This past weekend, my friend was having problems with the guy she’s either dating, seeing, talking to, or just hooking up with. We didn’t know which one it was; hence the problems. She was confused as to whether or not he liked her, if he wanted something with her, what he really thought of her, etc. He wasn’t making anything clear so we took it upon ourselves to answer them, in a true, typical female manner of over-analyzing everything. Text messages, phone calls, dates, kind, sweet gestures from him, embarrassing moments of hers – all carefully reviewed. But, no matter how hard we tried to come up with satisfying answers, we just couldn’t. Such answers could come from only him.
Playing detective with my girlfriend made me recall a similar case of my own, where I was fishing for answers in an extremely deep pool. The more he kept me guessing about his feelings, the more I was drawn to him. I knew I was playing into some kind of game, and in retrospect, I didn’t mind it. I saw it as a challenge, thinking that like all games, this one would eventually lead to an end with some answers.
Well, there was an end, but it didn’t involve any answers. As soon as I realized it was no longer just a challenge, and that my feelings were on the line, I walked away. It was a dissatisfying exit to say the least, because the questions were still very much alive in my mind. And so, with my girlfriend’s frustration and mine resurfaced, I finally sought out for some answers.
For a non-biased, objective male perspective, I decided to ask my male group members during our meeting, in which I didn’t have to go too far into the account to get an answer. One of them was able to solve the puzzle in just three words:
“You’ve never read The Game?”
*Nods of agreement from the other guys
TheGame is an international best seller written by former New York Times reporter, Neil Strauss. It’s a brilliant how-to that teaches men how to seduce women by making her feel good and desired, providing dating techniques and theories, Cat-String Theoryjust being one of many, for the Average Frustrated Chump (AFC). In this non-fiction New York Times Best Seller, Strauss chronicles his transformation from an AFC to a master pickup artist (PUA), seducing celebrities like Britney Spears, Courtney Love, Playmate of the Year, and other highly desired women along the way. The success of The Game eventually found its way into a VH1 television series The Pick-Up Artist.
“I’ve heard it all from dozens of guys and I’d heard just as many intelligent women say, ‘that wouldn’t work on me,’ when I told them about the [method]…The smarter a girl is, the better it works. Party girls with attention deficit disorder generally don’t stick around to hear the routines. A more perceptive, worldly, or educated girl will listen and think, and soon find herself ensnared” (90).
I had heard of the book before but never paid too much attention to it. The thought that kind, intelligent guys would take the time to read this book, never crossed my mind. How naïve! I came to learn that The Game was a must-readamongst many of the men that you and I know. I found that the smarter and nicer the guy is, the chances of him having read this book were far more likely. I asked college frat boys, graphic designers, law and med school students, teachers – guys and nearly all of them had read, skimmed through, or heard of The Game.
“First, open (subordinate her by using negs and openers– see below for definitions). Then demonstrate higher value (demonstrate qualities that could make her say “But…he’s different from the rest”). Next, build rapport and an emotional connection (by using chick crack). And, finally, create a physical connection” (159).
The book uses tacky, degrading terms that’ll make you want to cringe. But once you get pass the tasteless qualities, you’ll see that a lot of the logics in this book are mere psychological truths. The reason I call this book brilliant, is because Strauss and his fellow PUAs have investigated timeless dating myths from a psychological standpoint, identifying biological differences between men and women and targeting vulnerable aspects within those differences. It’s no secret that men and women operate differently, especially when it comes to dating. And The Game teaches men how to skew the female tendencies – over-analyzing, seeking an emotional foundation before anything.
I’ve put together a list of terms Strauss and his buddies use, and excerpts to highlight how the terms are used. With the exception of the first, all terms are directly from the book’s glossary.
- Cat-String Theory: Rooting from the fundamental marketing ideology of scarcity, this theory eliminates the common mistake of being overly available, causing the other person to lose interest quickly. The epitome of this is the whole idea of “wait three days before you call.” Basically, you make the other person feel insecure by pretending to lack interest. When this happens, the other person starts to wonder “what’s wrong with me?” Then they start thinking about you, and their thoughts are enough to draw closer to you
- “You’ll use curiosity as a frame to get rapport and make the other person lose social value. When you show approval like that, it makes you the authority and makes other people want to seek your validation” (232).
- Freeze-out: to ignore a woman to make her seek validation; usually used as a technique to counter last-minute resistance
“If you lower a woman’s self-esteem, she will seek validation from you. If you make a woman jealous, she will become more attracted to you” (21-22).
- Elicit Values:to draw out, through conversations, what is important to a person, usually with the intention of reaching a deep, inner desire that motivates them. In terms of seduction, eliciting values may help a man determine that a woman who says she is looking for a rich husband is actually just looking for a feeling of safety and security
- “Women don’t always want relationships, but there are always barriers and programming walls to be overcome in order for her to feel comfortable enough to surrender to them” (215).
