Monthly Archives: July 2012

Decoupling Intimacy and Commitment

Infantry, the star of my last post for his comments on “beta hate,” left a comment there about the risk of habituating into an intimacy-averse mindset:

Something I’d like to see you talk about it is the way that a long term dedication to game, abundance mentality and ‘not chasing’ can lead to intimacy avoidance. Back in my blue pill days I always used to wonder about guys with ‘commitment issues’ and why they would ever want to cut away from getting close to a girl. Now I know why.

If you get close to a girl and feel that you don’t have the ‘upper hand’ in your relationship, you reflexively pull back and try to cut ties to avoid oneitis. The girl must think ‘he really likes me, so why did he disappear?’.

It’s one of those long term issues that I’ve become aware of recently and its only really a problem if you got into game to eventually attract a woman for a long term partnership (like me). When you’ve spent so long training yourself to cut away, how can you really get close to someone?

I’m not here to blow smoke up anybody’s ass, so I’ll be honest – this is an occupational hazard of getting into the game.

You do need to look at this as a complete tradeoff – in betaland, you have a desire for emotional comfort and intimacy and an almost uncontrollable urge to seek it out, yet exactly because of those factors you cannot get it and you go uncomforted by the woman’s touch. In alphaland, you’ve conditioned yourself to suppress those desires and urges, but you are in a position to attract women to meet your needs.

This is not a doomsday scenario, as plenty of guys get on the game train and hop back off when they’ve attracted a woman worth keeping and built enough skill to be confident they can keep her. (Regular commenter Mike C is one of them, who left the operational scene very quickly when he decided the woman he was with was of high quality and worth his investment.)

If you’re paying attention, your next question is likely to be, but why? Why is their a dichotomous split between no emotion (or faking emotion) and going overboard and scaring the gals away?

The thoughts here give prose to a number of concepts I’ve been formulating as I’ve taken a deep analytical look at today’s sexual marketplace and in particular its sexually detached hookup subculture. I have detailed thoughts on the female side of the predicament, but in keeping with Infantry’s concern I’m going to stick to the guys for the moment.

Commented Wudang got my neurons going with his comment to Infantry:

this post by Xsplat for good thinking on intimacy and closeness. Men need to learn to feel strongly without crumbling.”

Xsplat’s post is a fantastic riff on exactly what it says it is – that you don’t have to deny your intimate side and be Mr. Robot to be an effective, sexual man.

A huge part of seduction is about intimacy. All of us crave it. For most people it is a peak experience. But for you it doesn’t have to be. It can be your modus operandi.

Forget about being aloof. Intimacy is women’s kryptonite. You can make them weak in the knees with a look.

I’d have to work to remember how many girls I’ve moved in on the first date. How many I connected with from the get go as if we’d been long time lovers. How easy it’s been to just connect. I’ve never tried to be aloof. I’m a passionate man. This personal style has never been a hindrance – it has been my greatest strength.

DON’T COUNT ON INTIMACY AS A HARBINGER OF COMMITMENT, BUT RATHER AS A NORMAL MALE NEED

Xsplat’s post title – “intimacy without commitment” – brings up an interesting point. For the last generation, women have counseled one another as to how to distinguish guys who want sex vs guys who want sex and other things. They’ve always broken this down on the basis of intimacy – does he stick around after sex, eats meals, do you meet his parents, does he talk about his feelings, etc.

But lately, women have been flummoxed as these rules seem to be breaking down. “I don’t get it, we sleep together, eat together, we hang out with his friends, but he says I’m not his girlfriend. He doesn’t talk about planning the future. But he does everything I’d expect a boyfriend to do. Is he just in it for the sex? Is this a ruse? WTF?”

What’s really going on, laid bare, is that the man enjoys intimacy, and – in what is the really distinctive characteristic of today’s sexual marketplace – he doesn’t feel the need to put some amorphous concept of “commitment” underneath it.

