If you’re a feminist, setting yourself up to have a one-on-one conversation with manosphere blogger, notorious pick-up artist, and world traveling get-laid-quick strategist Roosh V might not be an ideal situation…so how did I end up talking to him for over 2 hours? I have been seeking out the women Roosh has slept with in an effort to hear their perspectives, which are lacking in the book-based and internet accounts of his conquests. While seeking out these prospective interviewees, I realized that the project could also be an opportunity to try to understand Roosh’s motivations and practice. As an artist interested in creating discussions about feminism in spaces that are typically hostile toward it and creating platforms for women’s voices in underrepresented spaces, I decided to pursue a rare opportunity to interview Roosh himself.

Though Roosh has no trouble speaking for himself in his numerous published works, through a one-on-one interview, I hoped to understand how he and his increasingly visible community have constructed their worldview in opposition to feminism and the growing independence of women, and, in turn, ask him to have empathy for those whose experiences he does not identify with.

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This was an unrealistic goal. One of the recurring themes throughout our conversation was Roosh’s professed commitment to his objective worldview (or at least more objective than feminists because he has traveled more) dedicated to science, logic, and reason over emotion and experience. When I pressed him to explain how he was employing science in his practice, Roosh offered up his own experiential data and lived insights — which appear to have emotional overtones. The interaction led me to wonder who is allowed to claim that his or her worldviews are founded on logic, reason and science even if he or she is only using anecdotal evidence, and what it means to claim that as one’s fallback mechanism.

[Angela]: This is another question that I was planning to ask and it’s a very huge question, but how can anybody claim to have an objective reality? I mean your reality is obviously constructed from the many different places that you’ve lived and the experiences that you’ve had and the people that you’ve met and all of these things. Obviously somebody who has only lived, like most of my family has lived, in one town in Pennsylvania for most of their lives – so their sort of reality is constructed very differently. But can’t you say that yours is also constructed based on your experiences?
[Roosh]: But it is more objective than 99.9% of the people who hate on me. I have seen and done more. I have read more. I have been exposed to more. I have been exposed to different ideas, belief systems than other people. I’m not saying I’m smarter. I’m not. I’ve just seen it all, done it all, read it all. I have more data and background in my mind that allows me to reach conclusions that are more accurate. That was kind of being (*inaudible*). No, I’m serious!
[Angela]: Are you saying feminists don’t travel?!
[Roosh]: They…..Where do they go?
(Angela laughs)
[Roosh]: They go to France, Spain, England, Ireland, the Caribbean…
[Angela]: We may be more diverse than you imagine!

Though mostly polite and extremely generous with his time, Roosh appeared unable to acknowledge that I might be qualified to think autonomously or be well-regarded in my field. It was clear that he perceived me as existing in a bubble removed from most of society. Consistent with his outspoken views on feminists, he assumed that I was a naive, inexperienced, and easily-led person who let some feminist propaganda I picked up in undergrad and on Buzzfeed shape my worldview, as opposed to years of research and projects. Ultimately, our roles reflected Roosh’s defensive engagement with the world at large – everything from my hair (too short) to my taste in men (too feminine) to my education (too much of it) was up for criticism even though the interview was intended to highlight his work, how he ended up in his field and how he ended up framing his experiences the way he has.

The following are a few excerpts from our two hour long interview. (You can read the entire transcript of the conversation here.)

Roosh on utopia [00:58:16]
[Angela] Let’s just imagine the perfect cultural landscape for you. What does sort of women’s…let’s just say role in a contemporary culture that’s ideal for you look like?
[Roosh]: First thing would be a girl who cares more about finding and pleasing her husband with the intention of raising a family than focusing on her job. So a man has to come first. But that doesn’t happen anymore. From that I think a lot of good things would probably happen. By removing the dependency of women on men you’ve unleashed a can of worms where women no longer have to try. You know? They don’t have to be good, virtuous, noble, elegant, feminine. They can be…So what is actually happening by giving women an independent source of income, you have allowed them to aim for their most base degenerate instincts. The fact that she doesn’t have to get the approval of a man who is taking care of her means that she will get tattoos on her arms and her neck, she will get the gauge earrings and piercings, she will shave half of her head, she will burp, she will curse, she will gain a lot of weight, she won’t have any style, she won’t look good, she’ll be loud and violent. And that’s what we see now.

