Well-known pickup artist allegedly shoots woman in the face

This is a guest post by Clarisse Thorn, who normally blogs at Pro-Sex Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism. It was originally posted in slightly different form at Clarisse’s “Love Bites” Time Out Chicago blog.

Oh Lord. Okay, so the recent shooting by well-known pickup artist Gunwitch has already been covered by Jezebel and other sites. I think that Gunwitch’s messed up attitudes about women are reflected in some parts of the pickup artist community. But I don’t think all pickup artists are represented by Gunwitch.

Let’s take a look at a quotation from one of Gunwitch’s pickup manuals:

Your initial state when seeing women you want is very important: the right one will cause you to approach them, the wrong one will panic and confuse you – preventing you from taking any action to ever meet them. If you do not meet them you almost certainly CANNOT have sex with them. Your internal state when you first see an attractive woman must be one of sexual enthusiasm, horniness, and unapologetic desire. NOT one of panic and wonder of what to do or what to say. When you first see your lone wolf, in a bar, a coffee house, a dept store, a bank, the gym -ANYWHERE – (I like the magazine racks at dept stores, where I can stand there and wait ’til some Cosmo magazine reading hottie comes into what feels to her like your space, and feels like she’s approaching, then boom I’m on it “so what ya reading?”), anyway ANYWHERE you see them you must imagine having sex with her, visualize it, feel the desire and lust. ALWAYS do this as soon as you see a woman you find attractive and eventually the state you will go into when seeing a woman will be one of -sexual- state, rather than panic or fear of meeting her. This makes approaching random lone women easier. Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer/sociopath didn’t feel fear or panic when he saw a target. He felt rage, sexual perversion and desire to kill, hence NO fear to approach them, of course wanting to have sex isn’t the same thing, but its still more effective than feeling fear or confusion about your desires and direction.

Emphasis mine.

Now, of course I have sympathy for people who feel nervous approaching other people. In fact, I’ve written at least one entire article on how trying to pick people up is hard (and yes, the process can be just as hard for women as it is for men). However, the solution to defeating your anxiety about interacting with the opposite sex is not to destroy your own morality. Using Ted Bundy as a good model for approaching women is, to put it mildly, completely messed up.

I once spoke to a pickup artist who estimated that 60-80% of dudes who get into the pickup community do it because they are decent guys with serious social anxiety … but that 20-40% are guys who feel a lot of anger and misogyny and are trying to find ways to hurt women. Gunwitch, with his Ted Bundy ideas and others (the tagline for the Gunwitch school of thought is — wait for it — “make the ho say no”), is clearly very far on one end of this continuum. I would hope that most of the pickup community is on a very different place in the continuum.

Unfortunately, many pickup artists have actually been defending his actions with lines like “Im sure Gun has a perfectly good reason for shooting that girl in the face” (here’s one source). To which I literally have no response but stunned horror. A lot of pickup artists’ reactions are more reasonable, e.g., “Fuck you, Gunwitch”. But how many are attacking Gunwitch’s actions and how many are being quiet about it, or even supporting Gunwitch?

The pickup subculture freaks me out a lot of the time, and frankly I’ve had hours of pickup artist research where I have read what these men have to say and felt like I wanted to take a vow of chastity rather than ever risk having sex with one of them, ever. But I think there’s good in the subculture; in particular, there’s some amazing analysis out there, such as this fascinating post by Hugh Ristik: The Seduction Community, and Throwing Out The Baby. Still, damn. News like this is awfully hard to stomach.

For me, this scandal has crystallized one question: How much of the pickup artist subculture is useful advice for socially anxious guys, and how much of it is misogynist assholery that can arguably be connected to violence against women? I don’t think it’s possible to understand that subculture without recognizing that both those elements are present.

Now, I’m not saying that feminism should extend the olive branch to pickup-artist-world, and that we can All Be Happy Shiny Friends. There are a lot of serious issues with the pickup artist subculture that are worth analyzing. But there is also a big difference between socially anxious guys who need advice on how to interact with other people, and psychopaths who shoot women in the head. One of these days I’m going to write a whole article about my impressions of the pickup artist community … but for now, I’ll just settle for noting that difference.


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322 comments for “Well-known pickup artist allegedly shoots woman in the face

  1. January 19, 2011 at 10:26 am

    After the Giffords shooting, there were lots of posts, including one on this blog, about how dismissing Loughner as “crazy” in one way or another was not only really ableist, but also failing to hold hateful attitudes fully responsible and letting hate-mongers of all kinds off really easy. It seems to me that dismissing Gunwitch as a “psychopath” when “asshole” would be more appropriate does the same thing, not to mention undermines the point otherwise made in the rest of the post.

  2. January 19, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I dealt with the PUAs in my Yes Means Yes essay, Toward A Performance Model of Sex. The problem at the outset is that they’re looking for a “system,” a way of doing the right things with this construct, “women” that will produce results. That kind of thinking is inherently othering — there’s a direct line from that to women as vending machines, where guys who do all the “right” things feel entitled and get angry when they don’t get what they want.

    That said, I have noticed that there are a few folks with some relationship to that community who sound very different, like they’re looking for an end-run around ossified, scripted, essentialist gender constructs. In my view, anyone who is looking by eliminate or evade gendered dating scripts has at least the potential to be something of an ally.

    I am not at all surprised, however, that one of the guys with a “women as vending machines” view shot a woman. Violence is so often how thwarted entitlement expresses itself — and in fact, we now know that Loughner believed that Gifford had refused to answer the bizarre question he posed to her at an earlier event, creating his sense of thwarted entitlement.

  3. Politicalguineapig
    January 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Men enjoy being violent, and unreconstructed frat boys like Gunwitch or delusional little boys like Loughner are the worst. Guys like these are the reason I don’t bother talking to men when I have the choice. Dating in this climate would be like tap-dancing on a minefield- some areas might be safe, but is it really worth the risk?

  4. January 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Here I speak for myself personally. Because I was sexually abused as a child, I do not always set healthy boundaries for myself. Still, the ultimate blame of who is responsible for starting a purely sexual relationship, to me, is completely irrelevant. In my own life, I’ve made mistakes along those lines and I own them.

    The issues I ran into occurred were when two damaged people (namely me and someone else) hooked up. Both of us had similar problems with impulse control, which quickly became very problematic for the both of us. Sometimes women made the first move, and sometimes I did. Sometimes I picked up men by the same method. In some ways, mutually awful outcomes like these are almost victimless to a degree. But it should be noted that these situations were vastly in the minority, thankfully.

    I’ve been approached a time or two by particularly bold women. Not all of them proved to be unhealthy partners. But there were a few with their own issues that I know now I should have avoided. We like to view our problems in terms of accused versus accuser, which works fine when we’re talking about sexual abuse, violence against women, and rape. But when we’re talking about situations like infidelity, casual sex, and the hook up subculture, it’s not the same thing at all.

  5. Lance
    January 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

    “I once spoke to a pickup artist who estimated that 60-80% of dudes who get into the pickup community do it because they are decent guys with serious social anxiety”

    And, perversely enough, this can be even worse for feminist guys, because we’re acutely aware of how irritating and even threatening unwanted male attention can be. On top of the normal social pressures, you also don’t want to be “that guy.”

  6. tinfoil hattie
    January 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Here’s the thing: If you are a man who self-identifies as a “pickup artist,” or you participate in the “pickup community,” you believe women are objects to be used for your pleasure. So I’d say Gunwitch does represent “all pickup artists.”

    Also: artists? Really? There’s an “art” to “picking up” women for the express purpose of having sex with them? Huh. Silly me, I thought that would fall under the “woman as fucktoy” category, not the “art” category.

  7. Sam
    January 19, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    tinfoil hattie,

    “If you are a man who self-identifies as a “pickup artist,” or you participate in the “pickup community,” you believe women are objects to be used for your pleasure.”

    I don’t consider myself a pickup artist, but I have to ask: why? You cannot imagine that it could be about being better at creating a shared pleasurable experience? How is flirting objectifying *in itself*?

    I don’t think everyone in the Seduction Community has the “express purpose of *only* having sex”. But even if, what’s wrong with having that *express* purpose? Are women who are looking for one night stands (think my sluthood, myself) using the men they sleep with as fucktoys because they don’t want a relationship beyond sex?

    Also, isn’t interacting with other people often more of an art than it is a science?

  8. January 19, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Clarisse said:

    But there is also a big difference between socially anxious guys who need advice on how to interact with other people, and psychopaths who shoot women in the head.

    This is a very important point I tried to explain in my Fuck you, Gunwitch article.

    Watch this movie of Gunwitch prior to the shooting (trigger warning).

    The vast majority of PUAs are not alcoholic, violent rednecks who look like an extra in a zombie movie and drink 18 cans of Coors Light, brandish automatic rifles, then shoot holes in their walls with guns they forgot were loaded, and joke (I hope) about “rape goggles” that prevent them from getting maced.

    Gunwitch was special. Though he had a following, many PUAs hated him and believed that he was mentally unstable. He was known for threatening other PUAs on forums with violence. Though some of his teachings were popular, he wasn’t consistently admired as a person.

    While certain forms of misogyny are common in the seduction community, Gunwitch had his own brand, which obviously goes far beyond merely viewing women as “vending machines” or being a “frat boy” as some others comments in this thread have suggested.

    While I’m not sure he can be dismissed as a “psychopath” either, it should be clear from that video that Gunwitch was off in a completely different world, not just from the rest of the population, but from PUAs as well.

  9. January 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    @Cara — It seems to me that dismissing Gunwitch as a “psychopath” when “asshole” would be more appropriate does the same thing, not to mention undermines the point otherwise made in the rest of the post.  

    This is a good point, and reviewing the post, your point makes me think I should have written it differently.

    At heart, I was trying to do two things:

    1) Point out some of the particular manifestations of misogyny within the PUA community,
    2) But also point out that many PUAs are drawn to the subculture out of social anxiety, rather than misogyny/hatred of women.

    I think that I failed to make those points clearly enough, or at least I failed to separate them clearly from each other.

    Incidentally, is “psychopath” considered ableist language? I can’t tell from your comment whether you’re trying to call me out of ableism, or discuss a flaw in my argument, or both. I am trying to have a better handle on ableist language vs. non ableist language, but I still find some words to be confusing.

    @Thomas — That said, I have noticed that there are a few folks with some relationship to that community who sound very different, like they’re looking for an end-run around ossified, scripted, essentialist gender constructs. In my view, anyone who is looking by eliminate or evade gendered dating scripts has at least the potential to be something of an ally.

    This is my opinion as well. And I’ve met PUAs who have specific intentions of not being misogynist, and instructors who say things like “Don’t be misogynist” in their lectures. I’ve also met PUAs who told me that getting better at PUA made them resent women less and helped them understand women’s problems more. In fact, one thing I’ve noticed is that many smart PUAs with exposure to feminist theory will blend the feminist theory with their PUA theory. This can start looking weird (like when Neil Strauss quotes Catherine MacKinnon, Jenny Holzer and Gloria Steinem in The Game) but it’s another demonstration of how people who are trying to analyze gender interactions often have more ally potential than they may realize, even if they’re going at it from different angles.

    There is a weirdly accurate understanding of some women’s challenges in PUA theory as well, too … for example, there’s this whole idea of “Anti-Slut Defense” (ASD), which acknowledges the double binds that women face during sexual interactions. There are many ways in which PUAs discuss ASD that freaks me out — after all, most of them are only analyzing it because they’re trying to convince women to have sex with them, which means that discussions of ASD often boil down to “ok, how do I break down the ASD just enough to have sex with her?” On the other hand, it leads them to have a much better understanding of the pressure women face not to be sluts than most (non-feminist) men do. And some PUAs use that understanding to relate better to women, and to promote a more sensitive approach among other PUAs.

  10. Ismone
    January 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Politicalguineapig,

    Wait, what? “Men enjoy being violent”? What a thing to say. My brothers don’t enjoy being violent, neither one of them has ever been in a fight. My guy friends don’t enjoy being violent.

    You’re making the same mistake a lot of guys in the PUA movement make. They would have some story about how some woman or women done them wrong, and then would generalize that experience to all womenkind. And that is simply unfair. It wasn’t my fault that some guy’s ex-girlfriend was emotionally abusive or cheated on him. Me and the other 3.5 billion women on the planet didn’t get together and vote on that being a proper course of action.

    Nor is it any man’s fault that my first boyfriend was a cheater, aside from my first boyfriend.

    I am just kind of baffled by your comment. Sure, it is possible to say that violence is encouraged in men by many cultures, that for a man, it is more socially acceptable to get angry and lash out than to be sad and lash in, but that is a critique that takes into account the pressures placed on individuals, instead of claiming, as you do, that violence is some kind of inherent characteristic that belongs to men.

    If we don’t like it when they treat us as a monolith, we shouldn’t discuss them that way, either.

  11. January 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I had no idea there was even a pick-up artist community!! What kind of lame shit is that? I’m sorry but if your biggest worry is how anxious you get when trying to talk to the opposite sex … you need to really get a grip and I’m not talking about your wanker. Really now? Anyways if this guy shot her for not falling for his pick-up strategy he needs to be shot several times.

  12. January 19, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I talk about the shooting incident and Gunwitch’s really skeezy pickup technique, which is essentially a formula for date rape, in a blog post here. I also posted a followup here.

    A couple of things to note: the victim is apparently doing ok, and is out of the hospital.

    Also: someone claiming to be the victim’s sister posted some comments to Gunwitch’s message board (I think she probably is who she say she is), and she gave this explanation of what happened:

    Hello my name is Meagan Tripp. My sister is Amber Tripp , the young women that wS shoot in the face on News Years Eve. It is a pure mircale that she is alive. Allen Ryese shot my sister in the face after he had been grabbing and touching her inapporite and my sister pulled her knife out and told him to leave her alone. My sister then put her knife away and went into a bedroom for about fifteen minutes. When my sister came out of the room Allen walked up to her and shot her in the face with a 357 magnum . The bullet that came out of the chamber was the only 38 bullet in the gun. The other two bullets were 357 s. This man had plenty of time to decide to shot her or not. This awful evil man deserves to rot in prison

    If this is true, Gunwitch was basically using his “technique” on her — one of the central tenets of which is that you should basically invade the personal space of the woman you’re tryiing to pick up and start touching her.

    More discussion of this in my second post linked above. Also, if you check out the comments to that post there’s a comment by someone (“April”) who says she’s the victim’s mother (I think she probably really is).

    FWIW, I don’t think Gunwitch is a typical PUA, but it’s really appalling that his “teachings” has ANY currency in the PUA world at all. Like I said, they’re basically a formula for date rape.

  13. u
    January 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    It’s not hard to find a problem with PUAs. LOTS of what they do is really creepy. Scratch that: horrible, creepy, and nasty .

    But as a parent, it’s also not hard to understand the reasons for them. Relationships are often a catch-22: insecure people with low self esteem don’t have a lot of luck finding others to be with, but it’s hard to be secure and have self-esteem if nobody wants to be with you.

    And I deliberately said “relationships” in general, not “sexual adult relationships.” That’s the basis for the “parent” reference.

    You’ll find a lot of parents teaching their kid the sort of things to say to make friends, or telling them to join a club just to meet people. You’ll see them supporting a boy wearing a certain band’s shirt because it’ll make him more approachable, or a girl deciding to wear certain clothes to make it easier to find friends in a certain social class, or lots of other things.

    That’s because (of course,) there really are third graders who will only be your friend if you have an Xbox… but who (if you have one) will come over to play it, and who will bring others and say hi to you in school for a long time. And even if those original kids stop coming while your xbox breaks, you may use that time to make other friends, or become better at hanging out, so that you end up having more friends than you did before. And even if you don’t, you’ll have had friends for the 8 months that you had an Xbox, and that’s 8 months you wouldn’t have otherwise had.

    Some PUA stuff seems in this category. It’s like parenting-type social advice for adults, limited to men and limited to the context of dating relationships.

    Just as there are kids who won’t talk to your kid absent an xbox but who will eventually become a ‘real’ friend, there are some adults (of all genders and types) who will respond to PUA stuff that is banal to you and I, and who will date/sleep with other adults based on that sort of stuff and who–after getting to know them better–may even end up in a relationship.

    And like I said, some of the PUA stuff is repellent.

    But as for all of it… well, I don’t know. It’s OK for me to help my terminally-shy 13 year old nephew with “how to approach your crush,” right? And it’s OK for my brother to do that, too, right?
    So why would it be a problem if my nephew waited to get help from my brother until he was 21?

    The PUA tactics are not appealing to me, but I’ve known too many kids AND adults with social issues, to think that it’s entirely unnecessary in all circumstances.

  14. January 19, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Things that are not okay: generalising that men enjoy being violent, calling things “lame shit,” saying that people should be shot.

  15. January 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    There is nothing about “pick-up artists” and a “seduction community” that does not make me feel like the mechanical rabbit on a dog-racing track. It doesn’t matter if among all those loud, angry dogs there’s a Bugs Bunny who just wants to love me and not tear me apart – it doesn’t make it better and it doesn’t make me feel less like a mechanical rabbit. No matter what, it does not include me as a partner or an equal – just an object and a target and a goal. Being a person with social anxiety myself, I do have an idea of where some of these people are coming from, but it seems as though they have only been able to help themselves by leaning on a patriarchal structure that only fucks my life over more. Not. Good. Enough.

    I don’t doubt that there are people who have managed to get something genuinely prosocial and personally constructive out of a PUA community, but that’s more a testament to the indomitable potential for human goodness regardless of circumstance (which seems to go along with the indomitable potential for human evil regardless of circumstance), and I hope that those good movements eventually lead to a rejection of the poisoned foundation of conquering women for sex, and to the building of a new community in which misogyny is not an unfortunate side effect or correlate but truly incompatible.

    (As an aside, I want to distance myself from politicalguineapig and C…’s comments. I think they are insulting, simplistic, and reactionary and not worth engaging.)

  16. Sheelzebub
    January 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I’m going to point out a few truths that the PUA community erases:

    1) Many women also are shy and have social anxiety. The way a lot of these guys talk, women are all conventionally attractive, outgoing, and confident.

    2) Many women–heck, close to all women–have also been rejected. See above.

    3) Many women also have a difficult time approaching people they are interested in. (We are also chastised for being too forward and for looking desperate if we do.)

    Also, a lot of the PUA tactics are fucking vile. Negs only serve to alienate. They did not work on me when I didn’t know about the PUA community and they do not work on me now. These guys seem to think that women they find desirable never get insulted or put down. (Wrong.) Trying to get me jealous by hitting on my friend isn’t going to work–I’ll figure you’re into my friend (and will be really fucking livid if I find out you were just being a manipulative douchebag. She’s a human being, asshole.)

    And sorry, but when you act like women are vending machines or robots that are supposed to react in a certain way when you do x, y, and z, that’s pretty fucking misogynist.

  17. Kristen J.
    January 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Now, I’m not saying that feminism should extend the olive branch to pickup-artist-world, and that we can All Be Happy Shiny Friends.

    Why not? If a significant portion of people involved in these groups are doing so because they don’t understand/know/feel comfortable then I suspect that makes them open to new ideas. Feminism could say to these people something along the lines of: (1) potential sexual/romantic partners are people; (2) treating them as such can lead to successful sexual/romantic encounters/relationships; (3) here’s a few ways to approach others that respects their personhood while expressing your interest.

    Voila…better world, filled with happy, but not necessarily shiny people. And I think feminism has a great deal to offer in terms of explaining why existing gender constructs (which I think underlie a good deal of the social anxiety part) are bullshit and giving people a healthy perspective on “rejection”, acceptance and expectation.

  18. Sheelzebub
    January 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    @Jadey, I’m seconding everything you posted.

  19. January 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Kristen J– I agree with you immensely. I’m female, but sex-positivity and feminism have certainly helped my romantic relationships (most notably with the concepts of enthusiastic consent, positive body image and “other people cannot read your mind to tell you want to go out with them”). I have to imagine that feminist-influenced dating advice would be a great improvement on often sexist mainstream advice or often actively misogynistic PUA advice.

  20. AnneBonney
    January 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    “In my view, anyone who is looking by eliminate or evade gendered dating scripts has at least the potential to be something of an ally.”

    I found out about all the seduction community a little over 2 years ago, and in the course of researching, I became an active participant in a seduction forum for those were tired of PUA tactics, but still wanted to connect with women romantically and sexually. I found them to be very welcoming and willing to listen, on the whole, and most were able to abide the forum’s “No Misogyny” rule pretty easily.

    However, when engaged in more nuanced discussions of sexism and patriarchy, even the open-minded and kind ones were stubbornly anti-feminist. As in, the “F”-word itself made them bonkers. Many really do believe that the reason they are having a hard time personally is because of women’s gains over the last 30 years, and can’t see or believe that feminists or feminism care about men, certainly not men like them.

    For 2 years, I tried to challenge that perception, and in the end, I think I failed in a spectacular way. (This is mostly due to personality conflicts and being worn down by the ignorant sexism giving me a short fuse. After a while, my Boy’s Club Free Pass got revoked, and I was labeled an Angry Feminazi again.) I honestly think that, even in the more ethical areas of the community, there’s such an undercurrent of sexism that the idea that a PUA’s oppression comes from the same source as a women’s oppression. There’s a definite connection between the PUA and the MRA, and in my experience, neither are really open to the idea and actuality of patriarchy, because of their defensive attitudes, so they aren’t open to feminism’s critiques of it or work-arounds to it.

    Personally, I’ve had to back away from the whole thing as the misogyny has gotten worse and less called-out, because it honestly hurts to see these dudes double down on solutions that are really causes of their problems. I consider some of these guys friends, and I’ve learned a lot from them, and I really do think that a lot of their issues are feminist ones. But I have no idea how they would become allies; most of them just won’t hear it. Especially from a woman.

  21. Kelsey
    January 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Kristen J.:
    1. Feminists have been trying to convince dudes that women are people for eons with varying results. Somehow I don’t think that the men in the PUA community are going to be incredibly receptive to the idea that “women are people,” considering that they’ve already heard and vehemently rejected this message.
    2. The handful of dudes that are sincerely interested in fighting sexism recognize that the oppression of half the people on this planet is objectively wrong. The scads of dudes that pontificate at length about fighting sexism but ultimately do nothing or worse than nothing are the ones that pay lip service to the concept of female humanity because they think it will get them laid. I honestly can’t see your proposal encouraging anything but the latter.
    3. I can see how teaching dudes alternative macking strategies could definitely have some positive payoff (not having strange men in public places trying to fondle my freaking hair, for instance). However, ultimately the element of seething woman-hatred that compels most compulsive mack-ers would still be there, it would just express itself more insidiously. After all, I have insta-knowledge of a dude’s creep status when he tries to fondle my tresses in a public place, but a stealth misogynist could slip by some people’s radar. I mean, I spot stealth misogynists like birdwatchers spot tufted titmouses (mice?), but it was a skill that took quite a while to cultivate.

  22. Politicalguineapig
    January 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Ismone: Men are very, very unstable due to excess testosterone and being socialized to be aggressive. The only difference between your male relatives and Mr. Gunwitch or Mr Loughner, is that they are, presumably, in stable relationships(with friends or romantic partners), have a sound financial foundation, and do not have issues with substance abuse or Fox News. (Which should be an illegal substance, these days, but I digress.)
    Another good indicator for violent behavior in men is spending a lot of time in male-only environments. Since most pick up artists spend a lot of time in male-only environments which are heavily misogynistic, they become a risk to any woman in their lives.So in the pua community, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ violence will happen, it’s a matter of when.

  23. Kelsey
    January 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Also, I sympathize (if not necessarily agree with) Politicalguineapig @ comment 3. Yes, I understand that there are lots of wonderful, intelligent, feminist-minded men out there (I even know a couple). But when I think about the crushing, hideous reality of the society that we live in and how the vast majority of men just don’t notice or care, well, yeah, sometimes I want to throw up my hands and never talk to another dude for the rest of my days.

  24. January 19, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Kelsey– I think that what Kristen was proposing was less an outreach to the PUA community, and more to the socially awkward guys who are likely to find the PUA community and assume this is How Gender Relations Are Supposed To Work. People who aren’t creepy now, but in a couple of years of PUA training will be.

    It seems like advice like “have proper hygiene, talk about subjects of mutual interest, ask politely if she’s interested and take ‘no’ for an answer” isn’t necessarily feminist, exactly, but could come from a feminist standpoint. Plus, it would be a great way to slip in concepts like slut-shaming (“it’s fucked that women are degraded for having sex, and means that fewer people get laid”), beauty standards (“lots of people find different body types attractive, and that’s okay– really, we should be ignoring Hollywood on this”) and enthusiastic consent (“you want to have sex with someone who really wants to be there, not someone you pressured into saying ‘yes'”).

    I’m saying this as a socially awkward woman who is fully aware that, if male, I would have ended up a classic Nice Guy/PUA misogynist. But because I was female, I didn’t have the privilege/entitlement structures that allow them to exist. A lot of men are not evil so much as privileged and uninformed.

    Politicalguineapig– I would like to submit the notion that “on drugs and Fox News, in no stable friendships or romantic relationships and without stable finances” is generally a recipe for disaster regardless of gender.

  25. Ismone
    January 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Politicalguineapig,

    That simply is not true re: testosterone. Sex hormones fail. And whether or not my friends are in stable relationships, they still don’t beat on other people.

    If you want to talk about socialization, fine, but I won’t tolerate the stereotyping and demonizing of men any more than I will of women.

  26. Kristen J.
    January 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    @Kelsey

    1) Hence the first “If” phrase. IF a significant portion of people seek out PUA strategies because they are having problems interacting with others, then they (those who are seeking help) may be receptive to other ideas.

    2) Also, hence the first lesson that potential romantic or sexual partners are people which I figure will make misogynists run away screaming.

    @ozymandias

    Exactly. Feminists have done a lot of work explaining that people are just people regardless of gender. I don’t see why we shouldn’t share that perspective with people who are seeking a way to connect with others and don’t know how.

  27. Kelsey
    January 19, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    @ ozymandias: That does make much more sense. Speaking as someone that has been shot down more times than I care to remember, I sympathize with the romantic woes of people of all genders. AnneBonney’s recount of her time on the “seduction forum” is also pretty interesting, even if it ended in frustration. However, I do have two big problems with the education idea.

    One, in spite of the few wonderful men that light the last flicker of my hope for dude-kind, I would still posit that the majority of “regular guys” are closeted (or not-so-closeted) sexist pussbags. So, I suppose my main problem with the idea of educating men (PUAs or no) is that most of them have already had plenty of educational opportunities and still continue to do the kind of shit that turns fed-up women into separatists. I am interested in shutting down violent, misogynist behavior by the most effective means necessary, and my experience has led me to question the efficiency of the “educate your oppressor” model.

    Two, this may sound selfish, but I don’t believe it’s my job to teach them. For example, as a white person, it’s my responsibility to pick up a book about race or seek out a website about the experiences of people of color. The weight of responsibility is on ME, the person that benefits from racism. Why should gender relations be any different?

  28. saurus
    January 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Uh, before we get all “men and their testosterone!” (or, for that matter, “women and their estrogen!”) let’s remember that people of the same gender identity can have very different body chemistry.

    Also, feminist guys – and feminist circles – can cultivate their own unique culture of violence, skeeviness, and oppressive stereotypes too. I’m not saying feminists are better, worse, or on par with PUAs – just that we should be careful to remember the capacity for violence that dwells within us all.

  29. Tony
    January 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Saying this Gunwtich character “should be shot” may be wrong (the legal system should take its course), but I don’t see what’s wrong with saying I would like to see him get shot. Reading about this guy makes me want to see him get shot. I realize that actualizing this desire into reality would be foolish, but it does not negate the fact that I would derive pleasure from thinking about the hypothetical scenario. Does that make sense?

    As a socially awkward guy, of course I would be curious to see a feminist/humanist viewpoint on how men and women should initiate relationships. I believe the relative lack of such advice hurts both men and women. IMHO, there is no such thing as the perfect man or woman in dealing with the other gender. There is only a continuum. Having some reasonable competition to the PUA stuff where hetero men can say “Hey look, I tried this totally respectful and non-dishonest approach that does not fit in with what this PUA guru says and it worked so well!”. And it’s not like women can’t benefit from some feminist activism in the dating arena, such as de-stigmatizing the woman who makes the first move, something Clarissa touched on in her other, very good essay about picking up people.

  30. January 19, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    (that Gunwitch writing was stomach turning.)
    this post needs a trigger warning…….

  31. January 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Again, Politicalguineapig, you’re generalising. Not all men have excess testosterone, as per what saurus said, and non-white and disabled men in particular are socialised to be non-aggressive in a big way (ooh, threatening man of colour! ooh, helpless little disabled guy!). Please stop asserting what is a very unfair generalisation.

    Tony, I’m really uncomfortable with the desire for physical violence to be visited upon someone as revenge being referenced here.

  32. AnneBonney
    January 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Kelsey: Two, this may sound selfish, but I don’t believe it’s my job to teach them.

    Kelsey, I get this, but I think it’s also short-sighted. Firstly, I think you’re missing the crux of the problem, especially as it relates to your anti-racist ally example. Usually when the “shut up and educate yourself” idea arises, its because a person of privilege is attempting to derail an advanced conversation with 101 stuff, or they are taxing an individual’s time and patience, demanding what’s essentially one on one tutoring from a particular underprivileged person. It doesn’t really follow when you start talking about a whole movement speaking to a whole group of people.

    Granted, it’s nobody’s job to bring feminism to the PUAs or the MRAs or the Nice Guy (TM)s, no individual person has to engage on these issues. I did it because it was interesting to me and I wanted to, and when I didn’t I stopped. But it’s still an important conversation to have, whether or not this movement can reach out, whether there is common ground to find and share.

    I reread my comment, and I think I came off as overly negative: I’m not writing off PUAs as unable to be feminist allies. I personally just don’t know how to help anymore. But I still think that that help is important and, though not our ultimate responsibility, something feminists can do.

  33. MertvayaRuka
    January 19, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I reread my comment, and I think I came off as overly negative: I’m not writing off PUAs as unable to be feminist allies. I personally just don’t know how to help anymore. But I still think that that help is important and, though not our ultimate responsibility, something feminists can do.

    All you can do to help is be there to talk to them if and when they pull themselves out of it, since they too will have their “Boy’s Club” passes pulled. They’ll be called “mangina” and “white knight” and “castrated” and all other sorts of fun crap. For what it’s worth, I used to be like these bitter little MRA/PUA fuckers. I got better. I realized the world doesn’t owe me the supermodel of my dreams. I learned that claiming to be a victim because I’m male, in a world where anything female is seen as being inherently weak and negative, is ludicrous. PUAs are not doomed to forever be unable to be feminist allies. But they can’t be feminist allies as long as they continue to embrace the PUA/MRA narratives of how women are all evil harpies for not immediately dispensing sex on demand and for exercising choices that don’t coincide with what men might want.

  34. Ismone
    January 19, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    To AnneBonney & Kelsey,

    One thing that I’ve found that may be heartening if you are trying to educate people is that sometimes, even if those you are speaking to don’t agree, oftentimes on message boards and blogs, there are many more readers than commenters.

    I remember when I would get particularly aggrieved, back when I used to comment on a certain PUA blog, some of these guys would come out of the woodwork, and say hey, we get your point, this guy is an extremist, most of us aren’t.

    So, sometimes it is valuable even if the people you are arguing with don’t back down.

    Or so I tell myself. :)

  35. Charity
    January 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I had not heard this disturbing news; thanks for this post. Wanted to chime in to also say, not only are many men nonviolent, many of them are aware of, and pained by, the ways they have been socialized into rigid masculine gender roles. Many of them are looking for ways to “transgress” these roles. It is profoundly unfair to generalize that all men are unstable and one hair’s breadth away from aggressing against women.

    Also wanted to chime in to say, “psychopathy” is a term referring to an extreme personality variant characterized by lack of empathy/remorse for others, manipulation of others, callousness and cruelty, and self-centeredness. It is not characterized as a mental illness. This does not resolve the question of ableism, and certainly personality disorder diagnoses are misused and leveraged disproportionately against certain groups, which does harm, but in my mind, calling someone an “asshole” is similarly in the realm of personality, so is no better or worse than calling someone a “psychopath.”

  36. Kristen J.
    January 19, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Kelsey: One, in spite of the few wonderful men that light the last flicker of my hope for dude-kind, I would still posit that the majority of “regular guys” are closeted (or not-so-closeted) sexist pussbags.

    Oy, yes, the vast majority of people are pussbags of one variety or another. But until I can find an uninhabited island that will support all the people in the world who don’t suck, I’m committed to at least trying to make the rest of world slightly less suck by cultivating compassion where ever I can. This doesn’t mean I think you, personally, need to reach out to people and try to explain why they shouldn’t be pussbags. It just means I think feminism as a movement, a theory on humans, has something to offer people who are looking for a way to relate.

  37. January 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Kelsey– Really? I’ve found that most men of my acquaintance are sexist the way most white people are racist– they are, of course, but not out of malice, but because they haven’t really thought about it and they grew up in a shitty, kyriarchical society. I totally understand people not wanting to do education (if nothing else, it can be tiring explaining why rape jokes are bad to the hundredth person). But at least in my experience, if their friend says “hey, don’t tell rape jokes, a sixth of all women have been raped and it’s shitty to remind someone of the worst experience of their lives for humor”, they’ll realize that was bad and stop.

    And there are always way more lurkers than commentators. I myself was converted from Christianity to atheism reading an Internet argument between Christians and an atheist that the atheist in question might have thought was entirely fruitless.

  38. January 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Politicalguineapig: Men are very, very unstable due to excess testosterone…

    Nice gender essentialism you’ve got going on there.

  39. January 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    First, I want to say that I’ve met and known a lot of men, and they have ranged from absolutely lovable and absolutely respectful to me, to really shy and not so self-confident, to “meh”, to “dude creeps me the fuck out”. I do not subscribe to politicalguineapig’s Every Man Is Teh Ebil philosophy, and I think C…’s vigilantism and ableism (“lame”? really? we still have to explain that one?) are odious.

    Addressing the OP, though, I’m sorry to sound like a radical feminist, but my answers to these questions (numbers in brackets are mine):

    [1] How much of the pickup artist subculture is useful advice for socially anxious guys, and [2] how much of it is misogynist assholery that can arguably be connected to violence against women?

    are: 1: Zero percent. 2: 100 percent.

    Because inherent in the (male) pick-up culture is that (cis) women** are objects or prey to be snagged for the PUA’s own gratification. If there weren’t men that treated women as their ready-made playground, there’d be no need for the PUA culture.

    We really need to separate out the issue of guys who are shy and lacking in social skills (and believe me, I feel for them, as I’m also shy and lacking in social skills, thanks to being an autie) from PUA’s. The former aren’t the latter, and those men looking to help other men in dealing with their shyness would do well to dissociate from and condemn PUA’s at every opportunity.

    Clarisse, I also agree with Cara that your use of the term ‘psychopath’ is busted and ableist. Gunwitch rapes and shoots women and teaches other men how to rape women. Your use of the pseudo-psych term ‘psychopath’ to link him to mental illness contributes to the continued marginization of mentally ill people, and if you’ve been reading the threads here about the Giffords shooting, you ought to know better.

    ** How PUA’s treat trans women and non-binary-gendered folk is a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

  40. Tony
    January 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Ismone: To AnneBonney & Kelsey,One thing that I’ve found that may be heartening if you are trying to educate people is that sometimes, even if those you are speaking to don’t agree, oftentimes on message boards and blogs, there are many more readers than commenters.

    This is so true and applies to just about every Internet debate I’ve ever had with anyone. The other person will never be convinced; least that will happen is they stop responding. But a lot of people who are reading *will* take in what is said and they *do* respect you for saying it.

  41. tinfoil hattie
    January 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    @Kristen J. Feminists have done a lot of work explaining that people are just people regardless of gender. I don’t see why we shouldn’t share that perspective with people who are seeking a way to connect with others and don’t know how. – Well, because if I have to teach men that women are human beings, I don’t want to bother. Hell, I figured that out all for myself! They’re not worth my time if I have to teach them basic human decency. I don’t care enough about male attention and approval to waste my time.

    @Sheelzebub, @Jadey – I’m with you both. As usual.

  42. Kristen J.
    January 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    tinfoil hattie: Well, because if I have to teach men that women are human beings, I don’t want to bother. Hell, I figured that out all for myself! They’re not worth my time if I have to teach them basic human decency. I don’t care enough about male attention and approval to waste my time.

    Then don’t as I said, its not a statement about what any feminist should do, personally. But of course nearly every human being needs to be reminded about the humanity of others from time to time, including people who think pussbags themselves don’t deserve basic human decency.

  43. January 19, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Charity: Also wanted to chime in to say, “psychopathy” is a term referring to an extreme personality variant characterized by lack of empathy/remorse for others, manipulation of others, callousness and cruelty, and self-centeredness. It is not characterized as a mental illness. This does not resolve the question of ableism, and certainly personality disorder diagnoses are misused and leveraged disproportionately against certain groups, which does harm, but in my mind, calling someone an “asshole” is similarly in the realm of personality, so is no better or worse than calling someone a “psychopath.”

    Psychopathy doesn’t have a DSM or ICD definition, it’s true, but then again neither does “crazy” or “nuts” or “loony”, etc. Psychopathy has specific technical definition that was developed in legal/correctional contexts because it presents particular issues with risk and treatment. As a label it shares some of the same problems as do the DSM personality disorder labels (especially Antisocial Personality Disorder, which it overlaps with considerably, although they are still considered distinct) – it tends to characterize a person as untreatable and not worth working with (it’s true that people who score high on psychopathy measures are notoriously difficult to work with, but there is no consensus among clinicians that they are “untreatable”) and is highly stigmatized both within and outside of correctional settings. It also has a colloquial connotation similar to “crazy” et al. and a shorthand for the common stereotype of mental illness: someone who can be dismissed out of hand because they are irrational (and, in this case, evil). It’s both ableist and sloppy to use it as a way of explaining a person’s actions.

  44. January 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    @tinfoil hattie: Because the culture is teaching far too men that women are Strange Alien Beings and/or Pussy Vending Machines, and someone has to pick up the slack. Is it fair that feminism have to correct this? No. Do all feminists have to educate privileged people? No, of course not, any more than all feminists have to work at battered women’s shelters or volunteer for Planned Parenthood or blog. But if someone doesn’t educate them, they’re going to keep being fucking stupid and privileged, and that’s no good for anyone.

  45. Charity
    January 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Jadey, I’m also someone who has worked in correctional mental health settings, used the assessment instruments you’re talking about, and the reason psychopathy is “distinct” from antisocial personality disorder, which i find the more problematic of the labels, is that psychopathy as a concept addresses underlying personality structure and does not pretend to do otherwise, whereas the ASPD diagnostic criteria emphasize overt behavior, from which people too often go on to make inferences about personality (when behavior may be better attributed to structural, systemic variables, etc.). Would you consider “narcissist” a similarly ableist term? It also refers to personality, and can similarly be used dismissively. I’m genuinely curious.