(Another factor here is that women have raised the costs and expectations of a “relationship” to very high levels, such that men are wary of putting the “relationship” label on things so as to avoid the subtextual obligations. Thus men may steer towards “friends with benefits” arrangements that, far from being booty calls, are relationships in everything but name. A tertiary factor is that men have noticed women’s ability to get out of relationships with almost zero cost to themselves, and are not eager to sign up for an ontological designation that introduces such an asymmetry.)

Underlying this confusion on the part of women is that women have been taught that men DON’T have active emotional centers and DON’T desire intimacy and possibly that emotional investment is just a con that men pull to secure sexual access. So this male behavior makes no sense, because they have a bogus model.

I see this “indefinite term relationship” as an outcome of a few combined factors, the most prominent being Boomerism and the accelerating sequelae of the sexual revolution.

In short, first we decoupled sex from commitment, which resulted in mainstream effects like one-night stands and booty calls and excesses like “free love” communities. Now we’re decoupling intimacy from “commitment,” reflected in endless engagements and fully-ornamented no-term relationships. And a lot of men are finding that’s a pretty good deal.

Now to the core of the discussion.

GEN Y WAS DEPRIVED OF THE TOOLS FOR SOUND EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION

Part of the reason for this decoupling is that Millenial men were raised by Boomer parents who sought to act more as friends than as parental figures, so Millenials could never emotionally mature and become masters of a healthy emotional system, because they were carrying the emotional immaturity of their parents. Combine that with the beta-ization of Gen Y boys (partially attributable to aggressive feminism, but also to a general trend of a “kinder and gentler” society) and you find a generation of young men who have been denied the means to meet their basic emotional and bonding needs.

This is one large reason we see so much needy behavior*. Parents probably thought they were teaching their kids to be emotionally open, but they really just washed them in an orgasm of affect of which they couldn’t make any sense. Boys and men were isolated from the male authority ladder they require to develop from boys to teens to men, and denied the dignity of their own masculinity, inducing further shame and self-doubt. So they seek emotional context and comfort where it appears to present itself, which to them is women, who are presented in popular culture as the font of goodness and acceptance. But they’re like a hungry man exposed to a storehouse of food, unable to eat in any fashion other than gorging.

(*By the same token, I find today’s young women unable to relate to men of normal emotional range, which they interpret as insecurity and impending neediness – an emotional trap for their own immature affective systems that they are desperate to avoid. This explains their preferential and often exclusive attraction to men who overtly display a lack of the emotional vocabulary that is the mark of the unforigveable beta – in other words, the guys act like jerks, and the women take it as a signal of emotional security, while the rest of the guys are pre-emptively rejected or go completely unnoticed under the assumption they are incipient emotional vampires. This will be discussed at length in a future post.)

IF YOU’RE SEXY YOU’RE ALLOWED TO BE EMOTIONAL

And of course, because we live in a tingle-first society, the only way for a man to get this intimacy that is his fundamental need is to be sexually attractive and to be under emotional control. There IS no emotional intimacy available to a man today unless he is able to sexually attract a woman. He can’t hope to parlay paper-alpha status and beta traits into an audition period in which her respect and attraction can grow. He’s gotta have it up front, or he’ll get the “well it was nice meeting you” and the posthumous “there just wasn’t any spark” speech she gives to her friends. As Athol Kay put it:

There’s probably not a single man reading this blog who hasn’t had his heart ripped out by a woman rejecting him for his lack of Game at some point in his life. Many of the male readers of this blog are in sexless marriages too. So learning Game is pure and simple a requirement for the average guy dealing with women. We’re learning it to simply be able to have a relationship with women.

Despite women’s plaintive cries for men who will resonate emotionally with them, men have been consistently punished for seeking to meet their emotional needs as a primary mechanism of relating to women. I’m not going to get into a moral judgment, both sides are understandable. But clever men notice the negative outcomes and veer in the emotionally stunted direction intentionally, which crystallizes into a paradox where they can acquire the furiously sought emotional contact they are no longer in a condition to receive. Which loops us back to the problem that Infantry and Wudang speak of at the top of this post.

