Just Be (A Better Version of) Yourself: An Addendum to Friday’s Pep Talk

“Just be yourself” (JBY) is one of the great clueless lies of modern dating consciousness, right up there with “girls want nice guys.”

The fact is that there’s a very small kernel of truth in it, once you get past the literal interpretation of the phrase. When a woman tells you to JBY, she’s not saying “the right girl will love you for who you are,” she’s saying “be secure and let everybody know it.” Women value and find attractive guys who give the air of congruence (“being themselves”) and security in their skin (confident inner game). In other words, men who don’t look like they’re trying. Just as men appreciate women who, even when they’re made up, don’t look like a synthetic different person.

DO THE BEST WITH WHAT YA GOT

You need to be who you are, but you have to do that the right way. Rather than implementing “game” by changing your whole personality around to a way you’re not built to act, it’s a lot simpler to make your traits positive elements in your game arsenal. This is the mistake guys make when they think they need to look like Men’s Health cover models and wear four-figure watches to land women (and girls make when they think they have to dress like slutty princesses and put on clown whore makeup).

On Friday (the day after Thursday) I advised a commenter who was deeply concerned about his baldness, telling him to shave it and forget about it. Here’s the key lesson for today: the same applies to almost any trait you believe holds you back in the sexual marketplace. You need to own those traits, minimizing or leveraging them to give off the congruence and confidence factors that underlie JBY.

If you are a tall guy who takes up a lot of space, you’ll probably have to carefully control your movements and reign yourself in or you won’t be able to build comfort, you’ll be socially threatening. If you’re a short guy, a portion of women will pre-eliminate you; big whoop, you don’t need that kind of attention. To get the rest of them, you’ll need to build a big personality to give off the presence your physical frame can’t provide. Danny DeVito comes to mind, and it’s not just a case of hiding his height the way they do with Tom Cruise – he played the titular character in “Get Shorty,” and a foil to Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Twins.”

If you are a chatterbox, use that to pull off Mystery’s “stacking threads” mode of conversation, where you carry a listener through multiple ideas and stories, some of which aren’t finished before the next one starts. You’ll be a source of constant entertainment and interest. (Observe bartenders at a real Irish or Italian bar for archetypal examples.)

If you are introverted and laconic, you’re practically born on second base, because many guys ruin their game by over-talking. However, your few words need to be effective – you can’t waste your breath with idle chatter, bad beta jokes and supplication. Make yourself an example of the saying that “still waters run deep” – you’re a quiet guy with deep thoughts, not a shy guy who’s afraid to speak. At the very least you win some automatic points as a mysterious personality, and you will subtly “qualify” women, who will respond by trying to “chase” more words out of you.

If you’re fat and you can’t fix it, you’ll just have to be Chris Christie.

Mystery has a flair for performance that motivated his early days as an amateur magician. His natural impulse is to play to crowds. He combined that with his logical mind to develop a way to win the hearts of women. Bars, clubs and other high-novelty social scenes made great locations for his gregarious, group-oriented methods. His height, soft vocal cadence and outlandish wardrobe are all exploited positively to his ends – as is his presence in entertainment-oriented cities like Miami and LA.

On the other hand, a guy like Roissy, or at least his online persona, is better suited to the brooding, analytical, vaguely misanthropic loner shtick he has parlayed into a spot as one of the most prominent personalities in post-Strauss game community. (The guy was cited by The Weekly Standard for crying out loud.) Building on his natural game, his youthful looks – you can find the photos online if you want – and quasi-emo clothing help him stand apart from overdressed DC lawyer-and-staffer crowd.

YOU’RE GOOD ENOUGH NOW, SO GET MOVING

Never, ever fall into the arrival fallacy – the idea that you’ll move forward on something important to your life (especially something as important as love) when you lose ten pounds, get buff, get a better job, pay off your credit card or whatever. If something is worth doing, you owe it to yourself to do it now (I would except marriage and children from this advice for the moment).

Sure, some projects need to be shelved because there’s not enough time in the day, but if you make a habit of avoiding long-term goals for short-term duties, you will always find something more proximal or urgent than those long-term items. Don’t bother even rationalizing it, you are really just playing to your natural human dopamine addiction that rewards you in the short term.

