Strange Bedfellows
May 3, 2012 11:35 AM   Subscribe

They talk about conquest and speak in militaristic jargon. They study propaganda and mind control. The Southern Poverty Law Center has linked their communities with hate groups. Who are they? Pickup Artists.

It wouldn't seem that the sex-focused seduction community would have much in common with the traditional family values espoused by the men's rights movement, but both share a problematic relationship with women and feminism. Recently parties from each side of the "manosphere" have been reaching out to the others:
Both groups seems to merge more and more into each other as more and more important game bloggers support MR goals (Roissy [now writing as Heartiste], Roosh, etc.). This occurred mainly due to the drunk sex = rape laws and divorce laws which affected game/PUAs, thus making them more sympathetic to MR causes. (Since the Game/PUA sphere is greater than the MR sphere by at least 10 to 1, and maybe even 100 to 1, game blogs are an excellent tool to spread MR issues affecting young men.)

The men’s movement should stand united. Our opposition is too well organized, enjoys too much government funding, gets too much academic support and enjoy too much public support for us to fight among ourselves.
The wellspring of anger and frustration that these men share has been linked to individual acts of violence (again catalogued by the SPLC) but has not expressed itself in any organized form. But with what's being called a War on Women looming in the US, what would it take to radicalize these groups?
posted by modernserf (334 comments total) 69 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is the comment that inspired this post:
there was a growing sense that western men were MUCH more attractive to the local women than Japanese men, in part because of their more enlightened views on women... but the result was a depressing spiral of young Japanese men basically feeling they are shut out of the dating world, completely, and becoming more 4chan-y and malevolent about women in general. And... that seems like an incredibly sad and dangerous spiral. And I worry that it could end with an angry and charismatic leader finding a use for all of those idle, disaffected, and alienated young men.
And a few more that I'd like to highlight, from way back:
As an observation, it's interesting how quasi-militaristic these communities are: the over-emphasis on acronyms, "sarging", "wingman", the competitive perspective on "conquering" your mission, "destroying" any males in the process.
This fantasy of female power to which so many men in this thread subscribe says a great deal about the inability to see women as human beings, and how powerless some men-- and not all, believe me-- feel in the face of desire. (And how angry and hostile it makes them.) It says nothing about the reality of women's lives. We yearn, too. We too find you beautiful, and scary, and we feel longing and desire and gaze from the sidelines and wish, and wish. It's not all that different.
And for Godwin's sake:

You know who else dressed ridiculously, was not conventionally handsome, and used his oratory skills to propogate controversial/offensive theories?
posted by modernserf at 11:35 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Hey, at least one of our subdomains isn't listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
posted by Apropos of Something at 11:37 AM on May 3, 2012 [59 favorites]


That "fantasy of female power" has just always seemed so bizarre to me. Especially with pickup artists, I never understood why they seemed so heavily invested in this belief that women have all the power in relationships - although I guess some would say it's easier to think the decks are stacked against you than that you just have a hard time relating to people.
posted by lunasol at 11:44 AM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for raising me . . . well, in a way that didn't lead to that "fantasy of female power" mindset. It's just so weird.
posted by yerfatma at 11:45 AM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Our opposition is too well organized, enjoys too much government funding, gets too much academic support and enjoy too much public support for us to fight among ourselves.

Yes, I remember the bad old days before I got my FemBotNazi card, and could proudly stand amongst my sisters, cheerful in the knowledge that I would always make 1.3 times that which our brothers made, that men and women alike would smile at me proudly in the street, with nary a catcall nor grope for miles around, that my sexual life would be a thing of pride and sometimes laughter, and never used against me as a threat, an insult, or manipulated.

Wait what?
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:53 AM on May 3, 2012 [67 favorites]


Metafilter: Hey, at least one of our subdomains isn't listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

[Enter Morris Dees]: "Nobody expects the SPLC!"
posted by stbalbach at 11:55 AM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


I don't think the "Mens Rights" people really support "Traditional values" They seem to want to be able to engage in casual sex without consequence (so no child support payments, and less risk of a "false accusation" of rape) so it's not surprising at all they would have a lot in common with PUAs.
posted by delmoi at 11:58 AM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


It wouldn't seem that the sex-focused seduction community would have much in common with the traditional family values espoused by the men's rights movement

Eh? They're both made up entirely of men with massive inferiority complexes trying to compensate for it with misogynistic bravado. I've always figured these guys reading from the same playbook.
posted by Mayor West at 12:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [27 favorites]


Oh jesus. If you identify as a "pick-up" artist I identify you as a douche-bag.

Douche-bags don't radicalize. They just express their psychoses, sometimes in terrifying ways.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


It really is interesting how this is all sort of exploding again. I remember how "male rage" has periodically become A Thing in the talky-sphere but it seems like it's cresting again of late, these poor white dudes needing all these tricks to get women to have sex with them, sex that they think they're entitled to.

Though it was fun when the SPLC came out and said r/MensRights was misogynistic. There was no self reflection, just more evil feminazis at work in the shadows, putting down these poor, put-upon men.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, I remember the bad old days before I got my FemBotNazi card, and could proudly stand amongst my sisters, cheerful in the knowledge that I would always make 1.3 times that which our brothers made, that men and women alike would smile at me proudly in the street, with nary a catcall nor grope for miles around, that my sexual life would be a thing of pride and sometimes laughter, and never used against me as a threat, an insult, or manipulated.

Yeah, it's fascinating how some men believe that "not being specifically advantaged" is the same as "being disadvantaged."

Wait, did I say fascinating? I meant bleakly depressing and disheartening.

These guys are not strange bedfellows when you see it that way- they think that by not having all the power in a romantic relationship, from early dating to marriage to divorce to child custody issues, puts them at a disadvantage. And they're right in that just being a dude generally does not give you a free pass to be an immature douchebag in your interpersonal relationships, whereas 50 years ago you pretty much had so much economic and social capital that you could be an ass without consequence (why else would these guys be so angry they couldn't beat women anymore?). So if that's your baseline, that you don't want to grow up, then yeah, life has gotten worse for you in the past 50 years. It's the same anger that underpins opposition to affirmative action. White men used to get jobs basically by showing up in a shirt and tie. Things are a lot harder when you have to actually have skills and qualifications.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [55 favorites]


there was a growing sense that western men were MUCH more attractive to the local women than Japanese men, in part because of their more enlightened views on women... but the result was a depressing spiral of young Japanese men basically feeling they are shut out of the dating world, completely, and becoming more 4chan-y and malevolent about women in general. And... that seems like an incredibly sad and dangerous spiral. And I worry that it could end with an angry and charismatic leader finding a use for all of those idle, disaffected, and alienated young men.
Hah, it's funny to describe the Japanese as "4-channy". 4-Chan was based on a Japanese site called 2 chan
posted by delmoi at 12:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Some men really are from mars.
posted by benzenedream at 12:03 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, when your opposition admittedly has a whole heck of a lot more public support than you do, you may want to ask yourself how righteous your group really is.

Also, I must admit to bristling at the idea that "drunk sex = rape laws" warrant joining men's rights groups. Speaking as someone who worked in the field, these cases are almost never prosecuted, even in a liberal jurisdiction like mine, as juries just don't convict. And yet rape of drunken young women -- not rarely their first encounter with sexual interocurse -- is a common event.
posted by bearwife at 12:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I can see a connection between the pickup artist types and the family values types. Both have cast women and/or queers as having these awesome superpowers (gatekeepers of sex, ability to destroy the family with one seductive wink, etc.), and so strategies are required to keep women and queers under control, since society doesn't keep them/us as legally locked down as it used to. Such a shame, that.
posted by rtha at 12:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a dude, I've never quite gotten why some guys will go to these absurd, twisted, manipulative, and dehumanizing lengths in a desperate attempt to get laid. I always want to ask, "you know about masturbation, right?"
posted by jcreigh at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [28 favorites]


This is such a great fit for right-wing mythology... conservatives will tell you we all live under the oppressive tyranny of a conspiracy of the poor, add in Men's Rights and we all live under the oppressive tyranny of poor women, who are welfare queens and just have kids to get more welfare bucks with any man who comes along except you.
posted by XMLicious at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Snarl Furillo: "Yeah, it's fascinating how some men believe that "not being specifically advantaged" is the same as "being disadvantaged." "

Well, that might be the smartest encapsulation of this problem I've heard in a while.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


I'm beginning to thing that the Southern Poverty Law Center is ethically compromised. They seem to be bulk-exporting sound moral judgment from the southern United States at a rate that's higher than the South can replenish. They really need to make sustainable development more of a priority.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:13 PM on May 3, 2012 [37 favorites]


I blame Robert Downey Jr,
posted by jonmc at 12:13 PM on May 3, 2012


I never understood why they seemed so heavily invested in this belief that women have all the power in relationships

I must say, that would ring very true with my teenage male self. I don't think it is true, I should add. But when I was spotty and poor and geeky and hornier than I ever will be again in my life, my God, women seemed like omnipotent Goddesses. It's easy to see that as wrong from my late-thirties standpoint. But if I hadn't managed to start dating, or to grow as a person, and I got more desperate and lonely, then I can understand how this worship would became hatred.

To reiterate, I think this belief is completely wrong - more, nonsensical: but I can understand how men might get there.
posted by alasdair at 12:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


Both have cast women and/or queers as having these awesome superpowers

I knew there was a reason I owned a cape.
posted by The Whelk at 12:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


I blame Robert Downey Jr,

flagged as HOW DARE YOU SIR
posted by elizardbits at 12:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


alasdair: "But when I was spotty and poor and geeky and hornier than I ever will be again in my life, my God, women seemed like omnipotent Goddesses."

Still, it's the rare theism that asserts that God has too much power, that said power is fraudulent and that God ought be put in (often) his place, wouldn't you say?
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, ultimately these guys are just afraid of women and afraid of rejection.
And to quote a really awful movie...
posted by modernserf at 12:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


there was a growing sense that western men were MUCH more attractive to the local women than Japanese men, in part because of their more enlightened views on women... but the result was a depressing spiral of young Japanese men basically feeling they are shut out of the dating world, completely, and becoming more 4chan-y and malevolent about women in general. And... that seems like an incredibly sad and dangerous spiral. And I worry that it could end with an angry and charismatic leader finding a use for all of those idle, disaffected, and alienated young men.

Civilization as an invention necessitated by the enormous surpluses of males the transition to settled agriculture produced.
posted by jamjam at 12:20 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I never understood why they seemed so heavily invested in this belief that women have all the power in relationships

There's a lot of Othering going on in these communities. The notion that women are just people you can go up and talk to like anyone else rather than bizarro aliens just waiting to charge you with rape and hit you up for child support is foreign to them. So they turn them into an Other with all these weird desires and emotions they don't understand and it's much easier to project these weird fantasies onto them. It's like putting them up on a pedestal, but a pedestal in a fun house, like Nice Guy Syndrome writ large.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


The notion that women are just people you can go up and talk to like anyone else rather than bizarro aliens just waiting to charge you with rape and hit you up for child support is foreign to them.

But they totally know someone that happened to.
posted by inigo2 at 12:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I must say, that would ring very true with my teenage male self.

I think I know where you are coming from, but its not from a real power place. I sort of got it when I saw the liberal English translation of the title of one of Proust's volumes of In Search of Lost Time: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. To me, teenaged girls seemed vastly superior in terms of poise and worldliness. As opposed to me, a baffled outsider. As a father of a girl now...it seems a bit different.

The myth of feminine power reminds me of the old joke of a Jew in the shtetl reading a czarist propaganda rag. His friend comes up to him and asks: what are you reading that for? Don't you know its full of lies? The reader says: No its great, it says we control the banks, the food supply, the courts...
posted by shothotbot at 12:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [23 favorites]


As a dude, I've never quite gotten why some guys will go to these absurd, twisted, manipulative, and dehumanizing lengths in a desperate attempt to get laid. I always want to ask, "you know about masturbation, right?"

Because it's not about not being horny. Among the other things already mentioned, I think part of it is about living up to some weird expectation about how men behave. We all have met, known this guy. How do you think this guy would react if a guy said "oh, X wanted to have sex, but I wasn't really in the mood"? It'd play out exactly like a scene in a bad sitcom.

Plus, no one wants to high-five you if you tell them you just masturbated. (speaking of bad sitcom jokes)
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's easy to ID a pick-up artist as a total dochebag, a buffoon, a cartoon character. What's not so easy is to call out the kinds of conversations and behavior that happen between normal, seemingly non-douchey guys all the time.

Case in point: I used to work at an Apple retailer. All the young dudes I worked with were well educated, well read, liberally minded and honest young men. And yet, despite all this, invariably if an attractive woman came into the store with a toddler in tow, this is how the conversation went down from the back room (where we had a window onto the store floor), every single time:

"Dude, check that hot mama"
"Aw yeah. Total MILF."
"Did someone say MILF?" *checks her out* "Sweet, dibs on the MILF"
"Ooh I'd like to tap that ass"

...and maybe some of that was macho posturing or some bullshit but it still isn't cool. It really does happen almost anywhere there are two or three young guys. Maybe it dies down when these guys get married. I hope it does. But I've been witnessing variations on this theme since middle school. It doesn't ever seem to go away. My own wife's brothers (both unmarried, currently without SOs of any kind), who I tend to think of as decent human beings, also display this kind of objectifying language and behavior. It's really disheartening. But then I have to ask, where did they learn this from?

And I remember the day I got married, a conversation I had with my father-in-law. He said:

"Boy I'm sure glad you married my daughter"
"I'm glad too, sir"
"She's your problem now, not mine"
"Um...okay..." (trying to be polite)
*beat*
"You know she's no shampoo girl but I'm glad you see something in her"
"What's a shampoo girl?"
"Oh...you know. Like those pretty girls on the shampoo commercials."
"Oh. Well I'm going to have to disagree with you on that."

And that's where I ended it, because I didn't want to stir shit up on our wedding day. What I wished I had said, what I should have said was "that's bullshit, sir, and shame on you for expecting your daughter to live up to a completely shallow and impossible definition of beauty that you saw on a goddamn commercial. How dare you speak of your own daughter as if she wasn't even human, as if she was just some object for which you are relinquishing responsibility, as if you're giving me the keys to your car or something. It's really not OK for you to say things like that and I hope you never do so again." But I'm a wuss and never said any of that.

So when I see his sons --my brothers-in-law-- the way they behave around women, the things they say about women, the kinds of expectations they have about beauty and sex and relationships, and worst of all they way they treat their own sisters sometimes (like dirt), I'm saddened and ashamed but not terribly surprised. And sometimes I secretly wish that they'll never have children of their own, so they won't have the opportunity to perpetuate these things on the next generation.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [125 favorites]


Last weekend a pair of guys used some sort of weird attempt at game on me. One tried to get my information at a party under the explicit stated purpose of thinking I'd fit a job for his company, while his companion attacked my tone of speech. I'd retreated from the party I was attending to hide in a book, so I was nonplussed to find not one but two louts needed me to validate them- the first chump got my attention because I am job hunting and there was a remote chance a friend of a friend put him up to it, but when his buddy zoomed in and declared that I lacked confidence.

Rather than the negging making me want to qualify myself to either of these chumps, I was left repeating "what?" to figure out if I was really hearing someone try to act as a wandering speech coach while very drunk and nearly drowned out by loud, live music. When I got fed up I just pointed and used the ever useful "I need to go over here now" to extricate myself.

I figured out, talking to the host, the guys had probably crashed the party for the express purpose of looking for the weaker members of the herd to pick off- I strangely suspect this matched pair of toolbelts, when they sobered up, are now writing about the stuck up HB4 ( imagine since neither scored with me I am of course an ugly hypergamy seeking slut) on a forum somewhere while their online buddies tell them that they needed to be less needy with me.

Guys, look, I was two chapters deep into someone else's copy of the Hunger Games, and my idea of a sexual good time is weird and painful enough to the male party the only people interested are irreparably kinky or pledging for a fraternity. All you made me feel was two strange, large men have cornered me and want to bully me into sex.
posted by Phalene at 12:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [39 favorites]


Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto is riddled with similar misogyny.

Guardian, Slate.
posted by knapah at 12:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Southern Poverty Law Center was better when they were focused on the legal issues related to poverty and racism in the South, which is a concrete, coherent set of issues, rather than the sort of one-sided clearinghouse for "hate speech" of all kinds in all places.

I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why. Don't try to censor it. It'll just permit that person to portray themselves-as persecuted, and even if it isn't actually true, it will look as if it were.
posted by valkyryn at 12:37 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why.

That's exactly what they're doing.
posted by empath at 12:39 PM on May 3, 2012 [52 favorites]


I must say, that would ring very true with my teenage male self. I don't think it is true, I should add. But when I was spotty and poor and geeky and hornier than I ever will be again in my life, my God, women seemed like omnipotent Goddesses.

Oh for sure. As a nerdy and somewhat awkward female teenager, I felt somewhat similar - not that men were gods, but that men held all the power in relationships. I think that's a fairly common feeling for teenagers. But it gets disturbing when you see grown-ass adults building a whole philosophy and movement around it, as you allude to.

Really makes me want to give them all a hug. But they would probably accuse me of trying to entrap them with a rape charge or a profitable baby, so I'll keep my hugs to myself.
posted by lunasol at 12:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why. Don't try to censor it. It'll just permit that person to portray themselves-as persecuted, and even if it isn't actually true, it will look as if it were.

I'm sorry, you must have the SPLC confused with some imaginary straw-organization.
posted by kmz at 12:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


I'm beginning to thing that the Southern Poverty Law Center is ethically compromised.

With you so far... they're mainly alarmist, fund-raising, shills. They've done some good things but - what? Oh...

They seem to be bulk-exporting sound moral judgment from the southern United States at a rate that's higher than the South can replenish. They really need to make sustainable development more of a priority.

I'm confused by this statement on a pretty basic level. I'm not sure if you're trying to joke that they have no right to be moralizing twerps because they're southern, or if you're trying to joke that the south doesn't have enough sound moral judgment to be letting any of it go anywhere else. Either way, by generalizing about the place I live, right here in a thread about how some people get objectified, you don't seem to be someone who can afford to export your moral values.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


The "as an observation" link is broken, where was it supposed to lead?
posted by idiopath at 12:47 PM on May 3, 2012


It really does happen almost anywhere there are two or three young guys. Maybe it dies down when these guys get married

A few 20 something or even early 30 something married guys out without their wives will very quickly fall back into the macho I would totally nail her bravado of their youth, especially when you add alcohol. And just like the 18 year olds, they won't take one step towards anything actually happening. I may be speaking from experience here.

I have noticed since I've passed 40 that is not the case anymore. So we do grow out of it, but nearly as quickly as one would hope.
posted by COD at 12:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why is it that whenever people try to point out and stigmatize bad speech, there's always someone there to say they're trying to ban speech they disagree with, and should point out and stigmatize it instead?

And, more importantly.

Metafilter: weird and painful enough to the male party the only people interested are irreparably kinky or pledging for a fraternity.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm not sure how much the two sides really have in common, and whether all this reaching out is actually leading to them getting into bed with each other.

The PUAs see themselves as an elite, the MRAs see themselves as victims. The PUAs want casual sex and disdain long-term relationships, the MRAs want to be traditional paterfamilias' ruling the family roost. The two sides seem to be a bit incompatible.

If you want to understand the appeal of the PUAs, you have to remember that it does work. Mixed in with the cod psychology and jargon are some boring but sensible tips. I would say the big four are:

1. Approach lots of women
2. Act confident
3. Have entertaining things to say
4. Dress and groom well

There are quite a few guys who haven't really practiced those four things, which do take a bit of effort and experience. So when they start to follow the PUA movement, they absorb the nonsense, start doing the sensible, practical things, and find that they're getting a whole lot more sex. So they conclude that the nonsense is absolutely true.

I think the impressive-nonsense-and-dull-sensible-tips combination is extremely powerful, and the PUA movement is just one instance of it. The world is full of successful fads along those lines. Diet fads that include eating fewer calories, and daft pseudoscience; management fads that include talking to your subordinates and learning from Genghis Khan; productivity fads that involve writing down your goals and strange visualisation. All these fads are successful because the sensible tips mean that they work, and the impressive nonsense means the followers can feel they've mastered deep, arcane, secret knowledge.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [90 favorites]


There are two points often forgotten in this PUA world:

1. The standard, "women can get sex any time they want" ALWAYS, and I capitalize it for effect, ALWAYS implies that the woman is "hot". So "hot girls just want money" or "hot girls just want aggressive men" or "hot girls just want alpha males". This is important because it is accepted amongmen who follow the PUA crowd that "you don't have to be the hottest guy to get chicks"-- so the understanding here is (and I'm using basic terms) "dorky guy can figure out how to get hot chicks."

2. The misunderstanding (for men) isn't what women want in a man, it is what men want in a woman. This is why many men who actually get what they think they wanted are still unsatisfied. They meet a hot girl in calculus class and it turns into a relationship, and they're upset they can't get one night stands: "woman in calculus class= relationship" regardless of what she looks like. But if they got a one night stand, they'd be upset they couldn't convert it to a relationship (and of course it would be her fault for being a slut, not knowing what she wants, etc) You can't have it both ways.

Here's how the logic disintegrates: if you're at a bar and see a dumb blonde with a vanilla Stoli addiction, we can all agree, she'd probably be up for a one night stand. "Yeah, but she only wants a guy who X" where X= "big muscles/money/testosterone"--- Maybe, but she'd probably settle for you. "I don't want her to settle for me, I want her to want me." Then you don't really want a one night stand, do you?

It is the most fundamental insight of human relationships that when you see the other person as a factor in your own happiness, the problem is not the person, the problem is you.
posted by TheLastPsychiatrist at 12:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [37 favorites]


The PUAs see themselves as an elite, the MRAs see themselves as victims.
It's a natural fit, PUA offers the possibility of no longer being a victim.
the MRAs want to be traditional paterfamilias' ruling the family roost.
MRA "thought" is pretty broad. Some of them want that, some of them want to be able to sleep around without fear of spermjacking. What all MRAs have in common is the same thing they have in common with PUAs: dumb ideas about women.
posted by cdward at 12:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, ultimately these guys are just afraid of women and afraid of rejection.

Sadly, I think you are wrong here. The fundamental thing that makes a salesperson successful is being able to accept rejection time and time again on that off-chance that you win. These guys, sleazy as they are, are just sexual salesmen.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The standard, "women can get sex any time they want" ALWAYS, and I capitalize it for effect, ALWAYS implies that the woman is "hot". So "hot girls just want money" or "hot girls just want aggressive men" or "hot girls just want alpha males". This is important because it is accepted amongmen who follow the PUA crowd that "you don't have to be the hottest guy to get chicks"-- so the understanding here is (and I'm using basic terms) "dorky guy can figure out how to get hot chicks."

"Unattractive superficial men shocked to discover that attractive, superficial people are mostly attracted to other attractive, superficial people, miss the irony."
posted by empath at 1:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [25 favorites]


some men believe that "not being specifically advantaged" is the same as "being disadvantaged."

Say hi to the noisier sections of the political Right.

Coincidence? I think not.
posted by aramaic at 1:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is the comment that inspired this post:
there was a growing sense that western men were MUCH more attractive to the local women than Japanese men, in part because of their more enlightened views on women... but the result was a depressing spiral of young Japanese men basically feeling they are shut out of the dating world, completely, and becoming more 4chan-y and malevolent about women in general. And... that seems like an incredibly sad and dangerous spiral. And I worry that it could end with an angry and charismatic leader finding a use for all of those idle, disaffected, and alienated young men.
Holy shit, a comment I made inspired this post? That is both staggeringly ironic, and proof my high school guidance counselor was dead wrong when he said I wouldn't amount to anything! Suck it, Mr. Walker!
posted by hincandenza at 1:24 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


how powerless some men-- and not all, believe me-- feel in the face of desire.

Its a lot different on both sides than the dating culture books and TV shows would have us believe. I think this PUA stuff is basically a way for men to cope with their own feelings. When its this structured, however, there's bound to be a fall.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


All these fads are successful because the sensible tips mean that they work, and the impressive nonsense means the followers can feel they've mastered deep, arcane, secret knowledge.

