The Rational Male - Positive Masculinity - Rollo Tomassi 2017
It was the first week of August, 2013, when I first listened to the actual voice of Andrew Hansen. I’d known Andrew as an online personality for some time before this, but I’d never really listened to the guy’s voice. Andrew was a fellow blogger in what’s popularly known as the Manosphere today — an online community of men that spans the globe and seeks to develop a better understanding of conventional masculinity, the nature of women and how best to develop oneself with this collective knowledge. Andrew was The Private Man and was the proprietor of a blog of the same name. Private Man was his handle on Twitter as well as many other online forums. That name was going to stick with him, and likely will be the one he’s remembered by the most.
Before this particular podcast I’d had some inspired debates with Private Man. He was always a good guy to hash out ideas with because he’d had such a wealth of experience with regards to intersexual relations, divorce and dating as a ’mature man’ after his divorce. I’ll say right now, there were some issues I’d had strong disagreements with him about. More than once I had to take issue with his take on things from a watered down, Purple Pill perspective. That was always the concern, the want to temper one’s Red Pill message to be more palatable to a larger audience (usually for the want of not offending women) at the expense of broader truths. But with Private Man, there was always a willingness to listen to the uglier side of things, the more objective, less palatable truths and to embrace them in spite of what his experience was. He’d have a penchant for writing an article critical of some fluff piece he’d come across, try to measure his response and I’d be there to push him to see the real latent message in it and why it was really bothering him enough to write about it.
Andrew’s Manosphere niche was his appeal to older gentlemen. That may seem like an easy fit for a guy who really came into the sphere already in his late 50s, but you have to consider that the men who he was connecting with were largely guys like himself coming into a very rude awakening of their Blue Pill conditioning well past middle age. This is a hard demographic to reach. When a guy’s been plugged in since the early 1970s and has based his intersexual existence on a set of rules that he discovers no one has really been playing by for as long as he’s been around, it’s very easy to fall into the ’bitter’ and ’burned’ category of men. Private Man could’ve easily been one of the same guys he was trying to reach, but his own unplugging, late as it was in his life, was something different, something positive, for him. In a way I think his positive Red Pill awareness was something unavoidable for him. This hopeful, though educated, attitude is something he brought to his writing. When I wrote the last book, Preventive Medicine, I did so in an attempt to address a common question men had been asking me for as long as I’ve been writing:
“Where was all of this knowledge when I was younger? Why didn’t someone make me aware of all this before I got married, got divorced, had a messed up relationship with my kids, etc.?”
This question is usually a casual joke amongst older men in the Manosphere, one that usually stems from a need to reconcile regret for not having realized the truths of the Red Pill sooner. But with Private Man, I never really got the same sense of regret from him. It was as if his unplugging were something he accepted without much regret for the experiences and decisions he’d made for his life up to then. He acknowledged and accepted his role in his own plugging-in without much pause for the nihilism that comes with it.
We often talk about the several phases a man usually progresses through when he’s processing the new awareness the Red Pill presents to him. One of these is a phase of nihilism, where a man must reconcile that his past decisions were uninformed (or deliberately misled) and from there on it’s up to him to remake himself. This nihilism comes from a sense of lost investment, lost value, and the prospect of having to rebuild himself after being cut away from Blue Pill idealism. Private Man never really seemed to go through this phase — or if he did he did a good job of hiding it. In fact, if there was one thing that defined Andrew’s character it was his positive attitude about damn near everything. That may seem like the ’right’ thing to say about a guy in retrospect, but for Andrew it was true. I’d encourage my readers to peruse his blog and decide for themselves.
