at first finds nearly incomprehensible:

The specialized lingo and endless acronyms forced Martin to constantly stop and look things up on Urban Dictionary or one of the manosphere glossary sites. But he stuck with it. The basic strategies were fairly obvious. You found a “hot babe” (hotness was rated one to ten), started “running game” (teasing, flirting), and then went for “the number close.”

The overall key to success with women in general was understanding what they wanted. What they said they wanted was a nice guy, who treated them with respect, paid for dinner, was reciprocal in the bedroom. But what they actually wanted, according to these bloggers, was an obnoxious asshole who was insanely confident and very good-looking. Not caring about what women thought about you or anything else (Zero Fucks Given or “ZFG”) was also crucially important. Women wanted to be shocked by your arrogance, dazzled by your looks, and intrigued by your indifference. Then they wanted to be banged into next week.

The act of “waking up” and accepting these “hard truths” about female sexuality was called “taking the red pill.”

Martin becomes a regular reader of “P-Crusher,” a successful pickup artist whose early efforts had resulted in fiascos similar to Martin’s. Now he blogged about “Conquering Approach Anxiety” and “The Zone: The Ultimate Approach Mind-set.” Then one day, Martin makes a disturbing discovery:

Martin was deep in the comment section of one post when he came upon an unexpected diatribe against “niglets” and American “mudsharks.” Martin had seen the term “mudshark” on one of the other blogs and now realized what it meant: a white woman who has sex with a black man. Martin physically recoiled from his computer. Where had this come from? The original post hadn’t mentioned anything about race. An anonymous commentator had just thrown it out there, apropos of nothing.

Martin then remembered seeing something about Jews in one of the other comment threads. He’d skipped over it, but went back to P-Crusher’s search slot and typed “Jew.” Out it came: anti-Semitic GIFs, rants, cartoon caricatures. Martin was horrified. The cartoon images were especially hard to get his head around. They were so crude, so childish, they belonged in a history book from another time. And yet here they were, right now.

Martin did a search for “nigger.” That was worse. There were photos. Mangled bodies, lynching memes. A short video of two black girls beating the crap out of each other in a slum in Chicago. And not all of this was in the comments section. Some of it was in the actual blog. P-Crusher himself had some choice words for the “Kebobs” who were invading his beloved England. In some cases, he appeared to be inciting his readers.

So this was the dirty secret of Rob’s manosphere: besides being unscrupulous pursuers of sex, they were also racist, right-wing lunatics.

Deeply upset, Martin cancels his next appointment with Rob. He is unable to leave the “manosphere” entirely behind, however, because he keeps running into women he likes and making use of what he learned there. One day he runs into the women he had so disastrously approached, and this time her “friend” is not with her. The woman admits she is not actually married: “I’m not sure why I said that. It just popped out.” Rob is off on his first red-pilled adventure.

Unfortunately, Martin never comes to understand why race realism could be expected to pop up in the same places brutally honest discussion of women and sex is found. He apparently ends the book as much a conventional liberal as he began, despite managing to bed a series of unappetizing-sounding divorcées and the occasional pink-haired feminist.

The Red Pill is a faithful reflection of what feminism and the sexual revolution have done to relations between the sexes in America, and the result is not pretty.




  1. Marc
    Posted June 18, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Nice review. Too bad Martin couldn’t had a few more years reading Chateau Heartiste before it recently got shoahed.

    • Lars Emilsson
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      The arguments among the commentariat were too often brutal and boomer bashing could be viscious, but, even as a boomer, I must say that over the last 8 years or so from CH and his followers, I learned more about race, evolutionary theory, group dynamics, female psychology and physiology, men’s healh and fitness, classical music, European history, and American politics than I did from all my excessive years of formal schooling or from most WN websites for that matter (Johnson and Covington excepted).

      • Captain John Charity Spring MA
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        I’m hoping it was cached and can be turned into a codex to go on the library shelf.

        It was the diary of a genius.

        The marginalia of the comments was interesting in its own right.

      • Bartolo
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        So true. When will Heartiste reappear?

        • Lexi
          Posted June 19, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          Hopefully not until Hell freezes over.

          Yes, sometimes you can get people to do what you want by acting like a machiavellian sociopath.

          Anyone who feels the need to do that in order to find a mate must be “seriously flawed in some obvious way.”

          • Captain John Charity Spring MA
            Posted June 20, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

            Heartiste wasnt sociopathic.

            You are thinking of our vibrant black and brown er um ahem urban brethren.

          • Lars Emilsson
            Posted June 22, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

            Well, it seems to me that a good dose of Machiavelianism is long overdue for us WN’s, being the cornered rats that we are.