Yes, but the "nonsense" in this case is "rank misogyny" and the "sensible tips" basically boil down to "being a human." PUA stuff attracts guys who won't put even a minimal effort into hygiene and social skills without the reassurance that a, women are dumb and b, can be tricked into boning them.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:28 PM on May 3, 2012


Dear pick up artists, cosmo, maxim and straight world at large:

You may be able to trick someone into liking you, but it will almost always backfire on you.

Women and men have wanted to believe in love potions and magic phrases for years, but none of them have ever been a good idea.

If I knew when I was 16 what I know now about actually, honestly being decent and flirting without hurting I would have herpes by now.

It makes me especially sad that a whole lot of people are missing out on real, meaningful love because the people who could love them aren't 'hot' in some artificial way.

Best Wishes,
A happily married nerd.
posted by poe at 1:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


jcreigh: As a dude, I've never quite gotten why some guys will go to these absurd, twisted, manipulative, and dehumanizing lengths in a desperate attempt to get laid. I always want to ask, "you know about masturbation, right?"
One might observe that the PUA types are blatantly obvious douchebags, emotionally stunted, quasi-date raping, and transparently mean-spirited people under a hazy veneer of Axe bodyspray. And yet... they do get laid.

So, have the women that choose to sleep with these guys never heard of masturbation either?
posted by hincandenza at 1:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


is it my imagination or does this stuff start to kind of perk up during recessions
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


It is the most fundamental insight of human relationships that when you see the other person as a factor in your own happiness, the problem is not the person, the problem is you.

Humans are not in control of their own feelings. They are only able to control their reaction to those feelings. Anything else is just self-deception. We're animals with a communication device and database strapped on top of the hypothalamus.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


It really does happen almost anywhere there are two or three young guys. Maybe it dies down when these guys get married.

Sorry...

Judging from office behaviour amongst any group of men I've worked with, it doesn't.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2012


I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why. Don't try to censor it. It'll just permit that person to portray themselves-as persecuted, and even if it isn't actually true, it will look as if it were.

It astonishes me you could believe this in the wake of the Rwandan genocide.
posted by jamjam at 1:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


>I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why.

That's exactly what they're doing.


No, it isn't. The classification of anything as "hate speech" is a suggestion that it should not be protected by the First Amendment, i.e., it ought to be censored, because this is pretty much exactly what it means in countries that don't have as strong protections for free speech as the US does. The courts have almost always held that the First Amendment does protect "hate speech," because judges aren't silly enough to be deceived by the suggestion that an argument that certain things are just so bad they can't be permitted is anything but an attempt at instituting content-based prior restraint.
posted by valkyryn at 1:41 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


>There are two points often forgotten in this PUA world:

1. The standard, "women can get sex any time they want" ALWAYS, and I capitalize it for effect, ALWAYS implies that the woman is "hot".


Actually, this is never forgotten; it's the baseline presupposition.

>....you have to remember that it does work. Mixed in with the cod psychology and jargon are some boring but sensible tips.

>All these fads are successful because the sensible tips mean that they work, and the impressive nonsense means the followers can feel they've mastered deep, arcane, secret knowledge.

In the main, this is true-- approaching more people than you have before, plus having more interesting things to say, will make your social life more enjoyable, even without adding in peculiar techniques.

To be blunt, though, some of the Deep Arcane Secret (Extra-Special Totally Elite: Premium Inner CircleTM Members ONLY!) Knowledge really does produce stunningly fast and intense results, and in ways and to degrees that don't correspond to intuition or common sense.

>a, women are dumb and b, can be tricked into boning them

The idea isn't, for most (I would guess), that women are dumb-- it's that men and women are different. Some things reliably turn on men, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, women; some things reliably turn on women, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, men.

The real question is whether you think it's ethical to do something or provide something that you don't have any particular interest in, in order to appeal to someone else's tastes, and make someone else feel good.

Like wearing a push-up bra, for example, or buying flowers, or suffering through a performance from someone's new band.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Unless somebody explicitly demands that speech be censored, let's not insist they do. Speech that denigrates women is hateful, and identifying it isn't a call to pass laws against such speech. And as to other countries having laws against hate speech -- until that's actually a possibility in the US as a result of the Southern Poverty Law Center, it's a bit out of the scope of this discussion.

I for one am glad to see misogynistic speech identified as hate speech. It's pretty hateful, and it helps to be able to talk about it in the same way we talk about racist speech or antisemitic speech or the like.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


The First Amendment is based on a silly fantasy, the idea that people can say anything they want to without anything real happening as a result of it, unless someone (ie the listener) breaks the speech/action barrier, and that would be that person's complete free choice to do so and therefore their fault. It has often struck me as reflecting a peculiar, pseudo-autistic, hypertrophied philosophical view of the role of free will in human action. In practice, the gap between speech and action is narrow; the listener (who can be the speaker themselves) can experience strong emotion as a result of the speech, and be prompted to action, and if this were not the case, the speaker would not have bothered to speak at all.

This is what it is about, this ridiculous self-delusion: "I told him to do it, argued that it was necessary, berated him, persuaded him that doing it was heroic, just, right, that to not do it would be base villainy. I even pleaded with him, begged him to do it. But that he did it, that is his fault, and not mine." Keeping the gap of responsibility open between the orator on the soapbox, and the pitchfork-wielding crowd.

We are responsible for what others do at our urging, and so are they, and this is why hate speech laws are a Good Thing.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


men and women are different
Another similarity between MRAs and PUAs is that they're both really committed to gender essentialism for some reason.
posted by cdward at 1:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


The First Amendment is based on a silly fantasy, the idea that people can say anything they want to without anything real happening as a result of it, unless someone (ie the listener) breaks the speech/action barrier, and that would be that person's complete free choice to do so and therefore their fault.

The First Amendment is based on the notion that people can say anything they want to, and that things may well happen as a result, but that with very, very few exceptions, the value to a free society of permitting that speech outweighs those negative consequences that cannot be dealt with in ways other than restricting speech

That notion is correct, and hate speech laws are a very Bad Thing.

But calling these guys a bunch of assholes is totally cool.
posted by eugenen at 2:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


The First Amendment is based on a silly fantasy, the idea that people can say anything they want to without anything real happening as a result of it, unless someone (ie the listener) breaks the speech/action barrier, and that would be that person's complete free choice to do so and therefore their fault.


Really? Because it doesn't say that anywhere.

On the contrary, the First Amendment assumes some persons will be emotionally hurt by political speech but that the value of political speech is so important to our discourse and the danger to our political system is so great that, on balance, it is more important to let those words freely flow than it is to try and restrict it. It would be wrong to classify Occupy's strong language against the banks as "hate speech," no? Because people would try that once you got your "hate speech" exception in there.

Political speech may only be banned on content grounds "where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action" i.e. "go kill those people I am pointing at 50 feet away from us."

But I don't want to see someone's speech banned based upon its political content.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:04 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


The real question is whether you think it's ethical to do something or provide something that you don't have any particular interest in, in order to appeal to someone else's tastes, and make someone else feel good.

Like wearing a push-up bra, for example, or buying flowers, or suffering through a performance from someone's new band.


I sure hope you're not comparing dressing up, giving gifts, and being supportive to systematically insulting a woman just so that she wants to prove herself to you. See, that's one of the big parts of the pick up culture. Phalene's story seems pretty par for the course.

The goal of the PUA is not to make the woman feel good. It's to feel good a the expense of the woman.

Another similarity between MRAs and PUAs is that they're both really committed to gender essentialism for some reason.


If you're going to go on and on about how awful somebody is, you're probably going to want to make sure that you don't identify with them.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:07 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


they're both really committed to gender essentialism for some reason.

Yes but I suspect their commitment to gender essentialism is really just a dressed-up commitment to a certain brand of "male" essentialism. Both the MRA and PUA communities strike me as inherently self-serving. This is super obvious with PUA, a little less-so with MRA, which in my opinion makes MRA a little worse.

Protip: you're not really committed to equal rights if you spend so much of your energy trying to show just how different men and women really are. Unless this is Bizarro World or something. Wait, is this Bizarro World? Carry on then.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:11 PM on May 3, 2012


valkyryn: The classification of anything as "hate speech" is a suggestion that it should not be protected by the First Amendment, i.e., it ought to be censored, because this is pretty much exactly what it means in countries that don't have as strong protections for free speech as the US does. The courts have almost always held that the First Amendment does protect "hate speech," because judges aren't silly enough to be deceived by the suggestion that an argument that certain things are just so bad they can't be permitted is anything but an attempt at instituting content-based prior restraint.

To clarify: your argument is that classifying something as "hate speech" is a suggestion that it should not be protected by the First Amendment based on a history of the judicial system repeatedly holding that the First Amendment absolutely does protect "hate speech"? That means that the suggestion that the phrase "hate speech" makes is "This speech is legal and we know it's legal and as such I am suggesting that it is illegal", right?
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One might observe that the PUA types are blatantly obvious douchebags, emotionally stunted, quasi-date raping, and transparently mean-spirited people under a hazy veneer of Axe bodyspray. And yet... they do get laid.

So, have the women that choose to sleep with these guys never heard of masturbation either?


This would only make sense if men had never slept with emotionally stunted, transparently mean-spirited women under a haze of Chanel No. 5 either.

Are some people attracted to persons who do not treat them well? Yes. Are there a bunch of nerds who work to simulate or become those persons in order to have sex with some women who are attracted to douchebags? Yes. Does that mean that every man must become a douchebag in order to have sex with women? No.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Another similarity between MRAs and PUAs is that they're both really committed to gender essentialism for some reason.

>Yes but I suspect their commitment to gender essentialism is really just a dressed-up commitment to a certain brand of "male" essentialism

Actually, making certain distinctions in emotional patterns between men and women makes good things happen much faster.

>systematically insulting a woman just so that she wants to prove herself to you. See, that's one of the big parts of the pick up culture. Phalene's story seems pretty par for the course.

I would agree that "negging" is what many people associate with PUA, but it's not a necessary technique-- to the extent that it's used often, this is so because used correctly, it works really, really well.

And what, then, is using it "correctly"?

At the risk of distinguishing between X and No True Scotsman....

"negging" is most reliably effective as teasing-- ribbing someone in the self-evidently playful (though possibly grating) way you might tease a beloved sibling.

If what you're saying just reads as insulting (as, yeah, the double-teaming job-baiting duo in Phalene's story do), then it would be useful to say things differently, because you're probably being unpleasant.

>you're not really committed to equal rights if you spend so much of your energy trying to show just how different men and women really are

I would imagine that this is the basis of most resistance to recognizing gender distinctions; actually, though, noticing typical differences in behavior doesn't equate to limiting rights, aspirations, choices, or potential.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


valkyryn: The classification of anything as "hate speech" is a suggestion that it should not be protected by the First Amendment, i.e., it ought to be censored, because this is pretty much exactly what it means in countries that don't have as strong protections for free speech as the US does. The courts have almost always held that the First Amendment does protect "hate speech," because judges aren't silly enough to be deceived by the suggestion that an argument that certain things are just so bad they can't be permitted is anything but an attempt at instituting content-based prior restraint.

This would make sense if they were operating in one of those countries, but they aren't. There is no movement to ban hate speech in this country and it will never happen. Stop tilting at windmills.
posted by empath at 2:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


hincandenza: "So, have the women that choose to sleep with these guys never heard of masturbation either?"

There's a lot of manipulation built in to PUA. The whole idea of the "neg" is to subtly jab at someone's self-esteem such that they'll want to impress you, to consider you someone worth impressing. There's a whole bunch of techniques based around "LMR" (Last Minute Resistance; basically when the PUA worm is putting the moves on the woman and she's not into it, or was into it but has backed down and wants to go home) which are designed to manipulate the woman into feeling like sex is a natural conclusion to the evening. A woman who doesn't know about PUA techniques can find herself sucked in, particularly if she's had a bit to drink so she's not as sharp as she usually is, and then in the morning it turns out she's slept with an arsehole and she's about to face a whole bunch of new techniques depending on whether the PUA wants to sleep with her again or blow her off.

So maybe these women have heard of masturbation but they're just mistaken in thinking that men approach them for a genuine connection -- or even genuine sex -- rather than for sick mind games and PUA achievement points.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


Some things reliably turn on men, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, women; some things reliably turn on women, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, men.

Oh, do tell. If there is one thing on that list of supposedly universal female turn ons that I also consider a turn on, I'll eat my hat, or some variation.
posted by jokeefe at 2:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


I haven't found all the MRA types to be entirely essentialist on gender roles. The front page of the Men's Rights Reddit at the moment features complaints about a boy who is being kicked off a field hockey team and the pastor idiot who said parents should punch effeminate children. They also discuss male rape victims and other things that aren't generally seen as concerns for the stereotypical man.

They do highlight some legitimate issues for men. Where they fall apart tends to be in putting all the blame on women, trivializing women's concerns, and exaggerating some issues for men which are far less legitimate than other topics they talk about.

I want to support them on some stuff, I really do, but every time I follow a link to an MRA blog it is full of pretty disgusting, juvenile stuff.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Roissy/Heartist, one of the more influential "manosphere" blogs, has explicitly owned its white nationalist stance after many years of codewords and slobbering all over Charles Murray of Bell Curve infamy. This is worrisome and tells me that "hate speech" is not at all an exaggeration, and that they are already quite radicalized/politicized.
posted by decathexis at 2:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


[This does not have to be personal if you don't make it personal. Got issues with moderation, please take them to MetaTalk. Otherwise please act like people who know how to talk about sex and gender with members of the opposite sex/gender. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:34 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jokeefe, nobody is turned on by hat eating.

*waits for inevitable response from the chapeauphagia fetish community*
posted by jonmc at 2:35 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I mean, seriously, the whole "hate speech" crusade is just really ill-considered and ill-advised. You don't like what someone else is saying? Fine, say so and explain why. Don't try to censor it. It'll just permit that person to portray themselves-as persecuted, and even if it isn't actually true, it will look as if it were.

It astonishes me you could believe this in the wake of the Rwandan genocide.


Most of the speech you are talking about in the Rwandan genocide would be illegal under US law, actually. See Brandenburg v. Ohio.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:36 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


"negging" is most reliably effective as teasing-- ribbing someone in the self-evidently playful (though possibly grating) way you might tease a beloved sibling.

So you've known these women for years? They know what you mean in a joking way, and what you mean seriously? If not, then it's only like teasing a sibling to you. I mean, if a stranger walked up to you and started talking about how stupid your shoes look. How on earth are you supposed to know if they're just "teasing" or not?

Furthermore, why should they care? If a stranger comes up to me and started "teasing" me about how stupid my hat looks, it doesn't matter if they're being playful or not. They're stepping over all sorts of social barriers and making a ton of assumptions about their right to judge me based on the way I'm dressed at one point in time.
posted by Gygesringtone at 2:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Another similarity between PUA and MRA is that they both see problems in our society (our hangups around sex, and our stupid gendered assumptions), and then attempt to solve them in exactly the wrong way.
posted by cdward at 2:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


This should be required reading whenever a discussion of "negging" arises.

And like hincandenza, I'm chuffed to see one of my comments return through the ether to be cited in this FPP. I thought it sounded really familiar, and then checked the link, and well lookit that.
posted by jokeefe at 2:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


So...I decided to look up this Heartiste guy who is apparently so popular among the PUA folks. Here's a charming little excerpt from his site:

First, let me remind the reader that it takes at least three vigorous bangs to oxytocinally bond the typical urban slut to his cock and only his cock. And the sluttier the girl, the more bangs will be required before she is entranced by your testicular essence.

(Emphasis mine. And I'm not linking to it because it doesn't deserve ANY traffic).


Wow, fake science and misogyny. We're reaching new heights here.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


without fear of spermjacking.

Welp, there's a word I wished didn't exist.
posted by emjaybee at 2:45 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


entranced by your testicular essence







i wish to never see these five english words in this particular order ever again
posted by zennish at 2:49 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


Some things reliably turn on men, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, women; some things reliably turn on women, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, men.

Okay, then why send out false signals then? It's a bad situation if one party sends out false signals that turn the other party on genuinely. It's the

The real question is whether you think it's ethical to do something or provide something that you don't have any particular interest in, in order to appeal to someone else's tastes, and make someone else feel good.

Thats too vague and innocuous of an ethical situation here that could be applied from anything to going to work everyday to making sure you're departed grandmother has flowers on her grave every birthday to ending up killing someone when robbing a bank.
posted by FJT at 2:51 PM on May 3, 2012


Dang it, hit enter way too soon:

It's a bad situation if one party sends out false signals that turn the other party on genuinely. It's the WORST situation if both parties send out false signals to turn the other on and just end up frustrated as time goes on.
posted by FJT at 2:54 PM on May 3, 2012


entranced by your testicular essence

I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence.
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


>How on earth are you supposed to know if they're just "teasing" or not?

Is this person wearing a big, goofy smile?

If so, assume this person to be teasing.

But it actually doesn't matter what you "should" do, or even if what this person is doing is something you categorize as "teasing" or "insulting" or something else; what matters is what you actually choose to do.

You can be annoyed, enraged, intrigued, amused, or what have you; these are all valid choices.

>>judge me based on the way I'm dressed at one point in time

A footnote: If you're a woman, and physically attractive, a man is probably not going to judge you too harshly based on how you dress. If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you.

A winning strategy, no doubt!

Oy gevalt.
posted by jokeefe at 2:58 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you.

I don't think that anyone is confused about that. The problem is the way he's trying to woo, which is by acting like an asshole. Everybody encounters enough shitty behavior every day already, and women probably encounter, on average, twice as much as men. We don't need communities of people thinking up and promoting whole systems of shitty behavior on top of that.
posted by Ragged Richard at 2:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]



Some things reliably turn on men, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, women; some things reliably turn on women, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, men.

Oh, do tell. If there is one thing on that list of supposedly universal female turn ons that I also consider a turn on, I'll eat my hat, or some variation.


While I get your point, "reliably" and "universal" are not the same thing.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


darth_tedious: "If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you."

So eponysterical.
posted by Apropos of Something at 3:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I get your point, "reliably" and "universal" are not the same thing.

Okay, fine, conceded. I'm still waiting to find out what these reliable turnons are, though.
posted by jokeefe at 3:02 PM on May 3, 2012


A footnote: If you're a woman, and physically attractive, a man is probably not going to judge you too harshly based on how you dress.

Wait, seriously? Women, attractive or not, get judged all the time by men for how they dress. "Oh, she's a dumb blonde in a tight top." "Oh, with skirts like that, who could blame them?" "Oh, if you wanted to be taken seriously at work, you shouldn't accentuate your [size F natural boobs] so much." "You just look like such a tight ass when you dress-- can't you be more flirty?"

If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes


Yeah in general when this happens unless it's some variant of "So do those heels mean you want to fuck me" I assume the guy is super gay or likes wearing heels himself.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:05 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


A footnote: If you're a woman, and physically attractive, a man is probably not going to judge you too harshly based on how you dress.

There's so much wrong about that. Both factually and well conceptually. I mean, if I was a woman, and I was unattractive, why should I be fair game for judgement?

Furthermore, Let's assume that you believe that's true, that only unattractive women are judge based on clothing. That means by coming up and judging the woman in a public way you're saying "I find you unattractive." Boy, that's some friendly teasing you're doing.

Is this person wearing a big, goofy smile?

Once when I was a young stupid kid, I was trying to impress this girl I liked, and I made a very stupid joke about only poor kids bringing lunch to school (like I said very bad joke, slightly less bad in context, but still not my best moment). I laughed, had a big goofy smile, and the person I was talking was still hurt.

Your intentions aren't nearly as important as you seem to think.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:10 PM on May 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you.

Oh god is this a thing? When some guy did this to me at a party I thought he was some sort of fashion stylist and booked it because clothing snark from my buddies is okay, snark from weirdo strangers, not so much.

...seriously thought he was trying to sell me a makeover or something.
posted by zennish at 3:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, do tell. If there is one thing on that list of supposedly universal female turn ons that I also consider a turn on, I'll eat my hat

Commander William T Riker

Check
MATE
posted by Greg Nog at 3:13 PM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


Okay, fine, conceded. I'm still waiting to find out what these reliable turnons are, though.

Zooey Deschanel?
posted by small_ruminant at 3:14 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't buy the negging = teasing thing. The only (playful) teasing that I think is okay (giving or getting) is when it occurs between people who know each other at least pretty well - have more than 10 minutes of history together, anyway, not to mention social context that goes beyond the bar you just met in - and when the power imbalance is small to non-existent. Otherwise it's just being shitty to someone.
posted by rtha at 3:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh. Wait. I thought it was about things that turned men on but not women.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:15 PM on May 3, 2012


The First Amendment is based on a silly fantasy, the idea that people can say anything they want to without anything real happening as a result of it, unless someone (ie the listener) breaks the speech/action barrier, and that would be that person's complete free choice to do so and therefore their fault.
That's not true at all. The first amendment was put there specifically to empower people to change things by speaking.
posted by delmoi at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I assume the guy is super gay or likes wearing heels himself.

Oh god is this a thing?

Come on ladies, get with the program! These sure-fire techniques won't work unless you stay up-to-date with the latest routines and follow the script!
posted by cdward at 3:16 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


So do the lyrics of My Funny Valentine count as negging?
posted by small_ruminant at 3:17 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


jokeefe: " I'm still waiting to find out what these reliable turnons are, though."

If anyone outside the inner circles of the brotherhood found them out, society would collapse, because people would be having too much sex. The power to instantly get laid is too much to just casually share in a MetaFilter thread.
posted by idiopath at 3:17 PM on May 3, 2012


Is this person wearing a big, goofy smile?

If so, assume this person to be teasing.


Can I also assume they're a colossal asshole?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


The other difference between negging and friendly teasing is that with friendly teasing you know them well enough to only tease them about things that they're either proud of, or that aren't important to them. No one teases the guy who's sensitive about his weight about the fact that he's put on a few. They tease him about his encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars trivia, or whatever.

Random strangers in bars don't have that context and in fact, the very point of it is to tear down a woman who is perceived as thinking too highly of herself because she is attractive.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:18 PM on May 3, 2012 [26 favorites]


>The problem is the way he's trying to woo, which is by acting like an asshole. Everybody encounters enough shitty behavior every day already

Again, though, it's a matter of how someone does this: Done properly, it elicits bright, shiny eyes and a laugh, because you are taking someone out of her routine mental loop and inviting her into a playful, relaxed, not-logical space in which you are not perfect and correct and focused on logical things, and she doesn't have to be perfect and correct either; done badly, your comment might actually be taken literally, and you seem like a jerk randomly denigrating footwear.

>Women, attractive or not, get judged all the time by men for how they dress. "Oh, she's a dumb blonde in a tight top."

Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible. I wouldn't be surprised to hear another woman make that judgment.

>Can I also assume they're a colossal asshole?

Go for it.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


The power to instantly get laid is too much to just casually share in a MetaFilter thread.

Sociologists (or something like that) have studied casual sex. Turns out that in societies that value female pleasure from sex and are relatively free of partner violence and sexual assault, women are way more into casual sex.

Women like having pleasurable sex with men who aren't likely to hurt them: SO CONFUSING
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [63 favorites]


The other difference between negging and friendly teasing is that with friendly teasing you know them well enough to only tease them about things that they're either proud of, or that aren't important to them.
That's not really realistic. People tease each-other about touchy subjects all the time.
posted by delmoi at 3:22 PM on May 3, 2012


Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible.

Okay well I'm here as someone who wears a G-cup to tell you that it happens. A lot.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [19 favorites]


ssh I SAID ITS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET

what have you done...
posted by idiopath at 3:23 PM on May 3, 2012


You know, when your opposition admittedly has a whole heck of a lot more public support than you do, you may want to ask yourself how righteous your group really is.
How much public support did the civil rights movement have before WWII?
Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible.
LOL. Man some people in this thread have obviously never been to reddit.
posted by delmoi at 3:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Done properly, it elicits bright, shiny eyes and a laugh, because you are taking someone out of her routine mental loop and inviting her into a playful, relaxed, not-logical space in which you are not perfect and correct and focused on logical things, and she doesn't have to be perfect and correct either

Ok, come on, you're just fucking with us, right?
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


Feelings of entitlement and anger when those entitlements aren't honored... manipulation and put-downs celebrated... self-images that require getting one over on another person and/or putting them in their place...

