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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“Boomerang Preselection” Is A Red Herring

I’ve read some commentary lately about a supposed “boomerang effect” of preselection – that despite women finding a guy more attractive when he shows he can lay the pipe, there’s a point beyond which a high partner count can become a turn-off. The word “trashdick” is a feature of some of this discussion (although the term appears to have some roots in women trying to find words they can throw around that invalidate a man’s humanity, similar to to how they perceive the word “slut”).

My thesis on this situation is that the “boomerang effect” is not a kink in preselection, it’s actually preseletion in and of itself. I’ll explain the mehcanism of action in a moment, but first we need to cover a few things.

WHAT IS PRESELECTION?

Preselection is an aspect of female sexual attraction that descibes the following phenomenon: a man surrounded by, associated with or otherwise linked to attractive women will be judged as more attractive than a similar man without such associates, or (and this is where it gets really wild) more attractive than himself when not associated with attractive women. In other words, women impute to a man the sexual value of the women surrounding him.

What’s interesting about this is that it requires the female body agendato evaluate not just the man’s attractiveness, but that of the women in his vicinity. Male sexuality doesn’t really require that a man be aware of other men’s market values except to the degree he’s directly competing with them for the same woman. And in fact men on the whole are extremely bad at evaluating a man’s attractiveness to women, and to boot, unlike women who are very concerned about who else is hot, we don’t spend a lot of time trying to construct a sexual-value “draft board” in our own locker room.

Preselection isn’t the only attraction trigger (it would be a degenerate feedback loop if it was) and varies among women, but it’s an important one, since social proof is so important to human psychology.

It’s important to note that preselection goes both ways – a man who is associated with unattractive women will take a hit to his sexual value among women, possibly even worse than if he was simply seen alone.

A Badger Hut reader who used to be a nightclub bouncer has noted several times how his stock with the girls in the club went up and down depending on who he was seen socializing with (most notably, a frumpy acquaintance killed the vibe – she also had a habit of intentionally cockblocking him – and when with a hot girl, he saw all the other gals quickly take notice).

There’s a vague analogy to preselection in the male hierarchy; a man with an attractive girlfriend/wife gets a boost in social status among the men. High-fives all around.

But the analogy isn’t an exact mirror. If it were, a woman paired with an attractive man would be more attractive to the other men in the circle. That doesn’t happen, men have mostly independent, though reliably correlated, attraction engines. It really says the same thing the female “draft board” does – within each gender, sexual value equals social value. For men that means the ability to attract women and get sex; for women, that means the ability to attract a high-value man and get his social value, resources and commitment in exchange for sex.

(It’s interesting to note that despite activist hand-wringing about “unrealistic expectations of female beauty” in media and advertising, men don’t really listen to the media about what’s attractive in women – women are the ones who evaluate other women against standards pushed on them by television and glossy magazines. I guess it’s easier to blame the male leviathan than to do the tough work of telling women not to buy stupid magazines like Cosmopolitan written by other women that have shitty sex tips in them to boot. Although I wager feminists are secretly conflicted about Cosmo because it was one of the first mainstream sources with a pro-sex, pro-single message for young women.)

To be an effective game hook, preselection needs to be used thinly, like Vegemite. It’s about feeding the fantasy that she’s winning over an in-demand guy. There doesn’t even have to be sex involved, but there are caveats; having hot platonic female friends can work, but being a beta orbiter to a hot woman doesn’t work at all. Bumping into an ex by accident and downplaying the obvious to your current squeeze is a move that will pay off. Telling a woman offhandedly “oh that’s the girl I boffed last week” is a little too forward and takes away the mystery. Roissy had a hilarious post about hinting to a woman that you had a stalker.

In truth, since most men are not game-aware, the leveraging of preselection usually happens unbeknownst to the man benefitting from it, essentially forming the backbone of a wholly female-managed subcommunication loop among women about who they do or should find attractive.

SOME WOMEN DON’T DO PRESELECTION

The general observable trend is that a man with SOME sexual experience (I’m talking a handful of partners from the high school to early-20′s life stage) are much more preferred by women of that cohort than men without experience. It’s essentially a social-proof way of communicating that the man has seductive prowess and can close the deal, without casting a guy as a player or an inveterate pursuer of recreational sex. It’s a safe heuristic that women can use to judge a man’s attractive qualities without shooting for a guy likely to be non-committal.

