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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20 Comments

Filed under beta guide, dating and field game

20 responses to “Body Language: The Beer Shield

  1. Hadn’t noticed this body language before in others or myself, but now that you point it out I know that I do it all the time. I’ll try changing it up. As how I’m currently having issues on on approaching but on keeping them interested between that and the first few IOI’s, this might be one of the small things that really helps.

    After the IOI’s I do so much better that its frustrating as hell to see that barrier and not know how to get past it. Hopefully this will help.

  2. quite right. Its hard to get the inner game squared away when it is incongruent with real-world results. The answer is to do some external things that facilitate some success or progress, which will cause natural, reasonable confidence, rather than fake confidence we know is a lie.

    I see the beer shields everywhere, and used to be an offender. I have tried the beer-at-the-hip thing and it works pretty good. I think the beer-shield stance says even more negative and fearful stuff about a guy than what is pointed out here. Its really a problem.

  3. “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!”

    This is the other side of the Silver Bullet mentality. Some people think one specific secret thing will cure it all for them, so they spend eternity looking for it. Then there are others, like that guy, who think it’s either one magical thing that will solve it all, or nothing, so they spend eternity poo-pooing any small fix that puts them in the right direction.

    I’ve seen this in the strength / fitness industry and I’ve seen it as a dance instructor. Sadly I don’t know the fix and I think those people are a complete waste of time, unless you can and want to milk their money.

    I’m a 1%-er (not the evil enemy of the Occupying Hippies) – in that I aim to get all the little things (the 1%s) right, so that they add up to a much larger percentage of improvement.

    Regarding beer, not only that it is a peasant’s drink, it also makes you a bitch, rather literally too. Excessive beer drinking leads to an increase in estrogen level, which results in bitch tits and pregnant beer gut. The French got it right that in their language, beer is a feminine noun and wine is a masculine noun.

  4. Solomon,

    “Its hard to get the inner game squared away when it is incongruent with real-world results. The answer is to do some external things that facilitate some success or progress, which will cause natural, reasonable confidence, rather than fake confidence we know is a lie. ”

    This is a big issue with guys, and part of the reason that the alpah men with irrational confidence are so exceptional. We guys tend to have an ego and self-worth in accordance with our talents and productivity. This is normally a feature, not a bug, but good game requires an audacity that necessitates bypassing the normal confidence-evaluation subroutine and replacing it with an amplifier.

    Women especially eat up the “inner game” advice, they love the idea that a man just decides he’s the hottest guy in the room and starts living that way without having to actually have accomplisments or romantic conquests. In contrast, they don’t seem to be very keen on the idea that a man becomes charming and sexually skilled by – yep, honing his charm and sexual skill on lots of women. They are intellectually uncomfortable with this even as their psyches respond to preselection.

    I’ve come to believe this is a big hard-wired and culturally-reinforced gender difference. Many women seem to have this ability to radically change their self-concept on a moment’s notice – they see an episode of Oprah, or get a new hairdo, or they start ot menstruate, and all of a sudden they’re a new person in their own mind. I know very few men who can or do swap out identities in this manner.

    And I’ve seen firsthand, on comment threads, that women are flummoxed that men don’t work the same way. They want their husbands, boyfriends or crushes to mentally flip around just like that. I’ve talked to women about this personally, and they don’t seem to grok that a man doesn’t gain confidence until he’s done something to give him confidence – in reality, most of us had to take baby steps, earning our confidence boosts as we go. (cf. my post on self-affirmations – instead of telling myself a wishful lie, I allude to something I’ve already done to engage the confidence feedback loop.)

    I think the real core of this is that men are judged – by men, by women, by society – on what they DO and what they PRODUCE. The measure of a man is the mastery of his world. And so men are averse to writing checks their body can’t cash by upping the ego and confidence beyond that which is reasonable.

