The internet is a thriving spot for ‘underground movements’ and it’s not uncommon to find many popular movements starting on the net that capture the world by storm. One such movement is known as the ‘Game’ and while it has been thriving online for some time now, it was the books by Neil Strauss named ‘The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists’ and ‘Rules of The Game’ that brought it to mainstream attention.
The concept of ‘The Game’ is that it is a series of rules and techniques that male pickup artists can use in order to pick up women with almost guaranteed success regardless of their looks or their previous abilities with women. It sounds like the stuff of dreams for many an introverted man, but many videos and testimonials claim that it genuinely does work. Here then we will look at what the Game entails and whether it’s clever marketing or really as effective as those people claim.
The subculture of the Game is a thriving one that is shrouded in mystery and that sounds like something from a fantasy book or a technical guide if you aren’t familiar with it. Pickup artists will use handles like ‘Mystery’ and ‘Shadow’ that make them sound like X-Men (or hedgehogs if you’re familiar with the Sonic series of games… ), and they will use a whole slew of technical jargon and terminology that can be alienating to the uninitiated. Things like ‘negging’ and ‘peacocking’. To learn you need to spend time on the forums (or ‘lairs’), read the books, or attend the seminars. But what will you learn?
Learning The Game: Challenges
The idea of ‘The Game’ is severalfold and there are various concepts behind it. When reading ‘Rules of The Game’ the first thing it teaches you to try and drop your inhibitions and to approach more women. It attempts to help the reader do this through a series of challenges that involve crossing social boundaries and building confidence. For one challenge for instance you are required to hold women’s gazes in conversation for long enough to make a note of their eye color. In other challenges you are required to call people up random strangers and make conversation with them on the phone, and in others you are required to approach and ask women for their number with no pretext or conversation.
This has the effect of basically taking away any fear that you might have of things going wrong in social situations and helps you to be more confident when approaching women and interacting socially. At the same time though it also takes away any kind of social fear or inhibitions – and we’ll come on to why this is so important in the world of ‘The Game’ later.
Learning The Game: Techniques
Next you’ll learn the specific techniques that the Game teaches you in order to help you start conversations and stand out from the crowd. This is where all the unusual terminology comes in, but just to give you an idea here are two examples.
Peacocking: Peacocking means basically going out of your way to stand out from the crowd in terms of what you wear. In other words you dress loud and proud in such a way that it makes you really stand out and you then hope that this will draw attention from women. One example might be to wear a top hat, while other pickup artists will wear bright pink shirts. This has a lot of benefits because it first of all gets you noticed – and all publicity is good publicity in the eyes of pickup artists. At the same time it will help you to again look socially confident as it makes you look brave enough to look unusual, and finally it piques interest and gives women an excuse to approach you.
Negs: Negs are negative comments but with a positive spin. So for instance you wouldn’t open up with a comment like ‘you look beautiful’, but rather something like ‘those are nice shoes – I’ve seen a few women here wearing those’. Or ‘I bet if you were wearing something a bit more glamorous you’d look fantastic’. The idea here then is to make the object of your attraction to want to then try and impress you while at the same time stimulating debate. It has to be done flirtatiously to avoid being downright offensive, but at the same time it can also help to put the power in your court which we’ll come to in a moment.
The Theory Behind it All
The theory behind all this is something similar to evolutionary theory. Essentially it is all about social status and power and it’s about getting the woman you find attractive to view you as being socially dominant.
It’s not looks that women are attracted to, and it’s not even really confidence, rather it’s the social standing that often goes hand in hand with these. The woman is unconsciously looking for a good mate for their offspring that can provide for them and that can pass on the best genetics and just as it is with chimpanzees that candidate is usually going to be the ‘alpha male’ of the group. As soon as you demonstrate to the woman that you have a higher social standing than her, and than the competition in the room, then you are going to win her attention and her affections.
For instance in the case of peacocking you are essentially wearing bright colors in order to demonstrate your lack of social inhibition and this makes women stand up and take notice – you can do what you like and get away with it and that makes you interesting in a sexual way. The neg is the most powerful example of this. Here the woman is used to lots of men fawning over her and flattering her and this makes them look like they’re desperate to get with her. Unconsciously this then makes those men appear very uninteresting because it suggests that they’d be lucky to get with her – that they are of a lower social standing. However the man that pays her no attention and that even subtly insults her, makes himself appear as though he’s indifferent as to whether she likes him and that then makes him desirable. At the same time by knocking her confidence you have immediately knocked her perception of herself from say an 8 to a 7, and if you are a 7 that then gives you a chance with her.
Another example in ‘PUA’ terminology is the term ‘AMOG’. This means ‘Alpha Male of the Group’ or ‘Alpha Male Other Guy’. This term is used to describe what PUAs perceive as their biggest obstacle, guys who exude physical, financial or intellectual power and thereby are the natural alpha males in the group. It is the job of the PUA to make themselves appear more dominant than those guys and to supplant them as the ‘leader’ in any given situation.
Does it Work?
So that’s the basic theory, though of course there is a lot more to it than that. The question is, does it work? And the answer – like most things – is yes and no. On the one hand the Game is successful in teaching guys how to improve their confidence and how to enhance their perceived social standing and this is a highly valuable ability. If you can do that, then you can convince women that you are worth dating and you can stop coming across as needy. However at the same time you will also manage to make yourself appear more confident in general and you will learn that there’s no reason to fear being rejected or looking ‘foolish’ in any context. If nothing else then, the challenges to be found in the book are great for this and a great way to help yourself feel more confident and to overcome any introverted tendencies you may have.
However as for the whole subculture and the series of rules and systems it certainly isn’t the silver bullet it’s intended to be. Attempting to pull off things like ‘negging’ if you don’t have any social awareness and if you’re horribly overweight is only going to come off as arrogance. Likewise, no matter what PUAs claim (they say that even a married woman is susceptible to ‘The Game’) there is no one set of techniques that will work on every woman. At the end of the day if you use negging on some women – they’ll just cry. Other women are looking for a nice guy to take home and introduce to their parents and they are less likely to be impressed by shows of machismo – in these cases you’re better off with old fashioned honesty. The Game is far better suited to those women who are used to men fawning after them and who enjoy flirting and this way you can beat them at their own game – the question is whether or not those are the women you want to attract.
And lastly there are moral problems with the game. Of course this is something that is essentially about getting women into bed, but even if you don’t use it that way it still involves acting like someone other than yourself and it involves not being entirely honest. A lot of people won’t be comfortable using these techniques, and particularly when they’ve been taught to them by people with names like ‘Mystery’. And if the woman you’re trying to impress knows about the techniques you’re trying to pull? Well then you can forget it.
Overall then there is a lot to be said for using the challenges to overcome your shyness and ‘Rules of The Game’ is actually a great self help book in general that can help you with lots of areas of your life – including dating. But if you are getting too wrapped up and spending too much money on this whole subculture then you are probably losing sight of what it really means to be an alpha male.