  46. saurus
    January 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    GallingGalla: Because inherent in the (male) pick-up culture is that (cis) women** are objects or prey to be snagged for the PUA’s own gratification.If there weren’t men that treated women as their ready-made playground, there’d be no need for the PUA culture.We really need to separate out the issue of guys who are shy and lacking in social skills (and believe me, I feel for them, as I’m also shy and lacking in social skills, thanks to being an autie) from PUA’s.The former aren’t the latter, and those men looking to help other men in dealing with their shyness would do well to dissociate from and condemn PUA’s at every opportunity.

    Hmm. I think the problem is that if you’re a heterosexual guy who has trouble meeting women, PUA culture is basically the light at the end of the tunnel. The kind of tips you get elsewhere – join a club, be yourself, be friendly, dress nice – usually assume you have all kinds of social skills you may not have, such how to subtly negotiate boundaries in a casual conversation, or come off as interested but not desperate, or understand (and transmit) body language cues. And besides, such tips may not yield much success if you aren’t conventionally attractive or charismatic or whatever. The seduction community tries to give advice that is as practical and detailed as possible. Putting aside the fact that their advice is almost invariably appallingly bad, I can understand why a guy would turn to them when everyone else just offers vague platitudes.

    And that’s the rub, really: it’s like an evil corporation that is the only source in the world for a particular product. The seduction community is where the practical resources are, it’s where a sense of fraternity is, it offers a supportive community, a group of friends, advice given without the side dish of shaming – there really aren’t other communities or resources for this kind of situation. So you turn to the PUA people, and because (like most people) you don’t think very critically about gender and human relations stuff, you absorb the benefits along with all of their pseudoscientific theories and misogyny and misconceptions, and pretty soon you start perpetuating their shit onto some unsuspecting woman who, like most women, doesn’t fit the PUA definition of a woman and therefore sees you as the asshat you’re being.

    Plus, for all the tired stereotypes and insidious assumptions about women, the seduction community offers some philosophies that can make the guy feel empowered: it’s not about you being a worthless loser who doesn’t deserve love; it’s about you *acting* like a worthless loser who doesn’t deserve love. It’s not about the situation being hopeless, it’s about trying this and that and refining your approach until success is inevitable. It’s not about bumbling through loneliness and rejection alone, it’s about having a pack of supportive guys to analyze why something didn’t work out, to give you pep talks, and pat your butt like football players.

    So while I do think that the underlying (and hell, overlying) philosophies and goals of PUA culture are abhorrent, misogynistic, and woefully misconceived, I think that many participants in that culture – and I’m not talking about self-identified “pick up artists” or ringleaders, I’m talking about the average dudes who are buying the seduction e-books and attending the workshops and reading the forums – aren’t really into the object attainment side of things. Many aren’t looking for a harem; just a partner. I think of lot of them are just genuinely lonely*, and – at least initially, before they get sucked in by the “shut up and trust the expert” dynamic – not significantly more sexist than any other dude.

    *I also think some PUAs aren’t even particularly enthused about attracting women; some of them have an appetite for more approval and respect and status from others in the community, not to mention money – it’s a heavily commercialized scene.

  47. January 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Charity: Jadey, I’m also someone who has worked in correctional mental health settings, used the assessment instruments you’re talking about, and the reason psychopathy is “distinct” from antisocial personality disorder, which i find the more problematic of the labels, is that psychopathy as a concept addresses underlying personality structure and does not pretend to do otherwise, whereas the ASPD diagnostic criteria emphasize overt behavior, from which people too often go on to make inferences about personality (when behavior may be better attributed to structural, systemic variables, etc.). Would you consider “narcissist” a similarly ableist term?It also refers to personality, and can similarly be used dismissively. I’m genuinely curious.  

    I referenced the technical context of psychopathy 1) to ensure all readers (I generally assume there are lurkers and other commenters following along) were aware of the multiple senses and 2) to bring up the issue of stigmatization based on labelling because it is similar to the stereotyping effects of the colloquial use of the word. Otherwise, I have no issue with psychopathy in its technical use and I think we’re in agreement on that.

    However, I doubt that Clarisse has access to Gunwitch’s PCL-R scores, so I’m pretty certain that she was using it colloquially. To answer your question, no, I don’t believe so (although I am not the ultimate authority on ableist terminology by any means so I offer no guarantees). As I said before, the issue arises when something is considered synonymous with “craziness”, this idea of unstable irrationality that is commonly presumed to be the definition of “crazy”. As far as I am aware, “narcissist” in the vernacular does not have this association (at least not to the same extent – I’m sure someone out there has used the phrase “crazy narcissist”, but being an egocentric asshole doesn’t automatically imply being “crazy”). “Psychopath” in its non-technical interpretation does have this connotation, particularly in the tradition of “crazy serial killers”. The dismissiveness comes in with the idea that when a person is “crazy” (and this may be referring to the products of actual mental disorder or merely behaviour that a given person finds disagreeable or confusing), nothing they do or say is legitimately meaningful, they no longer have rights of autonomy, and the root causes of their behaviour do not bear investigation or analysis – they simply are because they are “crazy” or “a psychopath”. In contrast, in my experience (and possibly yours) a mental health professional would be hard-pressed to defend a decision to explain a person’s behaviour entirely on their PCL-R score.

    /derail

  48. AnneBonney
    January 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    saurus: *I also think some PUAs aren’t even particularly enthused about attracting women; some of them have an appetite for more approval and respect and status from others in the community, not to mention money – it’s a heavily commercialized scene.

    From what I’ve seen, this is HUGE. So much of the drive to date and have sex with women, especially on a large scale, is derived from this really twisted performance of masculinity that is all pose and no substance. I’ve talked to more than a few dudes who stopped enjoying this part, but kept it up because 1) it was what their PUA buddies back at the lair expected and 2) it’s what they thought society at large expected. They were literally defining their value ONLY based off of how many women they slept with, and ignoring their own feelings or preferences about it.

    Saurus, I think your evil-conglomerate analogy is really apt, which is the worst part of it: there really don’t seem to be alternatives that give what these dudes (think?) they need. The best outcome I’ve seen is they, like MertvayaRuka, is to eventually drop out of the community for one reason or another. But if the fundamental frustration is still there, with no further coping skills, I can’t imagine that leads to a less tangled masculinity or less misogyny overall.

  49. tinfoil hattie
    January 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    But if someone doesn’t educate them, they’re going to keep being fucking stupid and privileged, and that’s no good for anyone.

    It’s not my job to “teach” men that women are human beings. That’s ridiculous. I don’t care enough about men not being able to “get laid” that I would waste my time teaching their special snowflake selves that women are not some weird species requiring special handling instructions. Yeesh.

  50. tinfoil hattie
    January 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    @GallingGalla, I agree with you 100%. Very well said.

    As for this:
    The kind of tips you get elsewhere – join a club, be yourself, be friendly, dress nice – usually assume you have all kinds of social skills you may not have, such how to subtly negotiate boundaries in a casual conversation, or come off as interested but not desperate, or understand (and transmit) body language cues.

    And you think a place that caters to “pick-up artists” will give you expert advice in these areas? I doubt it. There’s nothing about “pick-up artist” that even hints at “women are human beings, not your fucktoys.”

  51. David
    January 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Politicalguineapig:
    Ismone: Men are very, very unstable due to excess testosterone and being socialized to be aggressive. The only difference between your male relatives and Mr. Gunwitch or Mr Loughner, is that they are, presumably, in stable relationships(with friends or romantic partners), have a sound financial foundation, and do not have issues with substance abuse or Fox News. (Which should be an illegal substance, these days, but I digress.)
    Another good indicator for violent behavior in men is spending a lot of time in male-only environments. Since most pick up artists spend a lot of time in male-only environments which are heavily misogynistic, they become a risk to any woman in their lives.So in the pua community, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ violence will happen, it’s a matter of when.  

    Wow.

  52. saurus
    January 19, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    tinfoil hattie: And you think a place that caters to “pick-up artists” will give you expert advice in these areas?I doubt it.There’s nothing about “pick-up artist” that even hints at “women are human beings, not your fucktoys.”  

    I didn’t say it would give you correct advice. In fact, I believe I described their advice as “almost invariably appallingly bad”. But yes, I do believe that seduction communities will supply men with a virtual cornucopia of advice – on everything from eye contact to tone of voice to coming off cool and collected instead of desperate. The advice is often meticulously detailed and exhaustive, something you certainly don’t find in the usual platitudes. There’s a big market for that.

    Of course, the problem is that the advice is bad. Well – sometimes they’ll get something right, but have the wrong explanation for why it works, more often they’ll come up with a supposedly universal solution that only works for a minority of women in a minority of circumstances, and rarely do they teach any skills that could be used in a long-term relationship – and most often of all they’re just pulling theories out of their ass and padding them with anecdotal evidence and pseudoscience and convincing-sounding analogies.

    But nevertheless, they’re offering something – whether it’s flawed or not – that most men can’t find through other means.

    In a way, it reminds me of the mainstream self-help industry: it gives people an avenue that they often can’t find through traditional psychotherapy or other conventional outlets, but it comes with the baggage of aggressive commercial sales, ableism, victim-blaming, racism, and all kinds of other crap.

  53. latinist
    January 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I was never involved in any PUA group (in fact, I learned more about them from this blog post and links than I had known at all before), but I was, at one point, a bit of the kind of guy who, I think, would have been attracted to these ideas. As such:

    The thing about the “women as vending machines rather than people” issue is that it seems like this stuff is directed, at least a lot of it, at men who have no problem dealing with vending machines, but a lot of confusion about how to deal with people. So it makes sense to offer them a set of step-by-step, do-these-things-in-this-order instructions. Saying “just treat women like human beings” is useless: the whole problem is not knowing how to treat human beings.
    Ideally, the step-by-step stuff would just be one stage in learning a more fluid, social kind of interaction. And to the extent that that’s what PUAs do, that’s great. Of course, I’m sure that’s not always or usually what happens, but it is a possible model.

  54. latinist
    January 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Another thing, that bothers me a lot in this kind of discussion. People talk about PUAs, etc., blaming modern feminism for their inability to get dates, as if this were a bizarre idea they pulled out of nowhere. But of course, it’s quite true that feminism has worked to decrease male privilege, and male privilege is useful for men, just like white privilege is useful for whites. Privilege is a nice thing to have; that’s why people hang on to it so fiercely. And one thing it’s definitely good for is pressuring less privileged people into doing what you want them to do.
    I mean, obviously, if we still lived in a society where women were strongly pressured into attaching themselves to men, and not allowed to make so many of their own decisions, it would be easier for these men to get attached to women.
    The thing to tell a man who’s bitter about feminism isn’t “men didn’t lose anything,” but “men did not have a right to the thing they lost, and taking it away was simple justice.” Right?

  55. January 20, 2011 at 12:49 am

    tinfoil hattie– Don’t think of it as caring about their special snowflake selves. Think of it as caring about every woman they’re going to interact with as a human being, as opposed to as an incomprehensible alien species.

    And again, if that’s not work you want to do, that’s great! No one’s saying you ought to do it. What I am saying is that it is a valid line of feminist work.

  56. lurkette deb
    January 20, 2011 at 1:00 am

    I’m sorry, but could someone explain to me how Politicalguineapig hasn’t been banned as a trolling bigot yet? I cringe every time one of these threads is polluted with this sort of incomprehensible behavior.

  57. January 20, 2011 at 1:37 am

    Thomas said:

    The problem at the outset is that they’re looking for a “system,” a way of doing the right things with this construct, “women” that will produce results. That kind of thinking is inherently othering

    Some PUAs feel “othered” by the cultural expectation on them to initiate with women. PUAs attempting to fulfill women’s preferences may experience analogous sorts of alienation to what heterosexual women experience attempting to fulfill men’s preferences, particularly for beauty.

    PUAs indeed take a systematic approach to mating. Feeling that conventional dating advice has failed them, they are attempting to figure out what “works.” This attitude can become detached and alienating. Knowing what stimuli commonly produce certain reactions isn’t inherently “othering”… but it easily can be.

    Yet this attitude does turn out to inspire PUAs to greater success which women, at which point many PUAs abandon such mechanistic ways of thinking, and focus on their “inner game,” lifestyle, and identity. Detachment can help men cope with rejection more gracefully. For instance, some PUAs frame the process of learning pickup as a scientific experiment, or as a video game.

    I’m sure many PUAs would be interested in ways to learn sociosexual interaction that don’t come from such a video game frame of thinking that we see from classic “outer game” pickup typical of the Mystery Method. Unfortunately, the button-pushing sorts of thinking happen to be one of the best ways to catch nerdy guys up in the sorts of social knowledge that many well-socialized people know implicitly, and to deal with the constant rejection they will receive while they are learning. Furthermore, it helps them get positive responses from women as fast as possible, which can heal their insecurity and resentment.

    Right now, the best hope for many socially inept or anxious men (who don’t understand dating norms and what preferences different sort of women may have) is to study pickup to get some social experience with women and confidence… and then study how to undo some of the mechanistic attitudes that they needed to get there. That’s a highly circuitous route that takes years to traverse.

    Can this route be shortened? I believe it can. But I would caution anyone who hasn’t gone from socially inept to successfully dating women from making too many assumptions about alternative routes. If there was an easy shortcut, the seduction community wouldn’t exist in the first place.

    there’s a direct line from that to women as vending machines, where guys who do all the “right” things feel entitled and get angry when they don’t get what they want

    Gunwitch notwithstanding, many of the PUA attitudes that “other” women actually aim to reduce their anger and resentment over rejection. PUAs approach a lot of women, and they know quite well that getting angry and resentful over rejection isn’t going to change anything, and wastes their time, energy, and motivation. Getting butthurt over rejection just doesn’t work. PUAs discourage “neediness,” being “outcome-dependent”, and being “reactive” (all common pieces of jargon in the community).

    That said, I have noticed that there are a few folks with some relationship to that community who sound very different, like they’re looking for an end-run around ossified, scripted, essentialist gender constructs.

    While I agree with PUAs that some sort of masculine gender performance is necessary to be considered attractive to most heterosexual women, I believe that the sorts of masculine performance in the community are narrowly biased towards the seeming preferences of extraverted, stereotypically-feminine women who hang out in clubs.

    Contra to the perception that PUAs are fake, PUAs actually attempt to rewrite their personalities to fulfill their perception of women’s preferences. The result of this view is that what R. W. Connell calls “hegemonic masculinity” becomes a quasi-religion in the seduction community, and members will police each others’ masculinity in the name of “helping” the them, or to display their own masculinity. Personally, I’m only interested in internalizing the masculine performance necessary to attract the women I want to date… I’m not interested in conforming to the masculinity desired by women that other men want to date, or to masculinity that impresses other men.

  58. Ismone
    January 20, 2011 at 1:47 am

    “Personally, I’m only interested in internalizing the masculine performance necessary to attract the women I want to date… I’m not interested in conforming to the masculinity desired by women that other men want to date, or to masculinity that impresses other men.”

    I find the first half of that a touch sad–the masculine performance necessary to attract the women you want to date–although perhaps it is a matter of use of language. The reason I say that is because it still suggests changing oneself to attract another. I’ve thought of it, in my own life, as being more along the lines of learning how to present the parts of myself that will attract the men I want–I mean, eventually, they’re going to see it all, but it did take me a while to figure out the ideal order. :) But perhaps you and I are describing the same thing with different words.

  59. January 20, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Ismone,

    I reference the concept of “gender performance” because I expect feminists to be familiar with it. As I understand the notion of gender performance, it can apply to behavior deeper than conscious acting.

    I’ve thought of it, in my own life, as being more along the lines of learning how to present the parts of myself that will attract the men I want–I mean, eventually, they’re going to see it all, but it did take me a while to figure out the ideal order. :) But perhaps you and I are describing the same thing with different words.

    I think we are. I consider the order by which I display sides of myself in the same way. This is pretty typical impression management, but I only learned it from the seduction community.

    In addition to deciding which sides of myself to display first, I also realized that I had to develop certain stereotypically masculine and socially extraverted sides of myself. I changed my self narrative. In some cases, I internalized entirely new behaviors and attitudes. In other cases, I made tiny adjustments to the way I presented my existing traits, so that they would be perceived more attractively.

    Nowadays, I’ve been trying to capture how I might have turned out if I hadn’t spent my childhood getting my social skills and self-confidence kicked out of me, and my adolescence locked out of dating. I’m trying to figure out the sorts of women I’m interested in, and the minimum level of stereotypical masculinity that is necessary to reliably date them.

  60. January 20, 2011 at 3:55 am

    AnneBonney, I’d love to talk more offthread about your perceptions of the community if you’re interested. I’m available at clarisse dot thorn at gmail dot com.

    Re: psychopath. As it happens, no, I actually don’t have time to read every thread on this blog, including the threads that were referenced as what should have led me to “know better”. I am doing my best to manage my language when it comes to ableism, but given the lack of centralized resources it has not been easy. If you can refer me to a 101 page or other centralized resource then I will gladly read it.

    @Kristen J — Why not? If a significant portion of people involved in these groups are doing so because they don’t understand/know/feel comfortable then I suspect that makes them open to new ideas. Feminism could say to these people something along the lines of: (1) potential sexual/romantic partners are people; (2) treating them as such can lead to successful sexual/romantic encounters/relationships; (3) here’s a few ways to approach others that respects their personhood while expressing your interest.

    Perhaps I should have said that I don’t *necessarily* think that feminism *should* be all happy-shiny-friends with PUAs. I was trying to avoid putting pressure on feminists to engage with the subculture, not take the option of feminist-PUA discussions off the table. As it happens, I did write an article on the topic of romantic initiation that I think mirrors some of your thoughts here (it’s linked in the OP).

  61. January 20, 2011 at 3:56 am

    I’d also add to Hugh Ristik — your perspective is always interesting and I’m glad you’re commenting on this thread, but I’m not thrilled with the use of the word “redneck” in your first comment. It makes me uneasy as an expression of certain stereotypes of rural Americans.

  62. Kristen J.
    January 20, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Clarisse Thorn: Perhaps I should have said that I don’t *necessarily* think that feminism *should* be all happy-shiny-friends with PUAs. I was trying to avoid putting pressure on feminists to engage with the subculture, not take the option of feminist-PUA discussions off the table. As it happens, I did write an article on the topic of romantic initiation that I think mirrors some of your thoughts here (it’s linked in the OP). Clarisse Thorn

    I was thinking more along the lines of it’d be awesome if there was a comprehensive resource alternative. It was specifically a criticism more an observation.

  63. Treefinger
    January 20, 2011 at 6:01 am

    I agree with tinfoil hattie and others. The PUA community is a misogynist community by nature. It is distinct from ordinary hook-up cultures and innocent attempts to improve your appearance/social techniques of talking to people by its endorsement of gender essentialism, anti-feminism and dismissal of discourses surrounding date rape. Most PUAs wouldn’t go as far as Gunwitch and shoot someone in the face, but the violent hatred and repulsive rhetoric of popular PUA bloggers like Roissy is still pretty par for the course.

    I have absolutely NO DOUBT that innocent, socially awkward guys become involved with the seduction community because they are struggling with dating and would like some help to improve their chances. But the methods taught to them usually rely on an acceptance of women as inherently submissive creatures who just need to be shocked off their pedestals by a few negs, then they will fall gasping into the alpha arms of the PUA. I’ve seen perfectly decent guys turn into veritable misogynists through their immersion in these attitudes. It’s a toxic culture. We need to work on preventing these well-meaning guys from getting immersed in that culture by providing an alternative.

    I have NO problem with hook-up culture and casual sex; nor do I doubt that there are people in the community, including feminist men, who are trying to work towards improving the confidence of young men who feel overwhelmed by dating and picking up women. My message to them is this: stop calling yourself pick-up artists. Distance yourself from that community. It cannot be salvaged. Create a new name for yourself, a new movement, that seeks to help men and women develop the skills to talk to each other and become attractive to each other, without the repugnant stain of misogyny.

  64. Causticstorm
    January 20, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Definitely one of those shallow “Thank god I’m fat” moments as the PUA’s are hellbent on objectifying women according perfectly to what would make them feel like winners: “Scoring” women who fit the Iron Maiden perfectly. As in the beauty standard that Naomi Wolf mentioned in a book that most here know, I’m sure.

    I know I am fat because its an armor against what happened to me as a child. And it is really, really very sad that IT WORKS SWIMMINGLY. Other than the occasional leer or compliment on my eye color while being brown (because you know ALL black people look the same and should not have anything but dark brown eyes.) I do not get bothered much. Yet here I am a journey to lose weight for my health…and now I’m scared.

    When I am smaller I wont have my armor anymore. I’ll be targeted. This really, really, really scares the shit out of me.

    But its not even about me, its about all women. Though I do not agree with the female who said “Men love violence and I do not speak to them unless absolutely required to” in so many words? I don’t blame her.

    Keep in mind we live in a culture that views women as life support systems for vaginas with one thing wrong with them: having voices and sentience.

    I gotta say. I don’t hate men, not by a long shot. But if I don’t know them and they speak to me, I suddenly forget english. Want my mind to change, dear males who think I am delusional or in the wrong? Bring us out of this rape culture where this is NOT the first woman to be shot in the face for either defending herself or rejecting a man’s advances…and then we’ll talk.

    Deal?

  65. saurus
    January 20, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Hugh Ristik: Thomas said:
    Getting butthurt over rejection just doesn’t work.

    Just wanted to note that the phrase “butthurt” – much like the 4chan tendency of pinning “fags” onto the end of everything – is a bit objectionable. Words like “hurt” – or, getting closer to the connotations of “butthurt” – even “whiny and self-pitying” would probably do just as well. “Butthurt” suggests a tie-in between the supposedly weak and pathetic nature of having your feelings hurt (i.e., illegitimately or due to being too sensitive) with the supposedly weak and pathetic nature of being penetrated anally against your will, and I think there’s a lot of problematic things about that. Just my two cents.

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  67. William
    January 20, 2011 at 9:28 am

    The problem that I see with PUA is that, while the various systems might be useful for helping some socially anxious guys, the underlying worldview and logic ends up being pretty dangerous. Using PUA to deal with social anxiety is kind of like joining the Marines to get in shape: sure you’ll get in some cardio but at the end of the day you’re going to end up hurting someone.

    PUA isn’t about building confidence, its about finding (cis) women to have sex with you who otherwise wouldn’t. Its about using social pressure to manipulate people into having sex with you. Its about fucking with consent. There is a lot of pseudo-science and amateur psychology but the end result tends to boil down to developing a filtering system for finding vulnerable women with poor boundaries and self-esteem who are unlikely to say no, then taking advantage of those poor boundaries and self-esteem. Its a means of circumventing meaningful consent in the pursuit of sex gray rape.

    Its not surprising that the community produced someone like Gunwitch. When you combine resentment, entitlement, a fundamental disrespect for the needs and feelings of others, an elaborate justification for using other human beings as objects, and the language of predator and prey, you’re eventually going to reach violence. In that same environment its not especially surprising that you’ll find a lot of people defending his actions because they likely reflect a none-too-rare fantasy.

  68. January 20, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I blogged about this recently too, and I think the problems within the PUA community are a really useful illumination of the problems within societal narratives of dating in general. If you’re ever having trouble explaining how ‘battle of the sexes’ narratives or ‘women are soooo complicated’ narratives do damage, or how there really and truly are people in the world who believe in them, and you have any detailed understanding of the PUA community, there’s always going to be a convenient example of one of those problematic ideas taken to extremes within their literature.

  69. libdevil
    January 20, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The PUA community is a lot broader and more diverse than a lot of posters here seem to think. The one guy I know who self-identifies as a PUA describes the PUA “skill set” as a way to easily start conversations, quickly evaluate the level of interest, gracefully disengage if he doesn’t detect interest, and then retain the ability to go back to the start and strike up another conversation with somebody else.

    I wouldn’t exactly call him a friend, and his manner of interacting with women doesn’t really appeal to me, but I don’t think it’s inherently skeevy and it’s certainly not violent. He’s trying to get laid just to get laid, which is weird to me (though I know a lot of people do it), but his ‘technique’ isn’t to find a particular target and browbeat her into having sex with him – it’s about finding ways to meet lots of women in a short time and see if they’re interested in having sex with him. He’s blogged about it some, and most of what he’s written is about dealing with rejection gracefully and moving on. Along the lines of (paraphrasing from memory), “So, she pulled back when you leaned a little closer – she probably doesn’t want to * you. But there are dozens of women in the club, and chances are one of them does – if you meet her. Politely end the conversation and go introduce yourself to somebody new.” A little… cold? Unemotional? But not predatory, I don’t think.

    *He writes a little more colorfully.

  70. January 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

    William neatly highlighted my aversion to PUA with his response; the constant PUA equation of boundary-pushing with masculinity really ticks me off. You’re not “performing masculinity” by boundary-pushing, you’re being an asshole.

    But, I do want to address Hugh Ristik’s statement about gender performance and code-switching (he expressed it as learning which parts of his self to emphasize, reveal, or conceal). I think what Hugh and other men who find something valuable in PUA while questioning other aspects don’t get is just how much performative femininity is about concealment and denial. Learning to speak quietly, move unobtrusively or un-noticed, use smaller words or simpler phrases (so as not to reveal intelligence), be physically smaller, use fewer gestures, laugh quietly, sit as to take up as little space as possible, take shorter strides when walking, not take the lead anywhere–even in conversation, have fewer opinions and not challenge others, etc.

    In other words, my life’s work has been *rejecting* these ideals. Even as a child, I crossed those boundaries with impunity. Most of that was/is related strongly to class and ethnicity—the norms for women “where I come from” aren’t the high-femme norms of more privileged women, so even before I reached an age when I even realized there were other “norms” out there I already internalized the norms of my community, which were/are at odds with more “mainstream” notions of proper womanhood. But still–it’s a huge disconnect for me to think that attracting someone who wouldn’t accept you as you are—who is only attracted to a truncated role you’re playing, an abbreviated version of your whole person—could ever be desirable. The way I see it, if I’m not “femme” enough for a man, the problem isn’t with me; it merely means we are incompatible and inappropriate for one another.

  71. rare vos
    January 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    “A little… cold? Unemotional? But not predatory,”

    He’s still treating all women like pussy vending machines, he just isn’t shooting them in the face when they reject him. So he’s not a bad guy?

    What a low bar to set.

  72. January 20, 2011 at 11:53 am

    rare vos: “A little… cold? Unemotional? But not predatory,”He’s still treating all women like pussy vending machines, he just isn’t shooting them in the face when they reject him. So he’s not a bad guy?What a low bar to set.  

    QFT.

  73. saurus
    January 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    La Lubu: But still–it’s a huge disconnect for me to think that attracting someone who wouldn’t accept you as you are—who is only attracted to a truncated role you’re playing, an abbreviated version of your whole person—could ever be desirable. The way I see it, if I’m not “femme” enough for a man, the problem isn’t with me; it merely means we are incompatible and inappropriate for one another.  

    I always found that mystifying too. Rather like push-up bras, I wondered, how far can this illusion actually take you before it bursts? They’re going to find out, and if that was what attracted them in the first place, you’re going to have wasted a lot of time and effort. What’s the point?

    But I think a lot of people – of all genders – are willing to settle for someone who is attracted to them based on their performance of status, personality and gender. Because they believe, or in some cases, know – that most people wouldn’t be attracted to them otherwise. And they hope that by getting an initial “foot in the door”, it’s safer to behave more genuinely.

    If you’re very desperate and lonely, or feel like a severe “late bloomer” when it comes to dating experience, I think it can take a lot of internal security and strength to think “I’m not going to compromise my own identity just to be liked, even if it means being alone indefinitely, or never pursuing this person I’m infatuated with, or having to answer to everyone who badgers me about why I’m not dating anyone”.

    In a society where other people’s evaluation of you is the popular measure of one’s worth, I think it can be really tough to stay true to yourself. Social pressure aside, how does a guy know what his true self is, and what he’s “allowed” to change? If he takes a cooking class because he thinks women like a man who cooks, is that okay? If he works on overcoming his fear of romantic rejection, is that okay? If he alters his gender performance or body language, is that okay? Where is the line between the evolution of self and utter artifice? How do we know who we “naturally” are, and is our “natural” self the one we should always stick to? If I’m only feminine because it’s socially rewarded, does that mean I’m not really feminine? Which facet of me is the real, legitimate one?

    I think I’m fortunate enough (because for me, it makes life easier) to have chiseled a pretty strong sense of self, and some navigable boundaries between “me, being me” and “me, not being me”. But I recognize that it’s very hazy territory to understand and perform your “self”, and it’s especially fraught when you don’t feel like your self is considered very attractive to others.

    It’s sad – and by sad I mean “it sucks”, not “it’s pathetic”, but I’m not surprised so many of us are willing to pretend if we believe – or worse yet, discover – that it’ll work.

  74. Scribbles
    January 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    rare vos: “A little… cold? Unemotional? But not predatory,

    ”He’s still treating all women like pussy vending machines, he just isn’t shooting them in the face when they reject him. So he’s not a bad guy?What a low bar to set.  

    Sorry, I’m not seeing it. During college, a few of my girlfriends were very much into casual sex, and they used tactics similar to these, talking to men in quick succession and moving on quickly to find a man they felt good about after a brief assessment. They were unabashedly using these men, and they would trade stories afterward, and while I wasn’t into it I never saw them as doing anything wrong. I admit thinking about a man doing this is a little creepy, but intellectually I can’t see a difference between what my friends were doing and what these PUA types are doing. Is there something I’m missing?

  75. January 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Saurus, I apparently didn’t make myself clear. What I was trying to get across is that the feminist experience of gender norms and/or performativity is profoundly (and qualitatively) different from that of the non-misogynistic men who are attracted to PUA tactics because, hey—even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    See, the process Hugh describes is one of exploration—highlighting different elements of self, or even trying out new elements of self—an adding, or enhancing.

    Performative femininity is different. It’s about downplaying, subtraction, temporary or even permanent removal of aspects of self. “Playing dumb” is a fundamentally different performance than “peacocking”.

    It’s a lot easier to view “impression management” as neutral if your path includes exploratory performance that leads to discovering strengths you didn’t know you had, rather than denying or abandoning the strengths, skills, talents and abilities that you not only know you have, but that you deeply enjoy.

    Profoundly. Different. Experience.

  76. libdevil
    January 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    rare vos: “A little… cold? Unemotional? But not predatory,”

    He’s still treating all women like pussy vending machines, he just isn’t shooting them in the face when they reject him. So he’s not a bad guy? What a low bar to set.

    Yeah, I think that kinda gets to the heart of things. It is a low bar, but I think it’s a pretty important bar. And it’s not one we can take for granted – it divides the violent from the non-violent, the criminal from the law-abiding. I’ve never actually gone to a club or party with this guy and seen how he behaves (as I said – not a friend I spend a lot of time with, just somebody I know somewhat), but if I believe what he says and what he blogs, if you accused him of looking at women as pussy vending machines, I think the answer to that charge would probably be that he’s a dick vending machine, and is looking to hook up with somebody who’s into that sort of thing.

    Where’s the dividing line between sex-positive hooking up and skeevy PUA bullshit? I’d guess it’s somewhere around the word “enthusiastic” in enthusiastic consent, but I’m an outsider to both of those subcultures, so… not really sure.

  77. saurus
    January 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    La Lubu: It’s a lot easier to view “impression management” as neutral if your path includes exploratory performance that leads to discovering strengths you didn’t know you had, rather than denying or abandoning the strengths, skills, talents and abilities that you not only know you have, but that you deeply enjoy.Profoundly. Different. Experience.  

    No argument there! Sorry if I was being disagreeable. I didn’t intend to address that side of things; I just wanted to address the reasons that someone might utilize performance (for better or for worse) to found a genuine relationship.

    Of course, depending on what gender expression you’re performing, your experience of the performance is going to vary immensely, as will social reception of it. I know that when I perform conventional femininity, it has a very different nature than when I perform conventional masculinity. Everything looks and works and operates differently.

    That said, I don’t always experience my performance of femininity as a subtraction or withdrawal, and masculinity as an enhancement or exploration. No doubt, especially in the workplace, my femininity is appeasing, docile and flirtacious – when I’d really rather be cool, direct, and nonchalant.

    But other times, my femininity takes the form of an outgoing, audacious, brightly colored spectacle – while my masculinity is subdued, quiet, withdrawn and gives one word answers. This isn’t to say that they aren’t loaded with oppressive gender crap – my femininity is invariably the more oppressed incarnation of my gender. It’s just that it’s not always the most repressed incarnation of my self. Does that even make sense?

  78. junk
    January 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I’m going to second this. As someone who used to try and modify her body/appearance, and aspects of her personality for boyfriends, many of whom were mentally abusive by dint of being insecure themselves, it took me a long time to realize that a) if you want to be in a positive relationship with someone where you’re both equals these things put you off to a negative start, and b) that in thinking about what kind of partner I’d want to be with, I might have to deprogram my preferences somewhat and question why I was attracted to a certain kind of seemingly confident but ultimately asshole-ish kinda dude.

    It seems the PUA community encourages three things, and correct me if I’m simplifying it, as I am far less familiar with the complexities of this scene than other commentators. 1) that all men deserve to either date and/or sleep with women** and that the women seen as desirable to pursue 2) either fit a cis gendered and/or conventionally attractive type and that 3) oftentimes the personality types they attempt to emulate are based on desiring the attention of said cis women who might be attracted to specific kinds of qualities (while also obviously simplifying what these women supposedly want.)

    **What I mean by: “1) that all men deserve to either date and/or sleep with women,” is that in getting rejected/being in horrible relationships etc, my reaction has never been to expect that I *should* be in a relationship with someone/sleep with someone as though it were my human right. I’m not saying there isn’t someone out there to love everyone (or at least most of us), but it seems like the PUA mentality encourages a certain kind of entitlement.

    It seems it would be healthier to encourage people to assess the fact that their entitlement/who they are attracted to is as socially conditioned as anything else, rather than encouraging such entitlement/attractions. It’s not easy to do this, but perhaps some of the less misogynistic and more just socially awkward men would actually find partners with people suited to them, as they are, if they questioned these things.

  79. junk
    January 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Oh whoops.. sorry bad formatting.. I am new to this.

  80. junk
    January 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Meant to be like this:

    Sheelzebub: I’m going to point out a few truths that the PUA community erases:1) Many women also are shy and have social anxiety.The way a lot of these guys talk, women are all conventionally attractive, outgoing, and confident.2) Many women–heck, close to all women–have also been rejected. See above.3) Many women also have a difficult time approaching people they are interested in.(We are also chastised for being too forward and for looking desperate if we do.)Also, a lot of the PUA tactics are fucking vile.Negs only serve to alienate.They did not work on me when I didn’t know about the PUA community and they do not work on me now.These guys seem to think that women they find desirable never get insulted or put down.(Wrong.)Trying to get me jealous by hitting on my friend isn’t going to work–I’ll figure you’re into my friend (and will be really fucking livid if I find out you were just being a manipulative douchebag.She’s a human being, asshole.)And sorry, but when you act like women are vending machines or robots that are supposed to react in a certain way when you do x, y, and z, that’s pretty fucking misogynist.  

    I’m going to second this. As someone who used to try and modify her body/appearance, and aspects of her personality for boyfriends, many of whom were mentally abusive by dint of being insecure themselves, it took me a long time to realize that a) if you want to be in a positive relationship with someone where you’re both equals these things put you off to a negative start, and b) that in thinking about what kind of partner I’d want to be with, I might have to deprogram my preferences somewhat and question why I was attracted to a certain kind of seemingly confident but ultimately asshole-ish kinda dude.

    It seems the PUA community encourages three things, and correct me if I’m simplifying it, as I am far less familiar with the complexities of this scene than other commentators. 1) that all men deserve to either date and/or sleep with women** and that the women seen as desirable to pursue 2) either fit a cis gendered and/or conventionally attractive type and that 3) oftentimes the personality types they attempt to emulate are based on desiring the attention of said cis women who might be attracted to specific kinds of qualities (while also obviously simplifying what these women supposedly want.)

    **What I mean by: “1) that all men deserve to either date and/or sleep with women,” is that in getting rejected/being in horrible relationships etc, my reaction has never been to expect that I *should* be in a relationship with someone/sleep with someone as though it were my human right. I’m not saying there isn’t someone out there to love everyone (or at least most of us), but it seems like the PUA mentality encourages a certain kind of entitlement.

    It seems it would be healthier to encourage people to assess the fact that their entitlement/who they are attracted to is as socially conditioned as anything else, rather than encouraging such entitlement/attractions. It’s not easy to do this, but perhaps some of the less misogynistic and more just socially awkward men would actually find partners with people suited to them, as they are, if they questioned these things.

  81. rare vos
    January 20, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Where’s the dividing line between sex-positive hooking up and skeevy PUA bullshit? I’d guess it’s somewhere around the word “enthusiastic” in enthusiastic consent, but I’m an outsider to both of those subcultures, so… not really sure.

    Neither am I. However, I will say that I’ve yet to encounter a PUA that has any idea what enthusatic consent entails, other than “you’re female, that means yes”. So, I’d be hard pressed to accept that he or any other PUA is accurately reporting what they do, and they certainly aren’t taking the perspective of their “targets” into consideration.

    Someone upthread asked, “what am I missing” – maybe nothing. Maybe this is my own bias talking. Women who “troll” for casual sex have to deal with a shitload more bullshit for it. To me, that’s the difference. But, again, I’m fully willing to consider I’m backwards on this.

  82. PrettyAmiable
    January 20, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Scribbles: Is there something I’m missing?  

    I’ll bite.

    I would say the only way it would be just as creepy as the PUA community is if the women who do bang casually (including myself) got together and were like, well, guys, I need me some cock today. What do you all recommend? And the answer was, “Hey, you know what you should do? Start out with an insult. Men with low self-esteem are the easiest when you compliment them after insulting them. Also, target them when they’re alone. They’ve been socialized not to tell you to fuck off.”

    I’m NOT an expert on the PUA community. My knowledge is limited to fleeting glimpses of that show about pick up artists which I am POSITIVE highlights the worst members of the community. I think it’s great that people who need help approaching others are finding a way to get it, but I have trouble believing that there isn’t a very vocal minority (majority?) that is sending out information that is going to make my life harder as a woman. I don’t know any women or nonbinary gendered persons who enjoys casual sex that get together and figure out ways to exploit an uneven social dynamic that empowers them to get fucked.

    Did your female friends do this to get laid? http://www.pualingo.com/pua-definitions/neg-hit/

    Because then they’re assholes too – and you’re right – there is no difference.

    libdevil: Where’s the dividing line between sex-positive hooking up and skeevy PUA bullshit? I’d guess it’s somewhere around the word “enthusiastic” in enthusiastic consent, but I’m an outsider to both of those subcultures, so… not really sure.  

