One of the less productive debates around these parts of the Internet is the debate about what exactly “game” really is. Is it your actual personality? Your seductive ability with women specifically? Your wardrobe, job or lifestyle? Your overall social skill?
The fact is when people talk about someone’s “game,” they can be referring to any point on a spectrum of all these things. (This truth has been used as a strawman by critics desperate to nail down some definition of game so they can feel they’ve discredited it.)
A while back I articulated an idea on another blog that tried to split these out. I separated the personality/behavioral/social interaction factors, which I called “micro-game,” from demographic and structural factors, “macro-game.”
“Micro-game” is how to tune/change your behavior to increase a woman’s attraction to you or to otherwise influence her behavior to be more favorable towards you. Behavior in this sense is verbal and body language in social interactions – leadership and verbal social dominance, maintaining frame, passing fitness tests, communicating emotionally, captivating her imagination – distinct from your fitness, paycheck, etc. This is “game” in the original sense of the word – a piece of a man’s personality that is orthogonal to the other parts and specifically addresses how he deals with women.
“Macro-game” is the overall structure of who is attractive and why, whether the overall structure of you is attractive, and all the ways you can change your attractiveness and the relationships around you. This involves not just your social skills but your life habits, your fitness, fashion sense, the trajectory of your life. It is here where your job, your body composition, the social group you hang out in, the kind of car you drive, what neighborhood you live in, etc, come into play.
Another way of looking at it is to consider what questions each idea is trying to answer.
Micro-game is why two guys with basically the same look, lifestyle and job might get very different results from women – one of them may understand better how to socially interact with women, and thus capitalizes better on opportunities.
Macro-game is why, in the college SMP, jocks and frat guys get sex on speeddial while Poindexter in the library struggles to get a date – at that age especially, realized sexual market value exists in athletic prowess and social dominance far more than it does in intellectual firepower.
Micro-game almost always leads to macro-game in a guy’s improvement plan, because better social skills can only take you so far if you don’t have an improved lifestyle to back it with. It’s a notable sequence in Neil Strauss’ book “The Game” that almost as soon as he started get rudimentary results using PUA tactics (PUA game is largely micro-game focused), he undertook other changes in his life to enhance his personal quality, including shaving his head, getting lasik eye surgery, and taking up surfing. I almost never hear of a guy who has gotten some success with game who hasn’t bootstrapped it to make other positive changes that all synergize. Put another way, once they realize how to market themselves to women, they can’t resist improving the product they are marketing as well. Improvement is infectious, as are its rewards.
A similar idea to the micro/macro frame was discussed in my post “Game As Part Of Your Attraction Palette.”
Meanwhile, a number of writers have riffed on this dichotomy. Danger&Play has consistently banged the drum for “lifestyle game,” emphasizing that men should cultivate a masculine and interesting lifestyle ahead of investing an immodest amount of time in honing their (micro) game to perfection. He asserts that a properly masculine lifestyle will do the bulk of the attracting and framing. To this end he has encouraged men to stuff their brains in their youth and develop healthy habits.
Athol Kay, writing for a rather different set of readers, had a great post arguing that most long-term attraction is structural – in other words, macro-game – and that coupled guys will generally get more bang for the buck working to improve or fix their structural background than trying to (micro) game their women.
For the typical single guy, changing your verbal and body behavior can get you almost instantly improved results in the sexual marketplace. For LTR or married guys, you can’t just go approach a new girl and start over, so the focus is on how to better arrange your life habits and structure to get better treatment from your wife. As discussed in the original Dalrock thread and elsewhere, if you have structural issues taken care of (keep a job, keep a house, be a responsible adult), your “LTR game” becomes a matter of NOT doing the things that turn your wife/gf off – stop whining, keep your hobbies, don’t beg for her approval. It doesn’t fix every case, but it’s an 80% solution that cuts through some typical reasons for strife and oh my the way sets you up for future success in the event that your relationship does go south.
The final thing is that the micro and the macro live in balance. You can be a fit, interesting dude, but if you are wearing baggy clothes and can’t communicate your personality to others, your results writ large are going to suck just as bad as if you have a slick wardrobe and a gift of gab but ultimately haven’t done jack shit with your life.