There’s some talk around the Net about female virgin-shaming, but male virgins have been the butt of jokes and pitiable sad-sack archetypes for generations. For emphasis, go to anywhere men and women are discussing the sexual marketplace, and notice how quickly and predictably a woman will try to invalidate a man’s arguments or anecdotes by saying “you’re a loser who can’t get laid.” It certainly seems that in a woman’s mind, the ability of a man to acquire sex truly differentiates real “men” from “extraterrestrial beings who have penises.” I don’t say that to shame women or invalidate their own natures, but it’s important that men understand the degree to which the perception of virility changes how women view them and treat them.

However, there’s an observable pocket of women who really find the idea of casual sex, serial monogamy and other lifestyles that gradually grow somebody’s partner count as disturbing or disgusting or just not for them. The celebrated Manosphere poster “Hope” is one of them.

I consider them for lack of a better term “sexual homebodies” – they want to have a man to love all to themselves, and they are put off by the idea that he’s been giving it away to other people. The idea of the early-mid 20′s “sexual adventure” that a lot of people pursue is an idea they aren’t at all interested in. They’re also not interested in snagging the guy all the other girls want and waving him in their faces, or reforming and settling the adventuresome sexual athlete. The expectations seem to match those they have for themselves, a cherished and idealistic view of sexuality in general.

There is nothing sexually or psychologically wrong with this, not at all; it’s a feature of their personalities, not a bug. But I do find that women who truly feel this way and are willing to enforce it (that is, who are strong enough to break up with men who have had casual sex and hold out for a guy who hasn’t and also meets their other criteria) is pretty small. I really can’t imagine more than 20% of women are holding to this strategy in the long run. Some who try it will eventually compromise on it to get the other things they want in a mate; others will find that when the chips are down it’s not a value they actually wanted.

To some degree, this means finding a diamond in the rough, a guy that girls haven’t been pawing at since he was 19 years old. But these women are fine with that; they certainly don’t mind a guy they have all to themselves because most of the other girls aren’t interested.

I find them a largely silent minority. Almost all of the loud and proud “I’m not going to SETTLE!” stories I hear/read about are the opposite of these women – thrill-seeking carousel riders, who have held out beyond their peak attractiveness to search for commitment or have actively damaged their marital market value with promiscuity, disease, drinking, histrionic behavior or financial incontinence.

We have to add a caveat here that there are some women who claim to be after the low-count guy, but are really on the ever-elusive hunt for “fried ice.” They want, and they say this with their own words, a guy who COULD have a high count but has elected not to – a guy with options who hasn’t exercised them. They want to be chosen by a guy who could have anybody but has held out for his princess. Let’s get serious. Guys with the well-honed physical, social and professional traits to be ladykillers, the “whole package” as girls like to say, are not going to hang the spoils of those traits on the shelf. It’s like expecting a woman who spends hours on her appearance to not use it to curry favor and influence – it just doesn’t compute.

“BOOMERANG” IS PRESELECTION, FULL STOP

Now that we’ve covered these preamble factors, let’s talk about what’s really going on here.

The real subrational power of this “boomerang effect” is the following – beyond a certain partner count, the inescapable conclusion is that the guy is banging unattractive women.

Let me make a non-sexual analogy. I live in a large urban area and love steak. There are probably a hundred places to get a steak around here. Among those who specialize in steak, there’s a few high-class chains and a few one-offs. Then there’s places that just happen to serve steak like TGIFridays, plus Red Lobster where steak is just a placeholder for people who got dragged there but don’t like seafood. Point is, there’s only about ten really high-quality steakhouses, and a few others that will do in a pinch.

Say I meet a fellow steak lover and he tells me “I’ve been to a dozen steakhouses in this town, and that Fleming’s on Johnson Avenue is the best ribeye money can buy. I know the chef there, tell them that Steve sent you and they’ll take good care of you.”

OK, sounds good – he loves steak, he’s been to enough places to know what’s out there, and he’s a coinniseur so he leans toward quality. He’s even curried favor with one of the places because of its value. I may not agree totally with him, but he has value in this space. His opinion is informed and of good taste.