In conclusion: long-term commitment and its obligations are decoupling from sex, intimacy and the other benefits of relationships, due to a host of reasons relating to poor emotional rearing, a broken and disrespected “commitment” system, and a sexually atomized society. Game is a partial solution to the male problem of getting sexual attention which is a prerequisite for acquiring emotional comfort and relationship benefits, but is not a solution IF one becomes emotionally repressed and confined in the process. For some men that’s not a big deal; for most men I wager it is, because for them it’s about a lot more than rubbing until you get off – it’s about contact and closeness, and being desired and respected and allowed to be vulnerable.

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The Question You Need To Ask Yourself While You’re Gaming

One of the overblown memes of the game community used to be “was this beta?”  (it’s since become a parody at places like the Roosh V Forum). Guys got progressively more absurd about micromanaging and nitpicking their game, even in the face of great success, desperate to earn the respect of the community at every step of the seduction – and in reality, desperate to head off the hollow criticisms of keyboard jockeys who spend more time knocking other guys’ successful field reports than they do with women themselves.

I recall a case where a guy was vibing with a woman in a club, and she suddenly blew him off and walked out the door. He followed her out, caught her in the street, continued the seduction and wound up in her bed. Then he went on the board and asked everyone “was it beta to follow her out of the club?”

Yes? No? It worked, so who cares? In this fashion, men anxious to qualify themselves to other men got into a pernicious habit of substituting the appellation of “alpha” (or “not beta”) for real results in the field. (Lots of writers are trying to phase out the alpha-beta nomenclature, but I don’t think it will ever die because it’s just such a useful shorthand for sociosexual leaders versus sociosexual followers.)

I got a comment on my recent post about guys who use the “beta” archetype as a whipping boy, an object of self-congratulatory scorn by those who had passed out of the Matrix:

This is a general theme which pervades the PUA community. It goes further when you see aspiring players actively denigrate the betas that they once were. I’ve heard of players deliberately go and try to pick up a beta’s girlfriend in front of them, ostensibly because the guy ‘deserved it’ for having bad game.

Its sick to see how far people take that rejection of their past selves, and I’d like to see more sympathy for betas in general…Its a perversion of thought and a violation of abundance mentality.

I agree that there is some of that beta hate undercurrent (that’s why guys are so eager to check “was that beta?”) and I think it’s somewhat misguided. A guy who is on a game blog or forum, discussing his field work, trying to get better, is going in the right direction. His betatude is a problem to be solved, and he understands that or he wouldn’t be where he was to begin with. Let’s fix his problem, he doesn’t deserve personal slams and contemptuous mocking for it.

Anyway, my point is that “is this beta?” is a dumb question that doesn’t help guys get better in the game. Danger & Play posted recently on “the winning question.” The winning question is, “am I being a pussy?” I find that’s an excellent question for getting me started on things, and is applicable to life in general. However, I’ve gotten better results in the game itself with something else.

THE REAL QUESTION YOU NEED TO ASK IN-GAME

When you’re out in the field running your game (when you’ve gotten past the hump of “am I being a pussy”), it’s easy to get anxious about your moves, wonder if you’re playing it right, if you’re being too forward, if you’re forcing things.

In those situations there’s just one simple question you need to ask yourself and it’s not “is this beta?”

The question is, “am I chasing?”

While there are some things you just plain shouldn’t do (like racing to grab the check on a date, not that you should be going on expensive dates until things are serious anyway), the answer to the question is less about the action itself and more about your mindset and motivations.

Chasing is what you do when you perceive an opportunity to be slipping away from you. It comes from a needy place, a sense that you have to qualify yourself to a girl, to make a case that you’re the guy she should be with – a sense that you have to engage her on her terms, not yours.

Chasing is what you do when you agree with a woman’s opinion because you’re afraid your true opinion would offend her.

Chasing is what you do when you keep calling/texting and asking out a woman who is flaky in responding or keeps finding things more important on her schedule than you. You’re either chasing a woman who’s really not interested (and so you’re coming across as annoying and clueless), or you’re playing into her script that she can treat you poorly and take advantage of your time, attention and money. Either way, it’s not a position you want to be in.