I don't know about white nationalism, but I've seen these characteristics very prominently among Teabaggers - and not just those in my own family. Sounds like it could describe thousands of angry, entitled exurban white guys who think the universe owes them an ever-more-valuable house and who is always fulminating against an Other - Mexicans, Democrats, Barack Obama, local planners - who is depriving them of a solipsistic fantasy existence.
posted by jhandey at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Okay well I'm here as someone who wears a G-cup to tell you that it happens. A lot.

Interesting.

Are you sure that Unpleasant Guy X is assuming specifically that a) your intelligence is low, and b) is doing so based on the way you dress?
posted by darth_tedious at 3:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Tall and tanned and wearing a necklace that clashes with her bikini."

I mean, The Girl is this unapproachable figure, perfect in every way.

Except that the singer has such discriminating taste that THEY found the flaw, and will use it to make sure the girl knows that she has to work harder to get noticed by him. Er, I mean, he's given her permission to be imperfect.

No wait that still makes the guy seem kind of like a jerk.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible. I wouldn't be surprised to hear another woman make that judgment.


You're...you're not actually serious, right? Because as a young lady with an advanced degree who at least pretends to be okay in the looks department, this is so far from my realm of experience that I have to assume it's satirical. I wore heels and a slightly spangled shirt once to an academic speaker's dinner at a friend's college and the gentleman seated to the right informed I had nothing to add to the conversation and had no right to be there after talking to me for thirty seconds. (He ended up being a great conversationalist and it was really pleasant after a bit, but man, that really burned.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


It's hard to take defenses of the whole PUA scene seriously (duh) after reading so much of their material. I used to have the bad habit of clicking through to PUA forums and finding I'd spent hours reading the garbage that passes for discussion there...kinda like TVTropes except reading TVTropes rarely makes me feel like I'm going to puke. But, I do recommend it for anyone who, for example, is suprised that criticizing someone's clothing is, in fact, "a thing". It is, but it also gets so much worse than that.
posted by Lorin at 3:30 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting.

Are you sure that Unpleasant Guy X is assuming specifically that a) your intelligence is low, and b) is doing so based on the way you dress?


Some guy I got to know more actually told me that's what he thought and why (although it is more about the perceived sexual availability than the outfit, at least these days). I was supposed to be like "wow, so glad I passed your smart person test for smartness" but instead I just thought he was a sexist doucheface.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


darth_tedious: elicits bright, shiny eyes and a laugh, because you are taking someone out of her routine mental loop and inviting her into a playful, relaxed, not-logical space

This is also the goal of male version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I was one of those, of a sort, when in college. I wouldn't recommend it, necessarily, but it can be fun and enjoyable for both people. It never started with an insult, criticism, or tease though. It started with a light compliment and, oh, an invitation to skip class and fly a kite, or whatever.
posted by gilrain at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting.

Are you sure that Unpleasant Guy X is assuming specifically that a) your intelligence is low, and b) is doing so based on the way you dress?


What's your interest in picking apart the lived experiences of the women in this thread?
posted by palomar at 3:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


Oh, and slightly related to the subject of pick up artists and politics...

CPAC Attendees Learn How To Pick Up Women, Gay Men - Gawker, February 11, 2012.
posted by jhandey at 3:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd better stock up on more testicular essence for the next mefi meetup!
posted by dr_dank at 3:33 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


>Ok, come on, you're just fucking with us, right?

Nope, but you are completely welcome to believe whatever you'd like.

>I wore heels and a slightly spangled shirt once to an academic speaker's dinner at a friend's college and the gentleman seated to the right informed I had nothing to add to the conversation and had no right to be there after talking to me for thirty seconds.

My guess, though, is that, whatever he said, he probably didn't assume you were unintelligent-- he probably just found you intimidatingly attractive, and attacking your intelligence was his way of lashing out.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:34 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


entranced by your testicular essence

i wish to never see these five english words in this particular order ever again

Oh, come on! That's one of the funniest things I've read in weeks (and I've been grading student papers).
posted by sfred at 3:34 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


darth_tedious: My guess, though, is that, whatever he said, he probably didn't assume you were unintelligent-- he probably just found you intimidatingly attractive, and attacking your intelligence was his way of lashing out.

My guess is that, whatever you say, you don't actually disagree with any of us, darth_tedious. You probably just find our intellectualism and familiarity with basic decency to be threatening, and stolidly trotting out the horrors of PUA logic is just your way of lashing out.
posted by gilrain at 3:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [29 favorites]


>It never started with an insult, criticism, or tease though. It started with a light compliment and, oh, an invitation to skip class and fly a kite, or whatever.

Yeah, I'm actually defending negging just to play Devil's Advocate, and to give a slightly clearer picture of the technique's dynamics. It's not a technique I personally use much.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:38 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible. I wouldn't be surprised to hear another woman make that judgment.

Thirty seconds on Google yields:
- a Coed Magazine article on 'Top 10Stupid-Hot Chicks'
- an Askmen.com article of a reader saying 'What I'm discovering is that the more physically attractive a woman is, the more boring and brainless she is' and asking for advice
- a bunch of Youtube videos advertising 'stupid hot and sexy girls = no brains'

And now I feel as though I need to give my Firefox a nice hot bleaching. The 'stupid-hot girl' is practically a meme at this point.
posted by zennish at 3:40 PM on May 3, 2012


jcreigh: As a dude, I've never quite gotten why some guys will go to these absurd, twisted, manipulative, and dehumanizing lengths in a desperate attempt to get laid. I always want to ask, "you know about masturbation, right?"
hincandenza: "So, have the women that choose to sleep with these guys never heard of masturbation either?"
Ironmouth: This would only make sense if men had never slept with emotionally stunted, transparently mean-spirited women under a haze of Chanel No. 5 either.
What? You made no sense, Ironmouth. jcreigh was pointing out that he can't understand why guys would go to such lengths just to get laid when there's masturbation to be had... to which I responded basically "Well, because they amazingly seem to work some percentage of the time, and the women they work on are choosing to sleep with these guys". If these PUA douchebags are such awful people- and I happen to think they are- then we have to similarly pass judgment on the women who sleep with them out of sheer horniness, because they too had a choice to just masturbate. What's good for the gander is good for the goose.

Your completely tangential point seems to be that some guys will sleep with "bad" women because of carnal desires or short-term lust, which... okay, what is your point with that? Should we suggest to those women who are applying Chanel no. 5 with a trowel that they learn about masturbation instead of going on the prowl? Why the double standard?

Why, Ironmouth, are you so determined to prevent women from having casual sex? Why must you try to control women's bodies and sexual lives?!?
ArmyOfKittens: So maybe these women have heard of masturbation but they're just mistaken in thinking that men approach them for a genuine connection -- or even genuine sex -- rather than for sick mind games and PUA achievement points.
See, this is what flabbergasts me. "Mistaken"?!? You'd have to be willfully blind to not see through the tricks of PUA's- look at Phalene's story earlier; this is how I'd expect any woman to react, with bafflement that anyone would be dumb enough to try these things, or worse to fall for them.

These types of statements get trotted out in these threads, and what I find baffling is that I- a supposed uber-misogynist of Metafilter- argue that a woman is a fully developed human being and responsible for her own choices, her own actions, and ultimately for her own mistakes, including partners in one-night stands or relationships they ultimately regret, or realize belatedly were obvious 'bad' people with whom they shouldn't have wasted their time. Yet others, allegedly more enlightened than rotten ol' me... seem to suggest that somehow a typical woman is just not as sophisticated as a man, more susceptible to mind games, more gullible, more easily influenced by alcohol, and ultimately just not as responsible for what choices she makes. It's like something you'd read in a 1950's dating guide!

Look: some [people] use stupid or even horrid trickery to get laid. Some [people] are dumb enough to actually fall for those tricks and imagine something more meaningful there. So... why the double standard for the different genders?


I don't know, last night I got around to giving that show "Girls" another chance, and watched the second episode. The opening sex scene was awkward, disturbing and uncomfortable: Hannah's pseudo boyfriend is almost surely a sociopath, he is cruel and unfeeling towards her, the sex is visibly awful... and she keeps going back to the well with this guy! Another character is utterly tired of her non-alpha male boyfriend, who to my eyes seems perfectly decent but has as his biggest flaw thus far that he's not "manly" enough, or is worse, "boring".

That's not fiction- that really happens, and in reading the televisionwithoutpity forums there were a lot of commenters who described the eerie recognition they had while watching the show with their younger selves. And it's not dissimilar to the themes present in the MPDG[irl/uy] thread a few clicks away on Metafilter: idealizing in your own head someone who is clearly not healthy for you.

So yeah... sorry, but in real life human beings are actually making these choices, and they are likely bad choices for them personally they will regret later. I don't give a pass to the awful men and women, but I have in the past and continue to state that whenever a person gives so much rope to an awful person, forgives them their sins or their abusive behavior... they are just enabling them to continue being rotten- because being rotten doesn't stop working for them. The world is simply not a just place; bad people have good things happen to them more often than not.
posted by hincandenza at 3:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


>Some guy I got to know more actually told me that's what he thought and why

Huh.

Again, that sort of judgment seems a reaction to intimidation and the expectation of rejection, more than anything else... but it is a judgment.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:43 PM on May 3, 2012


Look: some [people] use stupid or even horrid trickery to get laid. Some [people] are dumb enough to actually fall for those tricks and imagine something more meaningful there. So... why the double standard for the different genders?

Right, but can't you see how much worse one of those is than the other? One is acting like a manipulative asshole and the other is making a bad choice. The bad choice does not excuse the assholery. Maybe nobody should eat at the gross-looking restaurant on the corner. But if people start getting sick, the health board doesn't say, "well, you guys shouldn't have eaten there" - it shuts down the restaurant that knowingly served food produced in unsanitary conditions.
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's not fiction- that really happens, and in reading the televisionwithoutpity forums there were a lot of commenters who described the eerie recognition they had while watching the show with their younger selves.
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that commenters at televisionwithoutpity.com were time-travelers. I meant they had an eerie sense of recognition with their younger selves, and they had this sensation while watching the show. :)
posted by hincandenza at 3:50 PM on May 3, 2012


What makes you think you know so much about the psychology of anecdotal strangers, darth?
posted by cdward at 3:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


darth_tedious: Again, that sort of judgment seems a reaction to intimidation and the expectation of rejection, more than anything else... but it is a judgment.

The problem is that you seem ready and quite willing to interpret any negative action on the part of the male to be attributed to his feelings of intimidation, thus casting him as the victim. I'm curious where you would draw the line. If he said, "Shut up, you stupid bitch," would you still reckon he was just feeling small and intimidated? What if he struck her as he said it? Is he still the victim, or what?
posted by gilrain at 3:51 PM on May 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


So... why the double standard for the different genders?

300,000 years of patriarchy, give or take?
posted by joe lisboa at 3:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Ragged Richard: Right, but can't you see how much worse one of those is than the other? One is acting like a manipulative asshole and the other is making a bad choice. The bad choice does not excuse the assholery. Maybe nobody should eat at the gross-looking restaurant on the corner. But if people start getting sick, the health board doesn't say, "well, you guys shouldn't have eaten there" - it shuts down the restaurant that knowingly served food produced in unsanitary conditions.
But PUA techniques are on the surface, that's the point- whether it's grooming/haircare, or "negging" techniques, they are all superficial. Shorter me: why aren't you all like Phalene?

The health board shuts down restaurants doing unsanitary things that we the customer might be completely unaware of, so this would be like the Dating Board pre-emptively chemically castrating guys with no jobs, or who have severe mommy issues. A better analogy of yours would be: eating at a restaurant where they prepare the food in front of you, and you watch the cook spit on the grill. You... you wouldn't stay there right? And if you did... well at that point, seriously, you don't need the health board to get your back.
posted by hincandenza at 3:54 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


>What's your interest in picking apart the lived experiences of the women in this thread?

If a woman hears criticisms of her intelligence from random guys, and believes that these criticisms are sincerely rooted in her appearance, she's likely to have a different, and less comfortable experience, than if she assumes that these criticisms are actually rooted in these men's bitterness and thwarted desire.
posted by darth_tedious at 3:54 PM on May 3, 2012


Yeah, I'm actually defending negging just to play Devil's Advocate, and to give a slightly clearer picture of the technique's dynamics. It's not a technique I personally use much.

Please argue in good faith, it's what the rest of us are doing.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 3:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


As somebody who's passionate about applied psychology (even unconventional psychology), I took one PUA class several years ago and I was completely underwhelmed. "Pick-up" when simplified to its most fundamental root seems to me to be essentially a guided script, almost like a "Choose-your-own-adventure" story.

"You deliver an opening line of this variety, and will get one of these three approximate types of responses. Strong interest, mild curiousity, or strong disinterest." The instructor then went on to say exactly what to do in each of the three cases, what the standard female responses would be, and so forth.

I won't deny that it works very effectively, but only on very naive or stupid women who deliver the anticipated generic responses. Every single situation where I've seen a pick-up artist hit on a creative/perceptive woman who says something unexpected that doesn't "follow the script", they fail miserably.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:56 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


darth_tedious: If a woman hears criticisms of her intelligence from random guys, and believes that these criticisms are sincerely rooted in her appearance, she's likely to have a different, and less comfortable experience, than if she assumes that these criticisms are actually rooted in these men's bitterness and thwarted desire.

Interestingly, since a woman is a human like any other, what she thinks might be going on in the mind of her insulter or attacker won't do much to stem the effects of the insult. Instead, she may feel hurt, or her reputation may be damaged in front of her peers, or she may be physically battered. You seem to think the perceived harm or fear going on in the mind of the person causing the actual harm or fear is a mitigating factor. It's not!
posted by gilrain at 3:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


>The problem is that you seem ready and quite willing to interpret any negative action on the part of the male to be attributed to his feelings of intimidation, thus casting him as the victim

Nope-- the fact that a guy runs his brain in such a way as to feel intimidated doesn't make him a victim. Emotions are instinctive... but you can learn to direct them.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


entranced by your testicular essence

i wish to never see these five english words in this particular order ever again

Oh, come on! That's one of the funniest things I've read in weeks (and I've been grading student papers).


Since reading that sentence I've had a dark, dramatic movie sequence running through my head, complete with BRRRRRRM soundtrack. It's a dude collecting up balls from weaker men unable to run, culling the herd for bare materials until he's got a whole pile of disembodied male genitalia, carting them off to the factory and sticking them in a pot to boil down. After a long, arduous process of distillation and delicate handling, the manly vitae is extracted, and it is so precious and vital that seventeen kilos of balls produce only 17 mls of fluid. This priceless essence is then parceled out only to the most deserving and desperate of men, and as soon as a woman comes into contact with this heavenly pheremone she is yours, forever.

...Until the essence runs out. When it does, the maker of testicular essence must go out and search for balls once again. BRRRRRRRRM.

So yes. I am ヽ(゚Д゚)ノ and ಠ_ಠ all over the place.
posted by zennish at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


Again, that sort of judgment seems a reaction to intimidation and the expectation of rejection, more than anything else... but it is a judgment.

O.k. after this, I'm going to go because I'm having a hard time being helping to "maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."

But, have you stopped to think about what about the woman would be intimidating? It seems to me you're defending judging a woman based on her looks because the person was intimated by a judgement he made based on.... well you can fill in the blank, but it rhymes with "the mailman's books."

The long and the short of it is, the women you find attractive can't help being attractive to you, but you can help how you deal with that. Any strategy for relationships that deals with another human being as a set of reactions to stimuli is probably going to end with you thinking of a whole group of people as something other than a real person, and that is a bad thing.

Even if it gets you laid (if you try it enough times).
posted by Gygesringtone at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


So... why the double standard for the different genders?
joe lisboa: 300,000 years of patriarchy, give or take?
Okay, now this is getting far afield, but isn't "patriarchy" a relatively recent invention, that there was far more gender equality in pre-historic times, even outright matriarchy in cultures 5,000+ years ago and earlier? I am not actually sure of the history here, but I didn't think patriarchy was some written in stone social organization since our hominid days, but a relatively recent occurrence around the time of (and possibly related to) to the rise of civilization and more hierarchical social orders and castes; the latter naturally leading to hierarchy, which in turn can lead to patriarchy. I think it's a Sinead O'Connor lyric that says "the opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy, it's fraternity". I'm genuinely curious about the scholarship here- someone more knowledgeable, please chime in or MeMail me?

I think I once read an essay or book that argued the rise of written symbolic language over visual imagery and iconography led to patriarchy due to the emphasis on left-brain rational/linear "masculine" thinking instead of holistic "feminine" thinking. I didn't say it was a good essay, I just said I once read it. :)
posted by hincandenza at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012


If a woman hears criticisms of her intelligence from random guys, and believes that these criticisms are sincerely rooted in her appearance, she's likely to have a different, and less comfortable experience, than if she assumes that these criticisms are actually rooted in these men's bitterness and thwarted desire.

I think the men making these comments are asshats either way, but personally, I feel a tiny bit safer around men who are driven by stupidity rather than bitterness and thwarted desire.
posted by peppermind at 4:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hincandenza, as I'd hoped would be clear from the quote, I was only talking about the women who actually sleep with PUAs. Whether or not they represent the "typical woman" I have no idea. Of course there are people who see through PUA bullshit, but for the people who don't, the fact that they slept with an arsehole is not their fault; it's the fault of the person who deliberately used manipulative techniques to trick someone into bed.

I would write more on this, but it is midnight.

On preview, before I sleep, please stop claiming that only stupid women fall for PUA. I've seen several accounts from articulate, intelligent women who have been manipulated like this, and even if it were the case it still wouldn't be okay.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:03 PM on May 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Whatever else anyone else might say, darth_tedious, I'm glad you're here in the thread. Here's my thing, though:

Taking "negging" as you describe it, effectively just friendly teasing and joking around, I can picture the scene quite easily. In fact, it looks a lot to me like, you know, flirting. If a man can tease and joke around with someone they just met, and who they are attracted to, he is going to naturally come across as confident and unintimidated. This friendly joking puts the guy on equal footing with the woman he's attracted to, and livens up conversation. Furthermore, taking these naturally-occurring elements of conversation and giving them names and theory helps the guy feel in control of himself while in those situations, gives him go-to places for conversation, teaches him how to come across as more interesting, etc. And if you're right that the goal is to elicit a smile, then I can be charitable and say that no harm is intended.

So, all good things.

But how does the PUA Community describe the technique? Through terms of adversarial combat and mind control. Something that could be described as innocent and playful and a way of putting your best foot forward instead becomes about knocking HER out of her mental loop, or subtly damaging HER self confidence, etc. And maybe those aspects are true. I couldn't say, as I am not a psychologist, but fixating on them seems kind of sick.

I definitely understand the appeal. Beyond just getting laid, there are a shitload of men out there who feel like they've been missing out on a party everyone else was invited to. This gets them in the door, and I can sympathize with that. But getting there by dehumanizing those you're trying to attract? Fuck that noise.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


Is this person wearing a big, goofy smile?

If so, assume this person to be teasing.


And they can fuck right off, whether they meant it or not. This, and physically assaulting me through to humping me, did not work for the boys in middle school. Darth, negging is a threat gesture, hincandenza and no matter how high I shove my breasts into a brassiere they will never be scary. The men I met are not my first experience with incompetent predatory male sexual attempts, and I fear they will not be the last. The closest sexual trick women get? Playing hard to get by not calling the guy back right away or batting your lashes. It's bullying, whether you can laugh it off by saying you're just joking, and it's a warning call these guys don't respect boundaries.

And even the least threatening PUA in the world is, at the very least acting like a smarmy sales vendor trying to force intimacy so you'll give them something. It's revolting and scary, especially since I've done my homework enough to know the vocabulary and the attitude towards sexual consent- only a man actively inserting his penis into me at all times is a hard no- otherwise the usual polite 'boyfriend' mention is to be brushed off as my silly female interference and any other reason to say no is resistance to be overcome, fear of appearing easy or being thought slutty. In their world there's no such thing as a socially overloaded introvert; I'm easy pickings to practice game on. Even if they mean well and seriously believe a good time is found in their trousers, well they still prioritize their attempts to hide the sausage over me finding out what happens to Katniss.
posted by Phalene at 4:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


>But how does the PUA Community describe the technique? Through terms of adversarial combat and mind control.

To a very large degree, this is about sales; adversarial combat and control are frames with which men, especially frustrated men, easily connect.

In an earlier thread on this topic, someone averred that if PUA was packaged as "How to Communicate Emotionally," there'd be 80% less anger in response.

That is likely true.

However, there would also be 50% less PUA material sold.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


hincandenza, I think the point is that many PUAs are not like the incredibly obvious ones in phalene's story. Many are more experienced, subtler, etc. Some are even good guys in other ways, but they've internalized this philosophy when it comes to getting laid. In other words, they don't have signs over their heads.

Anyway, I can't blame people for acting in ways which are statistically likely in given scenarios, whether or not someone else is rigging the circumstances for that result.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, there would also be 50% less PUA material sold.

It does not fill me with confidence to claim that the guys buying this shit are seeking to nonconsensually dominate me because they are somehow wired that way.
posted by Phalene at 4:25 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


things that don't break the law can still be gross and inappropriate and using manipulation techniques to prey on (generally) weaker women (or women who are particularly vulnerable at that moment) is a far sight away from pushup bras and perfume. the inability to see the difference something i find actively alarming.

she's likely to have a different, and less comfortable experience

i'd have a more comfortable experience if random guys didn't feel it was their birthright to comment on women's clothes or body or smile or intelligence. and i agree with the comment up thread - i'm afraid of a guy lashing out because "bitterness and thwarted desire". that's the sort of thing that's dangerous to women. as to your goofy smile point - one of my rapists laughed the whole time. it might surprise you to learn that i didn't take it as a compliment.
posted by nadawi at 4:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


darth_tedious: In an earlier thread on this topic, someone averred that if PUA was packaged as "How to Communicate Emotionally," there'd be 80% less anger in response.

Indeed, a disingenuous title would probably help out a lot! Even the title of Pick Up Artistry, while dreadful, is an easier sell than the truth, which would be more honestly titled "How To Get Laid Through Manipulation."
posted by gilrain at 4:27 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, now this is getting far afield, but isn't "patriarchy" a relatively recent invention, that there was far more gender equality in pre-historic times, even outright matriarchy in cultures 5,000+ years ago and earlier?

No, although things got substantially worse for women (and especially poor women) when the ability to store food led to the creation of unequal wealth.

Men have always been (generally) bigger than women and women have always (generally) been able to get pregnant.
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


"your testicular essence"? "Heartiste"?

Against my better judgement I made my way over to this guy's website, and...you couldn't make this shit up. It would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing.*

* this is true of a lot of things
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:34 PM on May 3, 2012


The guy is a fucking Sith lord. What do you expect? Dr. Phil?
posted by TheRedArmy at 4:35 PM on May 3, 2012


>using manipulation techniques to prey on (generally) weaker women (or women who are particularly vulnerable at that moment)

Given that the "manipulation techniques" typically boil down to telling (putatively) funny/interesting stories, and making (putatively) funny/interesting observations, with the (possible) effect of making someone laugh, and listen, and consider a fun adventure, I think you're subtracting a great deal of individual agency.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:39 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Okay, so when hincandenza called some of the tactics "quasi date rape", was he referring to funny observations?
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:48 PM on May 3, 2012


we fundamentally disagree about what the techniques boil down to, so, no, i don't agree with your conclusion.
posted by nadawi at 4:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


The First Amendment is based on a silly fantasy
no, the general political mood is not becoming creepily authoritarian at all, whyever do you ask
pseudo-autistic
maybe if you are going to speak out in defense of "hate speech" laws you should not use language that would be ableist if it were correct, but since it isn't, is just kind of slurish and gross
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:52 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Okay, so when hincandenza called some of the tactics "quasi date rape", was he referring to funny observations?

You'll have to ask him.

>we fundamentally disagree about what the techniques boil down to, so, no, i don't agree with your conclusion.

