Short Cuts and Magic Bullets

I get a lot of marketing emails from various dating gurus.

Call it a professional hazard; sometimes it’s because I get someone who wants me to “review” (i.e. plug) their product or service, sometimes it’s because bots harvested my email, sometimes it’s because I was interested in seeing what they had to say.

Now while there are folks out there who I think actually have something to valuable to say, 99% of the marketing blasts I get all promise the same thing: amazing results that will just supercharge your dating life with this one simple trick. If you just watch this video/subscribe to this newsletter/buy this ebook, you will learn the one secret that will make sex rain from the sky for you.

Which is kind of disturbing when you think about it…

Now, in fairness, I’m not going to complain about somebody trying to make a buck; I mean, c’mon – this is my job.

The problem is what they’re selling: snake-oil. Bullshit and placebos dressed up as advice and packaged to convince you that it’s the guaranteed cure for all of your dating issues.

This is one of the biggest issues I have with the self-help movement in general and the Pick-Up Artist community in particular1: the idea that there is some magic bullet, some special trick or formula that will let you leapfrog over all of the real work and drop you straight into the Player’s Life that you’ve always wanted.

The problem is that there is no substitute for putting in the work.  So many of these little “magic bullets” become a part of the conversation when it comes to improving one’s dating life – especially amongst frustrated men – and it ultimately retards your actual growth; in fact in many cases, it will actively make you worse. 

So let’s look at a couple of the more common ones that you’re likely to run into.

Canned Routines

One of the highlights of the PUA community is the use of canned material – pre-scripted openers like the famous “jealous girlfriend”, pseudo-cold reads like “C’s vs. U’s” or “The Cube”, stories and routines sourced from others via message boards, ebooks and blogs. These are designed to create the illusion of social experience and fluency while simultaneously giving the impression that you are a “high-status male”, thus impressing women into finding you far more fuckable than if you were to just approach them like a normal person.

Canned material became part of The Game almost from the inception, whether it was via NLP anchors and Speed Seduction to just sharing material that may or may not have worked via message boards and forum posts. Even as the trends in the community moved to “natural” game (that is, trying to make it look like you’re not running pick-up material), routines have been part of the backbone of the industry.

Now while there’s a certain value to be found in that they help eliminate the “I don’t know what to say!” panic moments that may cause your brain to vapor-lock and leave you stammering like an idiot, they’re effectively training-wheels for being able to carry on a conversation like a normal person. The use of routine stacks – layers of routines used in a particular order so as to invoke specific emotional effects – becomes a substitute for having an actual personality and experiences of your own. It ends up being an attempt to treat picking women up as though you were facing down a raid boss in World of Warcraft; follow this specific plan of attack and it’ll all work out the way you want.

“Oh shit, she’s about to shit-test us! Quick, hit the ‘Best Friends Test’, that’ll buff us against freeze-outs!”

It’s dating via flow-chart: IF a THEN SAY b ELSE SAY c, THEN RUN SUB-ROUTINE x.

The problem, of course, is that eventually the material is going to run out. At some point you’re going to hit the end of the routine and then you’re left with whatever you bring to the table on your own… and that’s when the trouble starts. You’ve been trying to borrow somebody else’s words in order to give your own a little spit and polish, but eventually you’re going to have to be yourself – and if you’ve banked your entire persona on your routines, then any attraction you’ve managed to build is going to come crashing down around your ears.

The reliance on canned material also puts all of the focus on the wrong place. The idea that you can seduce a woman by using specific stories to flip her attraction switches is a nice idea, but it has less to do with the words and much more on the person. I’ve never had a woman suddenly decide she wanted to go to bed with me because I told her she had a c-shaped smile unlike my implied model ex-girlfriend’s u-shaped smile; it was more about creating an emotional connection, not my supposed demonstrations of value. Did I make her laugh and feel good? Do I present myself well? Do I know how to generate that all-important “spark”?

“You know, I was totally going to blow you off, but the story about your stripper ex-girlfriend changed my mind!”

Now I do recommend having a couple of good jokes on reserve that you can pull out as needed, or having a few good stories up your sleeve – there’s a difference an oft-told story about your trip to Cambodia when you climbed to the top of Ankor Thom and met a hot Scottish backpacker only to have her carried away by her man-mountain boyfriend2 and relying on a pre-scripted crutch to get you through an interaction.

Being “Alpha”

Now this is a subject I’ve covered before, but the popularity of the myth of the “alpha male” getting all of the sex is one worth returning to. The idea is simple, if predicated on a radical misunderstanding of evolutionary psychology and an attempt to impose (mistaken) ideas about social hierarchies amongst primates on human behavior: there are alphas and there are betas. Alphas are the leaders of the pack; the betas are the followers. The alphas get the best of everything – the best food, the most resources and the lion’s share of the women. The betas get the scraps… if they’re that lucky.

Women, of course, are programmed via evolution to only want alpha males – therefore the key to dating success is to emulate “alpha” behavior as much as possible.

Of course, the idea of what’s “alpha” is a subject up for much debate: a banker more “alpha” than a musician? Is the outlaw biker more “alpha” than the club promoter? Is it more alpha to fuck as many women as possible or to be able to commit to a single woman and raise a family? Does an “alpha” male buy drinks for girls he meets at bars? Does he change his plans in order to make allowances for others? Does he befriend the other guys in the group, or does he try to stare them down and otherwise intimidate them into leaving?

More often than not it comes down to a mix of trying to always get one’s way by imposing your desires on others and having a “Don’t Give A Fuck” attitude. To be alpha is to be strong; to be beta is to be weak. Women instinctively love alphas and are disgusted by betas… or so the theory goes.

If you’re the sort of person who feels as though they’ve always been powerless or weak, who’s girlfriend cheated on them with some douchebag… this idea can be appealing. It’s a variation of the Will to Power; become an alpha male and revel in the power and status that has been so long denied to you. Learn how to assert yourself and watch the world become your oyster. Men will fear you, women will supplicate and life will be nothing but a rap video for you from now until the heat death of the universe.

Of course the problem is that it’s not real. The idea of being “alpha” is appealing in it’s simplicity – but humans and human sexuality is anything but simple. By trying to reduce everything to a binary state – alpha and beta, leaders and followers – and applying that philosophy to everything, all that happens is you end up with a bunch of men trying to overcompensate for their own perceived weaknesses by acting like overly-macho, selfish, chauvinistic idiots.

Human relationships are insanely complicated and defy easy explanations. Even amongst apes, the “alpha” status doesn’t mean what people like to pretend that it does. Alpha males don’t get the majority of sex because the females are instinctively attracted to them; they get it by beating the shit out of other males.

There's a reason why trying to extrapolate dating advice from gorillas is a bad idea.

There’s a reason why trying to extrapolate dating advice from gorillas is a bad idea.

And even then, the threat of violence doesn’t keep the betas from getting laid; the betas are frigging in the rigging as soon as the alpha’s back is turned.

Confidence and assertiveness is indeed sexy, while neediness is the polar opposite – but trying to be “alpha” is just a way of trying to shortcut growing one’s self-esteem by acting like a cock.

Status Games

Speaking of overcompensating: the idea of “status” comes up often in dating advice – and not without reason. There have been studies (amongst college students, with the inherent problems that comes with it) that status can be an influence in attraction. The problem, however, is just how one calculates that particular value. Is someone with money but otherwise a boring ass inherently a higher-status than someone who is charming but broke? Does a good looking wimp have higher status than a confident, assertive person who isn’t conventionally attractive? If you take the same person and dress him in a suit, does he have more or less status than when he’s dressed in a t-shirt and cargo shorts?

Part of the idea of running “game” on people is that it’s a way of trying to make yourself look higher status than you really are – at least in the short term. Establish your value as higher than other’s – especially your target3 and it’s blowjobs and champagne for everybody.

There is no better illustration of this idea than the “neg”, for example – one of the longest running memes in pick-up. The “neg” – as developed by Mystery – is a strategic insult or left-handed compliment. Depending on who you’re talking to, a “neg” is intended either to reduce the other person’s self-esteem (and therefore her social value) and make her crave validation from you or to establish that you are at an equal or higher status level and thus create attraction.

A common example of "negging" as provided by Randall Monroe

A common example of “negging” as provided by Randall Monroe

The idea of “cocky-funny” is also a way of establishing one’s supposed status in the social hierarchy: by going beyond “confidence” and well into “king of the club, greatest thing since World War III” mode and telling vaguely insulting jokes at somebody else’s expense is supposed to be a way of saying “Hey, I must be high status because why else would I be willing to make fun of a hot girl?”

In reality, most of what it says is “Hi, I’m a raging asshole who thinks it’s funny to be rude to people in hopes of bending them to my will.”

Other, similar status games are often tied in with the use of canned routines mentioned earlier – certain routines are popular because they contain inherent “demonstrations of higher value”, such as implying that you hav ex-girlfriends who are models or strippers, a high-status job or financial success. Getting bottle-service at a club is another way of trying to prove status – you’re in the VIP section after all. Other ways of trying to fake one’s status involve playing mind games and trying to “flip the script” on people. For example, if an erstwhile target won’t respond to texts or phone-calls, the would-be player will “punish” them by putting them on “text probation” or using communication freeze-outs in hopes of making the supposedly-misbehaving person will try to win back the player’s approval.

All of these little tricks are designed with one goal in mind: to successfully entice someone who is otherwise “out of your league”4 into sleeping with you. But as with canned material, you quickly fall upon a singular problem: not only is your higher status falsified, but it’s easily sniffed out. It doesn’t take very much to make other people realize that the person they’re talking to is full of shit, and any attraction that they might have built up is lost like tears in an over-used Blade Runner reference.

Using status games as a means of trying to attract another person betrays a very simple issue: the desperate need to impress the other person and win their approval by trying to convince them to seek yours. Ironically, the attempt to game one’s supposed status is one of the surer signs of being low status. A person who’s confident in themselves and in their own value – who knows what he’s worth and is willing to go out and get it – isn’t going to feel the need to try to pretend to be more than they really are. Trying to fake your way into dating out of your league only establishes one thing: that the other person is indeed out of your league, because you don’t bring enough to the table.

Building emotional connections is more reliable way of building attraction (and status) than trying to artificially inflate yourself – or to drag someone down to your level instead. A broke musician who can make someone feel like the most special person in the world is going to be far more attractive than the guy in the shiny suit who’s busy trying to convince others that he’s a music mogul and trying to get a girl to buy him a drink and follow him around the bar.