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Roosh on leaving America [00:27:15]
[Angela]: So why did you leave? And what are some of the places that you’ve found resonate more with the women that you’re interested in and their values?
[Roosh]: The main reason I left or the main reason I started to leave was because the women in Eastern Europe and South America were so much better-
[Angela]: How so?
[Roosh]: I could get not only hotter, but thinner with attitudes that are nice! I mean the first time that I had a girl clean up I think I was 28 or 27! Like can you imagine a girl in the U.S. after sex you go into the bathroom and you come back and the bed is made? I mean I didn’t even know a woman was actually capable of that! And look, I don’t need a girl to clean ’cause I can do it or just hire a maid. But the point is that I started to learn that women in the U.S. are very specific. And I don’t know if you heard in psychological circles there’s an acronym WEIRD, which stands for, oh Jesus Christ, western something – whatever. It was where they have found out that doing psychological tests on western college students has distorted the psychological canon. Because western people are so different and western people especially in the U.S.A. So what got me out was that girls were better. New and improved. And then what kept me out is that what I see as the culture in the U.S. is sick. It’s a sick, deranged culture! I mean up is down and black is white-

Roosh on queer theory [01:22:41]
[Angela]: In some queer movements there’s an interest in appreciating the fluidity of gender.
[Roosh]: (laughing) Whoa whoa whoa! Wait! Hold on!
[Angela]: So the most masculine of the masculine and the most feminine of feminine on any pole is acceptable. And you just have to acknowledge that what works for you, doesn’t work for everyone else! What’s wrong with that?
[Roosh]: Then they should seek professional help.
[Angela]: Why?
[Roosh]: If you are genetically a man, but you all of a sudden have this need to dress up like a girl…you should seek help. Just because you feel one day you get up…
[Angela]: Why?
[Roosh]: Because it’s not right. It’s not natural. Nature gave us woman and man. A or B. Pick one. Or actually you don’t pick one. Nature does. I was born a man. That’s it. End of story! I don’t get to choose. I mean you have people making up things now! Just making them up! There is a new one actually called trigender. Trigender! That means three! Mammals only have 2. You can’t make it up! It’s like people are waking up: ‘I wanna be called a cucumber today and if you don’t call me a cucumber, you are a homophobic, transphobic, cucumberphobic…’ It’s insanity! You can’t have these 18 year old kids determine their biological sex. You can’t do that. It’s just not right. It’s not science. It’s just you’re born a woman or a man. If you reject what you have, you should seek help. It’s as simple as that. I’m not saying you’re a bad, bad, bad person. I’m not saying you should go to jail. I’m just saying you should seek help to resolve the mental conflict.

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Roosh on science, logic and reason [01:35:15]
[Angela]: So I’m getting the sense that you sort of view your point of view as more objective because of the amount of experiences that you’ve had and stuff but-
[Roosh]: And the science and the logic, yeah!
[Angela]: So my question is I guess, I mean you’re looking for something. You have sort of a point to prove. And so the way that you-
(Roosh moves his light distractingly close to his face, blowing out the contrast severely.)
[Angela]: (laughing) Wow your light is getting really close to your face.
[Angela]: The way that you defend the things that you say, is that you’re looking at broader news sources. But when you’re looking for something, you’re always looking for something so-
[Roosh]: No, no, no. I’m not getting this from the news! I’m not getting this from the news. I’m getting this from careful thinking from available science that is proven to be right. That’s it. I mean, the thing is, to be on the left now there are so many contradictions they think of that I can only think of the mental gymnastics that these people have to go through to ignore, like you have been doing, the contradictions. I mean, I’m just saying let’s be consistent. If you’re logically consistent, your belief system is in a lot of problems.
[Angela]: Can you tell me more about your use of logic and science for your arguments? Can you tell me about the logic and science behind sort of your worldview?
[Roosh]: Yeah. I use logic and science.
[Angela]: I mean, but can you elaborate? Because I mean, it’s easy to just say…I mean I could sit here and say ‘I know science! Science! Science! Science!’
[Roosh]: Ok. Ok. Sure. The only thing is this: I believe that the only way to really use logic is to ignore the feelings that you have for one outcome or the other. If you have an emotional investment into a lifestyle and to a way of life that you’ve been taught for four years in school, getting a contradictory piece of information will cause your brain to either accept or reject. And what people do to accept something that goes against what they’ve learned for a long time, it’s really hard because that means for thousands of days they believed in the wrong thing. But me, I don’t know. I have a filter. I’d rather be right than feel good. I don’t need to feel good. I don’t need to feel warm and fuzzy on the inside that my belief system is ok. I don’t care. If I’ve been believing in something wrong for 35 years and new evidence tells me that, so be it. You know, many times in human history scientists they believed one thing but a new experiment has shown: holy shit we were wrong. But people nowadays, they go crazy if you show them a fact that goes against what they’ve been fed for years and years. So that’s all.
[Angela]: So you’re not emotionally invested in the arguments that you’re making?
[Roosh]: No.