I'm guessing that you're okay with storytelling, so I'm a bit puzzled by this.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:54 PM on May 3, 2012


Given that the "manipulation techniques" typically boil down to telling (putatively) funny/interesting stories, and making (putatively) funny/interesting observations, with the (possible) effect of making someone laugh, and listen, and consider a fun adventure, I think you're subtracting a great deal of individual agency.

You and I have been reading radically different PUA. While obviously not everyone in their member base is going to be scum, it isn't social skills 101 or all about turning yourself into a dancing monkey for female entertainment, you admit yourself the language is very adversarial. And not to go all Marshall McLuhan, but the medium is the message- you already agree on the point that there's plenty of hunt 'n kill talk, and their case isn't helped by things like the numbers system or the reasons why I already explained that negging is revolting.

As I said, one reason I find this stuff so scary is I did my homework; I meandered around plenty of forums and browsed books, and the nicest thing this crew is that some of them are just desperately lonely. Otherwise it doesn't even seem to be about the sex, its a weird conquest-of-the-vagina-dentata, for men on the internet to prove to each other the desirable but dangerous cunt cannot control them.
posted by Phalene at 4:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


also i would like to add that i will give that post i quoted props for not soft-shoeing around and just being nakedly what it is

what it is, of course, is kind of scary and bad, but props for honesty
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


hincandenza, you might be interested in Cynthia Eller's work?
posted by naoko at 5:02 PM on May 3, 2012


As a dude, I've never quite gotten why some guys will go to these absurd, twisted, manipulative, and dehumanizing lengths in a desperate attempt to get laid. I always want to ask, "you know about masturbation, right?"

I'm about as far from a PUA guy as you can get, but I'm willing to put in quite a bit of work in order to have sex rather than jerk it. The two just aren't all that comparable, and I'm not surprised that people do odd things, even embarrassing or unethical things, in order to have sex.

300,000 years of patriarchy, give or take?

I'd say that there was a lot more take than give over that time.
posted by Forktine at 5:05 PM on May 3, 2012


[Again, MetaTalk is your option if you can't make your comments 1) not personal 2) not about MeFi in general which means you go to MetaTalk. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:07 PM on May 3, 2012


Yeah, I'm actually defending negging just to play Devil's Advocate, and to give a slightly clearer picture of the technique's dynamics.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by elizardbits at 5:10 PM on May 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


Metafilter: Your one appeal to authority is Sinead O'Connor.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given that the "manipulation techniques" typically boil down to telling (putatively) funny/interesting stories, and making (putatively) funny/interesting observations, with the (possible) effect of making someone laugh, and listen, and consider a fun adventure

Wait stop there you're describing flirting. Flirting is awesome! I love funny and interesting observations, because I am a social animal who enjoys being entertained! What the people in this thread have been objecting to are not casual and funny jokes or stories. It's the negativity and the insulting, and it's the manipulation and the abuse tactics. More importantly to the overall conversation about this post, it's that apparently there is a small subset of guys who are increasingly vocal, who have occasionally done acts of violence against women just because they were women, and who believe things like abolishing child support and rape laws.

PS: there isn't a whole lot of evidence for super ancient social conventions in terms of "matriarchy" and "patriarchy" in a lot of areas, because, as this whole thread might demonstrate, there are all kinds of nuances that don't leave a single trace even in modern society, let alone before Instagram and written languages. That said, human reproductive patterns pretty much leave a lot of women in potentially dangerous situations for their own health and future a heck of a lot of the time, even aside from any gender-based power struggles. Evidence from the relatively recent last 5000 years of human development suggests that with rare exceptions, women enjoyed limited spheres of influence and power, frequently within the contexts of forced or arranged marriages, and definitely without a lot of legal or health protection.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:12 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


>you admit yourself the language is very adversarial
>you already agree on the point that there's plenty of hunt 'n kill talk

>As I said, one reason I find this stuff so scary is I did my homework; I meandered around plenty of forums and browsed books, and the nicest thing this crew is that some of them are just desperately lonely.

Granted that this probably won't reassure you... but here's a reminder of a perspective I'm sure you're already familiar with:

http://www.metafilter.com/72632/Boring-men#2153263

Men and women really do tend to think differently-- they'll often arrive at the same opinions, but those opinions are constructed out of characteristically ways of interpreting experience.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:18 PM on May 3, 2012


naoko: hincandenza, you might be interested in Cynthia Eller's work?
Thank you for a sincere response; the link you offered is behind a NYT paywall, but a quick search found this Wikipedia article about "The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory". Given that it was apparently embraced by second-wave feminism, and isn't without its share of criticism which suggests my related question of whether there was largely a time of prehistoric egalitarianism (and not the 300,000 years of patriarchy that joe lisboa mentions)... you can understand that I'd defensively suggest I'm not a horrible person for having in my conventional wisdom databank this idea of a matriarchal prehistory.
posted by hincandenza at 5:21 PM on May 3, 2012


Men and women really do tend to think differently-- they'll often arrive at the same opinions, but those opinions are constructed out of characteristically ways of interpreting experience.

So...are you saying that men don't think about anything but sex, and don't want to talk about anything but sex, so they need PUA techniques to make them, like, palatable to women, who only like...I don't know, but something other than sex? That is, like, really not giving men much credit. In fact it gives them zero credit.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 5:26 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


>characteristically ways

characteristically different ways

>That is, like, really not giving men much credit. In fact it gives them zero credit.

I don't see it as either a credit or no credit phenomenon.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:28 PM on May 3, 2012


[Again, MetaTalk is your option if you can't make your comments 1) not personal 2) not about MeFi in general which means you go to MetaTalk. Feel free to contact us if you have questions.]

Meta
posted by Forktine at 5:29 PM on May 3, 2012


oh man, i really, really hate that pastabagel comment and i wish people would stop trotting it out. to me that is a description of a sitcom and doesn't at all mimic what i've seen, especially on the woman's side of that. what i've seen far more of is men and women who are together because of shared, and in my case, often nerdy, interests and so if the guy says all that stuff about 2 and 1 drill, she'd jump in with , "yeah, i can see that - you totally want to aim for the chest first, it's a bigger surface area - a head shot is really only for people with good aim, so you might want to go to the firing range a little bit first. also, did you see the guy she was jogging with?? do you think those pecs are for real?"

it really depresses me to think about all these relationships that are apparently out there (if all of popular media is to be believed) where men and women both spend all their time hiding their true selves and making up versions of people they think the other one would like, then carry this charade on for years.
posted by nadawi at 5:31 PM on May 3, 2012 [23 favorites]


Thank you for a sincere response; the link you offered is behind a NYT paywall, but a quick search found this Wikipedia article about "The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory". Given that it was apparently embraced by second-wave feminism, and isn't without its share of criticism which suggests my related question of whether there was largely a time of prehistoric egalitarianism (and not the 300,000 years of patriarchy that joe lisboa mentions)... you can understand that I'd defensively suggest I'm not a horrible person for having in my conventional wisdom databank this idea of a matriarchal prehistory.

Oops, apologies for paywall. I don't really agree with anything you've said in this thread, but it seemed like a perfectly fair question to me. My impression is that the generally accepted convention wisdom at the moment is that prehistoric matriarchies were not a thing after all -- but there may be holdouts, and indeed there may have been another reversal on that since I was in anthropology classes 5-10 years ago.
posted by naoko at 5:33 PM on May 3, 2012


Huh, do you know much about the history of this thinking over time, and how it's changed? The "Myth" wiki implies that different waves have as you say reversed on this topic, but the most current thinking is that there were basically no matriarchies... but what about egalitarian societies? Like I said, my own cursory experience, mostly through reading stuff McKenna or for that matter Tom Robbins, is largely influenced by this idea of a balanced masculine/feminine worldview, and of a pre-history that wasn't so terrified of birth or of the vagina. So there has long been in my head this idea that pre-written word, there's evidence that human civilization, being much smaller, was much more egalitarian.

Then again, I'm also vaguely recalling a Metafilter thread a few years' back about some (anonymously?) sponsored conference of historians, sociologists, and researchers on right-wing hate groups in the hopes that they'd collectively realize that most of the tenets of modern hate groups and fascist thinking have as their roots a return to a very hard-line social organization of ancient pre-history. This would be a time when rigid rules, hierarchy, and indoctrination were necessary/meaningful when it was a few dozen people against the elements, struggling to survive- and that those tenets of fascism, fundamentalism, and by extension patriarchy were basically a foolhardy desire to return to an imagined past (made irrelevant by civilization and population density/technology) of this type of organization. So that would run counter to the "egalitarian idealized past" idea as well.
posted by hincandenza at 5:42 PM on May 3, 2012


oh man, i really, really hate that pastabagel comment...

Absolutely. I'm a guy. Who enjoys sex AND shoots guns.

You know what I talk about? Beer, music, food, and the last three or four books I've read. You know what I think about? Beer, music, food, the last five or six books I've read, what cool thing I can show my kids today, and if I'll get a chance to go fishing this weekend. My wife likes to talk about similar things, with her own take on them. It's why we're friends.
posted by Gygesringtone at 5:50 PM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm curious, was anyone else completely unaware of this pickup-artist subculture? I'd never heard of it until this post.
posted by aerotive at 6:21 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: egalitarian societies; this seems like a pretty good overview of debate over the terminology and methodology of assessing prehistoric societies. Page 26 brings up some important points about past scholarship in particular. I'm not really sure what "a pre-history that wasn't so terrified of birth or of the vagina" means or how we would actually understand that through the archaeological record, but even if smaller groups 200,000 years ago had balanced gender relations I feel like we're probably more focused on the past few thousand years of cultural standpoints. And, honestly, even then it's tricky: this article looks quite interesting, as it focuses on considering a site again, and it looks at "social stratification in a pastoral society." There's some intense Response To: action at the end, which focuses in particular on sex-based differentiation in mortuary contexts, and the bearing of those patterns on the hypothesis of an egalitarian society. (MeMail me if you're interested in it! Mortuary analysis is super fascinating!) Which, honestly, is one of the reasons I tend to be curious about big labels around gender, because even relatively well-documented periods like the Roman Empire come with their own huge gaps in documented knowledge about, say, the domestic sphere, or childbirth. It's given me a new appreciation of gender and display in our own society, in terms of identifying stereotypes in my own house and views.

Anyway it would actually be really great if the newest trend in PUA fashion was a badly-tanned skin and a club because I feel like that would be really identifiable in terms of red flags...
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:25 PM on May 3, 2012


There's a lot of Othering going on in these communities. The notion that women are just people you can go up and talk to like anyone else rather than bizarro aliens just waiting to charge you with rape and hit you up for child support is foreign to them. So they turn them into an Other with all these weird desires and emotions they don't understand and it's much easier to project these weird fantasies onto them. It's like putting them up on a pedestal, but a pedestal in a fun house, like Nice Guy Syndrome writ large.

Then you get a thread like the Schrodinger's Rapist one, where "clueless" men are "educated" that they don't have the right to just go up and talk to women.
posted by gjc at 6:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


They totally have the right to go up and talk to women. They don't have the right to expect that the woman will want to talk back to them, and may take exception to their particular form of approach.
posted by rtha at 6:34 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


I'm curious, was anyone else completely unaware of this pickup-artist subculture? I'd never heard of it until this post.

it's fairly widespread. back in 2007 there was even a reality show devoted to it.
posted by nadawi at 6:42 PM on May 3, 2012


I don't see it as either a credit or no credit phenomenon.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:28 PM on May 3 [+] [!]


See, and this is why people have a fundamental problem with the PUA community These seem to be your arguments here:
- Men are sex-crazed creatures who are completely controlled by their desire
- PUA is the best way to get women to fulfill this desire (note: "get women to fulfill", not "establish a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship")
- If a woman feels hurt, offended, or threatened by PUA she needs to just calm the fuck down because the guy likes her so what's the problem?
- Also women should feel pity for the guy hurting/offending/threatening her because he's controlled by his desire! He can't possibly do anything else!

The logic underpinning these statements:

- Women have all sexual power over men
- The only way to make things fair is if guys are given tools to manipulate and control women.
- If the women don't like it they can shove it, because after all they're the ones hoarding all the sex and men have a right to obtain it. That is, the man's desire for a woman's body is more important than a woman's control over her own body.

Do you not see how these things are problematic? You are basically mapping out the whole Sexual Control wing of Patriarchy 101.

And re: manipulation vs. flirtation. They're two very different things. One presumes to force one's own desires on the other person, regardless of the other person's desires. The second is a response to someone's expression of desire for them. Flirting takes two people. Otherwise it's called harassment.*

You are arguing that demeaning women and demanding their attention should be all cool to us ladies because the guy wants us. We don't want a guy who wants us. We aren't flattered by someone who sees us as a way to get his dick wet and fulfill his sex-crazed desire, or whatever you think of men. We want a guy who respects and admires us--and someone who just implied we're a bimbo because we have big tits has anything but.


*By the way, that's right, there is the total double standard that behavior that's seen as sexual harassment coming from a guy a woman doesn't like may be considered flirtatious and fun coming from a guy a woman does like. It's almost like we're individual people who are allowed to have our own preferences and set boundaries over our own bodies! Can you believe I'll let my boyfriend grab my boobs but not some random guy on the street? What the hell is up with that?
posted by schroedinger at 6:44 PM on May 3, 2012 [43 favorites]


>That is, like, really not giving men much credit. In fact it gives them zero credit.

I don't see it as either a credit or no credit phenomenon.


Well, I'm interested to hear your take on what that dialogue conveys, because to me it conveys that (supposedly) men resent (or are incapable of? hard to tell) conversations that aren't about sex. I think men's inner lives are broader and more complex and compelling than that.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:49 PM on May 3, 2012


It's not so surprising that PUAs would end up falling into something darker and more radical. These guys are, let's face it, losers. They're weak and resentful and, really, perfect candidates for a more fascist authority that needs warm bodies.

If the women don't like it they can shove it, because after all they're the ones hoarding all the sex and men have a right to obtain it.

What is somewhat striking is how so very economic their motives are. The sexual marketplace? Child support? Alimony? This is about money. And you've got to wonder if they'd be willing to admit as much or, rather, they really do require some childish fantasy that justifies why they have no money and who they must obey to get some. You've got to wonder what would the American psyche -- which equates its self-worth very much with money -- would do when the rich had finally confiscated all the money and left the poor with nothing? You couldn't have a classic popular, redistributionist ideology a la South America. No, that's socialism. So the psyche would have to seize upon some other mechanism, some other complex, that would allow it to decry its economic slavery... without actually talking about money. As inequality becomes worse and worse I imagine we'll have to see much more of this kind of redirection.
posted by nixerman at 6:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


oh man, i really, really hate that pastabagel comment and i wish people would stop trotting it out.

Yeah. Years ago, I constructed my own version of it.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:59 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


>>- If a woman feels hurt, offended, or threatened by PUA she needs to just calm the fuck down because the guy likes her so what's the problem?

I think she's perfectly justified in telling the guy off and going back to reading about Katniss.

>- Also women should feel pity for the guy hurting/offending/threatening her because he's controlled by his desire! He can't possibly do anything else!

>- Women have all sexual power over men
>- The only way to make things fair is if guys are given tools to manipulate and control women.
>- If the women don't like it they can shove it, because after all they're the ones hoarding all the sex and men have a right to obtain it. That is, the man's desire for a woman's body is more important than a woman's control over her own body.

Actually, I don't agree with any of the things that you seem to be viewing as necessary precepts to my perspective.

My perspective is this: Men and women think differently and process emotions differently. If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

>Flirting... is a response to someone's expression of desire for them.

Whose expression of desire should come first?
posted by darth_tedious at 7:00 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then you get a thread like the Schrodinger's Rapist one, where "clueless" men are "educated" that they don't have the right to just go up and talk to women.

And you get men who walk away from educational opportunities feeling that because they have been exposed to a viewpoint they might not otherwise have known, they have been oppressed, and this produces some very perverse, very mean-spirited misreadings.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [17 favorites]


darth_tedious: Again, that sort of judgment seems a reaction to intimidation and the expectation of rejection, more than anything else... but it is a judgment.

As I said earlier, PUA has nothing to do with the psychology of women and everything to do with the psychology of men.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:02 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I disagree that men and women think and process emotions all *that* differently.

If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

Excellent! That means they should stay the hell away from PUA stuff, right? Is there a single woman who has posted here who has said, "Yeah, baby, that stuff turns my crank! Bring on the negging!"

(Again, what's with not taking women at their words when we say we find this stuff annoying/threatening/stupid?)
posted by Salieri at 7:06 PM on May 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


aerotive: "I'm curious, was anyone else completely unaware of this pickup-artist subculture? I'd never heard of it until this post."

I was certainly not aware that it existed in any kind of formal way, although it doesn't really surprise me that the Internet has facilitated this happening.

If the women don't like it they can shove it, because after all they're the ones hoarding all the sex
It just occurred to me (slow on the update, that's me), that men hoard sex just as much as women are alleged to do. The problem with men that have the attitude that women hold the keys to sex is that they are missing something incredibly obvious - they can have all the sex they want, whenever they want. With each other.
posted by dg at 7:12 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


darth_tedious: If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

That's a healthy enough attitude to be getting on with, I think. Who better to inform you on what they like than women themselves, though, surely? Why would you turn to nearly-always offensive and openly-misogynist men for your advice on what women want?

In this thread, you've discounted the opinions and experiences of the women present, pointing out that their interpretations of events don't match with what you think or have been taught. You can see how this seems to contradict your more measured statements that you just want to interact with women in a way they'll enjoy. You say that, but your arguments seem to imply your actual goal is to interact with them in a way that puts you emotionally or socially in control, at the probable expense of their pleasure and agency.

That's why you're getting so much pushback.
posted by gilrain at 7:15 PM on May 3, 2012 [26 favorites]


If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

I dunno, I like to interact with everybody as if they're individuals with their own personalities, wants and desires, instead of as fetish objects or as pets. It works for me. YMMV.
posted by empath at 7:17 PM on May 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


What is somewhat striking is how so very economic their motives are. The sexual marketplace? Child support? Alimony? This is about money. And you've got to wonder if they'd be willing to admit as much or, rather, they really do require some childish fantasy that justifies why they have no money and who they must obey to get some.

I think the anger that MRA/PUAs feel at women is almost entirely economic in nature, or at least that most anger at women/people of color/non-straight people is grounded in economic fear. There was a real economic premium to being a white man for a long time in the West, and that premium is slowly eroding at the same time that everyone is getting squeezed by Wall Street. It's a lot easier to tap into a very common cultural belief that women are superficial golddiggers than it is to shrug off some really insidious economic programming about consumer capitalism.

And beyond that, just being poor or financially unstable is a grind that wears you into a thin paste after a while, and I would imagine makes you more susceptible to the idea that there's a get-rich-quick scheme for ass.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:19 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I spent a couple of years in my early 20s as a complete nerd listening to advice from my friends about how to pick up girls before I realized they were kind of sad and pathetic and stopped going to those kinds of bars.

I dunno. Everytime I've picked up a girl at a club it's because we talked about music, danced a little bit, drank too much and ended up at one of each other's places, and to be honest, I'm not even sure who picked up who half the time it happened. It also helps if you have a lot of friends and are a regular at some scene who is there to be social or because you like the mosic, and not some creepy guy nobody knows giving off a predator vibe. I knew a couple of DJs who were into the PUA, and they kind of quickly became a joke to most of us, and I don't think they were very happy people, in general.
posted by empath at 7:29 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I identify with both Pastabagel's and Bunny Ultramod's versions of that comment in a big way and I'm female. Just a data point.
posted by small_ruminant at 7:30 PM on May 3, 2012


If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

Then why are you defending PUA? Why aren't you listening to women when they say what they want? I mean, look at the interactions you've had in this thread:

Female commenter: "I found that offensive when this guy called me dumb because I have big boobs"
darth_tedious: "No, you see, this is how it really is, he just likes you and you're misunderstanding"
not "Man, that guy is conveying a really shitty message and should stop."

Other commenters: Push back against the "He just likes you attitude", "Dude, that response is offensive."
darth_tedious: "I'm just trying to make you feel better."
not "Gosh, maybe ultimately the thoughts and intentions I perceive this guy to have are irrelevant to this situation, because it is his actions and what they convey that are insulting this woman, and she could not give a shit whether he ultimately likes her or not? Maybe the responses of the women in this thread are valid and I should judge the best way to approach a woman based on them?"

You are doing the equivalent of a guy who responds to a woman's complaint about how women are expected to be unrealistically thin with "I love thick, curvy chicks and you look fine!" You assume the women here are upset because they lack your validation, rather than they're upset with the very nature of the behavior itself.


Whose expression of desire should come first?

Are you asking how to flirt? This is very easy. Imagine she is a human being like you with her own thoughts and feelings. If you express interest, and it is not returned, you stop because if someone you weren't interested in kept hitting on you, you would be uncomfortable! If she returns interest, you're golden, flirt away!
posted by schroedinger at 7:42 PM on May 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


My guess, though, is that, whatever he said, he probably didn't assume you were unintelligent-- he probably just found you intimidatingly attractive, and attacking your intelligence was his way of lashing out.
Un. Be. Livable. Dude, this is what the guy said to her. You think your imagination trumps this girls actual experience? WTF?
What? You made no sense, Ironmouth. jcreigh was pointing out that he can't understand why guys would go to such lengths just to get laid when there's masturbation to be had... to which I responded basically "Well, because they amazingly seem to work some percentage of the time, and the women they work on are choosing to sleep with these guys". If these PUA douchebags are such awful people- and I happen to think they are- then we have to similarly pass judgment on the women who sleep with them out of sheer horniness, because they too had a choice to just masturbate. What's good for the gander is good for the goose.
There was a thread recently where a woman told a story about some dude who was trying PUA crap with her, which she was aware of, and she thought he was a douchebag. But in the end she slept with him anyway, simply because she wanted some sex.

And that's the thing. So many guys, even "progressive" ones don't seem to understand that women actually like sex, and it's not a "reward" they give out to men who are nice. They will sleep with people they think are jerks or douchebags if they're bearable and good in bed.
The problem is that you seem ready and quite willing to interpret any negative action on the part of the male to be attributed to his feelings of intimidation, thus casting him as the victim. I'm curious where you would draw the line. If he said, "Shut up, you stupid bitch," would you still reckon he was just feeling small and intimidated? What if he struck her as he said it? Is he still the victim, or what?
Perhaps Mr. Tedious is just really, really intimidated by women.
If a woman hears criticisms of her intelligence from random guys, and believes that these criticisms are sincerely rooted in her appearance, she's likely to have a different, and less comfortable experience, than if she assumes that these criticisms are actually rooted in these men's bitterness and thwarted desire.
Ah, the "I'm just calling her stupid to make her feel better!" defense.
The closest sexual trick women get? Playing hard to get by not calling the guy back right away or batting your lashes.
I think all these PUA techniques would work well for women if they tried to use them, because men have no defenses built up. There was an article by a woman who tried to use them - the only problem was it worked too well and she didn't actually want to sleep with the guys she attracted.
Men and women really do tend to think differently-- they'll often arrive at the same opinions, but those opinions are constructed out of characteristically ways of interpreting experience.
Such bullshit. You're 'citation' is a fictional dialog written by a dude about an imaginary women who conforms to typical female stereotypes. It's ridiculous.
So...are you saying that men don't think about anything but sex, and don't want to talk about anything but sex, so they need PUA techniques to make them, like, palatable to women, who only like...I don't know, but something other than sex? That is, like, really not giving men much credit. In fact it gives them zero credit.
Plus, women think about sex too. And enjoy talking about it, if you actually, you know get to know them. The only way you could ever believe a women would respond like that is if you don't actually know any - or only know superprudes.
posted by delmoi at 7:43 PM on May 3, 2012 [18 favorites]


If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

In addition to the really good comments about this upthread, I would like to point out that PUA/MRA guys are probably really unlikely to be doing all of this for the sake of making the generic field of ladies feel good or feel pleasure. What they're doing is trying to get laid. Or get power. Or get free of legal entanglements like child support, or a woman's right to an abortion on her terms. When I think of pleasure, I don't think of insults. I don't want to think: if I am pregnant, will I get beaten? Can I get an abortion safely? Would I want to bear his kid? When I feel good, it's not because a stranger is creeping on my shoes of the day. It's not because someone has ignored my consent or my principles to touch me or pressure me into anything.

