Monthly Archives: May 2012

Body Language: The Beer Shield

Last year my blogging compatriot Gmac had a brilliant post on a body-language quirk he had noticed which is known as “the Beer Shield.”

The Beer Shield is a college-born social tactic that young men pick up in dive bars and house parties. It is a fallback technique akin to a security blanket that should be shamed out of men.

Keeping a beer close to your chest is a sign of insecurity. It’s no different from playing with your phone in a bar. It tells the other people around you, “Hey everyone! I’m awkward and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing with myself right now!” It signals desperation and confusion to the opposite sex. More importantly, it’s counterproductive to an approach mentality.

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re out at a bar take a look around. The guys with their beer shields up won’t be talking to women, or if they are, it won’t be very long. Beer Shields make you less sociable while working against you. All they do is add yet another barrier between you and the rest of the women in the room (that’s not even including bitch shields).

Relax, set the drink down. Hold it to the side or below your waist if you like. Dangle your bottle or use it as a prop as you speak. Be nonchalant and carefree. There’s nothing interesting or cool about a guy who raises and lowers a beer in front of his face like a monkey.

I commented on Gmac’s post about my own field experience:

Was out with another game-aware dude last week and noticed a guy using the beer shield. He drank the entire glass and still used the empty as a shield, then when posing for a picture with some chicks he came in with, he held the glass in his hand when he put his arm around a girl. It was like using a prop to effect hover hands. I wanted to impersonate a waiter and take it away from him.

It’s simple open body language. This video makes the additional point that holding the drink in front of your chest requires muscular tension that puts you in a less relaxed mode.

In addition to eliminating any beer-shield behavior in my own person (and experiencing a detectable boost in my own social comfort), since reading this post I’ve come to notice beer-shielding among young people in my cohort, and found that Gmac is right – guys holding their drinks at their sides, or placing them on the bar so as to talk with both hands, are more sociable, more open and more alpha.

I also noticed a collateral sequela of holding the drink down. Holding the drink at your side requires that you hold it by the lip of the glass instead of the base. This means that when you bring it up to your mouth, you are forced to sip it rather than gulp it. It also hides part of your face for some cheap mystery points. When you are holding your drink from the bottom, your instinct is to turn it over and flood the contents into your mouth. You don’t want to do this; it looks gluttonous and out of control.

It’s all part of doing things slowly and deliberately – you’re not there to pound the drink, it’s just an incidental part of your evening.

YOU DON’T NEED BOOZE

While we’re on the topic, you should consider whether you want to drink at all. I’m no teetotaler and I’m not trying to talk anybody out of it, but alcohol affects your health, raises your reaction times, and can get you into trouble when driving or dealing with authority. (The peripatetic blogger Assanova claimed drinking gave him bouts of unpredictable and itinerant depression.)

I personally know two very successful game-aware men who don’t drink at all.

If you want to drink alcohol, drink because you enjoy it, not because it’s there or because you want to fit in with the rest of the circle. I love having interesting cocktails and craft beers, but if someone offers me a Natty Light I say no (I do sometimes offer to piss in a glass and sell it to them for three dollars). Sure it takes some self-identity to pass up a beverage everyone else is having, but isn’t that what game is really all about?

It’s not hard to do. When someone asks to get you a drink, say, “nah, I’m fine, thanks.” Don’t explain. Once you say that a few times, word gets around that drinking isn’t your thing.

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

A while back on a thread in the Roosh V Forum, some guy was poo-poohing the beer-shield advice. His “point” was along the lines of:

“So some woman is going to want to do me because I hold my drink a certain way? That’s so ridiculous, gamers are such loosers lolz!”

The answer is, yes and no. No particular subtle point of body language is going to turn you from a chumparrific fap king into a budding Casanova. But it’s a piece of the puzzle, and if you spend a lot of time drinking with others, how you hold your drink is going to go a long way towards how their hindbrains see your social value.

It’s also a question of optimization. If your body language and mental composure are generally free and open, there’s no need to occupy your mind with small details. But if your game sucks, you need to understand that seemingly-small problems can have a big impact on reinforcing how people already see you, because you don’t have an overall positive, attractive frame in which to operate. This is especially true with women, who are subconsciously and consciously judging you on subtle factors that escape most guys’ concern.

It’s this small-details-to-big-picture development model that so many game haters miss – the way you learn any kind of skill or attitude is to start with specific intentional behaviors, and as those become rote and unconscious you develop a holistic mindset that makes the specific behaviors flow from that mindset.