There Are No Short Cuts

The cold hard truth is that tricks, gimmicks and games are no substitute for genuine connection. You can find some limited success in using “game” to gloss over your issues, but not only will it not last for very long but it will leave you in a worse state than you were in before; people can spot a faker and the trade off is never worth it. To improve your game, you need to improve yourself. You don’t need canned openers or scripted material, you just need to know how to talk to people. You need assertiveness, not poorly understood ideas of what masculinity means. You need to lead a life that’s vibrant and full, to know your worth and to act on that, rather than trying to prove yourself or by attempting to impress others with a false front. 

Don’t look for the one secret, the short-cut, the magic bullet that will solve all your ills.

They don’t exist.

The only answer is to do the work.


  1. Aside from, y’know, the tendency towards a toxic view of masculinity, promoting an adversarial approach to gender relations and treating women as sexual objects rather than as people []
  2. True story, by the way []
  3. There’s that antagonistic view of sex again []
  4. Read: hotter than you []

  • x_Sanguine_8

    Once I saw the WoW ref and picture, all I could think of was a guy's wingman going all "LEEEROY JENNNKINSS" on him.

    Great article as usual, DNL.

    • Xexyz

      The first things that came to my mind when I saw that picture are:

      1. Why's Neferian facing the raid?
      2. Where's the tank?
      3. Why are those caster standing there hard casting instead of getting out of LoS of his breath weapon?

      Once a nerd, always a nerd…

  • Dr_NerdLove

    I've actually seen something equivalent to this happen.

  • Dang, where was I when all this unqualified male adoration was happening?

    • CmE

      No idea. Two real possibilities:

      1) you weren't hot enough
      2) you weren't out on the town on your average night in a decent-sized city.

      One of the two, most likely!

      • So when you say, "reasonably attractive young women," you mean, "party girls who live up to your standards of hotness." :p

        • CmE

          Fair enough, I'll admit to having very high standards. You got me there 😉

          Though "party girls" I don't really go for, but going out once a fortnight or something hardly makes you a hardcore raving party chick.

          • A "fortnight"? Really? No wonder you need to bash a hot girl to get her to pay any attention to you.

          • CmE

            What's wrong with "fortnight"? I've had a couple of Americans online say recently they'd never heard of the word – it's hardly obsolete English or anything, is it?

          • Dr_NerdLove

            It's pretty archaic and out of common usage.

          • Brimstone

            It's in common usage in Australia, for some reason.

          • Delafina

            It's not in common usage in standard American English.

          • Ecalsneerg

            And is in fairly common usage in other forms of English.

          • kilo_

            The COHA corpus ( , 400.000.000 words of American English from ~ 1800 to now) suggests about 1.75 usages per million words in the last decade, which is rare but not super-rare (for comparison, "archaic" gets 2.37 and "adoration" gets 2.0, to pick some examples from this thread).

            It also shows that the word declined rapidly from its peak in the 1930s (26.38) to its current state by the 1990s.

            Another way to look at it involves Google ngrams (which uses Google Books as its database). It puts the peak earlier, but shows a similar picture: a relatively direct decrease from the 1930s onward. (Compare also the lines for "two weeks" and "fourteen days")

            So yes, it's a term that has considerably declined in frequency and probably sounds archaic, although it still appears regularly (and according to Google ngrams seems to appear more frequently again in the last few years).

          • Amphakhet

            First time I ever saw it used was in Eragon.

          • Mic

            yes, because using a word you're not familiar with tottaly means he's a dick

          • You don't get enough"adoration" to get bored of it by going out once a fortnight.

        • Akai

          And this is why negging just pisses off most women. Let's all give him a big hand, folks!

      • saucyluna74

        annnd you must look like……I'm sorry but if you don't want to be judged like that then maybe you should quiet down and stop acting like you are the Ultimate Decider on female hotness.

        • Vic

          I am the ultimate decider when it comes to the women I want to sleep with. As are women in choosing what men they want. Who else would it be?

          • Robert

            By all means be the ultimate decider when it comes to the women you want to sleep with. Just don't apply your rules or standards or whatever you call them to the rest of us.

      • See? He just wants to be a dick. It has nothing to do with trying to get laid.

  • There's the added problem that some of these strategies are borderline emotionally abusive. Many young woman are told, either explicitly or implicitly, that they need the attention of a man to have any self worth and status games take advantage of this.

    • CmE

      The vast majority of young men are told they 1) they need social and emotional validation and 2) they can only get this from female intimacy.

      Lightly teasing someone (which is as far as a neg should go) is not emotional abuse in any possible world.

      • To your first comment, yes, most young men are told this, which is just as problematic as young women being told that they need emotional validation from men.

        But, to your second comment, I refer to Dr. Nerdlove's description of "negging": "The 'neg' – as developed by Mystery – is a strategic insult or left-handed compliment. Depending on who you’re talking to, a 'neg' is intended either to reduce the other person’s self-esteem (and therefore her social value) and make her crave validation from you or to establish that you are at an equal or higher status level and thus create attraction." What is being described here is not "lightly teasing," what is being described here is taking advantage of another person's emotional vulnerability. There is a line between teasing and abuse that it can be difficult to recognize, and even if it starts out in the "teasing" realm (or you think it starts out in the teasing realm), putting someone down and forcing them to seek validation from you is a very poor foundation for a relationship, even if it's just a one-night stand. It demonstrates a lack of respect for the other person as a person.

        As Dr. Nerdlove sums it up: "In reality, most of what it says is 'Hi, I’m a raging asshole who thinks it’s funny to be rude to people in hopes of bending them to my will.'"

        To be fair, this can go the other way, teasing that toes the line or crosses the line is just as often done by women, and it can end up being just as emotionally abusive in those instances.

        • CmE

          Ok, actual example. Ryan Gosling in "Blue Valentine".

          "I heard pretty girls are nuts. You must be crazy insane then.”

          Not said in a nasty way: funny, teasing, and vaguely cute even. The neg is intended to spark interest and show that you have balls, not to make her feel bad about herself. To pretend we are going into the territory of "emotional abuse" here is ridiculous. I've been on the wrong end of real emotional abuse, and it looks nothing like this. Emotional abuse is designed to wound you, rip your psyche apart, make you feel like trash. There's a difference.

          • We're going to have to agree to disagree here, because you're obviously not interested in actually reading what I've read or reconsidering my interpretation of what I've cited.

          • saucyluna74

            So you're going to ignore dating advice from actual women and continue to be an ass? ok good luck being single!

          • CmE

            I dunno, if I got lots of dates my girlfriend might be rather upset 😉

            Too much dating advice from women comes in the form of "just be yourself", the most stale, overused, pointless, and wrong line going.

          • saucyluna74

            Honestly it's the working definition of stupid to ignore the population you wish to date and act as if you're above their advice. You honestly didn't get that advice here, did you? so why act as if every woman's contribution on dating is cut/paste and dry? Dr Nerdlove is the best advice out there, and he has more in depth look on the male perspective and how to approach women. And if you don't need it, then why are you on a dating site bragging about your success?

          • Paul Rivers

            I'm sorry to agree with CmE, but he's absolutely right on this one. If asking women what worked actually worked, game would remain a sidenote in internet history that no one even remembered.

            Game became popular exactly because asking women what would work *didn't work*.

            An ex-girlfriend of mine spent all summer trying to find the guy she thought she wanted – caring, sensitive, with a good heart. In the end she's now "dating" a player who doesn't ever see himself being in a relationship. Clearly, what she "thought" she wanted isn't what she actually wanted. And it's common cultural stereo for women to create lists of what they want in a guy, then the guy the marry doesn't meet the majority of that criteria.

          • eselle28

            I've noticed that most of your examples stem from this one woman, who often comes across as a rather unbalanced person. Have you considered the possibility that her behaviors aren't universal?

          • Paul Rivers

            I've noticed that your comments seem to take a lot of the approach of pretending that people are saying what it would be convenient for you if they were saying.

            Most of my comments do not come from the same woman. There's at least 10, some of whom I dated and some of whom I did not – plus varies other people I've known in real life.

            In regards to your statement, I actually *do* believe that that one particular girl in unbalanced. Not "horrible person" unbalanced, but "unbalanced" is the technically correct word, in my opinion. But that was just one example of the cultural stereotype (that's true) that quite often, what women say they want isn't in sync with what they actually want. And that stereotype comes as well from very "balanced" women who are willing to admit stuff like "The guy I got married to who's a fantastic husband – didn't meet any of my criteria for what I thought I wanted at all, but it turned out he was fantastic".

          • Oh for fucks sakes….when will you people STOP equating women to robots/one singular entity already?

            "What is this?!?! The input does not equal the output! This must be a mathematical error! How do I solve this equation?!? RED ALERT RED ALERT RED ALERT!"

            Neither person in the scenario you laid out are the simple cardboard cutout you've made them out to be. There's a whole lot more complex, complicated, even nonsensical stuff going on that on the OUTSIDE may not make sense in a "stereotypical" scope (that's another one of your problems; you actually buy into stereotypes), but there IS something there bringing/keeping those two together for better or for worse.

            As the article above is talking about, it's just much simpler for you to call this guy a "player" instead of getting to know what she really sees in him beyond the superficial and write him off as such. It's simpler to call the girl just a confused little puppy that doesn't know what she wants and says one thing but does another with the sole intent to confuse poor guys like you who GOSH DARNIT JUST WANT THE RIGHT ANSWER AS TO WHAT WOMEN WANT…..
            ….aka shortcuts, magic bullets, cheatsheets on figuring out the puzzle that is human relationships.

          • saucyluna74

            easy, women are lady robot cut-outs with a simple equation for sexytimes.

          • Paul Rivers

            Lol, wow "with the sole intent to confuse poor guys like you" – issues much?

            It's idealizing behavior to pretend that everything women do have a secret, magical reason point behind it that – if you just knew what it was! – you would magically realize there was a plan all along!

            You assert that those particular people aren't cardboard cutouts – but maybe they are. Maybe I specifically chose them for an example exactly *because* they so clearly illustrated my point.

            Anyways, the point I was making was only that a lot of times (but certainly not always) what women think they want and what they actually respond to is different, which is why it makes sense to not immediately assume that what women tell you they want is actually what they want. (And for reference, assuming that *nothing* they say they want is what they actually want is usually also just as bad if not worse).

          • saucyluna74

            That was your ex= 1 person with issues, not a good marker for all women. If you feel women can't give good advice( I know there are some here that can), then ask successful men not PUA-related which is why Dr. Nerdlove is awesome. I think his advice rocks.

