First things first – this won’t be a fanboy or a butthurt description of PUA & The Game. I’ll try to give a balanced description of why I think that learning The Game (which I will use here as a term that is intended to cover all the various ‘schools’ of picking up women) can be either the best or the worst thing to ever happen to you. I won’t mindlessly glorify it, I won’t mindlessly hate it.
So, why do I think I’m qualified to pass judgment on The Game? Because I went from the most stereotypical Nice Guy possible to a quite bad version of The Asshole and then I grew up. And The Game both helped and hindered me all at once all the time.
This will be somewhat autobiographical, but bear with me. I would like you to know what The Game did for me. If you don’t understand that, you can’t understand where my opinion comes from.
So, history first. If you’re reading this, I expect you know what a Nice Guy (a.k.a. AFC -Average Frustrated Chump) is. In case you don’t, think sci-fi, videogames, too much time on the internet…
That used to be me in High School. Looking back, I can only laugh at my social ineptitude. But back then, not even getting a second date, much less kissing a girl was highly traumatic. So I did what many Nice Guys with a bazillion female ‘just-friends’ do. I turned to the internet in search for a solution. And voila, I stumbled across my first ‘PUA Guru’. The names aren’t important here though.
What is important is that, before I found The Game, I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to behave around women. I took ideas from romantic comedies and advice I got from my female friends and my mother (my father wasn’t in the picture). That stuff didn’t work.
So when I found The Game, there were these men, who were telling me it’s not my fault that I can’t get laid (I would’ve settled for 1st base back then). They were telling me that there are many other guys like me around, and that the problem is not us as men but rather in how society brought us up. They were telling me that I was the victim of a broken system that didn’t give me the right skill- and mindset.
They were telling me that they can help me.
So I did what almost everybody does when offered the chance to be a victim. I dived right in.
I started to read about how to talk to women with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic programming) patterns. I started learning how to be cocky and funny. I started to read about stages of attraction, openers, psychology, body language…
And I also started to apply all of this to my interactions.
At first, I would take the stuff as it was presented to me and simply try to use it. There was the added difficulty that I had to properly translate everything, if I wanted to apply it in my language where I live. But I finally had a system that I believed was actually going to help me.
And it did. A year after I found The Game, I moved to another city, met a nice girl and spent the next 2.5 years with her, all the while learning more about The Game and applying it in the relationship.
My confidence grew, as my interactions with other women also started improving. At the end of those 2.5 years, my ego was sky-high. I was convinced I could get any girl I wanted, so I ended the relationship and set out in search of something new. A month later, I was in a new relationship.
Take a minute and picture a peasant that had to obey his whole life suddenly given absolute power over the whole world. That’s how drunk it made me. While my girlfriend was the personification of the concept of a good girl, I became more and more the personification of The Asshole. Eventually I broke up with her too. I wanted more.
Fortunately, deep down, my inner nice guy (or perhaps good guy) wasn’t dead yet. I started feeling remorse. I swore to myself I wouldn’t just blindly follow what I was taught any more. I knew for fact that the stuff worked, for me at least. But I also knew it turned me into a complete ass.
So about 5 years after the first time I found The Game, I went back and reread EVERYthing I had collected over the years.
And in light of the experiences I got, the picture suddenly started changing.
And this is the part, where my Game Philosophy started to branch off from the literal interpretation to (what I believe is) adhering to the spirit of The Game.
Most haters will say that The Game is about dedicating your life to supplicating to a woman’s every wish.
Most fanboys will say that The Game is about doing what you alone want.
I believe that the truth is a mix of both.
If you take the gurus literally, you have to constantly try and spot what she (subconsciously or not) wants in any given moment, so you can give it to her and thereby move to the next stage of the seduction. However that means that you treat every interaction as a project, and, while you might enjoy completing a project, your focus won’t be on her but on the completion itself, which will mess you up for relationships. At least it messed me up.
And in my next relationship, that messed-up-ness was still heavily showing. I managed to contain my inner asshole somewhat, but now I was taking everything for granted. Not because the relationship was so routine, but because my ‘goal’ was achieved the moment the relationship started. The project was over so I didn’t really know what to do next. I was so focused on getting it so I didn’t know what to do with it.
This time, she broke up with me and it hit me hard. It was the first time in 5 years that I was the one getting dumped and it brought me back down to earth.
So what did I take from that?
The confirmation that taking the gurus literally will only bring trouble. Yes, you should try to make her feel good while she’s around you. But not because that’ll get you laid. If you genuinely enjoy her company and if you really like her, you’ll want to make her feel good because that alone will make you feel good. This way, you’ll start enjoying the interaction itself, and the potential sex/relationship will just be icing on the cake. And guess what? One of the top axioms of The Game is that the less you care about the outcome, the better you’ll do.
That fully applies. It does. However most literal followers of The Game and most haters take that to mean you’re not supposed to care about the woman you’re with, which couldn’t be farther from the truth, in my opinion. You definitely should care about her. You’re there with her, communicating with her. You decided to spend time with her and she decided to spend time with you. It’s just common courtesy and sense that you would care about her. But there’s a difference between expecting wedding bells/sex or just a fun date. And in case it’s not clear, I believe that a fun date should be your priority. And I have yet to meet a woman (or anyone for that matter) that wouldn’t want to repeat a fun evening.
And here’s another gem of Game wisdom. Literal followers/haters would claim that The Game is all about treating a woman like a biological machine, where just hitting the right combo of emotional buttons will get you what you want. Some might even hear the claim that one should try to completely shut off a woman’s rational brain and only play on her emotions.