And it's seriously not having my statements taken to mean whatever the other person would like them to indicate, instead of my actual stated experience.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ah, the "I'm just calling her stupid to make her feel better!" defense.

I can't believe I'm actually going to defend darth_tedious on this point, but I didn't get the feeling that he was defending the men there, so much as saying that he wants women to realize that such comments come not from an actual belief that the women are unintelligent, but rather from fucked-up men projecting their own issues onto them. I don't know that such a thing is so cut-and-dry - in fact I believe that a good many men are brought up to see women, especially openly sexual women, as stupid - but I don't think darth_tedious was defending those men. I think he was saying that those men are insecure assholes and it's better to understand their comments through that lens than to believe that they have any basis in truth.

That said, darth, while I appreciate your politeness and engagement with this discussion, your comments, rightly or wrongly, are displaying 1.) a distrust in women being able to understand their own experiences, and 2.) a clinical detachment from the subject of women. These things, combined with the PUA defenses and explanations, form a narrative that's reading a lot like, "I've learned this stuff, I get laid like crazy. I don't hate women, so just trust me ladies, I've got this covered. I know what I'm talking about."

And I believe that you get laid, using these techniques. And I believe that you don't hate women. I'm guessing that you actually, genuinely adore women. But I'm not getting the feeling that you understand them very much. Because learning how to get a woman to sleep with you, while easier for some than for others, is, trust me, the tip of the fucking iceberg.

And, spoilers, the rest of the iceberg is not about how men and women think differently, but rather how they think the same, but how every individual thinks differently. There's a whole universe of awesome to be had in all of that, and it doesn't really ever end. Also, just for bonus, it makes sex better too. But you don't learn it by making women into a weird "other" which must be studied and unlocked. You learn it through respect and honesty.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:05 PM on May 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


A thought just occurred to me on gender differences-do gay guys do the PUA thing? Does it work for them? It seems like it's more tailored to pick out abuse victims with low self esteem and a poor sense of boundaries, and I dont think that is particularly gender specific.
posted by empath at 8:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


I can't believe I'm actually going to defend darth_tedious on this point, but I didn't get the feeling that he was defending the men there
No, he saying the young rope-rider didn't know what she was talking about, claiming all of her experiences were incorrect and that he knew better.
posted by delmoi at 8:09 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


And I'd thank you to read the rest of my post.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:10 PM on May 3, 2012


Okay, now this is getting far afield, but isn't "patriarchy" a relatively recent invention

No. Next question.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:23 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


hincandenza, I love ya, buddy. But stop digging your particular hole. Seriously.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:27 PM on May 3, 2012


Is there a single woman who has posted here who has said, "Yeah, baby, that stuff turns my crank! Bring on the negging!" (Again, what's with not taking women at their words when we say we find this stuff annoying/threatening/stupid?)

You are speaking for yourself (and presumably others here), but because actions speak louder than words, there is also a lot of contradiction coming from other women. If a guy is of the view that his flirt does not attempt to disguise that he is bantering-with-intent, and he is not dishonest about his intentions (rules out some PUAs but not all), and a woman engages and appears to be enjoying playing these games with him, her actions say that for her at least, it is turning her crank.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:40 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


But it actually doesn't matter what you "should" do, or even if what this person is doing is something you categorize as "teasing" or "insulting" or something else; what matters is what you actually choose to do.

You can be annoyed, enraged, intrigued, amused, or what have you; these are all valid choices.


Not so fast there, slick: this is awfully reminiscent of a common and insidious New Age self-help trope - that (implicitly) other people aren't ever responsible for their actions towards you; instead it's only you that are responsible for your reactions to their actions. I've heard this idea phrased as a misquote of the old Eleanor Roosevelt observation, "No-one can make you feel inferior without your permission", generalized to the risible suggestion that "No-one can make you feel bad without your permission", often enough from New Agey types (though of course not exclusively from them) that it worries me. It's a kind of subtle "blame the victim" framing of the situation. "Oh, you're feeling a (*gasp*) NEGATIVE EMOTION! Better choose not to have that horrid thing! Feel sweetness and light instead!" Nothing about the other person's responsibility for their actions and/or words towards you in the first place.

This "responsible for your reaction" notion elides the difference between one's emotional response and one's subsequent deliberative choice of action. There are plenty of cases where one's reaction - that is, one's feeling about the words/actions/situation/whatever - is not a matter of choice: some things just will provoke a reaction of anger, or annoyance, or disgust, or, conversely, amusement, delight, relief, etc. What one can can control is what one does after having that reaction. That is, our emotions often are appropriate to the situation, they're quick, automatic, and not subject to conscious control, for pretty good evolutionary reasons, and it's what we decide to do in the moments after we've had the emotional reaction where it's appropriate to speak of having a choice. Deliberation serves often to confirm one's initial intuitive emotional response, and not just to second-guess it so that one can restrain oneself from acting on it. (As Dr. Antonio Damasio's neurological research - see his books Descartes' Error and after - has shown, emotion is better conceived of as a more ancient part of cognition, supportive of, even integral to higher rational capacities, pointing those higher capacities in the right direction, so to speak, and, crucially, providing decisiveness, than as something opposed to higher rational capacities, which must suppress emotion to work optimally - what I call the Vulcan fallacy.) So then the ultimate outcome of one's deliberation, given self-respect and an understanding of the harms implicit and explicit in the offending person's words and/or actions, sometimes will boil down to one choice: "I must object to this person's offense; I can't let it slide." What choice remains will then only be, "How exactly will I object? What words should I say; what actions should I take?"
posted by Philofacts at 8:53 PM on May 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


Men and women think differently and process emotions differently. If men want to become good at giving women pleasure, they should understand how to talk and act in ways that make women feel good.

This is gender essentialism, and it's grade-A Othering hooey. You want to buy generic strategies to trick complete strangers into fucking you when literally all you know about them is they appear to be attractive women? Well, look, maybe you'd be interested in this no-fail offshore investment scheme I know about?

The real reason that Pastabagel's conversation is funny is that any conversation between two people where one just says whatever is actually going through his or her brain is going to be random and freaky and probably slightly horrifying.
posted by gingerest at 9:28 PM on May 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


but the most current thinking is that there were basically no matriarchies... but what about egalitarian societies? Like I said, my own cursory experience, mostly through reading stuff McKenna or for that matter Tom Robbins, is largely influenced by this idea of a balanced masculine/feminine worldview, and of a pre-history that wasn't so terrified of birth or of the vagina. So there has long been in my head this idea that pre-written word, there's evidence that human civilization, being much smaller, was much more egalitarian.

When I was in Zhangjiajie (on my way to the tribal areas of China) I got the chance to visit one of the oldest Taoist palaces and was told of some very unusual (almost protofeminist) customs of the area. Obviously there were some translation difficulties, but what I took from it was that before the Buddhist emperors took over, apparently it was customary for women to be the only ones who could own property (other than the king, of course) the men would move in with them. This is not just anecdotal - there was furniture specifically designed for the men to kneel in front of the bed and ask forgiveness of their wives for doing something wrong. Even the weapons came in "his" and "hers" varieties - there were lighter swords with smaller hilts designed specifically for women.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:46 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


oh man, i really, really hate that pastabagel comment and i wish people would stop trotting it out. to me that is a description of a sitcom

Yeah. That's the most wince-inducing ha-ha-only-serious "joke" about how men supposedly think I've read in a while. But it's par for the course in MRA self-loathing. Nobody has as low an opinion of men as MRAs themselves.

(Speaking as someone with serious self-loathing of my own. They make me look like an amateur.)

... any conversation between two people where one just says whatever is actually going through his or her brain is going to be random and freaky and probably slightly horrifying

Nah, just distracting. Like "yes I get it, why do you keep going on about this thing?"
posted by ead at 10:01 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


A writer on a now-defunct blog I used to read, Two Blowhards, would link fairly regularly to Roissy (now called Heartiste), not in a wholeheartedly approving way, but as the blogger explained, more in the "isn't it interesting what kids are up to these days" kind of way.

And reading the Roissy entries he linked, I didn't at first understand what the big deal was.

But it became clear that Roissy/Heartiste is funny as hell. Whether or not you agree with him, some of his writings on relations between men and women are side-splittingly funny polemics.

Yes, I'm fully aware that I will go to hell.
posted by jayder at 10:13 PM on May 3, 2012


tucker max is sometimes funny. i don't think a subculture of how to get chicks should spring up around his musings.
posted by nadawi at 10:15 PM on May 3, 2012


. There are plenty of cases where one's reaction - that is, one's feeling about the words/actions/situation/whatever - is not a matter of choice: some things just will provoke a reaction of anger, or annoyance, or disgust, or, conversely, amusement, delight, relief, etc. What one can can control is what one does after having that reaction.

Hilariously, you have just elegantly summed up New Age philosophy, by way of viciously attacking it. New age would say that your reaction is, in fact, NEVER a matter of choice. However, you can become aware of yourself reacting, and the mere act of doing so allows you to see that you are not your reactions -- to dis-identify from them -- thus freeing you to act consciously rather than continuing to act in a purely reactive way, constantly retroactively justifying and defending your reactions because you think they are "you."

And, as you go on to point out, conscious action may in fact involve confronting the person who said whatever it was he or she said to you. Although you're less likely to, because you're more likely to see that the person's asshole behavior came out of their own reactiveness, and thus feel some compassion for them.

Welcome to the New Age, my friend!
posted by haricotvert at 10:15 PM on May 3, 2012


A thought just occurred to me on gender differences-do gay guys do the PUA thing? Does it work for them? It seems like it's more tailored to pick out abuse victims with low self esteem and a poor sense of boundaries, and I dont think that is particularly gender specific.
empath
IME, neither gay men nor lesbians in the western world use negging (ewwwww) techniques. Admiring shoes is definitely flirtatious, however, whether you're talking pumps, crocodile loafers or custom motorcycle boots.
posted by Dreidl at 11:17 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


tucker max is sometimes funny. i don't think a subculture of how to get chicks should spring up around his musings.
heh:
"2. I would never do any public appearances with any of those tools, save Neil [Strauss] (who I actually know in real life and like as a person). “Very good company?” My f***ing ass. The last f***ing thing I want on earth is to be grouped in with those tools.
...
4. There is NO ONE in that community, again save Neil Strauss, who is more famous than me. Explain to me would I want to lend my pr cred to these f***ing losers, most of whom couldn’t command the attention of a group of people they paid to watch them? If you can come up with a reason that I am not seeing, please feel free to explain it to me."
Also, While I was looking for that quote I googled "Tucker max PUA" and came across this post where PUAs are all confused about how that guy can get laid despite the fact he's rude.
posted by delmoi at 11:32 PM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Welcome to the New Age, my friend!

If pointing out the slippery, sometimes narcissistic, often selfishness-justifying, philosophically sloppy (sometimes to the point of incoherence), moves of New Age thought is "vicious", then so be it.

Again, no so fast. The parts of me that are unconscious, fast, and automatic in their functioning (instincts, emotions) are "me" just as much as any other activity of any part of me. By "me" I mean me, the body I am (the body I am, not "have") and all of its functioning. Talk about my not "being" some part of the holistic totality of body parts (and their functioning which is dependent on their existing in the first place) is just dualistic, spiritualist fantasy. There is no "me" other than this body in all of its functioning aliveness, no separate independent, incorporeal "soul" or homuncular essence which "runs the body" like some driver temporarily sitting in a car. I am a body, this body, while I am alive. When I die, there will no longer be a "me", because "me" necessarily involves the processes of a living body, however sick or well it may be. It's not so much that "where's there's life, there's hope", although of course that's true, as "where's there's life, there's me."

To speak of my emotions as not being me is as slippery a piece of New Age claptrap as the sloppiness of conflating the parts of me over which I can't have direct, conscious control (instincts and emotions as they are quickly triggered by stimuli) with the parts I can control (processes of deliberation, choosing to lift my foot, etc.) the sloppiness about which I originally complained.

My emotions are (part of) me and remain so; that doesn't preclude prioritizing other processes and learning to integrate my emotions better with those processes, my other cognitive abilities. There's no need to engage in a strange, and, I would argue, psychologically unhealthy exercise of pretending to disown a process of me, the body that is me, as if it were some object that could be removed, set down and walked away from, rather than a process in which an unconscious part of me engaged and which in all likelihood will engage again, and which another, conscious part of me can choose not to act upon. It would be a silly exercise in dividing myself unnecessarily. New Agers use the word "integral" a lot, but they sure seem to want to perform radical surgery on aspects of our bodily existence which aren't things that can be cut out, which aren't things at all but rather processes of the body. (Carl Jung spoke of owning one's Shadow, not pretending it's not part of oneself anymore. It's a good metaphor, the Shadow.) It's as if they take the convenient metaphor of processes as things, as objects, literally. Confusing verbs with nouns, to put it linguistically.

Certainly one can have compassion for someone who harms others as a result of their misdirected emotions, but they still bear responsibility for their actions to some degree. They're not automatically off the hook. None of us are. It's not necessary, and in fact it's irresponsible, to imply that because we have large parts of our cognition that are automatic, we get a free pass. It's only necessary to acknowledge that we're all the same boat to varying degrees.
posted by Philofacts at 11:55 PM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Welcome to the New Age, my friend!

Doesn't "new age" actually refer to the "Age of Aquarius"? I don't actually think there is any kind of consistent philosophy behind all that.
posted by delmoi at 12:57 AM on May 4, 2012


I'm confused by this statement on a pretty basic level. I'm not sure if you're trying to joke that they have no right to be moralizing twerps because they're southern, or if you're trying to joke that the south doesn't have enough sound moral judgment to be letting any of it go anywhere else. Either way, by generalizing about the place I live, right here in a thread about how some people get objectified, you don't seem to be someone who can afford to export your moral values.

Despite my making a joke at its expense, I didn't mean to be bashing the South. I certainly wasn't kidding about my respect for the SPLC. I feel as though I ought to say something unambiguously positive about the place you live, but first I'd like to tell a story about being Canadian.

One time when I was watching the news with my wife I heard about the then-new Swiss law against minarets. I was mad, and I started loudtalking about how Canada is quite possibly the least racist country on earth. It probably is, but then she told me for the first time about how when she first came to this country as an adorable tween she had a crazy neighbor lady who threw stones at her while she was waiting for a bus because of the colour of her skin. Stones. This was in Toronto, not that long ago. I'm in no position whatsoever to say "Canada good! South bad!" It's bad all over, and we've all got to make it better.

Something unambiguously positive about the South: to the extent that the United States has a conscience it typically speaks through Southern voices. Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Martin Luther King. Woody Guthrie. That's the real South, and it'll still be standing long after the last of the neoconfederates have died of shame.

"Referring to woman's sphere in life, I'll say that woman is always right."

"The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice."

Cue banjo: "All of you PUAs bound to lose! All of you PUAs bound to lose! All of you PUA's bound to lose! You bound to lose, you PUAs, bound to lose."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:00 AM on May 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I read the Neil Strauss book a while ago - worth it if only for the parts about Courtney Love as his long-term houseguest - and I hate-read lots of PUA shit on the internet when I'm bored. The "field reports" (green links) at the PUA subreddit are often extremely hilari-sad, particularly the blatantly fabricated ones which come complete with recreated dialogue and descriptions of women straight out of the imagination of an awkward thirteen-year-old boy.

"I went to the club and the bouncer gave me a high-five and told me about some HB10s in the corner booth and they all had big boobs and blond hair except for one who had medium boobs and brown hair and was only a HB9 so I paid attention to her to make the other HBs jealous and it worked and I f-closed three of them in the toilets and I didn't even have to buy any of their drinks".

Sometimes the "field reports" are just sad-sad, especially the ones in which men "solo" (go out drinking alone purely with the purpose of picking up women) and (of course) fail. Seems to indicate an extremely unfortunate combination of latent sex-addiction and friendlessness.

I guess I'm lucky that, as a moderately overweight woman, I am considered less than human to the men in this subculture - unworthy of the very air I breathe- and therefore don't have to worry too much about being negged when I'm at the bar getting a round in.
posted by cilantro at 3:23 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Some things reliably turn on men, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, women; some things reliably turn on women, that don't reliably turn on, or even interest, men.


A guy I knew as a student - he was an engineering student, and personally someone I didn't get on too well with - had this on his wall. I used to feel a bit sorry for him every time I saw it.
posted by mippy at 3:51 AM on May 4, 2012


Okay, fine, conceded. I'm still waiting to find out what these reliable turnons are, though.

On a similar note...I knew a guy once who had a PUA kind of mentality - he'd deliberately target particularly vulnerable women and pursue them relentlessly for the conquest, in a way that brought to mind Germaine Greer's phrase 'masturbation in the vagina'. We were walking through the park one day and he started talking about Jennifer Aniston and how I must hate Angelina Jolie for 'stealing him'. I replied that I couldn't care less about celebrity love lives (unless it's Jedward, obviously) but he carried on talking about how women all hate Angelina Jolie for being too sexy and blah blah blah. It was a weird kind of pseudo-conversation that went on regardless of my interest in it, as somewhere he'd obviously read on How To Engage Women. (Mind, the same guy said to me 'all my google searches 20002-03 were on how to finger women properly' so that should have told me something.)
posted by mippy at 3:57 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'd be surprised to hear a man assume a woman's intelligence is low, based on her looking attractive or sexually accessible.

Okay well I'm here as someone who wears a G-cup to tell you that it happens. A lot.


Also - fat girls are easy, because obviously nobody wants to fuck them. Girls with piercings/tattoos/unnatural dyed hair are easy, because only someone with daddy issues would go for a non conventionally attractive look. And I don't need to go into the stereotypes about Far Eastern women or redheads.
posted by mippy at 4:01 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


A guy I knew as a student - he was an engineering student, and personally someone I didn't get on too well with - had this on his wall. I used to feel a bit sorry for him every time I saw it.

I always thought that was more about the actual mechanics of sex, and I think it's accurate enough to be funny. But I wouldn't put it on my wall.
posted by empath at 4:13 AM on May 4, 2012


Maybe - though his version had 'How to turn on a woman/man' on it.

But when dude learns about the prostate, his mind will be blown.
posted by mippy at 4:49 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's really nothing wrong with pickup artists. Well, I should say "pickup artists". Because ever since The Game, "pickup artist" has become a thing, when in reality, some men have been good at picking up women since time immemorial. Really, I think when a lot of people rail against "pickup artists", they're really just railing against bad pickup artists. The good ones are the ones that get in your pants.

I've read a couple of the PUA books, and honestly? All the stuff they say? All the tactics and games, the "negging", the openers, all that shit? It's really just there to build a dude's confidence and make him feel okay about going up to a girl and start talking to her.

It's really sad. I don't know what it is. Something about our culture has made men ashamed to go up to a girl and start talking to her. And because of this, dudes don't get laid.

If a guy reads The Game or Double Your Dating, and it makes him go up to a girl and start talking to her, well, then more power to him! I've known too many perfectly dateable guys who would never approach a woman they don't know because of some overblown sense of politeness, "but what if she doesn't want to talk to me????" And because of that, perfectly good guys (and girls!) don't get laid.

Look. I used to be the kind of guy that I now despise. The kind of guy who would pursue "friendships" with women I was attracted to in the hopes of getting in their pants. It's a totally shit strategy. It never works. It's disingenuous, and bad for both parties. The dude doesn't get laid, and the girl doesn't get a friend. Sucks for everybody. Why did I do it? Well shit, that's how it happens in movies, right? The hot girl realizes her milquetoast male friend was her ideal mate all along, and they get together and live happily ever after and have a million babies, right? Lies. Lies lies lies and more lies.

But then I read The Game, and as cheesy as it sounds, the book changed my life. Did I ever use any of the "tactics" in it? Did I start "negging"? Did I wear a tophat and tell girls I had a wallaby? No. Hell no. But what it did teach me is that you can't win if you don't play. Common sense, really. Maybe in a different age, my father or my male friends would have given me some good advice in this area. But they didn't, so I had to read a book. And guess what? My love life improved enormously! I stopped trying to turn friendships into romance. I became assertive. I started going up to girls and talking to them.

And yeah, I got rejected a lot. But I also had a lot of great conversations. And some of them turned into dates. One time, I went to a party where I didn't know anybody, and struck up a conversation with random girl [X]. Turned out she was from out of town, but she introduced me to her friend [Y]. [Y] had a boyfriend, but wanted to be friends with me anyway. I'm like, okay, we can be friends. Six months later, [Y] introduced me to her friend [Z]. Two month later, [Z] and I are boyfriend and girlfriend. 10 months later, we're still together. She's the first woman I've ever truly been in love with.

Nothing wrong with The Game. Nothing wrong with pickup artists. Nothing wrong with going up to a girl and talking to her.

Not a goddamn thing.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:27 AM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nothing wrong with The Game. Nothing wrong with pickup artists.

Did you even read the thread?
posted by empath at 7:34 AM on May 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


Ha. Just tuned back in. Sorry. First off, I'm sure there's still a lot of aura-seeing and crystal healing going on in the New Age community, and of course it's full of flakes (just like pretty much anything) and no, there's no unified philosophy. But there does seem to be a consolidating around a core of wisdom that seems pretty solid to me.

Why so worked up, Philofacts? I mean, let's say worst case scenario a bunch of pseudo-spiritual flakes have a totally BS philosophy that's utterly self-deluding and tedious and whatever else you think it is. What's it to ya? It's obviously something to you.

But the interesting thing is that you have, once again, summed up the very philosophy you claim to be attacking. Money quote:

The parts of me that are unconscious, fast, and automatic in their functioning (instincts, emotions) are "me" just as much as any other activity of any part of me. ...(snip)... Talk about my not "being" some part of the holistic totality of body parts (and their functioning which is dependent on their existing in the first place) is just dualistic, spiritualist fantasy.

As I understand the best of New Age philosophy, it says exactly that. And it urges you to be conscious of all the things that are you -- thoughts, emotions, physical sensations. Not to judge them, not to justify them, not to try to change them. Just to be aware of them, to bring them into consciousness. That's it. That's the whole thing. The idea is that this practice will bring a growing awareness of the non-duality that (as you seem to understand and appreciate) is the core human experience. Feelings like wonder and gratitude and compassion will emerge naturally from this growing awareness and acceptance.

But nobody's asking you to take their word for it, or argue about it, and if they are, then they're not getting it either. It's something you can try out or not. Anyway, that's how I understand it. And so far, it's been working out OK for me!

Now where are my damn magnets?!
posted by haricotvert at 8:33 AM on May 4, 2012


Why, Ironmouth, are you so determined to prevent women from having casual sex? Why must you try to control women's bodies and sexual lives?!?

That's funny, I thought I was saying that there's nothing wrong with women sleeping with douches and that we probably shouldn't judge them because guys do the same thing.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:37 AM on May 4, 2012


It's really just there to build a dude's confidence and make him feel okay about going up to a girl and start talking to her.

And there isn't any other way to build someone's confidence besides reducing women to, what, some object to be manipulated? Not to mention reducing a man's desires and behaviors to mighty hunter in search of pussy.

I have no objection at all to books or guides or programs that help people be less fearful of talking to other people. I think the way the vast majority of PUA stuff I've seen goes about it is gross, and does a huge disservice to both men and women.
posted by rtha at 9:13 AM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow, fair enough, I guess, but why can't somebody just being throwing rocks because they're individually racist? Or more likely, just plain mean and crazy? I've never been to Canada, but I've spent time and done business in pretty much every region of the US except, for whatever reason, the northwestern US (maybe 'cause it's the farthest away?). Every part of the country, and presumably the world, has a mix of stupid and non-stupid that is more alike than different, and always, of course, more than expected.
posted by randomkeystrike at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2012


And there isn't any other way to build someone's confidence besides reducing women to, what, some object to be manipulated?

Oh, totally. Reading Strauss or D'Angelo is not the only way -- or even the best way -- to learn how to chat up women.

Really, chatting up women is a lot like improv. Hell, it is improv. Actually, that's a good metaphor, so let's go with that.