  5. “This is the other side of the Silver Bullet mentality. Some people think one specific secret thing will cure it all for them, so they spend eternity looking for it. Then there are others, like that guy, who think it’s either one magical thing that will solve it all, or nothing, so they spend eternity poo-pooing any small fix that puts them in the right direction. ”

    Had never thought of this angle, good stuff.

  6. P Ray

    The female equivalent is the handphone/touch up my makeup shield.
    In mixed gatherings where a group of girls are ignored, they quickly whip out playing cards and attempt to make loud noises and jump up and down to be noticed – games like “Asshole” or “President” are the ones played.

  7. I’ve definitely been guilty of this one. As soon as I saw the phrase “beer shield” I knew what it was about. It’s one of those things where if no one is talking you, hey, at least I got my beer. I’m too busy drinking on this to even care what anyone thinks of me. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that 90% of awkward feelings are just that, feelings. Sometimes your mind can play tricks on you.

  8. Badger,
    This is great stuff. The beer shield is definitely a classic defensive tactic among men at parties and bars, and one that instantly conveys insecurity to women.

    I also believe that you’re right that men need to focus on correcting specific behaviors and can’t just chant positive affirmations into the mirror each morning if they hope to truly internalize a confident mindset. Also, men who have yet to try focusing on these small changes in body language may be surprised at just how much those behavioral changes will cause changes in their mental states. In other words, lowering their beer shields will by itself make them feel more open and inviting.

    I would say, however, that practicing both correct body language and “inner game” can have have a kind of synergistic effect, with each practice reinforcing the other.

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  10. 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.

    Just don’t hold out your pinky finger while holding the cup to your mouth.

  11. Anon2

    Badger,

    Roosh has a post on Game saturation :

    http://www.rooshv.com/is-game-making-women-overconfident

    While I agree with most of what Roosh writes, in that article, both he and his commenters seem to think that the number of guys running Game is such that most women know about Game.

    I strongly disagree. If that were true, we would no longer see men buying women dinner on first dates, men asking women for advice on how to succeed with women, so many manginas and whiteknights, etc.

    This is an example of PUA groupthink.

    Another PUA myth is that the most beautiful women are approached hundreds of times a week during the day. I think we all know how hard approaches are, and if a hottie is in a coffee shop, a lot of men will ogle her, but in 3 hours, 0 to 1 might actually approach her.

    I have never seen another man approach a woman in a daygame-like manner. Whenever I do an approach, I can tell that I am the only cold approach they have had in days…

    Thoughts?

  12. Professor Mentu

    I actually read this a few days ago, but didn’t have a chance to comment. I think simple, effective tactics like avoiding the beer shield could be gateway posts for betas to find game. Perhaps a handful of younger writers should get together and do a “Manosphere Lite” blog that won’t shock the system of a man who has never heard of game.

  13. Mentu,

    There’s two sides to game – cultivating behaviors that make you attractive, and eliminating behaviors that make you unattractive. The beer shield is the latter.

  14. Found the comment at RVF: http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-11599-post-185900.html#pid185900

    “I went out with some guy from the pick up community. I was holding the beer around my belly. he said, ‘keep your drinks by your pocket’. It sounded very stupid. (there was a rule about this from some game book)
    Will the chick recognize that and my chance of getting laid will be higher? LOL”

    It is interesting how when you’re first starting out, most game tips sound “very stupid,” because you’re not calibrated to understand how to put off good social vibes. That’s why you’re learning game in the first place.

  15. Pursuit of Hap

    I will disagree on the cell phone being equivalent to a beer shield. Especially if you then open women by asking them to help you translate a text from a woman who likes you. A boring prop that says you’re thirsty at best and insecure at worst, can’t be compared to a prop that shows you have a life and business elsewhere that can be used to open and move forward.

    But point taken.

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  17. Johnycomelately

    Badger, got any tips on leg crossing? I have a habit of crossing my legs in a very effeminate manner (old sports related back injury just makes it more comfortable that way).

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