          • Paul Rivers

            It's not a good marker for all women, but I didn't say that it was. It was just one example – an extreme example – to illustrate my point.

          • Akai

            I'm going to join the "well, this guy said a lot of icky things, but I can't ignore the one correct one" party, though I think Mr. Rivers' assessment is a bit narrow in scope, as it's grounded in one particular behavior.

            The reason women's advice is an incomplete guide to making connections with them? People aren't necessarily consciously aware of why one person got them to have butterflies in their stomach, and not another. Because attraction and conversation are complicated, and we're not sitting here taking notes. And that's really okay; there's no reason women should have to pinpoint what they find attractive or what tactics (for lack of a better word) they find appealing. That's what we have DNL for.

            Personally, the only dating advice I give to men is either very concrete, e.g. mentioning your ex right after introducing yourself gives a lot of women a red flag, or comes from guys who're good at getting with women.

          • Paul Rivers

            Well, I actually agree with you, but that was pretty much my point. What I said was a counterpoint to a "how can you possibly ignore what women are telling you about what they like?" statement, not a statement in and of itself.

            The other thing you didn't mention though is that a lot of times women are pressured – by other women – to follow "correct" behavior – which is defined mostly by other women. Women shame each other for doing things outside what they're "supposed" to do all the time – rarely do women talk about the things that they like that they aren't "supposed" to like.

          • Vic

            My "self" used to be a shy, celibate, boring person. No thanks.

          • saucyluna74

            Nothing wrong with shy guys, some girls love that. Just being interesting and engaging is what girls are attracted to, and plus if you aren't confident that tends to be a turn-off. You have no need to pretend to be someone you're not to attract women, we'll notice you're faking eventually. If you want to improve yourself and widen your dating pool, that's cool. Just assuming your original self sucks so bad that no one likes is disingenuous to yourself. Isn't apart of being confident having the balls to be yourself?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            And really, no one on this forum has said "You're not getting dates? Keep being yourself". The Doc's overarching theme, frequently echoed by the women who comment is "figure out what's not working and decide how you can be your best self in a way that deals with that." Its entirely possibly to be a sociable, exciting person who gets lots of sex without going through the magic bullet phase. In fact, someone who skips over the PUA tactics and goes straight for the end product (being someone worth dating) may get there quite a bit faster.

          • Ya know, considering where THAT relationship went, I don't think using the Ryan Gosling character from "Blue Valentine" makes a very strong case for you…


          • Delafina

            Not cute, and not funny.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Did you just say "actual example" and then use a movie as your example?
            You fail at actual examples, sir.

      • saucyluna74

        Just to help you out, no woman wants some guy negging her. trust me I have been negged before, and it just resulted in me cussing them out and avoiding them. No woman wants to date a bully and that's what you come off as. And criticizing and cutting down someone is emotional manipulation. That's a basic sign of an abuser, they attempt to lower your self-worth by constantly attacking your decisions and make unnecessary judgements about you. You just met her and you tear her down? wow you must get soo many dates.

        • CmE

          You just completely ignored basically everything my posts said, including my conception of a neg, which certainly isn't "cutting someone down".

          Another example Clarisse Thorn recants on her blog somewhere. The guy leans forward and looks into her eyes. She thinks he's about to make some comment about them. Instead he says something like (I can't remember the word-for-word") "Have your glasses been taped back together there? You really are the starving artist, aren't you?"

          Again it's not nasty in any way – it's about defying expectations.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            OK, you're making my BA in English twitch. You mean "recounts". "Recants" would mean that she was taking back what she said.

            (Also: she brings it up in her book, Confessions of a Pick-Up Artist Chaser, available via the Dr. NerdLove Bookstore!

          • Mic

            so, you couldn't find fault in his argument and settled for criticising his grammar?
            stay classy

          • saucyluna74

            That would be a sarcastic joke, there's a difference between that and negging. You can't redefine the word to fit your interpretation of what it means.The purpose of negging is to be mean and cut them down a few pegs. Negging is like I go up to a guy and say something like "Whoa those acne scars make you look like shit. Start using face cream".

          • CmE

            Actually I don't think any pick up artist ever would recommend that anyone, man or woman, should say anything like that…

          • saucyluna74

            again I over-exaggerated on purpose to point out that. It's also funny how mean you think that is, then in an earlier thread you pretty much say a chick must be unattractive and boring, which is why guys don't come a' knockin. negging is meant to be mean and take advantage of insecurities. I would never intentionally be that mean to people, or be that rude. you're not getting is that you are doing that to other people, insulting them and expecting them to date you.

          • Mic

            wow, I thought a "Neg" was a back-handed compliment, what you said is just down right insulting
            I wouldn't say that was a neg

          • saucyluna74

            negs are meant to be insulting. What you are doing is rude to others, I was using that example to make a point. It's not nice to point out others insecurities and flaws, and make fun of them.

          • kilo_

            Clarisse considers it a neg. While I recommend getting her book (it's a really interesting read), she discusses this anecdote and negging in general here:

            Also, as Clarisse says,
            'Like many PUA terms, the deeper meanings and usage vary from PUA to PUA — but there is an especially dramatic range of meanings with “neg.”'

            Also buy her book. It's great. Available on the Nerdlove bookstore etc.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            I'm fairly certain if we say her name one more time, she's going to appear.

          • Vic

            Will she bring her buddy Hugo Schwyzer with her?

          • Mel_

            The reason people are arguing with you so much is that you posted that "Negging is gold" as if you disagreed with DNL saying people shouldn't use it. But clearly your definition of "negging" is different from the one DNL put forward. If you actually agree that people shouldn't use "negging" the way the article defines it–to try to lower the other person's self esteem and prove that you're better than them–then a more effective way of sharing your thoughts would be to say something more like, "Traditional negging isn't great, but I do think light teasing can build a lot of chemistry" or whatever.

            When you're discussing an article, it's generally best to stick to the definitions given in the article rather than making up your own and expecting everyone else to go along with it.

          • Vic

            But the definition given is a hyperbolic strawman. Anyone who employs negs this way utterly sucks at it. The goal is to reframe the conversation so that the girl starts qualifying herself *to you* rather than the other way around. (Which happens in 99% of her interactions with men. Which is why she's bored and unimpressed by it.)

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Which is not the goal of the playful, unexpected observation used as an example. There's a big difference between banter and status games.

          • Vic

            "There's a big difference between banter and status games."

            It's cute that you think that.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            And its cute that you don't. I really wonder sometimes why I argue your observations at all. I mean, really, the more people with your attitude in the dating pool, the better I look by comparison.

          • Delafina

            In very deed.

          • Becelec

            I'm picturing this as one of those "blind date" style dating shows. I'd be torn between Gentleman Johnny and Trooper6, and Vic would have me running for the exits, arms flailing and and screaming in terror.

            One million wins by comparison.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            This would make an amusing podcast episode. Give everyone new handles, shuffle and play through. It might even be useful for illustrating the "you said this implies that you have a whole range of attitudes that will come across in conversation" stuff.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I just realized this is a perfect "neg" example.

            You're so cute (compliment)
            when you say something dumb (establishing yourself as smarter)

            How'd that work out for you?

          • CmE

            Yeah, what people seem here to think a neg is way of out line with what the wider seduction community is saying. I give classic examples of negs in popular culture and real life, garnered from various pickup blogs etc, and people say "oh that's not a neg, that's just teasing".

            Well herp deep there's not much difference.

          • Vic

            Indeed. The circular logic is amusing. Lots of people seem to think that a successful neg is "just teasing." Because negging does not work. So if they are charmed by it, it can't be negging.

          • Or.

            What you two are ACTUALLY talking about is teasing/banter, but for some odd reason you keep calling it negging. Showing that you don't know the difference between the two.

            You actually agree with a lot of people here and you don't even know it.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Or we could all try using our words again. Its fairly clear that there are two completely different definitions of one term going on here. Therefore there can be no meaningful communication.

          • Delafina

            I don't know, all of your examples have been ugly teasing, not affectionate teasing.

          • Delafina

            It absolutely is nasty. Mocking someone for being poor, calling attention to it, is nasty.

          • eselle28

            Yeah, I was a little surprised that that comment got a pass as being teasing. I actually once had a guy in a bar give me a bad time because the sleeve of my dress was a little frayed. It wasn't charming at all. Granted, it was useful since I was able to borrow some nail clippers from a friend and fix the situation, but being reminded that I was unemployed and couldn't afford new going out clothes didn't make me very interested in getting to know that guy better.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            If that's true then there's no reason to add the starving artist part. Furthermore, if its not nasty in any way then the starving artist comment doesn't diminish her status while raising the guy's and it is therefore not a "neg".

        • Paul Rivers

          "No woman wants to date a bully and that's what you come off as. And criticizing and cutting down someone is emotional manipulation. That's a basic sign of an abuser, they attempt to lower your self-worth by constantly attacking your decisions and make unnecessary judgements about you. "

          Your own post proves itself wrong. The fact that girls date abusers show that *some* women do, in fact, want to date bullies and abusers.

          I think that's sick and wrong, but it doesn't change the fact that *a few* women do, in fact, make that choice.

          • You act like people walk around wear t-shirts and signs saying "Hi! I'm an abuser!" and people go "Oh hell yeah, I like to feel like shit!"

            Now, people who DO habitially get themselves into abusive relationships, there's something else going on. Ranging from either "the initial abuser makes me feel so self-reliant on them that I can't function without them so I have no choice but to crawl back to them" or "I don't deserve real love so I can just take what I can get and just deal with the out-weighing shittiness."

            Now of course this is waaaaay layman's term here, but yeah. If you're in an abused state of mind, that's GOING to clout your judgement negatively and lend toward making unhealthy decisions. Healthy individuals want what's best for them; abuse victims after being fucked up for however long, may not.

          • saucyluna74

            The thing is most women don't get into a relationship with a guy that's known to be a douche. That controlling, negative behavior comes out later down the line. The women that put up with guys like that have some serious self-esteem issues and feel they can't get any better similar like men with Oneitis.The fact that this type of tactic would work on a small % of the population doesn't =every woman.

          • Paul Rivers

            I would agree with you that "most" women don't…well…most women don't publicly date those guys that are obviously bullies. And since "most" women – imo – are looking for guys they can be publicly proud of dating, I would agree with most of the sentiment.

            But you said "No woman wants to date a bully", and I was clear in my post that I was only saying "a few" do.