The kind of "tactics" the PUAs talk about are sort of like short-form improv. Somebody gives you a game, or a premise, or a character, and you run with it. If you've ever watch Whose Line is it Anyway, this is what they do. And it's kinda funny, it kinda works, but ... it's kinda cheesy. You know what game they're playing. There's no subtlety. It's like having someone perform a magic trick when you already know how the trick is done.

And then there's long-form improv. This is what you see if you go to UCB or the Groundlings. Many of funniest comedians alive came from a long-form background. This is where they take something completely random -- typically a word shouted from the audience -- and improvise an entire scene around it. That shit's hard. Like, REALLY hard. And when it fails, it fails spectacularly. But when it succeeds, there's really nothing funnier. I've been reduced to tears by good improv.

I would say that, if a man truly wants to improve his romantic life, he should work on his long-form skills. This was my takeaway from the PUA books and forums. The more-honest ones speak of working on your "inner game", and I think there's a lot to be said for that. I think the problem is that a lot of guys get really into the short-form tactics (because it's easier) and never move beyond that. I'm imagining these are the least-successful ones, and they're pretty easily-spotted.

Really, the skills I developed as a single guy helped my social life in general. I'm known among my friends as someone who can strike up a conversation with anybody. That's something that helps me even now, as a (happily) non-single guy.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Something about our culture has made men ashamed to go up to a girl and start talking to her.

Not that I've ever noticed.

I get talked to even when I'm clearly wearing my "Leave me the fuck alone or I'll bite you" face. I get pestered at the bus stop. In the grocery store. On the godsdamned train when I'm trying to nap! I've had dudes physically lay hands on me after I've made my disinterest clear. I've had them pull my earbuds out so they can ask me what kind of a stuck-up bitch am I, anyway?

No, nothing about our culture makes men ashamed to talk to women. But some godsdamned thing certainly makes a vocal portion of them think they're entitled to female attention, no matter what the object of their advances wants.

And because of this, dudes don't get laid.

Dudes who aren't getting laid are putting themselves in that position by treating women like vending machines for sex - they figure if they only put enough quarters in, fucking will eventually come out. They're not getting laid because they're not understanding that women are people, and they're not getting laid because they're being complete fuckwits in their quest for sex.

If you're having problems getting a piece, I posit that the problem lies in your approach.
posted by MissySedai at 10:26 AM on May 4, 2012 [20 favorites]


Not many racists have the creativity to be individualistic in their racism. The fact that so many of them still lean on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion indicates an astonishing lack of imagination, among other things.

Did you know that the Swedes have historically done quite well at women's 4x100 freestyle swimming? No? Why not? What have they got to hide? (!)

The Golden Horde never went away. A secret conspiracy of Mongolians is running Russia to this very day. (!)

Lithuanians seen in mirrors are closer than they may appear. (!)

Try harder, racists. People might start to think you're unintelligent.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:49 AM on May 4, 2012


If you're at a bar and see a dumb blonde with a vanilla Stoli addiction, we can all agree, she'd probably be up for a one night stand.

This is a cheap shot on my part, but holy shit, I totally need to revisit my love for vanilla Stoli. Am I less easy-looking if I drink something manly like a Manhattan or something that allows me to be taken seriously?

Something about our culture has made men ashamed to go up to a girl and start talking to her.

What is that exactly? The desire that they not do it in obviously inappropriate, rude, inconsiderate ways? The lesson being that confidence will help you overcome beginner social politeness and respect for strangers? It's not a woman-thing, it's a people-thing. Have respect for the other person's choice to either perhaps tolerate conversation s/he's not in the mood for or to assertively disengage, and respect that decision. So now men assume no woman wants to talk to them? Because people get pissed off when people act like douches? Big shocker. This simple request for respect and consideration in the way men approach women with interest is being way blown out of context and proportion and now suddenly we're even more unapproachable than we traditionally were believed to be. Fantastic.
Actually, it works out, because we don't want to talk to someone who believes there's no way they can approach us appropriately. Honestly thank you for saving me the trouble.

On preview, MissySedai said it better.
The only man I would consider for a partner is one who wanted me for a friend. I'm sorry that's the opposite of what you're going for. And learning how to pretend to be interesting and fun will get you kicked to the curb pretty quickly once we realize what a Monet you are.
(Note that all "you" statements are directed at the æther, not at any commenter, truly.)

Did I wear a tophat and tell girls I had a wallaby? No. Hell no.

WHAT. This would absolutely land you in my pants without question. Ladies AMIRIGHT? Had enough, off to Cute Overload for a platypus chaser....
posted by Sayuri. at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure the tophat/wallaby combination could get somebody into my pants, and I'm (a) male, (b) straight, (c) monogamous and (d) probably allergic. It's that genius.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:58 AM on May 4, 2012


Actually, the tophat and wallaby thing came straight from The Game.

Heh.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:14 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you're having problems getting a piece, I posit that the problem lies in your approach.

I posit that not referring to women as a "piece" and men as "dudes" may be a starting point.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:21 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does it recommend that you actually have a wallaby? If not, it doesn't measure up to my expectations.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:40 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, the dude did have a wallaby.

I felt kinda bad for the wallaby.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:47 PM on May 4, 2012


Makes me think of Raffi in a whole new light now...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:52 PM on May 4, 2012


I've read a couple of the PUA books, and honestly? All the stuff they say? All the tactics and games, the "negging", the openers, all that shit? It's really just there to build a dude's confidence and make him feel okay about going up to a girl and start talking to her. (emphasis mine)

You know, something negative about someone else to make yourself feel better is generally considered pretty lousy behavior.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:06 PM on May 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think most PUAs come from the ranks of losers in the dating world who are embittered by their experiences. Most of them (again, in my opinion) have spent some time as the "nice guy" who gets jerked around and used for emotional validation by a woman who says disingenuous things like "I think in order to date somebody I'd have to be friends with them first." The PUA misogyny often originates as an extreme overreaction to that behavior, a sort of "I'm tired of getting pushed around and being the nice guy!" epiphany (which is a legitimate response, but gets taken WAY too far).

This is not to say that it validates such behavior (which, as I've pointed out, is an extreme overreaction), and I'm certainly not suggesting blaming women for PUAs actions. But it's important to give some consideration to how the seeds of this behavior are planted. Women, you know those sweet male friends whom you know have a crush on you and whom you would never date, but whom you sometimes can't help leading on "just a little"? That could be the next generation of PUAs just waiting to spring forth.

(And by the way, I'm definitely not saying all women do this - I've just seen it happen more than it should. If you've never personally done this, I respect you for it.)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:29 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Er, "saying something negative."

It just struck me that a large part of the problem here is that there's a big difference between the nice guy who just buys into the surface of the community as a way to help his confidence levels, and views it as "Toast Masters for Dating" and the guy who buys into the whole philosophy that's got the pretty Toast Master wrapping. The first is still going to defend it as not bad, and they're probably going to have a really hard time accepting that other people could hold a different view of it then them. I mean, who readily accepts, "I'm associated with something bad"?

Unfortunately, as good as having self confidence is, the assumptions that the hardcore PUA community and leaders make about women, themselves, human society in general ARE bad. I have nothing against anybody looking for or getting casual sex, but if you get used to referring to women as "targets" then soon you start thinking about them as "targets" and next thing you know, roughly half of humanity is worth nothing except the how-ever many minutes of pleasure you can con from them.

Which I guess is where the attraction between the two groups of men lies. I'm only peripherally aware of the Men's Rights movement, but from what I have read (And the people I've encountered), the underlying view point seems to be that the world's a zero sum game between men and women, and if you're a guy the only thing women are good for is what you can get from them. I can completely see this much more virulent and malignant group seeing the other group and saying "they already agree to the important part, all we have to do is show them the rest," and I can see the hard-core PUAs using the general philosophy of the Men's Rights movement to help ease their conscious about their treatment of women.
posted by Gygesringtone at 1:40 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm lucky that, as a moderately overweight woman, I am considered less than human to the men in this subculture

You wish! Remember they lie like rugs, so if one of them takes a fancy to you you're going to get a high numbers ranking (especially if he's flying solo so he doesn't have to prove to his buddies his tastes exactly matches theirs).

Women, you know those sweet male friends whom you know have a crush on you and whom you would never date, but whom you sometimes can't help leading on "just a little"? That could be the next generation of PUAs just waiting to spring forth.

Oh dear lord, so you're saying that I should live in gender segregated spheres that under no circumstances could a man have his feelings hurt if I'm nice to him but I don't have sex with him? I should only ever talk to a man if he's a blood relative or I'm already to shuck clothing and do him? Because that's what your advice boils down to.

As many people are now repeating: the friend zone is bullshit because women are not machines you pay kindness coins until they spit out sex and relationships. Your adversarial accusations that we, as a several billion strong single minded entity, are creating predators by being cock teases.

You are wrong because:
A) Women are not psychic. I've been on the receiving end of "oh, I've had a crush on you for sooo loooong!" from people who seemed perfectly innocent, and turned down flat by guys I read as being totally into me.

B) Sexual dynamics are not an on/off switch where you will either fuck someone or you won't, they're a spectrum of attractiveness- I have been in love with guys I didn't want relationships with, had sex with friends, not wanted sex with friends and assumed they're mature enough adults not to act like pissy little babies because of my tastes and can terminate the friendship if it's too painful, been sorta flirting into people who were sorta into flirting with me, tried building chemistry only to discover one of us didn't click part way, came to love friends, never loved friends in that way, had fun with guys who don't want to sleep with me flirting with me, had fun flirting, been unsure how I feel about someone... It's really, really complicated.

I can control what I do. I can sometimes control how I feel. But I cannot control how other people feel or what they do, and to expect that of me is unfair, especially in light of the fact that I need to live in a world where the other half of the species are men and we didn't split the globe 50/50 and decide to meet only during periods of high fertility. We're trying to have a collective civilization here, where we work together and share hobbies, and my daily life puts me in possible contact with hundreds of men. Policing myself so dudes don't get the wrong idea can't happen, even societies where you need to talk to my male relatives to contact me haven't been able to remove male resentment of women. Hell, on this sex integrated website, I am mefi friends with ostensibly male users and interacting with them, an impossibility under your system. What if I'm nice to you and you decide I'm leading you on? I can't know you don't secretly want me and are now planning to be rude to strange unrelated women because you're heart broken, can I?
posted by Phalene at 1:57 PM on May 4, 2012 [21 favorites]


Oh dear lord, so you're saying that I should live in gender segregated spheres that under no circumstances could a man have his feelings hurt if I'm nice to him but I don't have sex with him? I should only ever talk to a man if he's a blood relative or I'm already to shuck clothing and do him? Because that's what your advice boils down to.

As many people are now repeating: the friend zone is bullshit because women are not machines you pay kindness coins until they spit out sex and relationships. Your adversarial accusations that we, as a several billion strong single minded entity, are creating predators by being cock teases.


No, I didn't say that at all. I'm a little surprised that you'd extrapolate so much from a relatively mild statement and inject so much vitriol that I absolutely never intended.

I suggest rereading my statement when you're calmer because it seems fairly clear that you're projecting an image of some radical right wing extremist onto me. Your "answers" aren't really responding to what *I* said, but rather something Rush Limbaugh might have said.

To put it in a nutshell: I'm a feminist, and I really hope you're not, because you're utterly embarrassing the movement with your unspoken assumption that anybody who's not as extreme in their support as you as must be a misogynist. Please get off the train to Crazytown.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:15 PM on May 4, 2012


Nothing wrong with The Game. Nothing wrong with pickup artists. Nothing wrong with going up to a girl and talking to her.

You know who is successful as a result of The Game? The guys who implement it badly. The guys I know who say "It's not all bad" and had success building a more socially confident self are the ones who did not actually use any tactics The Game provided outside those you would learn in any self-help book or "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". You say it helped you--but then you say at the same time you used none of its tactics. Sorry man, you're not a good representation of pick-up artistry. You are a guy who finally believed the "Get some confidence, talk to people, etc etc" message that is delivered in every dating question ever because it was delivered in a book with the imprint of a naked lady on the cover. What you're praising isn't The Game, you're praising its marketing.

I understand the psychology of the guys who get sucked into this stuff, I've been the awkward lonely person who wished there was just a formula I could follow to get laid (and I'm a girl). But there isn't any formula or trick. It's just trial and error and learning to listen to other people, show interest in them, follow basic social niceties, and developing the ability to not give a fuck if someone rejects you. The Game and its ilk remove the human part of relationships, flirtation, and dating, and replace it with ugly stereotypes and posturing. It demeans both parties. The guy must turn himself into someone who claims he has a wallaby, lies about his interests, insults strangers. The woman is turned from individual to Woman, boiled down to a looks rating and a vending machine that produces a vagina if you hit the buttons in a certain pattern and enter in the correct number of quarters. It's utterly fucked up, and there is nothing you learned from The Game that couldn't have been delivered without the sexist drivel.
posted by schroedinger at 2:15 PM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm a feminist, and I really hope you're not, because you're utterly embarrassing the movement

that's uncalled for. women aren't a monolith. feminists aren't a monolith. the "movement" is doing just fine being a big tent that has all sorts of opinions in it and the only thing i think embarrasses it is the shitty in fighting.
posted by nadawi at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


wolfdreams01, Phalene is taking umbrage to your comment because you just said that PUA come from ranks of guys who were hurt by women who had the audacity to desire friendship with a guy before dating. You also seem to make the assumption that "women" in general are carrying around all these "sweet guys with crushes on us" and we just "can't help leading them on a little." For someone who claims they are a feminist, these are pretty fucking offensive assumptions. Is there a problem with desiring friendship before dating? Furthermore, I've never met a woman over the age of 22 who engaged in the "leading on" behavior. If you're going to start chastising "women" for something confused and insecure little girls do while trying to figure out their sexuality, well, turnabout's fair play. I hope you're ready to start taking responsibility for the drunken antics of 18-year-old frat boys.
posted by schroedinger at 2:23 PM on May 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


To put it in a nutshell: I'm a feminist, and I really hope you're not, because you're utterly embarrassing the movement with your unspoken assumption that anybody who's not as extreme in their support as you as must be a misogynist. Please get off the train to Crazytown.

Whoa, that's not how I read Phalene's comments, and I don't think they're on the train to Crazytown.

You said Most of them (again, in my opinion) have spent some time as the "nice guy" who gets jerked around and used for emotional validation by a woman who says disingenuous things like "I think in order to date somebody I'd have to be friends with them first."

Why is the woman in this scenario cast as disingenuous for saying something that's true for a lot of people, and what makes that a thing that jerks a guy around?

Could it possibly be true that real women have really felt they can't date someone they don't feel a friendship with? Can it be true that both people assume a shared definition of "friendship" that doesn't really exist? Can it be true that sometimes women are bad at communicating what they mean, or how they feel, just like men? Why present the woman in this scenario as someone being deliberately misleading, and the man as the poor victim of her toying behavior?
posted by rtha at 2:24 PM on May 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nadawi, read my comment. Pretty mild, isn't it? I made sure to

Now read Phalene's response to it.

How can any sane person not have a moment of "WTF" response at this delusional insanity? She claims I said or implied approximately a dozen horrible things that I utterly didn't. It's right there, in print.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:30 PM on May 4, 2012


wolfdreams01 : I hear ya w/r/t parasitic male/female friendships, but there's really no point going around and telling women what they should or shouldn't do. Yeah, it would be nice if women didn't string men along, but some of them do. Nobody's responsible for your heart but yourself.

As for the "friends before dating" thing : I think this represents a fundamental difference of opinion. Myself, I can count on one finger the number of times I've actually seen that work out. However, I'd run out of appendages if I had to count the number of times I've seen it fail AND mess up a social group. Honestly, I don't even see why "friends before dating" is even supposed to be desirable; there's definitely something to be said for exogamy, a.k.a. not pooping where you sleep.

However, if someone says "I like to be friends with someone before dating them", who am I to say, "no, you're wrong!" If that's how someone feels, that's how they feel. I'm more inclined to say, "good luck with that" and go off on my merry way.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:33 PM on May 4, 2012


Sorry, I completely fail to see how I said anything about "Gender Segregated spheres", women being "machines you pay kindness coins until they spit out sex and relationships", or "women being psychic."

What Phalene is doing here is setting up a Straw Man argument - by misrepresenting my point and making it sound more extreme than it is, it gives her an excuse to stand on a soapbox and act like I'm oppressing her. Using the phrase "well, this is what your argument boils down to" or "this is what you are implying". Excuse me, but I know pretty damn well what I "meant to imply", and you can "boil things down" however you wish, but at the end of the day those two phrases are simply your way of distorting what I meant to say, and I resent that.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:40 PM on May 4, 2012


wolfdreams01 - i've been reading the whole thread. you have whatever reaction you want to it. i'm just going to speak up if you start telling people they're bad for feminism. what's also here in print is you calling her delusional, insane, on a train to crazy town, and that she needs to calm down. also, i don't care how mildly or even handedly you put it - if you're going to put forward the idea that women are to blame for guys adopting a world view that gets them a step or two away from date-rapey, well, you're probably going to find some push back to that, especially if you call yourself a feminist.
posted by nadawi at 2:45 PM on May 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


if you're going to put forward the idea that women are to blame for guys adopting a world view that gets them a step or two away from date-rapey

But I didn't say that. That's just what Phalene claims I said so she can play the victim role, which she appears to be very good at. If she was legitimately interested in dialogue rather than diatribe, she would have asked me for a clarification (since it's clear she totally misunderstood what I was saying). But she's not - she just wants to play the martyr, and for that she needs to project somebody in the "bad guy" role.

Frankly, that's a disgusting move, and I'm perfectly entitled to take umbrage at it, tell her what a disgusting move it is, and clarify my own position so she can't misrepresent me. If you defend a horrid misrepresentation of somebody else simply because they happen to be supporting your views, I have to question your own integrity as well. And I notice you certainly didn't ask for any clarification either before telling me what my argument "fundamentally boiled down to" or "what I really meant to say." Hey, maybe you and Phalene ARE psychic! Clearly you can read my mind and understand it better than I can myself! Would you like to tell me why I don't like cauliflower? Because I've always been puzzled by that.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:04 PM on May 4, 2012


Your comment that Phalene responded to was contradictory. You're basically saying "Okay, not this, but what if most PUAs in their embrace of misogyny are just reacting to women? I mean not that, I wouldn't suggest that women are to blame for PUAs' behavior, but women, how about you think for a moment about how it may just be them reacting to your treatment of them?"
posted by XMLicious at 3:05 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I started reading PUA and MRA blogs within the past year-- my daughter is getting old enough to date and I wanted to vaccinate her against mind-control tricks.

Some of the MRA [men's rights activist] and MGTOW [men going their own way] blogs are filled with vile hate, especially the comment sections. These misogynist misfits truly believe that women are a different species, incapable of logical thought or determined action, not to be trusted with the vote or a credit card, unworthy of serious consideration. To survey turds of loathsome filth without patronizing the establishments that manufacture them, you can read ManBoobz or ShitRedditSays.


Some of the Seduction Bloggers are simply about notches on the bedpost, Roissy, heartiste, and Roosh v. They are sleazy sluts, sometimes wildly entertaining. Their contempt for women who don't meet their standards of beauty is cruel enough to call hate-- Roosh has declared jihad on Fat Chicks.

The Seduction sub-reddits have useful and human-positive advice. Follow a healthy life-style. Work out. Branch out your interests and become an interesting person. "Add value" to conversations and friendships.

For calm intelligent discussion, I go to Married Man Sex Life, Red Pill Room, and Hooking Up Smart.
posted by ohshenandoah at 3:07 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


But I didn't say that

Yeah, but you did though. You said you didn't, but you actually did.
posted by Summer at 3:10 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


and clarify my own position

Then would you please do so? I asked some questions about your comment, and I haven't seen you address them.
posted by rtha at 3:12 PM on May 4, 2012


when multiple people have pulled an idea from your comment that you swear you didn't make, you might wonder if the problem is with your wording and not the mean-spirited craziness of bad feminists.
posted by nadawi at 3:15 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but you did though. You said you didn't, but you actually did.

Yeah but he didn't. He said some men had an extreme overreaction. If the men were not to blame their reaction would be described as legitimate and proportional, I would imagine.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:16 PM on May 4, 2012


Yeah, the comment was couched in lots of weasel words, but the meaning was clear.
posted by Summer at 3:23 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but you did though. You said you didn't, but you actually did.

Really? OK, metafilter has this very useful link function (and there's this thing called "copy and paste"). Since clearly I suffer from a lack of reading comprehension, perhaps you can post excerpts of when I claimed women "should live in gender segregated spheres" or "should only ever talk to a man if he's a blood relative or (they're) already to shuck clothing and do him"?

Perhaps you could also excerpt exactly where I said that "women are machines you pay kindness coins until they spit out sex and relationships" or where I said that "Sexual dynamics are an on/off switch where you will either fuck someone or you won't".

While you are at it, perhaps you can copy and paste exactly where I said women "need to police themselves so dudes don't get the wrong idea." Because all of those things are what Phalene claims I said.

And please don't give me any of those bullshit logical leaps where you say "Well, you said this, but you really meant that, and so I can clearly infer that you MEANT this." As I said, that's a straw man argument.I'd like to have you point in black and white where I said ANY of those things without those extreme inferences where my "hostility towards women" is simply assumed rather than proven.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:23 PM on May 4, 2012


Yeah, the comment was couched in lots of weasel words, but the meaning was clear.

Okay, I admit that if you pretend some of the words don't count the comment meant something different.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:25 PM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


[I think we've gone all the way around the circle with this argument - perhaps it's time to move on? ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:28 PM on May 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good call.
posted by Summer at 3:31 PM on May 4, 2012


For calm intelligent discussion, I go to Married Man Sex Life, Red Pill Room, and Hooking Up Smart.

On the first post of that Married Man Sex Life blog, he talks about making sure the wife knows "she’s completely replaceable sexually, but that you aren’t looking to replace her". I hope you don't encourage your daughter to get into relationships with guy who use cheating on her as a threat to ensure good behavior.

wolfdreams01, saying "You're wrong" without providing explanation when people ask you to explain yourself isn't actually a defense of your argument, but that's neither here nor there.
posted by schroedinger at 4:00 PM on May 4, 2012


Wolfsdream01, you've been here, what, ten days and this is the second thread where I've seen you get fighty with people over pickup/seduction stuff. Why? Is this something you take really personally?
posted by jayder at 7:43 PM on May 4, 2012


Women, you know those sweet male friends whom you know have a crush on you and whom you would never date, but whom you sometimes can't help leading on "just a little"? That could be the next generation of PUAs just waiting to spring forth.

It's the "leading on just a little" thing that comes across as blaming - I don't know what you think you meant, but in my experience, there are very few ways the object of a crush can behave that don't either hurt or encourage the person with the crush. When I say "my experience", I mean as a person who's had a crush, a person who's been the object of a crush, and most of all a person who has been the confidante of both sides. (I am one of those people who despite being prickly-natured attracts confidences. This means that for a large part of my own dating life I fought bitterness because there's no feminine equivalent of Nice Guy, but I was it, and if anything will make you pity yourself, it's listening to other people's problems with being too-much loved when you're lonely. But I digress.)

Anyway, the point here is that this remark sounds like you're holding women who "lead men on" responsible for the existence of The Game and men who resent women but still want to have sex with them.

I liked what Gygesringtone said - it rings true to me that a lot of guys who get involved with The Game are just looking for Toastmasters for Dating, but that the centre of the movement is this misogyny. I think there's also a bunch of guys kind of in the middle - where they have a sense of resentment against women that comes out of frustrated loneliness (see above, Nice Guys, I feel them) that has the potential to fester right into hatred.