Again, this is an example of a common sense psychological concept – people like feeling good and if they feel good around you, they’ll like you better for it – taken way too far.
The same goes with Cocky and Funny – literally understood as being an arrogant smartass – which, I believe, is all about having a sense of humor that goes beyond fart ‘jokes’, and about having the confidence, to friendly tease a woman, like you might your little sister.
If you’re not sure what the difference between ‘arrogant smartass’ and ‘confident tease’ is, the former will get you slapped in the face or bathed in wine, and the latter will get you a playful slap on the hand or a gentle punch in the shoulder.
I could go on and on and on, as there are many more examples.
The idea that you should have stock conversation starters – are they lame pickup lines or a crutch for guys who are not confident enough yet to simply start talking to a stranger?
The idea that you should have stock stories – are they lies, lies, and more lies, or are stories a way to tell someone about yourself in a way that’s actually interesting?
The idea that you should actively use the knowledge of body language and psychology – is it cheap manipulation or a way for the socially handicapped to lead a normal life?
I’ll focus some more on the last one, since body language is the one thing I spend most time on. I grew up as a geek, and even though now nobody could tell, if I didn’t start talking about Star Wars/Trek for example, I used to be completely socially inept. I could work semi-well with males, but with females, especially those I liked, I was a nervous wreck.
It’s common knowledge that if women live together long enough, even their periods will sync up. That’s the ultimate level of what’s called mirroring, when people have good rapport. A more everyday example is when two people are getting along really well; they will start to mirror each other’s body posture, speed and pitch of speech, even speech patterns. When one drinks, the other will very soon follow etc. That happens naturally for people that are feeling relaxed.
Guys that seek out The Game do not feel relaxed when dealing with women. That’s their whole problem. So they use the stuff they get from Gurus as a crutch. It gives them at least the illusion of a small amount of control and for many that’s enough so they can finally relax at least a bit. And relaxed men are way more attractive to women.
Why do people dislike, even hate men who try to learn and apply The Game? Because they’re perceived as creeps who are only trying to manipulate women into sex.
And that is really not a fair assessment for most of them.
Agreed, there is a certain percentage that only wants to use this to get laid as much as possible. But they’re about as common as the radical feminists, MRAs or any other radical wing of any ideology or movement – not that common. Most guys are only trying to improve their chances of meeting a good woman they could form a real relationship with. I am quite sure that most of them feel resentment towards women to some degree, because of past rejections, and most, if not all, will likely go through an asshole phase, just like I did. I won’t say that’s a good thing or fair to the women they hurt because of it. It is a logical consequence though, and sooner or later most will work through it.
One of the most important concepts, and I think the only one that is really shared among all different ‘schools’ of The Game is the concept of ‘Inner Game’. They have different expressions for it, but the meaning is the same.
They all believe that a man must first and foremost improve himself, if he is to be successful with women or anywhere else. A man must have confidence. He must stand up for himself and his convictions. He must take care of his physical appearance. He must learn how to behave and manners in general. He has to be able to enjoy life by himself. He has to find and strive for a higher goal. Once he does all this, he will be naturally attractive to women.
This is the core principle behind all of The Game. Men have to improve themselves. While it may sound objectifying, I believe that being attractive to women is, in this case, simply a motivation that works for most men.
All the talk about openers and strategies that supposedly get you laid taught me that you should not only fake listening, but rather strive to hear what a woman is telling you. I believe that makes me a better partner now.
All the talk about how you should tell stories that show how dependable, respected, exciting etc. you are taught me that you should strive to develop these and other positive character traits and to engage in life so I wouldn’t need to make up stories – I would have interesting ones of my own. And I believe I do now.
All the talk about noticing details about women and their body language taught me that being perceptive is important, and so is knowing at least the basics of body language. This helped me through many important human interactions and got me through job interviews. Not to mention that now I notice when my partner is troubled. Men complain that they are expected to be mind-readers. They don’t have to be. Becoming body-readers is enough.
All in all, I believe that after you stop taking The Game literally, all it teaches and encourages is how to become a better man in the 21st century, when a giant biceps just isn’t enough anymore. Today, I wouldn’t classify myself as a nice guy anymore. Neither would I say I’m an asshole or a player. I’m just me. I like spending time with women and I enjoy their company and they seem to enjoy my company as well. I still have my ups and downs, nice guy and jackass moments. It happens. But now, I know how to recognize them. These years of studying and living The Game taught me to appreciate the value of a real relationship. They taught me that women do not deserve any less respect for being different than men. They taught me that once we’re actually equal, only then can we actually enjoy spending time together.
And most importantly, they taught me that self-improvement is more important than anything else.
After I got into the world of The Game, I, like many others, despised the most common piece of advice men get from women on this topic: ‘Just be yourself.’ Now I wholeheartedly agree with it. Be yourself. But be the best yourself you can be and you’ll have no problems in life.
So if there’s a final piece of advice I can give to a guy that’s just starting out on the path I walked, it’s this. Once you get a girlfriend, listen to what she’s trying to tell you. Not what she’s literally saying, mind you, but what she’s trying to tell you. And then do it, because it’s likely a good idea. Always remember that the woman that really loves you just wants to help you become the best you can be. And usually, in my experience anyway, she knows the way there better than you, even though she might not know how to best explain it. So don’t just listen to her. Hear her.