Chasing is really born out of a mindset that you aren’t as good as any of the women you would consider dating, and thus your default position is to assume a supplicating pose, to make a case to her that she should consider you if she’s feeling charitable.

Because chasing is about relative power, to answer the question you need to develop a good sensor for the flow and frame of an interaction, an intuition for the balance of power in the exchange. That should come along with the rest of your passive game, the tools you use to tell if a woman is interested in you, to calibrate your game to her personality and to gauge the buying temperature.

It’s important to understand that initiating is not chasing. Aloof game is not just sitting around inertly waiting for women to make the moves. Most women are not going to initiate with you. If you’re very high-value or physically attractive, women may hit on you openly, but a generation of effort to get women to act like men has not succeeded in getting women to pursue like men. The best you can hope, as a strategy, for is that women will make themselves approachable and you’ll be able to make low-risk approaches. Even that is not an entirely sound strategy. You are going to have to go talk to (open) the women you find attractive with no real guarantee you’ll get anything out of the interaction. You aren’t chasing; you are setting up a frame that gives her the opportunity to respond to you.

Escalating is also not chasing. Just as above, you cannot expect women will do the escalation, as a general rule. All that Gen Y feminist stuff about “enthusiastic consent” is a bunch of hooey – even women who positively want sex with you are often not going to take on the burden of pushing it forward, but will respond to your sexual leadership. An over-eagerness when escalating IS chasing, and a major cause of blown seductions (one of my go-to escalation moves is to spontaneously back off on the sexual energy and see if she responds by bringing it back up).

Investing modestly in a woman is not chasing, not necessarily at least. When you buy a woman a drink on a date, are you doing it because you’re a high-value guy inviting her to be a guest in your space for the next hour, or because you’re afraid if you don’t do what she expects she’ll reject you? One is chasing, the other is not.

Chasing, again, is action taken against what you perceive to be a widening gap of interest.

If you’re chasing, check yourself. Take a deep breath. Back off a bit. See if she fills the gap.

Approach, initiate, escalate, invest. Just don’t chase.

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Trojan Is A Poor Choice of Brand Name

The Trojan War was an epic war of antiquity fought between the invading Greeks and the defending city of Troy. The pretext for the war was the elopement of Helen, sister of the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux and the most beautiful woman in the world, with Paris of Troy after she had been promised to paper-alpha Menelaus. The expedition was led by Menelaus’ brother Agamemnon and included the heroic efforts of cousins Achilles and Ajax.

The Greeks laid siege to the city for ten years before delivering the final blow in a creative ruse designed by the noble warrior Odysseus. The Greek force feigned their surrender by burning their camp and delivering to the Trojans a giant wooden horse ostensibly offered as a sacrifice to Athena for the blessings of a safe trip home. Filled with soldiers, the Trojan Horse’s true purpose was made clear when the troops inside escorted the remainder of their army inside the city walls for an epic sack of the city.

With the history laid bare, the real purpose of this post is to ask one question:

Why would you want to use a condom that is named after the people who lost the war (a war that began via infidelity), and who lost specifically because they let bad things cross their protective barrier?

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The First Rule of Proposing: Don’t Ask A Question You Don’t Know The Answer To

Matt Forney (he’s good, you should read him) posted this anecdote from a Yahoo! column concerning “love makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do” (btw wtf is with the cropped hairdo in that photo):

I went to bat for her engagement ring 
“My girlfriend and I had been together for about three years, and I was sure she was the one I wanted to marry. Problem was, I didn’t exactly have enough money to get her a good engagement ring. So, in order to raise funds, I put my collection of baseball trading cards on eBay. We’re talking a collection that spanned, like, 20 years, thanks to some cards handed down by my dad. I was totally bummed to part with them because they were so important to me, but I really, really loved this girl. I ended up making more than enough money to pay for a ring. Problem was, when I got down on one knee, she told me that she couldn’t see spending the rest of her life with me. I should’ve stuck with Shoeless Joe Jackson.”
— Owen, 26, Chagrin Falls, OH [The hometown of "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoonist Bill Watterson - B]

I have to admit, I find this guy’s nonchalant aw-shucks attitude towards this kind of a rejection to be an indictment of his healthy masculinity.