    Also an outsider, but I think this is the most important line within the PUA community as well (skeeviness being a spectrum, and all). I’m not going to condemn what I imagine to be a significant chunk of men who are just looking for positive social interaction – but it’s when the “enthusiastic” goes missing from the consent equation that I get livid.

  83. January 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Saurus, what you said makes sense, and I came back to clarify in case any PUAs (like Hugh or Sam) were still reading. Your further response makes it clear that you and I experience gender quite differently. I have always taken the opinion that I identify as female, therefore everything I do or am is inherently, authentically “feminine” regardless of what the world thinks. It’s a cisgender conceit; while I’ve been accused at times of not being “feminine enough”, I’ve never been accused of not being *female* (so, cis privilege at work).

    That, and the class/ethnic thing. Men who either share or share a great deal of key aspects of my background (though they may have other key identity markers different from mine) invaribly view me as feminine enough; men who don’t have a certain common level of experiences view me as not feminine enough. So….grain of salt, y’know? Same traits—different observers. The observer is creating the meaning, not the traits themselves.

    Also need to add….there’s a reason we give out awards for acting. It’s a difficult skill to carry off well, and one has to have a certain natural talent to develop from the baseline. To suggest that performance is merely a matter of willpower and/or parroting certain behaviors is a disservice, especially to folks who already have enough troubles negotiating the nuances of daily life.

    I hope Hugh comes back to the thread; I’m fascinated (no, really!) by his statement that he’s still trying to figure out what he likes in a partner. That boggles my mind—how can he not know that already?—but, if it’s his truth, it’s his truth.

  84. kamakula
    January 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    What really constitutes unwanted attention? Someone has to make the first move – conversations never spontaneously occur.

    Lance: “I once spoke to a pickup artist who estimated that 60-80% of dudes who get into the pickup community do it because they are decent guys with serious social anxiety”And, perversely enough, this can be even worse for feminist guys, because we’re acutely aware of how irritating and even threatening unwanted male attention can be.On top of the normal social pressures, you also don’t want to be “that guy.”  

  85. January 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    kamakula: What really constitutes unwanted attention? Someone has to make the first move – conversations never spontaneously occur.

    Unwanted attention: Repeatedly interrupting whatever I’m doing to talk to me when I repeatedly ignore you or try to go back to what I was already doing before you showed up.
    Grabbing my arm when I’m trying to leave a bar, or just walking by you.
    Interrupting a conversation I’m having with a friend to try to introduce yourself to me. (All 3 of these happened to me by the same guy, not all at the same time though)
    Following me into a bar when I’ve already straight up said that I’m not interested in you and I’m leaving now, good day.

    Not unwanted attention: Talking to me about the game we’re both watching at a sports bar.
    Asking if you can talk to me about what I’m reading/drawing/writing/knitting/whatev
    Not continuing to interrupt me and whatever I’m doing if I make it clear (through words or body language) that I’m not interested in having a conversation.

    It’s not as hard as your disingenuous question makes it out to be.

  86. AnneBonney
    January 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    rare vos: However, I will say that I’ve yet to encounter a PUA that has any idea what enthusatic consent entails, other than “you’re female, that means yes”.So, I’d be hard pressed to accept that he or any other PUA is accurately reporting what they do, and they certainly aren’t taking the perspective of their “targets” into consideration.

    Well, I’ll say, in my experience, they do exist though they are not numerous. And again, for that sexist majority, I think that it comes mostly from ignorance. These are dudes who are raised in a rape culture, who haven’t *had* to think about consent from a woman’s perspective, and who are feeling intense pressure to compromise women’s consent. That pressure is of course no excuse, but it does give insight into why they do those things, which I think would be important to making them not.

  87. Ismone
    January 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    La Lubu,

    I am thirty. Plenty of my friends, male or female, who are single don’t yet know what they want in a partner. Including one friend who is a divorcee. It is one thing to know what people you are attracted to and what people you like. It is quite another thing altogether to know who will really click with you and be suitable for (if it is your thang) lifelong partnership.

    I feel like I do know what I want–kindness, curiousity, intelligence, some degree of shared interests, a strong will–but honestly, I didn’t love the last person I loved because he had those qualities, I just loved him. Since our divorce, I have dated plenty of men that have the qualities I want, but all of them have either had something missing or there has been something missing in me. Or both, I suppose.

    So I don’t think it is all that odd to not know what you want. I also started dating shy guys again, after only dating guys who, whether introverted or extroverted, were capable of talking to me very openly right off the bat. Because I’m not really sure if I need someone who will be every bit as chatty as I am, or is just a listener.

    /my two cents

  88. January 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    What an awesome thread of thoughtful comments. Rare to see on the web these days.

    You guys will probably strongly disagree with me but I believe that, when done right, it is a privilege and an awesome experience (for the girl and the guy) when being seduced by a charming guy, PUA or not.

    It just so happens that there is knowledge in this community that teaches men to become their best selves.

    Seeing the face of a girl who is starting to really like me makes putting up with some of the BS in the community minuscule in comparison.

    -AW

  89. tinfoil hattie
    January 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    What I am saying is that it is a valid line of feminist work. ozymandias
    I fail to understand how helping dudes pick up women is feminist. I fail to comprehend how it’s my job as a feminist to teach men how to behave so said men won’t hurt other women. Neat trick, though. I’m responsible for men who treat women like shit! Because I refuse to do my valid feminist work of training men how to treat women like human beings!

    I’d rather help women learn how to avoid asshole men.

  90. saurus
    January 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    tinfoil hattie: I fail to comprehend how it’s my job as a feminist to teach men how to behave so said men won’t hurt other women.Neat trick, though.I’m responsible for men who treat women like shit!Because I refuse to do my valid feminist work of training men how to treat women like human beings!I’d rather help women learn how to avoid asshole men.  

    I think Ozymandias said something important in the same paragraph: “If that’s not work you want to do, that’s great! No one’s saying you ought to do it.”

    No, you are certainly not “responsible” or obligated to do this work. If you want or need to concentrate your energies elsewhere, that’s cool. God knows that educating people with more privilege than you is never mandatory or obligatory, and it’s often awful work: draining, exhausting, demoralizing, and sometimes pointless. There’s always the risk that they’ll want to take advantage of you, or take your efforts for granted, or simply chew you up and spit you out.

    But it’s still one line of valid feminist work.

    Teaching women to avoid asshole men, as you said, is also very important. But if we understand this problem to be systemic, not individual-based, we know that the problem isn’t a “few bad apples”, it’s a whole system. So we can’t just avoid the assholes, because there are assholes that dwell within us all. Racist assholes, sexist assholes, ableist assholes, transphobic assholes, classist assholes – you get my point. If we avoid every asshole out there, we’ll each end up locked in our respective bedrooms, utterly alone.

    So some education is necessary. As you well know, we can’t expect the privileged to reliably self-educate, so the unfortunate truth is that sometimes we have to school the assholes. That doesn’t mean capitulating to their every whim or playing nice or humoring their BS or seeing every asshole out there as a potential student – it just means that, as a movement, we need to convey this message and make sure it’s heard.

    You can even see how this plays out on sites like Feministe – people start piping up about stuff like transphobia or racism or ableism and after a lot of persistence and frustration and shitstorms, eventually the recognition starts building, and the comments become less of a face-melting mess, and people start learning, and caring, and you see things in the comments like “we shouldn’t say ‘psycho’, that’s ableist” which just a year earlier would have been smacked down and dismissed.

    But education is an ugly task. Slow going, easy to burn out, and rarely will the community apologize for all the resistance it put up – all the violence it committed – before it finally started to believe you. Some of us resent and loathe the educator position so much that we refuse to do that work at all; even diehard educators choose their battles. I’d rather get my teeth drilled than educate on certain subjects, or for certain people.

    But I do acknowledge, for the educators among us, that their work is valid, radical, and vital.

  91. Kristen J.
    January 21, 2011 at 12:27 am

    AlphaWolf: You guys will probably strongly disagree with me but I believe that, when done right, it is a privilege and an awesome experience (for the girl and the guy) when being seduced by a charming guy, PUA or not.

    LOL, oh my god, I think I strained a muscle laughing so hard. (1) Sex with a man, charming or no, is not on everyone’s list of pleasant things; (2) great sex and seduction are not the same thing, some people don’t even like to be “seduced”; & (3) sex when done right should not be a privilege…it should be far more mundane than that.

  92. David
    January 21, 2011 at 12:42 am

    I took a look over at PUA land (some random PUA forum on the internet) a minute ago to get a feel for the community – independent of what people here have been saying of it.

    A couple of first impressions, for what they are worth:
    The thread I was reading on this PUA forum was something entitled “the newbie mission”. The mission described was to go say hello (smile, and initiate eye contact) with as many strangers as possible in a certain area.

    The thing that struck me was the mundanity of the task, and also the number of new people to the community who had trouble with it. This made me think that a lot of the trouble these men are having is approach-anxiety related problems.

    I would venture that most of these men hadn’t kissed or touched a girl romantically in their lives.

    The forum moderator came off as sexist and abrasive but supportive, almost like the courage wolf internet meme.

    In fact, while I was on this tangent I decided to do a little investigation of courage wolf.

    For all you who don’t know the meme, courage wolf consists of the picture of a wolf against an orange sunburst background. Like the concept of the motivational or (de)motivational poster, courage wolf pairs the graphic with some text. In the case of courage wolf, the graphic is paired with an over-the-top parody of hyper-masculine speech. The intent of the meme is to provide some sort of motivational speech that is so over the top as to foster laughter and inspiration at the same time.

    Like a lot of things on the internet, some of these are incredibly misogynistic and politically incorrect. Thus, trigger warning.

    Some examples that i picked up with a simple google search:
    “Lose Russian roulette… Play again”
    “Only doubt… holds you back”
    “Bite off more than you can chew… and then chew it”
    “Pain is inevitable… Suffering is optional”
    “If life shits on you… Eat it and say mantastic”
    “Fuck what your mom says… You don’t need a coat today”
    “Nobody got anything done… By being a pussy”
    “If it has a hole… Its fuckable”

    I find that the level of equal parts inspirational speech, bravado, and misogny that was present in courage wolf was also present in the other threads of these PUA forums. What is probably attractive to these approach anxiety laden men (in the PUA community) is the fact that the pickup artist community tailors itself to men who have low self esteem and have a hard time considering themselves attractive to women. Like courage wolf, the PUA community (or seduction community, or whatever anyone wants to call it) offers a mix of extremely masculinized (dating) advice that places the entire blame, and the solution of these mens’ (dating) woes in their hands.

    Moreover, PUA advice is probably attractive to this intended audience because it is the only community that currently attempts to offer comprehensive, step by step instructions of how to start relationships and have sex with women.

    I don’t see this as something that feminists would want to touch – and rightly so- I don’t think it is even within the purview of feminism to address this issue. Feminism and the “Seduction community” may not be mutually exclusive areas of concern – but they are certainly not overlapping.

  93. January 21, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Good points about “redneck” and “butthurt.”

    William said:

    PUA isn’t about building confidence, its about finding (cis) women to have sex with you who otherwise wouldn’t.

    Doesn’t this describe any form of attractiveness enhancement? Any attempt to improve oneself in dating might lead people to have sex with you who otherwise wouldn’t if you had stayed unattractive. Same thing with getting to know someone.

    Its about using social pressure to manipulate people into having sex with you.

    If you want to say that some PUA techniques have the effect of creating social pressure around sex, I might agree. Yet I don’t believe that the internal logic of these techniques is to create social pressure. Look at the Mystery Method, for instance. The phases are Attraction, Comfort, and Seduction. PUAs focus on attracting women, making them comfortable, and turning them on, prior to sex.

    My sense is that most PUAs believe that they are fulfilling women’s criteria for consensual sex, and that they are successful because they do so. Simultaneously, it’s also possible that some of their particular tactics create pressure.

    There is a lot of pseudo-science and amateur psychology but the end result tends to boil down to developing a filtering system for finding vulnerable women with poor boundaries and self-esteem who are unlikely to say no, then taking advantage of those poor boundaries and self-esteem.

    Although some aspects of pickup may have this unfortunate effect, I don’t believe that it’s the intent. I think the main problem with pickup is not that it’s trying to screen for women with poor boundaries, but rather that many PUAs just don’t understand the difficulties that some women have setting boundaries in the first place.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that there is a wide range of female expectations over how men initiate. What one woman finds wimpy, another might find pressuring. If PUAs calibrate their levels of sexual assertiveness towards women who prefer that men take a traditional, unilaterally active role, then it’s easy to imagine how a PUA attempting to satisfy that preference could run over the boundaries of a woman without that sort of preference.

  94. Ismone
    January 21, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Hugh Ristik,

    I see your point, but there is something I disagree with about the following:

    “If PUAs calibrate their levels of sexual assertiveness towards women who prefer that men take a traditional, unilaterally active role, then it’s easy to imagine how a PUA attempting to satisfy that preference could run over the boundaries of a woman without that sort of preference.”

    Assertiveness doesn’t have to mean crossing boundaries. If a man (or woman) is assertive, and the person they are being assertive with responds negatively or fails to respond positively, then it is the assertive person’s duty to back off. It is only when boundaries are ignored that there are problems.

    And regardless of the intention of pick up, many of the tactics only work on women who (1) want to fuck the guy anyways, and are sitting their hoping he doesn’t say something so stupid that she won’t want to sleep with him, (2) have serious boundary issues, in that they allow themselves to be insulted, manipulated, and handled physically by strangers. I have told this to some PUAs, and they deny that their (disrespectful) approaches won’t work on all women. At the point where they don’t think about the extent to which the techniques are manipulative and disrespectful, or don’t think about what it would mean for them if such techniques actually worked on them, they are at fault. This again goes to the sort of privilege of not having to think about the people they are approaching as other people, who are complicated, and capable of feeling pain and being vulnerable.

  95. January 21, 2011 at 2:49 am

    La Lubu said:

    You’re not “performing masculinity” by boundary-pushing, you’re being an asshole.

    Could there be a plausible case where an advance that one woman perceives as “masculine,” another perceives as being an “asshole”?

    I think what Hugh and other men who find something valuable in PUA while questioning other aspects don’t get is just how much performative femininity is about concealment and denial.

    I do get that performative femininity has elements of concealment and denial, exactly because I feel that performative masculinity does, too. PUAs are careful to conceal sensitivity, weakness, insecurity, and vulnerability. They also conceal romantic feelings (avoiding obsessive crushes labeled “one-itis”), because showing them is believed to put them in the friends zone. They are very careful about displaying altruistic behavior to women, because they believe that women will be turned off and view them as “supplicating.”

    A list of typical PUA behavioral subtractions would be massive. PUAs walk about in iron straightjackets.

    You’re right that many of the behavioral additions of pickup are positive (e.g. confidence, body language, assertiveness), but some of the additions have harmful elements. Personally, I feel uncomfortable giving orders, or displaying anything more than minor social dominance. And I know many PUAs get tired of exhibiting extraverted behavior. Other PUAs really hate peacocking.

    “Playing dumb” is a fundamentally different performance than “peacocking”.

    Many PUAs, myself included, feel pressure to “play dumb” and avoid any sort of behavior that could stereotype us as “nerds” or “geeks.”

    I agree with you that there are probably qualitative differences between masculine and feminine gender performance, but I’m not sure that “additions vs. subtractions” in the dimension of that difference.

    I hope Hugh comes back to the thread; I’m fascinated (no, really!) by his statement that he’s still trying to figure out what he likes in a partner. That boggles my mind—how can he not know that already?—but, if it’s his truth, it’s his truth.

    Ismone said:

    I am thirty. Plenty of my friends, male or female, who are single don’t yet know what they want in a partner. Including one friend who is a divorcee.

    This. I had a late start, and a lot of catching up to do. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve been able to go out with people who are plausible matches for me. In the past, the first 8 women I had romantic feelings for rejected me, and I was left having flings with women who didn’t turn out to be well-matched with me.

  96. January 21, 2011 at 3:49 am

    Ismone said:

    Assertiveness doesn’t have to mean crossing boundaries. If a man (or woman) is assertive, and the person they are being assertive with responds negatively or fails to respond positively, then it is the assertive person’s duty to back off. It is only when boundaries are ignored that there are problems.

    It’s true that the way you conceive assertiveness doesn’t mean crossing boundaries. Other people may conceive it differently. For example, some women might perceive being kissed without asking as masculine assertiveness, while others might perceive it as pushing their boundaries.

    And regardless of the intention of pick up, many of the tactics only work on women who (1) want to fuck the guy anyways, and are sitting their hoping he doesn’t say something so stupid that she won’t want to sleep with him

    Yes, pickup works best when the woman quickly has a positive reaction. Yet PUAs work a lot on their first impression (see peacocking and opening).

    (2) have serious boundary issues, in that they allow themselves to be insulted, manipulated, and handled physically by strangers.

    To me, pickup looks very similar to the normative behavior in extraverted, gender-conforming subcultures (e.g. nightclub/bar scenes, and fraternity/sorority scenes). While pickup works partly because of boundary/self-esteem issues of some women, I will suggest that it also works partly because of satisfying the norms of certain scenes, and the preferences of some women. PUAs project these norms and preferences onto a wider population.

    Perceptions of masculinity, assertiveness, respect, and boundary-pushing are partly relative to culture and subculture. Pickup makes a lot more sense if you imagine that most of it is in line with the preferences of, say, the 30% of women who hang out in clubs the most and who PUAs base a lot of their theories on. (Remember, a lot of pickup theories are descended from Mystery based on his experiences in the Los Angeles club scene, which arguably has exaggerated gender and status dynamics relative to other subcultures.)

    I have told this to some PUAs, and they deny that their (disrespectful) approaches won’t work on all women.

    I accept a weak version of many PUA theses, but I agree that many pickup teachings are less widely applicable than believed. Which ones in particular do you have in mind?

  97. Sonia
    January 21, 2011 at 3:57 am

    Given the context in which this thread is operating this is a really good conversation. I will add some of my thoughts to the PUA subculture, seduction community, speed seduction (SS) or whatever you might call it.

    It seems to have come out as a reaction to the fact that the original rules for dating and courtship broke down as a result of the sexual revolution and thus a large number of men who obeyed the traditional rules of put the girl on a pedestal, take her out for dates, give expensive gifts and eventually hope she’ll put out were out of luck. This traditional model is pretty damaging to women too I might add. The model is also well covered in books like the ‘Rules Girl’ and many, many romance novels.

    SS is just another way of playing the dating game, with the intention of a different outcome. The game is still present and it is pretty much as traditional as ever in its underlying structure. Moreover, despite its name, it isn’t really all that speedy.

    I think the major success from the SS methods (a lot of them are actually good) is simply because of large number of approaches and refining of body language and skills as one becomes more practiced at social interactions. A large number of followers of SS are guys who have little to no romantic experience with women. Things like going up and saying hello are ways to show them that women aren’t all that scary and will not chop your head off. Also, it helps to know that sexuality is something good to have. In ways it teaches one to be opposite of the Nice Guy (TM) which is often decried here.

    Since a lot of the guys are just beginning to come out of a lot of social conditioning, the misogynistic language and bravado are, I feel, a way to weed out people at an early stage who are not ready to move beyond the conditioning and would probably end up arguing a lot about whether or not something is right rather than trying new behaviors.

  98. timothynakayama
    January 21, 2011 at 4:13 am

    I also agree with Hugh Ristik that performing masculinity also requires you to conceal/deceive certain things.

    I come from a different culture, but some of the things that I conceal/deceive and “subtract” are:
    – being emotional
    – insecurity or doubts or fear
    – vulnerability

    Those are the more important ones. Now, one could argue that those don’t seem like very “positive” stuff to hide in the first place, but I DO like being more emotional than what is otherwise allowed by society.

    Then there’s other lighter stuff like liking stuff that is traditionally feminine (makeup, fashion, etc) or stuff where I think going Dutch is better, or when they force me to think of where to eat or be the one to drive because i’m a guy etc. I think like most people, men or women, I tend to convey a not altogether 100% true self on the first meeting. The first meeting would be to assume the “normal face of masculinity” then slowly let slip a few comments here and there, which work as a gauge to see whether you can let slip the mask a little bit. The more you get to know the person and find that they’re alright with your true self, the more you can put the mask down and be yourself.

    I guess you could say the performance of masculinity or femininity is like the “neutral face” you bring to a date, and then you can let it slip if the person is okay with you being you. If you find out they don’t jive with you, then you can keep the mask on, finish the date, and never bother going out with them again.

    I’m unfamiliar with the PUA scene, since I’m not from the US. I remember frequenting the Ask Men website because back then they were very one of the few website with fashion tips for men, but after a while, their whole “How to Score with Women” really turned me off, so ridiculous was it.

  99. Treefinger
    January 21, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Another thing about the PUA culture I dislike is that it erases queer and kinky sexualities, and encourages all men who like women to perform a certain kind of masculinity. You might say “well if you’re queer, heterosexual pick-up culture doesn’t affect you”, but if you outwardly appear to be a femme Cis straight woman, it does. The reason I have always rejected any guy who approached me is because I assume they aren’t sexually compatible to me. Knowing that these dudes might log on to a pua website and be told they need to perform masculinity MORE is depressing because it will make my assumptions about them an even safer bet. Even if I just said “hey you seem like a nice guy and all, but I assume you don’t take it in the butt”, the pua’s reaction would be to think it’s a shit-test rather than n honest statement, because pua culture insists there is no such thing as a dominant woman or a genderqueer or a type of femininity that doesn’t conform to certain standards. I feel sorry for the guy in this situation too, if he hides part of his sexuality in taking on this macho persona.

    It also angers me that this subtle symbolism is used as a substitute for just saying things clearly in heterosexual mainstream relations. It reinforces assumptions about sexuality that aren’t true for some people. I suffer from the fact that vaginal intercourse is inherently expected as a part of sex between male and female-bodied people, let alone the other shit pua’s like to insist is inherent in male-female relations. We could do with a sex positive culture that emphasises people speaking up about their individual desires instead of playing roles that may not even appeal to whoever is being pursued. In future, I would like people like me to be able to have relationships without the aid of the internet or a niche community. This won’t happen if a system that appeals to heteronormativity remains popular.

    Other than that, I guess the only thing that would grind my gears about pua culture if it didn’t affect me personally are incidents like this shooting, posts about chris brown being alpha for beating up rihanna and girls creaming themselves over him because of that, and the flagrant disregard for how some techniques verge on date-rapey. If you think you can sweep aside these aspects and reform the pick-up culture, go ahead, but you have a LOT of work to do before I start finding it remotely acceptable.

  100. January 21, 2011 at 7:03 am

    Ok, I am a big PUA (1.93 mtr 6ft5), and proud of it. I see a pua as the most social person in the world.

    Anyway I like to have your opinion as a feminist (opinion opener).

    Really I am curious. “How a man should get to know you?”

    Even a big PUA like me is not psychic. I can’t not always see you’re not interested, or lesbian, or maybe have a boyfriend etc.

    So I say “Hi, you have a nice energy” or “You look very elegant”

    I think as a man I am entitled to open women.
    And women are entitled to say No to me.

    And some feminist’s should be ashamed of themselves. They fight(ed) for equality. And now in 2011 we did not get equality. We got “sameness”. Men are more like woman, and woman more like men (giving a lot of women psychomatic problems, and get the men acting agressively).

    What’s wrong with a romantic encounter of a man and a woman. How should these people meet? Through by a feminist group organised speeddating or something?

    Do feminist groups ever do something for their women to meet men? Do feminist groups support women who just want casual sex? And with which men they should do that?

    Here’s a solution. Let the women open the men.

    And feel the rejection yourself once in a while.

    Feel how hard it is.

    Actually there is nothing wrong with a strange man who wants to get to know that strange woman across the street. And there’s nothing wrong with grapping a cup of coffee with that strange man in a bar or something.

    It’s safe (lots of people around) and for me strange people are just friends you did not met before.

    Think about it: the people you know, you trust are mostly the people who also murder, rape, and attack you. A friendly stranger like me on a busy street is actually a safe bet.

    Next time when a man asks you to grap something to drink. Just say “Yes”. Even if you don’t like the man from the start. If he does not smell, and his clothes are clean it’s okay. YOU DON”T KNOW THE MAN, so don’t judge so soon. Just this once. And maybe you meet the love of your life. The love your life is looking forward to it.

  101. tinfoil hattie
    January 21, 2011 at 7:08 am

    But it’s still one line of valid feminist work.

    No, it isn’t. It really isn’t “valid feminist work” to teach men how not to treat women like shit. I do not agree, no matter how many times you explain to me what Ozymandias REALLY said and how I just don’t understand how it is the job of feminists to educate men.

  102. tinfoil hattie
    January 21, 2011 at 7:13 am

    most PUAs believe that they are fulfilling women’s criteria for consensual sex,

    So who gives a shit what the women think, right? As long as the men trying to fuck them think they are conferring upon women the awesome privilege of being “seduced,” it’s all good.

  103. saurus
    January 21, 2011 at 8:46 am

    tinfoil hattie: But it’s still one line of valid feminist work.No, it isn’t. It really isn’t “valid feminist work” to teach men how not to treat women like shit.I do not agree, no matter how many times you explain to me what Ozymandias REALLY said and how I just don’t understand how it is the job of feminists to educate men.  

    Cripes. Again, I’m not saying it’s our job. I’m saying that it can be a valid thing for a feminist to do as part of zir feminist practice. In other words, educating others can be a legitimately feminist act. That doesn’t mean all feminists can or should do it.

    My feminist practice includes: education work, fundraising and donation work, work that I do in my personal life, and more. Just because these things are components of my feminist practice doesn’t mean I’m saying they ought to be components of yours.

    I never said, and nor did anyone else as far as I know, that it’s our job, responsibility, or obligation to educate men how how to treat women – so I don’t know where you keep dredging up that connotation.

    I do think, however, that if we don’t tell people how they ought to behave, they will rarely learn it independently. So while some education work is necessary for the movement in general, it is not necessary or obligatory for each individual feminist to take that on. If you don’t want to educate, as Ozy and I have both said, that’s fine. That’s valid. But no need to invalidate those of us who do practice that work.

    Really, please tell me how most Feministe commenters learned about transphobic or ableist language, if not from the laborious education efforts of trans* and disabled people.

  104. Q Grrl
    January 21, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Perhaps what’s being said is that if a man needs to be educated to treat a woman as a human, then there is not amount of education that a woman can provide to teach him that.

  105. William
    January 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Sorry, I’m not seeing it. During college, a few of my girlfriends were very much into casual sex, and they used tactics similar to these, talking to men in quick succession and moving on quickly to find a man they felt good about after a brief assessment. They were unabashedly using these men,

    Historical context matters. Women do not have a history of broad and systemic sexual aggression and entitlement. Men have not historically been seen as the property of women. There is little need for men to assert their individual sovereignty or sexuality in order to explore their identity and oppression through reclaiming sex. Just because what a woman once did and what PUAs now do looks really similar does not mean they are the same thing because there are volumes of social exchange that you seem to be missing.

  106. Sheelzebub
    January 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Look. The PUA subculture is not friendly to feminist ideals, let alone pro-queer or pro-trans ideals. You have to be talking to people who actually give a shit–who may fuck up and who may get defensive, but who at the end of the day give a shit. When you have people who are more concerned with racking up points, equating sex with conquest, deciding that generations of misogyny just doesn’t count/never existed and that context doesn’t matter, well, I don’t see why it’s worth my time trying to educate them.

    The PUA culture is not one that the vast majority of feminists identify with because women are targets in that culture.

    These guys complain that they can’t show emotion or they’ll be derided. Well, welcome to my world. Women are constantly derided for being “emotional” and “weak.” The larger culture has deemed this something to be marbleized in our very being. If we don’t show our emotions, we’re cold. We’re not supposed to show our intelligence (or too much of it, a little is okay) lest we scare away the menz. As for Timothy’s complaint that men have to hide their intelligence lest they be deemed geeks–I’ll point out two things: You could hang with geek women. You could also remember that a woman who is smart and geeky is a double whammy of awful in this culture and that smart geeky women and girls are erased–in the larger culture, and among geeky guys.

    If PUA really wanted to improve their social skills, they’d broaden the scope to interacting with everyone. They wouldn’t be so concerned about fucking the hottest chick in the room, they’d be more concerned with, oh, developing friendships and getting to know a lot of people–men and women. Not just trolling bars to find women to bang.

    And again, they might also acknowledge that there are WOMEN who are not conventionally attractive who are passed over (including by geeky guys, ahem). There are WOMEN who are shy and/or suffer from social anxiety. There are WOMEN who are socially awkward. Oddly enough, there’s no PUA subculture for them because women aren’t supposed to be forward (and if we are and get assaulted, we’re asking for it). But the PUA’s tell themselves that women don’t need to do anything, that they are lucky to be picked up, that the only women who exist (or worth noting) are the social, “hot” chicks.

    You cannot take expectations of masculinity in a patriarchal culture and equate them with the expectations of femininity. You cannot hand-wave away the myriad ways that women are belittled, erased, and endangered in this culture, say that you feel bad because you feel like you have to be tough all the time, and then call it a day. You cannot equate your discomfort with institutional misogyny.

  107. becky
    January 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Oh, thank you. *now a little in love with sheelzebub* :)

  108. January 21, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Q Grrl @102 FTW. Also, cosign to Sheelzebub.

    Hugh Ristik: “Could there be a plausible case where an advance that one woman perceives as “masculine,” another perceives as being an “asshole”? “

    In a word, no. “Asshole” actually does have a great deal of consensus agreement, across race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, culture, subculture—there is probably more agreement amongst peoples as to what constitutes a person who could correctly be described as “behaving like an asshole” or “being an asshole” than any other form of human interaction. Out of a proverbial hundred women, could one interpret a certain behavior as “masculine, not asshole” while the other 99 interpret that behavior as straight-up asshole? Sure. Doesn’t make the guy any less of an asshole, though.

    With that said, anyone who thinks that the fraction of oppressiveness that men experience because of sexism is comparable to the everyday sexism that women experience is willfully missing the point.

    Look. I get that everyone has to put their best face forward when meeting people, interviewing for a job, going on a first date, etc. That’s not the time to pick one’s nose or talk about one’s evening habit of toenail-clipping. But. There is a world of difference between the concealment that Hugh and Timothy describe and the standard advice given to women. I challenge Hugh, Timothy, and anyone else to show me where men are routinely encouraged and/or expected to hide, deny or abandon their strengths while simultaneously emphasizing their weaknesses in order to get a date.

    Do you feel more “yourself”, or more like the person you want to be, when you toss your strengths to the trash, and focus on being weaker, dumber, less articulate, etc. than you really are? Do you feel that you are more likely to find the type of relationship you want when you try and appear as “blank” and malleable as possible? No?

    I have been advised by so-called well-meaning individuals to improve my dating prospects by:
    1. not mention my job (journeyman electrician), because women with “masculine” jobs are a turnoff to men. 2. not reveal in any way that I earn a “man-sized” paycheck, because that’s a turnoff to men (so–no mention of living in a house rather than an apartment, no mention of any vacations, none of that). 3. raise the pitch of my voice, because men will either be turned off by my natural speaking voice, or they’ll find it “sexy” (“sultry”), which then means I get shunted off into the “slut” category…4. bleach my hair, because black hair isn’t very feminine (yes, only white people have said this one). 5. don’t talk about politics, because I might offend some really nice man who doesn’t share my views; I should wait until he offers his opinion and then either agree with him, or nod and go “uh-huh.” 6. in fact, don’t offer an opinion on anything, because I could end up offending some really nice man by insulting his favorite band or film or something (see “nod and go uh-huh”). 7. don’t mention favorite activities unless they are “feminine” ones: cooking is ok; mountain biking, martial arts, bass guitar—anything coded “masculine” is a no-no. 8. letting a man know you work out is ok; just don’t let him know it involves free weights. 9. don’t let him know you read a lot—that’s a turnoff to men. OMG you read nonfiction? definitely don’t mention that! 10. hide that vocabulary—the time for “using your words” was grade school. If you want to date, decrease that word power!

    And at the end of all that….there wouldn’t be enough of me left to go out on a date. My body would be there, but my soul left behind.

    Thankfully, that’s not just irritating advice—it isn’t true. There are plenty of heterosexual men that are not only not that intimidated by a woman who appears to be a whole person—they actually prefer it that way. The overlap between those men and PUAs is…well, I’d say “nonexistent”, but am willing to allow that there may be a small, statistically insignificant number.

    So, cry me a river that some men feel they have to be less emotive in order to perform masculinity (I know—easy for me to criticize from the cheap seats—I’m not only female, but come from a culture where emotive men are standard-issue); the strictures on women in mainstream arenas are much more confining and require far more of a negation of self.

    Do I think there are men who gravitate to PUA advice because of the aforementioned “stopped clock being right twice a day”—that the fraction of good advice is meaningful enough to them that they are either willing to overlook and/or consider the sexist tripe as well? Sure. Do I think they could benefit from feminist advice? Sure, but like Q Grrl, I have my doubts. See, “feminist PUA” is an oxymoron. Feminist advice on meeting people for sexual and/or romantic interest would look a lot more like “How to Make Friends and Influence People”.

  109. chava
    January 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Quick troll of PUA forums turned up the following things that I think speak for themselves:

    “LMR”= “last minute resistance” to sex. This is bad. A girl denying you sex, under any circumstances, is bad and grounds for “nexting”/moving on.

    The “Good girl/Freak/Ho” split—hoorary for an un-inventive re-imagining of the Madonna/Whore binary. You should be in a LTR with a Good Girl, but a “Freak” might be more fun in bed.

    Intelligence or “dominance” in women are a potential negatives. Intelligent wimmins are trouble. “Alpha” wimmins are just men in high heels.

    Women: not logical or rational. You must remember this in your dealings with them, young Jedi. It will help you on the way to greatness. They can’t help how they are such lying, cheating whores–just don’t expect anything else out of them. (I’m not kidding, “chick logic” is on their FAQ)

    Yeah–so don’t see anything worth redeeming in that “subculture” after those choice bits of info.

  110. saurus
    January 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Q Grrl: Perhaps what’s being said is that if a man needs to be educated to treat a woman as a human, then there is not amount of education that a woman can provide to teach him that.  

    I think that idea suggests that the problem is a individualistic one: like, if you objectify women, there is something wrong with you that can’t be educated or improved. You’re a bad apple, and why should we waste our time and energy on a bad apple. The kind of person who is willing to do something so terrible to another person isn’t the kind of person who can be won over.

    But the problem is that we are all that kind of person. We are all raised to be bad apples, and we are all complicit if not completely active in the dehumanization of others. I agree that some people are beyond education, but if we think that the willingness to dehumanize others reflects a negative internal trait instead of an internalized systemic trait, we risk misidentifying the villain. Dehumanizing each other should not be considered a shocking act beyond the capacity of your average “good person”, because it you look around – or within – you’ll find that it’s normal, omnipresent, and default.

    It worries me when feminists and activists say things like, “Anyone willing to do X is incapable of improvement”, because often I can think of at least five examples of when feminists have committed the same action.

    I have seen feminists make fun of a little girl’s name for being ethnic (Jezebel), I have seen feminists say that women should have sex out of obligation to their partners (Feministing), I have seen feminists say that children and disabled people don’t deserve liberation (Feministe, and elsewhere), I have seen feminists say that trans* people shouldn’t use the bathroom, and in real life I have seen feminists force women of color out of their jobs and feminists rape and feminists trample over the people they’re supposedly helping. These are not “bad apples” within feminism, or exceptions to the rule. If you’ve never met a feminist who was complicit in dehumanization in some form, it’s because you’ve been buffered by privilege, not because they don’t exist or are uncommon.

    If we just throw our hands up in the air and say “these people are too evil to be educated”, that’s fine. Not everyone believes that education works, and for good reason, because it’s an uphill struggle at best, and I absolutely believe that some people really are beyond education. But that means we might be too evil to be educated too.

  111. libdevil
    January 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, your friends or family offer some absolutely horrible advice, La Lubu. Not that I haven’t seen the same sort of thing operating around me – many of the women I work (in a graduate program in chemistry) with talk about concealing their education level and field of study to conform to social norms. Others explicitly reject any such notion, but there’s policing of gender norms even within this relatively small, well-educated, liberal subculture.

    I’m not sure what the admonitions to blandness and dishonesty are supposed to accomplish though – who would really want to date someone who was attracted to that? Are they rooted in the notion that having _any_ partner, no matter how unsuitable, is better than being single?

  112. Kristen J.
    January 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    @Q Grrl, then we’re all pretty much fucked because I don’t know a single human being that hasn’t at some point needed a humanity reminder. It is absolutely ridiculous to believe that people cannot become more compassionate and empathetic in a movement built on cultivating empathy. Men are not inhuman creatures incapable of personal growth. They are exactly as good or as bad as the general population is. And goddess knows the commentors on this blog have benefited from people giving us a chance to stop being asshats on more than one occassion.

    Here’s the thing. There are evil people. There are flawed people. As far as I’m aware there are no perfect people.

    Some PUAs are evil. Some PUAs are flawed. Some people who are flawed are drawn to the PUA movement because it helps them makes sense of a world they can’t control. The PUA narrative sucks because it reinforces all bullshit that feminism has been fighting for ages.

    But people aren’t necessarily going to give up a narrative that makes them feel better just because we say its wrong and evil. The potential solution is to offer an alternative.

    IF that second group, the group of flawed but not evil people, can be given a different narrative, a different explanation of the world that makes sense then maybe they can move past one or two of their flaws.

    And I think feminism has that alternate narrative that makes sense. Moreover, I think a good number of these flawed people would prefer the feminist narrative when they realize that it frees them from the rigid gender performances required by the PUA movement.

  113. January 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    To complement chava’s list, here is a list of ideas in the seduction community that I think are positive.

  114. January 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Hugh Ristik: A list of typical PUA behavioral subtractions would be massive. PUAs walk about in iron straightjackets.

    You’re right that many of the behavioral additions of pickup are positive (e.g. confidence, body language, assertiveness), but some of the additions have harmful elements. Personally, I feel uncomfortable giving orders, or displaying anything more than minor social dominance. And I know many PUAs get tired of exhibiting extraverted behavior. Other PUAs really hate peacocking.

    I have no sympathy, pal. You and your fellow men created and imposed these conditions upon yourselves. You have to hide this or that aspect of your personality? Take that up with your fellow men.

    Women and non-binary people have had behavior subtractions imposed on us by men without our consent. We did not create this code of conduct. We are not responsible for the difficulties you face in getting into our pants.

    I don’t care how much spin and polish you put on it, Hugh. I will always see PUA culture as teaching men how to manipulate women into giving you access to them, and taking advantage of the fact that women have been socialized not to be assertive about our boundaries.

    And this doesn’t even begin to address the homophobia and transphobia that is inherent in PUA culture.

  115. chava
    January 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, that list sounds very nice when you clean it up and disengage it from the culture in which it is embedded. There are still a few indicators in there that men in PUA are always expected to “lead” and “be alpha” in relationships– #1 on your list is a crucial part of that alpha frame.