    • Al Moonlight
      Posted June 20, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      Yep, it sounds like someone was reading Heartiste — that slow, subtle, almost unnoticeable slide from pick-up artistry into racialist thinking. It was interesting watching it happen, and Our Host got away with it for much longer than I thought he would.

  2. Dissident Hebe
    Posted June 18, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    There are indeed problems with women and feminists that need to be addressed. False rapes are common, divorce laws are unfair, hatred of men is normalized, and no one should get the cops called on them for a bad pick up. Also anti-male attitudes should not be promoted in media and academia. These are societal and political problems that will need to be addressed.

    That being said Martin is kind of a dolt and I can’t blame all his troubles on the state of sexual relations today. The women he approached in the café expressed clear disinterest but he pushed through it (PUAs call this plowing) and that’s why they freaked out at him. These women did behave badly but Martin should not have gone for the number after they expressed clear disinterest. A better strategy would have been to wait for a women who was alone and then ask her out when there were not a lot of people within earshot. Like wait until she leaves the coffee shop and talk to her outside.

    Also his first step should have been to go to the gym and improve his attractiveness. If he had a successful business he should have advertised that on his dating profiles and marketed himself to women who want security.

    PUAs are dumb because they usually neglect long term self improvement and the only tactic they teach is spam approaching. There are people online like Strength By Sonny who teach much better tactics about how to approach women and also emphasize self improvement.

    • Andrian
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

      PUA is a scam aimed at desperate men.

      • DissesMyIsland
        Posted June 20, 2019 at 1:35 am | Permalink

        Former desperate man here.

        Studied PuA and “game” (primarily at CH)

        Am now capable of going to any large city and meeting beautiful women within hours.

        No longer a desperate man.

        Stay in your lane

    • margot metroland
      Posted June 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Martin is kind of a dolt and I can’t blame all his troubles on the state of sexual relations today.

      Yeah, that’s about it. PUA hucksters and internet dating itself always seemed hopelessly pathetic to me, and have long been ripe for satire. It’s something that’s hard for writers to get a handle on because there’s a limited audience capable of getting the jokes; and anyway, someone who knows enough to satirize these things is bound to take them really seriously. Like gamers, you know.

      But even in Roger’s review here, some shiny nuggets pop out suggesting the novelist knows a lot more than he’s letting on:

      But what they actually wanted, according to these bloggers, was an obnoxious asshole who was insanely confident and very good-looking. Not caring about what women thought about you or anything else (Zero Fucks Given or “ZFG”) was also crucially important.

      Ha ha, yes indeed, because if you’re a woman, your status-rating comes from the eyes of female friends, not from what some hypothetical “men” (i.e.: betas and gammas) think. Hence the eternal attraction to the scoundrel and the quarterback and Donald Trump. One doesn’t refrain from wearing shoes that “men” think are overpriced and silly, because their opinion doesn’t matter. ZFG cuts both ways, a cardinal rule widely understood by our grandparents.

      • Captain John Charity Spring MA
        Posted June 19, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Nah it’s an old comedy theme.

        School for Scoundrels from 1960 covers PUA technique in a nice package.

  3. Captain John Charity Spring MA
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    Without reading it I think the author is just signaling to reviewers that he’s aware of the racial aspect of the manosphere but ahem rejects it.

    Frankly, being racist around women gets you laid if you are reasonably good looking and avoid being a depressive about it.

    All the hippy things girls like are SWPL and you just need to tease relentlessly about how terminally White hiking, camping, art museums, cafes, sailing, surfing, horses, cute pets, ecology, skiing etc really are. This isn’t rocket science.

  4. Captain John Charity Spring MA
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    A note on the Tory debate.

    Very depressing.

    We have an hour of well educated white men and a Pakistani being MCed by a jewess.

    Notably the BBC dredge up an Imam from Bristol, Abdullah Patel,
    who asks the panel about Boris’s prejudices about Burkahs and Hijabs, and how his community is hurt (in unspecified ways) daily by Islamophobia. Turns out the Imam ought to be on a terrorism watchlist based on his Tweets that were uncovered a day later. No friend of whitey was he.

    First instinct was probably right, woah: Allahu Akbar! Indeed. How the mighty Tory party have fallen. Groveling to filth.

  5. Lexi
    Posted June 19, 2019 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    “I’m not sure why I said that. It just popped out.”

    She said it to get rid of him without hurting his feelings.

  6. Posted June 20, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    This was very typical depressing. So American and most White Americans have no social skills.

    I’m 55, doing not bad. If you are in your 20s, are decent looking and in a good college – you’ll get some attention and relations with attractive young women. But not in grad school. Trying to date women you work with is a huge, HUGE mistake. Never do it.