Besides that, there’s a few betariffic delusions this guy was laboring under.

The first delusion was that he had to buy an expensive bauble simply for the privilege of asking a woman to marry him, to the point he would hock family heirlooms to pay for it. I think the idea of “saving for a ring” if you are near-certain you want to marry someone is silly. It’s the beta-supplicant script, that he has to beg and plead for the approval of a woman (don’t get me started on getting down on one knee either). The “three months rule” is complete bullshit and frankly financially irresponsible. Buy what you can afford on the spot without serious financing; it most accurately reflects the material situation you’ll both be entering, you don’t want to set up the idea that you’ll be doing special financial favors for her to your own detriment for the rest of your life.

The second delusion was that proposals should come out of the blue so as to be maximally romantic. The basic principle of trial law is to never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. That also holds for marriage proposals – proper setup for a marriage proposal involves a lot of discussion about how you really feel about each other, where you see your futures going, what kind of life you want, how you feel about kids, sleep schedules, career dreams, and on and on. You don’t need to sit down with a list of “I’m not marrying anybody until we work out everything on this checklist,” but most of that stuff should be out in the open by that point. If it’s not, what kind of relationship have you been having? More like an extended hookup than a real long-term arrangement. A proposal should be a formality to an already-understood conviction that marriage is your future. A proposal should be a surprise, but not surprising. Her answer shouldn’t be a surprise either.

I’m hoping that as more videos of surprise proposals gone wrong flood the Internet, this false belief will dissipate. I’m not holding my breath though.

The third, and most fundamental, delusion was to believe that he and his girl were communicating the same things when they said “I love you.” I’m sure she told him she loved him a thousand times, and he took it to mean what he means when HE says “I love you” – which as he outlined above includes the desire to marry and to go to absurd lengths to express his love. This guy obviously believed cultural tropes that women are all about romantic “love” and long-term commitment and just can’t wait for a nice boy to propose to them. She was no doubt flush with positive emotions, but that didn’t extend to the desire to commit to him.

I don’t have any criticism of the woman involved – if she didn’t want to marry him she did the right thing saying no – but it can’t be ignored that if the shoe had been on the other foot, and she wanted to get married and he didn’t, she could shame and cajole him up and down the block and get an army of sympathy from people asking accusatory questions about why this “immature” guy wanted to “break her heart.”

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Bad Game Is Really Difficult To Watch

For most guys, it’s tough to watch another guy get rejected. It’s another matter, however, to come to an advanced understanding of game and thus be able to predict epic disasters on sight, and have to live through powerlessly watching the trainwreck.

It’s a bit like when I saw “Apollo 13,” and despite knowing no real details of the mission, I knew there was going to be a disaster somewhere. Thus the opening of the film was forty-five hellish minutes in which I tried to ignore the general tone of glee and waited for the other shoe to drop. Once the oxygen tanks blew off the side of the spacecraft, I relaxed, able to finally enjoy the sci-fact thriller I knew I had lined up to see.

I got that same feeling of nauseous anticipation when I saw “Alpha Male vs Beta Male,” a short clip commissioned by Roosh illustrating the contrast of chumpism and game. In each clip I knew the beta male was going to humiliate himself. It was all I could do to keep from covering my eyes.

The same feeling happens to me at a bar when an inveterate beta is at the next stool in vicinity of a lady, or when I see a pair on an obviously awkward “date” at the next table in a restaurant. Bad game is really difficult to watch for a number of reasons, one being that it reminds me of a bygone era of my own abject failures and not the least of which being that bad game is largely avoidable and preventable.

It is fun and interesting to hear Roosh’s exact lines from his book “Bang” said out loud by a guy on camera.