            I mean frankly, it depends on which definition of "negging" you use, but even at it's most evil "negging" is about doing that stuff *without looking like you're doing it**.

            What you describe is a whole 'nother topic…there's a theory that a large group of women emotionall really do like guys who are jerks, but it's socially unacceptable to obviously like that behavior, so they date guys who can pull off not looking like a jerk when they really are. But that's a whole 'nother topic entirely…and even there I didn't say "all women" or anything like that.

        • Mic

          "no woman wants some guy negging her"
          I've seen enough to prove otherwise
          yes, it's anecdotal evidence, I know, but still…

          • saucyluna74

            the fact that you admit that it's anecdotal already proves it's not universal. It may have worked on several women, but there are many that attest to the fact that they HATE it. Or is confirmation bias strong with this one?

      • Mel_

        "The vast majority of young men are told they 1) they need social and emotional validation and 2) they can only get this from female intimacy."

        Again, I ask, what world do you live in one? Because in the North America I live in, I see guys being presented with multiple options for seeking social and emotional validation: being good at sports, being a successful musician/actor/other artistic profession, doing well in business, getting a high paying career, etc. People don't dismiss a sports star, rock star, CEO, or successful lawyer/doctor/etc. for being less than incredibly handsome, or for not currently having a love life. People *do* dismiss female athletes, musicians, businesswomen, lawyers, doctors, etc. if they're not attractive or sexy "enough", if they're "too" attractive/sexy, and if they don't seem to be interested in dating.

        Do guys get a lot of messages that being good with women is an important part of being successful? Sure. But they also get many other messages about other types of success. Women's worth is very often *entirely* tied to how attractive they are to men and how open they are to being with men.

        And as Cresida notes, "lightly teasing" is clearly not what the article means by a neg. DNL has often advocated using teasing and banter as part of flirting.

        • Vic

          The "negs" presented are cloddish examples (and IMHO strawman representations) . If she comes off feeling insulted, *you are doing it wrong*. The goal is to reframe the interaction and defy her expectations, not insult her or hurt her feelings.

          • Mel_

            The first PUA link that comes up with I google "neg" defines a "neg" as "A backhanded compliment or similar comment that is used to bring hot women down a notch."

            Bringing a woman "down a notch" is not simply reframing the interaction and defying her expectations. It's trying to make her feel *less good* about herself. Doing it in a sneaky way so that she doesn't realize you're doing it on purpose doesn't make it any less malicious.

            If you don't actually agree with the general PUA definition of "neg", then maybe you should call what you're talking about something else. Like, oh, "teasing".

          • CmE

            It's not a question of "less good". It's a question of "superior to you". That's the point of bringing her down a notch – getting out of that frame is what Vic is talking about.

          • Mel_

            You're not making sense. If you're bringing someone down a notch, you are trying to make them feel less good about themselves. That is what bringing someone down a notch means. It doesn't matter if you're doing it to make them think you're superior to them, the effect on them is still the same.

            If it was just a question of wanting to feel "superior" to the other person, then you'd only approach women you already are "superior" to, and then you wouldn't have to cut them down to accomplish that feeling. You would just demonstrate your superiority. To vastly simplify, if she's an 8 and you're a 9, why can't you just show off your 9-ish ways? Why would you need to make her feel like a 7?

            The only reason you'd need to "bring her down a notch" to prove your superiority is if you're not actually superior. (i.e., you are both 8s, so you make her feel like a 7) How is that not malicious? You are trying to harm someone else's self esteem for your own benefit, even if temporarily. It's not as if you *have* to do it. You could instead choose to do things to raise your worth to a 9, or to find women who are already 7s, or whatever.

          • Paul Rivers

            Here's the question though – have you considered that perhaps the women for whom "negs" work for are often themselves already doing this to the guy?

            I mean as mentioned earlier, what "negging" means is rather dependent on context. But I have a friend who learned game, and I've watched him do that kind of thing – and some of the girls he's interacting with will spend the entire evening trying to tear him down. Again – and again – and again.

            I'm not taking a position on how widely this is the case for women – that's a completely a different topic. But it's been several different women that I've watched do this with him (and these are women that later either made out with him or slept with him – it's not women that actually didn't like him).

            But I also don't think it's unfair to neg someone who's going to treat you in the same manner either…for some women that really does seem to be foreplay. It weirds me out, but that's what I've seen.

          • eselle28

            I have met women who do that, and I can imagine that mirroring the behavior is effective in those situations. Aggressive, possibly abusive, people probably respect those responses in others.

            But I think the observation gets far more troubling when applied to women as a whole, or even to a subgroup like "hot" women. Additionally, if this is what's at the heart of negging, it doesn't match well with the claim above that a man can pick his longer-term partners from his stable of short-term conquests, because who would ever purposefully date someone who behaved so meanly?

          • Paul Rivers

            "it doesn't match well with the claim above that a man can pick his longer-term partners from his stable of short-term conquests, because who would ever purposefully date someone who behaved so meanly"

            Well, the answer is either someone who enjoys interacting on that level, or someone who's a complete pushover.

            But I actually generally agree with you that the man picking his long-term partner from his stable of short term conquests, when he has to use such mean or manipulative tactics to get them in the first place.

            The book "The Game" pretty much illustrates this exactly – while heralded as the guide on game, Neil Strauss meets what he thinks of as the girl of his dreams using his techniques, then she drops him for someone else and he tries to commit suicide.

            "game" offers a wide range of advice, from the advice your mother might approve of (dress better, go out and actually talk to women, learn to read social signals like when someone wants you to go away because they're out of stuff to talk about) to far more dark and manipulative techniques. I don't disagree that the dark techniques likely work with very hot but somewhat evil women – but I do think the idea that if you use mostly those techniques to eventually secure a long term relationship that's just a hilarious fantasy. Unless you genuinely want to live the rest of your life being dark and manipulative…then maybe…even then the odds aren't good.

          • If that's her only goal, to cut him down, then she's just being an asshole.

            It's about mutuality. It's about having fun at each other's expense TOGETHER. Whether it's a silent or verbally acknowledged agreement that you enjoy each other's company enough and that you have enough trust/good will between the two of you to poke fun at each other while being able to maintain a respectable boundary.

            The whole thing with negging, the thing alot of people have with the PUA scene, is that it's just about YOU trying to outsmart or outwit or "prove your dominance/chop them down a peg" over someone like you're trying to win some game, regardless of the other people's feelings. And if it doesn't work for you, "Welllll you're just doing it wrong."

          • Paul Rivers

            It *should* be like that…yes.

            I've seen no shortage of women, though, that are perfectly nice people outside of dating, suddenly go into "try to keep you guessing and acting like he's below her" mode as soon as a guy is a romantic or sexual prospect. Like women's advice columns on how to "get" a guy often encourage exactly this kind of behavior.

            I can't fault a guy for treating a women at the same level that the women treats him at.

          • Mel_

            I think it's malicious to try to bring someone down a notch so they'll think you're superior whether it's a woman doing it or or a man. If both people involved are taking a sadistic enjoyment out of it, well, then they can have that.

            If someone started trying to tear *me* down, I'd go talk to someone else, not do the same thing back to them. Because I don't personally find being torn down enjoyable. Many people don't. If people are doing something you don't like, the best solution is usually to find other people, not to become more like the people you dislike.

            Also, I think if you approach dating in a certain way (say, as a form of combat where you need to wrangle the other person into submission), your style of approach and flirting is going to tend to appeal to people who also see dating that way, and so those are the people who'll respond to you, and they'll respond in kind. Which may give you the false sense that everyone obviously feels that way.

          • Paul Rivers

            Well…exactly. Yes.

            I will say though, as I said in another comment, that I have often seen women take on a far more combative attitude *just* for guys they're either interested in or who are interested in them. I would say that > 50% of the women I've known. A lot of times they'll say "I don't know why I act this way when I'm interested in a guy – I just do!".

          • saucyluna74

            women who get off negging battles must be narcissists or very evil in nature. That could be a possibility, people who are mean who seek an equal level partner to interact with. I've never seen too many women enjoy negging or engage back with guys, that's a new thing.

          • Paul Rivers

            I'm unsure what I think about this. On the one hand, the most obvious answer is selection bias, that you choose your friends. Or perspective bias – that you're not with them when they're doing this, so you just don't know it happens.

            On the other hand – it seems to me like it's gotten worse in the last decade. I don't remember being able to find easy examples of this stuff when I was younger, but now it's not hard for me at all.

          • Mel_

            And before you say something like, "It doesn't matter that you harm these women's self esteem, they think they're so great already, they can take it," I'll point out that someone having a lot of something doesn't make it automatically okay for you to take it away. It doesn't matter how rich someone is, it's still stealing to take five dollars out of their wallet.

          • Vic

            Good thing I'm not running a self-esteem seminar, then.

          • Mel_

            Which is you saying that… you don't care if you're doing harmful things to people as long as it gets you want you want? Lovely!

            CmE seemed to be trying to argue that "negging" isn't malicious because it isn't really about doing anything negative to the other person. That was what I was responding to. If you simply don't care whether you're doing negative things to other people, that's your business.

          • Vic

            How am I "harming" a girl by getting her to sleep with me? That's a rather Victorian attitude.

            Get the smelling salts, Martha, I've sullied the virtue of this maiden…

          • Mel_

            *rolls eyes*

            If you are taking someone down a notch, you're "harming" their self esteem. Since those are the exact words I used, and you obviously read them since you then made your snarky comment about self esteem seminars, you're clearly "misunderstanding" my comment on purpose because you don't have any actual argument.

            But thank you for providing a perfect example of that "strawman" concept you brought up earlier!

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well, since you brought it up. . .what would you teach at a self-esteem seminar? What's your idea of a good way to build up one's own self-esteem? I ask because that's tied to men's success with dating on both sides of this debate.

          • Vic

            " What's your idea of a good way to build up one's own self-esteem?"

            Bedding a succession of attractive women.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So, nothing to do with the actual "self". Gotcha.

          • Vic

            Success at your endeavors doesn't build self esteem?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yes and no. It sounds like your self esteem is based on the actions of others.

          • BiSian

            I hope you're joking.

          • Vic

            Why? Accomplishing your goals successfully builds your self-seteem, no?

          • BiSian

            Not joking and being deliberately obtuse, got it.

          • Robert

            Either it doesn't or the effect is unnoticeable. I've achieved a lot of goals in my life and at least most of them haven't directly resulted in me feeling like my self-esteem has been built.