Besides, if you’re embarking on a protracted change in life, you can’t wait until it’s “done” to deploy – you need real-world feedback so you know how to adjust before you’ve built the wrong model.

LIFE ALWAYS SUCKS SOMEHOW

Closely related to the previous point, be cautious in believing that other people have it better than you. There’s a reason coveting is in two of the Ten Commandments. It could be argued this is a particularly destructive variant of Impostor Syndrome, and in any case it leads quickly to learned helplessness and acceptance of an unacceptable situation. Like a girl watching runway models on TV saying “if only I was pretty like them, I would be fabulous, guys would like me and I wouldn’t have any worries. But I’ll never be like them so what’s the point in trying.”  The person in your head saying “you could never get a girl like he has, he’s got so much more going for him” – fire that person.

Everyone has issues that cause them to envy someone else. Skinny girls wish they had boobs, busty girls wish they were thin. Short guys want to be tall, tall guys want to fit in an airplane or the backseat of Japanese cars. Field service reps wish they were in air-conditioned offices during the workweek, while desk jockeys wish they could drive a truck around town for a living.

In the excellent film What About Bob, the neurotic, multiphobic Bob (Bill Murray) has major man-crush-oneitis for his egotistical psychotherapist, whom he follows to New Hampshire from New York City. In talking to Dr. Marvin’s daughter Anna (her brother is named Sigmund), Bob thinks it must be great to be the child of a famous psychologist. Anna feels otherwise, and we see why in the same afternoon when her father humiliates her by forcing her to communicate with him through hand puppets.

Haters gonna hate, and there’s always going to be somebody to criticize you for something. The sooner you recognize this not as a confirmation of the “Darwinian failure” of whatever fault you have and instead as the normal shit-testing and locker-room talk of the social marketplace, the faster you’ll rise above it.

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16 Comments

Filed under beta guide, girl guide, living a good life, living young

16 responses to “Just Be (A Better Version of) Yourself: An Addendum to Friday’s Pep Talk

  1. Lavazza

    To get a girl you don’t have to lie
    unless you’re just an average guy.

    Kool Moe Dee, I’m a player, circa 1985

  2. sestamibi

    LOL at the cartoon, but if you want to make it really esoteric, replace square root of -1 with “i”.

  3. detinennui32

    Hey Badger:
    Good post. Let me add a few things to your already dead-on analysis.
    1. This is absolutely crucial — do your thing. Devise your life plan. Find out your mission, your life purpose, and work towards it. This will cause your life to intersect with women – some worthy, some unworthy. When I was 18 and starting college I had decided on my career and was working toward it with singular purpose. A man with purpose and experiencing success in working towards it brings women into his orbit. Those women see a man who knows who he is, knows what he wants, and knows what to do to get it. Worthy women find that irresistible.

    2. Do interesting things. Try something new. Go someplace you wouldn’t otherwise go. Try rappelling, scuba diving, or hitting balls at the batting cages. Take lessons in flying, tennis or piano. Join a group and participate in its functions. Find something you like to do. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s not video gaming. If you can afford it, go on a vacation alone and sight-see. Drive somewhere with a few other people for the hell of it. All these things help make you interesting and well rounded, and give you stories to tell. Don’t be afraid of failure- there’s a first time for everything. My college summer roommate bitched and moaned because he had no golf partner so I went with him once to shut him up. I didn’t hate it- and found a new sport I kind of liked. I’m not good at it, but it’s fun. I drove a date once 85 miles (one way) for great pizza. Loosen up. Live a little. For God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t sit at home reading, watching TV or renting movies alone. Get out there. Do something.

    3. Go to public places where different people gather. Go to any downtown bar or night spot in any city with a population over 75,000. Go alone or with one or two other guys. Don’t approach any women at first. Enjoy your drinks but don’t get drunk. Don’t sit there and watch the TV. Watch the action. Watch what other men do. Chat up the bartender – especially the women bartenders. See who the newbies are, and identify the regulars. Watch what the women do. Note the center of the action, and the periphery. Take it all in. A well rounded man does not just watch or see. He observes. He assesses. He evaluates. He hears and notices not only what is said, but what is not said. He sees not only what is done, but what is not done. You’ll learn so much and get much more comfortable handling yourself and others when you get out where others congregate, and observe what’s done and not done. It will do wonders for your confidence.

