This week, the news cycle has been all about Paul Ryan — his radical budget, his conservative charms, and his mediocre taste in literature. I’m not the first person to observe that a dude who pledges allegiance to Ayn Rand is a dude so thoroughly selfish and obnoxious that he should be rendered both undateable and unelectable — Ann Friedman covers that ground quite thoroughly at New York Magazine. But just because a Randian may soon be second in line to sit at the Presidential desk, doesn't mean you should let one into your private Oval Office.
Even if his political views don’t turn you off — hey, Nice Guys insist that all women like jerks, so maybe Ayn fans are actually getting laid — his poor taste should. Reprehensible ideology aside, Ayn Rand was a genuinely bad writer. Dorothy Parker was right when she observed of Atlas Shrugged: “It is not a novel that should be thrown aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”
The same goes for men and women who claim to love Rand’s books: Toss them out like yesterday’s trash (or just don’t respond to their advances, whatever). They don’t always have Bible Salesman haircuts, but they do embrace bad writing and a simplistic dogma of radical self-centeredness that appears to have been crafted specifically to convince the dim-witted among us that they understand “philosophy.” Like this Deep Thinker on OkCupid:
You spend your time thinking about “Social problems,” freedom and how stupid people are? Deep, bro. That's like, a paradox, or an irony or whatever. You should totally meet this next OkCupid gent, and the two of you can talk about, like, the sour depths of creativity generally reserved for the broken and suicidal, and how free will and objectivism can empower your own destiny:
Dark! Which also seems to be a theme among Randians:
What is love if not total destruction and domination?
This guy, for example, will totally sex you, as long as you play hard to get and don’t spend too much of his money:
Ah, men who enjoy bad quotes about conquering and possessing women, want you to make their babies, and think it’s cool to call ladies they don’t like “brainless sluts.” Gentlemen across the board.
Self-involved dudes who are convinced that women who don’t want to date them are dumb whores are an internet-dating standard, and it should surprise no one that there’s a solid overlap between Ayn aficionados and Nice Guys. Like this man, who also repeatedly compares himself to George Clooney:
And the Rand namechecks don't stop when it’s time to message a lady:
I’m pretty sure that Ayn Rand is not exactly a feminist “win,” but cool message. At least he doesn’t sound like a jerk. This next guy, on the other hand:
And it all starts to make sense.
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The A(n)nals of Online Dating is a weekly column about How We Date Now, from the proprietor of the website of the same name, showing off the best of the worst internet dating has to offer.
Illustration by Leslie Wood