    Nevermind that the entire goal of the list is not to create a healthy, co-equal relationships (something the PUA community scornfully calls being “beta-ized”_–gotta love evo-psych), but to get the woman to have sex, however you can, which remaining alpha.

    I’m all for flirting, the game of dating, etc. But when women start to be the enemy or simple targets (rated, with numbers, by hotness–an “UG” is an “ugly girl,” an “HB” a hot babe, etc) something is wrong. Maybe this is just what happens to anyone who plays the field for too long, but I have to say, I would kick anyone with this macho bullshit attitude to the curb.

  116. chava
    January 21, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Bahhh– that should read “but to get the woman to have sex, however you can, *while* remaining alpha,” sorry. I would say I’m tired and thus not paying enough attention to my typing, but it must be my “chick logic” causing me to make up reasons for my emotional actions after the fact.

    “I will always see PUA culture as teaching men how to manipulate women into giving you access to them, and taking advantage of the fact that women have been socialized not to be assertive about our boundaries.”
    Yeah, this is a major part of what makes me feel sqeechy as well. On the other hand, I don’t like lines of argument that deny women agency on the other side of this sort of game.

  117. January 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    libdevil, that is horrible advice—but it’s suggested because it would supposedly increase the number of dates—it would supposedly increase the number of men who would find me attractive (which frankly is an insult to men—men prefer blank slates? really? who the hell are you hanging out with?!).

    They may be right—maybe wiping my personality, interests, vocations and avocations away would increase the number of men interested in me. So what? I’m not interested in “numbers”. A large number of male-chauvinist partners, or a great deal of sex with men who (1)I can’t stand and (2)who can’t stand me either is thoroughly unappealing. It defeats the whole purpose of sex and/or relationships—which I stubbornly see as “mutually pleasurable”.

    The thick coating of contempt for women that goes along with PUA culture is a disconnect for me. Why have sex with someone you can’t or don’t respect? There’s no “there” there!

  118. January 21, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hugh Ristik: To complement chava’s list, here is a list of ideas in the seduction community that I think are positive.  

    Ok, I’ll bite.

    First, the site is “Feminist Critics”? Big red flag right there.

    The path to mastery is not found by telling a hot woman that she is hot, offering to buy her a drink, being too persistent, or asking her lots of questions.

    “Hot woman”. How is this not objectifying? You still are looking for women whose pants you want to get into, and with “The path to mastery”, you still look upon getting into women’s pants as a skill. This is just manipulating your image to come off as a Nice Guy™ to that conventionally attractive, thin, femme cis hetero girl, and has nothing about approaching people to socialize with them.

    Think about what you would want an interaction with a girl to be like if there was no need to get sex. Let’s say that sex was a given. You did not need to do anything tricky or run ‘game’ to score. How would
    you like that interaction to be? Myself I want it to be fun, exciting, relaxed, playful and sharing with each other willingly.

    OMFG. This says it all, that PUAs feel they are entitled to sex. That sex is the endgame. That pretending as if you’re socializing for its own sake is what you have to do because we won’t just instantly put out for you.

    You would instead lead her by being fun, relaxed, sharing, or whatever you want the interaction to be like yourself and learn to allow and encourage her to be that as well.

    Because, omygawd, we’re all just sitting around waiting to be *lead* by a man. You see us as passive, as unable to lead our own lives.

    The most common error beginners make is focusing on seducing a woman before attracting her. This is putting the cart before the horse. Often, to beautiful women in particular, seduction first is little more than the equivalent of saying, “You don’t know me, but will you sleep with me?” There is a time (and a place) to begin the seduction stage, but it’s not until you first have attraction and comfort, not to mention privacy.

    Seducers mistakenly begin at the end. Like the typical guy, they often blatantly disregard a woman’s comfort levels entirely. Even if there is a level of attraction based on the seducer’s appearance alone, this is superseded by her discomfort in having to deal with aggressive sexual advances from someone she doesn’t know or trust. It is best to not prematurely telegraph strong sexual interest until end-game.

    Women will reject blatant attempts to cross their boundaries. So find more subtle ways to cross boundaries instead. Wear them down until its easier to go in for the kill. After all, this is how wolves operate, right? Wolves won’t directly attack a healthy, well rested moose, because they’ll just get a kick in the ribs. Wolves harry their prey until the prey is exhausted, then go in for the kill.

    As I was sitting across from a woman at dinner I was inspired to pull a Chapstick lip-balm out of my pocket. I popped the cap off in an obvious manner and made a show of glossing my lips with the stuff. Then I said to her, ‘Not that I’m presuming anything, but in case there’s any smooching later.’

    Yep, once again, interested only in getting into her pants.

    Not to mention, the word “seduction” is used liberally throughout that whole site. As others have mentioned, there aren’t communities of women dedicated to reducing men to sexual objects that we feel we have a right to own.

    Kristen J, Ozymandias, and saurus: I have zero interest in educating PUAs. As long as they have the attitude that women are there for their sexual conquest, they have no interest in being educated, except perhaps to pick up feminist-cred lingo that they can use to hone their Nice Guy™ seduction approach. (Also, PUAs wouldn’t engage with me anyway, because they will look upon my [gender]queer, semi-butch, trans self with contempt, if not outright violence.) I am willing to educate men who are genuinely interested (on my own terms and energy level, of course), but PUAs aren’t genuinely interested. They are perfectly capable of reading here and deciding for themselves that the culture is fucked up and that they don’t want to be associated with it anymore.

  119. January 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    And let’s look at the women that PUA’s invisiblize: Women who are not conventionally femme, women whose bodies don’t fit a very narrow definition of “hotness” (too short, too tall, bigger than a size 2 or maybe 4, muscular, etc), women who work in trades (thank you, La Lubu, for raising that point), women who are queer / lesbian, women who are asexual, women who are trans, women who, such as myself, have complex gender identities, women who don’t like to go to bars, geeky women, women who are their intellectual equals in the workplace (how *dare* a woman point out that my algorithm isn’t well suited for programming task x?) PUA’s ignore, and often express open contempt, for such women. If you’re selecting women by their / our “hotness”, then you’re not considering us as fully developed human beings.

  120. saurus
    January 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    GallingGalla:
    Kristen J, Ozymandias, and saurus: I have zero interest in educating PUAs.

    Uh, just for the record, I am not remotely interested in educating PUAs either. The upthread discussion wasn’t about whether feminists can or should educate PUAs. It was about whether educating men can constitute one line of valid feminist work, and (later in the thread) whether the willingness to dehumanize indicates that one is unable to be educated. I feel like people are getting defensive, like “whooooaaa, I’m not educating any damn PUAs!”, but no one is asking anyone to.

    I think PUAs aren’t going to learn without education (whether by self-educating, interaction with feminists, or just meeting real women and starting to realize the flaws of pickup, the way the PUA Neil Strauss did). But that doesn’t mean you, or I, or anyone else is personally responsible for their education.

  121. Ismone
    January 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    GallingGalla,

    Meh, I don’t have a problem with men trying to get into women’s pants, or vice versa, as long as it is done openly and respectfully. I do realize that a lot of the techniques advised in PUA land are neither, but I do think there are men who are capable of separating out the good from the bad, the good being, just try to talk to lots and lots of people, and eventually, some of them will like what you have to say.

    Hugh Ristik,

    The techniques I have a problem with are negs, inappropriate touching, what Gavin de Becker calls “false teaming,” ignoring negative reactions, and the whole ignoring someone to build interest. Negs bother me because they reflect too much familiarity. It is totally fine for a friend to bust my balls about something, when a stranger does it, I may react like I would to a friend, sort of reflexively, but usually I seethe either outwardly or inwardly. By inappropriate touching, I mean touching that isn’t okay in the social context. So if I am chatting with someone for a while, and he or she touches my hand or arm, and goes from there based on how I react to that touching, fine. But anyone who touches my back/waist/butt/hip/face/hair–I mean, fuck them. “False teaming” is where you create sort of a fake alliance between you and a person–rapists use it. Basically, you start using we language. It really bothers me when men ignore negative reactions, too. I remember a friend and I, right after a breakup, were at a coffee shop chatting merrily away, and this guy kept trying to break into our conversation. I was ice-queen chilly, but he just kept trying. I mean, I did stuff that was really discomfort creating, like when he asked a question, pausing for a long time, and then disagreeing with whatever he’d said in very chilly tones. It took forever to get him to leave us alone. I think I ended up having to say, look, are you going to make me ask you to leave us alone? Because I will. And I dislike the manipulative ignoring game. It is simply rude to start a conversation with someone, and then withdraw attention as a manipulative device to obtain interest. So those are the ones I can think of off top.

    Everyone else,

    Look, I get that the PUA community has massive, massive problems, having lurked there for a while. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with, while critiquing it, also talking about dating and what *does* work. Sure, feminism isn’t a dating service, but there are some feminists who find relationships important, and who are willing to take up the mantles of educators. And I think that masculinity is hard–in many ways, it is as externally imposed as femininity, and I think in some ways, it is more rigid. Sure, performing masculinity gives one higher status than performing femininity, but it doesn’t make it a cakewalk. Most of the men I know don’t get to define masculinity. The more secure ones just sort of are who they are, without apology, but most of them have privilege that allows them to be that way. (A good job, enough masculine bona fides that no one really is going to challenge them for liking, say, ANTM, white privilege, cis privilege, and on and on).

    Meh.

    Oh, and seconded and thirded everything Sheezlebub said about the erasing of shy and geeky and not-considered-conventionally attractive women. So very, very true. A lot of men in the PUA community refuse to acknowledge that the challenges that face them are human problems, not male problems. I particularly hate the idea that women can just magically get sex from any guy. Or at least an acceptable guy. That myth needs to fucking die.

  122. January 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Ismone: A lot of men in the PUA community refuse to acknowledge that the challenges that face them are human problems, not male problems.

    I think that’s the most succint (and accurate!) way I’ve seen the problems I have with the PUA community summed up. Thanks, seriously.

  123. January 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Sure. All I’m saying is that meeting someone for the first time and experiencing mutual attraction to each other in a smooth way is a wonderful feeling.

    Lots of hating on this thread about PUAs. I understand the original article was about the news about Gunwitch but damn…

    -AW

    Kristen J.:
    LOL, oh my god, I think I strained a muscle laughing so hard.(1) Sex with a man, charming or no, is not on everyone’s list of pleasant things; (2) great sex and seduction are not the same thing, some people don’t even like to be “seduced”; & (3) sex when done right should not be a privilege…it should be far more mundane than that.  

  124. January 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    So much focus on “what’s wrong with the community”, which is natural given the original post but there are a lot of positive aspects of it too.

    Lots of BROAD, over-general assumptions: “PUA’s ignore, and often express open contempt, for such women.” Whow.

    Also, what women say logically often are very different than how they behave in real life.

    This applies to humans in general. People talk a big game online but in reality, we all all part of a larger whole and real behavior exhibits itself when you examine one’s real choices.

    Being a coach I have met many guys who had no idea how to talk to girls become better at doing so, and also more attractive to themselves.

    As for the techniques – well…. they work. There are natural ways of teaching the game as well but you must understand that some of these guys are missing something fundamental in social skills… and you need to teach them this from the ground up, in a way that doesn’t take years like it usually does when we grow up on the playground.

    “So it is a successful combination of both. It is not pure naturalness, or pure unnaturalness. The ideal is unnatural naturalness or natural unnaturalness.” – Bruce Lee

    I thought about ignoring this thread altogether but I am hoping for more understanding.

  125. PrettyAmiable
    January 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    …More understanding by demonstrating your own personal brand of sexism?

    Sorry bud.

  126. saurus
    January 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    AlphaWolf: Also, what women say logically often are very different than how they behave in real life.

    I agree with this 100%. Online, my intellect wins out – I’m logical, thoughtful, and reasonable. But offline, when the lady-hormone glands in my neck begin to rhythmically contract and make that distinctive feminine whirring noise, I find myself helplessly rubbing my face on chairs, hydro poles and outdoor benches; prey to any object with a metallic sheen and outlandish cowboy hat. It’s so frustrating. Don’t even get me started on the raisin-sized larvae that start gestating in my throat whenever a pickup artist says I’m like his little sister. If there’s one thing the seduction community demonstrates, it’s that women may talk pretty but underneath we’re still slaves to our biology. It’s been two weeks since my last intercourse, and I’m still releasing the telltale puffs of mustard gas!

  127. January 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Lots of hating on this thread about PUAs.

    You can thank the overwhelming popularity of “the neg” for that. It’s synonymous with PUAs.

    As for the techniques – well…. they work.

    Some of them do. Some of them don’t. Some of them have a higher failure than success rate (like the aforementioned “neg”, or escalating techniques like touching—which most women find extremely creepy coming from a person they don’t know very well). I liken the PUA industry to the diet industry, or the various get-rich-quick industries. There’s just enough truth to get the marks in the door, and bolstered by enough “truthiness” to keep the scam rolling.

    Realistically, there is a hard limit to what PUA can do. For men who just have some fear of approaching strangers and talking to them, some of the PUA advice can help. (then again, so can any form of public interaction and speaking). For men who have greater issues than just basic shyness, PUA isn’t going to solve their problems—and it can increase them. If one’s problem is not being able to decode the nuances of nonverbal communication, much of the advice given by PUAs is awful.

  128. Ismone
    January 21, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Alpha Wolf,

    BTW, an Alpha wolf is part of an Alpha *Pair* in a given pack. There are no lone Alpha Wolves.

    Re: people talking a good game on the internet–guess what–my good game on the internet does not involve denigrating men as a group, or denigrating men based on their appearance/fuckability. So I will judge men who talk that way about women. Men who say those things, whether it is bravado or not, are simply not up to my standards.

    As an individualist, I also judge the shit out of people who generalize about groups, or blame the group for the wrongdoing of a member. So, something I see on PUA blogs frequently, which is woman/women did me wrong, therefore they all suck and are not to be trusted, well, that doesn’t sit well with me. What particularly irks me about it is if I were to inform on my exes, my stories are worse than their stories. And yet I don’t use those stories to blame all men. Because I’m not stupid. Because other guys didn’t get together and vote on whether my ex should cheat on me. And because it is immature.

    Can I learn from past relationships? You bet. I can learn to look for the warning signs for jerks. Thing is, a lot of you PUA guys trip them, all the time. And you have got to be kidding if you are pretending that hotness isn’t pretty much exclusively discussed on PUA blogs when talking about a woman’s desireability.

  129. Kristen J.
    January 21, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    AlphaWolf: Being a coach I have met many guys who had no idea how to talk to girls become better at doing so, and also more attractive to themselves.

    Which in and of itself is a good thing. Teaching people to read others is great as is helping people build their self-esteem. The problem with PUA strategies is they don’t do those things.. The source of the confidence is not in self-acceptance, but rather the correct performance of a rigid and completely fucked up version of masculinity. Its no different from women who *force* themselves (or are forced by others) to preform femininity in socially approved ways. It isn’t real. It isn’t who the person really is. And the act of reshaping yourself to fit an external ideal is not building self-esteem, its exercising self-hatred. So you’re fooling yourself if you think you’re really “helping” men by teaching them PUA philosophies.

  130. tinfoil hattie
    January 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    saurus: I don’t care about the challenges men face in trying to meet women. I just don’t care.

    Clear enough for you?

  131. Sheelzebub
    January 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    PUA hate? Oh, please. The way these d00ds approach women, treat women, and talk about women, I’d say the hate is all on them.

    BTW, the trope that women say they want one thing but really want something else, and the big manly man will mansplain to you what that is, little lady? Is really fucking patronizing. Yes, you did go on to say it was a human thing, but consider this: that bullshit has been used to ignore what women say, to ignore the ‘no,’ and to patronize us for generations. It’s part and parce of a patriarchial culture.

    The thing is, I know a lot of men who claim they want one thing but go for another. SFW? Here’s what makes my life easier–I only give my time and energy to men who don’t play games. A PUA’s life would be much easier if he did the same WRT to women.

  132. William
    January 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Doesn’t this describe any form of attractiveness enhancement? Any attempt to improve oneself in dating might lead people to have sex with you who otherwise wouldn’t if you had stayed unattractive. Same thing with getting to know someone.

    Theres a difference between a new haircut or learning how to socialize and setting out to manipulate someone else. My big problem with the PUA community is that the focus is not generally on simply meeting people but on meeting people with the intent to “seduce them.” Seduction implies getting someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in doing, it implies a manipulation. We’re talking about the difference between flashy marketing and a used car salesman trying to get a lemon off their lot. Sure, both are trying to get you to buy something but that doesn’t make them the same thing.

    If you want to say that some PUA techniques have the effect of creating social pressure around sex, I might agree. Yet I don’t believe that the internal logic of these techniques is to create social pressure.

    Not to be difficult, but the foucauldian in me thinks your distinction is irrelevant and the psychoanalyst in me thinks its defensive. If you’re going out looking to have sex and you use techniques that have the effect of marshaling social pressure around sex then you’re using pressure to get laid. Your internal logic is pretty much irrelevant.

    My sense is that most PUAs believe that they are fulfilling women’s criteria for consensual sex, and that they are successful because they do so. Simultaneously, it’s also possible that some of their particular tactics create pressure.

    Let me be clear. I only care about how you sleep at night if you’re on my couch and paying my hourly. You’re using pressure to get laid. Thats not meaningful consent and it sure as hell isn’t enthusiastic (if it was you wouldn’t have needed the seduction). Is it going to end in a rape conviction? Probably not. Is it predatory? Probably.

    People do not do things for no reason. Everything we do is motivated by pleasure or the avoidance of pain, everything we do has a payoff. If you’re using pressure techniques it is because you have found pressure to be successful and useful. More than that you have found the lack of pressure to be unsuccessful. Dress it up all you want, but you’re talking about using subtle coercion to get laid.

    Although some aspects of pickup may have this unfortunate effect, I don’t believe that it’s the intent.

    And this pattern is what makes me see PUAs as problematic on the group-level. There is a narcissism in your arguments, a basic self-involvement and lack of empathy. You keep talking about intent as if that somehow mitigates effect. It seems as if you believe that being a good guy makes what you do OK. Its like the guy who buys a stereo out of an addict’s trunk and says “well I didn’t know for sure it was stolen!” You’re thinking about yourself and completely failing to recognize in a meaningful way how others might feel.

    I think the main problem with pickup is not that it’s trying to screen for women with poor boundaries, but rather that many PUAs just don’t understand the difficulties that some women have setting boundaries in the first place.

    Ahh, so it’s the women’s fault that PUAs just so happened to seek out, develop, and learn a system which just so happens to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities. Its all a crazy coincidence…

    If PUAs calibrate their levels of sexual assertiveness towards women who prefer that men take a traditional, unilaterally active role, then it’s easy to imagine how a PUA attempting to satisfy that preference could run over the boundaries of a woman without that sort of preference.

    Accidentally, of course.

  133. saurus
    January 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    tinfoil hattie: saurus:I don’t care about the challenges men face in trying to meet women.I just don’t care.Clear enough for you?  

    No, I’m afraid not clear enough – I didn’t think we were talking about “helping men meet women”, but rather about promoting non-misogynistic ways of treating women. I think it’s perfectly fine that you don’t care about the challenges some men face in meeting women, but I don’t really understand how that’s relevant to anything I’ve said.

    The end-goal of the education I’ve discussed in this thread – which, I’ll say again, I do not consider the responsibility or obligation of feminists to carry out – isn’t to facilitate better dating lives for men, but to prevent women from having to deal with this sort of misogynistic behavior.

    Likewise, I do some education work promoting anti-racism – not because I want white people to have more fulfilling relationships with people of color, but rather because I don’t want people of color to have to deal with racism.

  134. tinfoil hattie
    January 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    It’s relevant, saurus, because you keep f-ing lecturing me. I DON’T CARE.

  135. PrettyAmiable
    January 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    saurus @ 125 = love. Thanks – I laughed out loud.

    Also, William, I have a tiny internet crush on you.

    • January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

      Also, William, I have a tiny internet crush on you.

      Get in line.

  136. David
    January 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Should I be insulted if a woman chooses a man only for his looks? What are we saying when we decide, collectively, that physical desire based off of physical attraction and appearance is wrong?

    I think a positive model of attraction is one where we expect nothing from others, and put our best foot forward ourselves to attract others. The model that many have put forth here seems awfully close to that of the Nice Guy (TM) who refuses to see their own flaws, and only sees flaws in other people for not being “good enough” to pick them. Is it the woman’s fault that she was threatened by my amazing intellect, or was it my fault that she simply wasn’t attracted enough? To their great detriment PUAs have internalized much misogny. But, they have also internalized the fact that the “Nice Guy” is just a myth and to achieve anything sexually or socially requires effort – not seething resentment.

    People have put forth a valid line of critique of the PUA community – of practices that are bad and insulting to women. But there is nothing bad about wanting sex for sex’s sake alone. Anyone who would call a woman or a man the words slut, whore, jerk or asshole for wanting to pursue their sexuality should be absolutely, unequivocally ashamed of their sorry punk-ass selves.

  137. Ismone
    January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    (Joins the line.)

  138. January 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    David: But there is nothing bad about wanting sex for sex’s sake alone.

    This is very true. But no-one is critiquing wanting sex for sex’s sake. What *is* bad is when men assume that because they want sex for sex’s sake, that they have a right to pressure, cajole, and manipulate women into “giving sex” to them. Sex for sex’s sake is still a multi-way transaction, dude. All parties need to truly want it, not just you, or it’s (as a minimum) a very fucked up and hurtful transaction.

  139. saurus
    January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am

    tinfoil hattie: tinfoil

    I don’t mean to lecture you, I mean to correct you. You seem to keep mistakenly thinking I’m telling you to care about the Menz. So I’m repeatedly correcting your misconceptions about what I’ve said. The more I tell you “It’s fine to not care about the menz! It’s fine to not educate the menz yourself!” the more convinced you seem to be that I want you to stroke the men’s fur and spoonfeed them condensed milk. It baffles me, because I don’t think I’ve said anything like that.

    I believe there is room for all of the following ideas to co-exist:

    + The burden should not be on the oppressed to educate the oppressor
    + The oppressor should self-educate and end oppression
    + The oppressor is unlikely to self-educate, so the oppressed may have to push education at the oppressor
    + The burden of doing this educating is not the responsibility or obligation of any single oppressed individual
    + The oppressed should and must do the anti-oppression work that they’re comfortable with
    + It’s completely ok for the oppressed to choose not to participate in a particular line of anti-oppression work, for whatever reason
    + We should remain conscious that we all have the capacity for violence or dehumanization (i.e., the oppressed can also be oppressors, due to multiple hierarchies of oppression)

    Is there anything there you disagree with? No need to answer, I know you’re tired of this. My point is just that we’re probably fundamentally on the same page. If I’ve come off as instructing others to drop what they’re doing and start educating the menz and ruffling their hair, I apologize because that’s not even remotely what I’ve intended to say, anywhere in this thread.

  140. junk
    January 22, 2011 at 1:34 am

    David: Should I be insulted if a woman chooses a man only for his looks? What are we saying when we decide, collectively, that physical desire based off of physical attraction and appearance is wrong?

    People have put forth a valid line of critique of the PUA community – of practices that are bad and insulting to women. But there is nothing bad about wanting sex for sex’s sake alone. Anyone who would call a woman or a man the words slut, whore, jerk or asshole for wanting to pursue their sexuality should be absolutely, unequivocally ashamed of their sorry punk-ass selves.  

    Point 1. There is nothing wrong with a physical desire based off physical attraction and appearance, inherently. But your question kind of assumes that physical attraction is set in stone, and that you can’t challenge who you find to be physically attractive and why. I think you can. Not that you necessarily should, but as someone up thread said about being in and leaving the PUA community: “I realized the world doesn’t owe me the supermodel of my dreams.” So, OK, pursue whoever it is you find physically attractive, but realize you aren’t entitled to hooking up with that person. The PUA community seems to stem from a reactionary place based upon an entitlement men once perhaps were more likely to fufill, but which is thankfully being eroded.

    Point 2. “But there is nothing bad about wanting sex for sex’s sake alone.” Sure, but those deemed “hotties” by the PUA community – guess what – are not necessarily the best in the sack. Just sayin’

  141. January 22, 2011 at 1:59 am

    @ Kristen, Thanks.

    @ saurus, love the sarcasm

    I am not arguing with the points you have made here, which to some degree are valid. Women shouldn’t have to be forced to perform gender roles dictated by society if they don’t have to.

    All I’m trying to impart (now that I have invested some time into the convo) is that you guys don’t really fully understand the community and it feels like and appears to me, in my humble opinion that you’re bashing things about it that seems stereotypical.

    For Example, A lot of the references made re: manipulating women and treating women a certain way — while there is some evidence of this and the community did start out in a way like this, these days the coaches are different and that’s just not the core of good training. There will always be commercialization and scams in any industry where money is involved, and those accusations are blown a bit out of proportion. The majority of the lasting coaches out there give excellent programs and really help their students.

    I would encourage you guys to learn more about it before making such harsh judgments. A good trainer first determines that his client wants to learn. Sometimes its just meeting new people. Others want a girlfriend. Some guys want to get laid like a rockstar. So what? We all come full circle anyway and eventually, most of the guys do find love or end up understanding a lot more about themselves and other people (guys and girls included)

    I wrote a history of the community post a long time ago (http://www.pualingo.com/blog/seduction-community-lingo-history/) and also here is a link to Elana Clift, who wrote her college thesis on the seduction community. Her brother was a PUA and she was worried at first but realized through first hand experience how much he has gained through it all. If you guys can’t understand this then I suppose I would feel like Hugh Hefner when he was blasted by the feminists back in the 80s. :)

    So be it.

    Elena recalls: “Sitting at the family dinner table, I watched as my older brother, a senior in high school at the time, pushed his food around on his plate and sulked. My mother, always intuitive and attentive to our problems, asked him what was wrong. He sighed as he admitted that there was a girl at school whom he liked. “What should I do? I don’t know if she likes me!” My father piped up to offer, as he always did, a simple and practical solution, “Well, why don’t you ask her out on a date?” With an exasperated tone my brother said, “Dad! People don’t do that!” At that moment, my mother and I gave the famously useless advice “Just be yourself and she’ll like you!” He responded only with a sigh. My mother began to name all of my brother’s good qualities, as if listing these would give him the sudden self esteem boost he needed to pursue the current girl of his dreams. As she continued citing all that he had to offer the opposite sex, I could see him holding back tears; he was not listening to a word she said. He was unaffected by our attempts to help him. Neither my mother, father, nor I was surprised by this particular conversation, it was a common one at our house and it always ended the same way. Our parents would attempt to give him guidance, and my brother would listen and nod, all the while knowing that neither of them had the advice he needed to get what he so desperately wanted: a girlfriend.

    By the age of twenty-four, the advice “Just be yourself” had proved the extent of its uselessness, he had still never had a girlfriend”

  142. Kristen J.
    January 22, 2011 at 2:26 am

    @Alpha

    I think your anecdote proves my point, actually. No, accepting yourself will not necessarily get a particular woman to like you. That particular woman may not like you, she may not like men, she may not like sex, she may not like people who are taller than her, she may be in a committed relationship, she may be into a version of kink that you don’t find appealing. She is a person with her own preferences that simply may not coincide with your own.

    Accepting yourself will get YOU to like you which at the end of the day is a far more important source of validation.

    Not to mention, if you change yourself to make someone else approve of you has two major drawbacks: (1) they don’t approve of YOU…they approve of the person you pretend to be & at the end of the day I think that’s going to eat away at most people who have self-esteem issues; and (2) your deceiving that other person…the person who also has thoughts and feeling and hopes and preferences…that person thought you were someone that you aren’t…and it isn’t fair.

    No, I don’t think you should tell a person with social anxiety disorder to go be themselves and a specific person will suddenly fall into their arms. I think that you tell them to become happy with themselves and that opportunities will come when they leave themselves open to connecting with other human beings.

  143. January 22, 2011 at 5:04 am

    La Lubu said:

    In a word, no. “Asshole” actually does have a great deal of consensus agreement, across race, ethnicity, gender, class, religion, culture, subculture—there is probably more agreement amongst peoples as to what constitutes a person who could correctly be described as “behaving like an asshole” or “being an asshole” than any other form of human interaction.

    I think I’m just going to have to agree to disagree with you on this point. I maintain that there are wide differences between people about how they like their boundaries treated, and what they consider assholish, depending on personality and subculture.

    I challenge Hugh, Timothy, and anyone else to show me where men are routinely encouraged and/or expected to hide, deny or abandon their strengths while simultaneously emphasizing their weaknesses in order to get a date.

    See examples from my previous post on that topic. Abandoning strengths: altruism and sensitivity. Emphasizing weakness: playing stupid.

    I will simply say that I consider both performative femininity and masculinity to have additive and subtractive elements. While I don’t that these elements are symmetrical, I’m not prepared to play Oppression Olympics in either direction.

    Treefinger said:

    Another thing about the PUA culture I dislike is that it erases queer and kinky sexualities, and encourages all men who like women to perform a certain kind of masculinity.

    That’s very true. Pickup doesn’t describe the preferences of queer and kinky women very well. Nor does it really accept queer or kinky (at least, kinky outside of a pure dom role) PUAs. Queer or kinky PUAs do exist, though I only know a few.

    Sheezlebub said:

    If PUA really wanted to improve their social skills, they’d broaden the scope to interacting with everyone. They wouldn’t be so concerned about fucking the hottest chick in the room, they’d be more concerned with, oh, developing friendships and getting to know a lot of people–men and women.

    PUAs do this. They have jargon for it: expanding one’s “social circle.” Many pickup instructors recommend approaching people other than “hot” women.

    Folks here seem to have a lot of theories about what pickup is about after a cursory examination, but these theories don’t always match up to reality.

    But the PUA’s tell themselves that women don’t need to do anything

    It’s true that many PUAs have this attitude… yet there are women’s boards on some PUA internet forums, so it’s not entirely true that there are no pickup resources for women.

  144. January 22, 2011 at 5:20 am

    William,

    When I read your original post, it sounded like you were imputing intent to pressuring behavior that you ascribe to PUAs. I’ve sometimes heard assumptions from feminists that PUAs have such intent.

    My discussion of intent was relevant to correct the perceived misconception that PUAs are intentionally pressuring women. If you say that you weren’t talking about intent in the first place, then I misinterpreted you.

    I never argued that intent mitigates effect; intent is relevant for other reasons. Another reason is that it’s probably a lot easier to educate PUAs out of unintentional pressuring than intentional pressuring (because people who are intentionally pressuring are probably harder to reach).

    My big problem with the PUA community is that the focus is not generally on simply meeting people but on meeting people with the intent to “seduce them.” Seduction implies getting someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in doing, it implies a manipulation.

    You are projecting your own conceptualization of “seduction” onto pickup.

    First, seduction isn’t just about “getting someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in doing,” it’s also about facilitating people doing things that they already want to do. Second, “getting someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in doing” isn’t necessarily unethical in any way (take your example of hair cuts that might lead people to go out with you who otherwise wouldn’t)… so not all forms of doing that deserve a word like “manipulation.”

    We’re talking about the difference between flashy marketing and a used car salesman trying to get a lemon off their lot

    What techniques in pickup do you think are analogous to these behaviors?

    Thats not meaningful consent and it sure as hell isn’t enthusiastic (if it was you wouldn’t have needed the seduction).

    Outside your narrow definition, seduction and enthusiastic consent aren’t mutually exclusive. Yes, if someone is already enthusiastic about having sex with you, then you don’t need to seduce them (at least, not any more than you already have).

    Yet what led them to be enthusiastic about having sex with you in the first place? And what intentional actions can you take to facilitate someone being enthusiastic about having sex with you? Those questions fall under the purview of seduction.

    Many PUAs enjoy women being enthusiastic about having sex with them, and they are successful about facilitating this outcome, contra your view of PUAs pushing along reluctant women. In fact, PUAs, often boast about it. Skilled PUAs have plenty of women who are enthusiastic about having sex with them.

    Some folks here can’t imagine women who are attracted to PUA behaviors, or find them enjoyable forms of interaction. Since you can’t imagine that, the main way you can explain the success of PUAs is by believing that they are taking advantage of vulnerable women. That’s a factor, but it’s not the whole story. The behaviors of PUAs, including the problematic stuff, is pretty consistent with common cultural attitudes in some scenes, including attitudes supported by women. That doesn’t make all of pickup OK, but it makes me skeptical of scapegoating PUAs for copying wider attitudes.

    For example, I’m not a big fan of negs, or touching people without asking, but these behaviors are pervasive in many scenes, and done by women, too, which make me uncomfortable about demonizing PUAs in particular for copying these behaviors to fit into those scenes.

    It seems as if you believe that being a good guy makes what you do OK.

    I’m wondering what you think I believe, since I haven’t told you. Personally, I believe that enthusiastic consent is the correct goal, and I believe that such a goal is not only consistent with seduction, but the logical conclusion of the arguments of the seduction community. If you can’t see why I’d say that, then your model of pickup is wrong.

    For example, the Mystery Method requires phases of Attraction and Comfort, before the final phase, Seduction. If these phases are cumulative, and you need attraction and comfort throughout, those requirements point toward a woman’s enthusiasm being important.

    Ahh, so it’s the women’s fault that PUAs just so happened to seek out, develop, and learn a system which just so happens to take advantage of people’s vulnerabilities. Its all a crazy coincidence…

    PUAs don’t meet women randomly. Imagine, for example, that PUAs disproportionately meet women who hate any sort of clear verbal communication about consent. If so, then it would not be a “coincidence” for PUA theories to devalue communication over consent, which could make it harder for other women to negotiate boundaries with them. It’s quite possible that PUAs disproportionately meet women who think about boundaries and consent in one way (e.g. treating men like weirdos or wimps if they attempt to communicate over consent), training the PUAs into behaviors that will a negative impact on women who think about boundaries and consent another way.

  145. Kristen J.
    January 22, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Hugh Ristik: It’s quite possible that PUAs disproportionately meet women who think about boundaries and consent in one way (e.g. treating men like weirdos or wimps if they attempt to communicate over consent), training the PUAs into behaviors that will a negative impact on women who think about boundaries and consent another way.

    o_O. Presumably you mean to say that some women communicate their consent differently rather than implying that some women don’t like to communicate their consent…Right?

  146. chava
    January 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

    “It’s true that many PUAs have this attitude… yet there are women’s boards on some PUA internet forums, so it’s not entirely true that there are no pickup resources for women.”

    Yeah…..there are. But women are still encouraged to be “beta” to a man’s “alpha,” to emphasize their “feminine” traits to his masculine one’s, not to try to lead. You can still have “game” –but not too much!–because him giving up any power will make you want him LESS.

    Seriously, show me the links for a PUA women’s board that doesn’t encourage this kind of secondary, ultra-femme role.

  147. PrettyAmiable
    January 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Kristen, after an entire post where he says, “But I’M not like the worst PUAs, so don’t generalize about me!” but includes the line, “The behaviors of PUAs, including the problematic stuff, is pretty consistent with common cultural attitudes in some scenes, including attitudes supported by women,” no – I don’t think that’s what he meant. However, if he comes back to say otherwise, I want to preempt this by being clear that I don’t believe a word of it.

  148. Jeremy
    January 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Hugh Ristik: PUAs don’t meet women randomly. Imagine, for example, that PUAs disproportionately meet women who hate any sort of clear verbal communication about consent. If so, then it would not be a “coincidence” for PUA theories to devalue communication over consent, which could make it harder for other women to negotiate boundaries with them. It’s quite possible that PUAs disproportionately meet women who think about boundaries and consent in one way (e.g. treating men like weirdos or wimps if they attempt to communicate over consent), training the PUAs into behaviors that will a negative impact on women who think about boundaries and consent another way.  

    So it’s women’s fault? Sighs.

  149. saurus
    January 22, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Regarding all this talk about whether we’re steretyping PUAs in this thread, I think there’s distinction between people who take on the label of “pick-up artist” as an identity, and people who participate in pickup communities to learn how to meet women, not for the sport of meeting women. Many of the things said in this thread have been completely true of pickup artists – especially the stuff about how pickup artists conceptualize women, consent, etc – but can’t be generalized to everyone in the pickup community.

    Not everyone in the community wants to be a “pickup artist” – not everyone is aiming at that identity, or sees it in a sportlike fashion. I think there’s a sizeable portion of the community who really do just want to meet women in a “normal” way, and will never go clubbing or sarging, and just want to work up the nerve to ask out some women without blowing it. So for many of these guys, women are not conceptualized as prey or conquest. (This is not to say that their outlook on women is healthy, but their failings more closely resemble the non-pickup male population.)

    Because my city is some kind of fucking hotspot for pickup, I’ve had myriad interactions with people involved with pickup. I rarely get a full-blown pick-up artist, because I don’t have the sort of body and appearance they want, and I don’t hang out where they usually go sarging (clubs). But I do get repeatedly hit on by guys who have read some seduction literature or gone to the workshops, who give themselves away because they have a strangely confident and outgoing manner, through which insecurity and nervousness leak out like they’ve been uncorked.

    For example: one guy, looked to be in his early twenties, came up and asked me an odd, unnatural question (pickup trademark, really). He successfully got me into conversation, but it wasn’t a good conversation because a) he seemed strained – confident, but not particularly friendly, like he was trying so hard to be cool that he forgot to appear nice b) the more we talked the more evident it became that he had no interest in the question nor my answer, which irritated me because what the hell are we doing here, then! c) I had the distinct impression that instead of losing himself in the conversation, he was looking at our interaction through a telescope, trying to analyze and participate at the same time.

    I walked away at the soonest opportunity and still remember his disappointed expression, covered in a an artificially cocky grin, like it had cracked open. Many pickup guys are like this, even the ones who think they are smooth, subtle hotshots. They think their performance is going undetected when it’s quite obvious to the woman, and she must choose whether to humor him or not, and take a risk on whether there’s a good person underneath the circus.

    Another example: this guy fared much better; he “opened” with a normal-sounding question to which I readily answered, and proceeding to engage me in conversation which was perfectly normal – small talk kind of stuff, with light injections of humor. He seemed to genuinely like talking to me, which I appreciated, and he also seemed to be really listening to what I was saying. We went out, but throughout the evening I couldn’t shake the impression that he was performing. He was still friendly, told interesting stories, made funny jokes – but he shied anyway from anything remotely self-deprecating. If I teased him, he’d laugh, but then tried to defend whatever he’d done or said, as though afraid I’d noticed some flaw. When he lightly put his hand on my knee, as though by accident, I almost laughed aloud. I gave him my number, but when he called, I never responded.

