lonely man on swing set reaching arm out to empty seat in front of sunset over water

Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock (Licensed)

‘The Cure to Male Loneliness’: An article is inspiring memes about male friendship

Going viral due to its evocative cover art, this article suggests pickleball is the cure to male loneliness.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 25, 2023

If you’ve recently seen a bunch of memes about “the cure to male loneliness,” you can thank the New York Times.

Published on July 19, the article in question is enticingly titled, “Is the Cure to Male Loneliness Out on the Pickleball Court?” Covering the much-discussed topic of how adult men struggle to make friends, writer Michelle Cottle suggests that “America needs to send its men out to play.” Basically, guys need to get a hobby.

Crucially though, this article has fantastically eye-catching cover art. Painted by Benjamin Marra, it depicts a lonely man weeping while watching an idyllic scene of other men playing pickleball together.

This combination of evocative art and amusingly pickleball-related headline turned out to be perfect meme fodder. Soon, people were suggesting their own cures for male loneliness.

A lot of commenters ridiculed the original pickleball angle, which: Fair enough. However, this headline is also an ideal format for “dudes rock”-style memes. And dudes rock behavior is, in fact, a very viable cure for male loneliness.

Incidentally, the New Yorker published an article last year titled “Can Pickleball Save America?” So maybe we’re putting a little too much pressure on racquet sports.

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*First Published: Jul 25, 2023, 10:24 am CDT