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Athol Kay’s Male Health Advice Is Cash Money

A couple years ago (just a few months into his blog if I recall correctly) Athol Kay at Married Man Sex Life penned a post on health tips, ostensibly centered around producing better-quality semen. This was when he was hitting hard on the point that being sexy was a matter of signalling fitness for making and raising children, so much of his writing alternated between describing why certain things were sexy and how to get more sexy by projecting the image of a more fit parent.

The post and by extension Athol’s general health advice for men turned out to be tremendously influential for me – I recall reading it and implementing it just a few weeks later – so I thought I would run it down for my readers. A disclaimer: you can pick any one of a million “top ten health tips for men” lists. I chose to follow this one because (a) it addressed the same sort of issues I have as a generally healthy man living in a culture of poor nutrition, (b) Athol himself uses it and swears it improves his sexual quality, and who am I to argue with Mr. 5000.

1. Exercise with weights. Weightlifting boosts your testosterone, makes your body more classically attractive to women and gives you carryover calorie-burning benefits. (Doesn’t have to be hardcore bodybuilding – I do a 30-minute dumbell circuit a few times a week, plus some bike rides for occasional cardio.)

2. Don’t drink soda. Mix juice with seltzer water and add crushed ice. I like pineapple juice.

3. Take a glucosamine-chondroitin-MSM joint complex. You’ll want it if you’re doing step 1. (If not, GOTO step 1.)

4. Take a men’s multivitamin daily. Take it with food or you’ll want to toss your cookies. (This requirement is why I am hit and miss taking the multivitamin. I also heard a funny story about a woman who thought she was pregnant due to vitamin-induced nauseau.)

5. Take Omega-3 fish oil supplements daily. This is the single most effective health tip I’ve gotten in the last three years, for both body and mind.

6. Take a whey protein supplement. I got around this by going to the paleo diet which has the added benefit of allowing me to eat all the foods I love.

6b. Don’t consume soy products. Remember Meat Loaf’s character in “Fight Club?”

7. Don’t smoke or otherwise use nicotine (and don’t make heavy drinking a habit).

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Stone Soup

When I was a kid, I read/heard several variations of the folk tale “Stone Soup.” The plot is that of a hungry vagrant who convinces a resident to furnish him a pot and water so he can make “stone soup” (he has provided the stone). As the water boils, he remarks that the soup could use a dash of something. A carrot or celery or a potato is procured and donated to the stock, then another item, and eventually the pot is filled with furnishings (from either his host alone or various townspeople) alongside the stone. Everyone was excitedly awaiting the “stone soup” and so were happy to give their own modest parts to it.

All those involved enjoy the soup, then the vagrant takes his stone out of the pot, puts it in his bag and departs. The whole point of the story is that there was no “stone soup” – they just made a soup with the vagrant exploiting the stone as a catalyst to get things moving.

For most of my life I have regarded this tale with a glint of cynicism, as a warning against a ripoff by a person who feigns to have something to offer but is really just setting you up to do all the giving.

I’m told, however, that it’s generally regarded as a fable of sharing and cooperation. In an optimistic light, the story provides a great example of getting resources in a state of great need by not begging for the charity of others but by putting your ante in first. The guy didn’t really have anything to offer, but he did a lot with what he could – not just providing the stone to seed the soup-brewing operation, but providing the environs, the mood, the enthusiasm around the event, the chance to be part of something. Most of his contribution was non-material, yet he ate well that day.

It recalls the Gospel story of the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, where the good Lord and his crew sought to feed a large crowd with only a handful of things to eat, yet wound up collecting basketfuls of scrap food after all had eaten their fill.

When I was growing up this had always been very sketchily proffered as a conventional miracle of provision, that God could provide against material want as a sort of cosmic vending machine (which, if you haven’t been reading the papers, we don’t really see Him doing on a daily basis).

But one piece of theology I read had a much more practical interpretation: faced with the task of throngs of hungry people gathered to hear the sermon, those in the crowd who could procured their own foodstuffs and donated them to the crowd at large.