People who say “just be confident/be calm/have inner game/etc and everything will flow from there” have it backwards. That’s really a self-affirmation based in wishful fiction rather than in reproducible fact. It’s just not an effective way to make changes in your psyche.

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The Subsidizer’s Dilemma, or Squeezing the Sexual Marketplace From Both Ends

One of the major hammering points of conservative/libertarian thought over the years has been the psychologically necrotizing effects of subsidization on human productivity and innovation. While the mass effects of these policies are most impactful with regard to tariffs, tax policy and politically-interested grants, the psychological consequences and risks of subsidy are most starkly visible with regard to aid at the personal level, known colloquially as welfare.

The informal ward of the state has no personal incentive to better their situation, driven as they are into the pernicious cycle of dependency, and has no political incentive to change the system, because the status quo directly benefits them.

I’m not saying anybody is living large on welfare – they’re not, didn’t anybody see “Precious?” – but income subsidization removes one major bother from one’s life: day-to-day accountability to a boss and an organization. Stability is a huge incentive, one that can easily override the drive to better one’s station. It’s an ironic paradox that people will put up with a lot to get something that’s free, and it’s not always a conscious process; like wax dripping onto a rock, the molding of our psyches by incentives in fact taps into our very deepest hindbrain quarters, shaped as they are into efficiency by millions of years of mammalian evolution.

If they have a strong ambition or a need for autonomy, they might be driven to move up from statist dependency, but that’s a large mental hurdle to clear, and it gets higher the longer one is dependent. There’s also the matter of learned helplessness – as time goes by they find it progressively more difficult to get out of their quandary even if they want to or it becomes possible to do so. For an example, consider people in mediocre relationships; even though their situation is unrewarding, many stick with it because the change itself is too much bother.

Now, with that knowledge in hand, consider another angle of poverty. The so-called “working poor” consists of people whose labor is so fungible (i.e. unskilled and rote) that they have almost no microeconomic leverage against their employers or industries. Thus not only are their wages low, their negotiation power is at a minimum. Unionization is essentially a way of binding together all the workers’ interests into one contiguous block against the management, to prevent laborers from competing against each other and instead threatening management with a wholesale loss of labor output (i.e. a strike).

Don’t get me wrong on romanticizing the blue-collar worker – some of the trades are making big bank (I’m told plumbing and garbage collection are six-figure occupations) and there’s growing awareness of a crop of “white-collar poor” young adults, buried under massive student loan debt for a degree that got them in on the basement floor of a faceless, capricious organization.

In any case, those at the bottom of the employed ladder don’t lack the incentive to change – they are already putting in the dirty work yet not being particularly rewarded for it. What they really lack is the ability to influence either their station in life or the system at large; they are so far down the list in terms of productivity and wasta no one wants to listen to them.

So we have two exactly opposite scenarios, both of which contribute to an imperfect setup.

“The Innovator’s Dilemma,” a term coined by business scholar Clayton Christensen, is the phenomenon that a market leader with the customer share and capitalization to introduce a disruptive technology to a market is fundamentally disincentivized from doing so, due to the fact that they are successful doing it the old way, until it’s too late – when they get scooped by an upstart who has made the leading-brand product obsolete. So the innovator is either trying to change the modus operandi of people who have no proximal incentive to change, or he stakes out on his own in a disadvantaged position where he lacks capital and credibility and thus his idea may never be realized.

Thus the Subsidizer’s Dilemma, if I may adapt a phrase, is how to empower people to change their situation without further disincentivizing an already-empowered cohort who has no motivation to contribute as is.

THE SUBSIDIZER’S DILEMMA APPLIED TO THE ALPHA-OMEGA SPECTRUM

I recently happened to reframe this issue onto the sexual marketplace from a comment at a Manosphere blog – I can’t hope to recall the blog or the comment, apologies to whoever it was.

The small crop of alpha males have no incentive to change the marketplace or turn away from the benefits they receive – they can acquire with ease the sexual comforts of women while paying relatively little cost in commitment or relationship investment, and if and when they want to have a relationship they have many prospects to choose from which in and of itself forces suitresses to consciously increase their relationship fitness. There’s no reason for them to work for or support a marketplace reform that cramps their options or requires further investment on their part – the haphazard and disordered sexual marketplace is fine by them.

Meanwhile, the lower-beta crowd and below live through their sexual primes wholly uncomforted by the female sex – at the time when their sexual and psychological needs are at their most intense. They have no personal power (because they can’t get women) and they certainly have no political power (any agitation would immediately be dismissed as the whinings of an unattractive man that society should find his qualities more attractive).