Now instead imagine he’d told me, “man, I must have been to 50 steak joints by now. Now let me tell you where I’d go…” Then I KNOW he’s been slumming it at the Applebee’s or getting the over-fried strip steak at the local pub, the one they serve with chips and a quarter pickle and you’re lucky if they even ask you how you want it cooked.

Even though his sample size is larger, there’s something about his taste and restaurant habits that make me not want to listen to him. He doesn’t have to be a Morton’s snob, but I’m not taking steak advice (a subject critically dear to my heart) from a guy who’s down with any piece of beef they can scrape off a grill.

(This whole discussion recalls the famous Solomon II post concerning McFling’s).

That’s the analogy I see to this “boomerang” discussion. It isn’t some kind of kink in preselection, an event horizon where the laws of attraction spin around in the other direction. It’s simply the fact that he must be picking up a lot of slop off the floor, and that costs him preselection points (because preselection accounts for low-quality conquests).

Behind all the rhetoric about how everyone is beautiful on the inside, women know the score. A few women are positively unattractive. Most women are plain-to-reasonably-attractive in that they have some or another traits that are pretty good alongside average, unremarkable traits elsewhere. A few women are superlatively attractive thanks to a confluence of traits that overwhelm the male hindbrain.

When a reasonably attractive guy has been with a few women, the natural course is to inpute the preselection effect to him but giving him the benefit of the doubt that he’s been landing attractive women. This mental shortcut is made easier if you only see him with hot women – going to tony nightclubs, chatting it up flirtatiously with his friends’ hot girlfriends, at frat parties with hot sorority sisters, at post-work happy hours with who appear to be semi-pro bikini models, always bringing a new hot piece of arm candy to work socials, you get the idea.

There’s only so many really good-looking women, and he seems to have access to the lot of them. But when a guy’s been with 50, 75, 100 (the numbers that supposedly invoke this “boomerang” effect), it’s almost mathematically impossible that his successes are restricted to highly attractive women, and even if it was possible it strains credulity to

“BOOMERANG” COUNTS ARE REALLY HIGH

There’s something we haven’t talked about, and that is that the standards for this “boomerang” thing are totally out of whack. First, the idea that only around 30 or 50 partners does a guy guarantee he’s been slumming it is ludicrous. In fact, I’d wager most medium- to high-count men land their less-attractive quarries at the BEGINNING of their sexual career, when they are getting their sea legs and sex appears to be a scarce commodity so they have to take whatever is on offer.

The other thing is that 50 partners is really an outstanding number of partners, an extremely rare find. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I believe a young male with 15 partners is beyond two sigmas from the mean, meaning he’s in the top 2% of men in terms of sexual performance. A guy with 50 partners is a massive outlier. We’ll get to more about this outlier in a minute.

Another thing to think about is that for women (young women, especially) to posit that 50 or 75 partners is “too high” for them just underscores what kind of promiscuous community they are already a part of. It all sounds like this concept is a cover for “I don’t want a guy more promiscuous than what I’ve done myself.”

HIGH COUNT IS AN INEFFECTIVE PROXY FOR STD RISK

Another argument in this issue is that high-count men are seen as STD risks. It is in this vein that the term “trashdick” is proffered, that their penis is actually diseased.

The thing is, the partner counts we are talking about are way beyond the point at which you’ve hit serious risk for STD exposure.

I can’t dig it up right now but I read a study awhile back that a woman with four sexual partners has a close to 100% chance of contracting at least one strain of HPV. Now there are about forty strains so that’s a bit of a scare number, but the point is that your sexual risks go up very quickly as partner count rises. The other side of this is that moderately promiscuous and highly promiscuous men aren’t that different in terms of what you can catch from them, compared to a virgin man who is guaranteed to be clean.

Thinking you’re going to slip under the STD radar by banging the guy who kinda sleeps around instead of the guy who does it like a Divsion I scholarship sport is being too clever by half.

Put another way, if women had an intrinsic hindbrain aversion to STD risk, the aversion would set into place at much lower counts than we’re talking about.