    And a final example: a non-pickup guy. Turned to me in a university class with a nice genuine smile, and said something friendly and humorous. I responded in kind. He didn’t pursue anything at that time. In the following week’s class, we chatted some more – always with a genuine pleasure in the conversation, making each other laugh. Coffee was planned – I think I was the one who initiated it. (I don’t remember, because it wasn’t some overwrought moment of truth.) We hung out a few times, but eventually he met someone else and so did I. It didn’t work out, but it was probably one of the most pleasurable dating experiences of my life, because it wasn’t about showmanship – it was about just having some fun together. (As I recall, we threw paper airplanes with notes written on them off the roofs of campus buildings.)

    This is not to say that seduction crap is awesome or innocuous, it is neither. But most of my experiences with pickup guys were marked much more by their unsuccessful clowning and lack of sincerity than by any kind of predatory or aggressive or even especially obnoxious behavior. And I think a lot of that “lesser evil” was because they were guys who learned about pickup, not self-titled “pick-up artists” who see me as a personal challenge, not a person.

    Of course, the moral of the story for any pickup artists reading is that I greatly preferred the dude who wasn’t into pickup (and yes, women can tell), because it was about having a good time together, not hitting me over the head with ridiculous behavior or strained pretending in hopes that I’d burst like a pinata and spread my legs.

  150. January 22, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I’m not prepared to play Oppression Olympics in either direction.

    FFS, it isn’t “Oppression Olympics” to recognize the truth that women bear the brunt of sexism in a sexist society. Your experience and my experience aren’t just “not symmetrical”, they aren’t reasonably comparable. Men aren’t expected or advised to act like bimbos. Men aren’t expected to act like they haven’t done anything of interest in life in order not to scare off potential partners. Men aren’t expected or advised to keep their opinions to themselves. Your blues ain’t like mine.

    Speaking of my (and other feminists’) experience with PUA—you seem to forget that we are the TARGETS of PUA. You keep claiming that we “don’t understand the community”—bullshit. We have plenty of experience with that community. We get a first-hand, upfront view of how your community regards women—and it ain’t pretty. Sometimes it’s outright contempt. Sometimes it’s patronizing behavior. Sometimes it’s following a script. Sometimes it consists of being angry with a woman who isn’t following her “proper role”. Sometimes it’s a group of men acting like assholes.

    What it never is: treating women like one would treat a human being. Full stop. PUAs don’t treat women the way a person treats another person that he/she either likes, or respects.

    Stop trying to explain what PUA “aims” to do, or what it does in theory, on paper. I’m telling you what my lived experience with PUA is—the popularity of it has made going out as a single woman, alone, a miserable experience. If I want to go hear a band, and I don’t have anyone to go with me, I have to wade through all kinds of toxic commentary and pushiness. The kind of behavior that would get someone fired if he was on the clock. I can arrive in a really good mood before the band plays, and by the second break my good mood is gone, replaced by anger. Your community has turned a previously enjoyable experience into a gauntlet-walking experience of verbal abuse ranging from outright contempt, to passive-aggressive….and apropos of nothing. Just…being a woman by myself.

    Now, instead of opening up the local weekend paper and thinking, “who do I want to go see tonight?” I have to weigh my desire against my likelihood of experiencing The Gauntlet. Am I up to being pissed off that night? Feeling like steeling myself up for battle? I don’t go out as often as I did before PUA crept into my sleepy rust belt city. Don’t feel like going home early, seething with anger, because your community doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer (and indeed, sees a “no thank you”—the polite version—as a sign of weakness).

  151. January 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

    PrettyAmiable: Kristen, after an entire post where he says, “But I’M not like the worst PUAs, so don’t generalize about me!” but includes the line, “The behaviors of PUAs, including the problematic stuff, is pretty consistent with common cultural attitudes in some scenes, including attitudes supported by women,” no – I don’t think that’s what he meant. However, if he comes back to say otherwise, I want to preempt this by being clear that I don’t believe a word of it.  

    This.

    Because after all the comments by Hugh Li’l Stik and Omega Poodle, after all their justifications and attempts to cover their actions with pseudo-feminist talk, all the statements of how DARE women have different boundaries from each other and how DARE women communicate said boundaries in different ways, what it gets down to is that male PUAs are grooming women for a takedown. It may be softer than dropping roofies into her drink, but it’s grooming for a takedown nonetheless.

  152. January 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I totally agree with a lot of the feminist critique of PUA-dom on this thread, and I especially want to co-sign most of what Sheelzebub said in #105 (I know I’m late) … that comment covers a lot of points I’ve made myself before, but way more eloquently.

    But here are a couple of other brief thoughts:

    Re: GallingGalla, who wrote

    I have no sympathy, pal. You and your fellow men created and imposed these conditions upon yourselves. You have to hide this or that aspect of your personality? Take that up with your fellow men.

    I’m not sure it’s productive to make “men” into a monolith like this. I’m not saying men don’t have a responsibility to intervene with other men, and to resist sexism, patriarchy, etc. I am saying that “men” didn’t agree to be born into this culture, at this time, any more than the rest of us did.

    Re: negging, I have such mixed feelings on this. I think some PUAs do really awful things with negs but some neg stuff is actually fairly clever, friendly social advice. For example, here’s some neg analysis from Neil Strauss, who wrote The Game:

    http://www.neilstrauss.com/neil-strauss/what-separates-a-winner-from-a-loser-is-2/

    When you give a woman who’s often hit on a generic compliment, she will usually either ignore the remark or assume you’re saying it because you want to sleep with her.

    When you tease her and show her that you’re unaffected by her beauty and demonstrate that you’re out of her league – and THEN let her work to win you over and ultimately REWARD her with your approval, she will leave that night feeling good about herself. Like something special happened and she connected with somebody who appreciates her for who she REALLY is.

    In short, a neg will buy you the credibility you need to sincerely compliment her later.

    That said, I don’t necessarily advocate negs; they are in many ways a temporary patch to stick onto your personality while you learn to possess real confidence and strength of character.

    I find that this is fairly typical of Seduction Community stuff — there are a few concepts that I don’t think can ever be anything less than awful, but there are others where the reading and implementation of the concept can really change depending on how it’s thought about and used.

    Re: La Lubu, who wrote:

    Your community has turned a previously enjoyable experience into a gauntlet-walking experience of verbal abuse ranging from outright contempt, to passive-aggressive….and apropos of nothing. Just…being a woman by myself.

    I completely understand where you’re coming from when you say this, as someone who has had any number of unpleasant experiences being hit on in public. But I don’t think the seduction community is that pervasive — a minority of men are PUAs, I would say — and it sounds to me like you’re equating mainstream male-initiation-culture with PUAdom. It can be hard to tell from the initial exchange whether a dude is a PUA, a guy-who-really-wants-to-be-a-PUA, or is just a dude who’s going out and trying to pick up women but has never read PUA techniques (again, I think this latter category is actually the majority). And in fact, in talking to PUAs, it’s clear that a huge amount of their learning curve is in learning how to read women’s body language so that they can figure out when they’re really not wanted, and walk away. Their goal is actually to pick up women, not to get rejected over and over (although getting rejected over and over may be part of the learning curve) — they don’t want to be hitting on a woman who’s hostile any more than you want them to be hitting on you.

  153. January 22, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Clarisse Thorn: ultimately REWARD her with your approval

    I actually find that to be one of the most sickening things I’ve read about any PUA strategy and not even in the ballpark of friendly or clever. It’s stuff like that that makes me feel sick to my stomach and never leave the house.

    I’ve been reading through this thread and most of the associated links quietly for the past few days, and the more of the purported “positive” PUA techniques I read, the more I feel that our standards are too low, our expectations too distorted, and anything that might actually stand out as positive is hopelessly contaminated by a toxic context.

    Worried about throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Well get that goddamned baby OUT of that nasty, fouled, cold water already before it catches pneumonia and dies.

  154. William
    January 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    My discussion of intent was relevant to correct the perceived misconception that PUAs are intentionally pressuring women. If you say that you weren’t talking about intent in the first place, then I misinterpreted you.

    Hugh, I get that not everyone thinks psychoanalytically, but do you really have that much trouble understanding why consciously stated intent and the effects of willed actions might be conflated? You want to get laid. You aren’t getting laid. You go out to learn how to be a PUA. Many of those techniques you learn have the effect, perhaps not stated but certainly central, of screening for vulnerability and using pressure and coercion. You continue to use the system because, presumably, you begin to get laid.

    Now, I’m not saying you woke up one morning and decided to dance the blurry line between creepy questionable consent and rape. If that was the case you would have bought a pack of rufies. Still, when the end result of your actions is that you’re learning a system which has some very problematic effects at some point you need to take responsibility for those effects. They aren’t accidents, they don’t just happen to be there, they are the reasons your system works. Its like someone saying they don’t support sweat shops they just really like cheap sweatshirts from Walmart.

    You are projecting your own conceptualization of “seduction” onto pickup.

    You don’t seem to know what projection means. Projection isn’t, as you seem to be using it, assuming that your conceptualization is universal (perhaps I am doing that). Projection is taking a fear, insecurity, or devalued and repressed portion of yourself and perceiving it in others. I’d provide an example but you seem to be a step ahead of me when you say:

    First, seduction isn’t just about “getting someone to do something they wouldn’t otherwise be interested in doing,” it’s also about facilitating people doing things that they already want to do.

    In other words “those women who don’t want to have sex with me actually do want it, they’re just awkward like me! We must be meant for each other! I just need to figure out how to show them!” And we’re shocked about Gunwitch why?

    What techniques in pickup do you think are analogous to these behaviors?

    Negging, invading body space, persistence, the low-level NLP crap that was originally developed in order to manipulate, the systematic use of technique in order to achieve a desired goal.

    Yet what led them to be enthusiastic about having sex with you in the first place? And what intentional actions can you take to facilitate someone being enthusiastic about having sex with you?

    That, right there, is the problematic leap. By moving from incidental to intentional you’re changing the dynamic. You’re no longer pursuing the relationship between two people but a specific agenda designed around realizing the needs and desires of one. I can seduce my wife because I’ve known her for 14 years and I have a pretty good understanding of whats going through her head, what she likes, and how our interests overlap. I can’t seduce a woman in a bar because I don’t know those things.

    I could, however, use what I know about human behavior and development to take what little information I’d get from a bar-room conversation and manipulate a vulnerable person into having sex with me. Its not that hard, but I don’t do it because I care about how other people feel. More than that I don’t enjoy taking advantage of people because I know how, even if they seem to enjoy it in the moment, those kinds of interactions damage people over time. Thats the problem with manipulating vulnerability and manufacturing consent.

    In fact, PUAs, often boast about it.

    I once knew a guy in college who boasted about a hooker refunding his money because he was so good. Talking to him felt kind of like talking to a wall. There is a lesson here if you look really close.

    Some folks here can’t imagine women who are attracted to PUA behaviors, or find them enjoyable forms of interaction.

    I don’t have to imagine it, I’ve treated patients on both sides of the equation. I get it, I just think that men who cultivate that style of interaction are disgusting. Also, mildly pathetic.

    and done by women, too, which make me uncomfortable about demonizing PUAs in particular for copying these behaviors to fit into those scenes.

    If those bitches weren’t such whores they would have never made you do those things, amirite?

    I’m wondering what you think I believe, since I haven’t told you

    Some of us aren’t limited to manifest content. Some of us are able to, you know, look at different variables and draw inferences based upon them.

    PUAs don’t meet women randomly. Imagine, for example, that PUAs disproportionately meet women who hate any sort of clear verbal communication about consent. If so, then it would not be a “coincidence” for PUA theories to devalue communication over consent, which could make it harder for other women to negotiate boundaries with them. It’s quite possible that PUAs disproportionately meet women who think about boundaries and consent in one way (e.g. treating men like weirdos or wimps if they attempt to communicate over consent), training the PUAs into behaviors that will a negative impact on women who think about boundaries and consent another way.

    The big problem here, Hugh, is that PUAs don’t disproportionately meet women of any characteristic because people are not interchangeable. PUAs meet a variety of women with a nearly infinite variety of histories, characteristics, wants, vulnerabilities, strengths, and needs. What any system does, by nature, is treat people as if they were the same in order to weed out those who are less likely to be useful to the needs of those individuals doing the observing and judging. This is what systems do.

    You’re looking for women to fuck. Like anyone (PUA or not) you have a variety of reasons for wanting to fuck, wanting to fuck women in particular, and not fucking as often or with whom you would like. Thats kind of the human experience. What makes PUA skeezy is that the end effect is targeting women who are vulnerable to it’s methods. Unfortunately (and I can say this with some confidence because I’m pretty sure advanced degree in clinical psychology and extensive experience trump whatever coaching you’ve sought out in your quest to get your dick wet) there really isn’t a method of targeting women who are likely to have sex with you that isn’t coercive at some point. If you’re looking for relationships, for friendships, sex could well happen; it could even be a primary goal. If sex is your only goal, though (and lets be honest with ourselves, “pick up artist” means you’re trying to have sex not make friends), you’re gonna end up coercing.

    The higher-order problem with PUA culture in my eyes, though, is that it isn’t really about sex but about sex as social transaction and power. You can crow all you’d like, but when your stated goal is “hav[ing] plenty of women who are enthusiastic about having sex with” you you’re looking for notches on the bedpost. You’re performing masculinity. You’re seeking out some kind of personal or social fulfillment for which sex acts as a marker. In the process, though, you’re objectifying in a very real way. Somewhere along the line you received the message that having sex with women, conquering them, seducing them, getting them to like you makes you more of a man (or makes you powerful, or worthwhile, or lovable, or human, I don’t know enough about you to comment on your particular psychology). You’re trying to fill a void, you’re defending against a narcissistic injury, you’re seeking something which you lack. In service of that very human motivation, you’re using women. I simply don’t get the impression (especially with all of these disturbingly norming references to systems and methods) that you’re interacting with other human beings as whole people rather than as things in your environment that make you feel good about yourself. The fact that there are a lot of other damaged people of a variety of genders who have the same problem doesn’t change anything. The fact that society doesn’t generally have much of a problem with the way you are doesn’t comfort me (can you say “rape culture?”). The fact that your stated conscious intent isn’t the same as the effect of your actions is irrelevant.

    To be blunt, Hugh, just because you’ve rationalized your actions doesn’t make you any less repugnant. I’d just like to say that as a man I’m ashamed that I share a gender with you. You’re obviously welcome to keep posting if you’d like, but I’m done. You don’t seem interested in much else than defending PUAs and looking for a cookie. Or, as your community would be likely to put it, still so fucking beta.

  155. January 22, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    @Jadey, I think the quotation you chose is a lot creepier because you quoted it without the surrounding paragraphs. But what about the part where he makes it clear that it’s really just teasing (which so much flirting is), or the part where he talks about how negging is mostly about demonstrating confidence (which so much flirting is)?

    @William, I understand a lot of your feelings about this and I appreciate your perspective (though I don’t think your personal attacks on HR are warranted). But I am curious to know what advice you would offer for socially insecure guys who want to find a partner. Serious question! Although I agree that feminists aren’t obligated to help dudes pick up women, I do think it might be useful for us to offer some alternative framework for becoming better socially. As a couple of other people have said in this thread, the seduction community kind of has a monopoly on this question for insecure guys.

  156. David
    January 22, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Holy shit William. I understand it bothers you when there are men taking advantage of women.

    But it seems like you’ve gone beyond that with your post. You’ve gone into the territory of not being able to possibly imagine that there are some women who enjoy casual sex. All women, for you, are like vulnerable mythical creatures who have to be persuaded into having sex because they couldn’t possibly want to by themselves. All women who want to have sex with a multitude of people in your strange fantasy world are “vulnerable” and all men who want to have sex with a multitude of people are “skeezy”.

    PUAs should respect the boundaries of women who have told them to back off. Period. A PUA shouldn’t do anything that makes a woman feel bad. A PUA shouldn’t touch a woman unless that touching is consensual.

    But assuming that because people are looking for sex, and not friendship does not mean that they are trying to coerce anyone. Women, men – everyone can enjoy sex without friendship, or friendship without sex, or whatever they want to do. Your conflation of sex with coercion is unfortunately one of the most tired, misogynistic, bullshit tropes that has existed since the dawn of humanity. Let coercion be called coercion. When you cheapen the term by extending it to any person who wants to have casual sex – you do us all a massive disservice.

    I’m glad that you say you’re done posting. Because I literally feel less intelligent for reading your rambling, incoherent attack on anyone who might differ from your puritanical world view. Just because you’ve rationalized your post as feminist does not make it so. and like you, I feel ashamed to even be of the same species as you, let alone gender.

  157. January 22, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @ Clarisse, I cited a smaller portion, but I found the entire thing creepy. I don’t think context made that portion any less creepy, although that segment did seem to epitomize everything that was flawed about the approach and represent the essential (toxic) assumption upon which the technique is built.

    Don’t fucking “neg” strangers. Ever. The point of that strategy was still to make the woman believe you meant it because it includes the clause that she can work for your approval. That is not teasing – that is a pot-shot at self-esteem. The worst part of these techniques for me is that they are operating on the assumption that a sufficient number of women (including the drop-dead gorgeous women who are the ideal targets of these attacks) are immune to the sociological pressures to undermine their own sense of self-worth in order to achieve socially-desired ends, like being thought of as worthy enough of a man’s attention. That shit like this isn’t all that serious because we can just laugh or shrug it off and go back to having drinks with friends.

    Well fuck that fuck that fuck that fuck that. You can pay for my goddamned therapy bill then.

    That’s it, I’m off this thread. As far as I’m concerned, this went from bad to unredeemably awful.

  158. January 22, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Clarisse Thorn: I’m not sure it’s productive to make “men” into a monolith like this.

    Then I guess you haven’t been reading all my comments, because in an earlier comment, I said:

    GallingGalla: First, I want to say that I’ve met and known a lot of men, and they have ranged from absolutely lovable and absolutely respectful to me, to really shy and not so self-confident, to “meh”, to “dude creeps me the fuck out”. I do not subscribe to politicalguineapig’s Every Man Is Teh Ebil philosophy, and I think C…’s vigilantism and ableism (“lame”? really? we still have to explain that one?) are odious.

    That doesn’t sound like making men into a monolith.

    Clarisse Thorn: I am saying that “men” didn’t agree to be born into this culture, at this time, any more than the rest of us did.

    Your understanding of privilege is interesting, to say the least. Look, cisheteropatriarchy was set up by cis het men to benefit cis het men. Cis het men have the most to gain by it and the most reason to continue to defend it. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t choose to be born into the culture, *they still benefit from it*. I don’t doubt that *some* women benefit from and defend from cisheteropatriarchy, but that’s the edge case and not where the power lies. If men are tired of the narrow performativity that’s imposed on them by cisheteropatriarchy, that sucks, but people of other genders aren’t responsible for making it all better for them.

    Clarisse Thorn: Re: negging, I have such mixed feelings on this. I think some PUAs do really awful things with negs but some neg stuff is actually fairly clever, friendly social advice. For example, here’s some neg analysis from Neil Strauss, who wrote The Game:

    I’m happy you think Neil Strauss’ advice is so clever and friendly, but I find this example utterly and sickeningly vile. It is EXACTLY this kind of manipulative shit, designed specifically to knock down a woman’s self-esteem, that I avoid men that I don’t specifically know in social situations.

    Clarisse Thorn: But I don’t think the seduction community is that pervasive — a minority of men are PUAs, I would say — and it sounds to me like you’re equating mainstream male-initiation-culture with PUAdom. It can be hard to tell from the initial exchange whether a dude is a PUA, a guy-who-really-wants-to-be-a-PUA, or is just a dude who’s going out and trying to pick up women but has never read PUA techniques (again, I think this latter category is actually the majority).

    You’re splitting. What difference does it make if the dudes are Official Members Of Club PUA or not? “Oh, those experienced Club PUA men would *never* treat you like that, La Lubu? It’s all those amateurs!” Your argument reads to me almost like your saying that it’s La Lubu’s fault that she’s being hit on and harassed.

    Look, as a queer transgenderqueer woman who worked for thirty years in a industry (software development) dominated by cis het men, I’ve seen these guys in action. I’ve overheard how they talk about us at work, like we’re either conquests or, in the case of women who are queer and/or trans, too disgusting to even be in the same room with. I’ve been subject to their harassment, their come-ons. I’ve had to dress and act butch to cut down on the harassment I get on the el. I don’t go to bars or other social outlets anymore. Even that isn’t enough, as I’m getting PUA’d in my fucking *church*. I’m sick of this shit, and it’s up to men to put a stop to it.

    I’m sorry, Clarisse, but I don’t like what you’re selling and I’m not subscribing to your newsletter.

  159. January 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    David: You’ve gone into the territory of not being able to possibly imagine that there are some women who enjoy casual sex.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, if you can’t tell the difference between a man and a woman hooking up for mutually-desired casual sex and a man (subtly or overtly) using PUA tactics to pressure and manipulate a woman into having casual sex that she doesn’t want, then you’re beyond hope.

  160. PrettyAmiable
    January 22, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    David, please quote where William has implied that women like me are “vulnerable mythical creatures.” I’m having trouble willfully misreading the content of his post.

  161. David
    January 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I dunno PA, it could have been when doctor Freud here said that if “sex is your only goal you’re going to end up coercing”.

    It might have also been when he made his armchair psychological analysis and pointed to sex as a means of “filling a void or defending against a narcissistic injury”

    It might have been when he said
    “but when your stated goal is ‘hav[ing] plenty of women who are enthusiastic about having sex with’ you’re just looking for notches on your bedpost”

    But hey, I’m not internet psychiatrist, so who am I to judge the validity of his diagnosis?

  162. CassieC
    January 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I’m still in the line of (larger and larger) internet crushes on William.

    I’ve been reading this thread for the past couple of days, and getting depressed about the amount of bending over backwards to pretend that assholes (some of whom shoot women, btw) have redeeming features, and said assholes showing up and saying that it’s fine to be rapey predators, because women are confusing and confused and need to be manipulated to have sex.

    Then William speaks up, and lo, there was light! Assholes are assholes after all.

    PS Like most women, I looooooove sex. But not with assholes or bitter controlling mysogynists or men who see me as another notch. They cause my cooter to shrivel up and go shopping for chastity belts or better yet, another planet. Here’s a thought for all you PUAs and sympathizers: Don’t contribute to cooter shriveling: become decent human beings!

  163. William
    January 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    But I am curious to know what advice you would offer for socially insecure guys who want to find a partner. Serious question!

    I’ve known a lot of socially insecure guys who have muddled through learning how to talk to people with various degrees of success. I don’t necessarily have a problem with some of the ideas in the PUA community for socially insecure guys, but I feel that the good basics (how to handle rejection, intellectualizing socialization, etc) end up leading to somewhere very dangerous. I know that theres a lot socially insecure guys who get attracted to PUA culture and they don’t have a lot of alternative resources. At the same time, I’m pretty suspicious of guys who end up sticking around in the culture for any period of time.

    You’ve gone into the territory of not being able to possibly imagine that there are some women who enjoy casual sex.

    Oh no, I get that there are a lot of women interested in healthy, casual sex. I even get that sometimes PUAs might encounter them. My problem is that I don’t see PUA techniques as being aimed at finding women interested in casual sex so much as women who might be coerced into sex.

    All women, for you, are like vulnerable mythical creatures who have to be persuaded into having sex because they couldn’t possibly want to by themselves.

    Not at all. The thing about PUA is that its a shotgun method. Most women aren’t just a couple of negs and a fast talk away from going to bed (and most of the women interested in casual sex aren’t likely to settle for a clumsy PUA). That vast majority of women are the reason why PUAs tend to focus on approaching a lot of women and screening for ones that are vulnerable. If you approach 100 women in a night, theres a good chance you’ll eventually run across one who might be vulnerable.

    All women who want to have sex with a multitude of people in your strange fantasy world are “vulnerable” and all men who want to have sex with a multitude of people are “skeezy”.

    Not really. Men who take advantage of vulnerable women are “skeezy,” women who are vulnerable to emotional and sexual manipulation are “vulnerable.” Men and women interested in having sex with a lot of different people, on the other hand, run the gamut from sick to healthy (probably along a more or less normal distribution). I know plenty of healthy people who enjoy casual sex with multiple partners (not my bag, but whatever). None of them are PUAs.

    Because I literally feel less intelligent for reading your rambling, incoherent attack on anyone who might differ from your puritanical world view.

    Now thats projection, for anyone who was curious.

  164. PrettyAmiable
    January 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    David, there’s a difference between when “sex is your only goal” and “an enthusiastic, mutually pleasurable sexual experience” as goal. Agree? One is probably likely to end in the blurred lines of consent William talked about at length.

    Further, in terms of the line that you completely pulled out of context so that you could draw your own conclusions – the preceding line is “The higher-order problem with PUA culture in my eyes, though, is that it isn’t really about sex but about sex as social transaction and power. ” PUA culture isn’t about sex. It’s about power. Reread it, bud.

    Also… you know William is a legit psychologist, right?

  165. Kristen J.
    January 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    @PrettyAmiable & GallingGalla,

    Subtlety is lost on the internet. I was trying for soft touch. Oh, well, clearly I need new /tags for “gently pointing out when your views are full of evilness in the hopes that you’ll see the evilness and change your views.”

    Re: Negging

    Unnecessarily hurting someone’s feelings so that you can gain “credibility” seems pretty assholish to me.

  166. Recall
    January 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    William:
    I’ve known a lot of socially insecure guys who have muddled through learning how to talk to people with various degrees of success. I don’t necessarily have a problem with some of the ideas in the PUA community for socially insecure guys, but I feel that the good basics (how to handle rejection, intellectualizing socialization, etc) end up leading to somewhere very dangerous.

    I am one of those socially awkward guys who has been reading some PUA material, and I would appreciate it if you could go into some more detail on what hazards to avoid.

  167. PrettyAmiable
    January 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    ooh, yes. I see now. I thought there was genuine benefit of the doubt, haha.

  168. January 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    @Kristen, Unnecessarily hurting someone’s feelings so that you can gain “credibility” seems pretty assholish to me.  

    People tease each other all the time. I think that’s the dynamic that the nicer perspectives on “negging” are trying to describe. I do think that it can take a really gross, really damaging form. But personally, I can relate very strongly to what Strauss says: a guy who makes fun of me in a friendly way is very likely to catch my attention, and to make me think he’ll be entertaining. I also tend to feel more comfortable with guys who say something unexpected like that, because it seems more genuine and less sycophantic.

    @GallingGalla, I’m sorry, Clarisse, but I don’t like what you’re selling and I’m not subscribing to your newsletter.  

    Maybe you can clarify to me what exactly I’m “selling”. Does starting a conversation about PUAs, and trying to state my opinions about the ways in which some PUAs are not awful assholes — and/or are doing things that lots of other people do but don’t strategize openly about — really have to mean that I’m “selling” something?

    OK, I have a lot more thoughts on this, but I also think too many people are too upset on this thread for much productive communication to occur, which is too bad. There’s something I have to get out there before I vanish though: I have no interest in being A Defender Of The Seduction Community. There is a lot of extremely messed up stuff in that subculture. However, there is also a lot of PUA stuff that’s very context-dependent, and I think that a lot of the time, PUA strategies aren’t nearly as awful as the PUA vocabulary and frameworks that surround them.

    But again: not a defender of the community as a whole. One of the reasons my original post was somewhat unclear (as I described in comment #9) is that I was so upset when I wrote it. I’ve been researching this community for a while, and even making friends within it (typically guys who really hate most of the community :P) … and after the shooting happened on New Years Eve I freaked out and had to sit down and think about whether I really believe that anything in PUA-dom is worth my energy at all, or I should just scrap this whole article I’m writing.

    But the thing is, I just keep coming back to the fact that (a) a lot of their analysis of social dynamics is really, really interesting, even when the intent behind it is completely disgusting, and (b) what Thomas articulated at the beginning of this thread:

    I have noticed that there are a few folks with some relationship to that community who sound very different, like they’re looking for an end-run around ossified, scripted, essentialist gender constructs. In my view, anyone who is looking by eliminate or evade gendered dating scripts has at least the potential to be something of an ally.

  169. Ismone
    January 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Clarisse,

    I don’t know why you’re still defending negging. Teasing is very different than negging. And even so, the real problem I have with it is that it presumes a familiarity that is not there, and attempts to use social dominance to get a woman to fall in line.

    It is basically dowsing for the vulnerable woman that William describes. It is a test.

    Teasing: guy and I are on a date, and discussing how people change based on who they are around–and he says, really, so who are you around your friends, right after I’ve made a comment about someone being the instigator in a group.

    Negging: I am walking down the street with this guy who crashed my friends’ birthday party (he was acting like he knew someone) and he steps around me and nudges me in, so I don’t walk on the street side. Things are pretty friendly at that point, although I immediately recognize that he did that to make physical contact, which mildly irritated me, so I make some (joking, not barbed) comment about how there are no cars, and I am not liable to be harmed. He then says, Ismone (using my name!), it seems to me you aren’t around men who act like gentlemen very often. Now, think about why that is insulting. On the surface, it is a sympathetic statement. But it is being used to control. I didn’t like his making an excuse to touch me, he saw and raised me by 1) indicating that his behavior was correct, and I simply didn’t know better because I keep poor company, and 2) suggesting that if I were higher status, I would hang out with gentlemen and be treated better.

    And there really is very little to say to that. There is an instinct to respond, but I just was stunned and got quiet (I think he wanted me to respond in some way, so yay, me) and increasingly creeped out.

    And he was a fucking creep, who touched me twice more without my consent. (The second and third time I froze uncomfortably.) What a prick.

    There are plenty of ways to be familiar and fun without being insulting. And no one should defend insults without thinking really, really hard about what they mean in the social context.

    They are looking for women who will take abuse. Maybe not consciously, but frankly, I don’t care. In some ways it is almost worse to simply go ahead with behavior that yields desired results than to actually try to hurt someone. Because the former means *you don’t even care enough to learn what hurts the other person.*

    Hugh Ristik and Alpha Wolf:

    Wow, crickets. Not surprised from Alpha Wolf, as I didn’t include any questions, and it is quite clear you would rather make us listen to you than attempt to actually converse, but Hugh, I answered your question about those techniques, so how about telling me whether you agree or how you would defend those techniques?

    On an interesting side note, for some, this is about the 12th time I’ve had to stomp my foot on the Internet when I respond to someone and they don’t respond back, while addressing later comments. Sadly, it has always been male-identified posters. Every time.

  170. David
    January 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    William: I’ve known a lot of socially insecure guys who have muddled through learning how to talk to people with various degrees of success. I don’t necessarily have a problem with some of the ideas in the PUA community for socially insecure guys, but I feel that the good basics (how to handle rejection, intellectualizing socialization, etc) end up leading to somewhere very dangerous. I know that theres a lot socially insecure guys who get attracted to PUA culture and they don’t have a lot of alternative resources. At the same time, I’m pretty suspicious of guys who end up sticking around in the culture for any period of time.Oh no, I get that there are a lot of women interested in healthy, casual sex. I even get that sometimes PUAs might encounter them. My problem is that I don’t see PUA techniques as being aimed at finding women interested in casual sex so much as women who might be coerced into sex. Not at all. The thing about PUA is that its a shotgun method. Most women aren’t just a couple of negs and a fast talk away from going to bed (and most of the women interested in casual sex aren’t likely to settle for a clumsy PUA). That vast majority of women are the reason why PUAs tend to focus on approaching a lot of women and screening for ones that are vulnerable. If you approach 100 women in a night, theres a good chance you’ll eventually run across one who might be vulnerable.Not really. Men who take advantage of vulnerable women are “skeezy,” women who are vulnerable to emotional and sexual manipulation are “vulnerable.” Men and women interested in having sex with a lot of different people, on the other hand, run the gamut from sick to healthy (probably along a more or less normal distribution). I know plenty of healthy people who enjoy casual sex with multiple partners (not my bag, but whatever). None of them are PUAs.Now thats projection, for anyone who was curious.  

    Well, since you didn’t repeat the narcissistic injury line and decided to put some context behind your jerk label I think we’re getting somewhere.

    About vulnerability, you might be right. Like others have already said, I don’t belong to the PUA community and I don’t have anything invested in defending them. I can see how negging and nonconsensual touching is predatory. But, I don’t see what is wrong with approaching more women in the hopes of moving past people who do not like you (or don’t have a good first impression of you) and finding other people who have a more favorable first reaction. (The idea here is to quickly move off of people that don’t find you attractive so that you don’t harass them.)

    Moreover, I’m wondering how broad your definition of coercion is here. I think that we can both agree that those two behaviors we have mentioned: negging and nonconsensual touch are coercive. Would you add anything else to the list? Do you still stand by your earlier statement that “there really isn’t a method of targeting women who are likely to have sex with you that isn’t coercive at some point”? Because we’re in a double bind here.
    Assume a man is looking for consensual, enthusiastic sex. He goes to a bar. Let’s assume there are 100 women there. He goes to the first one and gets an unequivocal “bugger off”. We already agree that it would be immoral for him to keep harassing that woman. But it seems you are implying asking the other 99 women is coercive. In contrast to what you are saying, wouldn’t it be correct for him to look for different women who want to have sex with him? What for you is targeting, and what is simply looking for someone else to share some enthusiastic, consensual, happy funtime together?

    and projection? I will concede that the last paragraph I put down was really more personal attack and hyperbole than anything else. Now that we’ve put that aside, I would ask you if there wasn’t anything a little bit inappropriate about the last part of your post. I saw some personal attacks and a sense of “you’re not playing the way I want you to play, so I’m taking my ball home”. Both of which I don’t think have any place in a discussion like this. (Yeah, I know, I’m a damn hypocrite.)

  171. January 23, 2011 at 1:23 am

    “Re: Negging
    Unnecessarily hurting someone’s feelings so that you can gain “credibility” seems pretty assholish to me.”

    Negging is not insulting someone. Newbies use it incorrectly. It is supposed to be a playful tease like friends do to each other. The tonality matters a lot and should be said in a playful way. I would give you an example but it may be taken out of context on this particular site.

    @Ismone

    Yep Read your comments. Cool I didn’t know that. Wolves run in packs but I thought there was always a pack leader, and a beta who takes up his/her place if they die.

    “Re: people talking a good game on the internet–guess what–my good game on the internet does not involve denigrating men as a group, or denigrating men based on their appearance/fuckability. So I will judge men who talk that way about women. Men who say those things, whether it is bravado or not, are simply not up to my standards.”

    We’re moving away from that, I hope. Banging hot club girls is fun for a while but the whole community is moving towards more depth.

    You have to understand that we are biologically wired to a degree on looks because that’s the indicator of good health and genetics based on our caveman days. Society has changed but our genes haven’t caught up yet.

    All things being equal, I would prefer to marry the hottest girl I can. Of course all things are never equal but… sometimes you are required to reference a group as a whole as a stereotype (for teaching purposes) these things come up.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rating women from 1-10 in looks…. amongst men. I am going to get killed on this thread for this but the truth is women of rare beauty and those that are of different degrees of beauty usually experience very different lives and realities based on how people treat them. Also you have to understand that the reason we use this is to classify a certain skill level and segmentation amongst men. This has nothing to do with you guys but gaming 9/10 is different than a 7 or 8. The type of game is completely different.

    When I actually meet a girl I never judge her on that scale. I get to know her and I usually have a minimum bar physical requirements. However in teaching other guys it helps to serve as a reference point on what type of girls we’re gaming.

    Interesting parallel to a recent film about Hugh Hefner, again the same topics are being discussed amongst men and feminists:

    Again, the same argue takes place in this film re: feminists vs. Hefner:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujVEo4AzlHc

    But if you look at history Hefner did more for civil rights and women than many other individuals in that era
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAZgIQpdLZE

    Pick Up Artists get a bad warp but we help men become more attractive to themselves and to women and there’s going to be some controversy whenever anything significant is being done. So be it. Just because some dumbass called Gunwitch is accused of something terrible and he happens to claim that he’s a PUA it does’t make the whole community bad.

  172. Li
    January 23, 2011 at 1:54 am

    Alphawolf: “The type of game is completely different.”

    Do you know what this game is called? It’s called kyriarchy. And yes! You have correctly identified that women have different experiences of kyriarchy! But this, ultimately, is the issue with PUAs. What you consider a game can be some serious fucking business for the women involved. The tactics you’re using are morally neutral to you but increasingly damaging to those people your’e using them depending on their positions within kyriarchy. Touching people without their permission? Going to impact on survivors of sexual assault the most. In fact, can fairly easily fall into sexual assault IN AND OF ITSELF. And if you and other men benefit from the PUA bullshit? That’s because sexism, surprise of surprises, benefits men, and the fact that some of those men are shy, or have poor social skills, is frankly irrelevant to the ethics of exploiting systems of oppression in order to get laid.

    So, when people on this thread are like “what you do contributes to a system that destroys the lives of women”, and most of those people are, you know, women, and then you go “buuuuut it heeeeelps meeeee, we’re just doing something signiiiificaaaant”, then maybes you’re kind of missing the point. Of course it helps you, of course it’s significant. But it’s also sexism.

  173. Stoner with a Boner
    January 23, 2011 at 2:23 am

    How come these PUA guys don’t just go to prostitutes instead?

    Also, it’s been hinted at so I will explicitly say this: “Shy” men are at an extreme disadvantage in heterosexual dating. One of the above posters mentioned she was shy and had social anxieties. A man is expected to approach a woman. A shy woman will eventually be approached. A shy man may never be approached unless he happens to be a rockstar/very good looking, etc.

    Here is an interesting site: http://love-shy.com/

  174. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Clarisse Thorn: People tease each other all the time. I think that’s the dynamic that the nicer perspectives on “negging” are trying to describe. I do think that it can take a really gross, really damaging form. But personally, I can relate very strongly to what Strauss says: a guy who makes fun of me in a friendly way is very likely to catch my attention, and to make me think he’ll be entertaining. I also tend to feel more comfortable with guys who say something unexpected like that, because it seems more genuine and less sycophantic.

    Hmmm…I don’t know. I’ve never experienced negging as light teasing and many of the PUA forums define negging and teasing as two different things/strategies. Negging is specifically intended to bring down a “hot” chick a notch, to reduce her self-esteem so that she will be more receptive. And teasing isn’t the same thing in PUA land as in the rest of the world, they describe it as an act of domination.

    Consider three different experiences:

    (1) A week or so ago I was sitting in a bar with a few friends and a guy walked up to me and said “You have lovely eyes, they’d be remarkable if you wore makeup.” That’s a neg. That made me laugh at him and tell him to go away.

    (2) Out on a picnic with a guy I had agreed to go out with and another couple. I wanted to lay in the sun & read a book while they surfed (my typical beach procedure) and he teased me all afternoon about (1) falling in love with a mermaid (oh he was an idiot) because I wasn’t there, (2) not being able to swim, and (3) my breasts not being able to keep his attention if they weren’t in view. o_O The first one made me chuckle awkwardly. The second one made me raise and eyebrow and wish time would go by faster. The third made me ask him to leave. Later I learned from a mutual acquaintance that he was using “ASF” teasing techniques (which indicates my age…I know) on me. That’s what PUAs think teasing is about…reframing the convo to focus on the PUA’s needs. This just pisses me off because it wastes too much time while you’re trying to figure out if he’s just awkward or a shithead.