Much hand-wringing (by both men and women) has occurred of late based on fears that the alpha-omega divide is growing more stark, with men differentiating early into implacable raconteurs and sexual basket cases. The fact that adult male virginity is more common than that of adult females seems to disturbingly support this hypothesis, however it’s all a matter of opinion as to whether this is due to increasingly-dysfunctional female sexual selection or an increasingly emasculated crop of men.

Now the Subsidizer’s Dilemma comes into effect. One method of addressing the imbalance is a re-valorization of beta-oriented males. This has produced predictable muffled snickers from the alpha male cohort, who again have no incentive to cooperate with a reform that takes away their catbird-seat power.

Another method along these lines is a tightening of courtship and commitment practices to reduce partner-swapping – to soften the overall volatility in the market by attaching costs to promiscuity and by ensuring men get some dividend returns on their commitment investment. However, this has produced opposition from women, who can’t bear the idea of being “trapped” in a relationship – when pressed on the topic they don’t seem to be very enthusiastic about the idea of commitment after all. Recall the ubiquitous Notebook-esque plot of “woman/man engaged/committed to to the wrong person.

On the other hand, one could give betas the ability to be more alpha and thus assume a position of market power. Theoretically, alphas also aren’t going to support this as it undercuts their market advantage, although in reality alphas probably don’t really care since part of being alpha is being irrationally confident that you can best other suitors, and another part of being alpha is understanding there are lots of prospects to mine – either way, extra competition is just a marginal bother.

This is the art of game, a key mission of this blog and many others, as attractive behaviors and lifestyles can be learned, practiced and improved. This has also produced gnashing of teeth from lots of women, threatened by the bogeyman of “fake” attraction and apoplectically anxious that a new class of alphas will rise who leave their comfort- and commitment-oriented traits behind in pursuit of sexual success. (This raises the question of why, if those traits are so desired by women, they are consistently punished in the sexual marketplace to the point those men seek semi-professional advice in the form of game.) In this instance, women are the management, uninterested in having their laborers unionize or raise their skill level to the point they can strengthen their negotiating position.

And many beta-type men will be unwilling to learn and implement decent game anyway, due to either lack of fundamental talent and efficacy or a hamster-driven rejection of the art as “fake” or “just for losers” (look in the mirror?)

CONCLUSION

Any talk of a macro response to the sexual imbalance (which itself might be a pipe dream anyway) needs to take the Subsidizer’s Dilemma into account. We can’t simply aim to take sexual power from one group and grant it to another without accounting for the non-cooperation of the former, and the inefficacy and learned helplessness of the latter.

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How And Why Men Are Taught Wrong on Decoding A Woman’s Interest

Candide left a very interesting comment on my last post challenging conventional wisdom on clueless men and cryptic women.

TBH I don’t buy this guys are so thick and girls are crap at showing interest. Years ago, when I first found Game, one of the first lessons I was taught was that women with high interest will make it obvious and easy for you. Girls who show vague / unclear interest are not the ones who have high interest in you. All this head-slapping, facepalming moments afterwards when they told you how they were keen but you didn’t notice are just bullshit from them to get your attention at a later date. I’ve heard that plenty of times from girls, never bought it. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen how seemingly shy introverted girls show very obvious interest in alphas and I’ve also been that guy who gets actively seduced by highly keen women. When they really like you, they don’t let you get away that easily!

Girls know how to get guys’ attention. They’ve had practice for years. The girls who say they don’t are the unattractive and/or super awkward ones.

I fully concur with his sentiment – this subject is just not that hard, I have long pushed back on the “dumb men, crazy women” meme that rues the less-efficient corners of the sexual marketplace (inefficient being code for “people who aren’t getting the partners they want.”)

I do however think a few caveats and notes are in order. (In a shocker, Badger has some opinions on things.)

1a. Guys are “thick” in part because at least stateside, guys are taught that women are fundamentally demure and do not seek sex or sexual stimulation from men, and also that it’s the guy’s job to chase an uninterested woman until she decides she likes him after all (this lesson is pounded in by films, TV and bad dating advice from women). Situations that break this narrative – like girls blowing guys in the back of the schoolbus, or Girls Gone Wild behavior on the bar circuit – is blamed on evil alpha males who make them do it (in the same way that rampant hooking up is explained as “she’s just trying to get that high-status guy to be her boyfriend.”) It is also noticeable that the more sexually “free” a subculture is, the more women focus their sexual attentions on top men, so it’s a paradox that the more men see female sexuality for what it is (e.g. on the covers of Cosmo), the fewer men they see it expressed with (i.e. usually not them).

1b. Most (~75% of) guys have such uniformly bad and difficult experiences with women in their youth that they are predisposed to disbelieve that a truly interested woman is actually interested.