I’m not denying that STD risk is serious and should be a serious consideration in one’s sexual choices. I just think the specific talk about “trashdick disease risk” is a rationalization of the pre-existing emotional response, the preselection response we described above.

THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE MOST MEN HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT

Finally, it’s important to message to men that this is probably not an issue they are going to have to worry about.

First, those men with the ability to get to 50 or above probably aren’t reading the Manosphere for advice on how to land women. Most guys learning and practicing game (which itself is a pretty low number) are not going to get up around 50 partners.

Women are absolutely paranoid that game is going to flood the market with an army of attractive, seductive, self-absorbed players against whose powers women are helpless. It’s an overblown apocalytpic fear. The typical pattern is a la “The Game” author Neil Strauss himself – learn some game, get some success, get over your outcome dependence and become confident that you can get a woman if and when you want one, then use these skills to go on with the life you want to lead. For Strauss that meant settling into a monogamous relationship that began at the end of his time as an operating pickup artist.

The incidence of (for example) a Roosh, a guy who becomes a lifetime consumer of recreational sex to the exclusion of anything long-term or more than sexual, is pretty small among game guys. I expect that slice will become even smaller with the explosion of LTR game resources, as guys who have learned game to get women will be able to better keep them if and when they want to.

The majority of the guys I personally know who have picked up game did not do it because they wanted to be players and have an endless lifestyle of casual sex. They did so because they were having zero luck with women and kept screwing up the rare opportunities that came their way, because they wanted to have the skills that made a man attractive and desired as a mate. A period of field-testing their power is normal but hardly an end in itself for any of these guys. They quickly tire of the repeating startup costs to new flings and optimize into a form of game that sharpens their natural advantages and niches and mines prospects from there, taking care to be selective about whom they invite upon their ship.

The idea being pushed by the “boomerang” meme is that a man will learn some game, then become an uncontrollable sex fiend and he’ll never find a “good girl” who will get past his number. It sounds like an attempt to transfer some of the anti-game paranoia back to men, but the bogeyman that a man might go down some irrevocable path where they permanently destroy their LTR value is on the order of telling guys they’ll go blind if they jerk off.

So what happens if you DO find a woman who you otherwise match well with, but disapproves of your partner count (whatever it may be)? I recommend you just chalk that one up to a a good setup that just didn’t work out, like that time in blackjack where you split the pair of tens, drew up to 20 on both hands and then the dealer drew five cards to 21, and the only thing you were left with was the free champagne the cocktail waitress just brought you. There’s no sense in trying to talk her out of a visceral dis-attraction in spite of your other qualities, if that’s what it is.

You can always play the sour-grapes game the promiscuous women play when their own partner count becomes a stumbling block to securing commitment: “I don’t want someone who would judge me for that.” But that’s really just a game, an ineffective way to try to turn the power back to your favor and make it look like you’re rejecting her and not the other way around.

The basic point is that if you are attractive to her – you look good, are interesting and charming, and know how to push her sexual buttons right – it’s unlikely she’s going to stop things on account of believing you’ve had a few too many trips to the sexual buffet. If she does, wish her luck and move on.

IT’S MORE THAN COUNT THAT COUNTS, OR CHOOSE YOUR POND WISELY

Keep in mind there are also correlation factors to high counts which merit their own judgments. An example was floated about a jock frat at a preppy university, where a sorority had “boycotted” the house. The issues there are much bigger than partner counts – it’s the partying lifestyle, the drugs and alcohol, the dominance games, the peer pressure, the philandering. There’s a whole sick structure built into promiscuous communities like this one, much more than just guys who enjoy lots of sexual variety and won’t commit to the poor dears who say they just want a boyfriend who’ll treat them nice (while they choose, every weekend, to hang out with the biggest lowlifes on campus).

When it comes to these situations, both genders need to be accountable for their part in perpetuating it. I’ve been very open about telling men to avoid materialistic, entitled women largely by staying away from the places they prefer to go (beach parties and weekend meat-market bars/clubs).

So I can’t say I have a lot of sympathy for gals who would wear the “I was a rush girl for DTD and all I got was this case of the clap” t-shirt, any more than I do for men who complain “I hung out at Shooter’s all year and all these chicks just mooched free drinks off me.”

