Once you get past all the VSB-related sites, the news sites, the sports/basketball sites, the sites I work for, and the sites with, um, mature content, a quick glance at my most frequently visited websites would show two places — Jezebel and Chateau Heartiste — that seem to be polar opposites of each other. Actually, “polar opposites” is too kind. They’d be the internet’s equivalent of Neo and Agent Smith, of Bill and the Bride, of Rick Ross and celery — entities devoted to each other’s demise.
Despite this stark contrast — and despite the fact that both tend to harbor views much, much, more extreme than mine — I’m a fan of both sites because they both feature very talented writers who are unafraid of being transparent with their agendas and are clearly having fun while they’re writing. Basically, while I get bored at most of the places I find on the internet, I don’t get bored at Jezebel or Chateau Heartiste.
Anyway, if you read enough content at each of these sites, you’ll see that much of their contempt for each other has to do with the concept of “game” — roughly defined as a set of rules devised to help men approach, attract, and seduce women. Those in the “manosphere”/PUA (Pick-up artist) community believe in it (and the evolutionary psychology it stems from), while those who lean feminist think it’s useless, dangerous, and basically teaches men how to be creeps and rapists.
A recent article at Slate.com attempted to tackle this issue. Titled “Why Are Women So Negative About the “Pickup Artist” Community?” Gayle Laakmann McDowell addressed the main issues women seem to have with “game” and the people who teach and/or practice it.
I’m 5-foot-9, and I’m just not going to go home with a guy who is 5-foot-3, goes by the nickname “Snake” (seriously?!?), and is overweight, and pimply, and won’t just answer a direct question about what he does for a living. But he keeps pursuing because, well, “I’m just playing games with him.” I’m trying to see if he passes some test, apparently.
These are the sort of repeated interactions I had with guys in the PUA community, and why I got turned against it. Once upon a time, this guy might have been a perfectly normal but nerdy guy, who could have dated online, met someone nice, got married, and been perfectly happy.
PUA instruction turns awkward, nerdy guys who just want a girlfriend into creepy guys who harass and insult women. And that’s not OK!
PUA instruction teaches guys these mechanical ways of interacting with women that don’t really work and fails to recognize that every woman is different. Some women just won’t go home with you. Sorry. Maybe she’s out of your league. Or maybe she’s just not interested in you. Or maybe she just doesn’t go home with random dudes from bars.
The words coming out of a woman’s mouth? It’s not all a game. You can have actual conversations with us. When I say “What do you do for a living?” it’s because I actually care. Because I’m looking for someone to build a relationship with, and someone with no career goals is not a good match for me. Answer the question.
Her first couple paragraphs touch on the most common critique of game and the PUA community, that it makes men think they can approach any woman, even those who are completely (and obviously) out of their league. Instead of attempting to “stay at their pay grades,” it gives male threes the confidence to think that female eight and nines will go home with them if they play their cards right.
But, while I guess I can see how frustrating it could be for a woman getting continually hit on by men she’s not even close to being attracted to, how does a guy know he has no chance unless he actually tries? Lemme answer that for you. He doesn’t. And, for a man, asking and being wrong is always — always — going to be better than not even trying and not knowing.
That being said, I think the main issue that (many) women have with game isn’t about the men who practice it as much as the concept of game itself, something Laakmann McDowell touches on towards the end of the article. As I mentioned upthread, game is roughly defined as a set of rules devised to help men approach, attract, and seduce women.
Thing is, if game is actually a valid and highly applicable concept, it also means that something else must be true, something (most) women have fought against and will continue to fight against, well, forever — women aren’t as special and unique as they think they are.
Game theory argues that what worked on Sally in Sacramento will also work, with some slight variations, on Patricia in Pennsylvania, Ruth in Russia, and Betty in Botswana. If this is true, if all it takes is a couple relatively easy rules to remember to exponentially help your dating and mating prospects with every woman, then — aside from some physical characteristics — women just really aren’t all that different from each other. And, if women just really aren’t all that different from each other, they’re disposable and easily replaceable. (You know who else is generally thought to be disposable and easily replaceable? Men.)
Now, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t really offered any opinion yet on whether I think game theory is valid. This is intentional. Why? Well, I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.
While I don’t believe that women are all the same — and, every time I get to know a woman, I receive tangible proof of this uniqueness — I do know that, every single time I’ve been a little more assertive, a little cockier, a little more direct, a little more “alpha,” and a little less pressed when speaking to a woman (basically, adopting an attitude of “I’m interested in you, but I’m not impressed by you. At all.“), I’ve gotten more rhythm than when I was less sure of myself. Every. single. time.
You know, perhaps the reason why game theory seems so, well, creepy is that it distills the art of courtship and seduction — romance, basically — until it becomes a science; turning certain qualities that we (men and women) assume are organic into something that can be studied, copied, and ultimately faked. A cheat sheet for a phenomenon we thought was impervious to cheating.
Maybe game theory does actually work. Anecdotal as it may be, my evidence tells me this may be true. But, as much as it may help to get a woman interested in you, it doesn’t seem to say very much about the most important part — keeping her interested. And, to keep a woman interested, it does help to actually (gasp!) learn shit about her.
Not to get all Romney all you, but perhaps the reason why the manosphere and the feminists don’t see eye to eye is that they’re both wrong and right at the same time.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)