We humans tend to internalize bad outcomes more strongly than good ones (I’ve heard a ratio of 3:1 or even 5:1) so even a couple of bad experiences with a woman who was teasing him or blew him out can cause a guy to acquire a Pavlovian response and stop reading signals correctly.

The loss of a formalized dating culture, which both banded people with their SMV peers and taught them the rudiments of escalation and the bounds of investment, has been a disaster for men of less-than-top status, as they are really fighting for scraps in the SMP playground and are given very few tools to display value and assert themselves.

This even goes, believe it or not, for some alpha/player types – washed as they are in female attention (which to them is mostly fungible and replaceable), they never HAD to develop the skills to attract, pursue and seduce a particular target. And so when they meet a woman they are really hot for in all ways, they might be no better than a oneitis-laden beta boy. This doesn’t happen nearly as much as romcoms make women believe it does, but I have seen it more than once.

Put another way, the beta male doesn’t understand IOIs and so doesn’t know when to make his move (or bail entirely). Thing is, the guy with the alpha-male attitude usually doesn’t really care whether a woman is all that interested, he’ll make his bold move either way and if she’s not down, he’ll move on without a blink. So he doesn’t have to bother to learn an in depth evaluation of a woman’s interest.

2. Girls know how to get guys’ attention, yes, but they also know how to frame it in a plausibly-deniable way, so if the guy doesn’t approach, or his approach goes bad, she can default to a “oh, oops, you thought I was interested in you? Sorry” routine. This also helps deflect criticism from other women who might accuse her of being “too forward,” another way of complaining that she might be undercutting the SMP cartel (despite the hand-wringing of patriarchy-obsessed feminist scholars, most slut-shaming comes from other women).

So the end result is that young men have very little good data, because women can deny (or withdraw) having been interested in a guy, because they don’t want to admit to themselves or others that they were interested in a guy who either had bad game or rejected them. My experience is that women take rejection very poorly, so it’s often the case that she will ramp up that rationalization hamster to convince others or even herself that she wasn’t really interested. I think there’s an old fable about that.

I don’t think this is really a nefarious tactic, it’s just semi-subconscious ego protection. It happens, however, to have a corrosive effect on the development of a healthy and constructive male sexuality, replacing it with repression and frustration and strong distrust of women (see 1b above). In contrast to haters who say game teaches men to use and objectify women, teaching men to recognize and go around the subterfuge is a huge part of getting men to actually enjoy being around women (hat tip to Dogsquat for developing out my thoughts).

I started thinking about this a lot when corresponding with a female reader who told me some anecdotes of her friends going well out of their way to deny that they were interested in a particular guy – like they were all in some intra-gender competition to see who was least interested and emotionally invested in sex, relationships and basic male attention. Whether that’s some “I don’t need a man’ feminism talking, or just protecting their pride that they couldn’t get some guy they really wanted, I’ll never know. Probably some of both.

Discussion of the plausible-deniability angle took place live on this high-intensity post (link to Mike C’s perceptive comment).

As a coda, I do concur with Candide that women who have difficulty actively cultivating attention from men are at a major disadvantage, just as are men who lack good attraction skills, and they need to learn some girl game. Those girls who “always have a boyfriend” are doing something to get it, and it’s a lot more than just looking good. The issue for most men is getting on women’s radar screens at all (i.e. attraction) – while for women, it’s getting the right guys to approach.

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When You Work Your Passive Game, Detecting Female Interest Becomes A Sensitive and Intuitive Skill

Following up my previous post on passive game, as I became more aware of the signs of female attraction, I eventually grew to intuitively sense the aura and spirit of a woman’s interest, without needing to codify the signals in an analytical manner. Now that I am both highly aware and frequently approaching in the wild, I am constantly on the subconscious lookout for approachable women to talk to – and so I have developed a heightened radar sense for when an interested woman is in the vicinity.

In effect, I had trained myself into the perceptive ability that naturals have, well, naturally. What I could previously only sense through blindingly obvious signals like a woman’s big smile or tossing her hair back in my presence, I can now pick up in the subtlest of cues – so fleeting that it’s sometimes nothing more than our little secret. It’s in the momentary glances of interest, undressing me with her eyes, straight-up eye fu**ing, and longing, desperate gazes that verily scream “please come talk to me, so I can bathe in your masculine energy.” Gone were the days of regular “I had no idea she was interested in me!” facepalms, replaced with calculated, well-managed risks of the Yohami-esque “she seems interested in me, maybe I should find out if she’s cool” persuasion.