    4. Don’t take dating advice from your mother, unless she is June Cleaver. Your mother is not June Cleaver.

    5. Discard the following advice, because all of it is false and probably came from your overbearing feminist mother:
    a. Be a nice guy.
    b. Never approach a woman who you find attractive. You should just let it happen naturally, or let her come to you.
    c. Women want to be friends with a man first, then get romantic with him because they already know him.
    d. You should show a woman your emotions right away.
    e. Every woman deserves to be treated like a queen.
    f. Women are looks-oriented, and they only like “hot” guys like male models, or the hot actor, or some other flavor-of-the-month.
    g. Do lots of talking and show what a great conversationalist you are.
    h. Never touch a woman you’ve just met and are getting to know, until she expressly gives you permission or she touches you first.
    i. Never try to kiss a woman unless you have asked and she gives permission, or she kisses you first.
    j. Tell a woman how you want marriage and how many kids you have.
    k. You MUST call a woman the very next day after a date to thank her and set up another date.
    l. You must do everything a woman asks you.
    m. You must never try to put a woman in her place.

    6. Here’s the truth:

    a. Be a confident man. Be kind and courteous, but be direct. Don’t mince words. Don’t be deferential, apologetic or obsequious merely for pursuing what you want.

    b. Women want to be approached. Even if you get shot down 19 times, there’ll be one out of the 20 who will be interested. Women time and again give props to the man who knows what he wants and goes after it. The risk is great but the reward for the successful, persistent man is immeasurable. If you let it happen, you’ll be waiting forever – and you might miss out. Besides, what have you got to lose? What’s the worst that can happen? She says no? She’s not interested? She laughs at you? So what? I’ve been shot down, laughed at, made a laughingstock, been thrown out of parties and bars, had drinks thrown in my face, even been puked on. It will not kill you. You’ll live to talk about it another day.

    c. A woman getting romantic with her best boy-buddy only happens in TV movies on Disney and Lifetime. Chemistry, people. It’s either there or it’s not. Odds are you’re never going to mix it up with one of your girl-buddies from class or in your major. She’s most likely already LJBF’d (Let’s Just Be Friends) you. Every romantic interest I ever had started out hot, with immediate and palpable sexual attraction. You know when it’s there and when it’s note.

    d. When she’s just met you and on the first few dates, a woman definitely does not want to see you emote. She’s surrounded by girlfriends and BFFs who do nothing but emote all damn day long. She does not care how you feel. She wants to see how you do on her tests. Jeez, if you start talking about all your deep feelings, you’ll creep her out.

    e. This is called putting her on a pedestal. Don’t do it. Don’t compliment her. Don’t tell her how beautiful, attractive or talented she is. You’re with her. You think she’s attractive. She knows you think that or you wouldn’t be there with her, genius. Don’t treat her like a queen. Treat her like a woman you’d like to get to know. If you pedestalize her, she’ll lose interest because you’ve just failed a basic test — you did not stand up to her.

    f. This is absolutely crucial. If you don’t get anything else from this comment, get this: Women do not see physical appearance first. What gets their engines going are a man’s confidence, his comfort level, and his bearing (his presence, personality, and charisma). They also smell fear a mile away. If you’re afraid or fear rejection, they’ll know it – and crush you. That’s why confidence and comfort are vital.

    g. Big mistake. Shut yer trap. Don’t talk so much. It’s not 20 Questions. Don’t interview her. Talk with her. Let her do most of the talking. And don’t submit to 20 Questions either- that’s a test. You’re there to meet interesting people and have a little fun. Reframe it. Shut down the interrogation on both ends. And don’t lean in and invade her space because you can’t hear her. It creeps her out. Remember – you don’t know her well and she’s getting to know you. Use it as an excuse to move her to another place in the house, party or bar.

    h. Women respond to light touching on the forearm or back (but nowhere else). Touch when conversing to make a point. It establishes a connection and tests attraction. If she pulls away, that’s fine. Ignore it and move on to something else. Touch when directing her to face you or to move to another place. It shows you’re leading and giving direction. If she pulls away, fine. Ignore it and don’t touch again. You might need to move on and pull back entirely.

