My Criticism of the Practitioners

November 27, 2009

Everybody who sells products and services of this type claims to have a unique system that he personally developed and used to greatly increase his success with women. I contend that generally they have only taken things that fit their life and personality and called it a system. What worked for one guy may have universal application, or it may work just for that one guy.

I’ll start with the original, R. Don Steele, recently notorious as the guru of George Sodini, notorious in the 90’s as nemesis of Ross Jeffries. He is not thought of as a practitioner of game, and is dismissed by many who are, but he is the earliest promoter of a detailed system. The godfather of all is Eric Weber; but his book pretty much amounts to “just talk to girls, say anything” and does not belong to the modern era of this phenomenon.

Steele’s original book is entitled “How To Date Young Women For Men Over 35.” Note the specificity of the title; the content is even more specific. The advice is for a divorced man in his 40’s who has no trouble dating women his own age, is fairly affluent, does not want to get married again, and does not want to have a girlfriend. This man does not even expect the young woman in question to be exclusive to him; it is understood she will have a boyfriend or date men her own age as well. This man, in other words, is just like Steele. At least, he is honest; he did everything he advises the reader to do. So if you’re like Steele- an affluent, handsome, middle-aged corporate executive with more than one marriage and numerous relationships under your belt- you can do what Steele did, which is date waitresses. There is not much earth-shattering there.

But what if you aren’t like Steele? What if you’re like George Sodini? You may have trouble getting concrete results.

The man Steele hates more than any other- Ross Jeffries- is another story. Jeffries seems to like to promote himself  as a hopeless nerd who would never have gotten anywhere with women if not for his incredible discovery of and application of Neuro-Linguistic Programming to attracting women. He certainly looks the part, a skinny and goofy looking guy. There is not, however, a bashful, shy, timid, or anxious bone in his body. He is an aggressive and tireless self-promoter who will talk to anyone without the least reticence. He is said to be a comedy writer, and I suspect he has performed stand-up, although if he had I doubt he would mention it as it wouldn’t fit with his desired image.

An aggressive, fearless person who will talk to anybody without the least hesitation is not going to have trouble talking to women. If he can display a bit of charm and sense of humor in the process some of them will like him. If this describes you, you may benefit from Ross Jeffries’ material but you are unlikely to think you need it.

Mystery is the most famous of the PUA gurus. Everybody knows he is a magician, which is to say a performer, which is to say somebody who has gotten the knack of getting and keeping peoples’ attention. Sound like a guy who will be able to pick up women? Sans any method or system, whether imparted by seminar, book, or DVD? Indeed. A couple of other things- in “The Game”, Neil Strauss describes him as “beating out” a magic trick from a classmate at age 12. Whether this is meant literally or not I’m not sure, but it shows social dominance. Strauss also mentions several times Mystery’s difficult relationship with his father. At the end of the book, Mystery’s mother said her husband had a very dominant, charismatic personality, which Mystery shared, and says that was the source of their conflict.

Again, we see a guy who does something well-suited to himself, and easy for him to do. Can you do it? Maybe, maybe not.

I imagine the #1 problem guys have with all this is approach anxiety. How do you overcome that? This has to be especially bad for omegas. I don’t see a lot of examples of people really overcoming approach anxiety. I haven’t seen many examples of guys who don’t have approach anxiety getting laid with women who would not likely have slept with them anyway.

So is this stuff any good at all? I don’t know. I don’t sell any books or DVDs or  conduct any seminars. I’m only interested in finding out what works for guys who really need help, myself included.


Game Goes Mainstream

November 27, 2009

No discussion of the concept of game can avoid mentioning Neil Strauss, author of “The Game.” Various people have been around a long time promoting their various materials on the subject. It was mainly limited to small ads in magazines oriented towards young men, and later the internet.

“The Game” is not nearly so much about game as it is about Neil Strauss. I don’t mean this as a criticism; he has followed a journalistic technique that was popular in the 60’s, but dates back to Mark Twain or possibly earlier, of the writer writing about himself as he does or experiences something. The only subject Hunter S. Thompson wrote about was Hunter S. Thompson; that got dull relatively quickly but when it was good, it was the shit.