    What works best for me is:

    Partner dancing – go for the most popular forms of partner dancing which is Salsa dancing now.

    If you’re a good ball sport athlete and you put in the practice time, you’ll get good at partner dancing. Young women love to partner dance. In the best forms of partner dancing the man leads and the woman follows, it leads directly to romance, sexuality one on one. It’s not a group activity.

    Best of all, there is very little TALK, TALK TALK, it’s physical. Who wants to listen to American women, even Right Wing Conservative women talk. Certainly not me.

    So let ‘s go guys. Get on the dance floor with some beautiful young ladies -it works for me.

  7. Deep North
    Posted June 20, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been trying online dating for the last seven years. Out of hundreds of messages sent, I only got a few dozen replies back and went on five one time dates. At this point it’s entertainment for me. One consequence of browsing hundreds of profiles is that my jewdar has become more efficient. Female jewish facial features definitely stick out once you know what to look for. Nearly every female online dating profile starts out with stating how much they love to travel or how much their career matters to them. Online dating definitely boost the self-image of girls whom most men wouldn’t approach unless they consumed a lot of alcohol. One Asian girl that I came across said she had over 900 likes and her message box was full. She looked like Jackie Chan.

    The real danger isn’t the obese blue haired feminist that we all know and love. It’s normal girls who are putting off dating and children while they pursue their careers and travel to “find themselves.”

  8. J C
    Posted June 21, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I miss Roissy. I wonder if Heartiste will ever return. Keen insights there.

  9. Corvinus
    Posted June 23, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “Older readers will not find this scene believable, but it is a caricature well-grounded in contemporary reality.”

    Actually, young AND older readers will find this scene as being atypical. Most women in that situation would simply say “We’re married, thank you for your interest” and move on.

    “I know of men who have been confronted by the police after attempting to flirt or ask a woman out.”

    Very few and far between.

    “Today’s young women have been taught—and believe—that expressions of male interest are “sexual harassment” and a violation of their rights.”

    That is not even remotely accurate. Did you not read CH’s blog, where the “men” there constantly number closed?

    “Unfortunately, Martin never comes to understand why race realism could be expected to pop up in the same places brutally honest discussion of women and sex is found.”

    It’s not an honest discussion, and the two topics are not even remotely on the same plane.

    The manosphere, along with men who simply do not want any steady girlfriend, are also a major root cause of these issues regarding the demise of Western Civilization, i.e. declining rates of (white) marriage and fertility. The jig is up for “players” like Roosh and Roissy. They are hitting the middle aged man wall and must rebrand themselves to keep relevant. Roosh in particular wrote several books for a targeted audience with the intention to make money and grab that 15 minutes of fame. He focused on the idea that men could have sex with exotic women without consequence, and inevitably Christian single men were drawn to his lure–we are men, there are fallen women in this world, we can have sex with them and leave them because they are fallen women, we do not have any responsibility because we are men and they are fallen women, we will be forgiven by marrying (near) virginal women. Had Roosh and men of his ilk been properly brought up by their parents, he would refrained from “pumping and dumping”, embraced Christianity, and wrote about how men ought to save their brethren from a life of misery and despair by chasing unchaste women…from the jump.

    Supposedly they found the loophole–men need not be moral when women are immoral. This philosophy has led Christian men down the path of ruin, a road that he helped to pave. BUT…men as the allegedly wiser sex should make the “prudent decision” NOT to have sex with loose women or have sex outside of marriage. So those men whose purpose is procure as much poon as possible are solipsistic AND lack impulse control.

    Stated another way–Men like Roosh and Roissy hunt after “easy bar girls” and “hard core virgins”. They are jaded and bitter because the jig is up for them; they rutted like an animal and neglected to develop meaningful relationships. Their conduct is like a looter and vandal in a troubled society. Did they take the high road? Save themselves for their future bride? Absolutely not. They were a slave to their most base and vulgar urges.

    • Nick
      Posted June 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Roosh got religion, and is now in your camp of Christian men. Hope you enjoy the good company. No doubt he will one day be quoting Saint Augustine: “Oh Lord, give me chastity and continence, but not yet.”

      • Corvinus
        Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        “Roosh got religion, and is now in your camp of Christian men. Hope you enjoy the good company.”

        Not in my camp, his own camp. Roosh realizes he is hitting the proverbial wall and needs to rebrand himself. He needs a new angle to remain relevant.

  10. Sin City Milla
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Whatever happened to joining a singles group at your local church? Just be sure to target down in age, wealth, and social class, not up. Otherwise your life may turn into a replay of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

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