    i. Don’t discuss kissing or ask about it. If it’s been a good date, and you think she’s receptive, make a move. What have you got to lose? If she turns away, you’ve got your answer. It will happen a lot. That’s OK.

    j. NO. This creeps young women out. Don’t talk about marriage and kids unless that’s part of your game with this woman or you’re really serious about it (and you should not be serious about it on the second or third date).

    k. NO. Don’t call her the next day. This beta move smacks of desperation, lack of confidence, and overeagerness. She knows you just want to get in her pants, but could you be a little more patient and subtle? Let her mull over it, commiserate with her BFFs, and stew in the juices. Give her a couple of days to consider you. Then call, but only if you’re interested. Even then, don’t show too much interest. And for God’s sake don’t give her a gift or flowers. It was a first date. She hasn’t earned this, and it will creep her out.

    l. No, you must not do everything a woman asks you. This is a test. If you succumb to this, she’ll know she can walk all over you and will lose respect for you so fast it’ll make your head spin. You need to tell her no sometimes. Maybe you don’t want to do what she wants. Maybe her course of action is downright stupid. Maybe she’s a spoiled princess and no one’s ever said no to her. She needs to be told no. She needs you to help prevent her emotions, her hamster or her entitlement monkey from taking over.

    m. Sometimes women do need to be restrained. They are a bundle of unbridled emotion and enzymes, which many times they don’t understand. This wouldn’t be so bad if they did not often let those feelings and hormones control their decisionmaking processes and higher functions. But they do, and so restraint is sometimes in order. Sometimes they must be told in no uncertain terms to STFU and STFD.

  4. ExtremeBalance

    @ detinennui32:

    Cliff Notes for Game. It’s too short to be Game for Dummies. Nicely done.

  5. Dan in Phill

    “Be yourself, unless you totally suck!” This is at least more honest than the simple “be yourself” lie. A better word of advice it “Know yourself!” It isn’t easy to know who you really are, but there are great benefits:
    - you don’t waste time trying to be the head quarterback if you have the body of an OT
    - you don’t waste time with women too snobby for you, or with women you could do much better than, either of them will lead to misery
    - you get to learn what your strengths and weakness are. Many advice to work on your weaknesses, and though that might be appropriate to a limited degree, it’s far better to work on your strengths! Why waste time learning how to dance when you will never ever be a great dancer if you can instead spend that time learning french, or working on free weights, or learning how to be really funny, or whatever you are really good at? only by knowing who you are can you learn what to spend your time on, and the rest? forgettaboutit!!!

  6. sestamibi

    Most important point is “c”. Don’t waste your precious time if you don’t get an IOI IMMEDIATELY!

  7. detinennui32 nailed a lot of it.

    A covered some of it to but got a bit more personal:

    http://theprivateman.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/mom-was-wrong-a-personal-narrative/

    Never ask mom (or any woman, for that matter) about dating and relationship advice.

  8. MrLettuce

    Wow, great stuff, detinennui32. I’m copying all of that!

  9. Paige

    @Dan in Philly

    It is funny how your screenname takes on a completely different meaning if you forget to type the “y”.

  10. Dan in Philly

    @Paige, ouch! :)

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  12. Confidunce

    Anyone who feels like they’re not pretty enough should — right now — get on the internet and google “celebrities without makeup.” This picure of Don Draper is a good example.

    Even the most beautiful people among us look like shit. They just play up their best attributes when it’s time to go on camera. They go on workout binges before shooting and write contract clauses instructing the director only to shoot the left half of their jawline, or whatever.

    The point is: You make the most of what you got. You don’t worry about what you lack, and you feel confident that very few people have anything much better.

    Above all, you must re-frame. Don’t hold yourself to the standards you’ve developed while watching TV and movies. It’s the first step in setting a frame that requires WOMEN to get over their Hollywood fantasies, too.

  13. VI

    “still waters run deep” – you’re a quiet guy with deep thoughts, not a shy guy who’s afraid to speak.

    My girl says this about me all the time. I’m actually an extrovert, but I don’t feel the need to fill silence the way many other extroverts do. I’m also a very strong thinking type, so despite my extroverted thinking, I’m just as likely to be deep in my own thoughts.

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