I also think there's a long con going on here, on the part of the guys who claim to hold these Secrets, who are getting lots of benefits from their claim to arcane knowledge of how to extract all of the good things that women withhold. I think it's exploitative and shitty in much the same way as women's magazines that claim to hold the beauty secret of making all men want a (lonely) woman. Sure, Cosmo can teach you how to do your hair, and maybe that makes you more confident and you get more dates. But it's just as or more likely you'll buy into a horrible soul-crushing notion of performance femininity that's bad for you in particular and gender politics in general. The destructive notion taught by The Game is that a (lonely) man can, with the exact right performance of masculinity and outright lying, trick any woman into whatever degree of attachment and expectation he wants. It's an obvious lie, when you look at it in bald print, but so is "Make tons of money without any risk by trading in real estate" and "Lose all that ugly fat without exercise, while eating whatever you want."
posted by gingerest at 9:01 PM on May 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


A lot of the anti-game comments seem to harp on the perceived "loneliness" and "sadness" of its enthusiasts. I can't help thinking that this is a not-in-good-faith argumentative tactic. The persistent characterization of these guys as sad, lonely, alienated and resentful may be no more true, percentage wise, than if you measured those qualities in ordinary men on the dating scene. These guys, in fact, might actually measure up as LESS sad, lonely, alienated and resentful, because hey, at least they have enough get-up-and-go to take practical steps to improve their love lives.

I think lots of people would have a problem with guys calling women "dried up old spinsters" and "sad, alienated foreveralones" for reading books on how to find a husband by pretending to be in high demand socially, which is what "The Rules" did. So why mock these guys like Afroblanco who find something of real value in these teachings?

On some level, it seems that much of the resentment of "game" is that many women do not like men to "fake" confidence. It's almost as if women can tolerate and even be strongly attracted to a guy who is naturally confident, cocky and headstrong, but the minute they sniff out that a guy is "faking" cockiness and confidence in order to be attractive to women, then the taint of loserdom hangs over him and he will never be forgiven for his creepiness and patheticness. I don't know, I think Afroblanco gave a pretty stirring account of what these types of teachings can do for a guy.

I think there's another story that can be told about "game," along the lines of what Afroblanco describes, and it can also be explained as guys taking very deliberate steps to expand their acquaintance with women so they can make a more deliberate choice in who they finally settle down with. There are lots of adult men who seem to have ZERO ability to attract women, despite being good guys with excellent jobs. They do not want the choice to be between the one woman who finally condescends to be with them, and a lifetime alone. "Game," as Afroblamco describes it, may just even the playing field so that men can have something resembling the sexual/romantic options that women have.
posted by jayder at 10:30 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also think there's a long con going on here, on the part of the guys who claim to hold these Secrets, who are getting lots of benefits from their claim to arcane knowledge

That's my impression too. It's like spam - most people think it's offensive at some level, but there's a group of people (mostly guys) who claim that it's just fine because they're making money selling the software & address lists.
posted by sneebler at 10:42 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A lot of the anti-game comments seem to harp on the perceived "loneliness" and "sadness" of its enthusiasts. I can't help thinking that this is a not-in-good-faith argumentative tactic.

And a lot of the supporting comments for the PUA stuff seem to ignore all the creepy and bad stuff that its enthusiasts do and it by definition supports. I agree -- there is some good stuff wrapped up in the PUA package; but to ignore the bad stuff is just as disingenuous. Just because you guys here at metafilter are smart enough to not do the shitty stuff in PUA culture doesn't mean it isn't part of it.
posted by inigo2 at 5:21 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They do not want the choice to be between the one woman who finally condescends to be with them, and a lifetime alone. "Game," as Afroblamco describes it, may just even the playing field so that men can have something resembling the sexual/romantic options that women have.

There is that inferiority complex again.
posted by empath at 5:59 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dating totally sucks. Making yourself vulnerable to a near-stranger, performance anxiety - I know there are people who enjoy it, but I think the vast majority of people date because it's the only consistent way to get romantic or sexual companionship. I'm sure that Toastmasters for Dating would be a roaring success, because most people of all genders and all sexual orientations feel weird and insecure going into a first date. Giddy, too, because, hey, you got a date. But urgh.

I think the guys who get really into The Game must be, on the whole, resentful, because everything about The Game is predicated on the idea that women are the opposition, are deliberately engaging in a collective power play with interested men.
posted by gingerest at 6:07 AM on May 5, 2012


[Some comments deleted; calling other members "crazy" is not okay; please try harder. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2012


There is that inferiority complex again.

Care to explain?
posted by jayder at 6:55 AM on May 5, 2012


Women, you know those sweet male friends whom you know have a crush on you and whom you would never date, but whom you sometimes can't help leading on "just a little"? That could be the next generation of PUAs just waiting to spring forth.

I think this is the section that most people responding to you find inflammatory. Because no, I don't. I have great guy friends who could probably have mutual interest if my long-term partner wasn't a major, long-term part of my life, and I don't think "being friends" equates to "leading [them] on." In fact, because we're friends, I expect them to mention if they have problems or questions or issues, the same as I would bring any questions or issues with them. Because we're all adults, and I'm not responsible for policing their reactions or their love lives. I think highly of my friends, and I just don't think they're going to turn sociopathic from a lack of kissing, you know?


On some level, it seems that much of the resentment of "game" is that many women do not like men to "fake" confidence. It's almost as if women can tolerate and even be strongly attracted to a guy who is naturally confident, cocky and headstrong, but the minute they sniff out that a guy is "faking" cockiness and confidence in order to be attractive to women


I also don't find this to be true at all. If the Game focused more on actual confidence or conversational skills or building up a guy's approach to relationships of all kinds, I doubt we'd have this thread. What people in this thread have targeted are the kinds of approaches it advocates: manipulation, lying, negativity, etc. Confidence doesn't come from lying and as it turns out, few people, including women, respond well to patterns of misrepresentation and insults. Confidence doesn't mean you have to rely on insulting people, and no one in this thread had brought up the issue of male confidence until you did.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:19 AM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do know people who own real top hats though and goddamn I wish they owned wallabies, preferably with their own monocles!
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:20 AM on May 5, 2012


and no one in this thread had brought up the issue of male confidence until you did.

You mean except for TheophileEscargot, navelgazer, Afroblanco, rtha, sayuri, etc.? Or do you mean "brought it up as a problem"?

I agree that the uglier dimension of these "game" writings is troubling. I think, to some extent, you can take that element and compare it to a very abrasive standup act kinda like Sam Kinison or someone like that. When Heartiste refers to anti-gamers as "raisin-sacked," "bug-eyed omegas," or "lantern-jawed Lesbians," it's definitely in poor taste but it's essentially comedy.

I'm a little sheepish to be defending this stuff. I'm a guy who is very happy with a girlfriend and I just happen to find some of these blogs funny, entertaining, and insightful. But I know a number of guys who are good people, responsible, respectful of women, hard-working, etc., who have habitually been ignored by women who seem more attracted to "cocky assholes." Maybe guys who are clueless about women grew up in broken homes without balanced parental role models. But it is no surprise that blogs and books that teach guys to be more cocky and devil-may-care would find an appreciative audience, and that does not seem pathetic to me.
posted by jayder at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2012


"Game," as Afroblamco describes it, may just even the playing field so that men can have something resembling the sexual/romantic options that women have.

Men don't have options? I hear this a lot and it seems to stem for a lack of empathy (or perhaps a lack of visibility) for women who are not fighting off the roses and champagne from their many suitors. There are a lot of women out there who don't have a whole lot of options.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:15 AM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


There are a lot of women out there who don't have a whole lot of options.

Hmm. Maybe you're right. My perception is that taking men and women who are in roughly the same percentile of attractiveness, the women have many more options than the comparable men, perhaps due to social norms about men being the approachers and women being the approachees.

Now, maybe many of the approachers are not high-quality men. But it seems generally true that men have to "try harder" to have the same opportunities for dating that pretty much fall into the comparably-attractive woman's lap.
posted by jayder at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2012


The economics of dating is the opposite of what you think it is--people who approach are able to get higher-quality partners. This is typically what males are socialized to do, but it's by no means a universal male-only trait.

I have a general idea which men I know who are about as attractive as I was when I was more available, and they seem to have more options. That might be a NYC thing. I suspect this varies with the demographics of the area. Obviously in Alaska women will be at an advantage, but here, not so much.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:28 AM on May 5, 2012


Oh, and also, because of socialization around age differences, as women age we often have fewer options and men sometimes have more. Again, this is probably a demographic thing that varies by education, income, location, all that good stuff.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:29 AM on May 5, 2012


The economics of dating is the opposite of what you think it is--people who approach are able to get higher-quality partners.

Not sure I follow you here. You mean men have better options if they approach? I agree with that. But take two comparably attractive hetero people, a man and a woman, my perception is that the woman doesn't have to work as hard to have the same options the man could have, if that makes sense. Now, I agree that long-term, the situation may level out because the man may be viewed as a desirably partner well into his forties and fifties, while the woman's prospects decline.
posted by jayder at 8:38 AM on May 5, 2012


Yeah, sorry, I should have added something like "brought it up as a problem" and I started reading this on the phone and forgot to check who I was quoting, for which I'm sorry. I guess I just have serious problems seeing anything like "bug-eyed omegas," or "lantern-jawed Lesbians" as approaching comedy.

Also, maybe your friends are just attracted to a particular subset of women who like cocky men? None of my friends are particularly likely to go for that kind of guy, outside of maybe a fun night stand or anything; I think that's more a personality set than a Thing Women Do.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:42 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So why mock these guys like Afroblanco who find something of real value in these teachings?

Because whatever value is there is wrapped up in a big package of poisonous attitudes and beliefs.

it's definitely in poor taste but it's essentially comedy.

Who cares? It spreads and is based on harmful stereotypes.

the taint of loserdom hangs over him and he will never be forgiven for his creepiness and patheticness.

habitually been ignored by women who seem more attracted to "cocky assholes."

But it seems generally true that men have to "try harder" to have the same opportunities for dating

These kind of beliefs are exactly what I'm talking about. It's a pretty bleak view of women, and of men's ability to genuinely interact with other people.

You've got a lot of "seem"s and "my perception"s in there. Maybe your perceptions need to be reexamined?
posted by cdward at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2012


But take two comparably attractive hetero people, a man and a woman, my perception is that the woman doesn't have to work as hard to have the same options the man could have, if that makes sense.

Even taking this view as truth, it depends what you mean by "work as hard". I imagine that the comparable woman has to deal with a lot more shit, like being talked down to and insulted because some subculture recommended it.
posted by inigo2 at 8:44 AM on May 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not to mention heels, makeup, weeding out sexual predators, finding guys who actually understand the clitoris on more than a theoretical level...
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:47 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


But take two comparably attractive hetero people, a man and a woman, my perception is that the woman doesn't have to work as hard to have the same options the man could have, if that makes sense.

I'm not totally sure what you mean by "the same options," honestly. I'm pretty sure that my wife could walk into a bar full of men and walk back out with someone; I'm equally sure that my chances with a bar full of women (something one rarely sees) would be much lower.

But the time it would take each of us to find a good partner -- someone attractive, caring, non-abusive, etc -- is probably going to be equally long, or maybe even harder for her because she would need to worry about a whole set of things that I don't need to think about. I don't need to worry that someone will slip me a roofie, or that people at work will say nasty things if they learn that I put out two weekends in a row. A lot of guys are threatened by strong, successful women; the potential pool of women for me is much larger.

And in our pasts, I had an easier time finding serious partners than she did. In these threads I hear this a lot, that women have it easy to find sex, but I think that it ignores all of the real-world barriers, as well as elides the distinction between having potential access to anonymous sex and having access to a relationship.
posted by Forktine at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


They do not want the choice to be between the one woman who finally condescends to be with them, and a lifetime alone. "Game," as Afroblamco describes it, may just even the playing field so that men can have something resembling the sexual/romantic options that women have.

Yes, women have perfect romantic options. All women have their choice of lots of wonderful men.

This is offensive -- both to men and women.

There is nothing wrong with figuring that you don't know how to approach people you are interested in and try to learn how to do it. But then to be successful you need to treat the people you get into conversations with as individuals, not as prompts in some game where you choose the right response of a list of 4 to move forward.
posted by jeather at 8:55 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wolf, if you honestly think I'm crazy and you think your getting picked on by an evil anti-feminist, take it to meta and I'll face the ever just, disappointed judgment of our mod-squad.

What you are doing here is a classic few = many argument. So a few women behave badly to a few men, justifying them behaving badly to many women. Or one (possible unhinged loon, aka me) person of very little social capital says some things you don't like and she's disgracing all of feminism. I wish I had that sort of power, but I'm waaaay less important than you seem to think I am.

Remember where I came in here, I'm a 'victim' of two men trying to use game on me ineptly. But this is apparently women, as a collective group's fault, because someone must (or might of, to be perfectly fair) have hurt one of these guys feelings. The implied logic you used is that we, as a collective, may have brought an awkward and mildly threatening social interaction on me.

My point is thus: is it impossible to police how men (or other humans) interpret you actions at all times, even if you act with complete honesty. You have accused women, in general of leading men on so that men feel compelled to fight back, as if sex was some sort of adversarial competition we all signed up for. You may think there are other reasons men become PUA, but the jilted ego defence was the one you gave, so I don't speculate why else you feel some guy should have harassed me to be more "confident" while his buddy pretended to hook me up with a job.

All I'm saying is that human social interactions are based on assuming that most people are able to be an adult about their sexuality, even if communication is hard, so we can do interesting things like collude to supply the world with toilets or visit other planetary bodies or buy ipads and get out of shape driving cars and posting on mefi. I cannot live my life in fear of accidentally creating new PUA, because I can't control whether men are attracted to me or not. A female user name on the internet inspires what I can only describe as furious keyboard humping from strangers on certain parts of the web, while I personally get kinda dumb over my sort of male archetype in a plethora of situations. But most pretty men don't want to fuck me, and I don't develop elaborate social schema ranking them by a numbers code and making them feel a bit worse about being an elfin graduate student so they'll feel they need to impress me.

About the only thing you can accuse me of is extending your excuse for some PUA artists (they are apparently hurting little boys, according to you) to all of them, and that's being charitable to your argument. Your explanation is supposed, according to you, to be a forgivable reason for developing a really shitty attitude towards people, even men (AFC or Average Frustrated Chump if not a good way to refer to men who don't buy into your system, in brief example). Even if emotional baggage motivates them, not mean spiritedness, misogyny or cultural bad luck, hurt feelings are a lousy motive to turn yourself into a toolbelt, especially when your victims are a completely different set of people than the person who slighted you.

This is not a straw man, this is exactly what you were saying: some women hurt men, so these men try to hurt other women. All I said, minus the rhetorical flourishes, is that even setting out to be kind, human interaction is too confusing and full of false positives and complex dynamics to avoid someone getting the wrong idea, and I need to interact with men in a friendly way to not die as a starving unemployed hermit, jsut like they also need to interact with me. And that putting the onus on women to avoid birthing PUA as a collective punishment, as if we were a monolith, is sexist, and there's no getting around that.
posted by Phalene at 9:13 AM on May 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


You've got a lot of "seem"s and "my perception"s in there. Maybe your perceptions need to be reexamined?

Well, not being a social scientist they're all I have to go on.

My last word on this because I'm really not keen to be the partisan in favor of game blogs: it does seem to me that these blogs/techniques must have a basis in some legitimate concerns about the heterosexual sex/dating/mating world. Perhaps they are an ugly expression of resentment by the excluded. But if you view it on a detached manner, it seems possible that movements with the best possible intentions (feminism, the welfare state, etc.) could disorient and upset the mating sphere in unanticipated ways and create a class of people who feel excluded, slighted, disempowered, etc. And this underclass of forgotten people (men who have zero appeal to women despite being decent, productive, good people) would feel frustrated because these salutary social movements don't really do anything for them, and they probably have no clue that the social movements had any causative role in their excluded position. So these guys are sitting at home masturbating in front of a computer after being rejected too many times by women who seem to prefer exciting bad boys. And these men realize their lives are pathetic and they want to change that. I'm not saying that the social movements that have contributed to this exclusion are bad, just that it seems plausible that an unintended effect of reshaping our society to create greater security and opportunity for women, could send ripples of discontent through the world of heterosexual dating because people's respective roles are being reconfigured. And that these game blogs may be a natural expression of men trying to take back some sense of agency and choice that they feel deprived of.
posted by jayder at 9:19 AM on May 5, 2012


create a class of people who feel excluded, slighted, disempowered, etc.

I don't think that social justice movements can be blamed in any way for creating this class, since it's existed for much longer - I mean, it's not as if people who feel slighted (for any reason) in the dating world only appeared when women got the franchise. Possibly its existence is less, or less obvious, in cultures where arranged marriages are the norm and there is no dating. But back in the Day, if you were the third son of some non-noble with an expected inheritance of a shilling a year, I imagine you'd feel quite excluded. The difference then was that it wouldn't be the woman rejecting you, but her father.

This whole thread makes me feel grateful that I'm not in the dating world any more, and that when I was, it was the lesbian dating world, where it's quite okay - expected, almost - to date within your friend circle - where else are you going to meet girls? My life is a cliche: my partner is the best friend of my first-ever girlfriend, who lives downstairs with her partner; our commitment ceremony was officiated by another ex of mine; each of us had an ex who stood up for us at the ceremony. It's all very incestuous I suppose, but it works.
posted by rtha at 9:31 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And this underclass of forgotten people (men who have zero appeal to women despite being decent, productive, good people)

Is this really a Thing? I mean, are there really large numbers of great guys who are doomed to singlehood because women are universally not interested in them?

Because I don't know them, and I am not meeting them. I know guys who are socially awkward and have trouble getting dates (but that's not the fault of feminism or the welfare state), and I know great guys who are single because they are picky or just aren't interested in dating right now. And I definitely know people who are single because they choose to stay home and do solitary things instead of being out meeting people; it seems to work on some level for them even if they do sometimes complain about being single.

But forgotten guys, cut out of dating by feminism and the social safety net? Seriously?
posted by Forktine at 9:35 AM on May 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I agree that the uglier dimension of these "game" writings is troubling.

The problem is that the uglier dimensions are the central part of the writing. Everything stems from the idea that men and women are involved in a conflict. It's the difference between "be confident because that'll make you happier and more fulfilled in life," and "the way to think about getting laid is to treat the woman as something to be manipulated into doing what you want: One tip for that is to act confidently." If a guy wants to learn how to be confident, there's any number of resources out there that aren't based on a creepy view of women as something other than walking talking human beings, some even specialize in dating.

And, to bring up something that I haven't seen explicitly mentioned: Teaching that women need to be manipulated into being attracted to you is the very opposite of teaching confidence.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:48 AM on May 5, 2012


But forgotten guys, cut out of dating by feminism and the social safety net?

Coming back to the original subject of this post, this is a verbatim MRA talking point.
posted by cdward at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2012


And that these game blogs may be a natural expression of men trying to take back some sense of agency and choice that they feel deprived of

Another way to look at it is that they are con men selling snake oil to lonely, desperate men.
posted by empath at 10:29 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


would feel frustrated because these salutary social movements don't really do anything for them, and they probably have no clue that the social movements had any causative role in their excluded position

The problem is, it's sorta hard to feel much sympathy, much like you wouldn't feel sympathy with people made bankrupt by abolishing a system of serfdom so they no longer had people who they could tax. Especially when you're from a family of serfs and there's so many former serf holders who are nice and not hung up on stupid stuff. In any case there's always been a core of guys who can't get laid- basically women have been treated like unmanageable trouble since at least the invention of writing. Even if we lived in idyllic 1950s land, some people are still gonna be jerks or excluded.

This was the case when dudes had to negotiate with my dad over giving him three vats of oil and a length of good woolen cloth, only then it was Aelfmerk Heil'son of Goodtrees saying the maidens would never want to sleep with him because he didn't show well at the druid rites, the case when after seeing me in her my in church he Mr. Mark Heilston Godrea, mourns he cannot get an introduction to my family because his father is not a respectable man with his own bricklaying business like mine, but I'm a vulgar class grasping harpy flashing my fiance's ring with unseemly, non-Christian vanity, and will be the case when HeilGod84 notes I'm one of Montreal's stuck up hypergamy minded post feminist lardballs.

"(M)en who have zero appeal to women despite being decent, productive, good people... don't get women just because they're good people, just like volunteering on the weekends and holding down a job doesn't give me one masochistic male sexual thrall.
posted by Phalene at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


In any case there's always been a core of guys who can't get laid- basically women have been treated like unmanageable trouble since at least the invention of writing. Even if we lived in idyllic 1950s land, some people are still gonna be jerks or excluded.


There was a study a few years back-- out of a school in Utah, of course-- claiming that an analysis of DNA showed that, on average, only about half of men made any contribution to the genome historically, whereas the rate for women was much higher, around 80% as I recall. I saw it on ScienceDaily, but can't find it now.

For parallax of a different kind, consider these traditional lyrics:
I rode seven horses all to death
I rode them till they had no breath
I wore five saddles to the trees
None of those girls will marry me.

Those women will fret, those women will fuss
They spend five hours before their glass
The devil take all, I'll have no money at all
Always stay single, keep Batchelors' Hall.
Stay stay close to my door
...
posted by jamjam at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


>And this underclass of forgotten people (men who have zero appeal to women despite being decent, productive, good people)

Is this really a Thing? I mean, are there really large numbers of great guys who are doomed to singlehood because women are universally not interested in them?


I think that sometimes when people like jayder's friends complain that "women" only like cocky assholes, they don't reeeeally mean "women." They mean "women I'd like to date," which, whoops, turns out to be about 1% of women -- women in a certain narrow age range, with a certain look, who convey a message of unusual attractiveness to the world at large. You know, a worthwhile woman.

I've never experienced this scene directly, being happily married to the man I started seriously dating at age 19, but my friends who dated in their 20s have almost always dated decent, productive, good men. I've never seen one bring around the "cocky assholes" that jayder suggests are treated as the cream of the male dating crop. But maybe my female friends wouldn't make the cut for the women whose dating habits his friends care about.
posted by palliser at 12:27 PM on May 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


I also think there's a long con going on here, on the part of the guys who claim to hold these Secrets, who are getting lots of benefits from their claim to arcane knowledge of how to extract all of the good things that women withhold.

Aaah, yes. You've seized upon the one aspect of the PUA scene that genuinely bothers me: the fact that a lot of the "gurus" are more interested in making money than helping other men with their social skills. I mean, if someone were to ask me how to get better at chatting up women, I'd say, "Go to the gym twice a week, take improv classes, and never turn down an opportunity to talk to strangers." But you can't easily make money off that. It's hard to talk about the PUA thing monolithically though, because it's made up of a diverse group of men with approaches that vary wildly. Strauss seemed somewhat gimmicky, but D'Angelo pretty much comes out and says that reading a book will not help you meet women; you have to go out and practice.

Anyway, as for this thread, I think a lot of people here are talking past each other. More than that, they're using a different language. Fact is, if you want to talk about mens' struggles in the dating world, you CAN NOT use the same social justice speak you use to talk about womens' issues. Empowerment, disempowerment, disenfranchisement, all that stuff. It just doesn't map.

How to explain it? Shoot, okay, I'll give it a shot : for a lot of men, the skills that help them get ahead in some areas of their lives will not help them meet a woman. Likewise, the skills that help them meet and keep friends -- male and female -- will not help them meet a woman. It's really just a matter of skills. It's like cooking, or programming, or playing a musical instrument. Social skills are like any other skills. They take practice, and yes, a certain amount of insight, to get good at them. And so you have guys that lack these basic skills, and they're like, WTF? They see women who they want to get with, and these women don't want them, and they're like, WHY?! They're using all the skills they have, but the problem is, those skills won't help them meet women. And so they get stuck.

Do not trivialize our challenges! I'm not saying we have it as hard as women -- in fact, I think comparisons like that are asinine and I refuse to partake. What I'm saying is that we may have a different set of challenges to contend with, but they're challenges nonetheless, and being lonely and unloved is terrible! There are men out there that need help, and while the PUA scene can definitely lead a man in the wrong direction, it can also be really helpful.

Anyway, lots of angry words being thrown around here. I get that a lot of women are offended by what a lot of these men say; and hell, I never got really into the scene, but if I did, I'd probably find what to be offended by. But here's something that may give you perspective : the stuff women talk about when (they think) no men are listening? Hey, that shit ain't pretty either. And I'm willing to wager that the vast majority of women don't actually hate men.

Which brings me to a conversation I had with my GF recently. She was telling me about how, after a date, a girl will go over every minute detail with their girlfriends. And she was shocked that men don't do the same. Well, shit, that's what the seduction subreddit basically is. All those "field reports"? It simply replicates a resource that most women have that most men do not.