- IOIs (indicator of interest):a sign a woman gives a man that indirectly reveals she is attracted to or interested in him. The clues, generally unintentional and subtle, include learning toward a man when he speaks, asking mundane questions to keep a conversation going, or squeezing his hands when he takes her hand in his
- “When talking to a woman, I could recognize the specific points when she became attracted to me, even if she was acting distant or felt uncomfortable. I knew when to talk and when to shut up; when to push and when to pull; when to tease and when to be sincere; when to kiss and when to say we were moving too fast” (212).
- Trance Words:the words a person emphasizes or repeats when speaking, indicating that they have a special meaning to the speaker. Once a pickup artist knows a woman’s trance words, he may use those words in conversation to make her feel a sense of understanding and connection with him
- “‘Anything you want from a woman – attraction, lust, fascination – is just an internal process that she runs through her body and her brain,”… ‘And all you need to evoke that process are questions that make her go into her body and brain and actually experience it in order to answer you. Then she will link those feelings of attraction to you.’” (59)
- Chick Crack:any spiritual or psychological subject that appeals to most women but does not interest most men, such as astrology, tarot cards, personality tests
“Guys in the community have an expression for this phenomenon: I was giving them “chick crack.” Most women, they say, respond to routines involving tests, psychological games, fortune-telling, and cold-reading like addicts respond to free drugs” (159).
- Group Theory:the idea that women are usually accompanied by friends, and to meet her, a man must simultaneously win the approval of her friends while actively demonstrating a lack of interest in her
- “After approaching the group…the key is to ignore the woman you desire while winning over her friends – especially the man…If the target is attractive and used to men fawning all over her, the pickup artist must intrigue her by pretending to be unaffected by her charm. This is accomplished the use of what he called a neg” (20).
- Neg: an ambiguous statement or seemingly accidental insult delivered to a beautiful woman a pickup artist has just met, with the intent of actively demonstrating to her (or her friends) a lack of interest in her; constructive criticism
“Neither compliment nor insult, a neg is something in between – an accidental insult or backhanded compliment. The purpose of a neg is to lower a woman’s self-esteem while actively displaying a lack of interest in her – by telling her she has lipstick on her teeth, for example, or offering her a piece of gum after she speaks” (20-21).
- DHV (demonstration of higher value):a routine in which the pickup artist displays a skill or attribute that raises his worth or appeal in the estimation of a woman or group; it is intended to make him stand out from the other, less interesting men in the club
- “In other words, what makes me any different from the last twenty guys who approached her? Well, if I can bend her fork by staring at it or guess her name before even speaking to her, that’s a little different” (49).
Disclaimer: By no means am I suggesting that all men have to read The Gameto understand these simple logics, nor that every man you’ll come across will have read it. These “rules” aren’t tactics insomuch as they are obvious human nature truths – we want what we can’t have, and playing hard to get will advance the former’s notion. The focus is more on who’s able to assume the role of playing hard to get. Typically, we expect men to be the chaser and women to be chased. But when it doesn’t happen in that order, we get confused and distraught to the point in which we over-analyze. Being paralyzed by our over-analysis, we seek immediate relief, which is a definitive understanding of how the guy feels towards us. When it comes to emotions, women detest grey areas and would prefer black-and-white simplicity. Uncertainty brings about impatience, which brings about our urge to forfeit from the game and just be “direct”, which brings about a loss in this inevitable game.
We often think that we can cheat these rules of human nature, and we ignore them. We think we’re far too intelligent to get wrapped up in such emotional whirlwinds. After all, this is the new age where women are able to provide for themselves just fine. But, as long as there are men and women, there will be dating – and rules to follow for the game. Women are emotional creatures, and that’s no reason other than biology. Rather than trying to deny what is, why don’t we just accept it, and learn to use it to our advantage just as these men have.
Now that we know these predictable tendencies of ours, we can stop freaking out when a guy doesn’t text us back immediately, doesn’t reveal his hands, intrigues us as a mystery, etc. We need this tug-and-pull war of interest and attention from both ends, whether that be for a hook-up or long-term relationship. We’re exactly the same as these guys; we need something that keeps us going, if not, we lose interest. It’s what keeps the fire going. Granted, there’ll be times when the guy just really isn’t into us, and that they’re not trying to play these games; they just don’t like us. Another useful tidbit of knowledge that I’ve picked up from this book, is “to get a girl (or guy), you have to risk losing her.” Meaning, you can’t expect something from every guy you meet or wish to date. You’ll be rejected, and you’ve just got to move on.
To conclude this book-report-like post, I just want to say that there are good men out there. I know that learning these seemingly deceptive techniques may have tainted your image of guys a little, but try not to let it distort it completely. It’s all about being able to accept things for the way they are, and doing the best you can, given the circumstances.