Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hate The Player, Hate The Game

Several years ago, I read the first forty pages or so of The Game, after it was recommended to me by two friends, both younger, who wanted to help me out. They both had cool girlfriends and were nice people, so I was interested in seeing what the book had to say.

The primary effect of the book was to depress the hell out of me. One concept I've applied to dating advice since then is that of the porn threshold -- there's dating advice so unsavory that if that's what you had to do to find yourself a woman, you'd rather just give up on the whole affair and stick to porn. The whole inhuman way of thinking about women (and women who fascinated lonely me!) blew past my porn threshold. Fortunately, I subsequently ran into some wonderful ladies who for some reason were attracted to my silly self, and no thanks to The Game, the past four years have been much better than the four before.

I guess there is one thing I sort of learned from it. Unlike Lizardbreath, I'm still far from internalizing the third-grade lesson that "teasing people you're attracted to is an effective way of attracting their interest." The natural way I feel like acting when I'm attracted to someone is being incredibly nice to her. For whatever reason, this isn't very effective. I find it pretty frustrating to hold in my feelings about how much I like someone, but apparently that does in fact raise your batting average.


CreidS said...

Neil, let me reframe it for you and see what you think.

I’ll bet that you are already doing this, but not seeing it. The adult version is challenging the people that you are after, typically on their strong points.

Pick up artists go after self-conscious, pretty girls and call them on their ugly. I’ll bet that you are interested in smart girls that know that they are smart . . . and I know how challenging it is to cross swords with you mentally.

We engage people when we challenge them. It is interesting and raises our value in their eyes.

As for being nice . . . well, how valuable could it be if it is given away for free?

ikl said...

The other problem here is that using dating advise that you find unsavory is likely to select for girls that you wouldn't want to date if you knew them better!

Being nice to a girl who you would like to date probably isn't effective (at least for women sophisticated enough for you to want to date) because it doesn't signal anything significant about you other than your interest in the girl. Which is good if she wants to date you for other reasons. But it doesn't give her any additional reason to want to date you. Unless she is naive enough to think that who she can determine whether a guy who wants to date her is a genuinely kind person by seeing whether he is nice to her (in which case you probably would want to stay away from her anyway).

Of course, the converse is not true. One can signal all sorts of bad thinks very quickly by being a jerk.

Neil Sinhababu said...

I like the thing about challenging people, CreidS, insofar as it's just part of friendly smart conversation where you're trying to figure out what an interesting person thinks and why they think it.

But let me register my disagreement with any "how valuable could it be if it is given away for free?" thinking. Try to assess the value of things that way, and you'll miss all sorts of great deals.

I think I agree with everything you're saying, ikl, except for the "Unless she is naive enough..." bit, probably because I'm naive enough to think that people like that would be good long-term matches. And because I can very quickly get sucked into really liking someone I'm physically attracted to who's nice to me.

AnonymousFrustratedChamp said...

The more that the bloggerati finds fault with game, the more effective it becomes.

Please, continue the hate campaign. Tell all of your friends, not only does it not work, but it's a bad idea.

Hopefully people will totally discredit it, and it will vanish from the mainstream.

Janet said...

CreidS gets it. It's better that you're sincerely nice than faking a nasty side because you think it will make girls like you. But if you refrain from intellectual engagement, it comes across as less sincere - it actually says "I don't think you're smart, just pretty, and you're not even worth challenging." What's going to attract people to you is your intellect, and continual flattery conceals that. A deficit between IQ and EQ can be charming, but only if it shows. I think the whole issue here, actually, is that you're trying to figure out how to treat attractive women that is different from how you would treat other people. NO.
FWIW, I think the best part of your recent visit was the Inconsistency fight. It fed right into my insecurities.

Neil Sinhababu said...

Good to see you here, Janet!

I think the whole issue here, actually, is that you're trying to figure out how to treat attractive women that is different from how you would treat other people. NO.

The trouble is that in all the rest of your advice, you're telling me to treat attractive women differently than I treat other people.

My usual way of interacting with people is to keep saying whatever's on my mind unless it'll cause some kind of trouble. When I'm around someone I'm attracted to, I'm usually thinking a whole lot of positive stuff about them. Hence what comes off as nonstop flattery, but is actually just me being myself and doing what I naturally do.

Neil Sinhababu said...

(I should also say that things tend to go best with political junkies, philosophers, public policy types, and other folks with whom I share some deep intellectual interest. That way there's a big peak of stuff to talk about sticking out of the ocean of 'gosh you're cute and the minor things you do seem deeply intriguing'. I generally don't go around challenging people about their areas of expertise about which I know little.)

Janet said...

Yeah, I thought I was contradicting myself there somehow. I AM DUMB AND MANIPULABLE.
I guess what bothers me is that you're taking it for granted that "the Game" works for what you want, when it's actually social entertainment that doesn't have a lot to do with seeking and enjoying lovers. Ideally (and I think this is true much of the time), insecure dumbasses could pursue it all they wanted, and their targets are just as well-informed as to how it works and make their own decisions.
Oh, everything's fine. I'd just like to see more female pickup artists, I suppose. Hate the heteronormativity, not the Game.