    (3) In contrast many years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop, when a guy walked up to me and said “You’re reading Kant? You know that guy will rot your brain right?” That is light teasing. That made me laugh, and talk to him for 5 solid hours. Then marry him…granted there might have been a bit more involved there…but it started with a tease that was not about dominance, but rather about shared experience.

    Perhaps you’re only seeing part of the seduction community?

  175. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 2:59 am

    AlphaWolf: Negging is not insulting someone. Newbies use it incorrectly. It is supposed to be a playful tease like friends do to each other. The tonality matters a lot and should be said in a playful way. I would give you an example but it may be taken out of context on this particular site.

    I’m afraid your working from a different dictionary than the main headliners of the PUA community. A successful neg is specifically intended to make the target feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. That’s not fun or playful, its rude.

    And don’t bring up Hef. That guy has done more to screw up men than any person in the last 50 years. I swear, all the young men taking ED drugs because they think their masculinity is inextricably tied to how available, how much, how often and how big…that is All. Hugh. Hefner’s. Fault.

    (okay, not all, but substantially)

    Also, your evo psych about looks and objectification makes no sense. Seriously…if it were true that there were an objective measure of “beauty,” that is hardwired into our biology…wouldn’t all societies share a common aesthetic? And yet no…

    Beauty is one of those socially constructed things we created so that we’d be able to allocate resources along lines of power. It goes in the same category as race, nationality, organized religion, etc. The mad scramble for power may be biological *shrugs* but the desire for beauty is not.

    There is nothing wrong with having an appreciation for the aesthetics of another human being or even being physically aroused by that person’s appearance. But there is something wrong with valuing another human being on the basis of their looks. If you and the rest of the PUAs where just ranking people on a scale of attractiveness devoid of any value judgments, much like I rank Mozart over Bach, but Offspring over them both – then it wouldn’t be a problem. But instead you’re saying that one person has more worth than another person. And that is wrong.

  176. CaliOak
    January 23, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Am I the only person who grew up and dated in a conservative setting and cannot fathom ANY circumstance in main stream English speaking American culture where women don’t approach men?

  177. Lara Emily Foley
    January 23, 2011 at 3:35 am

    AlphaWolf: “Re: Negging
    Unnecessarily hurting someone’s feelings so that you can gain “credibility” seems pretty assholish to me.”Negging is not insulting someone. Newbies use it incorrectly. It is supposed to be a playful tease like friends do to each other. The tonality matters a lot and should be said in a playful way. I would give you an example but it may be taken out of context on this particular site.

    Except in PUA situations you wouldn’t be my friend, you’d be a complete stranger, teasing among friends is totally different then teasing a total stranger in an attempt to lower her self esteem so she’ll talk to you. I’d like to see your examples but it’s kinda obvious you’re not that interested in engaging debate

    You have to understand that we are biologically wired to a degree on looks because that’s the indicator of good health and genetics based on our caveman days. Society has changed but our genes haven’t caught up yet.All things being equal, I would prefer to marry the hottest girl I can. Of course all things are never equal but… sometimes you are required to reference a group as a whole as a stereotype (for teaching purposes) these things come up.I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rating women from 1-10 in looks…. amongst men. I am going to get killed on this thread for this but the truth is women of rare beauty and those that are of different degrees of beauty usually experience very different lives and realities based on how people treat them. Also you have to understand that the reason we use this is to classify a certain skill level and segmentation amongst men. This has nothing to do with you guys but gaming 9/10 is different than a 7 or 8. The type of game is completely different.When I actually meet a girl I never judge her on that scale. I get to know her and I usually have a minimum bar physical requirements. However in teaching other guys it helps to serve as a reference point on what type of girls we’re gaming

    Oh caveman days, why do so many guys (I’ve not seen many women do this) always justify a ton of behaviour by comparing themselves to neanderthals.

    That’s a whole lot of ick, notice you like to refer to women as a girls, and really you’re using a lot of hunting metaphors. he fact that you’re talking about gaming, sounds like you’re teaching guys that women are like wild animals and each type as their own strategy ie: You wouldn’t hunt a deer the same way you’d hunt a rabbit or a panther.

    In stereotyping Women and reducing their attractiveness to purely physical and purely a number I can’t for the love of me see how you’re teaching your “students” anything but to see Women as objects or prey really (honestly I’m really creeped out by your usage of “gaming”)

    Pick Up Artists get a bad warp but we help men become more attractive to themselves and to women and there’s going to be some controversy whenever anything significant is being done. So be it. Just because some dumbass called Gunwitch is accused of something terrible and he happens to claim that he’s a PUA it does’t make the whole community bad.  

    So basically the ends justify the means and who cares who gets hurt?, even though you could get the same ends with a much more respectful approach but that would require seeing women as equals and not you know things to “game”

  178. January 23, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Stoner with a Boner: A shy woman will eventually be approached.

    Well, I thought I was done with this thread, but since you are probably referring to me, I thought I would let you know how ass-headed your assumptions are. Here, I happen to have just written about what the socialization of learning to wait quietly for someone to fall in love with me resulted in. Short version: psychological fuckedupedness.

    Fuck you and your fucking “disadvantage”.

  179. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 5:12 am

    Jadey: Well, I thought I was done with this thread, but since you are probably referring to me, I thought I would let you know how ass-headed your assumptions are. Here, I happen to have just written about what the socialization of learning to wait quietly for someone to fall in love with me resulted in. Short version: psychological fuckedupedness.

    Fuck you and your fucking “disadvantage”. Jadey

    Thanks for this response. I thought my brain was going to explode when I saw that comment. Sometimes its hard to know where to fucking start…

  180. January 23, 2011 at 5:22 am

    I asked:

    I have told this to some PUAs, and they deny that their (disrespectful) approaches won’t work on all women.

    Ismone answered:

    The techniques I have a problem with are negs, inappropriate touching, what Gavin de Becker calls “false teaming,” ignoring negative reactions, and the whole ignoring someone to build interest.

    Thanks for answering my question. You’ll have to forgive me for taking a day to get back to the thread.

    In some cases, the behaviors you mention sound generally problematic and disrespectful, and in other cases, I think there is subjectivity.

    Negs bother me because they reflect too much familiarity.

    I’m not a big fan of negs, because I believe that they can result in too wide a range of reaction. Others might enjoy the sort of familiarity they can generate, though.

    Actually, “negging” describes a wide range of behaviors, and PUAs have never offered a singular definition of it. You say to Clarisse that “teasing is very different from negging,” yet Mystery specifically defines a “tease neg” as one of the main types. The current logic that Mystery proposes for the “neg” is that it is a comment to disqualify oneself as a potential suitor, though his logic has changed over the years.

    I agree the the applicability of negs is exaggerated, but I wouldn’t say that they are categorically disrespectful.

    By inappropriate touching, I mean touching that isn’t okay in the social context. So if I am chatting with someone for a while, and he or she touches my hand or arm, and goes from there based on how I react to that touching, fine. But anyone who touches my back/waist/butt/hip/face/hair–I mean, fuck them.

    I’m with you here. PUAs are taught to start with the arm or shoulder, and then look for positive responses or reciprocation. I’ve heard of some PUAs being more touchy early on, but that’s much less common. Pickup teachings seem to match up well with your preferences in this area.

    “False teaming” is where you create sort of a fake alliance between you and a person–rapists use it. Basically, you start using we language.

    Lots of people use this sorts of behavior. This one sounds like a matter of taste.

    It really bothers me when men ignore negative reactions, too. I remember a friend and I, right after a breakup, were at a coffee shop chatting merrily away, and this guy kept trying to break into our conversation. I was ice-queen chilly, but he just kept trying.

    This bothers me, too, but I’m not sure why you ascribe it to PUAs in particular. PUAs are taught to go away after multiple negative reactions, and they are taught to look for them. As Clarisse said:

    And in fact, in talking to PUAs, it’s clear that a huge amount of their learning curve is in learning how to read women’s body language so that they can figure out when they’re really not wanted, and walk away.

    Of course, some men have major social problems prior to becoming PUAs which could make them oblivious. Yet there is hope that they will learn.

    And I dislike the manipulative ignoring game. It is simply rude to start a conversation with someone, and then withdraw attention as a manipulative device to obtain interest.

    While I don’t like these sorts of status games, there are scenes where they are ubiquitous, so I’d hesitate before calling them categorically rude.

  181. January 23, 2011 at 5:32 am

    William,

    If I disagree with you, you’ll say that I’m defending pickup. If I try to concede anything or explore any sort of agreement, you’ll say that I’m looking for cookies. I guess I just can’t win, here. I’m actually quite critical of pickup in any discussion where 5 minutes can go by without people being biased and wrong about it. If you were interested, you could have stopped making assumptions, and asked me what I think is wrong with pickup.

    Your speech was very eloquent, and I hope it earns you the cookies you deserve. Since you’ve bowed out, I’m just going to ignore most of your insulting armchair psychoanalysis, and respond to some of the points that I think highlight our disagreements.

    They aren’t accidents, they don’t just happen to be there, they are the reasons your system works.

    You think that playing on women’s vulnerabilities is “the” reason that pickup works. I disagree with you, and argue that pickup mainly works because it satisfies the actual preferences of a certain subset of women. I believe that women have more agency than you give them credit for, and that women walking away from PUAs, or enthusiastically having sex with them, are both much more common outcomes than women going along with PUAs out of vulnerability and pressure. Of course, both of us are hypothesizing, and we have no way to reconcile our views.

    The experiences that La Lubu, saurus, and Clarisse have shared are far more interesting evidence about pickup than your speculations. If I hear enough women independently telling me the same things about their experiences with PUAs, then it will slowly shift my beliefs. As for you, I’m just going to say that your confidence in your view of pickup is disproportionate to your knowledge and experience of the subject.

    That, right there, is the problematic leap. By moving from incidental to intentional you’re changing the dynamic. You’re no longer pursuing the relationship between two people but a specific agenda designed around realizing the needs and desires of one.

    I don’t share your narrow beliefs about sex and intent. Actually, I would be surprised if I’m the only person here who doesn’t, even included people who agree with you in general and hate my guts.

    Holding the intent to look out for mutual sexual interest, and to act on that interest if mutually enthusiastic occurs, does not automatically mean that you have some evil, self-centered agenda. It’s possible to intentionally try to move things in sexual direction without being wedded to producing that result.

    Likewise, you can hold the intent to go see a movie with someone else if they want to, and that is not just a selfish agenda that leads to coercion.

    I could, however, use what I know about human behavior and development to take what little information I’d get from a bar-room conversation and manipulate a vulnerable person into having sex with me.

    So people can’t get to know each other and have mutually enthusiastic sex in a short period of time, if any sort of intent is involved? Really William, it’s not true that the only way that someone would be enthusiastically interested in having sex with you in a short period of time is that you manipulate them, or they are vulnerable.

    If you meet a woman in a bar who seems attracted to you, and you used your knowledge of human behavior and development to assist you with intentionally taking the interaction in a sexual direction… you haven’t necessarily done anything wrong (forgetting about your wife for a minute).

    People have enthusiastically consensual sex all the time from bars, or other places where they haven’t known each other very long. And yes, some sort of intent is often involved with one or both parties. This is not always evil.

    More than that I don’t enjoy taking advantage of people because I know how, even if they seem to enjoy it in the moment, those kinds of interactions damage people over time. Thats the problem with manipulating vulnerability and manufacturing consent.

    For some reason, this sounds a bit paternalistic. The woman in the bar is enjoying herself with you, but you know better than she does where things should go, so you’ll protect her from having a good time with you. (Note: I’m not claiming that all women in bars are there looking for good times in men; I’m making a specific example where the woman has shown interest in him.)

    Why can’t you behave attractively, make your sexual intent known, and let the other person decide? Yes, some women are vulnerable, which is why you should make sure that there is a choice, and that she isn’t going along with you out of vulnerability. But really, most women are big girls, and I think there is a lot of “yes means no” potential in your view.

    Manufacturing consent? Right, that’s where I mind control a woman and push the big red “consent” button in her brain. Except things don’t work like that, and women actually are people with agency.

    continued…

  182. January 23, 2011 at 5:34 am

    William:

    The big problem here, Hugh, is that PUAs don’t disproportionately meet women of any characteristic because people are not interchangeable.

    From someone who talks so much about inference, this sentence sounds very strange. Of course PUAs meet women of particular characteristics more often! PUAs don’t meet women randomly. Do you really think that women who PUAs run into at clubs are psychometrically identical to women who stay home and read books?

    The normal distribution would like to have a few words with you. Even if PUAs were meeting women randomly, they would still meet women with certain characteristics. For instance, take extraversion. If extraversion follows a normal distribution, then randomly-chosen women’s levels of extraversion would cluster around the average. Same thing for other traits, such as preference for traditional masculinity, appreciation of verbal communication about sex and consent, etc… The question is where those averages are.

    Unfortunately (and I can say this with some confidence because I’m pretty sure advanced degree in clinical psychology and extensive experience trump whatever coaching you’ve sought out in your quest to get your dick wet) there really isn’t a method of targeting women who are likely to have sex with you that isn’t coercive at some point.

    There is no way to find people who are guaranteed to have sex with you, but there are ways to find people who are more likely to have sex with you than others, and there is nothing coercive about that. For instance, you can look for people with similar personality traits to people who were attracted to you in the past. You can also look for people who express sexual interest in you. The mind boggles at why you would find this confusing.

    That vast majority of women are the reason why PUAs tend to focus on approaching a lot of women and screening for ones that are vulnerable. If you approach 100 women in a night, theres a good chance you’ll eventually run across one who might be vulnerable.

    There’s an even bigger chance of running into a woman who likes your body type, thinks you’re funny, or happens to dig the sort of masculinity you have. The most common “close” in clubs is a phone number. Even if a vulnerable women feels pressured into giving a guy her phone number, she doesn’t have to pick up the phone when he calls (see saurus’ example)… or is the PUA mind-controlling her through the phone lines, too? Women are much better at rejecting guys they aren’t into than you make it sound.

    William, while I believe the potential for some ideas in pickup to be harmful to vulnerable women is real, I have several disagreements with you. I think pickup does appeal to a certain subset of women. I think your views of sexual ethics are narrow and confused, and that they baselessly condemn sexual intent, portray pickup as mind-control, and deny the agency of women.

    Although with enough time we might eventually be able to clarify these disagreements, you appear far more focused on twisting anything I say into ammo and attacking me as a person… so I’m not sorry if we don’t continue this discussion.

  183. January 23, 2011 at 5:35 am

    saurus,

    You sound like you are living in the same reality that I am. I know quite well how socially weird some PUAs can be.

    And a final example: a non-pickup guy.

    Ah, but there probably were other non-pickup guys in the picture. They just didn’t approach you because they didn’t know what to do.

    But most of my experiences with pickup guys were marked much more by their unsuccessful clowning and lack of sincerity than by any kind of predatory or aggressive or even especially obnoxious behavior.

    This is my observation, too.

    Of course, the moral of the story for any pickup artists reading is that I greatly preferred the dude who wasn’t into pickup (and yes, women can tell), because it was about having a good time together, not hitting me over the head with ridiculous behavior or strained pretending in hopes that I’d burst like a pinata and spread my legs.

    I’m sure most PUAs would love to just grow up in the first place with sufficient social skills to initiate with women in such a relaxed way as your non-pickup guy. For those guys who didn’t, they will have to learn… and the seduction community is the best resource out there for many of them.

    There is hope for the wannabe PUAs you describe, and I hope they are learning from their experiences with you and with other women.

  184. Sheelzebub
    January 23, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Also, it’s been hinted at so I will explicitly say this: “Shy” men are at an extreme disadvantage in heterosexual dating. One of the above posters mentioned she was shy and had social anxieties. A man is expected to approach a woman. A shy woman will eventually be approached. A shy man may never be approached unless he happens to be a rockstar/very good looking, etc.

    Um, no. But thanks for mansplaining to us what it’s like to be women. Shy women are not always approached–unless they are “hot” or or famous or whatever. Women who approach men are derided as too forward, too aggressive, and desperate. And if we are assaulted later in the night, we were really asking for it for being so forward.

    This point has been made in the thread before, but I see that some folks here refuse to acknowledge the fact: these “disadvantages” you whine about are part and parcel of a patriarchal culture. And instead of maybe looking critically at that culture, you decide to play along and buy into this evo-psych bullshit. Don’t go whining about your “disadvantages” when they don’t amount to a hill of fucking beans in comparison to what women have to cope with in a misogynist culture. One that, BTW, guys like you are happy to perpetuate.

  185. January 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Reading this thread, I am once again reminded of one of my core beliefs – that when it comes to not offending each other, there’s no failsafe “system” in place when it comes to human interaction. I think this is something that the majority of the PUA community gets wrong – but I also believe that it’s something for feminists to think about as well.

    I actually agree with Hugh Ristick’s point about different people having different boundaries. I think people’s boundaries change over time and can depend on circumstances and simply how we perceive each other.

    When I met my future husband, he was VERY forward. Had I been younger, I would have most likely felt intimidated by him. But at that point in my life, his personality made me curious about him. Also, context mattered – I had been living in Eastern Europe for a while, and had already gotten very tired of how many dudes were intimidated by me by virtue of my complex background, so I REALLY dug the fact that he didn’t find me weird. Not to mention the fact that underneath it all, we just had chemistry – I believe that chemistry is something people either have, or they don’t, it can’t be artificially induced. And that just meant that we were lucky/meant to hook up (and I believe in both luck and making your own fate).

    When I say all this, I don’t mean to imply that there aren’t clear boundaries. I think some boundaries are pretty damn clear. Like, I think there is a substantial difference between negging and teasing for example – the former strikes me as generally mean-spirited, the latter is fun.

    It’s true, though, that understanding boundaries alone doesn’t prevent disaster or misunderstanding or whatever. This goes for all sorts of behaviour. When husband and I exchanged rings, for example, he got grabby with me in front of everyone – it’s one of those things I like about him, he dilutes formal events with silliness plus, I liked that expression of desire, I felt it was an important part of such a heavy-handed, state-sanctioned event. Of course, some of the civil registry workers thought it was a sign of him disrespecting me, turning me into a sexual object on such an important occasion (I got to hear all about it later). Others present, including my parents, thought it was adorable.

    It can all depend on our individual angle. Angles can be hard to work out. I think that sometimes the best we can do is just to work on doing right by each other – as much as we can within these systems that we all live under.

  186. Sheelzebub
    January 23, 2011 at 8:17 am

    You have to understand that we are biologically wired to a degree on looks because that’s the indicator of good health and genetics based on our caveman days.

    Oh, FFS. So are women–trust me, many of those women who aren’t conventionally attractive women would love to be with a “hot” guy. But when a “hot” woman passes a guy over because she’s not attracted to him, you lot whine and snivel and throw tantrums. Then, suddenly, biology has nothing to do with it, these shallow bitches are awful. Then you decide that “biology” means that by acting like a fake douchecanoe, you can “get” “hot” women.

    Maybe, just maybe, if you stopped acting like an entitled asshole, you’d actually meet cool women.

    I am going to get killed on this thread for this but the truth is women of rare beauty and those that are of different degrees of beauty usually experience very different lives and realities based on how people treat them.

    Yes and no. They are often treated like public property, told they have no right to say no to someone and that by saying no to someone they are uppity bitches. They also get plenty of criticism about their looks, and since everyone evaluates them on their looks, it tends to fuck with them. Trust me–your negging? Is something they encounter every. single. day.

    And frankly, talking about “gaming” makes it sound like you’re trying to pull one over on women.

    As far as the defenses of negging here–PUA’s themselves don’t call it light teasing. They say, repeatedly, that it’s a way to take a “hot” woman down a peg since she “only hears compliments.” (It’s not true that women who are conventionally attractive hear little in the way of criticism or put-downs, but why let reality get in the way of life, right?) I’ve participated in light teasing and been the target of negging–even before I knew what the fuck negging was. Trust me, negging never worked on me–it was alienating and I went from zero to sarcastic, rejecting bitch in a second.

  187. January 23, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I am going to get killed on this thread for this but the truth is women of rare beauty and those that are of different degrees of beauty usually experience very different lives and realities based on how people treat them.

    Not necessarily killed… but come on. Beauty can result in all SORTS of bullshit. Probably the worst example from among my friends is this girl from first grade – extraordinarily beautiful, gang-raped by people she thought were her friends at 13 and told “but it happened because you’re so beautiful”. Never healed from the experience – a suicide by age 17. She sure was lucky, that hot chick.

    I think I knew at least in part as to how she felt – the guys who assaulted me also “justified” it using my looks. Because if some guy decides you’re hot, it obviously means that you were “asking for it.”

    I just don’t buy statements like that, I really don’t.

  188. January 23, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Do you really think that women who PUAs run into at clubs are psychometrically identical to women who stay home and read books?

    I do. Most women enjoy both. We aren’t divided into the neat little category boxes PUAs like to put us in. Which reminds me, you’ve alluded to different “scenes” where supposedly women prefer negging and dominance games. Since I haven’t had the displeasure of running into those scenes in real life, can you be bothered to tell me where these scenes might be so I can continue to avoid them?

    Nice job of false teaming up there too, BTW.

    I actually agree with Hugh Ristick’s point about different people having different boundaries. I think people’s boundaries change over time and can depend on circumstances and simply how we perceive each other.

    I get what you’re saying, Natalia….but you and Hugh have entirely different definitions and methodologies about “boundaries”, including where and why differences occur and whether or not they should be respected.

    I’ll admit my bias in that my boundaries have not changed over the years. What else hasn’t changed over the years: my boundaries are still not respected; not in the way a man’s boundaries are. What else hasn’t changed over the years: I still get to be “a bitch” when I insist on having my boundaries respected. PUA is designed to weed out women like me, because our physical appearance doesn’t give us away.

  189. Imani
    January 23, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I’m late in discovering this thread, so apologies if I end up covering old ground. I don’t self-identify as a PUA or PUA-in-training, but I have cherry-picked PUA ideas from the handful of web articles devoted to the subject I’ve come across over the years. I’m an introvert, but I don’t think I was ever as socially inept as the kind of guy who might be lured into making PUA an ongoing project, much less a permanent abode.

    But even for a guy like me, whose early exposure to feminist ideas might have provided him a degree of inoculation against PUA’s more troubling elements, it’s still an ongoing debate: As nice as it is to have a few canned quips, did I fix something that wasn’t really broken? What did any predigested bit of PUA wisdom ever teach me that I wouldn’t have learned eventually through trial-and-error? And what about the times I may have strategized myself right out of getting to know someone because despite knowing better I still haven’t quite shaken the patriarchal belief–and core supposition of PUA–that a woman is a “problem” in need of solving? How can we say it’s worth anyone’s becoming a PUA just for the sake of learning a few jokes?

    I’ve tried negging. One problem with the PUA hard-sell for negging is that a guy can always claim that negging “worked” just so long as the woman on whom it’s used doesn’t throw her drink in his face. Talk about a low standard of proof. There are also huge amounts of confirmation bias, i.e. the successes are made a part of PUA lore while the failures forgotten.

    Myself, I hate it. I hated myself when doing it, and I hated that I ever was able to convince myself that there could be a low-stakes way to call a woman’s intelligence, character, or taste into question. This is coming from a one-time victim of bullying, whose above-ground persona is that of someone who naturally despises domination and remembers just about every cutting remark he’s ever received. Becoming the bully isn’t an emancipation for me; instead I become chillingly Other to myself, like an out-of-body experience. This is why any guy with a lick of sense will stop just short of total conversion to the faith: the failure rate is just too high, and any decent guy’s superego just too punishing, to go all the way.

    These days I’m trying to jury-rig a Single Guy persona that allows me to remain “in character” as myself (or a near enough facsimile), whatever else I may do. It’s a work in progress. I like telling jokes, but damned if I don’t much prefer telling them at my own or the big dumb world’s expense, not that of the woman I’m interested in. If I ever tease a woman, it’s because of an ongoing joke that she’s already been kind enough to let me in on. I don’t see any reason to pretend that I’m not looking for sex, but I’d rather hold out for those moments when the subject matter seems to seduce the both of us, rather than me dragging her across some threshold.

    One thing I’ve noticed about many PUA tactics is that they seem like solutions in search of problems. The moment some guru tells you that it’s a good idea to treat an attractive women like she’s a “bratty little sister,” it’s hard not to begin actively searching for opportunities to wedge that into a conversation, whether it makes any sense or not. Of course, one of PUA’s favorite strawwomen is the ethereal hottie who’s so used to guys throwing themselves at her that she’s ready to throw her arms around the first dude who talks down to her in the way that her lady parts yearn for. Of course we can imagine such a woman. Therefore, she must be typical. The depressive types who crowd seduction message boards are so sensitized to any female behavior that confirms their worst fears about women that the handful of times a woman actually told them, straight up, “I prefer assholes” aren’t just significant; they’re fucking canonical.

    I’m sympathetic to the idea that deprogramming efforts aimed at a certain subspecies of PUA might serve to protect women as well. But as a person of color and all-around despairing shit I’ve lately come to believe that the benefits of education, and its close sibling “dialogue”, can be oversold. I don’t think that misunderstanding is the cause of most problems that arise between oppressor and oppressed, but differences in power are. As for meeting women, I can only hope that other het guys’ moments of dumbfuckery lead them to the same place I think mine are leading me: to a tentative embrace of inspired improvisation as an alternative to both stolid niceness and whatever the PUA’s think they’re doing.

  190. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Lara Emily Foley: Oh caveman days, why do so many guys (I’ve not seen many women do this) always justify a ton of behaviour by comparing themselves to neanderthals.

    It takes away from personal responsibility. He’s not an asshole; his biology makes him a douchebag!

    Hugh Ristik: I agree the the applicability of negs is exaggerated, but I wouldn’t say that they are categorically disrespectful.

    I really like your commitment to being obtuse. YOU don’t get to decide what WE (your “targets”) find disrespectful. Negs are disrespectful. Period. You are not our friend; you do not get to tease us. Teasing is playful. You’re just being an asshole.

    On false-teaming:

    Hugh Ristik: Lots of people use this sorts of behavior. This one sounds like a matter of taste.

    I like how you ignored that the point of the preceding comment is that false-teaming can be horrifically dangerous for women as it’s a tactic rapists use. …And you’re using it in your “sex” games. You honestly don’t see the danger zone and why it’s abhorrent that you go there?

    Hugh Ristik
    You think that playing on women’s vulnerabilities is “the” reason that pickup works. I disagree with you, and argue that pickup mainly works because it satisfies the actual preferences of a certain subset of women.

    How? What evidence do you have that your nonsense satisfies the actual preferences of “a certain subset of women”? Do you think after a woman fucks you she’d ever say, “you know, you made me feel really bad about myself so I thought I had something to prove”? How about, “It’s really awesome that you came preying on my insecurities through your ‘comfort’ method. If a guy in a big floppy hat tells you to do something, you totally should.”

    Hugh Ristik: Do you really think that women who PUAs run into at clubs are psychometrically identical to women who stay home and read books?

    OH, you only target sluts at clubs. That’s way less sexist.

    I can’t read through your nonsense anymore. The entire segment preceding that comment completely ignored the content of William’s post and the point he was making – something we’ll call the David factor – but moreover, it’s ignoring that we’re all telling you that what you do is sexist and gross and you’re ignoring it.

  191. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 9:50 am

    La Lubu: I do. Most women enjoy both. We aren’t divided into the neat little category boxes PUAs like to put us in.

    Strangely, some of those women who do prefer their books, their dogs, and their boring research have friends who love to go to bars and clubs and parties and all manner of annoying, I mean social, places.

  192. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

    La Lubu: I still get to be “a bitch” when I insist on having my boundaries respected. PUA is designed to weed out women like me, because our physical appearance doesn’t give us away. 

    The other day, I was waiting for a bus and a guy pulls up and asks me for directions to a major landmark. It was absolutely ridiculous because if you entered the city from pretty much any angle, you would see it. Still, I gave him vague directions in the event that for some reason he got mixed up in the city.

    He then asks for my number. I’m just waiting for the bus, don’t know anything about you other than you seem to not have invested in GPS, no you cannot have my number. So I say, “I don’t talk to strangers.” He keeps fucking wheedling, so I have to repeat, “I don’t talk to strangers.” While I’m sure this goes without saying, he called me a bitch.

    Really dude? All I wanted to do was catch a fucking bus. I do not like leaning over towards people’s cars because there have been one too many instances where people get kidnapped that way. You’re wasting my time with your ridiculous nonsense – but I’m a bitch.

    That’s another issue I have – stop pushing your way into my goddamned consciousness when I have better things to do. You are not my priority. If I step back after I give you directions and put my earbuds back in, I clearly don’t give a shit what you have to say to me. Go home.

    Lucky us, though, right? We’re “targets!” It’s not like there’s anything creepy about that terminology when we’re constantly worried about getting followed home or kidnapped or raped or murdered. Whatevs!

  193. William
    January 23, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Well, since you didn’t repeat the narcissistic injury line and decided to put some context behind your jerk label I think we’re getting somewhere.

    In the interest of not being argumentative I’ll note that I find it interesting that, despite being the only one who needed the additional context, you’re trying to limit the terms of the discussion. Also, I stand by the narcissistic injury line. People who seek out sex because of it’s position as a social signifier are generally trying to fill a void, voids are created by injuries, voids which people attempt to fill through making themselves appear powerful tend to be narcissistic.

    Again, thats not the case for everyone who seeks out a lot of sex, but only for those people who seek out a lot of sex in large part because of the things which they believe sex to imply. Healthy sex is about people (even briefly), once it starts to be about something else it becomes unhealthy.

    But, I don’t see what is wrong with approaching more women in the hopes of moving past people who do not like you (or don’t have a good first impression of you) and finding other people who have a more favorable first reaction.

    If that was all PUAs did, then I wouldn’t see much of a problem. The issue, for me, is that there aren’t any PUA systems I’m aware of which confine themselves to that fairly innocuous opening. Alone, that strategy wouldn’t be problematic, but in the context of how/why its being employed and what comes next I believe it confuses attraction with vulnerability.

    Moreover, I’m wondering how broad your definition of coercion is here.

    Admittedly, pretty broad.

    Do you still stand by your earlier statement that “there really isn’t a method of targeting women who are likely to have sex with you that isn’t coercive at some point”? Because we’re in a double bind here.

    Yes, I do. Look, life isn’t fair. I know that most men haven’t been actively involved in creating a system which fucks women up from birth but, you know, ‘dems da breaks. Sometimes people in a position of privilege need to suffer a little bit if they want to avoid accidentally oppressing others by participating in oppressive systems. I know thats unpleasant, I know thats unfair, and I know that in this instance it might mean talking to fewer women and getting laid less often. Tough shit. Thats the burden of being in a position of relative privilege and its a hell of a lot less heavy than being on the other side.

    In contrast to what you are saying, wouldn’t it be correct for him to look for different women who want to have sex with him? What for you is targeting, and what is simply looking for someone else to share some enthusiastic, consensual, happy funtime together?

    Again, it comes down to the burden of the privileged. Consent really isn’t enough, one has to consider the context. I still think you’re misunderstanding my point though. Approaching a lot of women isn’t a bad thing, what makes it creepy to me is what comes next. PUA systems don’t stop at “talk to a lot of people,” they continue on past the initial opening to more techniques. Thats what I find creepy as hell, thats where the danger comes in. Each technique, effectively, is a means of filtering of manipulating. One their own any one technique could be not only innocent but a genuinely good idea (saying hello to a lot of people and moving on when someone doesn’t seem interested, for instance), but taken together these systems look a lot like a means of creating technical consent.

    and projection?

    Hugh Hefner and the Marquis de Sade are as much a part of the puritanical western Christian worldview as Jerry Falwell or Augustine. Flipping the arrangement still means being bound by the rules of the same system. Just because one goes from “sex is bad” to “sex is good” doesn’t mean one is liberated. Kind of like how the pursuit of sex-as-conquest seen in PUAs isn’t really sexually progressive so much as more of the same rape culture and bullshit machismo. So, when you misread puritanism into my post where no one else was really seeing it, then leveled an aggressive personal attack because of that perceived puritanism I began to suspect that maybe it wasn’t me you were firing at.

    I saw some personal attacks and a sense of “you’re not playing the way I want you to play, so I’m taking my ball home”.

    I can see that. To explain a bit: I didn’t see much of a point in continuing with Hugh given the state of their posts here and their own personal website. In general I don’t see much of a percentage in engaging with MRAs/Antifems because it isn’t fun and it doesn’t tend to end up being educational for anyone. I come here for discussion and to learn. But…this is pretty well off topic.

  194. January 23, 2011 at 11:10 am

    La Lubu: Do you really think that women who PUAs run into at clubs are psychometrically identical to women who stay home and read books?I do. Most women enjoy both. We aren’t divided into the neat little category boxes PUAs like to put us in. Which reminds me, you’ve alluded to different “scenes” where supposedly women prefer negging and dominance games. Since I haven’t had the displeasure of running into those scenes in real life, can you be bothered to tell me where these scenes might be so I can continue to avoid them? Nice job of false teaming up there too, BTW.

    A very good point – and something I *really* wish more dudes would take note of, once they let go of their particular brand of social conditioning, that is.

    I actually agree with Hugh Ristick’s point about different people having different boundaries. I think people’s boundaries change over time and can depend on circumstances and simply how we perceive each other.

    I get what you’re saying, Natalia….but you and Hugh have entirely different definitions and methodologies about “boundaries”, including where and why differences occur and whether or not they should be respected.

    I’ll admit my bias in that my boundaries have not changed over the years. What else hasn’t changed over the years: my boundaries are still not respected; not in the way a man’s boundaries are. What else hasn’t changed over the years: I still get to be “a bitch” when I insist on having my boundaries respected. PUA is designed to weed out women like me, because our physical appearance doesn’t give us away.  

    Well, yes. I think that one of the problems with the PUA community is the widespread insistence that there are these “magic tricks” that a guy needs to execute (regardless of anyone’s personal boundaries) – and then the ladies are his. A lot of reads like a marketing ploy, or is a marketing ploy.

    I sympathize with a lot of guys who really want to get with the ladies – and can’t seem to find a way, but so much of what is being advertised to them is a sham, or else plain creepy, that it gives me pause.

  195. wembley
    January 23, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Haven’t read all the comments yet, but seconding Sheezlebub and Jadey’s early comments. Dear PUAs: Hey, I’m a woman! And I’m SHY AND NERVOUS AND AFRAID OF REJECTION, TOO! I also don’t know how to talk to men (or women I’m interested in dating, for that matter)! I, too, wish there was a magical system that would get everyone to like me! But there isn’t. DEAR GOD, IT’S ALMOST LIKE DATING IS SCARY AND REJECTION IS UNPLEASANT. And if you’re just in this for the casual hook-ups? DEAR GOD, IT’S ALMOST LIKE APPROACHING STRANGERS YOU DON’T KNOW FOR SEX IS SCARY AND REJECTION IS UNPLEASANT. Zero sympathy for these lady-haters, no matter how socially anxious and well-meaning. (I’m socially anxious, too, yet somehow I don’t treat men and women like vending machines.) The whole PUA thing is gross.

  196. Ismone
    January 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Alpha Wolf @ 171,

    To build on what Lara Emily Foley said regarding negging and rating of human beings, the problem I have isn’t that men have preferences or that anyone has preferences regarding attractiveness of other people. The problem I have is PUAs denigrating women as human beings who do not meet their standards of attractiveness. I can say that I find a man very attractive without discussing men I don’t find attractive and how worthless they are.

    It is one thing to say that you are really attracted to someone else, and why. It is quite another to spill ink over unattractive people. There are plenty of men who don’t flip my switches, but that doesn’t mean they are bad people. I also don’t even take that as a measure of their attractiveness writ large–I don’t assume my preferences are universal.

    In the PUA community, a lot of men argue that attractiveness is universal, and if a woman doesn’t want to play along with their game, either IRL or online, her looks and “status” are immediately denigrated.

    Viewing attraction as a matter of preference, not status/value, is a much more respectful way to treat people. Because people are inherently valuable whether or not I want to bone them.

    This is the one of the problems that feminists have with rating games.

  197. Ismone
    January 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Hugh,

    You’re dodging on a lot of those. You aren’t explaining why they are okay techniques, or say things like “other people do them too.”

    You also haven’t really addressed William and others’ excellent point regarding power of position that PUAs have and are trying to exploit over their targets, or the fact that these techniques often sort for vulnerable people.

    I was particularly troubled by your comment about women who don’t explicitly discuss consent. You run a high, high risk that a woman who won’t discuss it doesn’t really consent. If the response to “do you want to have sex” is someone freezing up, that suggests that if you didn’t ask, they would be frozen up as well. Not that they are turned off by the unsexyness of, well, discussing having sex.

    When we interact with other people, and try to get things from them, and still others tell us, hey, the reason you are getting what you want is due to some really screwed-up social dynamics and pressure you are applying, you have a duty as a human being to stop until you know you are not causing harm.

    First do no harm. And if you are in doubt, better to do nothing.

  198. Recall
    January 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    wembley: Haven’t read all the comments yet, but seconding Sheezlebub and Jadey’s early comments. Dear PUAs: Hey, I’m a woman! And I’m SHY AND NERVOUS AND AFRAID OF REJECTION, TOO! I also don’t know how to talk to men (or women I’m interested in dating, for that matter)! I, too, wish there was a magical system that would get everyone to like me! But there isn’t. DEAR GOD, IT’S ALMOST LIKE DATING IS SCARY AND REJECTION IS UNPLEASANT. And if you’re just in this for the casual hook-ups? DEAR GOD, IT’S ALMOST LIKE APPROACHING STRANGERS YOU DON’T KNOW FOR SEX IS SCARY AND REJECTION IS UNPLEASANT. Zero sympathy for these lady-haters, no matter how socially anxious and well-meaning. (I’m socially anxious, too, yet somehow I don’t treat men and women like vending machines.) The whole PUA thing is gross.  

    So, um, do you want to go get some coffee with me later?

  199. January 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    You guys are taking these comments way too seriously and seem way too sensitive. Negs are meant to be playful. Seduction is meant to be fun. Relax. Feminism and Hefner have done great things for women. As with all things there are dark and light sides.

    Have fun. Remember that happiness is a default state. I appreciate the different opinions. Done with this thread :)

  200. Politicalguineapig
    January 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Chally: I just want to point out that ‘men are violent’ isn’t a stereotype, it’s a statistical fact.
    Men aren’t really taught any coping skills, except for violence, so I’m surprised women aren’t more wary of them. There’s no difference between a ‘normal’ man and a PUA, and there’s no difference between a normal man and a rapist. Heck, the American ideal male is basically a sociopath.

  201. Politicalguineapig
    January 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Also, Ozymandias: yep, totally agree.

  202. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    hahahahahahahaha who didn’t see that clusterfuck coming? Thanks, “AlphaWolf.”