Even if you claim to have your finger in the dike, if you are in the scene, you are manifest in perpetuating that scene. It’s facetious to cry for a “kinder, gentler carousel.” Go somewhere else to meet men.

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Don’t Let Temporary Discomforts Hold You Back From Making Tough Decisions

The key lesson of this post is that if you’re going to live a you need to embrace short-term discomforts when they occur in pursuit of long-term benefit. One of the major predictors of life success is the ability to defer gratification, and in an inversion of that paradigm, someone who seeks to avoid short-term discomfort is often setting himself up for bigger problems down the road that could have been solved earlier. “A stitch in time saves nine.”

Early in my blogging career, I penned two long posts concerning the breakup of my two-year LTR:

Here’s one
And the other

These were obviously deeply heartfelt pieces, following a long and painful process of discernment that resulted in my conviction that I had to get out and then my executing on that conviction.

With the benefit of a year-plus of hindsight, I can say with even greater certainty that it was the right decision, and in fact would have been better made earlier. Why wasn’t it? Well, a large part of it was wanting to avoid the significant discomfort of breaking up – the waterworks, the redelivery of personal property left at each other’s places, the breaking out of couplehood habits, finding your own dinner plan each night, finding new people to talk to about work and life. Some of the very freedoms I looked forward to in singleness were scary and awkward too. I don’t like to cause people pain, and knowing that she’d be deeply hurt caused me to kick the can down the road repeatedly, until things had gotten so bad that she couldn’t fault me for taking action (she faulted me anyway, another sign that a man can’t put too much stock in a woman’s emotional state when it comes to making decisions).

I realize, later on, that my inability to make the tough call was a harbinger of weakness, a lack of self-efficacy that was out of character for me.

I don’t celebrate the woman’s pain any more than my own (which is to say, I don’t celebrate it at all). I took it as a collateral cost of doing what was, in the long run, best for me and for her. (I did get criticism from one of my personal advisors who accused me of “breaking her heart;” my response was to wonder what the alternative was? Staying in a dying relationship, taking more of her time that she could be using finding someone better fit to her?)

WHEN YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW

It was about a year before the breakup when I got the intuitive sense that we were living on borrowed time (whether I realized that’s what the feeling was at the time, I guess I’ll never know), and about three months after that when we had a major dealbreaker incident that should have formed the backbone of a resolute breakup discussion, the dignified end to an arrangement that had run its course.

Obviously I didn’t, and it was the latest life incident in a series that continues to teach me that when something has to get done, you have to step up and do it or you’re just digging a deeper hole.

I’ve learned that once you get that real sense of finality, every day you don’t act on it a couple of bad things happen.

First, you get deeper into a situation that is highly suboptimal. And it takes more time to dig back out. I estimate that I ended things six to nine months later than I reasonably could/should have. And I had to pay that back – it took about six months of singleness to get my mind right to game with confidence and really connect with women again. Some “relationship hangover” is normal, but it would have been a lot shorter had I not gone down that path of heavy dysfunction in the final months.

Secondly, when you allow yourself to stay in a bad situation, you subconsciously accept the idea of mediocrity – you lower your standards for yourself. That also makes it harder to go get what you want when you are finally free to do so.

EFFICACY IS PART OF MANHOOD 

Acting in your best interest when you know you need to do so is a mark of self-actualization. It’s part of being a man in the epic sense of the word – if you have knowledge that would better your life and you fail to act on it, you are backing away from your own self-duty, from your male imperative to act in the world. You’re really abdicating your position as captain of your own life. And men are not judged well for being non-actors. I’m not just talking about all the Man-Up Shaming we’re seeing in the press via the agitations of lonely spinsters. I’m talking about the intra-male community, where men really keep watch over the grooming of other men into their order. Go into a football team and ask them what they think of a guy who won’t step up into the hole to take on the opposition’s best blocker, or a hockey squad and ask about the player who backs away from a fight. Men don’t respect men who won’t compete, who won’t fight for themselves and who back away from the chance to change their world. Neither do women.

Hell, most of a man’s sexual market value is a direct distillation of his ability to affect and influence the world (via physical strength, leadership ability or unique cognitive talents that accumulate influence and prestige).