          • Mic

            yeah, I know the feel
            even IF I did manage to achieve my goals, I would see no tangible rewards for it and end up feeling that the whole thing was just a big waste of time

          • Trooper6

            Attaining your goals *is* the reward.
            If your goal is to become a better dancer, then when you become a better dancer, that is the reward.
            If your goal is to become a good enough climber to be able to climb up that hill, the reward is that you have improved yourself to meet the goal.

            You have to pick goals that are of value to you. Then when you meet them, you gain that value.

          • Mic

            I think that I didn't phrased that correctly, my english is not very good
            have you ever tried to achieve something hoping that it would make things better, not life changing, but marginally better, and afterwards you just felt empty because it didn't?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yes. This is usually a way of avoiding the real issues.

          • eselle28

            Wow, that's the story of large parts of my life.

            I'd agree that it's an indication that the goal you set for yourself wasn't the one you really needed to be working on. But I sympathize. It's hard sometimes to know what the underlying problem is.

          • Mel_

            From what I've seen, most people with low self esteem continue to have low self esteem whether they accomplish their goals or not. Their lack of self esteem tends to make them attribute any success they have to luck or chance rather than their own abilities. So they end up feeling like they're a fraud, they didn't really deserve/earn that success, and the cycle continues.

            The only way I know to successfully build one's self esteem is to start appreciating and taking pride in the things you've *already* accomplished and who you *already* are. Deciding you'll start feeling good about yourself after you've accomplished X, Y, and Z if you're not able to do it now is like people who want to pursue some creative endeavor, but can't find the motivation to get started, so they decide they'll spend a bunch of money on fancy equipment as if that'll get them inspired. (Spoiler: it pretty much never does.)

          • Innis

            Why not try raising yourself in her eyes, instead of lowering her? I've been negged and I thought the guy was very confident, but not someone I'd want to spend more time than with after the conversation. It was VERY off putting. A backhanded compliment never makes anyone feel very good, whoever it comes from. Throwing a person off balance to make them reconsider you is one thing. You can achieve it with banter, with flirting, with humour. Negging is just a shitty move. Bringing her down a notch? Reducing her self confidence so you don't feel inferior? Playing on someone's insecurity to improve your chances? That's asshole behaviour, and most women recognise it as such.

            I didn't feel insulted. I wasn't offended. If anything, my opinion of him became worse. How on earth am I supposed to like someone who wanted to bring me down so I'd consider him?

          • Well not everyone has an inferiority complex like you and feels the need to "bring someone down a notch" as their way to deal with it, trying to invoke some BS sense of superiority/dominance over another person. Sooooo you may be wasting your time here fellas.

        • Max

          I feel like I should point out that the "sports stars, rock stars, CEOs, and lawyer/docters" are a pretty small portion of the population. And, again, the fact that some other group of people has problems does not negate your own issues.

          • Mel_

            I feel like I should point out that you seem to be being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. 🙂

            In case you didn't bother to read the actual thread, let me summarize for you. Cresida commented on the article noting that PUA tactics are also questionable because they take advantage of the fact that a lot of women are taught to feel that their self worth is based on male approval. CmE responded to that comment with a claim (which I quoted in my response) that the vast majority of men are made to feel by society that the only way they can prove their worth is by getting female attention, as if that somehow invalidated Cresida's point. Thus, CmE was the one suggesting that one group of people's problems can negate someone else's problems.

            I replied saying that his claim was untrue from what I have seen, as there are many other ways society views men as being successful, whether they also have active romantic lives or not. Whereas in support of Cresida's assertion, even the most successful women in any area tend to be dismissed if they aren't also appealing to men.

            I'm not negating the supposed issue that "men are told they can only get validation by sleeping with women" by saying that woman have problems too. I'm negating it by giving evidence that it isn't actually true. If the former sort of thing bothers you, I might suggest you take it up with CmE. Or is that kind of argument only wrong if you think a woman's doing it?

          • Delafina

            They're not actually that small a portion of the population. 3% of the population has a doctorate or professional degree. That's hardly rare — it's as common as being Jewish or having a food allergy.

          • Mel_

            And even if they were, it wouldn't affect the point I was making. Presidents make up an incredibly small portion of the population, for example, but that doesn't mean they can't serve as a role model or goal to aspire to.

        • Bullshit, I’m a successful lawyer and NEVER get noticed by women

          • eselle28

            The claim wasn't that being professionally successful would get you attention from women.

            It was that you receive validation from society at large for being financially successful – approval from your family and peers and confirmation that your life choices are the right ones from popular culture and media. Imagine someone who was otherwise exactly like you, but who worked part-time at a fast food restaurant. Are there ways he'd be treated differently from you? If you think people would react more positively to the version of you who's a lawyer, you're getting some amount of validation.

            Being successful with women is another form of validation. A man who does well with women will get more approval than an identical man who doesn't. But that doesn't mean that doing well with women is necessarily connected to success.

  • x_Sanguine_8

    I was thinking more along the lines of "charges in and wrecks everything", as in the video (GODDAMIT, Leeroy D:< ).

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Like I said.I've seen that happen.To me, even.

  • CmE

    Canned routines are obviously awful. Negging is gold, though obviously if you're just reciting canned lines chances are you're wasting your time. It's the frame that really matters, not so much what you actually say. Most reasonably attractive young women these days have been lavished with unqualified male adoration since their late teens at least, and as a result are thoroughly fed up and bored to tears by it. Can't say I blame them. A good neg – gently teasing, lightly mocking, irreverent, back-handed – instantly lights up the brain: "oh my god, this guy is actually unlike all the rest! He's not going to throw himself at my feet! Thank the lord! Ok, he might be worth spending more time with".

    And yes, it does establish you as being higher status than those guys.

    • Mel_

      I'm not sure what world you live in, CmE, but I'm a reasonably attractive young woman, and I've never experienced *any* "male adoration" (outside of affection within a few relationships), let alone been lavished with it. My reasonably attractive female friends haven't been lavished with attention either.

      Guys who think this way, you need to get over the idea that the majority of women receive tons of attention. There are a great many of us who, very much like you, have wondered why we didn't seem to be worthy enough to have people want to approach us, flirt with us, date us. Claiming that most women receive that sort of attention, to the point of boredom, is the equivalent of me saying, "Guys have it so easy, they just pick whichever woman they want to be with and give her a little attention, and she's ready to jump into a relationship with him." Which isn't true, right? Because that's just the particularly charming/attractive/charismatic guys. Just like the women you're talking about are only the particularly charming/attractive/flirty women.

      If you are only interested in pursuing the relatively small number of women are have so much open appeal that guys are falling over themselves to impress them all the time, sure, that strategy might make you stand out. But there are tons of other women who'd be happy just to have an honest friendly conversation with you, who wouldn't be sizing up your worth but flattered you noticed them at all.

      • CmE

        Fair enough to an extent, but the charming/attractive/flirty ones are the ones most guys, myself included, are interested in. Because 1) they're hot and 2) being charming and flirty means that they make themselves more visible, so we notice them more. And making love to a beautiful woman is very much its own reward – it's a bit like playing the most fantastic game of tennis ever where you're just nailing every stroke, whilst simultaneously admiring a particularly marvellous Vermeer.

        • Mel_

          My point is that by saying things like, "Most reasonably attractive young women these days have been lavished with unqualified male adoration since their late teens at least, and as a result are thoroughly fed up and bored to tears by it," you're encouraging the wrong-headed thinking a lot of guys have that any remotely desirably woman (not just the particularly hot flirty ones) has it so much easier than them when it comes to dating, which leads to a lot of resentment and even hostility toward women in general. I wouldn't have complained if you'd simply said, "the really hot flirty young women… etc."

          I'll also point out that this article is not about just getting a woman into bed, it's about dating and having relationships with women. You may be satisfied with just having a pretty picture to have sex with, but there are a lot of guys who also want someone who'll have engaging conversations with them and share interests and so on, and only targeting the super hot flirty women is not a very good strategy for finding someone who's compatible with you that way, especially if you aren't a super hot flirty person yourself. The traditional "negging" strategy isn't going to work well on a lot of not-quite-so-hot-and-flirty women, because they *aren't* bored and fed up with men giving them attention, and would much prefer to feel a guy actually likes them than to feel he's trying to belittle them.

          • CmE

            " only targeting the super hot flirty women is not a very good strategy for finding someone who's compatible with you that way"

            – why not? There's no logical reason why this should be the case. Charming, hot and flirty women can absolutely be wonderful people to spend time and have relationships with. Hot and outgoing != shallow, though way too many people think so.

          • Mel_

            I wasn't saying that charming hot flirty women *can't* be absolutely wonderful people to spend time with and have relationships with. But someone being charming, hot, and flirty has very little correlation to whether they'll be interested in the same topics and activities you are, have similar values, etc. So if you are looking for a romantic partner and not just a lay, you'll have *better* chances if you target people based on other factors as well, like talking to different women and considering dating those you find attractive and enjoy talking with even if they're not super hot and flirty, rather than only going after super hot flirty women.

            Also, I'd venture to guess that the majority of the guys looking for advice on a nerd dating site are probably fairly introverted and not that into the party or bar scene, and they're likely to have much more in common with introverted nerdy women (many of whom are also attractive!) than the super hot flirty woman out on the town.

          • CmE

            This is all rather academic for me anyway since I'm off the dating scene and hopefully will be permanently (though seduction principles are at work every day in an LTR: "relationship game" is, I've found, vital to mutual happiness), but if something terrible does happen I'd far rather play the scene and get laid casually for fun, and only look to commit to a woman who was magnificently sensuous AND rocked my world in bed AND who I also clicked with outside the bedroom. The first two qualities are every bit as important as the latter, if not more so. I thoroughly enjoyed my last spell of being single and was having a wonderful time when I met my current girlfriend. Ironically I wasn't looking for a relationship at all when I did – just sex – but something about her made me fall hard and fast. She's wonderful to be with and is certainly exceptional, which is just as well since I wouldn't settle for anything else when being independent is so fantastic (and does give me more time to play in Magic tournaments!).

            I would tell most guys the same: play the game for fun, spin some plates, and make a rule of never committing save to someone truly exceptional. Many women are happy to be a plate, not least because you are also one of their plates. When you're playing for laughs, and not because "I need someone for a relationship right now", why not shoot for the skies?

          • Mel_

            Are these guys who should never commit to someone unless they're "truly exceptional" also "truly exceptional" themselves? Because if they're not, I'm not sure why they'd expect a "truly exceptional" person to commit to *them*. How many "truly exceptional" people do you think there are in the world?