  203. Stoner with a Boner
    January 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Hiya Jadey and Shezeelbub,

    Guess I hit a nerve here……

    I never tried to say what it is like for a woman-in reference to the mansplaining comment. Jadey, I have not read your blog and I know nothing of your personal situation. I am gonna go out one step further, there are many comments about guys randomly trying to pick up women and being rude/invading personal space. Alright, I get it, overly forward, disrespectful men aren’t cool. You don’t see me defending them.

    I was talking about a specific category of not-so-visible men. Traditionally, (I guess patriarchal is the buzz word here) men are expected to approach women. As you mentioned, Shezeelbub, a woman is not expected to approach a man as she might be seen as aggressive, un-lady like etc. AND she could lose the protection of, say the police should something bad happen later in the night as she was a “slut.”

    I personally like when a woman makes a first move…..

    My only comment was that guys who do not fit in the “asshole” category but are still shy and such are at a disadvantage, because as things are currently, it is expected that it is their “job” to approach women. Obviously, asexuals, voluntarily celibates, and anyone else who has dropped out of the dating game doesn’t feel this pressure.

    This is specifically a “guy” problem for which there will be little empathy on this board. ( and in the grand scheme of things being “dateless” is far from the worst fate.) What I am trying to get at is many men today don’t really know the rules of “dating.” The PUA’s are disrespectful and aggressive. The nice guys are afraid to make the first move. (I realize that women have problems too, this is neither saying men’s are less trivial or more important, only that they are different because of how men and women are different and treated differently by the world at large.)

    (Can I go a step further and say each individual is different and each interaction is given context by how things are in the current climate.)

    I also would like to change many things about current culture as it is not as “rosy” for men as some think……

    Some men do very well as things are, some do not…..

    There are the high status men with well paying jobs, tall stature and white skin. I think most of those would keep things how they are.

    For example, in my personal life, there was a tremendous amount of pressure to focus on becoming a bread winner when I wanted to pursue being a musician-my family was extremely unsupportive. I was expected to fulfill a role I didn’t want.

    Also, women live longer than men…etc, etc, there are variables that don’ seem to get counted. IE-some men, many men pay a hidden cost in how things are in the current system. It was traditionally men who went to war…. That isn’t a role I want…..

    You do not know me, you may not like the comments I have made. But you do not know what it is like to walk in my shoes. Nor do I know what it is like to walk in yours….

    If I have “privilege” it is not the same privilege of the high status male. It is more of being able to traverse a lifestyle that would destroy many others and still be in one piece. I will be intentionally vague and say thanks for reading, and have a nice day.

  204. January 23, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Stoner with a Boner: Jadey, I have not read your blog and I know nothing of your personal situation.

    So why are you replying? I didn’t link you to an enormous chaptered essay – just fewer than 700 words demonstrating how asinine your assumptions were. You say you don’t understand a perspective like mine, but you seem to be deliberately trying not to. So why should anyone read your comments and put effort into understanding yours?

  205. January 23, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    PrettyAmiable: hahahahahahahaha who didn’t see that clusterfuck coming? Thanks, “AlphaWolf.”  

    Oh my god, it all makes sense now – it was all a magnificent bid for a late-entry candidate to this year’s Top Troll! Bravo, AlphaWolf. You’ve got my vote.

  206. Lara Emily Foley
    January 23, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    AlphaWolf: You guys are taking these comments way too seriously and seem way too sensitive. Negs are meant to be playful. Seduction is meant to be fun. Relax. Feminism and Hefner have done great things for women. As with all things there are dark and light sides.Have fun. Remember that happiness is a default state. I appreciate the different opinions. Done with this thread :)  

    K bye. Thanks for mansplaining.

  207. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm


    “waaah, it’s hard to be a man in a society that caters to my needs. I’m a musician! I’m tortured. Also, you all live longer than me, on average.”

    @Jadey, I’m willing to bet there are a few comments that didn’t get through on the Kermit threads. The lovely Cassy Fiano linked to one of the posts. I didn’t read it, because, you know, I have better shit to do with my time, but I’m betting we have enough comments from this last week to do a whole bonus round.

  208. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    “Too sensitive”! “Relax”! …where have I heard those sentiments before? OH RIGHT.

    On another note, there actually are some very simple ways for men to get casual sex! PUAs just see them as signifying some kind of personal failure on their part. Which really goes to show, I think, that it really is about “manliness” status and “conquest” for these guys. Guys, seeing a sex worker, or looking for hookups in the “casual”/hookup section of dating websites, these things really should not signify a personal failure, if you are really truly looking for casual sex and not “conquests” to brag about with your buddies. Just respect the woman’s boundaries, don’t pressure for sex acts she either doesn’t want to do or doesn’t offer, don’t pressure for unprotected sex acts including bbbj, don’t try to rip the woman off if she is a sex worker, be respectful, and stay the fuck away from the “women for women” section of the dating site.

    William- re: your friend, I KNOW THE TYPE. And they are scumbags. I actually run into them much more often doing sex workers rights organizing than I did as a prostitute. TimeOut New York even listed Audacia Ray’s Red Umbrella Diaries under “Best Place to Meet Sex Workers for Free.” Which? FUCKING GROSS. You want to meet a sex worker? You go fucking PAY for the privilege. You don’t come to the meetings that include allies, propose ridiculous, self-serving things, and hit on people you find attractive so that they stop coming to those meetings and only come to the sex worker only meetings. Yes this is a dynamic I have run into but trust me, I don’t stand for it. I think I’ve driven away my share of so-called “allies” from the cause, and the cause is better for it.

  209. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Oh another thing I forgot to mention…if you think you’re god’s gift to women, you’re not. No one is, but especially not the scum who want to “meet” sex workers for free.

  210. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I should have specified het men in my comment, but PUAs are het so I think it is implied, plus its even easier for gay dudes to get casual sex.

    I should note, though, that the problem of skeezy dudes occasionally infesting sex workers rights meetings, is not limited to het men. The difference personally being that the skeezy gay dudes are easier for me to argue with, since for them, I am not a target.

  211. David
    January 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    William: In the interest of not being argumentative I’ll note that I find it interesting that, despite being the only one who needed the additional context, you’re trying to limit the terms of the discussion. Also, I stand by the narcissistic injury line. People who seek out sex because of it’s position as a social signifier are generally trying to fill a void, voids are created by injuries, voids which people attempt to fill through making themselves appear powerful tend to be narcissistic.
    Again, thats not the case for everyone who seeks out a lot of sex, but only for those people who seek out a lot of sex in large part because of the things which they believe sex to imply. Healthy sex is about people (even briefly), once it starts to be about something else it becomes unhealthy.If that was all PUAs did, then I wouldn’t see much of a problem. The issue, for me, is that there aren’t any PUA systems I’m aware of which confine themselves to that fairly innocuous opening. Alone, that strategy wouldn’t be problematic, but in the context of how/why its being employed and what comes next I believe it confuses attraction with vulnerability. Admittedly, pretty broad.Yes, I do. Look, life isn’t fair. I know that most men haven’t been actively involved in creating a system which fucks women up from birth but, you know, ‘dems da breaks. Sometimes people in a position of privilege need to suffer a little bit if they want to avoid accidentally oppressing others by participating in oppressive systems. I know thats unpleasant, I know thats unfair, and I know that in this instance it might mean talking to fewer women and getting laid less often. Tough shit. Thats the burden of being in a position of relative privilege and its a hell of a lot less heavy than being on the other side.Again, it comes down to the burden of the privileged. Consent really isn’t enough, one has to consider the context. I still think you’re misunderstanding my point though. Approaching a lot of women isn’t a bad thing, what makes it creepy to me is what comes next. PUA systems don’t stop at “talk to a lot of people,” they continue on past the initial opening to more techniques. Thats what I find creepy as hell, thats where the danger comes in. Each technique, effectively, is a means of filtering of manipulating. One their own any one technique could be not only innocent but a genuinely good idea (saying hello to a lot of people and moving on when someone doesn’t seem interested, for instance), but taken together these systems look a lot like a means of creating technical consent. Hugh Hefner and the Marquis de Sade are as much a part of the puritanical western Christian worldview as Jerry Falwell or Augustine. Flipping the arrangement still means being bound by the rules of the same system. Just because one goes from “sex is bad” to “sex is good” doesn’t mean one is liberated. Kind of like how the pursuit of sex-as-conquest seen in PUAs isn’t really sexually progressive so much as more of the same rape culture and bullshit machismo. So, when you misread puritanism into my post where no one else was really seeing it, then leveled an aggressive personal attack because of that perceived puritanism I began to suspect that maybe it wasn’t me you were firing at.I can see that. To explain a bit: I didn’t see much of a point in continuing with Hugh given the state of their posts here and their own personal website. In general I don’t see much of a percentage in engaging with MRAs/Antifems because it isn’t fun and it doesn’t tend to end up being educational for anyone. I come here for discussion and to learn. But…this is pretty well off topic.  

    William. WIth regard to narcissism- I’ll just drop it. It looked like your OP was making a leap into diagnosis land when really you just seemed to be making a point about men who view sexual interactions as “conquests” – which is something that I technically agree with you on. (Although I myself wouldn’t phrase it that way.)

    About approaching multiple women – I’ll take your response as a “yes” to my earlier question. (I.e., do you find this wrong? Yes)
    While I would agree with your sentiment in general that it would be a moral thing, a good thing to “sacrifice a little” for the greater good, I don’t really agree with you at all here. Again, I’m not talking about negging, invasions of personal space, or predatory behavior. I already agreed with you on that. I’m simply talking about the concept of approaching multiple women. If there is nothing wrong with a behavior to begin with – I disagree with the notion that we need to get rid of it.

    For one (and this might be only me), I think we are viewing these situations through different lenses. If we both looked at the situation that I described earlier (of a man approaching different women in a bar, in a respectful manner) I would see a man who is either looking for sex, or looking for a fun girl to date. Again, only as long as he did it respectfully, paid attention to boundaries, etc. I think you would see this as a man looking for vulnerable women. Maybe we simply have irreconcileable differences of opinion. It is certainly true that we are only speaking of a hypothetical situation – and thus, we are more likely to project our own personal biases and lense onto the motivations of our mystery individual looking for a date.

    However, at risk of being captain obvious (and at risk of being ridiculed) I will reiterate: There is nothing wrong with a man or a woman approaching one, two, or many men/women for sex, friendship, or a romantic relationship.

  212. January 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    AlphaWolf: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rating women from 1-10 in looks…. amongst men. I am going to get killed on this thread for this but the truth is women of rare beauty and those that are of different degrees of beauty usually experience very different lives and realities based on how people treat them. Also you have to understand that the reason we use this is to classify a certain skill level and segmentation amongst men. This has nothing to do with you guys but gaming 9/10 is different than a 7 or 8. The type of game is completely different.

    And this is the point at which my Valerie Solanas side comes out.

  213. William
    January 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    but moreover, it’s ignoring that we’re all telling you that what you do is sexist and gross and you’re ignoring it.

    Kind of a microcosm of the whole damned scene.

  214. Recall
    January 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    RD: “Too sensitive”!“Relax”!…where have I heard those sentiments before?OH RIGHT.On another note, there actually are some very simple ways for men to get casual sex!PUAs just see them as signifying some kind of personal failure on their part.

    It’s a failure to follow the law at the very least. I support decriminalization of prostitution, but it is currently against the law, which is something that I have some qualms about.

  215. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    *sigh* that’s what I get for hoping. Just when you think you might be getting through to someone they yank back with a “your too sensitive” defense strategy, a la Drailing for Dummies. Too bad.

  216. William
    January 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    WIth regard to narcissism- I’ll just drop it. It looked like your OP was making a leap into diagnosis land when really you just seemed to be making a point about men who view sexual interactions as “conquests” –

    It really bothers me that a lot of people, you included here it would seem, take any conceptualization or attempt to understand or contextualize another person’s behavior as diagnosis. I think that, at root, thats one of the big problems in discussions like this. PUA’s (and their sympathizers on this thread) seem to have a view of other people as either scary and inscrutable (kind of a socially awkward baseline) or basically interchangeable (the basis of all rigid systemic attempts at understanding human beings). Really they’re both the same thing because both are rooted in a relatively unsophisticated understanding of people and their motivations. The later isn’t really much more than false bravado and bluster desperately trying to cover the former. One could argue that a lot of that probably has to do with being cut off from one’s own emotional experience (not a bad hypothesis given that western ideals of masculinity demand men cut off their emotions and much of PUA culture is heavily invested in traditional masculinity). The end result of all of that is that you run into a lot of people for whom attempts at insight are both terrifying and subject to ridicule in an attempt to push them away. That would be a really interesting thing to explore on the couch, but when we’re talking about how PUAs hurt women I’m somewhat less interested in their feelings and more interested in explaining why their behaviors are repugnant. Sorry, bro, but your own wounds don’t excuse the wounds you inflict on others.

    About approaching multiple women – I’ll take your response as a “yes” to my earlier question.

    But thats not what I said now, is it? Notice how I said “if that was all PUAs did I wouldn’t see much of a problem?” That meant that…well…if all PUAs did was approach a lot of women we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The rub, of course, is that “approaching a lot of women” is something that a lot of people do; PUAs do not have a monopoly on the “approach people” strategy for forging relationships between individuals. What PUAs do have are systems which incorporate approach as part of a broader method.

    I own a bunch of them and I really like sitting on a long range with a rifle, monitoring my body, and making it possible for me to put a tiny ball of metal through a tiny space 100 yards away or so. It feels good because I don’t have a great relationship with my body, because I’m disabled and my body often doesn’t do what I ask, because its a means of staving off my own fears about what it means to be disabled by managing to do this very difficult thing. 10 stalls down theres a guy with the same rifle, the same paper with concentric circles 100 yards in front of him, and a copy of The Turner Diaries in his glove box. We’re exhibiting the exact same behavior, an outside observer isn’t going to be able to tell the difference between us, but we’re not really doing the same thing. Context matters.

    I’m simply talking about the concept of approaching multiple women. If there is nothing wrong with a behavior to begin with – I disagree with the notion that we need to get rid of it.

    You’re…not really listening, are you?

    If we both looked at the situation that I described earlier (of a man approaching different women in a bar, in a respectful manner) I would see a man who is either looking for sex, or looking for a fun girl to date. Again, only as long as he did it respectfully, paid attention to boundaries, etc. I think you would see this as a man looking for vulnerable women.

    Thats going to depend pretty heavily on what else happens. No one merely approaches a lot of people. There are nonverbals, there are the facial expressions you see when people don’t think anyone else is looking, there is the space between people, the words used, the inflection. I get that not everyone is going to have the kind of hyperawareness for that (mine is partly due to my own trauma history in addition to my education or professional experience), but to devalue that kind of data as an “irreconcilable difference of opinion” is to be willfully blind.

    By way of for instance, I work at a facility for the chronically mad right now. As a result we have a lot of sexual assault survivors and a few sex offenders. You’d be amazed how many people can spot a rapist from watching them walk around a room for a minute and a half.

    There is nothing wrong with a man or a woman approaching one, two, or many men/women for sex, friendship, or a romantic relationship.

    At the risk of beating a dead horse: could you drop the fucking strawman, its getting boring.

  217. William
    January 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Copyediting fail!!

    I own a bunch of them and I really…

    should read

    I like guns. I own a bunch of them and I really…

  218. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Recall:
    It’s a failure to follow the law at the very least. I support decriminalization of prostitution, but it is currently against the law, which is something that I have some qualms about.  

    Um. Not everything I suggested is against the law actually (and some places, not the US granted, none of it is against the law). Reading comprehension? Also, if you support the decriminalization of prostitution, maybe you should do something about it.

  219. David
    January 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    @William.

    Alright, it could have been a communication failure there. I took your. “Yes I do. Yeah, I get it, it’s unfair… Tough shit” line as an agreement, in the affirmative that you thought it was inappropriate behavior. Let’s chalk it up to mixed messages and shelve this entire line of argument then.

  220. David
    January 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Politicalguineapig:
    Chally: I just want to point out that ‘men are violent’ isn’t a stereotype, it’s a statistical fact.Men aren’t really taught any coping skills, except for violence, so I’m surprised women aren’t more wary of them. There’s no difference between a ‘normal’ man and a PUA, and there’s no difference between a normal man and a rapist. Heck, the American ideal male is basically a sociopath.  

    Mmmmmm. Nothing like the smell of some freshly baked prejudice. I’ll take a side of hate-fries and some special bigot-sauce with that.

  221. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Recall: (responding to wembley)
    So, um, do you want to go get some coffee with me later?  

    …mods? Surely I am not the only one who thinks that this is really, really creepy, in context.

  222. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Politicalguineapig: and there’s no difference between a normal man and a rapist.

    I’m willing to bet that people have only been raped by rapists and not by “normal men.” I’d argue that that’s a pretty meaningful distinction on the violence scale.

    Politicalguineapig, I don’t really care if you’re offending men en masse – bigger fish to fry, and all that – but I do care that you’re actively spreading propaganda that’s going to make people like me (assault survivors, that is) function less productively in society.

  223. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    PA- a lot of “normal men” ARE rapists, though. Not to defend politicalguineapig, just sayin.

  224. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Recall: I am one of those socially awkward guys who has been reading some PUA material, and I would appreciate it if you could go into some more detail on what hazards to avoid. Recall

    Here ya go. At least a place to start. Now I’m going to take my boundless, irrational optimism and have a nice glass of 30 year, single malt scotch.

  225. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Damn it. I need to remember to close my tags.

  226. PrettyAmiable
    January 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that my best guess is about 3% of men in the US are rapists (using the 1 in 33 figure that’s been thrown out before). If 97% of men aren’t raping, I think it’s safe to say that the 3% who are aren’t normal men. Normal rapists who can fake acting like normal men who are non-raping, sure. But being a rapist, in the US (where I believe both pgp and I live), is not normal. Disgustingly accepted, sure – but not normal. I don’t think we can pick them out all the time(if ever), but their behavior is not the norm.

    I’m kind of sleepy, but pretend I went through that ramble and found some synonyms for “normal” to make it less repetitive.

  227. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Don’t at least 6% in the US admit to being rapists on anonymous surveys? Which makes me think (along with life experience) that they actual number is much higher.

  228. RD
    January 23, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Oh, would someone mind explaining what “false teaming” means? I did try google but it wasn’t much help.

  229. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    PrettyAmiable: I’m gonna go ahead and say that my best guess is about 3% of men in the US are rapists (using the 1 in 33 figure that’s been thrown out before). If 97% of men aren’t raping, I think it’s safe to say that the 3% who are aren’t normal men. Normal rapists who can fake acting like normal men who are non-raping, sure. But being a rapist, in the US (where I believe both pgp and I live), is not normal. Disgustingly accepted, sure – but not normal. I don’t think we can pick them out all the time(if ever), but their behavior is not the norm.

    Closer to 6% based on surveys discussed by Thomas here.

  230. Kristen J.
    January 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    RD: Jinx!

  231. Ismone
    January 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    I really think political guinea pig is a sockpuppet for some misogynist who likes posting on feminist websites to try and get feminists to say that men are teh evil. Sorry, we don’t agree.

    Alpha Wolf’s last response was motherfucking hysterical. Here’s a note for Mr. the Wolf and all the kids watching at home–people who are good communicators and good lovers don’t have to instruct other people how to react to what they do–they elicit those reactions.

    In short, no one I’ve ever dated for any length of time has had to tell me to lighten up and relax and I’ll enjoy it. I tend more to date the types who say things that make it all light and enjoyable and relaxing. Whatever it is.

  232. January 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    lol.

    @ Kristen. Thanks. I read all of your responses and you’re actually pretty good about seeing other’s point of view, without making the other people feel bad. I like debating with you

    @ Ismone. I was on my way out for a beautiful day. But if you guys have any other questions I’m happy to answer / discuss / debate.

    1. I agree with most of your points.

    2. I think your understanding of the positives of the PUA stuff can be more thorough instead of focusing on the negatives. There’s a positive, life-changing side to this that seems to be brushed under the mat here.

    3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with judging a woman based on her looks at first. Anyone that debates this is just afraid to admit the truth. Paraphrasing a bit from Andy Fox:

    “We all judge other people around us; we assign scores to the different qualities that we value for each person we know, usually SUBCONSCIOUSLY. We then value a person based on the sum of all of the values we assign to their qualities. For example, if we see a couple where one partner is significantly more attractive than the other, we assume that the less attractive one must possess other qualities that the more attractive one doesn’t. If they didn’t, their scores wouldn’t “add up” to equal each other. We’ve all thought this before, it’s ok; don’t feel superficial or judgmental, we all do it.”

    The idea that is is ‘wrong’ or ‘perverse’ to judge a woman by her looks, I think, is just not realistic.

    “Feminists’ cries of outrage at man’s obsession with physical beauty are not altruistic. They are not upset that women are degrading themselves; rather, they are upset that other women are benefitting from a quality that they don’t and probably never will possess. Their own perceived value relative to better-looking women will inevitably increase if looks are dismissed as unimportant….” (I don’t agree with this btw, but its one theory)

    Moreover, men do it too! We criticize each other for social status. Hence “haters”. “He must be rich! Ivana married Trump for his money!” All over-simplification and a way to us to feel better about our lower social status.

    “An even better question: Have any men seriously attempted to criticize other, better-looking men for benefiting from their looks or blame society in general for valuing an unrealistic idea of beauty? Maybe, but not in the same numbers and with the same enthusiasm as seen from women. Generally, us men don’t try to project our shortcomings on other people and try to blame society for creating standards that we can’t meet. ”

    This is because men are judged (consciously and subconsciously) on his social value and women on their replication value (in general, biologically speaking).

    “In conclusion, don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty about thinking that someone is attractive. We are all judgmental; if it is okay to judge someone based on their intelligence, personality, charm, etc., then why is it not okay to judge someone because of how they look? Feminists have been largely successful in making us hesitant to do this. Now that their ulterior motives have been revealed and their claims of altruism debunked, I think it’s high time we stopped worrying about what people will think of us for being judgmental and superficial. ”

    In Short: Get With The Game. Stop Hating.

  233. Stoner with a Boner
    January 23, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Thanx, RD for addresing why PUA’s don’t got to prostitutes….

    It cuz they don’t have bragging rights I guess.

  234. David
    January 24, 2011 at 12:35 am

    AlphaWolf:
    lol.
    @ Kristen. Thanks. I read all of your responses and you’re actually pretty good about seeing other’s point of view, without making the other people feel bad. I like debating with you
    @ Ismone. I was on my way out for a beautiful day. But if you guys have any other questions I’m happy to answer / discuss / debate.
    1. I agree with most of your points.
    2. I think your understanding of the positives of the PUA stuff can be more thorough instead of focusing on the negatives. There’s a positive, life-changing side to this that seems to be brushed under the mat here.
    3. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with judging a woman based on her looks at first. Anyone that debates this is just afraid to admit the truth. Paraphrasing a bit from Andy Fox:
    “We all judge other people around us; we assign scores to the different qualities that we value for each person we know, usually SUBCONSCIOUSLY. We then value a person based on the sum of all of the values we assign to their qualities. For example, if we see a couple where one partner is significantly more attractive than the other, we assume that the less attractive one must possess other qualities that the more attractive one doesn’t. If they didn’t, their scores wouldn’t “add up” to equal each other. We’ve all thought this before, it’s ok; don’t feel superficial or judgmental, we all do it.”
    The idea that is is ‘wrong’ or ‘perverse’ to judge a woman by her looks, I think, is just not realistic.
    “Feminists’ cries of outrage at man’s obsession with physical beauty are not altruistic. They are not upset that women are degrading themselves; rather, they are upset that other women are benefitting from a quality that they don’t and probably never will possess. Their own perceived value relative to better-looking women will inevitably increase if looks are dismissed as unimportant….” (I don’t agree with this btw, but its one theory)
    Moreover, men do it too! We criticize each other for social status. Hence “haters”. “He must be rich! Ivana married Trump for his money!” All over-simplification and a way to us to feel better about our lower social status.
    “An even better question: Have any men seriously attempted to criticize other, better-looking men for benefiting from their looks or blame society in general for valuing an unrealistic idea of beauty? Maybe, but not in the same numbers and with the same enthusiasm as seen from women. Generally, us men don’t try to project our shortcomings on other people and try to blame society for creating standards that we can’t meet. ”
    This is because men are judged (consciously and subconsciously) on his social value and women on their replication value (in general, biologically speaking).
    “In conclusion, don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty about thinking that someone is attractive. We are all judgmental; if it is okay to judge someone based on their intelligence, personality, charm, etc., then why is it not okay to judge someone because of how they look? Feminists have been largely successful in making us hesitant to do this. Now that their ulterior motives have been revealed and their claims of altruism debunked, I think it’s high time we stopped worrying about what people will think of us for being judgmental and superficial. ”
    In Short: Get With The Game. Stop Hating.  

    Alright Alpha, let me explain something:
    I think it is undeniable that there is a physical component to sexual attraction. That seed of your argument may be true. However, the argument about judging people’s worth on looks on status, on wealth, on this characteristic or that characteristic – is wrong.

    The reason being – of course, is that setting up such criteria with which to judge others creates a… what do we say… negative and unproductive atmosphere in society.

    For one, some people don’t have full control over how good looking they are. Some are born with features that are not considered attractive. Some are born with a predisposition to obesity. Some are born with a nose too big, or too many freckles, or whatever. The point doesn’t matter. Should that person be “worth” any less than the one who won the genetic lottery?

    Let’s assume, for a moment, that a lot of “beauty” is controllable. I.E. you can control how much time you put into making yourself look good. Well, sometimes there are days when people don’t feel like looking their best, or putting effort into applying makeup. Some days, people just want to roll out of bed with their tousled hair and put on some sweatpants. I myself, would like a society where that person can feel good about themselves, independent of whether they decided to observe an archaic and irrelevant ritual.

    What are we saying when we value such transient and meaningless things? We’re saying that form is important over function. Appearance is more important than real meaning.

    What if we chose to value happiness, or creativity, or empathy instead of wealth, and looks and power?

    I mean, I understand that people will still continue to judge others based off of the transient things – BUT, again, wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about these things, which are many times irrelevant to our happiness? I guarantee that society would seem a little warmer, more empathetic and a little more happy if we didn’t.

  235. Recall
    January 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Kristen J.:
    Here ya go.At least a place to start.Now I’m going to take my boundless, irrational optimism and have a nice glass of 30 year, single malt scotch.  

    Thank you, but it’s hard to internalize messages like

    The alternative is connection. You can see that the thing you’re afraid of isn’t all that scary because it’s just like you. And you aren’t scary. So there is not reason to be afraid.

    when people are telling you the exact opposite.

  236. PrettyAmiable
    January 24, 2011 at 12:36 am

    haha, 6% and 94% it is. I’m keeping my point though.

    @ “Alpha Wolf,” kiddo, getting fucked isn’t hard when you’re targeting a multitude of vulnerable women. I’m not sure why you keep coming back when you’re not going to get applause here for doing something that adds absolutely no value to society and isn’t terribly remarkable.

  237. William
    January 24, 2011 at 12:56 am

    We all judge other people around us; we assign scores to the different qualities that we value for each person we know, usually SUBCONSCIOUSLY.

    Can I just say that I find it absolutely hilarious that you’ve decided to emphasize your use of a word that pretty much outs you as poorly educated about the subject you’re trying to discuss? Subconsciously? Really? The word you were probably reaching for was “unconsciously,” but that doesn’t really fit because I’m not quite sure what process or desire has been barred from conscious awareness. What you actually seem to be talking about tends to be called an “implicit association,” at least as far as immediate, unwilled judgments are concerned.

    For example, if we see a couple where one partner is significantly more attractive than the other, we assume that the less attractive one must possess other qualities that the more attractive one doesn’t. If they didn’t, their scores wouldn’t “add up” to equal each other. We’ve all thought this before, it’s ok; don’t feel superficial or judgmental, we all do it.

    Which exposes another flaw in PUA logic: you tend to assume that all or most people are more or less like yourself. You think of human relationships as transactions, you place a high premium on physical attractiveness, and you assume that all or most people share not only your own idiosyncratic beauty ideals but also your hierarchical view of values. So you see two people who aren’t as attractive as one another and you assume, well, whatever it is your history has lead you to assume about disparate relationships. Other people in the room might also make assumptions, but theres a chance they’re going to look very different from the ones you make because, and I know this is a difficult concept for you but please try to maintain your attention for a moment, other people are not like you.

    In Short: Get With The Game. Stop Hating.

    Some of us don’t need a game. Some of us enjoy hating. Some of us see past the paper tiger wolf and see the puppy. But hey, thanks for playing.

  238. William
    January 24, 2011 at 1:01 am

    I’m not sure why you keep coming back when you’re not going to get applause here for doing something that adds absolutely no value to society and isn’t terribly remarkable.

    I’m sure someone is going to call me an armchair-psychologist for this (“doth protest too much” and all that) but…maybe its for the same reason he became a PUA. He’s trying to convince us that he’s right (fuckable, not creepy, interesting, worthy of love, whatever). If he just tries hard enough, plays hard enough, works the right angle, suddenly we’ll all come over to his side! Or something.

  239. David
    January 24, 2011 at 1:07 am

    William: I’m sure someone is going to call me an armchair-psychologist for this (“doth protest too much” and all that) but…maybe its for the same reason he became a PUA. He’s trying to convince us that he’s right (fuckable, not creepy, interesting, worthy of love, whatever). If he just tries hard enough, plays hard enough, works the right angle, suddenly we’ll all come over to his side! Or something.  

    Maybe. It’s sort of irrelevant though. His argument is flawed regardless of whether or not he’s looking for validation.

  240. Ostien-Foglet
    January 24, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Mostly been lurking on this one but this just has to be said:

    AlphaWolf: @ Ismone. I was on my way out for a beautiful day. But if you guys have any other questions I’m happy to answer / discuss / debate.

    Oh thank you oh great knowledgeable one for having pity on us poor uninformed people. Truly you are a great humanitarian. Also how clearly you show your virility! /sarcasm

    I think this attitude clearly shows another problem with PUA in general that has been touched on (many other problems covered quite clearly), it gives the PUA a sense of sacred secret knowledge with an almost occult feel to it. Of course this is just window dressing for the coercive bullshit it is, but it is touted as such when it really is a way to cover feelings of inferiority.

    So sure, it has been said socially awkward guys may be drawn to PUA, but the ones that stick around seem to be more into a superficial feeling of social competence then any real understanding. Which is not really a shock.

    Social awkwardness is a problem for many people of all genders, but PUA has no real solutions just a shoddy mask of “by the numbers” coercion, that makes it all worse by perpetuating the same gender oppressive scripts that drove some socially awkward people to PUA in the first place.

  241. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Recall: when people are telling you the exact opposite.

    That’s very true. Which message have you been getting? That you’re scary or that other people aren’t like you?

  242. RD
    January 24, 2011 at 2:47 am

    But, I think it is probably actually more than 6%…those are just the guys who will admit it anonymously, plus it was a survey only of college students right?

  243. RD
    January 24, 2011 at 2:53 am

    Kristen J.:
    That’s very true.Which message have you been getting?That you’re scary or that other people aren’t like you?  

    He might be talking about me, since I called him creepy for “asking” another random commenter to “coffee.” But, that is creepy, both in the context of the comments and because there is no way it was a legitimate invitation (they are most likely not even in the same geographic location), which means he was doing it to make some kind of point or something. Which is totally creepy.

  244. Ismone
    January 24, 2011 at 3:29 am

    Alpha Wolf,

    “Feminists’ cries of outrage at man’s obsession with physical beauty are not altruistic. They are not upset that women are degrading themselves; rather, they are upset that other women are benefitting from a quality that they don’t and probably never will possess. Their own perceived value relative to better-looking women will inevitably increase if looks are dismissed as unimportant….” (I don’t agree with this btw, but its one theory)

    Of course you don’t think it is true. You are just throwing a theory out their. Jesus, man, if you want to insult me transparently, at least have the balls to acknowledge you’re doing it.

    I didn’t object to men thinking women were attractive. I objected to men ranking women based on attractiveness, treating it as an absolute characteristic, and debasing women who do not meet their standards. Their is no reason for spending time on discussing certain women’s unattractiveness. Unless, of course, you mean to insult and control. I don’t care who you are interested in, I do care who you insult and depersonalize because they commit the offense of not being interesting to you.

    And your argument that we should look at the positive–well, that’s very pollyanna of you, but I don’t care about the positive as long as the negative exists. Because the negative aspects aren’t “men don’t behave the way I want them to” they are “men treat women as though they are subhuman and manipulate and damage vulnerable women.”

    I don’t do that to men, and I don’t think I am a fucking superhero. My guy friends and the men I’ve been involved with don’t do that to women. But you refuse to admit the humanity of the people you are trying to fuck. And that is deeply, deeply, disturbing.

  245. January 24, 2011 at 3:57 am

    @ William
    I have no idea who you are and when you got into the discussion. I meant subconsciously. As in, its not immediately apparent to the conscious mind.

    I have to honest with you your comments are really jarring for no apparent reason. Its cool man. You need to channel that anger out of your system. But I would look into the source of that if I was the same way.


    you tend to assume that all or most people are more or less like yourself. You think of human relationships as transactions, you place a high premium on physical attractiveness, and you assume that all or most people share not only your own idiosyncratic beauty ideals but also your hierarchical view of values.

    In your one section where you actually express an idea, I respect that thought and I will answer my saying,

    Yeah, at a certain level in terms of attraction there is a social value to looks. This doesn’t mean other things don’t override it later on. But it is what we have to go on at first. We don’t view relationships as transactions, but sometimes we view brief interactions with strangers as such. There is a negative side to this in that in de-humanizes the interaction. Of course as you get better as the technique it does come full circle. The pros to making interactions more transactional is so that you can view meeting women as an abundance activity and not take any rejections so personally. It’s a game in that respect. Where we draw the line is once we start getting to know the person. Of course a relationship would develop thereafter.

    @ Ismone

    I try not to insult anyone, in real life and on internet threads. But
    you are right re: the feminist thread I was throwing something kind of at large context out there and it wasn’t meant as a insult. I thought some of the arguments were pretty sound and I still think they are. I think where we do agree on certain things we’re probably never going to agree on the more good than bad issues of the community. And that’s fine.

    This was never the intention of the community and if someone has experienced this, well. I apologize on the other PUAs behalf for what its worth. I don’t think this is true and even if it is… its probably a taken a little too seriously. Women do the same to men and we are all vulnerable at different points in the game.

    Again, an assumption about me and about the community. I haven’t made any assumptions about any of you guys. Thus far all of my thoughts have been ideas that I’ve tried to communicate in open. But all the replies… its like you guys are trying to make me feel bad about my ideas because you possess one that’s is different.

    Anyway. You have my thoughts. Goodnight and Be well.

  246. January 24, 2011 at 3:58 am

    ops on the block quote. Sry

  247. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2011 at 4:33 am

    @Alpha,

    Two points:

    (1) That method of dealing with rejection comes out of fear and dominance which isn’t an appropriate way to deal with other human beings. If I’m scared you might hurt me, pre-emptively devaluing you is wrong. The better way to deal with that particular anxiety is to recognize that in all likelihood she isn’t rejecting YOU (particularly since she doesn’t know you) but is instead acting on her own preferences in that moment. Anxiety often makes us very inward looking, we center ourselves in another person’s life…but the reality is far different. She may say no for 9 million different reasons that have zero to do with and everything to do with her. If you can recognize that, you can deal with rejection without devaluing another person. But that would require dealing with the self-esteem issues underlying social anxiety which is something PUAs mask rather than deal with. As an aside you might look at the link I gave Recall above.

    (2) We are not trying to make you feel bad because your ideas are different. We trying to explain that the ideas you have are
    hurtful
    to us. Hurtful. Not different.

    See these ideas may work for you because their part of a social system…and that system is set up so that dehumanizing certain people is a successful strategy…for the person doing the dehumanizing. But that same system, that same process of dehumanization is causing people actual physical and psychological harm.
    And maybe its hard to see because from where your sitting, the people you directly interact with don’t have any gaping wounds. I get that. But try to think about these same ideas and how they’re implemented beyond your immediate zone of influence.

    Because thinking of other people as things, talking to people about how other people are targets or any dehumanizing epithet, is what makes abusers feel safe enough to hurt vulnerable people (and video tape it, and brag about it, and avoid the consequences).

    I get that its a coping mechanism and I understand the need for one. But let me ask, if someone gets hurt is it worth it? You have an alternative. You can choose another way to deal with the anxiety. So is this particular coping mechanism really worth it?

  248. PrettyAmiable
    January 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

    CliffsNotes:

    “I’m threatened by the man who is trying to bring down my sexist belief system so I’ll call him angry to discredit everything he says,” “I’M not calling you ugly and jealous, but other people do, and I actually think that might be true,” and “wahh, I’m faced with proof that my methods are bullshit and hurtful and you guys aren’t letting me have my way.”

    Jesus Christ, I’m going to be an asshole to the next guy who interrupts whatever it is I’m doing to hit on me. Oh, displacement.

  249. saurus
    January 24, 2011 at 9:20 am

    AlphaWolf: @ William
    I have to honest with you your comments are really jarring for no apparent reason. Its cool man. You need to channel that anger out of your system. But I would look into the source of that if I was the same way.

    Seduction is meant to be fun. Relax. Feminism and Hefner have done great things for women. As with all things there are dark and light sides. Have fun. Remember that happiness is a default state.

    In your one section where you actually express an idea, I respect that thought and I will answer my saying

    You guys are taking these comments way too seriously and seem way too sensitive.

    “Alphawolf”, I don’t know if you think we don’t notice your domineering and condescending attitude, but we do. Maybe you think you’re coming off as likable, controlled and powerful. I don’t know; PUAs have thought comparably lofty things about their dreadful performances in the past.

    But for the record, your comment to William doesn’t make William appear unreasonably or pathologically angry, it makes you appear entirely juvenile for trying so pathetically to portray him in such a light. And your attempts to order others around in conversation, framing yourself as the ultimate judge of truth who can dole out approval or disapproval? We see what you’re trying to do there.

    You’re intentionally trying to set yourself up as some kind of conversational leader, and you seem to think that no one else notices. When you voice your approval for Kristen J, for example, we recognize that it’s just part of your power play. You’re hoping others will feel envious and wish to win your approval too, and you can be the leader who graciously deigns to give it. But we have no interest in impressing you, because your evaluative yardstick isn’t one we respect.

    When you tell others which of their ideas were valid (as though you’re more intelligent and wise than they are, as though you’re the arbiter of truth) and embed little barbs in your evaluation, it’s just another part of your power play. And when you try to spin the whole thing as light, fun, and friendly in order to invalidate our very serious feelings about it, you’re hoping some of us will jump up and say “Oh! I didn’t mean it like that. Hey, I can take a joke.”