Neil Strauss is a mainstream journalist of impeccable credentials, and while he expresses a certain amount of skepticism, he generally makes a ringing endorsement of game and the people who promote it. In fact I’m pretty sure the term “game”, at least as it is used in this context, comes from him. Ross Jeffries, for example, usually got trashed pretty good when he went out for publicity; Strauss says a couple uncomplimentary things about him, but says his methods do work. He depicts Mystery as a mercurial, mentally unstable figure, but one who uses his method to have sex with lots of beautiful women.

“The Game” would have a little more credibility if Strauss questioned a little harder. Clueless guys go to a seminar, then a month later are instructors. Strauss points out telling guys to approach women takes no skill in and of itself, and he doesn’t paint the many purveyors of seminars, CDs, and DVDs in a uniformly good light, but he never explicitly or even really implicitly examines what is going on. I’ll do it for him- there are numerous snake oil artists fleecing desperate men who have more money than sense. I’m willing to believe Mystery is for real and the Mystery Method works; I’m also inclined to believe the biggest thing that many of the guys who went to his seminar learned was how easy it was to charge $1000 a head for a long weekend of taking guys out to clubs.

How would the results of “game” compare with a control? If you artlessly hit on a bunch of women you will get a certain response, especially if you are good-looking, regardless of what you say. Strauss recounts s his own experiences in detail; he gives multiple examples for Mystery; he gives one for Ross Jeffries; a few for students. He doesn’t say much about Eric, Tyler Durden and the Real Social Dynamics crew, but he doesn’t seem to care much for them.

He addresses the burn out factor; he finds every woman in Hollywood seems to know the routines. I don’t know how much trouble this actually represents for an aspiring PUA; in a club in a big city, maybe, otherwise it may not be too likely a woman has been exposed to this.

Other than Strauss, game has not received much objective attention. Some possibly rigged reality shows have been done on it. Any body looking for a “story” here is looking to hype something positively or negatively to get ratings.

One last, but probably critical point. It has been pointed out that many promoters of game are also strong believers in the “nature” side of nature vs. nurture. If intelligence is inborn and can’t be changed, why would a component of personality as critical as game not be also? Much less be teachable in a weekend seminar? Most sales training, the closest readily comparable service, is crap. Self-help and personal development are big industries that have more of a placebo affect than anything else.

Nonetheless, making the most out of your resources, and maintaining and nurturing your relationships with other people, is not just desirable, it’s a matter of survival. Things that take years of practice will not help you much. Take things you can use and improve from quickly and discard the rest.

Social Business

November 24, 2009

For those of you who watched “The Sopranos”, you may recall that when Christopher decides to go clean, he stays away from the other mobsters who are always drinking.

Tony takes him to task for not keeping tabs on things. “This is a social business”, he tells Christopher.

All business is at least somewhat social, some very social. One thing I didn’t like about “The Sopranos” was they were always talking on cell phones. In reality talking any illegal business on a phone is pretty dangerous and all such conversations would be conducted face to face. When people meet they like to eat and drink; thus being a recovering alcoholic mobster would be pretty difficult. Not to mention that people somehow trust and like people they eat, and especially drink with. See my earlier mention of work socializing.

There are various degrees of this, with different goals. You have to be comfortable and functional with the basic ones at least.

The first level is that people must think you are at least acceptable, and not offensive. This is harder than it would seem. Just showing up, keeping your head down, doing your job and going home is not enough. You have to greet everyone in a friendly manner, ideally with a bright smile. Don’t assume that because people don’t greet you they don’t want to talk to you or don’t care. One of the strange things about people is that even if they never greet you or make any effort to make you feel welcome, if you don’t do it to them they will think you are a jerk. It’s dumb, and it’s not fair, but that is the way people are.

One of the difficulties of low social status, particularly for men, is you become kind of invisible. Part of this may be if you spend a lot of time in a hostile environment- family or school- as a child, you develop a way of not drawing any attention to yourself. This may be by walking calmly and quietly, not making eye contact, and appearing focused on your own thoughts. This discourages positive attention and a certain amount of negative attention, but does nothing to deter real bullies, and may even encourage them. No one can physically attack you as an adult, and verbal attacks are discouraged, so make yourself visible. Walk with an upright posture, relaxed and confident. Have an open facial expression, and scan and observe the area around you. If you are ignored a lot you may have trouble drawing attention. Look at people and attempt to make eye contact, but only for about two seconds or so. Longer and it seems like you’re staring at them or begging them to notice you.

