Book Review- “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” by Tucker Max

This isn’t really a game book, or a how to pick up girls book, or anything of the sort. Although I think I heard of it in this context. It’s just a collection of stories about how he goes out, gets appallingly drunk, behaves very, very badly (as he admits repeatedly) and has sex with a variety of women.

There is apparently some debate about the veracity of these stories- I saw a YouTube thing where he appeared on the Opie & Anthony show and they or one of their sidekicks called him on the anal sex/puking story- and while it’s possible there is a little embellishment I’m inclined to take it at face value. I have known guys like this, and yes they do these things and yes women do seem to just throw themselves at them.

The book is very funny, and it’s certainly worth reading for its entertainment value. It got me thinking, though. Usually thinking for me is a waste of time but I think I’m on to something here.

If there is one constant to Tucker Max’s behavior, it is that he just does not care. He never cares what anyone thinks of him, or how they are reacting to him, or how his behavior is affecting them (he does notice, he’s not clueless), or what the social consequences of his actions might be. He just goes out and interacts with people, in search of amusement and stimulation.

What is Tucker Max? An alpha? A natural? I find him a little hard to classify, although he displays a lot of these characteristics. He is not extremely good-looking, as far as I can tell, but he seems to be tall and athletic. He seems to come from a rich family and grew up in rather upper-class Southern party atmosphere. This reminds me of something- I have read that being described as “nice” is a dis amongst higher class Southerners. Taking pains to avoid offense is indeed lower status behavior, and in a more hierarchical society like the South is kind of pointless as it won’t make you any friends. Society in the Northeast is quite hierarchical but there is a Victorian restraint on people; the Midwest is more egalitarian.

I’ll contrast this with my own behavior. The key aspect of growing up in a dysfunctional family is that you must put a great deal of effort into avoiding upsetting your parents. I guess in a more normal family the kids aren’t supposed to break the furniture or shit on the carpet but the parents aren’t easily upset or disappointed, whereas in the dysfunctional family the parents are anxious and fearful all the time and almost anything can upset them. And the disapproval is expressed in very subtle ways, in subtle looks of hurt or disappointment. Thus constantly monitoring your behavior so you never get any negative reaction from anyone becomes the normal behavior.

This is accomplished by maintaining very restrained body language and generally avoiding contact with people- avoiding eye contact, and not talking unless necessary and then keeping the conversation as formal and as focused on the business at hand as possible. Some submissive smiling and body posturing may be included.

Now I can see how normal people will react to this. “What the hell is the matter with this person? Why are they so stiff? Why don’t they want to talk? Are they weird? Are they a snob, do they think they’re better than me?” Initial conversations will be very boring for a normal person. The long feeling out process that the adult child or codependent or whatever you want to call him is tedious and pointless to a normal person. They quickly lose interest and move on.

The adult child then concludes that he did or said something offensive, and tries to be more restrained next time if that’s even possible. People tend to dismiss him quickly so he concludes there is something wrong with him and withdraws more.

I have a book called “The Complete ACOA Sourcebook- Adult Children Of Alcoholics at Home, at Work and in Love” by Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D. (in case you want to look it up.) This was published before as separate books, covering much the same subject matter so it’s repetitive and stresses the same things over and over. I exhibit most of the characteristics she talks about but I have little idea how to stop doing these things. Without running down the whole list they involve never upsetting anyone and always making sure you do everything right and don’t make mistakes.

This is very stressful and the strain sometimes makes you lose it and blow up at people, which ruins everything. Normal people are not fazed by most friction that adult children studiously avoid but uncontrolled anger is a major taboo in our society.

Seeing Tucker Max’s behavior from his standpoint gives me a different perspective though. I can’t say his behavior doesn’t have negative consequences but they are far outweighed by the positives. People generally respond well to his relaxed, I don’t give a shit, I’m just here to have a good time attitude. Focusing on getting a certain reaction from people or having them like you is going to make you uptight, and uptight is never good.

Neil Strauss recommends focussing on helping other people feel good about themselves. I think this is good, but if you’re not doing well with people the first thing I think is to relax and not worry about it.

9 Responses to Book Review- “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell” by Tucker Max

  1. Sheila Tone says:

    Good analysis of Max; I just think of him as an extreme version of a rich frat boy, with some creative polish. Those types live in their own special little bubble and they get away with behavior that the unwashed masses can’t.

  2. Willy Wonka says:

    I would say he’s an alpha.

    But yeah, there’s a lot to be said for not giving a fuck about what anybody else thinks….

  3. Lance Manion says:

    He is ripping off the late great Hunter S. Thompson. I’m sure there is some truth to his stories, however most is his imagination.

  4. Jason says:

    So what happened to the infamous butt sex tape? Why, of course, it got ruined because some puke seeped into the camcorder and then seeped into the video tape inside the camcorder and got ruined. Step back a second people and think about this. I guess the puke was 8 inches deep on the floor. More accurately, when it comes to Tucker Max, the bullshit is 8 inches deep.

    The Donut shop in Chicago he ran his car through? No record from the Chicago police department. Banned from all Embassy Suites? False.

    I will admit the Tucker Max phenomenon is interesting. With the internet you can make up a bunch of bullshit about yourself in order to create an image. Through the magic of the internet you become that image. Self-fulfilling. And that’s the most interesting thing about Tucker Max.

  5. Mopenhauer says:

    That is an interesting perspective linking the “hard pua” school to the hierarchical structure of the south. It seems quite a few of em are southern including Roissy himself. From the beginning the south unlike the New Englnd Puritans was founded by aristocratic libertines. I guess hard PUa is part of the general trend of the Southernization of America. America has become Dixie. Combining liberinage with rigid hierarchy.

    Do you think Puritanism is by its nature egalitarian, while debauchery is hierarchical? We tend to associate egalitarianism with social liberalism. But is it the opposite?

    I wouldn’t dismiss Tucker Max so fast. He speaks for the dominant ideology in America. Hes not so simplistic. Just look at his reading list. Heavily based on evopsych and libertarian conservatism.

  6. […] Man – “Book Review – “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by Tucker Max“, “Tucker Max and […]

  7. Sheila Tone says:

    “Roissy” southern? Where did you get that idea?? He’s from New Jersey.

  8. TAllagash says:

    it’s poorly written, and in need of an editor worth a shit. humorous stories at best, college level humor. there is some value to be gleamed from being reckless and audacious and how women respond to it, but….meh.

  9. Mopenhauer says:

    Well Washington Dc is basically a southern city. Its Virginia de facto.

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