This manifested just recently as I was exiting the train. As I looked back to fiddle with my bag I made the briefest of eye contact with a young woman behind me. She smiled at me and chuckled, with that vaguely embarrassed look of someone who’s just been caught peeping. On the way off the platform I walk slowly in case she wants to catch up; she pulls up alongside me and I deliver my opener. Just as I knew, she was perfectly willing to talk to me.

In another case, I was out with some friends for drinks and as I moved to and from the bar, I passed by a pretty young lady who was deploying several ways to get my attention. Stealing glances at me disguised as aimless stares while listening to her friends talk, allowing the back of her hand to brush against me as I squeezed past her, and as I was waiting for my order to be garnished, carressing my shoulder with the point of her middle finger.

In an earlier time I might have recoiled, assuming she had touched me by mistake and even apologizing for being in her way. No more; I filed it in the “open her” category. (I was actually working another prospect at the time, and by the time I was free to open her, she had begun talking with a male member of her group who acted as a non-competitive inhibitor: not an object of her interest, but occupying her attention just the same.)

Pre-verbal interest requires something to be attracted to, and as I stand up straight and move with deliberateness, I display value as a “dominant” man simply in the way that I move, without having to actually dominate anybody. This invites the nonverbal admiration of those who like that in a man and thus they invite me to invite them into my world.

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Passive Game

When Neil Strauss’ iconic book “The Game” was released in 2005, it made big waves among communities of young men, and my social circle was no exception.

I had a friend at the time who was a real natural. He was very insecure about his 5’8″ stature, but other than that, a real charmer – physically fit, basically nice and magnanimous with good cooking and entertainment skills, and a smart guy with a good work ethic that tripped the educated girls’ switches. He was not socially dominant as much as he was always doing interesting things that made people want to be around him. All the women in our group were crushing on him bigtime.

We were all having a beer one afternoon when he remarked on this book he had read about in the paper, about a bunch of guys who had developed and drilled systematic methods of attracting women.

At the time I had a very dim awareness of the book’s release. We discussed some of the rudimentary basics, especially the more sensational ones – complicated openers, negs (neutral-value statements), ignoring the woman you are interested in in favor of courting the approval of her friends, fighting off competitors (AMOGs).

Surprisingly, the girls were mum on the whole thing – a calm before the apoplectic storm that would wash over the so-called seduction community and the mainstream world of young single men. Maybe it was the fact that our group was all STEM girls with a bent toward the analytical, or maybe it was the fact that they were all relatively poor performers in the SMP, and so they secretly wished someone would run some game on them.

I found the whole idea interesting, but although I refrained from any moralistic judgments I didn’t really think it was for me. This was a combination of:

  • Beta insecurity (going into the game would be admitting my own failure with women to date)
  • Interest in other things than getting girls (I hadn’t the urgency of the situation I developed later. I didn’t yet recognize the apparent paradox that even though I was very relationship-oriented I still stood to benefit from generalized pickup and game skills)
  • A complete lack of desire to run club/bar game – even if I could kill in those environments with some practice, I didn’t want to because I found them and the women I had already met in them excruciating boring.

It wasn’t until years later, after one of the women in that group had broken my heart (as a matter of fact I let her break my heart twice) that I actually read “The Game” and started my red-pill journey that has brought us all here together on these pages.

PASSIVE GAME

There was one part of the whole setup that immediately appealed to me, and that is the skill to acutely read a woman’s signals, the subtext of her communication, and her willingness to entertain your further advances, and to make go/no-go decisions on the fly based on that information.

I’ve come to call it “passive game” because it doesn’t require that a guy change his own core behavior in any way, and it’s the first thing I demonstrate to any guy new to the scene:

  • Read indicators of interest
  • Don’t blow your opportunity cost
  • Read fake closes

You don’t have to buy new clothes, learn any routines, or alter your body language. You can be more successful with women, significantly, by doing these things.

READ INDICATORS OF INTEREST

All the advice I had received to that point was along the Cosmo-esque lines of trying to divine a woman’s interest in me by reading a score of obscure “does she seem to like you” tea leaves paired with a healthy dose of undeveloped intuition, and the foolish courage to “take a chance” which was really a blind shot in the dark.

I was floored by the elucidation of subconscious, subrational Indicators of Interest (IOIs) that provided subtle but reliable cues to her attraction and were far less fakeable and confusable than what women themselves told me they did when interested in a man (this was before I’d decide to ignore that advice).