When you get eye contact, say “Good morning!” or “How are you today?” or some other innocuous, friendly greeting with a smile or at least a relaxed, pleasant look on your face. If you know their name, include it. They may want to chat, but we’ll deal with that later.

Get used to the idea that the same people who would have yelled “Faggot!” or “What are you looking at, faggot?” or “Get the hell away from me, faggot!” when you were in high school will feel terribly snubbed if you ignore or avoid them now. And I mean the actual same people sometimes. I have a couple of times met people as an adult who were really mean to me as a kid, and they seem to remember us as being friends. Again, yes, people are evil and disgusting but until you become emperor of the world you have to deal with them on their terms.

What have you accomplished with this effort? Surprisingly little. You have merely persuaded your coworkers you are a normal human being and not some weirdo who skulks around silently and may be a serial killer. However this is absolutely necessary, since you can’t afford to have people you work with think you may be a serial killer, even though actual serial killers tend to be handsome, charming, and outgoing like Ted Bundy. Yes, Ted Bundy would have been a lot more popular at the office than you.

The next level is what people call “small talk” and I will get to that another time.

“The Treatise on Love, As Understood by an Awful Bore”

November 21, 2009

This was written by a Russian, Anatoly Protopopov, and linked by Roissy awhile back. The English version does not seem to be up anywhere any more. This is the Russian version- and I tried running it through various translators but it’s too big and I don’t have the time or patience to do it bit by bit. I will see about getting the English version from the author, if possible, and posting it; it has been referenced on various PUA websites and is worth reading. In absence of the actual document I will summarize the key points to the best of my recollection.

Update: commenter Wilbur Simonson provides the URL for the English translation- I should probably update after having read it again.

Protopopov makes the standard sociobiology/evo-psych explanation for human courtship behavior- nothing new here. He uses two characters from Russian fiction to illustrate the Casanova and the nice boy drip. He explains this behavior as a quality he calls “primativeness”- note the spelling difference from primitiveness- to note a tendency  to mimic primate behavior.

People who have a high level of primativeness will be quick to dominate anyone they sense as being less dominant than them, but he points out that they will also quickly submit to anyone they sense is more dominant. That is after all the way the natural world works. His Casanova, displaying high degree of this, gets sexual submission with little effort, where as the nice boy gets little or none even with a lot of effort.

OK, so far, nothing new here. So what is the nice boy to do? Is he doomed? Here Protopopov makes a crucial distinction- not all humans have the same degree of primativeness!

The typical omega question is, “Well, aren’t there women who are too smart, or too high quality to fall for this crap?” The short answer is no, all women are like this. The nuanced answer is maybe, partially.

Some women have a very high level of primativeness, that is to say they respond strongly to straight dominance. Women who hang out with outlaw motorcycle gangs or who are under the control of pimps are the extreme examples. Take the world’s biggest, most swaggering PUA or practitioner of game and the women at the Hell’s Angels clubhouse will think he’s a faggot. And you, my omega friend? They might stick a knife in you just for looking at them. These women are lost to you, but that’s probably a good thing.

If everybody was like this civilization as we know it would not exist. Civilization socializes people to interact other than under brute force, through laws, morals, and etiquette. While all women will have this basic nature, it will be buried under varying depths of socialization, self-esteem and intelligence.

Is all lost for our nice boy? Protopopov says he must seek a woman with a low level of primativeness- a woman in whom the urge for domination does not burn so strongly. Will this get you off the hook? No, you are still going to have to maintain enough dominance to control the relationship. By increasing your level of dominance and finding a woman who does not demand a high level, hopefully you can obtain this.

More On The Earlier View Of Marriage

November 19, 2009

I mentioned the whaling ship “Bachelor” in Moby Dick in an earlier post. Curious about my memory, I looked it up on Google Books. It turns out it was not refered to as “that happy ship of good fortune”- that must have been in some essay I read about the book.

The Bachelor has had an incredibly successful whaling trip, and every available receptacle is filled with the valuable oil of the sperm whale, or sperm for short- the Bachelor is packed, jammed, filled to the gills with sperm. I laughed when I read this- it’s a very clever double entendre. These days we would think of a fellow full of sperm as being unhappy, unlucky, even desperate. I think in Melville’s day sperm was thought to hold vitality, and sex thought to drain this away, so to be fully charged with sperm would be a good thing.