THE STONE-SOUP PROCESS

Another interpretation of the story is the allegory of building something – beginning with a pretext, which superficially motivates everybody to contribute, and coalescing into something where the original pretext isn’t important at all.

Allow me to coin the idea of the stone-soup process: to begin a task with a kernel that is wholly critical, where at the end of the task, the kernel will be wholly irrelevant.

Game, in most of the forms we understand it today, is a stone-soup process. That means both the process of learning game, and the process of building a sexual and romantic connection with a woman.

THE HOOKS REQUIRED TO START BUILDING GAME EVENTUALLY SUBSUME INTO IRRELEVANCE

Game is incessantly criticized for its teaching of small, digestible tasks men can use to improve their social-sexual ability – openers, funny or confident routines, responses to fitness tests, body language tips, dress tips, tactics to touch women effectively, even the appropriate order in which to stroke a woman’s erogenous zones. The critics will tell you that all that stuff is crap that “doesn’t work,” that you should just “be confident and don’t be a pushover,” or that if you try to employ tactical tips you’re already a loser that women will see through.

It’s a bit like Yogurt from Spaceballs, telling Lonestar that he found the Schwarz ring in a Cracker Jack box. (There’s usually also a good helping of “that nonsense would never work on me.”)

I played sports for a long time in my youth, and when I reached adulthood I began coaching sports. One of the key tenets of coaching athletes is that for all practical purposes, new muscle movements cannot be learned at full speed. A large part of coaching is the process of teaching new skills, then repping them (correctly) at progressively advanced speed and increased complexity until they can be executed autonomously in he heat of competition. At that point, the skill is internalized and automatic, and the athletes can concern themselves with the dynamics of the game instead of which foot to put in front of the other.

Those who can be told “go catch this pass I’m going to throw to you” and do it on the first try are natural athletes – their bodies came programmed to accommodate physical tasks demanding in time and space. Another challenge of coaching is teaching athletes who are naturals, or who think they are naturals, that it’s important they learn to do skills the right way and not rely entirely on their natural ability, which is prone to change or might not be useful if the required skills change a bit. (One interesting outcome of this fact is that many natural athletes hit a wall of development – some of them in early high school – and get passed by other athletes precisely because they can’t get out of the “naturals’ mindset.”)

Back to game: the fact is that new mental-muscle movements can’t be learned at full speed either.

I’m here to tell you that for most guys, starting with the small stuff is the way to go. It’s way too daunting a task to begin with “you need to really envision yourself as the prize that women are lucky to chase after” or “you gotta let go of the idea that the outcome matters to you” and try to get results with it. It’s not actionable and is nothing more than a hollow affirmation. Only a guy with the psychological plasticity of a woman is going to be able to turn “be more confident” into a product without going through a behavioral-adjustment nexus. (An aside for another post: I’m working on a theory that one reason women are so dismissive of the idea of game as an acquired skill is that women tend to be susceptible rapid changes in psychological state in response to cultural stimuli, whereas men have a long-term, durable psychological arc based on a rational assessment of their own core value. So to women, it sounds perfectly normal to just wake up tomorrow and “be more confident.”)

There are some guys who are messing up in one particular tactical area, and once that is addressed, they hit their stride. Other guys have most of the outer game covered, but just need to believe they can win and develop some “killer instinct” for getting after it in the field. But the bulk of guys who are drawn to game need a lot of work in a lot of areas.

The thing is – and this is where the stone-soup idea comes in – once a guy is on his way to mastering a number of these tactical points, it becomes internalized, and the rest of his issues can rapidly dissipate because the overall mental frame, the feeling of power and confidence, takes over and drives out the rest of the negative traits.

There are limits to this, but it’s an effective strategy to fix some of your glaring problems for their own sake, get a bit of success from it, then once you “get the hang of things,” to move forward in a more holistic manner.