For review, some of the basic IOIs are: fiddling with her hair, clothes, skin, or accessories, touching you, asking you personal questions, asking your name, opening her body language, allowing you into her personal space or invading yours, laughing at things that aren’t all that funny, slapping your arm in response to a tease, staying with you when her entourage leaves the area and finally what Strauss and Mystery called “the doggy-dinner-bowl look” – a visage of captivation, hanging on your next move and desperately wanting to be included in your frame.

This passive-game growth process starts with checking off each item in your head, and as you do more approaches (and observe those of other men) the knowledge subsumes into your intuition and you can just get a feel for if a woman is interested without having to count how many times she touched her wrist or asked you a question.

(One critical caveat: calibrate your expectations for venue and personality. Expect fewer IOIs in a daygame environment, more IOIs at night or in well-oiled environs, and unwittingly fake IOIs from certain people who are just demonstrative and physical in their personal style. Italian and Irish women have been known to touch everybody all the time without meaning anything by it. On the other hand, a relatively quiet or non-outgoing woman who is really into you will probably throw a 4th of July display of IOIs for you compared to her response to an average suitor.)

I immediately realized that good, sound, reliable knowledge of IOIs was a huge step forward – allowing me to dial my own investment in the conversation up or down as needed to mirror her vibe, and ultimately allowing me to make an informed, low-risk decision as to whether to go for the close or just give up the set. Which brings me to…

DON’T BLOW OPPORTUNITY COST

Opportunity cost is the observation that when you do (or purchase) one thing, you’ve consumed time and resources that could have been used on something else. In this context, opportunity cost means time and social energy you wasted on a poor prospect that you could have spent talking to a woman who was interested in you, OR time and energy spent beyond the point a woman signalled that she was not interested in you (after which it’s better to do nothing by yourself than to keep talking to her).

In addition to time and effort, you’ve induced some heartache in yourself by investing emotionally in someone who’s not likely to invest in you back. It’s one of the harder things in the game to execute, as we beta types have been raised all our lives with rom-com chick-flick archetypes filling our heads that it’s the man’s job to prove himself to the woman and to keep pursuing until she comes to her sense and realizes what a perfect match he is for her.

But it’s something you have to do, just cut it loose and forget about her. There’s an important preselection consequence here: women can tell when another woman is not interested, and so every minute you spend talking to someone who’s not interested costs you points with everyone watching. You look more and more like a guy with poor social skills who can’t take a hint, and it will poison your rep for the rest of the night.

By the same token, if a woman is really responding to you, you want to increase the intensity of the conversation and go for the insta-date or get her number before you leave. One of the benefits of correctly reading a woman’s positive interest is that your game doesn’t have to be all that tight, you just have to move things along and leave her wanting more. It’s a good investment to maintain an approach if the woman is clearly interested, and to push for another meeting.

Speaking of next meetings…

READ FAKE CLOSES

Women are famous for indirectness and subterfuge in their communication; it has been a source of endless frustration for men over the thousands of years of human history. One aspect of this is “letting him down easy,” a phenomenon I call the “fake close.” Put simply, she gives her number but doesn’t really plan on responding when you call or text (perhaps she just wants to get rid of you). Or she touches/gropes/kisses you, but was really just looking for some quick validation or a good time that night. It’s another red-pill lesson to swallow that not all women are desperately waiting for Prince Charming to walk in the door and sweep her off her feet. Sometimes she’ll take a nice bout of conversation, or a good kiss, and leave it at that.

If she wants to see you again, numbers will come spilling out of her mouth, or she’ll enthusiastically take your phone and punch in her number and her name (and make sure to spell it right). Or even ask you what you’re doing later and try to isolate you herself. If she doesn’t want to see you again, she might pause before accepting your request with an “uh…sure.” Or not make eye contact when she’s spelling out her number in a droll tone. It seems women are loath to be direct unless they’re motivated enough to deliver a pyrotechnic rejection that aims to humiliate the guy.

(My advice to women on this point: be direct, but unemotional. Men generally want to take criticism without a chaser so there’s nothing to be gained sugarcoating it except a false sense of esteem that you’re a nice person for kissing his butt while rejecting him. A bunch of fake smiles and tones of perfunctory flattery, “you seem like a really nice guy, but…” are just going to make it harder to swallow.)

Keep your expectations reasonable – you won’t see a good number of your number closes ever again – and learn to pick up signs that she’s BSing you on the way out the door. Try not to take it personally; give her an ounce of credit for a misplaced aim to spare your feelings and move on with the night. In fact, every time you close a woman, you should aim to open a new one, if only to get your mind off the first one for a little while.

USING PASSIVE GAME AS A DISPLAY OF HIGHER VALUE

As a coda, reading women can be used as a parlor trick of its own when talking to a woman. Most women I meet love people-watching, and an semi-accurate cold read of a nearby set can peg you as a goddamn psychic in her eyes.