So, there I was on an August day, hobbling my way back to my car, iPhone and earplugs listening to Private Man on a podcast called, I think, Manosphere Radio or something. I say hobbling because I’d suffered a dancer’s fracture on my foot a week earlier and I usually had a slow, mostly painful, walk to my car in a parking lot at a casino I was doing contract work for at the time. I downloaded the audio and listened to it while I walked and drove home that day. This may seem kind of insignificant, but it’s the memory I’ll always associate with Andrew because here was one of a few men from my online life who was putting himself out there. Sure, there was Roosh and a few others, but Private Man was a guy I already had a connection with. You have to remember this was about 3 months before I’d published The Rational Male. It was at a time when I didn’t know how it would be received, and while I had confidence in what I was doing, it was still something new for me. There were a lot of ’what ifs’ I had to consider then. Hearing Andrew go into what he always did, I knew then that he’d be a guy I could share a beer with. A guy that was accessible.
I think that’s important, accessibility. It’s very easy to get wound up in the idea that the text we read on our monitors are just cold expressions of ideas. It’s easy to forget there’s a human behind those ideas. Sometimes that human might be someone you’ll click with immediately, sometimes it’s a person you’re glad to get away from. Their ideas may be genius, but who they are is very much subjective. Hearing Andrew’s delivery, much of it dead pan, you just knew he was a good dude. I wish I could say I know more than I do about him. He was a very open guy and I honestly wondered what woman would ever have a reason to divorce the guy. It certainly wasn’t his lack of approachability.
It makes you wonder why he chose the moniker Private Man. He was anything but private.
Between 2013 and Andrew’s passing this year, 2017, I’d talked with him personally on several occasion. It was actually Andrew who’d hit me up for my cell number. He lived alone with a dog and I’m fairly sure he just wanted to talk with someone outside his immediate circle the first time we connected. He’d hit some tough times financially, asked me to help him with a cell phone bill, but moreover it was about the time he knew he’d be losing an eye to cancer. It’s interesting to see pictures of him now without the eye patch since it quickly became the look that made him most recognizable. Cancer is a shit disease. It’s alters you in many ways even if you beat it. Talking to Andrew on this occasion, I knew there was likely something more he was holding back, but even in a time he was obviously hurting and sorting things out for himself he still pressed on with the same upbeat determination I’d always known.
Then came the announcement that his cancer had become aggressive enough that he knew and accepted that he’d be taking the last train home. Mortality is something very personal. If I’m honest, it’s not something I like to contemplate too often or too deeply. I’m not too good with death. It’s easy for men to come up with heroic speeches about the importance of living life well and facing death strength and honor, but after all of that, dead is dead and gone is gone. I’ll be addressing this in more detail in the chapters of this book, but suffice to say that precious few men leave a sizable dent in the universe during their time in this life. Private Man may not have been up there with Steve Jobs, but he did leave a dent in the Manosphere.
As with everything else he did, Andrew accepted his fate and still pressed on, with little words of regret. Just as he’d accepted his Red Pill awareness with grace and positivity, so too did he accept his imminent end. In fact, he had a ’going away’ party for himself not but a few weeks before his passing. You can see the video of this party on his blog (saved for posterity).
Once he’d announced his life was coming to an end I immediately asked him if he’d do me the honor of writing the forward of the book you now hold in your hands. I had wanted nothing more than for Andrew to be memorialized with this book. The Rational Male has become a cornerstone of Red Pill awareness and dare I say the most influential work on intersexual dynamics in the Manosphere. It was my hope that this installment might serve as a tribute to Private Man, written by his own hand here. Alas, it was not to be, so thus I write his eulogy here in his place.
I renamed this volume Positive Masculinity in tribute to what Private Man brought to our collective consciousness. As you read through this book keep this theme in mind. Far too much is made by critics of the Red Pill — the true Red Pill founded in brutal, but enlightening truths of intersexual dynamics — that its readers, its proponents, its awakened men are simply a collection of angry, bitter, nihilistic guys railing at their social ineptitudes. It’s all too easy to believe there is nothing positive to masculinity in an age where boys and men are taught to hate anything looking like the conventional definition of it. But there is more to the Red Pill aware man than this, and it’s my hope that this book will serve as a counterbalance to that, often deliberate, misconception.
The Private Man was a good example of this positivity, so it’s in his name I dedicate the following text. God willing, this will serve as his memorial.
— Rollo Tomassi
April 13, 2017