Went to a movie last week. Buying my Reese’s Pieces, I noticed the clerk had a piece-of-flair name tag that read “Name: Mary. Favorite movie: the Little Mermaid.”
With a few seconds to kill, I instinctively went into some game-agnostic banter.
“Is the Little Mermaid really your favorite movie?”
“What? Oh! Yeah, I guess so.”
I personalized it.
“Is there anything you want bad enough to give up your voice?”
“Hmmm, to give up my voice? Yeah, probably not.”
Then busted her chops.
“Well then how can it be your favorite movie if you can’t identify with the character?”
“She wanted to walk on land! You can’t judge her for her dream!”
“She certainly paid the price for it. Thanks for the candy.”
The conversation was fun, and structurally non-threatening (there was no vibe of “this customer is hitting on me”), the kind of skill that comes in very handy when you’re running indirect game or daygame, and comes in handy anyway as a form of entertaining conversation for its own sake, the benefits of which extend far beyond the romantic sphere.
What stuck with me, however, was the young woman’s knee-jerk turn to defend a fictional animated girl – to stand up against the perceived judgment of an itinerant customer, a single-serving friend who dared question whether it was a wise idea to self-mutilate. She obviously was putting herself in Ariel’s position (or vice versa), and thinking, “what if some guy was trying to tell ME that I couldn’t go after MY dream no matter how ridiculous? If ours is a society where fairy tales might be viewed as the cautionary tales they were intended to be rather than over-romanticized fantasies pumped into our girls’ brains at all ages, then the terrorists have already won.”
The sudden shift in tone of the discussion towards projected defensiveness recalled a long series of posts on the topic by Vox Day, and also a piece of my own experience with a previous partner. I had no skin in the game so I didn’t worry about it, but men seeking quality in a mate would be well-advised to carefully observe these behaviors of defensive reframings in a potential paramour (with the requisite sequela of throwing the judgment back on you to explain how you dare say such an offensive thing to a lady).