You may have already heard about ‘The Game’. You may have already played it or perhaps had it played on you.
A growing subculture of men have made it their life’s mission to formulate surefire strategies for picking up women. These include the use of ‘peacocking’ or wearing attention grabbing attire as a conversation starter, the art of ‘negging’ – using backhanded compliments to deflate a woman's self esteem or gaining the acceptance of her companions as a way to bypass any potential resistance on her part. There is also an abundance of theories on how a woman should be approached (never directly, always at an angle), how to calculate her level of interest and how to keep her desperately hanging on through a series of push/pull tactics.
Theories draw on established sociological concepts like neuro-linguistic programming or techniques such as hypnosis to gain an edge.
Neil Strauss, a freelance journalist, first came into contact with the Pick Up Artists (PUAs) in an attempt to overcome his lack of self confidence and inability to connect with women in social situations. According to his book, within two years he became a community guru and claims to have slept with thousands of women.
His book is interesting reading until about halfway through. Apart from featuring fairly one dimensional women, Neil's fellow PUAs seem to be suffering from an assortment of underlying issues and the book ends up being a chronicle of their various disillusionments and emotional breakdowns.
There is enough evidence in Neil’s story however to suggest that this type of social manipulation can be very successful in male/female dynamics. Using behavioral techniques to influence other people is nothing new; we see this all the time in negotiation, sales, therapy and magic.
Having said that, there is also lots of anecdotal evidence about guys taking these theories on as gospel and bulldozing through memorized passages or ‘openers’ on dates regardless of their appropriateness or the nature of the person they are with. Often unsuccessfully.
A friend of mine recently went on a date with a man who claimed to be an international jewel thief (PUAs recommend giving unlikely job descriptions as a way of being aloof yet charmingly sarcastic - a word of advice, not everyone can pull this off). He then interrupted her story about kittens to loudly state that he, by the way, did not kiss on the first date so she should not keep her hopes up - another PUA endorsed scheme.
She was unimpressed.
Another friend was told the following shortly before deciding she had better things to do with her precious free time than to be underhandedly insulted by someone she had just met.
“I love your sarcasm – do you have a problem making friends?”
I can’t say I have an issue with this in general. Approaching a stranger and trying to initiate conversation is difficult, let alone trying to make a connection. This is especially difficult when it comes to men approaching women.
Eventually however, the lines will run out and one's true self shines through. It would be a shame to realize that you have wasted not only your own, but someone else's time - a commodity that often feels like it is in short supply.
Unless if you really do just want to drift aimlessly from one purely physical, short term relationship to another. In which case, you would probably feel right at home.