    You’re hoping we’ll want to prove ourselves to you, impress you, win your appreciation and respect – all while you’re behaving in an entirely immature, disrespectable fashion.

    And the most ludicrous thing of all is that you seem to have no idea how obvious you’re being about it. Like, we can see right through these pitiful attempts at machinations and manipulations. It’s like most PUAs – thinking they’re being very stealthy, when they’re more like a young child who doesn’t understand how hide-and-seek works and thinks they are being very sly while lying facefirst in the middle of the living room carpet.

    This, in my opinion, is the most damning thing about pickup artists – they start turning every interaction into power struggle, with every guy trying to be a leader using juvenile manipulation instead of, say, demonstrating courage and honor. And feminism – at least, in ideology – is about deconstructing power hierarchies entirely, not supporting them or shuffling them around. So even if your ideas about women aren’t so different from ours (although I daresay they are), our approaches to human relationships are lightyears apart.

    In a nutshell: you are behaving like a douchebag, and everyone can see that.

  250. Alara Rogers
    January 24, 2011 at 11:27 am

    For example, if we see a couple where one partner is significantly more attractive than the other, we assume that the less attractive one must possess other qualities that the more attractive one doesn’t. If they didn’t, their scores wouldn’t “add up” to equal each other.

    Just wanted to point out that this logic assumes that “attractiveness” is a universally perceived and accepted trait.

    My husband is an albino. I find extremely pale skin and white-blond hair to be very, very attractive, to the point where we joke about me having an albino fetish. (For the record, I don’t go waxing rhapsodic about the beauty of albinos or getting in other albinos’ faces about how attractive they are; I do it to my husband, who loves being perceived as beautiful, for reasons that should be obvious from what I’m about to explain.) Because his eyes move uncontrollably and one turns out in a different direction, my husband’s appearance is not just unattractive but downright disturbing to many people, and he has experienced discrimination because people found his eyes unpleasant to look at.

    I was at a dinner one time with my ex, my future husband, and a female friend of my ex’s. From my ex (who, generally speaking, had nothing good to say about my future husband ever), I learned that the female friend had asked him why I was dating my future husband, because I could do “so much better.” But here’s the thing. You see a couple where the woman is conventionally attractive — short, doesn’t wear makeup or femmy clothes, but thin, young and pretty — and the man is funny-looking because he’s too pale and his eyes wobble, and you may assume, “oh, she’s attracted to him because he has money, or he’s smart, or he’s funny… not because of his looks.” And you would be wrong. I mean, ok, you’d be right about the smart part because I can’t find a person attractive unless they’re smart; they can look great and then they open their mouth and wow, all interest flees. But I was dating him because he was *HOT*. To me.

    I was the conventionally attractive one, but I always felt as if the “score” thing for physical attractiveness was weighted in his favor, because women who look like me aren’t particularly rare, but men (or women) who look like him are, and his appearance was so attractive to me that I felt as if I was dating a male model. (I also don’t really give a damn what other people think about the attractiveness of my partners, so the whole status thing of ‘look, I’m dating a hot person!’ doesn’t apply to me.)

    So if you see a couple who differ strongly in perceived attractiveness to *you*… that doesn’t necessarily mean jack.

  251. Ismone
    January 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    saurus,

    Brilliant. And so true. The thought of Alpha Wolf actually agreeing with me would be scary, but for the fact that it probably isn’t true. He hasn’t yet demonstrated sufficient reading comprehension for me to believe it, and also, he refuses to take any ownership of the downsides of PUA tactics. Which basically means he is not listening/does not care what I and the other posters are saying.

    Not only are his tactics clearly manipulative, his lack of courage is just as apparent. He doesn’t deal with ideas or people who don’t fall into line with his narrow world view. Which is one of the reasons PUAs like him can never succeed with women like me–because we need to be around people who think, who are self-critical, and empathetic.

    Hell, I think most people are looking for partners who have those qualities, but I could be generalizing too much from my own life. But the empathy chip is crucial. Alpha Wolf, if you don’t have one, you might want to work on that.

  252. William
    January 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I have no idea who you are and when you got into the discussion. I meant subconsciously. As in, its not immediately apparent to the conscious mind.

    Interesting rhetorical device in your opening there. Anyway, what you’re describing would more accurately be called “preconscious” in the psychoanalytic literature or an “implicit association” in social psychology. The word “subconscious,” regardless of how you’re using it, suggests that your understanding of what you’re talking about is more surface level and influence by the kinds of pop-psychology that would be sloppy enough to use “subconscious.” Its a casual word that lacks specificity and isn’t really appropriate when you’re trying to make an appeal to authority by quoting a source. Bad form, doggie, bad form.

    I have to honest with you your comments are really jarring for no apparent reason.

    I wonder why that is. Either they’re jarring because I haven’t engaged you previously in this discussion and you’ve only been reading comments that directly involve you (interesting on it’s own) or for some reason you’re experiencing my comments as especially jarring when direct at you. I do appreciate your honesty, though the “no apparent reason” thing is concerning.

    Its cool man. You need to channel that anger out of your system.

    Aside from the fact that I’m not one to respond to orders and that I’ll note your none-to-subtle attempt to control the interaction I find it interesting that you’ve interpreted my comments as angry. Dismissive and mocking? Sure. Not taking you seriously? Absolutely. Angry? Not so much.

    I’d also like to cosign Saurus’ comment. To be explicit, your clumsy technique here has other people treating you like a joke or a troll. Virtually everyone who has engaged with you has mentioned seeing through it and I’d imagine most of the people who’ve read your posts have had a similar experience. But hey, keep posting if you’d like, you and Hugh are doing a great job of exemplifying the arguments everyone else has been making.

  253. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    saurus: When you voice your approval for Kristen J, for example, we recognize that it’s just part of your power play.

    Being co-oped – one of the unintended consequences of trying to be persuasive. :) Particularly endearing because he never engaged any of my points…So what are the odds on the next avoidance strategy? I can identify at least five from the <a href="http://www.derailingfordummies.com/Derailing bingo card so far. My guess is Privilege Envy. I think if we hit all of them in one thread we will a prize.

  254. Kristen J.
    January 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    My tagging sucks today.Derailing. I blame the cold.

  255. PrettyAmiable
    January 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    “You just enjoy being offended” or “You have an agenda” FTW

  256. Recall
    January 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    RD:
    He might be talking about me, since I called him creepy for “asking” another random commenter to “coffee.”But, that is creepy, both in the context of the comments and because there is no way it was a legitimate invitation (they are most likely not even in the same geographic location), which means he was doing it to make some kind of point or something.Which is totally creepy.  

    There was something about her post that sparked my interest, that’s all. Maybe it’s because I’ve been good friends with a shy girl who turned out to be really awesome once we got comfortable around each other.

    Kristen J.:
    That’s very true.Which message have you been getting?That you’re scary or that other people aren’t like you?  

    The former. It’s hard to argue with because, for the most part, it’s true.

  257. RD
    January 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I’m really glad I’m in a serious long term relationship, and that I’m queer.

    At least this thread has amusement value – William, you’re a funny guy.

  258. Stoner with a Boner
    January 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Hiya Alpha-Wolf,

    What Are your opinions on the foreskin repair movement?

    I did not see any comments on that article from you. However I think that penises must be to PUA’s what guitar’s are to musicians and that you would have much to say on the topic.

    See everybody, I am being EMPATHETIC :)

  259. Politicalguineapig
    January 24, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Ismone: I am actually female, believe it or not. I prefer to use a non-genderized handle, because I like to keep my real life and my internet life seperate. I don’t support pick-up artists- in fact, if someone tried anything on me, they’d either meet with total incomprehension, or end up bruised. In my personal life, I believe in preemptive strikes. I spent about a year being weak- I’m never making that mistake again.
    PA: okay, so say the actual number of rapists is 6%. Personally, I’d double it. Point is.. how do you distinguish between the nice normal guy and the rapist? They’ve been raised in the same society, taught the same things, and deep down, think of women in the same way.
    So there’s really only the act of rape to distinguish the two, nothing more.

  260. RD
    January 25, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Oh god don’t point him to other threads! Then we have to deal with him in multiple locations.

  261. Kristen J.'s Husband
    January 25, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Recall: The former. It’s hard to argue with because, for the most part, it’s true. Recall

    Recall, the scary people in the world are people who intentionally hurt other people. There aren’t very many people who do that. If you don’t do that, you aren’t scary. You may act in ways that make other people uncomfortable…but that doesn’t make you scary. If you do, do that. Stop and you won’t be scary anymore.

  262. Kristen J.'s Husband
    January 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Politicalguineapig: okay, so say the actual number of rapists is 6%. Personally, I’d double it. Point is.. how do you distinguish between the nice normal guy and the rapist? They’ve been raised in the same society, taught the same things, and deep down, think of women in the same way.

    Emphasis added.

    Do you really think that? Are all cis women incapable of seeing trans people as fully human? Are all TAB people incapable of seeing disabled people as fully human? Are we all really locked into the kyriarchy that made us? Because there are multiple axises of oppression some of which you’re responsible for too. So who can you not see as fully human? Who is it deep down that you hate?

  263. Kristen J.
    January 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Crap that was me not him. I didn’t realize he was using my computer earlier.

  264. Ismone
    January 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Politicalguineapig,

    No, they don’t. Men have a variety of opinions about women, about female sexuality, and about male sexuality. I know plenty of men who will *stop having sex* if they feel their partner isn’t enjoying it/is doing something uncomfortable out of obligation. Who are more focused on getting off by providing pleasure. That is entirely different then viewing sex as dominance, as something they are entitled to, and viewing women as masturbatory aids.

    Do you not realize how extreme your position is? Do you think all women are the same? And if women have a diversity of opinions and experiences and behaviors, why on earth would men not? Sure, the culture is toxic, but as Kristen J. pointed out, the culture is toxic in all kinds of kyriarchical ways.

    I doubt your veracity because your position is so extreme. It is really warped and dehumanizing. I think it is fine to criticize conduct, and discuss the social structure it comes from, but to act as if all members of a group are guilty for the actions of a minority (or even an majority) simply boggles the mind.

    And I have explained how it is the same thing that PUAs do, saying that because one woman wronged them, bitches ain’t shit. How can you not see the parallels and the hypocrisy of you claiming to be better than they are? You may not have as much social power, but you are attempting to do the same bigoted thing.

  265. Recall
    January 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Kristen J.’s Husband:
    Recall, the scary people in the world are people who intentionally hurt other people.There aren’t very many people who do that.If you don’t do that, you aren’t scary.You may act in ways that make other people uncomfortable…but that doesn’t make you scary.If you do, do that.Stop and you won’t be scary anymore.  

    I appreciate your confidence in me, but you don’t even have to look outside this thread to see that that’s not the way it works out in practice. People can’t read minds, and with the culture we live in, I can’t blame them for fearing the worst.

  266. January 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Politicalguineapig:
    Personally, I’d double it. Point is.. how do you distinguish between the nice normal guy and the rapist? They’ve been raised in the same society, taught the same things, and deep down, think of women in the same way.
    So there’s really only the act of rape to distinguish the two, nothing more.

    Oh have we? I was taught to respect people and stuck to that teaching. Rapists may or may not have been taught to repsect people and regardless of whether or not they were did not stick to that teaching. Even if we go by your personal doubling that still only makes 12%. That’s still 88% that don’t.

    I think of women as people that I interact with on a daily basis. I think of them as people who deserve respect, fair chances, and at least a bit of good faith, just like any other type of people in this that don’t fall into the category of women. Do you really think rapists think that of women? You think rapists repect women? If you think that the only difference between any given man and a rapist is whether or not he has raped someone then with that generalization you aren’t just throwing out the baby with the bathwater you’re throwing out the whole damn tub along with the baby and bathwater.

    But let me guess only men are deserving of such assumptions right?

  267. RD
    January 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Ummm, I’m a little trigger-happy. Don’t beat yrself up too much.

  268. Ismone
    January 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Also, politicalguineapig, if you want to know more about how to tell between abusers and respectful people (to the extent possible) I suggest reading Gavin De Becker’s Gift of Fear and/or his book Protecting the Gift.

  269. Stoner with a Boner
    January 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Hiya,

    I realize I have no credibility here and a few people really didn’t like my comments, but I’ll say my 2 cents anyways….

    Most guys aren’t rapists and don’t have a desire to be. There are alot of victims of rapists out there-how so-simply cuz the rapists do multiple rapes. Just like there aren’t so many scam artists but alot of victims cuz the scam artists do it over and over….

    First off, I do NOT support rapists…

    I am a guy and imersed in “guy culture.” I understand many on this board will automatically say this makes me the enemy. Well I’ve heard all he dirty locker room talk. I can tell you how some rapists operate. They rarely jump out of the bushes with a weapon and brutely overpower the victim. Those that do are the most punished by society. They are more sutle. Somehow they will say what great guys they are. They say the “right” things. They go to a bar or house party. They get a girl drinking at a party, they make sure the drinks are extra strong, they act like they are watching out for her, at some point they get her alone, they do things in such a way that no one is really sure what happens… If a girl accuses them of rape, there are so many mixed signals that even the girl herself is unsure of what happened.

    Specific example, We’ll call him Matt Fratt. He is at a BBQ, all guys. Smugly bragging about all the women he has had while sipping on a beer. He goes on to insult my good friend due to his lack of “experience.” He says, “When I was in a fratt, we’d get bitches smashed, then do ’em.” Myself and Matt Fratt were never friends… At another gathering, mixed, guys and girls-I repeat what Matt Fratt said-you do realize I’m breaking the unspoken code, butt I always enjoy a good laugh at the expense of someone I don’t like. I do an imitation of Matt Fratt….
    (Overly gruff macho voice for comedic effect.)
    “Glugg, Glugg Glugg (chugging Beer) When I was in a fratt, We’d get bitches smashed, then do ’em.”

    I am not the most socially skilled person, but my observation was the ladies looked uncomfortable. Matt tried to say, “C’mon, it ain’t like that” and laugh it off.

    “Bullshit” Big Jay (who was also at the BBQ) “he called you out, man. That’s how you act– and we’re all sick off you.”

    So, I was actually backed by another guy who found Matt Fratt distasteful. I don’t know if Matt Fratt’s many lays felt like victims or what…… It was just interesting how his “social skills” were non existent w/o alcohol….

    I do very much like being buzzed, I don’t use it as a tool for “seduction.” If your not in a state to drive, your not in a state to fuck-that simple.

  270. Kristen J.
    January 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Recall: I appreciate your confidence in me, but you don’t even have to look outside this thread to see that that’s not the way it works out in practice. People can’t read minds, and with the culture we live in, I can’t blame them for fearing the worst. Recall

    People are flawed. I think for the most part we all walk around with tremendous baggage that sometimes makes us reflexively defensive. It understandable that people believe the worst, but that doesn’t mean the worst is actually true. PGP may have a very understandable reason for believing that all men are rapists. That doesn’t make it remotely true. I’m frightened by strangers who sit close to me. That doesn’t make those strangers bad or scary people. My baggage means I misinterpret who they are. Don’t let someone else’s baggage define you.

  271. Ismone
    January 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    SwB,

    No, you’re pretty correct, the general pattern is few offenders, many victims. And good on you for recognizing what that guy was and calling him out.

  272. RD
    January 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Hm. I have had good sex when too drunk to drive…but only with pre-existing partners. I think your rule (too drunk to drive, too drunk to fuck) is maybe best for people who are not already sleeping together, or in other situations within the relationship that might already make consent shaky? I’m not sure. Maybe other people experience this differently than me. Certainly I think no one should ever be having “sex” with someone who is blackout-drunk or semi- or un-conscious, ever.

  273. RD
    January 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Haha actually that’s not true. It just occurred to me that I’ve hooked up with a few women I had never slept with while smashed and also had a good time. Hmmmm. Its very situational, I guess.

  274. January 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Politicalguineapig: Point is.. how do you distinguish between the nice normal cis person and the hate-driven murderer of trans folk? They’ve been raised in the same society, taught the same things, and deep down, think of trans folk in the same way. So there’s really only the act of murder to distinguish the two, nothing more. Politicalguineapig

    T,FTFY.

    Boy, when I get done my “pre-emptive strikes”, I’m gonna be pretty lonely. After all, only 1% of us, at most, is trans.

  275. Recall
    January 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    RD: Ummm, I’m a little trigger-happy.Don’t beat yrself up too much.  

    Kristen J.:
    People are flawed.I think for the most part we all walk around with tremendous baggage that sometimes makes us reflexively defensive.It understandable that people believe the worst, but that doesn’t mean the worst is actually true.PGP may have a very understandable reason for believing that all men are rapists.That doesn’t make it remotely true.I’m frightened by strangers who sit close to me.That doesn’t make those strangers bad or scary people. My baggage means I misinterpret who they are.Don’t let someone else’s baggage define you.  

    To be clear, my primary concern was scaring wembley off, and if I didn’t think the risk was worth it, I wouldn’t have made my comment in the first place.

  276. Politicalguineapig
    January 26, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Ismone, Danny: My point is, I doubt that men ever have more then a surface respect for women. Again, rapists don’t walk around with tattoos or signs, so it pays to be suspicious. And Ismone, please don’t recommend self help books. They make lousy doorstops.
    SWB: you may not support rapists, but I bet you know some people who are. If you don’t keep an eye on them, and allow them to be predators, you ARE supporting rapists.
    KristenJ: I have a very hard time judging and trusting people. If you met me on the street, you would believe I am a nice person. I’m not, and I’ve learned the hard way that people aren’t generally nice. Women and girls will nibble away at self esteem, guys, at least, will trash-talk in person. Also, I’ve known a lot of guys who couldn’t take a hint if it bit them in the ass,so sometimes I have to be blunt or rough with them.
    Galling Galla: maybe it doesn’t work for you, but I’d rather hurt someone then get hurt myself.

  277. Ismone
    January 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    The Gift of Fear is not a “self-help” book. It is about security, not about changing who you are. A google search might have helped you with that, but due to your complete unwillingness to engage in anything more than a superficial level of “debate” based on stereotypes, I am not surprised.

    You still aren’t justifying your argument, or answering my questions about how it is you “know” that men universally hate women, or are any more likely to be responsible for the actions of other men than I am for the actions of other women.

    I will say it again: your statements about men are hateful, unwarranted, and unfeminist.

  278. RD
    January 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Wembley? Do you know her? Have you talked to her before? Maybe you should start by seeing if she wants to exchange email addys or something. Usually people don’t want to meet people off the internet unless they’ve been talking or emailing for a while.

    Wembley, if you disagree, feel free to tell me off.

  279. January 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Politicalguineapig: Galling Galla: maybe it doesn’t work for you, but I’d rather hurt someone then get hurt myself. Politicalguineapig

    It’s pretty sad that you see the world in such black-and-white terms. You can’t even conceive of the possibility that people can behave in such a way that no one gets hurt?

  280. lurkette deb
    January 27, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Galla: I really liked the parallel you made above about anti-trans violence. I’d never thought of a parallel in quite those terms before (cis privilege ahoy). Sadly, I’ve never known a bigot to be vulnerable to having their own argument turned back on them. Or any other form of discussion, really. Bigots are bigots, even when they claim they’re just afraid for their safety or can’t tell the “good ones” and “bad ones” apart and wave statistics around to justify themselves.

  281. January 27, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Politicalguineapig:My point is, I doubt that men ever have more then a surface respect for women.
    I’m sorry you feel that way. As GallingGalla notes you seem to see the world in such black/white terms (although when it comes men respecting women you seem to have a strictly black viewpoint). Kind of reminds me of guys with such all negative outlooks about women.

    Again, rapists don’t walk around with tattoos or signs, so it pays to be suspicious.
    There’s a difference between being suspicious and simply assuming the worst possible faith. And to just simply think its better to presume that all men secretly hate women just because a relatively small portion of us do is just not right.

  282. Q Grrl
    January 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Danny: FWIW, I’ve never seen a woman write what PG in a “simple” manner. When a woman gets to the point that she writes those sentiments, she’s usually spent a great deal of time thinking about it. Or living the unfortunate reality.

    Most men don’t respect most women. There is a long verifiable, recorded history of men doing this. The subject matter of this thread alone is not happening in a void or a result of “personal choice.”

  283. Ismone
    January 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Q Grrl,

    With respect, I think his description of her is bang-on. Especially because she refuses to engage with those challenging her argument. By your argument, men who were abused by their moms get to just write off women. I don’t think so. Just because someone has lived an unfortunate reality doesn’t mean they get to blame everyone who shares characteristics of others in that reality.

    I’m sure these PUAs and “Boycott American Women” types say that they live that same unfortunate reality, as well.

    Also, I disagree that “most men don’t respect most women” if by respect, you mean not at all. I would agree that “most men and women respect men more highly than women” and that “a significant minority of men do not (yet) behave as though they respect women as persons” but even though I’ve had my own run-ins with sexism, most men treat me with some level of respect. It may not be enough, but we’re working on them.

  284. rare vos
    January 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    “There’s a difference between being suspicious and simply assuming the worst possible faith.”

    Is it nice living in boy privilege land?

  285. January 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    rare vos:
    Is it nice living in boy privilege land?
    I don’t know since I don’t live there.

    Q Grrl:
    Most men don’t respect most women. There is a long verifiable, recorded history of men doing this.
    With respect I’d like to know where there is proof that most men don’t respect women. I can understand a person saying something to the effect that most of the men they have crossed paths with don’t respect women but that’s not the same as deciding its okay to write off the entire gender or any group for that matter.

    Ismone:
    By your argument, men who were abused by their moms get to just write off women.
    And the black people who have been mistreated by whites get to write off white people. And gays who have been harassed by homophobes can write off heterosexuals. And so on and so on….

  286. Ismone
    January 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    rare vos,

    I am not a dude. And I agree with Danny. My past experiences with people have taught me that trust is a thing to be earned rather than simply bestowed, but that doesn’t mean that I assume that people I don’t know are bad. I assume that I do not know if they are bad or good. And wait for them to demonstrate badness/goodness before trusting them, and consider their relative ability to hurt me before permitting myself to be vulnerable.

    How could you defend what he describes as “assuming the worst possible faith?”

    -Izzy

  287. Recall
    January 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    RD: Wembley?Do you know her?Have you talked to her before?Maybe you should start by seeing if she wants to exchange email addys or something.Usually people don’t want to meet people off the internet unless they’ve been talking or emailing for a while.Wembley, if you disagree, feel free to tell me off.  

    There’s no nead to rush things like that. I was mostly just checking if she was still reading the thread.

  288. RD
    January 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Um, I meant instead of asking her to coffee out of the blue, without any knowledge of each other or even any way to actually get in contact.

  289. PrettyAmiable
    January 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Danny: Kind of reminds me of guys with such all negative outlooks about women.

    Oh, you mean the days when men were discriminated against en masse, so a handful of them thought the best way to protect themselves was to espouse negative thoughts about the opposite sex? Listen, I don’t agree with pgp’s sentiments (primarily again – because I live in this world and don’t want to be any more terrified of half the population than I already am) – but don’t pretend you have a fucking clue how her set of beliefs developed. Your analogy is flawed (which is why someone pointed out how privileged that nonsense was).

  290. Recall
    January 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    RD: Um, I meant instead of asking her to coffee out of the blue, without any knowledge of each other or even any way to actually get in contact.  

    I felt that the absurdity of the suggestion would help to defuse some of the tension inherent in that type of comment.

  291. RD
    January 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Ok, so. Now you are admitting that it actually WASN’T a real invitation like I originally thought. And yet…you still said it because “something in her post spoke to you” and you decided you liked her and not to be creepy and/or make some kind of creepy “point” by fake-asking someone out. If that wasn’t just misdirection. I’m so confused, and getting kind of annoyed with this, so I’m gonna drop it and I guess you’ll just keep doing whatever it is that you are trying to do.

    Maybe our resident psycho-analyst understands you but I sure don’t.

  292. January 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Recall:
    I felt that the absurdity of the suggestion would help to defuse some of the tension inherent in that type of comment.  

    Subtlety doesn’t work on the Internet among strangers – the comment was not clearly absurd enough, given the level of weird stuff that happens routinely on message boards and comment threads. It came off as creepy at worst and obtuse at best.

  293. Recall
    January 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Jadey:
    Subtlety doesn’t work on the Internet among strangers – the comment was not clearly absurd enough, given the level of weird stuff that happens routinely on message boards and comment threads. It came off as creepy at worst and obtuse at best.  

    What line would you have used?

  294. January 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I would not have used one. If I had a point I wanted to make, I would have made it explicitly. Honestly, I still don’t understand what the purpose of your comment was, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

  295. Recall
    January 27, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Jadey: I would not have used one. If I had a point I wanted to make, I would have made it explicitly. Honestly, I still don’t understand what the purpose of your comment was, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.  

    As I said, it was intended as an offhand expression of interest.

  296. RD
    January 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Ha. Jadey you are not alone (my comment on that is still in mod).

  297. January 27, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Recall:
    As I said, it was intended as an offhand expression of interest.  

    Then it really was incredibly inappropriate given the context and no amount of “absurdity” was going to defuse that tension. Wrong time, wrong place, not only for wembley but for everyone else participating in the thread. If you do not understand why, then that is only the very beginning of the problem, and there is certainly nothing I can tell you at this time and through this medium that will be helpful.

  298. Stoner with a Boner
    January 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Hiya PoliticalGuineaPig,

    You said:

    “SWB: you may not support rapists, but I bet you know some people who are. If you don’t keep an eye on them, and allow them to be predators, you ARE supporting rapists.”

    Okay, this sounds very much like something I heard a politician say, with a Texas drawl “If yer not with us, yer against us.”

    I know three or four men whom I think capable of being rapists and possibly committing rapes. “Matt Fratt” being one and I haven’t had any contact with him in years. The others I say because I know they frequent bars, brag of one night stands and talk about women in ways the I find disgusting (and if a crude guy like me finds it disgusting, then I can only imagine the horror it would cause the enlightened people on this board.)

    This far along in life I know guys also say things to make themselves appear what they are not. Maybe the guys I suspect are well on their way to being real life 40 yr old virgins.

    Ironically, I know of one specific case, not rape but assault where the victim’s family would love vigilante justice. The victim herself does not want the victimizer hurt and did not want to press charges. She only pressed charges as she thought it would be the only way her medical bills (which were close to 50k) would be paid. The victimizer is only looking at 90 days in prison if the case goes to trial. How fucked is that? If you rob a bank of 50k you’d surely get more than 90 days…

    Now, PGP-I don’t know what you expect I should do…. Follow shady guys around and warn any woman that they are potentially dangerous? I am also aware that I look like a shady guy as my “harassment” at two in the morning does not come from criminals butt Law Enforcement.

    This is kind of similar to the whole 9/11 terror debate. Do you want security or personal freedom/liberty?

  299. Q Grrl
    January 28, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Recall: it’s always dicey to try to flirt on a feminist site! Ouch. That being said, you could have said something along the lines of “oh, wow, if I knew you IRL and I weren’t so shy myself I would probably ask if you wanted to join me for a coffee”. That way you leave the action in the hypothetical and you still manage to establish a slight common focal point (the shyness).

    I thought your post was kind of sweet, but obviously it is open to interpretation, and perhaps subtlety is not your forte.

  300. Q Grrl
    January 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    “Do you want security or personal freedom/liberty?”

    In a rape culture, women don’t get that choice very often. Do some homework about that please, otherwise you come off as condescending and privileged. I mean, presumably the woman shot in the face thought she *was* exercising her personal freedom/liberty. She is not an anomaly.

    Also, your duty isn’t to “warn” women about men, especially in a freaking thread where a woman has said that she suspects all men of being dangerous. How freaking fucked up is **that** suggestion? Check yourself already. I mean, that’s fucking over the top. You don’t get to decide for us which men are dangerous and how we should react, in general, to men.

    What you do need to do, however, if you have the backbone and self-confidence, is to talk to MEN about THEIR behavior. All of them, even the ones that you deem non-threatening.

    I wonder how quickly they’ll tell you to fuck off? And I wonder after they do, whether you’ll just go back to your life of telling women what to do about their safety and their freedom.

  301. dusk99
    January 28, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Some of the women here are disparaging PUAs for their misogynistic presumptions, but the truth is that most of the men attracted to this scene are socially anxious men who have had virtually zero success with women. I would like to see feminists offer an alternative for men like this. You can be vague and tell them to treat women like human beings, but most of these guys have tried being the nice guys and gotten nowhere. Maybe you need to look inside yourselves and ask why women are still falling for the misogynistic alpha males over the less masculine nice guys, then you can criticize us for studying PUA techniques.

  302. RD
    January 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Forget both PatRiarchy AND 01234567890, dusk99 for FNTT!

    Way to treat “women” as a monolith. But I don’t think what you say is even true of average straight women. If straight women were so into super masculine dudes, why do so many of them fall in love with gay guys?

  303. PrettyAmiable
    January 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Oh, let’s not end on a troll note, eh?

  304. Recall
    January 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Q Grrl: Recall: it’s always dicey to try to flirt on a feminist site! Ouch. That being said, you could have said something along the lines of “oh, wow, if I knew you IRL and I weren’t so shy myself I would probably ask if you wanted to join me for a coffee”. That way you leave the action in the hypothetical and you still manage to establish a slight common focal point (the shyness).

    The downside with that approach is that it makes me look like I’m dismissing her dating problems.

    As far as flirting on a feminist site goes, I’d be a little more hesitant if I was the only one doing it:

    PrettyAmiable: saurus @ 125 = love. Thanks – I laughed out loud.Also, William, I have a tiny internet crush on you.  

    Jill:
    Get in line.  

    Ismone: (Joins the line.)  

  305. PrettyAmiable
    January 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Recall, just to clarify – William is married and I believe is in a monogamous relationship (based on his comments above). I won’t speak for Jill or Ismone, but I wasn’t flirting so much as showing an ardent appreciation for William’s words throughout Feministe comment threads. I don’t really want to make out with someone who’s a complete stranger. My internet crush is platonic.

    There’s are two primary differences between what I did and what you did: I did not request a meeting with him (and if your request was playful, the fact of the matter is that was lost on many commenters), and if we did accept that I was flirting (which I suppose depends on your definition – though it doesn’t fit mine), I am a woman on a feminist thread. Anything I do say that is flirtatious is unlikely to be interpreted as predatory.

  306. Stoner with a Boner
    January 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Q Grrl,

    Thanks for addressing my comments and not simply dismissing me as “mansplaining.”

    I did have an ah-ha moment after reading your post about 4 times….

    The best understanding I have right now, or the analogy I can create to this situation…

    A teacher sees a student being bullied by several popular kids. The teacher addresses the bullied. While some information such as perhaps taking an alternate route to school may have common sense information that is to the students best interest, the teacher really goes in a worse direction. Starting to say things like why don’t you adopt a more popular style of dress-lose your foreign accent and do other things to be less of a target to the bullies.. Why don’t you try to fit in to the prevailing school culture that does not like you whatsoever… The teacher addresses the student as being wrong for not fitting in and never addresses the environment that is so narrow minded or hostile. The popular kids are given a free pass on their bullying and only horrendous situations are addressed. The popular students may be punished, but it is usually miniscule in relation to the suffering they are causing. And the punishments may only make the students more aggressive and not act as a deterrent…..

  307. Kristen J.'s Husband
    January 29, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Recall,

    Since you asked I’m going to offer you a couple pieces of advice as a guy who was once socially awkward. First, don’t flirt. Flirting requires an expert understanding of social nuance and body language to do correctly. Done incorrectly it makes people uncomfortable. When you’re socially awkward the best way to express interest in a woman is to listen and ask about the things she is interested in. Second, don’t pick up people in places like this. Social justice movements are not a dating circuit. IF a person you’re attracted to approaches you, fine, but don’t seek out romantic relationships in non-social settings. That requires a level of social nuance you’re don’t have the experience for. Third, go make friends with women. Not the fake shit where you are still angling for a relationship while pretending to be their friend. Actual friendship. Where you talk about your boring ass day and your addiction to yahtzee. Learn how to relate to women the same way you relate to guys. Fourth, go to a bar sit in a corner and observe people. The most important skill you need is to understand body language. So go learn. Take some friends with you to people watch. Its hilarious to watch people and make up imaginary dialogue. Just don’t stare.

  308. Recall
    January 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    PrettyAmiable: Recall, just to clarify – William is married and I believe is in a monogamous relationship (based on his comments above). I won’t speak for Jill or Ismone, but I wasn’t flirting so much as showing an ardent appreciation for William’s words throughout Feministe comment threads. I don’t really want to make out with someone who’s a complete stranger.

    What makes you think that I’m any different?

    Kristen J.’s Husband: Recall,Since you asked I’m going to offer you a couple pieces of advice as a guy who was once socially awkward.First, don’t flirt.Flirting requires an expert understanding of social nuance and body language to do correctly.Done incorrectly it makes people uncomfortable.When you’re socially awkward the best way to express interest in a woman is to listen and ask about the things she is interested in.Second, don’t pick up people in places like this.Social justice movements are not a dating circuit.IF a person you’re attracted to approaches you, fine, but don’t seek out romantic relationships in non-social settings.

    Considering that the focus of this thread has revolved around dating, this position has a certain Strangelovian “No fighting in the War Room” sound to it.

    That requires a level of social nuance you’re don’t have the experience for.Third, go make friends with women.Not the fake shit where you are still angling for a relationship while pretending to be their friend.Actual friendship. Where you talk about your boring ass day and your addiction to yahtzee.

    I already have female friends, and thankfully, they’re considerably more interesting than what you describe.

    The most important skill you need is to understand body language. So go learn. Take some friends with you to people watch. Its hilarious to watch people and make up imaginary dialogue. Just don’t stare.

    I suppose I should mention that I’m autistic and that I have pretty bad eyesight.

  309. Kristen J.
    January 30, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Recall,

    M is making breakfast so you’re stuck with me:

    (1) He apologizes for assuming you were neurotypical. His bad. Something he needs to work on.

    (2) Re: Strangelove – lol. Regardless, he says his points hold.

    [As a side note, I think his aversion to flirting is that it makes some people uncomfortable and M has an aversion to making people uncomfortable. His dislike of people who pick up people in social justice movements is that he is frequently asked to tell dudes who show up to volunteer at DV shelters among other places to leave women alone. It really, really pisses him off when someone comes in for help and instead gets harassed by some dude.]

  310. PrettyAmiable
    January 30, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Recall: What makes you think that I’m any different?

    Your use of the word “flirting.” I don’t use the word “flirting” when there’s no attraction on my part or on theirs.

  311. Recall
    January 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    PrettyAmiable:
    Your use of the word “flirting.” I don’t use the word “flirting” when there’s no attraction on my part or on theirs.  

    I did not characterize my comment that way. Q Grrl did, and didn’t dispute it because I didn’t want to get sidetracked into an argument about sematics.

    Kristen J.: Recall,M is making breakfast so you’re stuck with me:(1) He apologizes for assuming you were neurotypical.His bad.Something he needs to work on.

    No problem. Part of the reason why I like online discussions is that it’s a much more even field for me.

    (2) Re:Strangelove – lol.Regardless, he says his points hold.[As a side note, I think his aversion to flirting is that it makes some people uncomfortable and M has an aversion to making people uncomfortable.His dislike of people who pick up people in social justice movements is that he is frequently asked to tell dudes who show up to volunteer at DV shelters among other places to leave women alone.It really, really pisses him off when someone comes in for help and instead gets harassed by some dude.]  

    Ugh.

  312. RD
    January 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I also apologize for assuming you were neurotypical. I believe you that you had good motives – the fact is, as a het dude in a world where a lot of het dudes have terrible motives, if your expressions of interest in women make them uncomfortable they will often think the same of you. Its a self-preservation thing mostly. It doesnt mean there is something fundamentally bad about you.

    I still think trying PUA is a bad idea. I would recommend the internet, but not a blog – maybe a forum where people get to know each other and can PM (where you can meet someone with mutual interests) or a social networking site.

  313. PrettyAmiable
    January 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Great. Then I still didn’t request a meeting with him, and I am a woman (and frequent commenter) on a feminist board, so on and so forth about how we’re all pretty sure I’m not being predatory. You didn’t address the bulk arguments in my comment.

  314. Recall
    January 30, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    PrettyAmiable: Great. Then I still didn’t request a meeting with him, and I am a woman (and frequent commenter) on a feminist board, so on and so forth about how we’re all pretty sure I’m not being predatory. You didn’t address the bulk arguments in my comment.  

    Ok, I don’t consider myself a predator because I don’t prey on people.

  315. PrettyAmiable
    January 30, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    And if I called you a predator, that would be relevant.

  316. Recall
    January 30, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    PrettyAmiable: And if I called you a predator, that would be relevant.  

    You’re going to have to tell me what I’m supposed to defend in this argument of ours.

  317. RD
    January 31, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Recall, what you are supposed to defend against is that your comment can be interpreted as predatory in ways that prettyamiable’s probably would not be, because 1) you requested a meeting, and she did not 2) you’re a guy and an unknown.

  318. David
    January 31, 2011 at 12:46 am

    RD:
    I also apologize for assuming you were neurotypical.I believe you that you had good motives – the fact is, as a het dude in a world where a lot of het dudes have terrible motives, if your expressions of interest in women make them uncomfortable they will often think the same of you.Its a self-preservation thing mostly.It doesnt mean there is something fundamentally bad about you.
    I still think trying PUA is a bad idea.I would recommend the internet, but not a blog – maybe a forum where people get to know each other and can PM (where you can meet someone with mutual interests) or a social networking site.  

    At risk of sounding like an idiot, I might also suggest dating sites. Everybody on there is upfront about what kind of activity they want to engage in. Of course, I’ve never tried one myself. They might suck.

    Man, I can hear that cheesy movie-announcer voice in my head.

    “In a world… Filled with violent intentions… One het dude is on a mission… To find true love.”

  319. Recall
    January 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    RD: Recall, what you are supposed to defend against is that your comment can be interpreted as predatory in ways that prettyamiable’s probably would not be, because 1) you requested a meeting, and she did not 2) you’re a guy and an unknown.  

    Why would I defend against it? It’s been one of the points I’ve been making all along:

    Recall:
    I appreciate your confidence in me, but you don’t even have to look outside this thread to see that that’s not the way it works out in practice. People can’t read minds, and with the culture we live in, I can’t blame them for fearing the worst.  

  320. PrettyAmiable
    January 31, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I fail to see what the problem is, then. You pointed out that you were doing something that I also did, I pointed out it was completely different, and it should have been dropped.

    You said “defend.” No one is telling you that you need to defend anything. RD was using your terminology (you’ll note that even if this isn’t the right terminology, you accepted someone else’s definition of flirting for the sake of semantics – it’s not unreasonable that RD would do the same with “defend”). Also, I’m not on the “offensive.” You equated something that isn’t equivalent and I told you why your comparison wasn’t accurate. The end.

  321. Recall
    January 31, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    PrettyAmiable: No one is telling you that you need to defend anything.

    Thank you. I’m glad we got that cleared up.

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