I went through this as did many guys. I never did a lot of highly structured PUA-style game to begin with, but I dabbled in some of its constructs. But today I could barely tell you what I’m doing in a set or where I got it from. The idea of opening, teasing, connecting with, and escalating with girls is something I can feel out – I don’t formulate a mental strategy, I just play out the behaviors and the mindset I subsumed under practice.

The “game” as the stone in my soup is back in my bag, while me and the girls are enjoying the soup.

“FAKING IT” WILL HELP YOU MAKE IT

The joke is really on the haters, because psychology is on our side. Not only does body language reflect our mentality, it goes the other direction too – it’s been demonstrated that changing the way we sit or stand affects how we perceive our own attitude and sense of power, and I can tell personally that changing my workwear changes my approach to my craft (I take my work more seriously in a suit than in grad-student shorts and tshirt).

Our minds have evolved elaborate shortcut mechanisms to infer one’s mental state and psychological fitness from body language, and it seems our minds are impressionable even when it’s ourselves doing the impressing. Thus it’s important for a guy whose game sucks to literally start going through the motions to adopt physical and verbal mechanisms that will imprint the winning attitude onto his mind.

GAMING A WOMAN REQUIRES EXPEDIENT HOOKS

Another way the stone-soup principle works is in the process of attraction and seduction itself. You’ll use spontaneous coincidences, short-term opportunities, deja-vu moments and other things as logistical props to move the process forward, completely for that purpose and with no persistent meaning.

One classic, archetypal example is that almost no woman will ever remember your opener. I’ve asked women if they remember the first thing a guy said to them; crickets. It’s critical to have an opener to get the conversation started, but it almost immediately becomes irrelevant and is more often than not forgotten.

Another is the oft-cited principle of using discretion and plausible deniability to advance the seduction temperature. If your plan is to go to your place, you can drop bait about seeing your vacation photos or shaking her up your custom Martini recipe. If it’s her place, you can always ask to use the bathroom and see how that goes, or suggest watching a movie.

(An aside that’s worth talking about: hard-edged critics paint this soft-sell approach as “coercive.” This line of thinking is frankly silly and tries to paint women as infantile victims of male agency with no accountability for their own decisionmaking.  I don’t view it that way, first of all because she can say no if she’s not interested (and in my experience, they do, because you’re creating an environment where it’s OK to say no) and in fact I’ve found that girls who are interested like the roundabout process of seduction that gives them the feeling of discretion and “it just happened” that they like. There’s nothing romantic or seductive about “why don’t we go upstairs and bone?”

You’re doing your job as a man when you take that kind of pressure off of her so she doesn’t have to go through some mental gyrations about “should I invite him up? Is it too early? Would that be kind of slutty? Do I really want to do this with him? I wonder if he’s as good as Mike was…he smells good enough…we can always watch TV if it’s not hot, then I can kick him out. Is he not asking because he doesn’t like me? Maybe I should have worn another top…shit, I was supposed to wear this one to the work social tomorrow. I better just end it here, I have laundry to do. Oh, why won’t he just kiss me?”)

ROOSH SOUP

The first-class game blogger Roosh had a post with a stone-soup ethos. A young man in a coffee shop asked Roosh to teach him everything he knows about women. Roosh tasks him with progressively more involved personal projects, including approaching 100 girls, reading books, getting fit, and learning a new language. At each juncture Roosh promises to teach him about women after he completes the next task.

Of course, Roosh is teaching him to be a higher-value man, a complete package that is attractive to a wide spread of women. Eventually the hook of teaching what he knows about women becomes superfluous.

Three months later he came back to the coffee shop. Behind him was a pretty girl.

“Hey Roosh this is Rebecca. I met her in the grocery store and we’ve been going out for two months.” When she stepped out to make a phone call, he said, “Roosh you’ve been very helpful to me. I’ve grown a lot in the past couple years and can barely recognize myself in the mirror, but I’m finally ready for you to teach me everything you know about…”

Suddenly he stopped and stared at me. A smile formed on his face. He gave me a strong handshake and then left with his girl. I never saw him again.

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