I noted in the posts above that a man can’t properly show his talents to the world if he’s with the wrong partner, because he will be spending all of his time negotiating a mismatched (or worse) relationship instead of contributing to the world in a positive way. Don’t accept mediocrity. Don’t shy away from some incidental discomfort to play the long game. When something needs to be done, do it and don’t waste a second.

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A Dating Disaster Diagnosed

Over the weekend Moxie advised a man who had been milked for a free night out. His story reads like an advertisement for a course in dating logistics.

“Met a girl online and we exchanged a few emails and phone calls and set up the date. Since I recently moved to her area, I suggested we go to a Houlihans or TGIFridays for drinks since I didnt know any other places. Besides, I was familiar with those establishments atmosphere wise and price wise. She then said she preferred a wine bar she frequently goes to instead. I agreed.

We each had 2 glasses of wine (way more expensive than Houlihans or Fridays) and after 2 hours she said she had to leave. The conversation up to that point I thought went very well and there was even some minor shoulder touching when we spoke. SO at that point I knew I enjoyed it more than her. When the bill came, she didnt offer to pay but did say thanks.

When I walked her to her car, I got the cheek kiss and a hug. At that point it was obvious she wasnt interested and we parted. The next day she sends me an email saying I was sweet but not right for each other.

Now the questions. Since she didnt feel anything, should she have stopped after the first glass of wine and maybe had water or soda instead? If she did order the second glass, should she have at least offered to pay when the bill came? This bugs me because she upped the ante on my original suggestion to a more upscale place from Houlihans to that wine bar. Had the same scenario played out in my original offer, it would have cost far less.

I feel like she was in a win-win situation. She gets a potential connection or else a free night at an upscale place. She says she dates frequently and has been on all the dating sites for years (she told me this in person on the date). Sounds to me like she knew exactly what she was doing. Am I being too sensitive about this? At least I found out about a cool new place for any future second or third dates with another girl.”

This case provides a useful roadmap for correcting a number of all-too-typical dating foibles. I’m going to start at the end and work backwards, tracing points at which he could have improved his outcome.

When the bill came. By the time the check came, you had a feeling you enjoyed it more than her. That means the likelihood of a second date or even some escalation on the first date was slim. So you should have asked to split the check, cut your losses and moved on. There’s no sense in making an investment towards future goodwill that you’re never going to collect on. If she protests, remind her that the wine bar was her idea, that she wanted to go there. Should she have offered to pay her share knowing there wasn’t going to be a second encounter? The question contains a false premise – she should have offered to pay her part of the tab regardless.

I can hear the criticism now – “but that’s so rude to ask her to pay! Women don’t like that, it’s not claaaaassy.” OK, so what? A woman who wants to see you again will be popping out of her skin, it’s just not that difficult to tell. If she’s not giving off those signals, then you have nothing to lose except the cost of entertaining a woman who has no interest in seeing you again. I accept a small financial outlay as a skid-greaser towards later dating experiences with a woman (where I expect the investment to even out one way or another). If it’s clear there’s no later experience coming, I’m no longer interested in such generosity.

Guys get into this mindset where they think they’ll dispatch a bad date by ponying up cash just to make it go away. I’ve been there, you just want to get out of there so you get the bill covered as quickly as you can, have an awkward side-hug and go home. But that just perpetuates the modus operandi that it’s the man’s job to sing and dance and the woman’s job to judge the performance.

When she insisted you change the plan. There’s a certain tackiness to being asked out and then requesting that the location be changed to better suit your tastes – trying to upgrade an invitation is a harbinger of flakiness and perpetual dissatisfaction. (If she really used the word “prefer,” that’s pushy and entitled language, as if her desires alone should carry the day.) There’s also a small fitness-test aspect to it, in that you’ll lose points if you fold and she perceives you don’t have any confidence in your original plan. But the bigger issue is that it sets up a frame of reference in which she is in the driver’s seat to insist on being entertained, where she’s dating not to get to know you but to have fun on someone else’s effort, and that’s not a frame in which you are likely to come off as attractive or desireable.

The thing is that you DO need to make the date fun for her, but you need to be inviting her into your life, not acting as her cruise director - so if she insists on dictating the terms of the engagement, you should probably invoke the abundance mentality and back away from the deal entirely. As Moxie said:

I don’t think you gals understand….these guys don’t have to go out with you. They likely have plenty of other options.