Food for thought.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like it or not, men "buy into" PUA stuff after having negative personal experiences with women.
This conversation (sometimes real, usually imagined) takes place:

M: Sleep with me
F: I don't like you like that
M: So what you're basically saying is, I'm unattractive
F: It's not you, it's me
M: YOUR DIRECTNESS IS VERY REFRESHING*

And, after mulling over the fact that he doesn't consider himself particularly unattractive, he comes to the conclusion that women have a flawed perception of attractiveness (women only like X kind of guy!), so he seeks out methods of changing himself in order to be perceived as attractive.

Mainly because all the other tropes of attraction (women only want rich, muscular dudes with long hair, that own sportscars and ride motorcycles!) are relatively harder to acheive.

Not to mention, the myriad of other reasons why women might not want to sleep with the guy at that particular time (or ever) are ignored, which is of course, the real issue.

*definitely imagined
posted by Clicheguy at 1:33 PM on May 5, 2012


Likewise, the skills that help them meet and keep friends -- male and female -- will not help them meet a woman.

Can you talk about that some? Because I don't know what you mean. (Lesbian here, as you know, and the way I go about making friends is the same way I (used to) go about meeting women who would become lovers, so I really don't know what you're talking about!) I will take this opportunity to nag you again about coming to meetups. Drinks on me, if that's an incentive!)
posted by rtha at 1:40 PM on May 5, 2012


Defending PUA writings feels kind of like saying, "when you put aside the distasteful stuff, The Turner Diaries has some very interesting and insightful social commentary."
posted by jayder at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can you talk about that some? Because I don't know what you mean.

You know, I think this is what gives a lot of men a hard time. I know I had a hard time with it.

But it's like ... I mean, there are different kinds of attraction, right? I mean, when you're looking for a friend, you're looking for certain things ... common interests, sense of humor, reliability, shared values, etc. And of course, you want these same things in a romantic partner. But you also want something more. Physical attractiveness is part of it, but not always a big part. There's a certain spark. And if someone doesn't have that spark, you can be friends with them, but you'll never think of them romantically. This is why, I suspect, it's hard to turn a friendship into a relationship (at least in the hetero world). Not to say that it isn't possible, just that it's rare. What are the chances that, after knowing someone for years, you'll suddenly discover attractiveness in them?

Anyway -- and this is just a personal theory -- I think that for every man, there's one or more women who may see that spark in him. It's really just a matter of (a) not fucking it up with poor social skills, (b) physically putting yourself in situations where you'll meet women, and (c) finding your natural strengths and cultivating them. And there are also some general skills that'll help you in making friends, meeting a romantic partner, and even networking with business acquaintances, and these you'll probably find in any number of self-help books, as well as some of the more helpful PUA material.

(and yes, I do need to make it out to another meetup. maybe the next one that's in the Mission?)
posted by Afroblanco at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2012


And reading my own comment, I see I didn't really answer you question. Basically, I think what it entails is finding what would make you attractive as a romantic partner and bringing that out in yourself. There is some overlap between what makes a man attractive to a potential friend and what makes him attractive to a potential romantic partner, but these are two distinct sets. They are not one and the same.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:15 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, so much of it is practice. Practice practice practice. Very few men have a hard time talking to women they're not attracted to. But when they meet a woman they're REALLY attracted to, they get all deer-in-headlights.

Hell, I get that way about job interviews. And it's the same thing. Practice practice practice.

However, part of that is knowing when to step off. Never waste effort on a girl who's clearly not into it.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:26 PM on May 5, 2012


Shit, I'm posting too much to this thread. But this subject interests me, so I'll leave with this one last note.

The mistake that a lot of the PUA community makes -- and the source of a lot of the "offensive" material -- lies in the naive assumption that women have "the power". And technically I guess women do have "the power". I mean, they choose who they do and do not sleep with. So technically, women do have "the power". But this is naive. If a given woman is in the game, that means she's going to sleep with somebody. So the question is, who's she gonna sleep with?

Well, if she sleeps with someone who isn't you, that's because she can do better. Sometimes, Someone Who Isn't You is richer or taller, but more often than not, he's got a better sense of humor or better social skills than you. The upshot is that, if you wanna get that girl, you don't gotta be George Clooney; you just have to be better than That Other Guy.

And there you have it. Women are not The Target. Women are not The Other. Women are not The Enemy. Unless the girl you're going after is bi, you're not competing with women. Who are you competing against? Other men! You just need to step up your game!

But here's the trick: unless you live in India or China, there are enough women to go around. If a few males monopolize most of the women, it's because they know something the rest of the males don't. This situation suck for everybody, because the few men who know how to attract a woman are deluged with opportunity, and so are less likely to treat a woman right.

So really, it's in the best interest of the entire human race -- male and female -- for clueless men to learn more about attraction and what makes a woman happy. It's the only way that we as a species can transcend the babboon dynamic where a few men monopolize a disproportionate number of women, and move to a bonobo dynamic where everybody gets laid pretty much constantly.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:27 PM on May 5, 2012


Afroblanco- do you realise how passive women sound in your vision of the game? We're not players in the game, just flags to be captured.
posted by peppermind at 4:57 PM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Who are you competing against? Other men!

I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but really? I've never, ever hooked up with someone new while competing with another guy. In movies there's always those scenes where two guys are standing on each side of the woman at a bar or nightclub competing for her, but in real life it's more like both of you standing in someone's kitchen at a party and you say, "hey, aren't you Sarah's friend? My name is..." and you chat and start flirting.

All this compete compete compete language, I just don't see it in my experience and in watching people I know. If I'm looking for romance, I'm not looking for a competition, I'm looking for a spark or a connection. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, and I'm sure dating works different in different places and maybe there are places that fit this pattern, I don't know.
posted by Forktine at 5:01 PM on May 5, 2012


I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but really? I've never, ever hooked up with someone new while competing with another guy.

I don't think he means in the same time and place. Pretty sure he means competing for women's limited romantic attentions generally, not in a barroom standoff.
posted by jayder at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2012


So technically, women do have "the power". But this is naive. If a given woman is in the game, that means she's going to sleep with somebody.

Yeaaaaaaaah . . . here are two major things you are missing:

1) Rape

2) WHAT MAKES YOU THINK WOMEN GET TO PICK THEIR CHOICE OF MEN FOR FUCK'S SAKE

Only a small percentage of women fit the magical "HB10" category that supposedly gets its pick of guys, and those women will eventually age out of the category. The difference between women and men in dating is that women have been socialized to accept that they must date normal guys. They are taught at some point they will be too old and ugly to get the Marlon-Brando-Cary-Grant-Humphrey-Bogart so if they want to find a marriage partner they need to be OK with Seth Rogen. Guys walk around indignant because the top 5% of attractive females won't bang them. They insist women have the sexual power, blah blah blah (and the other 95% goes unseen). Women are like "Hey, 70%! Not bad!"

It is amazing how you guys are painting us as these unimaginable cool and confident goddesses who walk into a bar and pick from whomever is showing their offerings. It amazes me that the PUA community can adopt this attitude about women while still employing stuff like "negging", whose whole principle is built on the idea that women are insecure and those insecurities are easily exploited. Does that person sound like a confident amazing goddess to you?

We're anxious in the bar, we're tottering on our heels, we're as lonely and confused about navigating the world of sex and love as you are. But because you're ultimately only focused on your needs and your wants and how to obtain them you can't see that. And that's why you fail, and that's why this PUA stuff is so goddamned gross.
posted by schroedinger at 5:07 PM on May 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


Yeah, this is weird. Women can of course choose who to sleep with. And so can men. From what my guy friends tell me, they do not sleep with every woman who offers. They also reject some women as potential partners.

And by women who are "in the Game," do you mean women who are looking to date? Because that's kind of a weird way to put it.
posted by rtha at 5:24 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, sorry. Been re-watching The Wire recently ;)

Yes, I mean women who are looking for a lover.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:27 PM on May 5, 2012


It amazes me that the PUA community can adopt this attitude about women while still employing stuff like "negging", whose whole principle is built on the idea that women are insecure and those insecurities are easily exploited.

I think this statement you made reveals a basic misunderstanding of the "neg." My understanding is that it has NOTHING to do with exploiting a woman's insecurities, and EVERYTHING to do with signaling to the woman that you are not intimidated by her beauty, that you are no stranger to the affections of women of her attractiveness level, and therefore that she should consider you a "high-value male" who is worthy of her attention. The neg, understood this way, is more a way for the man to camouflage his own insecurities than to play on insecurities of the woman.
posted by jayder at 5:33 PM on May 5, 2012


My understanding is that it has NOTHING to do with exploiting a woman's insecurities, and EVERYTHING to do with signaling to the woman that you are not intimidated by her beauty, that you are no stranger to the affections of women of her attractiveness level, and therefore that she should consider you a "high-value male" who is worthy of her attention.

. . . And you don't see how this whole justification is fundamentally based in the idea that women are insecure about their looks and need male attraction as a form of validation?
posted by schroedinger at 5:56 PM on May 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


jamjam: Some of the earlier versions (although I love the Steeleye Span one) are even more apt, for e.g.,
Keep Bachelor's Hall
(as sung by Roy Harvey)

How hard is the fortune of all womenkind
They're always controlled and they're always confined
Confined to their parents till they are made wives
Made slaves for their husbands the rest of their lives.

Washing and ironing their daily due
Darning and mending, I'll bring that in too
Four little children I have to maintain
Oh how I wish I was single again.

(yodel and guitar riff)

The first thing is Mama, I want a piece of bread
The next thing is Mama, I want to go to bed
She'll wash them and dress them and put them to bed
Saying, Oh, my Lord, how I wish I was dead

When young men go courting they dress up so fine
They'll make up and fix up and use a good line
They tiddle and tattle and make fun and lie

And keep the young girls up till they're just fit to die

(yodel)

The girls will jump up and thus they will say
Oh, boys, I'm so sleepy, I wish you'd go 'way
You're nothing but false heart and this I do scorn
Before you get home you will lodge in some barn.

All the next day you'll stagger and reel,
Saying, "God bless those sweet girls, how sleepy I feel."
If I were a young man, I'd court none at all
I'd live my days single, I'd keep bachelor's' hall.

(yodel and guitar riff)

Keep bachelor's hall for I think it's the best
Go home drunk or sober, lie down, take your rest
No wife there to scold you, no children to squawl,
I say to all young men, keep bachelor's hall.
much more on the song
posted by titus-g at 6:00 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


My understanding is that it has NOTHING to do with exploiting a woman's insecurities, and EVERYTHING to do with signaling to the woman that you are not intimidated by her beauty, that you are no stranger to the affections of women of her attractiveness level, and therefore that she should consider you a "high-value male" who is worthy of her attention.

And...that doesn't strike you as...kind of completely creepy and bizarre? That in order to feel comfortable around a woman, a man has to make sure that she knows she isn't anything special to him? Because, wow does that sound creepy as shit to me.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:01 PM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


. . . And you don't see how this whole justification is fundamentally based in the idea that women are insecure about their looks and need male attraction as a form of validation?

No. I think the theory is that women are attracted to men who are high value on more dimensions than appearance, and you're signaling your value through the neg/teasing. Nothing in that explanation speaks to female insecurity.
posted by jayder at 6:03 PM on May 5, 2012


It amazes me that the PUA community can adopt this attitude about women while still employing stuff like "negging", whose whole principle is built on the idea that women are insecure and those insecurities are easily exploited.


It's not about insecurity, it's about how most celebrities only want to date people who don't care that they're celebrities.
Except both parties aren't celebrities, they just act like it.
posted by Clicheguy at 6:04 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


And...that doesn't strike you as...kind of completely creepy and bizarre?

I wasn't making a judgment of its creepiness-level, just explaining that I understood it really didn't have anything to do with playing on a woman's insecurities.
posted by jayder at 6:06 PM on May 5, 2012


Basically, I think what it entails is finding what would make you attractive as a romantic partner and bringing that out in yourself. There is some overlap between what makes a man attractive to a potential friend and what makes him attractive to a potential romantic partner, but these are two distinct sets. They are not one and the same.

I forgot to say, earlier - thank you for explaining. I confess that I still don't really get it, but I don't think it's necessarily because you explained it in a way I'm not getting (it's not you, it's me!). I will ruminate on this.
posted by rtha at 6:18 PM on May 5, 2012


I wasn't making a judgment of its creepiness-level, just explaining that I understood it really didn't have anything to do with playing on a woman's insecurities.

So, how does this change the conversation, though? It's okay because it's about him, not about her? This argument sounds a lot like, "He pulls your hair because he likes you"? Here's the thing: I don't give a flip why some dude wants to pull my hair, it hurts and I don't like it, plus it's rude.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh dear god. Fucking negging. Fucking negging! The people who coined that phrase should die a thousand deaths, because their followers misunderstood EVERYTHING and made all of women miserable.

Here's the thing. Playful teasing is okay. Playful teasing is a part of life. I playfully tease my friends -- male and female -- all the time. When I was single and trying to chat up a woman, occasionally, very occasionally, I'd tease her playfully. Thing is, when you do this, you're playing with fire. If you playfully tease a woman and you fuck up and she takes it as an insult, well, shit, fuck you. I'm serious, fuck you and die. Because not only did you fail, you failed and made a woman sad. Fuck you.

Shit. Maybe I do hate PUAs ;)
posted by Afroblanco at 6:36 PM on May 5, 2012


I think the theory is that women are attracted to men who are high value on more dimensions than appearance, and you're signaling your value through the neg/teasing. Nothing in that explanation speaks to female insecurity.

OK, let's break down your explanation:

, that you are no stranger to the affections of women of her attractiveness level, and therefore that she should consider you a "high-value male" who is worthy of her attention

Why should she give a shit if you are no stranger to "women of her attractiveness level" if she doesn't have a stake in being seen as super-duper attractive and more attractive than other women? The only reason she should want a guy solely because he's been with other hotties is to prove to herself she is a hottie.

This is a terribly common insecurity among men and women--but it is an insecurity nonetheless, and the purpose of "negging" is to bank on the idea that the woman is insecure enough it will drive her to pursue you.

Playful teasing is okay. Playful teasing is a part of life. I playfully tease my friends -- male and female -- all the time.

Playful teasing: making a cute, clearly inaccurate jab with the intention that the woman will jab back, and you'll have yourself a little banter. Not meant to be hurtful. Something you do with someone you're already comfortable with so you know their boundaries.

Negging: The whole point is to hurt her from the very start, to put her off, because apparently that signals you don't give a shit and bang other women all the time.
posted by schroedinger at 6:51 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that it has NOTHING to do with exploiting a woman's insecurities, and EVERYTHING to do with signaling to the woman that you are not intimidated by her beauty, that you are no stranger to the affections of women of her attractiveness level, and therefore that she should consider you a "high-value male" who is worthy of her attention.

Men who offer me unsolicited criticism or insults as their opening conversational gambit - or ANY conversational gambit, for that matter - are exactly the opposite of "high-value" and worthy of my attention, AFAIC.

Why would I want to waste my time trying to impress some asshole, when I can have perfectly lovely, amiable conversation with someone who is looking at me as an actual person?
posted by MissySedai at 7:23 PM on May 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Men who offer me unsolicited criticism or insults as their opening conversational gambit - or ANY conversational gambit, for that matter - are exactly the opposite of "high-value" and worthy of my attention, AFAIC.

Why would I want to waste my time trying to impress some asshole, when I can have perfectly lovely, amiable conversation with someone who is looking at me as an actual person?

Thank you Missy. This is exactly what I meant when I said I'd consider someone as a partner only if they had interest in me as a friend. That doesn't mean that I need to be friends first before dating, I lament my vague wording, although my best relationships came out of friendships. No, what I meant was that even the people I've simply slept with and not had a long-term relationships with still thought I was an awesome person and wanted to be my friend, even if we didn't have the compatibility or timing or inclination to make things work on the longer term.

You know, it's just entirely too complicated to debate here, and yet we get so wrapped up, and some of us go so far as to create second accounts simply to respond to this thread. Yes, many women are insecure and need male attention to feel worthy, and even the same of men, and yes, some women just like men are out there to get laid and this bullshit will work on them if they think you are fuckable, blah blah blah, but PLEASE just treat the person you want like a person that deserves the same respect you imagine you're entitled to and not as an object to be manipulated. Because it's completely transparent and won't get you laid. For example, teasing is great, but I'm certain I tell the difference between when someone is teasing me because they're trying to put me in my place (because isn't that what showing me that my attractiveness has no power over them is, after all?) or they are teasing me because they have a funny personality and/or like to make me laugh.

/drops mic to pick up her whipped chocolate white russian THAT'S RIGHT I'M STILL PISSED ABOUT THAT
posted by Sayuri. at 8:36 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bonobos are matriarchal, BTW.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:43 PM on May 5, 2012


I think this could all be handled tidily with a group known as How To Make Friends And Meet Their Friends Because This Is How A Lot Of People Meet And Have Sex And/Or Relationships. Not as acronym-friendly as Pick Up Artists, or as satisfying to those who are invested in (the dream of) the power dynamic of tricking someone into submitting to them, or to people who want to spew hate a little more than they really want to get to"yes," but a lot more practical and useful... for all genders and sexual persuasions!
posted by taz at 4:23 AM on May 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


... if you wanna get that girl ...

That there is the problem. Right there. Start with "lonely", answer it with "want to get". It's hard as hell to break yourself out of an insecurity-craving feedback cycle, but that's what it is. And nothing anybody can give you will help; at most you can accumulate enough unsatisfying experience doing something that doesn't help to realize it doesn't help, and try something else. The only real correctives involve making peace with yourself.

Also this:

Women are not psychic. I've been on the receiving end of "oh, I've had a crush on you for sooo loooong!" from people who seemed perfectly innocent, and turned down flat by guys I read as being totally into me.

Yes yes yes. I've seen far more total misreading of someone else's feelings, by all genders, than anything intentional or cruel. The number of "oh shit, you felt what?" moments far outweighs any accurate reading or game-playing. Despite all the sage advice offered over in askme, nobody has a clue what's going on in anybody else's head 99% of the time.
posted by ead at 9:47 AM on May 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Aaah, yes. You've seized upon the one aspect of the PUA scene that genuinely bothers me: the fact that a lot of the "gurus" are more interested in making money than helping other men with their social skills.

Exactly. Many years ago when I looked at the PUA material, I got this weird Pied Piper of Hammelin feeling. Honestly, if a "guru" claims to know a certain group of people (women) and how they act, react, and behave, who is to say they don't feel the same way about men, and they aren't using a certain set of tools to keep these men coming back for more books, tapes, and lessons which translate to more $ for them? A lot of us disagree on many aspects of PUA's, but largely agree that conquest is a factor. But, and this is a personal thought, I think it's as much about conquest of men as it is women.
posted by FJT at 11:49 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Remember where I came in here, I'm a 'victim' of two men trying to use game on me ineptly. But this is apparently women, as a collective group's fault, because someone must (or might of, to be perfectly fair) have hurt one of these guys feelings. The implied logic you used is that we, as a collective, may have brought an awkward and mildly threatening social interaction on me.

My original comment had absolutely nothing to do with your statement. I have no obligation to "remember where you came in" since I wasn't addressing your example in any way whatsoever. You may have taken it as such, but that's YOUR comprehension error, and instead of asking for a clarification you went on a rant against me.

My point is thus: is it impossible to police how men (or other humans) interpret you actions at all times, even if you act with complete honesty. You have accused women, in general of leading men on so that men feel compelled to fight back, as if sex was some sort of adversarial competition we all signed up for. You may think there are other reasons men become PUA, but the jilted ego defence was the one you gave, so I don't speculate why else you feel some guy should have harassed me to be more "confident" while his buddy pretended to hook me up with a job.

First of all, I wasn't "defending" PUAs. I was just pointing out that some small percentage are legitimately hurt guys who overreact. There's a huge difference between saying that some small percentage of them are hurt little boys and saying that all of them are hurt little boys. Some does NOT equal All - that's a classic technique when it comes to distorting the presentation of a debate.

All I'm saying is that human social interactions are based on assuming that most people are able to be an adult about their sexuality, even if communication is hard, so we can do interesting things like collude to supply the world with toilets or visit other planetary bodies or buy ipads and get out of shape driving cars and posting on mefi. I cannot live my life in fear of accidentally creating new PUA, because I can't control whether men are attracted to me or not.

Again, you totally misinterpreted what I said. I wasn't defending PUAs, nor was I prescribing any behavior for women. I was simply pointing out that sometimes, our actions have consequences beyond what we may expect, and thinking about those actions more thoroughly might be an empathetic thing to do. I never said you HAVE to be empathetic. Saying that your actions may sometimes have negative consequences does not in any way imply that you have a moral obligation to avoid said actions - that's part of the beauty of a free society. You read too much into my statement and thought that my diagnosis was prescriptive instead of observational.

This is not a straw man, this is exactly what you were saying: some women hurt men, so these men try to hurt other women. All I said, minus the rhetorical flourishes, is that even setting out to be kind, human interaction is too confusing and full of false positives and complex dynamics to avoid someone getting the wrong idea, and I need to interact with men in a friendly way to not die as a starving unemployed hermit, jsut like they also need to interact with me. And that putting the onus on women to avoid birthing PUA as a collective punishment, as if we were a monolith, is sexist, and there's no getting around that.

It's totally a straw man because I wasn't defending PUAs, and a lot of the comments which you seem to ascribe to me were actually made by other posters whom you seem to think I'm on the same side as. I never said anything about putting the onus on you to be nice to men, nor am I putting any onus on men to be nice to you. I'm perfectly happy with the way that society works now: men can say whatever they like to you, and you can say whatever you like back to them. You labelled me as defending PUAs when I was just making a random comment to try and shift the conversation into an analysis of misogyny, which I feel is related and a perfectly valid topic.

I'd be happy to start a metatalk thread (in fact I'd prefer it), since my comments appear to be getting deleted by the mods, and I'm frankly a little tired of playing nice when I'm effectively being libelled here.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 3:46 PM on May 7, 2012


my comments appear to be getting deleted by the mods, and I'm frankly a little tired of playing nice when I'm effectively being libelled here.

No one is libeling you. We asked people, pretty nicely, to not have this thread turn into a "take on all comers" style of discussion where one person makes it all about them. That was three days ago. We haven't deleted a comment of yours in two days which is when the comment you are responding to is from. The conversation has moved on in the meantime. We'd prefer that people who want to get into a really intensive "That's not what I said THIS is what I said" intensive semantic conversation with another user take that sort of thing to MeMail or emails. You are also welcome to go to MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn at 3:55 PM on May 7, 2012


[Seriously, note for everyone time: this needs to go to MetaTalk or elsewhere at this point. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:04 PM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


A late addition. I've noticed that while PUA guides and conventional dating/presentation guides often recommend exactly the same tips, they tend to frame them in a different way.

E.g. "How to Work a Room" by Susan RoAne suggests having a conversation piece like an unusual button or item of jewellery. Some PUA guides recommend a "CS Hat" (short for Conversation Starter).

Almost every dating guide suggests that once you've established a connection, you can touch your date gently on the upper arm to show you're interested. PUA guides call this "kino game" (short for "kinesthetic").

So, the advice is the same.

But firstly, PUA guides usually present it using cryptic jargon which has to be learned.

Secondly, mainstream guides usually present the advice as sending a signal, i.e communication. They assume that you're just sending a non-verbal message. They generally assume that two people are collaborating in sustaining an interesting conversation. PUA guides present the advice as manipulation, sometimes with a dubious sociobiological explanation of "female psychology".

As others have said, I think the difference is partly about the need to market and promote PUA groups, gurus and books. I wonder if the problem is that the conventional way this advice is presented, as communication, feels too "girly" or "effemininate" to the PUA target audience. Maybe presenting it as manipulation in an adversarial relationship, with lots of masculine-sounding jargon, lets them feel more empowered.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


If he approaches you and starts talking to you about your shoes, even if he's saying critical things, he's probably attracted to you and trying to woo you.

....Yeah, I tend to be much more attracted to guys who have matured beyond the "pulling hair in the schoolyard at recess" phase.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on May 9, 2012


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