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As Bertrand Russell wrote of his own adolescence: “I was put off from suicide only by the desire to learn more mathematics.” At one point, I actually begged a psychiatrist to prescribe drugs that would chemically castrate me (I had researched which ones), because a life of mathematical asceticism was the only future that I could imagine for myself.

The psychiatrist refused to prescribe them, but he also couldn’t suggest any alternative: my case genuinely stumped him.

Anything, really, other than the curse of having been born a heterosexual male, which for me, meant being consumed by desires that one couldn’t act on or even admit without running the risk of becoming an objectifier or a stalker or a harasser or some other creature of the darkness.

But I suspect the thought that being a nerdy male might not make me “privileged”—that it might even have put me into one of society’s least privileged classes—is completely alien to your way of seeing things.

(And after a decade of being coy about it, I suppose I’ve finally revealed the meaning of this blog’s title.) […] Now, the whole time I was struggling with this, I was also fighting a second battle: to maintain the liberal, enlightened, feminist ideals that I had held since childhood, against a powerful current pulling me away from them.

I reminded myself, every day, that no, there’s no conspiracy to make the world a hell for shy male nerds.

This would usually be the point where I state for the record that I believe very strongly that all women are human beings.

Problem is, I’ve just conceived a sudden suspicion that one of them is actually a Vogon spy in a skin suit.

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