Choice of location. Now, in her post Moxie went off on this guy as “cheap,” and she throws in snarky references to Olive Garden and Dave & Buster’s just to rub it in his face.

I don’t think that’s exactly the point, and quite frankly I find girls are way too hung up on “cheap” as if money grows on trees for the express purpose of being plucked by men and subsequently delivered to women. Especially for today’s economy when frugality should be a personal virtue of everybody (don’t let your desire for women shame you out of watching your dollars).

The point is that the perception of Friday’s and Houlihan’s is of places you go when you are on a budget and don’t have anywhere better to go. (What’s interesting is that they themselves are chain knockoffs of Fern Bars, highly distinctive yuppie hangouts of the 1980′s.)  And besides, she’s been there before, not to that particular restaurant but to that kind of generic, anonymous place. It’s unclear if he actually told her he “didn’t know any other places,” but in any case his suggestions communicate a lack of knowledge, imagination, or both. One of the benefits of dating in a new area is that it will (or should) get you acquainted with all sorts of vibey places for dessert, ice cream, and unusual beers or cocktails. Browse Yelp and Urbanspoon, and subscribe to a couple of local food blogs. Admittedly, this gets tough if you’re dating in the suburbs and don’t have a lot of mom-and-pop options or places that cater to young adults. Make it work however you can though, a little uniqueness game goes a long way. You can find a lot of places that are just as inexpensive as a midlevel chain but are much better experiences. Think like a hipster.

Incidentally, you’ll want to read Moxie’s thread for the harsh invective from women (including Moxie herself) about how “cheap” and “clueless” the guy was. OMG, can you believe he tried to take her to a chain restaurant?! This kind of shallow status consciousness is unfortunately typical in large sectors of the dating world. Since we have to assume and plan around this sort of bear trap, no woman should get any first-date presumption of being girlfriend material; every woman you date has to start out on Ladder 2, with an option to move to Ladder 1 if she earns (proves) it.

NO DINNER DATES

This date didn’t involve dinner per se, but this is a good time to talk about them anyway. The bottom line: don’t do them, at least not with women you haven’t slept with yet.

I don’t know when or how “dinner dates” became cultural de rigeuer for early dating, but they are a total non-starter in today’s climate. Early dinner dates involve too much sitting down chatting and not enough action, excessive investment of time and money, too little opportunity for kino escalation and put too much pressure on the opening encounters. It’s probably the most effective way to put your provider foot forward and thus get instantly moved into the Boyfriend Zone or worse yet the Beta Orbiter Zone.

For a man who has broken out of blue-pill betatude, it’s difficult to understand the degree to which other men’s minds are stuck in failing dating patterns to the point they can’t imagine anything else. I was approached by a friend recently who asked how to avoid paying for a woman’s dinner on a date. “Don’t go to dinner on the date,” I replied plainly. He was momentarily astounded – the concept of breaking out of the dinner-date script had not entered his mind.

“CHEAP DATES”

As an aside, I have long found it interesting to hear women describe themselves as “cheap dates” – the assumption is that it’s the man’s job to wine and dine her, and that she’s somehow doing him a favor by lowering her level of expectations and saving him some money and trouble.

I used to be really heated up about this topic, but I’ve hit a streak lately of dating women who are very low on the dating-entitlement factor, who offer to pay half (not as a shit test) and are more concerned about my company than where I’m taking them. Part of it is me projecting a frame that is not confused with a wine-and-diner, but another part is plain good luck. Either way it’s been very refreshing.

LESSONS LEARNED

This dude, after telegraphing that he wasn’t on top of his dating game, allowed himself to be bullied into switching the meeting place and then got stuck with the tab for a woman that wasn’t into him. Whether this was all a ruse just so she could get an evening at her chosen wine bar, or if she lost nascent attraction and got what she could on her way out of the arrangement, is unimportant; his moves alone all but determined she wasn’t going to be interested in him by the end of the night. The solution: own the plan, go to a place that is distinctive but where you don’t have to spend a lot of money, and don’t stay in one place too long while the bill climbs and the energy declines.

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