            If you're only giving dating advice that works for people who are "truly exceptional", then it's not going to be very widely applicable, and so it's not particularly useful.

            Also, way to stereotype your own gender. Not all men find casual sex fun and would prefer sleeping with a bunch of hot women they don't really connect with to dating and sleeping with one woman who's not quite as hot but totally gets them as a person. Someone who doesn't want to treat dating as a "game" isn't doing it wrong, they just want different things than you do.

          • CmE

            Well, certainly self-improvement is a thing. I know I work hard at improving my physical fitness and my nascent career – those things are important. Sure, not everyone can be Stoya or Ryan Gosling or whatever, but you don't have to be. If someone is exceptional for you, you find them drop-dead sexy, they're great in bed, and you click with them outside the bedroom: you find them fascinating, intriguing, admirable, etc. All three are things that anyone of either gender can put work into and are also to a certain extent subjective. Even if your face isn't the best (for instance), you can still be in great shape and dress amazingly, your bedroom skills can be top-notch, and your conversation flowing and enjoyable. All that can be practiced and developed until someone comes along who doesn't care that most people think your cheekbones are out of whack, and thinks they're the bees knees.

            I also find relationship sex more satisfying than casual, but my point is not that one's better than the other – playing the field while keeping a long-term eye out for someone who really clicks with you (and vice versa) is the best way to find the best possible relationship.

          • Mel_

            "All three are things that anyone of either gender can put work into and are also to a certain extent subjective."

            That bolded bit was exactly my point. For some people, the hot flirty woman on the town is not going to be what they find most attractive, most compatible in bed, or most compatible out of bed. You were talking as if those women are *objectively* the most attractive and appealing women out there, so of course every guy would be better off going for them rather than considering women who aren't as flashy. That basically amounts to saying, "Only date shy women if you can't find an outgoing woman who has everything else you want" or "Only date less conventionally attractive women if you can't find a conventionally attractive woman who has everything else you want," even though some guys find shy women more attractive than outgoing women, or are more into less conventional looks, and that's what I objected to.

            "I also find relationship sex more satisfying than casual, but my point is not that one's better than the other – playing the field while keeping a long-term eye out for someone who really clicks with you (and vice versa) is the best way to find the best possible relationship."

            It's only the best way if you actually enjoy casual sex. Do you find it so hard to believe that there are guys who would rather not sleep with anyone than sleep with someone they hardly know? A guy can be out meeting lots of women, flirting with them, but waiting to find a woman he completely clicks with before making a move toward sex, and still have just as much chance of finding the right woman for him.

          • Delafina

            Mel's not talking just about improving your physical fitness and career, I think. I believe she's also talking about being a better person.

          • Paul Rivers

            To be fair, when I hear it the phrase "truly exceptional" it pretty much always refers to non-looks items in additional to physical attractiveness.

            "truly exceptional" is the girl that you find attractive, that you look forward to seeing, that you can actually have a conversation with, that you have physical chemistry with, and that also gets along with your friends (I mean these as examples, not that these are an exact checklist), etc etc.

            For the girl to be "truly exceptional" she has to more than "just the body"…at least that's often how I've seen it.

          • Mel_

            Yep, and I got that. As I said in my response to CmE above, I wasn't objecting to the idea that people should try to find the partner they *personally* find to be exceptional, but to the idea that a certain type of person (e.g., hot flirty women who go out to clubs/bars regularly) is more likely to be exceptional to any given guy than people who don't fit that mold, and so that certain type of person is the one everyone should pursue.

          • Yes, they can be, but basing a relationship on just being hot and charming is a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, you'll be competing against a much wider swatch of guys, because a lot of guys *think* that is the basis of a good relationship, and they may be ignoring the not-so-hot-but-charming women (I like to think of myself as one) who would be turned off by negging.

          • Paul Rivers

            And making love to a beautiful woman is very much its own reward – it's a bit like playing the most fantastic game of tennis ever where you're just nailing every stroke, whilst simultaneously admiring a particularly marvellous Vermeer.

            Man…usually I'm on the side of defending game, but honestly it sounds a little bit like you don't have successful experience with it if you believe that physical beauty always – or even often – results in amazing sex.

            "only targeting the super hot flirty women is not a very good strategy for finding someone who's compatible with you that way"

            – why not? There's no logical reason why this should be the case. Charming, hot and flirty women can absolutely be wonderful people to spend time and have relationships with. Hot and outgoing != shallow, though way too many people think so.

            For the very reasons described you mentioned they're – they're approached constantly, they have a never ending stream of attention from guys, another guy who's willing to bend over backwards for them in a pin drop away – the very hottest women are often horrible in bed.

            It's like making love to a beautiful marble statue. A girl who is attractive but not being constantly inundated with attention pays attention when what's she's doing doesn't seem to be doing it for the guy (just like guys try to figure out makes a girl – or the specific girl they're with – tick).

            A girl who is constantly innundated with attention and requests just doesn't need to. Things don't seem to be working, she just moves onto the next guy.

          • Delafina

            "Man…usually I'm on the side of defending game, but honestly it sounds a little bit like you don't have successful experience with it if you believe that physical beauty always – or even often – results in amazing sex."

            Holy crap. I agree with something you said.

            But yes, skill at sex has nothing to do with looks. And if you think physical beauty is what makes good sex, I submit that either you haven't had good sex, or you lack the analytical skills to determine what made it good.

          • CmE

            I guess our experiences just differ here. I really haven't had the beautiful statue experience, but never mind 😉

          • Vic

            To be sure, coming out right out with a hard neg can be counterproductive with women who are not used to getting a lot of male attention. But women who are (i.e. attractive women, i.e. the women you want to sleep with) virtually require re-framing of the kind CmE talks about. "Asshole game" is very similar. I've gotten into it with DNL before over whether or not "chicks dig assholes." I should have clarified that girls who get a lot of male attention/hot girls dig assholes. Running asshole game on a 5 is going to be counterproductive. On an 8 or above? It's a virtual necessity.

          • CmE

            Right, and being outright rude is always pointless and bad. The nuclear neg that Jack Nicholson drops on Helen Hunt in the restaurant scene in "As Good as it Gets" – the line about her dress – is waaay assholish and actually counterproductive. It doesn't help his cause.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            No, it really isn't and it gets back into the idea that hot women all have their bitch-shields on and need to be begged into submission. This idea – like most of the ideas that Mystery-style pick-up was born from – came from trying to pick up women in clubs, a specialized environment that caters to a specific sense of attitude and entitlement. And like a fish designed to live in the crushing depths of the ocean, when you take those techniques OUT of that specific environment, they tend to fall apart and all over the place.Approaching the 9 drawing at the coffeeshop (I have had a LOT of luck at coffeeshops, incidentally) didn't require that I neg her, it required knowing how to be charming, how to make her laugh, enjoy my company and finding commonality.

          • CmE

            Was this the girl who you nicknamed "cowgirl", fella? The double entendre is hardly the most complimentary. 😉

          • Dr_NerdLove

            If you can't see the difference between a joking reference to a sexual position and an insult or backhanded compliment, then I think i see where you're getting tripped up.

            Taking her hat, turning it backwards and calling her "Reverse Cowgirl" is a form of bantering with her. If I were to say "Oh, you're an artist? That's so cute." THAT would be a neg.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            (And amusingly, April's not the only woman I've met while she was drawing at a coffeeshop. There've been quite a few at this point. A surprising number of Rennies too, come to think of it.)

          • CmE

            Believe it or not some people would get massively hung up on that and call it objectifying ("5 minutes and he's already used a nickname to reduce her to just a sex object"). I'm completely serious.

            I'm not saying it's a neg per se, but it certainly defies expectations and sets up a frame where you have the status to give her a slightly risqué name – it does serve many of the same purposes.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Yes, I'm sure they would be. Fortunately I don't want to sleep with those people and their reaction to that would be a convenient sign that my time and energy would be better of spent elsewhere.

            And once again, you're getting hung up on the idea that this was a status play of some kind. It wasn't. This was *flirting*, with a sexual edge to it because that's what I was looking for.

          • CmE

            Sure, I'm not saying it was a deliberate status play. But I'm also completely sure it has an identical effect and triggers the same thoughts.

          • eselle28

            How's that? The cowgirl nickname was an inside joke, and something they both collaborated on.

            Negging seems like it's a lot more unilateral.

          • Mel_

            But if it had triggered the negative thoughts you talked about (objectifying), then she wouldn't have kept flirting. The reason it worked is because she was open to and okay with that kind of teasing (and returned it in kind), because it *didn't* reduce her "status" in some way in her mind.

          • Mel_

            Yeah, how exactly is referring to a sexual position non-complimentary? Unless you're trying to say there's something wrong with a woman having sex?

          • Vic

            I've never frequented clubs (about as far from my scene as possible) and this has not been my experience. I wonder why you think female sexuality is so different in "club girls" than all other women.

            And a successful neg WILL be seen as charming and funny by the girl.

          • Delafina

            No, it won't. I've had a lot of men try it on me, and there's nothing charming about an insult from a stranger, even if it's cleverly-phrased.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Because I have been to clubs. There is a particular minority that looks good and knows it and goes to these clubs specifically to be treated well. They're the ones who jump the line without a bribe and get in free because the club owner wants to see a lot of beautiful people on the dance floor to bring in the paying schlubs. Is their sexuality necessarily different? No. Do they respond to a different approach because of where they are and the type of treatment they're used to? Sure.

            Also remember that PUA stuff works on a numbers game. Oh, this girl didn't take the neg well? I'll just go try someone else. Much like with psychics, we tend to remember the one hit and forget the 100 misses. Personally, I'd rather talk to people that interest me than try and get one phone number out of 100 random strangers.

            I would argue that if a "neg" is charming and funny, its not properly a neg in the first place. Since the purpose of a neg is to lower the other person's status and raise your own in the process, its not funny but demeaning. That is the very definition of a neg's purpose.

          • Ainuvande

            Oy. As one of those girls who gets hit on all the damn time: The way to my heart is not negging. It will get you a verbal tongue-lashing. And you have indicated to me that you feel insecure in yourself. I will make you effing cry if you give me half a chance.

            Talk to me about life, don't talk to me about how hot I am. Compliment a particularly witty pun. Hold an intense debate with me about politics. Or D&D min-maxing.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          I have slept with a LOT of women.I can tell you from great personal experience that mere physical beauty doesn't correspond with being great in bed or even just being a great reward all by itself. I've been with model-goregous women who were some of the most boring lays I've ever known. I've been with girls who might be considered “average” or just “cute” who blew my goddamned monkey mind.The only real place where beauty has a direct correlation to the experience is in one's own head, and not even always then.