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Roosh on how women view his courtship behavior and sexual performance [01:39:16]
[Angela]: Let’s imagine that I do somehow find twenty women that have slept with you. What do you think these women might say about the seduction process and your sexual performance? I know it’s personal but your essays are really descriptive and you usually use sort of pseudonyms for the women in your stories and so if you wouldn’t mind telling me that….
[Roosh]: I would say that they would probably say that I approached them with good energy. I didn’t scare them. I made them feel comfortable. I didn’t come on really strong, but at the same time I didn’t come in with such low energy that they weren’t interested. I am really good at keeping a conversation going even if the girl is not giving me a lot back. So even though maybe she was shy and didn’t know how to respond to this new guy talking, I don’t really need for her to say much for a period of time until she finally gets to that point where she feels like she can start to open up.
[Angela]: Yeah.
[Roosh]: I make everything feel natural from how I touch and kiss. I mean it’s rarely to the point where a girl will have to stop me and say, ‘I don’t like it when you touch me there,’ because I can read them. I know based on how they act, how they talk, how they move when they want me to do the next step. So I put a lot of…most of my experience is from the approach to sex and after sex I get lazy because I already got most of what I wanted. So she will notice after sex that my energy and my excitement to keep the conversation super duper entertaining…it starts to go down because I already did the hardest part.
[Angela]: Hmm.
[Roosh]: And sex, I mean…I don’t think that a man has to be good in bed. I mean if a woman sees your value as being that guy in bed who is great, you’re basically- she’s gonna see you as like a dildo now! She’s just gonna see you as the guy who can…’Ok I can’t wait to see him because in bed he’s gonna do that little move and trick!’ I don’t want a girl to expect that. I want a girl to just expect me to be me. If I’m lazy, I’m lazy. If I don’t wanna talk a lot and I just wanna sit and watch music videos and we go out and eat a pizza with a joke here and there…I just want a girl to have the lowest possible expectations so if I’m having a day where I don’t want to try-
(Angela laughs)

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Roosh on the hierarchy of orgasms [01:43:03]
[Roosh]: So it’s actually a blessing and a curse to be good in bed. But I’m not.
[Angela]: You mentioned in our email that your orgasm is of primary importance-
[Roosh]: Damn straight.
[Angela]: And that you don’t go down on women. Is this true?
[Roosh]: Right.
[Angela]: (laughs) Can I ask why?
[Roosh]: Because nature has deemed the male orgasm to be more important. If right now a magic cloud of gas surrounds the earth and infected girls and prevented them from ever having a female orgasm again, the human species would go on. But if this cloud of gas only affected men and prevented the male orgasm, what would happen? The human species is done. It’s freaking done. Therefore nature, not me, nature has declared that the male orgasm is essential to life! To life! But the female orgasm is like cherry on top. You know? If she gets it, hey that’s great! Mmm yummy. But if not, it doesn’t matter. So I’m just…I believe in what nature has said about it. And they said the male orgasm is super duper important.

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Roosh’s message for feminists [01:44:24]
[Angela]: Since this may go to a room full of feminist artists, writers and cultural producers…if you could give a sort of direct message to them, what would it be?
[Roosh]: If you’re a girl, grow your hair out. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman with long, long hair. That’s smooth and smells nice. I mean that just gets me every time. And yours is…a little short.
(Angela laughs)
[Roosh]: I would just tell them to stop shaming men for being men. You know? Stop trying to eliminate the male gender and the female gender for your androgynous sex in the middle where everyone is a freak! They’re just confused about who they are. It’s ok for a woman to be a woman…for her to want to raise kids to want to stay at home. It’s ok for a man to want to feel strong. I don’t get it! Why that’s such a bad thing now-
[Angela]: I don’t think it is! I think it’s ok for people to want those things and I think that a lot of people who want the alternative also think that it’s ok for the people who want to preserve their own interests that are different to preserve those. I don’t have any problem with people who want to be stay at home moms or have long hair! It just means that it’s not right for me.
[Roosh]: You know a lot of people do think that’s wrong. I mean you don’t, but from the messages I see from your friends you know? But anyway I would just say you know, I’m not trying to convince them – cause I’m not – I’m not trying to change how they live…But I would just say the one thing they can do is just because you see a man who wants to be a man, don’t shame him. Don’t try to change a law to prevent him from doing what men have been doing for thousands of years.

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What Roosh looks for in women [01:51:25]
[Angela]: I don’t need necessarily to be led I guess…and that’s where I’m sort of wondering- so the women that you’re sort looking for, what sorts of traits do they exhibit? Like what sorts-
[Roosh]: Beauty.
[Angela]: Beauty. And?
[Roosh]: That’s the main thing!
[Angela]: I mean it also sounds like they also have to be somewhat submissive.
[Roosh]: Yeah. They really don’t get to say….I never ask them, “so where do you wanna go tonight?” Never. I mean they don’t really have a choice. I mean they may have an A/B option. But I never say, “so what do you want to do?” They want to let me lead them all the time. A woman doesn’t want to have to think about what to do, where to go, what the plan is, and where we’re going next. If she does, she is a domineering person.
[Angela]: Ahhh! So you’re saying that it’s biological for men to dominate in all aspects.
[Roosh]: (laughing) That’s what being masculine is!

Special thanks go to Roosh V for taking the time to do the interview with me despite the fact that we disagree on most issues and to Kyle Thompson for helping document the conversation via video.

(Photos: Angela Washko)