An International Men’s Conference

This was something I had been hoping to see for over 15 years. There was almost nothing that could stand between myself and attending. I wanted to meet all the people I had spoken with for so long; that I had debated, commiserated with, had honed my rhetorical and cognitive skills with, both against each other and against our common opponents. It was gratifying to see so much brotherhood (and sisterhood, but more on that in a bit), and after recent events in my own life and the perspective that brings, this event renewed my resolve to make things better.

Better for men, and better for women. Better for humanity, for kindness, for simple human compassion. The women involved, attending, or reporting, served as stark contrast to the stories we so commonly hear of wounding, of cruelty, of sheer narcissism. No better example of NAWALT (Not All Women Are Like That) could serve, in my mind, to illustrate just how twisted our society has become, and the damage it has done to women as well.

The best way to describe the atmosphere was unpretentious and open communication. These women cared, deeply, about men, and boys, and the rift between men and women. They were open, friendly,  intelligent, and determined. A better testament to the fact that this whole struggle is worth it escapes my imagination. I don’t remember most of the names (I’m terrible at remembering names), but to a woman they were non-judgmental, considerate, and understanding. Not to mention just plain friendly.

In these women, we truly have sisters.

The men around me varied greatly in nearly every aspect. Carnell, while we were having lunch, schooled me on the value of well-framed rhetoric better than any university course ever could. If I could sum up in one sentence the most valuable aspect of the conversation, it would simply be: allow them to take credit for the rope they are using to hang themselves. The correlation being to take care of the rope at your own feet. Yes, he really is as smart and eloquent as a man could hope to be.

Senator Cools and Erin Pizzey sat across the table and down a bit. We spoke for a while about domestic violence, Canadian law, and the trap many men find themselves in when seeking escape, or even simply someone to just listen. We talked of the protective bias in favour of women built into the law, and the unintended consequences of well-meaning legislation. Both were gracious women, measured and almost regal in composure. I was truly in awe of the situation I was in, breaking bread with such people.

That they were in Detroit because they cared about men like me drove home the importance of what was happening.

The speakers and their presentations were important, absolutely. The entirety of them are available on YouTube, you’ve probably seen, and which I don’t need to comment on. Like many others, I spoke with many of them, and my opinions will likely not diverge from those expressed by said others. On a visceral level, to me at least, this conference signified much more than speeches and media exposure.

The dialogue was evident everywhere: men telling their stories, reaching out to other men and openly, with their freaking name right on their chest, offering their support, their pain, their vulnerability, and showing incredible strength in doing so. The loneliness and fear and suffering and futility of it all melted away when we shook hands with the flesh and blood of another man that we knew, deep down inside, understood exactly what we ourselves felt.

This, by happenstance, brings me around to my own personal trepidation regarding the weekend. For two reasons, really. One, I was attending the conference with my girlfriend, who supports what I do but was unaware of many of the issues and sentiments of the MRM. The other was the recent past between myself and Paul, and how I would be received. To be blunt, I’ve “known” Paul a long time, and I did and said things that hurt that relationship.

Since I sat at a table with a reporter and recounted this, I may as well state things plainly. I spent a lot of years locked in a deep depression, and was rather publicly suicidal a while back. One night, I wrote Paul a quick email from work, stating my intention of killing myself after my shift, and saying goodbye. Paul called the local police, told them what he knew of how to find me, and I spent a couple weeks in the psych ward as a result.

Sure, I was pissed. But I was still around to be pissed off. And I wouldn’t have been had Paul not taken my email seriously. Or if the cops had not.

In return, I spat (figuratively) in Paul’s face. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure my welcome would be warm.

I realize now what I did was essentially start a race to the death with him. A pretty shitty thing to do. Fortunately for me, he passed my unconscious shit test and PROVED he really did care about me that much. And I have no doubt it’s not because I’m a snowflake. He would have done that for anyone. And please, don’t send Paul suicide notes.

I asked Lauren, my aforementioned girlfriend, what she thought of everything, what stood out for her. What she had to say shocked me, mostly because it hadn’t even occurred to me. She pointed out that senators, journalists, and other bigwig types were eating lunch with, and listening to – intently – the unemployed, blue collar, and otherwise “unremarkable” men, treating their opinions and input equally, and with respect. She also pointed out she has been to countless “functions” at least at that level, and she had never seen it before.