          • CmE

            I disagree on the "not a great reward by itself" bit but agree on the rest. For sure finding someone who hits both sweet spots is the ultimate prize.

          • Vic

            Exactly. It very much is "a reward all by itself." But I also agree with the rest.

          • Anthony

            I'm not well versed in PUA lore by any means, but isn't the general idea that women hold the power, so men need to take that power back? And, isn't that power given to women purely based on their looks?

            Whether or not I'm correct in that assumption, a person's physical traits should not say anything about their worth as a member of society. I'm sure plenty of "conventionally" attractive people would be fine if society were to work that way. But why should we want that to be the case. Since things like symmetrical features, placement of fat deposits, breast size, muscle definition and tone, metabolism, foot size, hand size, eye shape, nipple size and shape, skin pigmentation, beauty marks, freckles, penis length and width, and an incredibly long list of other traits that influence our definition of physical beauty are almost completely tied to genetics, they are therefore completely random. When it comes to the nature vs. nurture debate, physical attributes are one of the very few things where nurture has little to no bearing.

            So, basically, a person's worth is determined completely randomly from their parents sperm and egg. Yea, that sounds like a society I want to contribute to. Who cares about personality? Not me.

            When we stop defining a person's worth by how attractive they are, I bet a lot of these tactics use will no longer be viable. And, with or without you, I and many other people will try our hardest to stop defining people that way. Before that happens, I hope you realize there isn't any actual value in sleeping with someone just because they look a certain way.

          • Lilly

            Well that sums up your perception of sex and women right there. And, ew.

        • saucyluna74

          and you must live under a rock to think that everyone is attracted to the same type of woman. There are many people with various tastes, yours isn't the end all be all. Have you ever walked inside a Walmart? lol

    • TBelle

      Yeeeaaaaahhh, nuh uh. I have a hard time reacting in a way people want, especially if I don't think they deserve it. I've been 'negged' in middle school so many times by preteen boys who just wanted to see me cry, my first reaction is to bring out the claws & fangs rather than be impressed.

      You want to know how my fiance made me notice him? He was open and honest about his attraction to me but didn't act like the world would end if I didn't feel the same. Respect, humility, & authenticity is so hot right now.

      • saucyluna74

        I have the same reaction, why do guys think this shit actually works? It's just annoying.

        • TBelle

          I have no idea. Call me crazy, but a guy's first impression being a polite, positive, engaging human being sounds like a total winner. I'm a Southern gal, myself, so it's more custom for everyone to be nice and cordial across the board. (you can be sarcastic & have dry humor without insulting anyone.) Making fun of others to look more important is for children.

          • saucyluna74

            and I love Southern gents! 🙂 I'm from up north and a decent number of men have the problem of being polite or nice,especially at college bars. One of my guy friends is from Kentucky and he has some manners that surprise me. God I need more of that.

        • Delafina

          Yeah, I also have a script in reply to negging. It goes like this: "Classy. Now please leave me alone."

          • saucyluna74

            Mine includes a"fuck you" and a Johnny Cage Crouch punch! lol

          • Ainuvande

            Oh! Oh! I just learned that negging was part of the Hillside Strangler's schtick. So that's going to be my new line!

            "You realize that was part of the Hillside Strangler's routine, right? So why do you think it makes you seem worth my time?"

          • saucyluna74

            oh…my…god! golden insult ftw!!!

      • Max

        Well, I don't believe Vic or CmE are saying this works on ALL girls. Just a specific kind of girl, and it doesn't sound like you fit that description.

        I've never tried it, because I am not a douche, but I certainly can see how it could work. Just because it won't work on you doesn't mean it won't work on anybody.

        • Mel_

          They're also saying those are the only type of girls worth pursuing. Apparently the vast majority of us just aren't hot enough to be worth any guy's time.

          • Delafina

            Yes, they appear to be saying it works on all hot girls. *snort*

          • saucyluna74

            exactly and what classifies a girl as hot? everyone has a different measurement and checklist that suites them. Their list isn't " The Ultimate Super-Secret List of Hawtness".

          • Vic

            Beauty is objective. All over the world, across cultures, people prefer faces that resemble the "average" of their tribal group.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So the "beautiful" outlier of the bell curve is the one closest to the center of it?

          • SpiltCoffee5

            I fail to understand how your evidence supports your assertion. Elaborate?

          • saucyluna74

            omg that is the utmost crock of bullshit! that is not true at all, many cultures value different facial and physical body parts differently than western standards. Also many don't adhere to the western standard of euro-centric beauty unless they have been heavily influenced to accept it. To assume all cultures value looks and certain type of "looks" the same way is ridiculous. You obviously never took an anthropology/world culture class to even say such things.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            To be fair that's not what he's saying. He's saying attractiveness varies from culture to culture, which I agree with. But he's also saying that the one definition of attractive within the culture is "closer to the average for that culture is better", which is demonstrably untrue.

      • Vic

        I can say without reservation that neither "humility" nor "respect " is necessary in short-term mating strategies. They will get you precisely nowhere.

        • Becelec

          Um yes, they will. I've had plenty of short-term encounters and those two are absolutely necessary for me to even talk to someone for more than a minute, let alone anything else. Don't have either of those and most women will bail pretty quickly, or at least the ones worth talking to.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          One of the places they won't get you is into a holding cell but a lack of respect certainly can.

    • Vic

      Another who understands the power of the Dark Side. Join me, and we will rule the galaxy together…

      • Yes, that's why you're both on this site, because you're so successful. There are dozens, possibly hundreds, of PUA forums and websites. If your methods are so powerful, why don't you go lurk among your own kind?

        • CmE

          Preaching to the converted gets boring 😉

          • Yes, much better to come here and preach to those of us who tell you flat out you're wrong. Oh, right, you only target hot-and-charming women, which none of us are, so I guess instead you're preaching to those you think should be ignored?

          • CmE

            Or I just enjoy vigorous back and forth discussion. It's a good way to learn many things.

          • But insulting people is not a discussion. Saying hot women are the only targets worth caring about (because they are the only ones who this will work on by your own logic) completely changes the tone of the advice (since the idea is to get EVERYBODY laid, not just the gorgeous-and-charming), and is insulting. It's especially insulting to those of us who are telling you, negging doesn't work, and all you're doing is saying "Nope you're wrong because HOT WOMEN."

            Please, explain, what exactly you are learning, since a second ago you claimed you came here to "preach."

    • Delafina

      Males assuming you're interested in sex with them because you're "hot" is not adoration.

    • guest

      Until you get your head knocked in.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Let the downward spiral commence!

      • enail

        You said that with a little too much glee 🙂

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Controversial comics improve my EPC rating (entertainment per click)

          • BritterSweet

            It gives my Refresh button the workout of its life.

    • Dunbar

      PUA and its proponents, whether they like it or not, support emotionally abuse, psychological manipulation, and rape apologia. PUA is irredeemable and if you want a chance at being a decent human being or at least a pleasant one, drop it.

      • Vic

        ^^^ Puritans are so cute.

        • Dunbar

          Wow asshole, that's rich. Of all the possible things you could call me, *puritan*? Because I totally said that sex is naughty and good boys don't do it and certainly NOT good girls unless they're married for my big buddy in the sky Jesus?

          Vic I'm an atheist who fantasizes CONSTANTLY about spanking my girlfriend, fucking her senseless and letting her suck my cock so hard that when I cum, her roommates hear. I think about seeing her fuck other girls while ignoring me and kneeling over them while masturbating and finishing on them. I think about threesomes and orgies and getting high as a fucking kite and eating her out. And on the rare days and nights I don't have to be at work, I *do* some of that stuff and I feel fantastic. I don't feel bad about having sex because I like my partner and she likes me and we want to fuck each other, and the ONLY time I have had regret about sex is when I didn't actually really like the person I was fucking but she was cute and wanted to fuck me and she was my first and I didn't know any better.

          *I'VE* never raped anyone. I don't have anything to defend and what mistakes I have made around consent, I don't defend. I've learned from them, and vowed to myself never to make them again. Ever. Even if it means I never get laid.

          Try again asshole.

          • Vic

            Religiosity is not the same as theology.

          • Dunbar

            Off-topic, trivial, obfuscating and missing the point.

            0/10, F-

    • "Negging" is a popular theory with PUAs not because it "works"—I've seen it used a million times, and it never works—but because PUAs often have a lot of unresolved anger at women for not wanting them, and want an excuse to be mean to women.

      • Vic

        Oh look, Amanda just assigned psychotically evil motives to someone she disagrees with! I never saw that coming!

        • Lilly

          Because being degrading and rude to someone is somehow altruistic and inherently good?

  • Delafina

    "The idea that you can seduce a woman by using specific stories to flip her attraction switches is a nice idea"

    No, it's not, really, unless you're looking for a robot rather than a person, but moving on…

    The other problem with alpha/beta theory is that it doesn't even hold true among most of the animals whose social structure it's supposedly based on. The terms originally came from research on wolves. Here's the thing about wolves — a) the mated pair is usually pretty stable (male wolves are anything but players), and b) the alphas are usually alphas because they're the *parents of the other wolves*. The other wolves don't obey the alpha male and female because they've beaten them up or "have game" or whatever, they obey them because they're Mom and Dad.

    Even among creatures that supposedly have harems of females, it's not as simple as it looks. I was at a park during elk mating season, in which the guide explained that while they used to think that the strongest male elk got the harem of females, they discovered it was considerably less clear-cut. The herd, which was composed of female elk, selected a male from among the many who were tagging along around the edge of the herd (both to try to impress the females and for the protection of the herd), and allowed him in to mate. Sometimes, they'd apparently decide he wasn't up to snuff and kick him out and allow in a different one. The males would fight and bugle and show off, and that seemed to have some influence on which one was picked, but the herd didn't always pick the one who won the most battles.

    So far from it being the case of a strong male beating up all the competition, then claiming the passive harem of females, it was males auditioning, and females choosing, and sometimes they thought the guy the "alpha" was beating up looked like a better choice.

    The problem with looking to nature to justify simplistic human behavior is that social interaction in nature, even among animals with smaller brains, is rarely simple.

  • The thing is, I actually can almost see where they're TRYING to get at here, but they're presenting their side of the argument so poorly and stemming it at such a bad place that it's just making them look like jerks.

