Matt Forney
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Why Can’t I Use a Smiley Face? Stories from One Month in America by Roosh V

Hallelujah, praise Jesus! Those of us who were hoping that Roosh would write another memoir have had our prayers answered with Why Can’t I Use a Smiley Face? While it’s not the epic adventure that A Dead Bat in Paraguay was, Smiley Face is a demonstrable improvement over 30 Bangs and a poignant tale in its own right.

As the subtitle states, Smiley Face is about when Roosh returned home to the U.S. for a month last year after spending close to two years traveling across Europe. What happens when a man who’s found poosy paradise in Poland, insulted portly, feminist harridans in Denmark and visited nearly a dozen other countries reunites with people he’s known his entire life who haven’t had similar adventures? Ennui and alienation:

When you don’t see someone for nearly two years, it only takes two minutes to feel like you never left them. It’s almost disappointing how anticlimactic returns can be. I want it to be exciting. I want to feel like the world has changed. But the world hasn’t changed. Your family and friends continue to live the same life as before you left, while you’ve done things they couldn’t possibly understand. The saddest part is that the change you go through while living abroad puts you even farther apart from those you care about most. It’s harder to identify with them, their stability, and their reluctance to dive into the life you love.

That’s the defining theme of Smiley Face: alienation. Roosh’s experiences abroad have objectively made him a better man, but they’ve also distanced him from his friends and family. Throughout the book, while Roosh sees and does many different things—gambling with his dad in Atlantic City, going out with his buddy Virgle Kent, and getting attacked by a random drunk bitch on the streets of D.C.—he is constantly confronted with a simple fact:

He no longer belongs in America.

The title of the book drives this home, as it relates to the sea change in Roosh’s attitude towards women and sex. After spending the bulk of his time abroad in eastern Europe, where women are still women and men are rewarded for being men, he finds himself ill-suited for returning to America’s screwed-up sexual marketplace. When you’ve been screwing sweet, feminine girls who actually make you feel wanted and respected, what’s the motivation to pursue androgynous, overweight termagents who punish you for being anything less than a cocky, inhumanly perfect funnyman?

A lot of guys ask me if DC is “really” that bad. A month in DC won’t kill you. Even a year won’t. But if you stay long enough, the city beats you down and changes you for the worse. You can be in the prime of your life, with testosterone raging through your body, yet you don’t even feel like getting laid.

To me, the chapters that were the most touching was when Roosh reunited with his mother and sister only to discover that they are disgusted with his life choices and think he should abandon his online empire, go back to his boring 9-to-5 job and get married. Despite all the success he’s had with his books and his blog, despite the fact that he’s living a life that most people would kill to have, they think that he should throw it all away and go back to being a mindless office slave who “respects” women. The deterioration of his relationship with his sister is especially moving, given the close relationship they had growing up:

Things cooled down and we talked about Croatia and how the culture was in some ways similar to Turkey. My sister didn’t stay in the room because the Washington Redskins game was on. I didn’t remember her being such a fan, especially since she was hooting and hollering. I said, “You know, I forgot to tell you that I’m only here for a month. When I leave there will be ten more games. Then the playoffs. Then the Super Bowl.”

“Ew, stop being an asshole,” she said. “Our lives don’t stop just because you’re in town.”

As someone who abandoned any semblance of a normal life to pursue a writing career and espouse red pill beliefs under my real name, this really got to me. The simple reality is that the very measures we men take to improve our lives have the downside of isolating us from our loved ones, who can’t and won’t follow in our footsteps. Watching people you’ve known your entire life slide into consumerist and feminist apathy is painful, mainly because we can’t do anything about it.

Roosh confronts this feeling in a way no other manosphere writer has.

The other portion of Smiley Face I liked was Roosh’s account of the big manosphere meet-up in Washington, D.C. last year. While I couldn’t attend the meet-up myself, being in the depths of the North Dakota oil basin at the time, I’m friends with Roosh, Bronan, Professor Mentu, Bill Powell and all of the other big names who turned out for it, so I have an insider’s account of what happened. That’s why I find all the “anti-game” dorks who tried to claim that the meet-up was a disaster so hilarious: they have absolutely no clue what really happened, what goes on behind the red curtain.

Roosh’s account of what happened in D.C. is not only funny to read, it will set the facts straight for anyone who’s not privy to what happens behind the scenes.

The biggest problem with Why Can’t I Use a Smiley Face? is that it lacks context. The book assumes that you’re familiar with Roosh’s blog and life story as relayed in A Dead Bat in Paraguay; if you haven’t read that book, the poignancy of Smiley Face will be lost on you. I’ve been reading Roosh’s blog for close to five years and worked with him online for three, so the book has a far greater impact on me then it would on someone who isn’t as a big a fan of him. Roosh is selling Smiley Face at the bargain price of $3 to compensate for its brevity.

Bottom line: if you already like Roosh’s writing and you’ve read Paraguay, Why Can’t I Use a Smiley Face? is an affecting and emotionally wrenching read. If you haven’t done either, pick up Paraguay first, otherwise Smiley Face won’t have much of an impact on you.

Click here to buy Why Can’t I Use a Smiley Face?

Read Next: Roosh’s Argentina Compendium: Pickup Tips, City Guides, and Stories by Roosh V