I don’t remember when exactly I first heard about “The Game” — Neil Strauss’ best-selling look into the pick-up artist (PUA) community — but I do remember being 1) confused by the name “The Game” (I don’t know what it is, but something about titling something “The Game” just doesn’t compute with me. It’s almost like it’s hitting ctrl-alt-delete on my brain. Seriously, it took me almost three years to completely grasp that the rapper The Game’s name was actually The Game. I kept believing I was seeing a typo or something) and 2) intrigued by the concept of PUA.
I’ve always thought that the dating game, or, more specifically, a person’s success in the dating game was much more dependent on science than art, so hearing that there were actual concretized rules that all men (Yes. All) who had frequent success with attractive women followed made sense.
Included among these laws are specific terminology like ”cat-string theory” — the idea that you keep a woman engaged just enough to hold her attention, but never give her your full attention — and ”the neg” — a backhanded compliment/slight dig that serves a dual purpose (1. To give a man an opportunity to expose how witty he can be, and, more importantly, 2. To show a woman that he’s not the slightest bit impressed by her beauty)
According to members/followers of the PUA community, once you remove the harshness of some of the terminology, all it does is give some actual meat to ambiguous terms such as “swagger” and “je ne sais quoi,” and I can’t say I don’t agree with that assertion.
Basically, whether it’s conscious or not, the men who are generally thought to have an attractive/alluring (even though I hate this term, I have to use it here) “swag” generally follow the PUA rules to a T when approaching women. I mean, “negs” are frequently incorporated by any guy from 5 to 55 whose ever flirted with an/or teased a woman, and any guy who’s ever had any type of consistent success with women knows that (generally speaking) the best way to spark a woman’s interest is to act like you’re really not that interested in her at all. This isn’t “game” as much as it’s just best practices.
Predictably, many, if not most, women are loathe to publicly admit that game actually works – ironically, some women will make this passionate anti-game argument while they’re knee-deep in the process of being gamed – and here’s three reasons why this reluctance exists.
1. Admitting that game works completely contradicts one of the most prominent and protected tenets of womanhood: All women are unquestionably and undoubtedly unique.
Ever since the day they were born (or, if you’re a woman from Harlem, The Hill District, or Lincoln Heights, ever since their mothers decided to name them “Shauntananique“), most women have had the idea that they were extremely special and extremely precious repeatedly beat into their heads. Now, this isn’t a bad thing. Any good parent is going to do everything they can to make sure their daughter has a healthy portion of self-esteem. I mean, if I ever decide to have a daughter and she comes to me crying about not getting invited to a classmate’s sleepover, I probably won’t tell her “Hey, young daughter of The Champ, don’t worry about it. You weren’t invited because you’re not really all that special, and, well, you’re not really all that special so get used to disappointment.”
But, with this perpetual positive reinforcement cunninglingus comes a natural aversion to accepting the idea that game works because, well, game works by reinforcing the idea that each individual woman isn’t really all that special. The sense of ”Well, maybe that happened to her…but that damn sure aint gonna happen to me,” doesn’t fly because, with slight variations, the same techniques that worked with Debbie in Des Moines work just as well with Tisha in Tampa, Brittany in Boston, and Changpu in Chicago (she’s an exchange student).
2. Most of the men associated with the concept of game/PUA are, for lack of a better term, creepy weirdo motherf*ckers.
Let’s just say that when the most prominent members of a community go by names like “Mystery” and look like this…
…it just might be a tad difficult to accept that what they’re saying might actually work.
I even admit to being taken aback by Neil Strauss’ appearance and relatively effeminate voice when seeing him on a couple talk shows in the last week. He just didn’t look or sound anything like how I expected.
Thing is, the fact that these guys aren’t traditionally attractive should actually give them more credibility. I mean, men like Boris Kodjoe and Idris Elba can receive female interest just by walking in the room and saying “Huh,” so I’d be more interested in hearing exactly how a guy who looks like he should be selling me skinny ties at Urban Outfitters managed to be “successful.”
3. “Game” continues to have a somewhat undeserved negative connotation.
From “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night” (It’s not a game with the “quoting paragraphs from your own book” game)
Although many associate the phrase running game with deception and subterfuge, game is nothing but seduction, and men do it to convince the one being “gamed” to do something the gamer wants them to do. It’s actually more advertising than artifice, and while it’s usually used in a dating or relationship context, you don’t have to be a “pimp” or “playa” to practice or appreciate it.
It’s a Mercedes commercial that makes you fantasize about how it would feel to drive up to your high school reunion in a new Benz coupe. It’s what every career counselor worth their salt would advise you to put on your resumes and cover letters to ensure your prospective employers see you in the most positive light possible. It’s all the flattering pictures on your Facebook page you’ve deemed taggable, lest one of your friends see what you actually look like.
To be completely frank, the best answer to “How can I tell if I’m being gamed?” is “Are you alive?”
Anyway, people of VSB: How do you feel about the concept of “game,” and why do you think women are relunctant to admit that they’ve been (or are being) gamed?
Also, do you think there’s some truth to the idea that the same general techniques work with most (if not all) women, or do you think it’s completely bullsh*t.
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