Let's generalize about men
Yeah this is about West Elm Caleb
Happy Friday, did anyone miss me?
I have a story to recap today, and it’s pretty exemplary of why I have found this newsletter so hard to keep updated!!
If you haven’t heard yet about the Caleb from West Elm saga, read this Katie Notopoulos story, or I’ll sum it up here:
A New York woman posts a TikTok in which she describes getting ghosted by a man named Caleb that she met on Hinge.
Several other women comment and/or make their own videos, realizing that they’ve all been on the same date with the same man (who is an employee of West Elm), and have had similar experiences of getting ghosted, among other dickish behavior.
This spills over on to other social media platforms, “West Elm Caleb” starts trending, Caleb’s actual face and personal information is leaked.
The usual internet fanfare ensues: People start calling West Elm to tell them to fire Caleb. Wild, unvetted rumors of his offenses start circulating online. And of course, the Brands(tm) start to meme it.
If you’re wondering what kinds of terrible things this man has done to warrant such an onslaught of attention, here it is (and keep in mind this is consolidated from the several original TikToks posted about him, technically we don’t even know if this is true):
He ghosted people.
He allegedly sent at least one person an unsolicited nude photo. Bad. Not ok. Probably the worst thing on this list.
He recycled the same Spotify playlist with different dates and claimed he had made it just for them.
He’d “lovebomb,” or show a ton of initial interest over text, before ghosting.
He lied about his Hinge usage. One woman who went on one coffee date with him said that he told her it was his first Hinge date. He told someone else after a few dates that he had deleted the app.
He played a numbers game: trying to match with tons of people, messaging, and going on plenty of dates but not seeming interested in a relationship.
He was dating several women at once. Some women say he lied to them about this, but none say that they ever agreed explicitly to be in a monogamous relationship.
I hate just saying what Taylor Lorenz says lol, but everything below is pretty spot on to me:
I’m not trying to defend Caleb per se, but at the risk of sounding like a pick-me, can everyone chill? I mean god, “I don’t really give a fuck if this man lives or dies.” Listen to yourself!!!
I’ve seen so many comments saying something like, “We need to hold this man accountable!!” Of what?? Being a fuckboy? How do you hold a fuckboy accountable? By trying to get him fired from his job designing furniture? By plastering private messages from him online? By turning his face into a goddamn NFT?
If there was a reasonable way to “hold fuckboys accountable” then I’d be all in. But this is not it. This is not it at all.
I think the real moral of the story is, you cannot post anything about anyone on the internet and assume that they won’t get doxxed. TikTok in particular holds nothing back, and what used to be gossip, banter, or just like a conversation at the very least, has been stripped of any level of nuance. Why can’t we just generalize about men without it turning into whatever the hell this mess is.
Privacy doesn’t exist and/or doesn’t matter. If you are the internet’s villain of the day, you deserve to have your life destroyed. You aren’t a real person. You exist to entertain us. If the internet wants justice, it will get justice (I use that term loosely though because the internet obviously has a fucked up idea of what justice is.) That’s all that this is.
Again, I’m not defending Caleb. He seems like an ass (but again I don’t even know this man how am I able to have any sort of judgment of him). And there is something to be said about crowdsourcing online to make dating strangers safer, especially for women who can use that space to minimize bad, and even violent interactions.
But really, this is all too much.
You know what I think is going to happen after this though? In the inevitable backlash to the backlash, the original accusers of West Elm Caleb are going to receive a ton of blowback: They’ll probably also get similarly doxxed, and they’ll be overwhelmed with harassment and insults, most of which will be unnecessarily misogynistic. Because rule #405738 of the internet is that the pendulum always swings back, always too hard, and usually misogyny gets thrown in somehow.