This is core game stuff, and it’s not that hard to learn if a guy is persistent and observant. It’s easy to implement because it’s fundamentally indirect (hence the name passive game) and it really does pay off when you can tell within 30 seconds whether a woman is going to be worth your time.

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Filed under beta guide, dating and field game, original research

Splitsburgh on Why Nightclubs Blow

Adam Geddes at Splitsburgh (hat tip to Ferdinand Bardamu at In Bona Fide) lists 29 reasons nightclubs suck. Some highlights:

4. Doormen given the power to turn people away based upon fickle, largely ridiculous criteria. (That scene in Knocked Up comes to mind.)
5. Expensive cover even when a no-name DJ is “performing.”

7. Hollywood-level fakeness: silicone DD boobs, caked-on makeup, hair extensions, spray-on tans, faux-designer accessories, Rolexes, fat stacks of (mainly) low denomination bills, colored contacts, dental veneers.

8. Nothing really happens: options are limited to douche-watching, screaming over obscenely loud music, stupefying yourself with alcohol, or making half-assed attempts at “dancing.”

12. MMA wannabes: threatening others or fighting over inconsequential things.13. Self-paparazzi: Divas in training constantly photographing themselves and their friend group. On-site attention whoring is a platform for more attention-seeking via social media.

16. Primal behavior is rewarded while meaningful communication is largely impossible. (A journey beyond sight and sound, directly into the hindbrain.)

18. Cocky bartenders so fed up with dealing with drunks that they’re scarcely able to treat anyone with dignity. (Had never thought of this angle.)

22. Bottle (lack of) service is a monumental rip-off: markup ranges from 400 to 1,000%. (Bottle service is the ultimate nightclub beta game.)

23. Women feel entitled to free drinks. Men dumb enough to buy women drinks all night usually leave the club empty-handed and with a near-emptied wallet.

26. Club-culture encourages women to wear as little as possible. Feminism encourages them to act outraged when men notice. (Badger lol’d.)

27. Small, inadequate restrooms and stalls so disgusting you wish what was seen could be unseen. (God only knows how many heroin deals went down in one of those johns.)

28. Men proudly hold bottles of Grey Goose in an attempt to attract parasitic women.

The whole thing is worth a read, but essentially boils down to:

  • Capricious waitstaff
  • Over-entitled women
  • Guys posturing and blowing large amounts of money for no return
  • A superficial, unenjoyable environment

I really don’t enjoy nightclubs, am usually bored to death inside, and generally avoid them unless it’s, say, a friend’s birthday or some special event that justifies my presence. (One time I escorted some exchange students I had met that night to a high-end club, and wrote off the cover and coat fee as random fun and introducing visitors to my country.)

Young people in cities feel some kind of collective pressure to hit the nightclub scene as a behavioral marker that they are making an effort to be social, and in particular I find women view “going out” clubbing as a sort of essential lifestyle element to their ouevre – as if to say “see? I’m out in the world trying to meet guys, it’s not my fault I’m single, I’m not a crazy cat lady shut-in!” I frequently overhear women complain they have trouble meeting men, to responses of “OH well you should COME OUT with us this weekend!” so that they can go participate in the hookup culture they say they hate. As for the guys, Dane Cook said it – they go where the girls are.

Clubs are standard game training grounds because although they are difficult to hack it in, there’s constant turnover of prospects and it’s basically low risk: normally the worst that can happen is a drunk chick yells at you (or in Roosh’s case in Baltimore, slugs you once in a lifetime of game). I never went the club-game route to polish my skills, the environment was a total mismatch to my personality and I had little interest in Mystery’s style of befriending groups of clubgoers in batches.

The only kind of club game that produces any results for me is akin to an out-of-body experience – I abandon all expectations of anything happening at all (including having conversations with the guys I arrived with) and adopt a completely detached demeanor, entirely devoid of even the slightest shade of supplication or trying to impress anybody. On occasion this merits me a conversation with an equally-bored and out of place female who is ripe to be isolated outside the establishment. Usually, though, it just gets me a $20 tab for cover and a Manhattan they made wrong – who the F puts an orange in a Manhattan? – and an early exit to preserve my sanity. A late-night blog perusal never felt so good.

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Filed under dating and field game, junk culture

Self-Affirmations That Actually Work

When I was in high school, one of our teachers (who doubled as a guidance couselor) was insistent on drilling us into habits of self-affirmation. The problem was, her idea of self-affirmation was to repeat something that wasn’t actually true, in the hope that it would become true by force of will. A typical example constructed for me (a shy and quiet type of dude at the time, I know that’s difficult to believe) was “I am an outgoing and likeable person.”