This Bachelor is no loser though- as part of the partying, dancing, fiddle playing and general happiness, they even have some Polynesian women on board, although apparently only for the higher ranking crew members. Ahab refuses the captain’s invitation to lighten up and party- he only wants to know if he’s seen the white whale. The captain of the Bachelor not only hasn’t seen the white whale, he doesn’t even believe it exists! This is truly an untroubled man.

Sex Emergency- The Advanced Age Virgin

November 19, 2009

There is a lot of social value placed on sexual activity. If you are not sexually active it’s assumed you are psychologically or socially abnormal, thus assuring you will remain sexually inactive. It’s a cruel paradox.

Let me reassure you there is nothing wrong with you. You have not had the opportunity to have experiences most people have had. When you do it won’t change your life, except you won’t obsess about being a virgin anymore. Still you are eager for the experience but may have a few things to deal with beforehand.

You may come from a very sexually repressed background, probably religious. If this is the case try to remember sex is a simple bodily function engaged by billions of humans, often under circumstances proscribed by religion, often not. Your parents probably don’t want you engaging in sex outside of marriage but hopefully they love you and want you to be happy, even if their beliefs are not functional in the modern world. Same thing with God. Do what you need to do and you will be able to find a nice girl and get married and do the rest of your sex under sanction.

You may also be highly introverted, and deeply dislike meeting and talking to strange people. It’s unlikely you can become an extrovert but with practice you can become reasonably comfortable talking to new people even if it isn’t your favorite activity.

If you have a lot of fear around being with a woman you can go to a sex therapist, who may have you work with a sex surrogate, a woman who will help you with physical and sexual contact. A surrogate is not a prostitute and the experience will be more educational than erotic. But when you finally get a woman naked you will be more relaxed and know what to do.

Or, you could just go to a prostitute. Admittedly there are a variety of problems with this. One it’s illegal. Picking up street walker is a good way to get busted. Cops run stings on Craigslist as well. If you go through an escort service and follow the expected procedures it’s unlikely you will have a problem. (This information is easily available online.) Some prostitutes work under compulsion- again if you go through a service, and get an American woman you will likely avoid this. An Asian or Russian woman may be a victim of organized crime. Being an advanced age virgin sucks but it doesn’t suck nearly as much as being forced to have sex- try to avoid making anybody’s life worse. Prostitution is legal in Canada and Mexico, so if you live close to the border maybe a trip is an option. A prostitute is not going to care much if you are freaked out, can’t get it up or are really nervous, she has seen everything and doesn’t really care.

Your goal is to date and have sex with your own woman, but getting some study and practice in beforehand may help.

Cold Weather Clothing

November 19, 2009

I live in a cold, rainy northern city where many people like to think of themselves as rugged outdoorsmen. Outerwear is usually items designed for hiking or athletic use- parkas and fleeces, often with hoods, which are good to have if it rains.

A parka- the brand is often North Face, which I think is mentioned in “Stuff White People Like”- tends to be bulky, for protection from the cold, and loose, for wearing over other layers and ease of movement. While functional, neither of these is attractive. A good question to ask about any item of clothing is, “Was this specifically designed for this use? Would it be more appropriate in another context?” Camping or athletic gear should only be worn when camping or doing something athletic.

You may have on a dress shirt, dress slacks and dress shoes, but put on a baggy parka and a knit cap or a baseball cap and you look like a schlub again. You should look good all the time, even outside in the cold. So what to wear for the cold and rain?

A nice overcoat or raincoat is the best bet. In “Dress For Success” John Molloy says a raincoat must be beige, but an overcoat can be black. He should be followed because unlike everybody else who bloviates on this subject he actually did scientific research. As a nerd you can dig that right? I’m confused on this one though because what about an overcoat that doubles as a raincoat, like London Fog? A nice London Fog with a zip out liner will cover you in most situations.

Another possibility is a pea coat, another thing mocked in SWPL but it looks a hell of a lot better than a parka. A car coat also might be good. I saw a Macy’s sale ad for Calvin Klein car coats for under $100. Don’t you think you will look better to that cute girl in a Calvin Klein car coat than a baggy parka?

What about your grape? The hood of a parka is always there, but you need something else. One, having the hood of a parka up makes you look like a refugee. Two, it cuts down your ability to see, and in dark rainy weather that can lead you to getting hit by a car. A high quality brimmed hat is a little impractical- some kind of a soft, water-resistant hat that you can shove in the pocket of your nice overcoat is more useful.