A pick-up artist would say that good hygiene and exercise is also part of the game. They work lots of angles, and hygiene and staying fit are definitely part of it. I believe they call that stuff “outer game” whereas some of the techniques for psyching oneself up to project confidence are “inner game.”
In the previous post, and now this lift-out, I’m sensing a lot of resentment. And I get it. These pick-up artists, about whom I’ve read a little, and a few of whom I’ve met, would call me an “Average Frustrated Chump.”
That said, they really do appear to be on to something, and on a certain level, I admire their mind-set. They’ve identified a difficult problem, one that’s very much worth solving, and are attacking it with determination and an open mind.
I don’t think I could bring myself to try this stuff–in particular, the “negging” would be more than I could handle. I don’t think it’s in any way immoral, I just don’t have it in me, and I’d be mortified to be called on it. I mean, surely lots of women out there know the “game” and will spot negging when they see it.
But for all that, reflexive put-downs like “just clean yourself up and put down the cheetos” say a lot more about the speaker than about the pick-up artists. Specifically, it says that you’re for whatever reason in a great big hurry to dismiss them without learning what they’re about.
At this point readers may be thinking “Oh, please. This guy is just a pick-up artist pretending to be a chump.” To which I respond, frankly: I wish.
But I HAVE read about them, because I’m curious. And hell, maybe someday I’ll give it a try. Doubt it, but it’s possible.
I know enough about human psychology to suspect that what they’re doing will likely work. I’m reminded of an article in some SF paper about these guys that quoted some woman blogger/writer or other. She said something like “Oh, that won’t work. If a guy wants to impress me he outta walk right up to me, be himself, introduce himself and shake my hand.”
Okay. But one thing I learned from Stanley Milgram is that we aren’t good at predicting how we’ll react to unusual stimuli. Almost everyone thinks they’d have stopped at 150 volts in the Milgram experiment. Most of us are wrong. Lots of us have ideas about how we’d react in a life-threatening situation. Those of us who haven’t yet been in one just don’t know, and likely overestimate our heroism. We generally think we’re more attractive, more capable, more popular, and more influential among our peers than we actually are.
And, in all likelihood, we’re more readily manipulated by practiced operators than we’d like to think. Ever complete a big sale and realize that, in at least some ways, you’d been pushed around a bit by the salesman? I have. I bet many people have.
These guys appear to be getting results. I resent it as much as anyone, but that resentment changes nothing.
Your correspondent’s remark is exactly–exactly–like Joe Morgan saying that the statistics revolution in baseball, championed by Bill James and chronicled in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball, is bunk.
But just as Joe Morgan has personally viewed only the tiniest fraction of games played, and has a human memory even of those games, your correspondent (guessing she’s a she) has only seen the tiniest fraction of interactions between men and women.
No doubt your correspondent, in her own case, only considers the carriage, character, and accomplishments of her suitors, and is herself quite impervious to the wily maneuvers of these guys. But her evidence that other women have the same standards is–what, their word for it? How can she possibly know?
What I like about this topic is the manifold ironies that it evokes, the very defensiveness both of the PUAs and wannabes and of those who are suspiciously eager to believe that it can’t work (the fallback position being that it only works on victims and losers, articulated repeatedly on the Amazon thread for the Strauss book). Sadly the discussion on the previous thread got lame quick, not much better than a recent Tyra Banks episode that dealt with PUAs.
I know you’re a busy guy, hope you have time to do the topic justice (if not, it would be perfect for the This American Life radio program).