Got game?

I’ve been reading up on what guys refer to as “game,” and if you’re older than 50 and don’t know what “game” is, it’s incredibly overanalyzed yet successful strategizing for picking up women.

There are books, blogs, and social networks that do nothing but discuss this fine craft.

It’s not that I necessarily disagree with what these pickup artists profess. I’m somewhat put off by the whole thing because it makes me feel manipulated–how many times have I fallen victim to an elaborate scheme a guy took straight from a book or blog? But at the same time, when isn’t life about “manipulating” people?

All the stuff I read mostly sounds bad because of the language the men use to talk about women. Women are often graded on a scale of 1 to 10, their status level is a prominent consideration, and the whole thing is regarded as an economic interaction. It is the very definition of objectification. I mean, there’s no way around objectification when you reduce human interaction to a formula.

I’m sure that some of the time, their strategies work. Everyone likes to have to work for it, people want what they can’t have, surprises interest us, etc. So it really isn’t about the truthfulness of the advice; I’m sure there’s something to it. It’s really more about these men who are putting themselves through such contrived behavior, just to get a girl. It’s so self-afflictedly constrictive and sad. And while you might assume that all they care about is getting ass, it really seems like a good number of them truly are looking for more than that. These poor guys.

Can’t we all just be free? If you want something or feel something, I’m usually in favor of expressing it. The actor in me rebels against society’s pressures to conform to a standard of false apathy and control. Reading these elaborate plans for what to do in this situation and what to do in that situation, how carefully a guy is supposed to hide his true pain/embarrassment/nervousness, I am struck by the tragic lengths men will go to to be successful with women (however they define that success).* It’s unhealthy to turn what is supposed to be an exciting, emotional interaction into a scientific analysis.

Am I so naive as to think men don’t need all these rules? I am limited to my own experience, but I honestly think that ultimately, no amount of manipulation could trick me into liking a guy. Trick me into a date, yes. Two or three dates, yes. Maybe a little making out. But ULTIMATELY, if it’s not there, it’s not there. Which is exactly why I just think people should be themselves. The best version of yourself, of course, if it’s your first time meeting someone. But it just doesn’t seem worth it to me to trouble yourself trying desperately to stay cool and a borderline jerk, when in the end you still don’t get the girl. And if all you want is action, you can get it pretty easily without game (but I guess pickup artists would argue that you’d have to settle for a 5 or a 6…and if you, as a guy, happen to BE a 5 or a 6, then I don’t see what the big deal is! This is a major pet peeve of mine: ugly men who have hotty taste).

The process becomes more consuming than the end-result, and that doesn’t seem like the right focus to me. Anyone worthwhile can see through phoniness, and furthermore, if at some point it’s no longer phony and you’ve actually adopted the asshole, ingenuine, apathetic qualities this game theory encourages, why the hell would you want to adopt a model that in fact makes you a worse human being?


When you put all the occasional misogyny aside, the common thread in all this literature is a whole bunch of men who desperately want love. Well, if not love, sex. But either way, they find it to be a struggle! As a woman, this is very enlightening. I think we women grow up feeling like the men have all the power in the dating game, and from what I’ve read, it is exactly the opposite. These sites also suggest that there is a modern phenomenon at play…that feminism/sexual freedom have really given men a run for their money and have made the women pickier and single longer. So that’s good news for me!

It’s also very interesting for me, as someone who thinks a lot about such things, to see that men, who too often say women “think too much” and are “more complicated than men” clearly think about this A LOT. Books and movies and blogs and comments and news articles A LOT. I don’t know how true this is, but women are just better at intuiting chemistry and connection…maybe that’s why men have turned love into a formula and women haven’t. We just feel it.


*I’m sure evolution had a hand in this fortitude.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Got game?

  1. Sarah

    I don’t believe that men think less than women– I find in my experience however that women tend to think more thoroughly about things as they’re happening, rather than figure it all out later. Technically, that’s supposed to be the cause behind why women are statistically worse drivers: When we drive, our brains our supposedly communicating every thought on the theory of driving. “Left turn coming up, turn on blinker, slow down, look both ways, turn.” Whereas with men, they more or less just do it, giving them a slightly faster amount of time to react to something sudden– they weren’t preoccupying some part of their brain with the method. Supposedly.

    I’ve always believed that men and women have equal power in the way a relationship can progress, but for the women who are not so emboldened as to approach men themselves, they tend to give men to responsibility of the first shot. That sets the man up to be nervous and afraid of ‘striking out’ from the get go. It’s no surprise to me that there are so many sources on ways to maybe not. Something else to consider is that, while the authors of said sources may be quite so manipulative, it doesn’t mean that every single male who reads them actually follows them to a T. Some may just be looking for pointers on ice breakers, which is more or less where the biggest amount of pressure is– the almighty first impression.

    I think you hit the nail on the head though– Tricks and manipulation may be able to trick a girl into a date or three, maybe for some women going so far as sex, but fact of the matter is that there will ultimately have to be something there for it to really go anywhere. The woman also isn’t the only one who can be rejected. There are an equal number of ugly [inside] hot [outside] women as there are of men, and the cute guy who approaches the hot girl may find himself immediately put off as well upon actually hearing her speak. Even in the scenario of him meaning to manipulate her into a date, it’s possible he’ll change his mind in the process. I know I’ve met plenty of very attractive men who were total jerks, so I doubt that is any different than what many men encounter as well.

  2. Jon

    Good post, 2 points.
    1.In the loose sense of the word, “game” is not a recent phenomenon. Men (and, for that matter, women,) have always discussed ways to more effectively approach interactions with the fairer sex. The recent development is a) making game into a formal method and b)writing these thoughts down in books and blogs. The primary market is not asshole he-men but socially awkward guys who didn’t learn how to talk to women in HS and college.
    2. When you’re arguing that game might get a guy laid but not a gf… well, that’s sort of the point.

  3. throwinginthetowel

    1. When I was talking about it being a recent phenomenon, I was unclear. I didn’t mean that game was a recent phenomenon, I meant the supposed difficulty in securing a valuable mate at a young age. I alluded to your point when I said “when had life not been about ‘manipulating’ people?” It was an allusion, not a strong reference, granted. Maybe I will go and edit a little.

    2. But it doesn’t seem to be the point! So many times when they write, it’s NOT just about getting laid. I will give you, though, that charm (however fake) can go far on a first impression, and that playing by the gamebook probably does help the guys who are socially inept.

  4. l.

    Yeah, Jon’s right. The confusion is that the authors want to have sex many times with the same woman and then be done. How many times depends on how hot the woman is. The hotter, the longer they want to have sex with them. I think the most they describe is wanting to have sex with “a 9” for “two years.” Something like that. Is there a secondary notion that there is pleasure in love? Yes. But not pleasure in marriage or long-term commitment.

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