This might have fooled some of my less self-aware classmates, but as a humble and compulsively honest guy, I couldn’t get around the fact I was bullshitting myself. I wasn’t outgoing, and I had been drilled into all manner of betariffic traits that ensured a hard cap on my attractiveness and likeability. In this absurd schema, Stuart Smalley wasn’t a parody but an almost-literal stranger-than-fiction panoply.

Years later, I revisited the self-affirmation game, by accident. I was miserable in grad school bored one day and thinking about going to the gym for a workout. In an argument with myself, I remarked to no one in particular “you should go lift because you always feel great after you do it.”

Boom. I had found the secret to self-affirmations that actually work:

  • Finding an assertion that is already true (instead of one I wish were true)
  • Constructing an affirmation that uses that assertion to motivate my behavior

So now I can use this knowledge to self-modify my behavior, using past rewards as motivation:

“I’m going to work out now because I feel great after I do so.”

“I’m going to finish that post because it’s going to be awesome when I publish it and get comments from all of my adoring readers.”

“You should go to bed now instead of at 2am because it feels good to get an early start on the day.”

This strategy has been especially helpful when it comes to finishing that last 10% of any of the many projects I’ve undertaken.

A few weeks back, Fly Fresh and Young riffed on self-affirmations in his post “Pre-game tips for introverts and left-brained people.” It was surprising to me to learn that a guy of his skill in the party and pickup scenes is in fact a single-minded analytical personality with a tendency against socializing. His tips on warming up for a social gathering are manifold and strong, from avoiding mindless TV to skipping the Red Bull to watching an episode of Seinfeld (an old Roosh gem). It turns out he uses the same style of reward-motivation affirmations that I do.

8. Psyching myself up

“Hey, I’m going to go out and talk to people and it’s going to be awesome”

“You love talking to people and having a great time, so do it”

“Remember that one time you met all those people and how fun that was”

Stuff like that. Simple motivational shit that looks dumb on paper but makes me feel in a better mood when I think it. Conjures up positive, social thoughts.

Figure out a way to tie what you want to do with a reward you’ve already experienced; this binds your long-term, risky goals with short-term guaranteed good feelings, instead of “motivating” yourself with pretty lies and wish-I-woulds.

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Filed under beta guide, living a good life, original research

MCA Is Dead, or The Genius Of Sabotage

Word went out Friday that Adam Yauch, of the persona “MCA” in the New York-based white hip-hop-rock trio Beastie Boys, had died after a three-year fight with cancer.

As I discussed in detail in this post and again in this one, I came of musical age in the alternative fever swamp of 1994, an incredible time of musical development and variety, both on the radio and on MTV (which at the time was still playing music videos as a primary service offering). The Beastie Boys were a big part of that, bringing the notoriety of hip-hop to the mainstream in a way that was palatable to rebellious suburban white kids who were more interested in pissing off their parents than idolizing gun-toting drug dealers.

I want to draw some attention to one of the iconic videos of that time, the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Directed by Spike Jonze, the video matched the angry punk-funk-rock energy of the song with a campy pastiche of 70’s cop-shop images billed as a show called Sabotage. The band wigged their hair, put on sunglasses and acted out classic scenes of car chases, violent interrogations, disguises and chasing a target into a swimming pool.

A nice touch was the use of fictional fictional characters, where band members didn’t portray the characters directly but actors playing the characters (“Alasandro Alegre as the Chief…Fred Kelly as Bunny.”) MCA played two of them.

One of the funniest bits in the film was the cops stopping for donuts during the song’s tacit break.

The song (along with Sure Shot and Get It Together) was one of the crown jewels of the band’s 1994 album Ill Communication, easily one of the best records of the era. “Sabotage” is notable for exemplifying several key factors of the alternative breakthrough – the allusion to classic popular culture and past musical styles, the carefully-tweaked and intentional eschewing of production values and pedagogy in favor of lo-fi rawness and fusional music, the lack of self-consciousness, and the willingness to push the envelope. They were guys having fun making music, just like my early-teen band was, and it was easy to feed off of their vibe.

Apropos of nothing, the video formed a visual bookend with the summer blockbuster Pulp Fiction which also featured a campy retro kick.

Fifteen years after getting snubbed in five categories at the MTV Video Music Awards, “Sabotage” was the first winner in the new category of “Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman).”

RIP MCA. Thanks for the memories.

Now one more time, MCA come and rock the sure shot:

 

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Filed under media, music