This week, 30 years ago, a man named Marc Lepine carried a gun and a hunting knife into a mechanical engineering class at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique.
He ordered the men and women to separate themselves.
Women were ordered to one side of the room. Men were ordered to another, then allowed to leave.
None of the nine women left in the class survived.
Lepine continued to open fire at students until 14 women were left dead.
And while some may like to brush this event off as a one-off in Canada, they would be wrong.
In 2017, a man named Alek Minassian deliberately turned his rented van into a battering ram as it careened through downtown Toronto.
Ten people were killed after Minassian targeted and ran down pedestrians. It would later come to light that he identified himself as an ‘incel’ — a man who couldn’t find a romantic partner.
“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!” he wrote on Facebook before his attack.
In incel subculture, Chads and Stacys are nicknames for attractive people who are generally successful at finding sexual partners. The mention of Elliot Rodger is a reference to a mass-shooter who killed people after declaring he was a virgin and would take revenge on women who rejected him.
These are sobering reminders of what male entitlement, at its worst, can do.
As boys, even here on the ‘left coast,’ we’re often taught, either consciously or unconsciously, that we will inevitably get the affection of a girl so long as we jump through certain hoops.
You give flowers. Open the door for her. Pay for dinner. Put the drinks on your tab. You be a ‘nice guy.’
Once you complete the equation, then she’s yours. She will give you affection, love and sex. If she’s still not into it, you are entitled to righteous anger — ‘after all I did for you?!’
What needs to be instilled into boys at an early age, in Squamish and elsewhere, is that those things — affection, love and sex — are not human rights. They are privileges.
By that definition, you should enjoy and be thankful for them when they come your way. But this should never be an expectation. These things can never be bought through a transaction.
Buying dinner, opening doors — these are all things you can do if you feel like making a nice gesture. Nothing more.
Therefore, you can pay for all the drinks in the world and still get nothing out of it.
And that’s just fine.
If you are a man who needs counselling, reach out. Help is available, including at Sea to Sky Community Services: www.sscs.ca/programs/mens-counselling.