I have to admit, looking back, that was 100% true. Heck, the first person to talk to us upon arrival was a friendly gentleman by the name of Roger. We chatted amiably about small topics for a time, then he introduced Senator Cools, whom he has been friends with for many years. You never know who you’ll run into at these things, I suppose …

Incidentally, Paul warmly welcomed me, and in fact we got to spend quite a bit of time together. I even almost collected my two beers; unfortunately, that will have to carry over to the next time. In fact, one of the best aspects of this conference for me happened while hanging out with my girlfriend, Paul, Dr. T, the reporter guy, and a guy by the name of Steve Rusch – who was incidentally a great help, and very interesting company. He drove us all over the area, obviously tired and elated, saving us ungodly cab troubles getting from place to place. He even drove home five hours after staying up all night, dropping us off at the hotel beforehand. As I implied, the camaraderie was almost palpable.

But I’ll get into that in a bit.

I would be remiss in not mentioning that I got to meet Dannyboy, and Greg Canning, Karen Straughan, Alison Tieman, Victor Zen, Terrence Popp, Dean Esmay, Vladek Filler, Barbara Kay, Stefan Molyneux, Warren Farrell, Al Martin (TMOTS), Anil Kumar, and way too many other high caliber MRAs for my poor brain to account for just because I was in the freakin’ room. So, excellent value for the money just for that alone.

And meeting relative newcomers was equally gratifying, I was continually struck by the intellectual depth of the people there. Not just the panelists, but the men and women attending, the level of the discourse was orders of magnitude above what is common to the mainstream. Basically, there were a bunch of smart people there, not all of which mounted the podium.

For example, Marc Angelucci, a man personally responsible for a couple of victories the MRM claims, was not a speaker, but attended. In truth, there were many like him in the audience, people who could easily have been giving a presentation. James Huff being another notable one.

That’s the level of talent on display. If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: there could have been five times as many speakers at this event and all of them would have been interesting and engaging. That is the depth and breadth of the caliber of the people who see value in standing up for men’s rights.

Sure, there’s a lot of resistance to the concepts and demands we present. But we are getting through. The media presence, and the articles written, attest to this fact. The general tone is “look at these crazies,” sure, but read the undertone and you’ll see most of the objection is failure to “see the other side” and reaction to the alien concept of criticism of politically correct concepts. And sometimes there is the reluctant admission we may just have a point or two, and we may not be completely nuts about everything. And to the non-feminist reader, far from being an indictment, they read that as an advertisement, with their “outrage” at not believing obvious bullshit the prime accusation against MRAs, it’s a backhanded compliment in reverse.

The young reporter at TIME comes to mind here.

But people are curious. They are paying attention more and more. For instance, I met a young lady who attended the conference simply because she was curious enough about the whole controversy to buy a ticket and hop in her car. She said her friends told her she was likely to get raped or assaulted, that she should be afraid to come, that we were all misogynists and extreme.

I met her while sitting in Paul’s hotel room, with Dr. T, and reporter guy, and Lauren, after the conference was over. We were enjoying a drink or two, and here she was, in the belly of the beast and an alcohol-fueled one no less. Paul Elam, right over there.

She looked perfectly comfortable to me, chatting with Lauren, not 10 feet from Mr. Misogyny himself. And in a hotel room, “alone” no less. I could be mistaken, or she could be a clandestine reporter or something … point is, none of us cared. You’re civil? Friendly? Come on in, have a mudslide. She was also, by the way, thoroughly pleasant.

Paul said something that night that stuck with me, that the men’s movement is about building bridges between men and women that were not made of bullshit or balsa wood, and I couldn’t agree more. I do think its more than just the MRM, which is why I think other “manosphere” aspects need to be included, but this was a better “start” than I had any hope to ask for. Thankfully, the people attending confirmed for me it was possible, and worthwhile.

I suppose closing thoughts are in order for the next one, considering it’s an inevitability: I can see this expanding to encompass many more viewpoints, from within as well as without the manosphere, because the Red Pill is first and foremost about unvarnished truth. I can also see a whole lot more interest from high-profile people, simply because we showed we had principles, we were going to stand by them come Hell or high water, and we didn’t shrink from scrutiny or smear. We stood our ground.

And even famous people have to admire that.

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