  • Paul Rivers

    This article doesn't make any sense to me. It seems to say to very different things –

    1. Don’t look for the one secret, the short-cut, the magic bullet that will solve all your ills.

    Sure. See this other article for other stuff about this –

    2. "You can find some limited success in using “game” to gloss over your issues, but not only will it not last for very long but it will leave you in a worse state than you were in before; people can spot a faker and the trade off is never worth it."

    The tradeoff is NEVER worth it??? Really??

    The Dr Nerdlove guy has said himself! that after losing out over a girl and feeling completely depressed about it, he went back home and started reading game. It took a lot of time, and a lot of work, but at this point in a comment in this thread he's slept with a LOT of women.

    So he's claiming that you'll get limited success that's never really worth it using "game"…but…just ignore that that's exactly how he did it and had great success with it and everyone is wonderful now for him…riiiiight…

    I really think he misses his own point. Like this whole paragraph –

    To improve your game, you need to improve yourself. You don’t need canned openers or scripted material, you just need to know how to talk to people. You need assertiveness, not poorly understood ideas of what masculinity means. You need to lead a life that’s vibrant and full, to know your worth and to act on that, rather than trying to prove yourself or by attempting to impress others with a false front.

    How did he improve himself? Well – partially through game. How did he learn to talk to people exactly? That's right – he probably started with canned openers. How did he learn 'what masculinity means"? He probably started with poorly understood ideas, then after trying and testing those out learned what was true and untrue about them. How did he lead a life that was vibrant and full? He started off by trying to impress others, and probably put up a false front or a "fake it till you make it" approach.

    It's not logical to claim both that –
    1. You can't shortcut your way through the process
    2. You can shortcut doing game by just magically "improving yourself" and not having to go through that awkward time of openers and poorly understood theories

    • Mic

      Man, too bad you're going to be buried in downvotes, but then again, who cares?
      I also never understood the whole: "you can't pretend to be someone else to attract women because that's wrong and manipulative"
      followed by: "if you're not a confident person, fake it until you make it"
      and other incongruencies in this site, but I've never been able to clearly identify them

      • Mel_

        Confidence isn't who you are. It's how you present who you are. Altering the way you present yourself isn't manipulative; presenting yourself as someone you're not is.

        e.g., You can tell a story about something that happened to you in a shrinking and insecure way, or in a confident way. Either way, that story is still true, and it's the *story* that illustrates who you are. Your confidence only affects how well people are going to listen.

        If you tell a story about something that *didn't* actually happen to you because you think it'll make you seem superior/alpha/cool/whatever, you are pretending to be someone you're not.

        It's like the difference between a woman wearing make-up in a photo to enhance her actual features, and a woman putting up a photo of her ten years ago, or someone she thinks is prettier. One is just presenting herself better, the other is giving false information.

        • Mic

          so let me see if I got it right
          it's ok to pretend to be confident if I'm not confident, because if I'm not confident that's not who I am,
          so I'm not not confident but at the same time I have to present myself as not not confident

          I'm sorry, but this is just another example of half the things I've come to expect from this site: a lot of (well intended I guess) people saying pretty things that, in the end are only vague and non pragmatic

          • Mel_

            I don't entirely feel you're discussing this in good faith, because I think I explained myself pretty well (with concrete examples and all!). But I will try one more time.

            If I tell you someone is confident, what does that say to you? It means that they show pride in *who they are*, that they appear to believe that *who they are* has worth. Yes?

            Notice that the *who they are* parts of that definition are not filled in. You can be confident about your love of D&D. You can be confident about being a basketball player. You can be confident about your sarcastic sense of humor or your witty sense of humor or your lack of a sense of humor. You can be confident about being kind to people and confident about being nasty to people. Confidence is style, it's a method of putting one's self forth. It isn't *who you are* because if all I know about you is that you're confident, I still have *no idea* what kind of person you are, only that you're confident about being that way.

            Therefore, acting confident even when you don't feel totally confident isn't lying about who you are. It's a method of enhancing your presentation of who you are. Who you are is still the same.

            Still too vague for you? Think of it like clothing. Confidence is wearing well-fitted clothes that show off the best aspects of your physique. If you're used to wearing shapeless unattractive but comfortable clothes, you might feel awkward in well-fitted, more flattering clothes. But that doesn't mean the clothes are "lying" about who you are. That's still you, you're just showing yourself off to your best advantage. Lying would be if you wore a police uniform even though you're not a police officer, or a lab coat to try to get people to think you're a doctor, or whatever.

          • Mic

            but if I don't have nothing to be confident about, then acting confident will make me feel like an impostor
            I'll be setting a precedent that I would have to live up to, and when I don't, instead of confident I'll just be arrogant

            better stop parroting someone else's words, this guy said it best (specially in his "half-ass theory" part):

          • Mel_

            If you feel there's nothing about yourself to be proud of or that has worth, then it's true, acting confident probably won't get you anywhere. But very few people want to date someone who thinks that little of themselves anyway. So the solution would be to work on finding things about yourself to be proud of or that you think are worthwhile, before you're trying to approach anyone in the first place. And once you find those things, even if you're still hiding a certain amount of nervousness and uncertainty, acting confident won't feel fake, it'll just feel like pushing through your fears.

          • Mic

            I know, I wasn't here solely to get a date, I was under the impression this site would have some answers on self-improving
            guess I just have to look elsewhere

          • Delafina

            Have you tried, say, looking at the archives?

          • Mic


          • Gentleman Johnny

            So the one about incremental goals, or how to meet people or leading a more interesting life didn't have anything at all that you found useful?

          • Mel_

            Delafina is right, but since I'm feeling nice, this is probably the most useful article in that general direction, based on what you've said:

            Ultimately, though, this is a dating advice site. If you have absolutely no self esteem, you probably need to look for materials targeted more specifically to that issue (or seek out people who are experts in psychology/counseling) for strategies for working through that extreme a problem.

          • Paul Rivers

            Mic, I totally hear where you're coming from. And if it's from the same perspective I had – that confidence actually meant you were confident – you're right, it is impossible.

            But when I entered the corporate world, I found that people treated confidence differently than I had thought of it. Rather than confidence being something you earned – feeling confident was people's default state. Then from there, if there were good reasons they would sometimes feel less confident, but there was always a push to go back to a feeling of confidence.

            It's kind of like the janitor in the video – except that he flipped when less-confident feelings came about to bring the feeling back to feeling confident. Now taken to far this is psychotic, yes, but of course taken to far the other way (towards no confidence) things get depressing for absolutely no reason as well.

            If "who you are" is "confident by default", then you are "being yourself". But – like you said – if you want to change to get there you do have to "lie" – to yourself and other people – for a while to get to the point where you genuinely feel confident by default.

            If you get there, you'll find a *lot* of those more confident people really have no reason to be any more confident than you were. Not all of them…and it depends on who *you* are, obviously. But if you're relatively smart and independent, and you look at confident people and think "why are they doing so much better than me" – a lot of times you'll find the only way that they're doing better than you is in that they *seem* more confident.

            I'm not 100% sure if I like this system of constant default confidence…there's still a little part of me that would like more confident to really mean something…but I'll tell you – I *feel* way better feeling more confident all the time, and since it also works better it's just nicer overall. 😀

          • scottyboy

            maybe I can help you then Mic. first, a little back story. I used to lack confidence in a bad way, and could NOT get a girl to save my life. I started using strategic pick-up like the game, and found success. Of course my success was limited, because I understood the "how", but not the "why".
            now to help you out – you do need to fake confidence to pick up women, because they want a confident person. but while faking confidence, you also need to be addressing and correcting the issues in your life that are causing you not to be confident, and get rid of or change them. Cold approaches on women may make you feel uncomfortable right now, as it should for someone that may not have fully socially blossomed yet. But that's ok! the trick to it is that approaching those women, while it may feel a little awkward, is the best way to build confidence! It will take some time, but if you just talk to women genuinely and present your best self, over time you learn that there is no difference between you and the guy who is taking home a different girl every night except the way your presenting yourselves. Once that epiphany happens, you will find that the change comes very easily and you will literally be swimming in it my friend. The other piece of advice I have for you is to not pay so much attention to WHAT you're saying, and pay more attention to HOW your message is being delivered. confidence comes in many forms, and they all need to match up. you can walk up to a woman and say the best routine ever with as much confidence as a pro football player, but if your shoulders are slouching and you aren't making eye contact, she will still pick up on it and know that you are faking it. I've done my time to learn what works and what doesn't, as every man that isn't a "natural" must, and I've learned that body language and inner self-confidence is far far FAR more important than being armed with the right words, however in order to get that good body language and inner confidence, you have to keep approaching and trying. Don't worry, I promise you that it does come with time if you're willing to put in the effort.
            Sorry, I actually also have one more piece of advice – surround yourself with people who are the kind of person that you want to be! if you want to be a successful, happy, confident, genuine person, you need to hang around with successful, happy, confident, genuine people, and find out what it is about them that makes them that way. I guarantee that it will rub off on you!
            Best of luck to you Mic, and happy hunting!

    • Mel_

      What makes you think that the only way to improve your social stills and romantic appeal is by doing game first? I've gotten the impression that DNL looks back on the time when he was attempting PUA techniques as mostly a failure, and that it was only after he realized those things mostly didn't work that he was able to *start* working on the things that did, which still took a while afterward. Now he's telling people, don't waste your time trying to use these techniques that ultimately aren't all that successful, go straight to practicing the stuff that is (which will take a while, but at least it's leading you somewhere useful).

      I've been able to get better in social situations without ever learning canned openers or developing narrow-minded ideas of how human beings relate to one another. It's not necessary to do things wrong before you start learning to do them right. To put this in another frame, saying, "You can't develop a successful career by lying on your resume, you need to go out there and gain relevant experience" isn't offering an alternate shortcut, it's pointing someone in the right direction.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      You seem to have also missed the parts where I talk about how much I didn't like the person I became or the people I was hooking up with.

      • Paul Rivers

        I didn't miss that, but my point would remain if it had.

        I didn't say you learned game and then things were magical and wonderful. Roughly speaking from my recollection, you said that –
        1. Things were terrible for you, and you have almost no success with women (and perhaps in other areas of your life at the time)
        2. Then you learned game, and you had a lot more success with women – but it often bordered on being a hollow victory, and you realized if wasn't making you happier and despite "sounding" cool, it was pretty barren and unsatisfying – like you said.
        3. Then you changed your attitude, etc etc, and were still "successful with women" but it was far, far more enjoyable.

        But saying "just skip step 2" – that's a shortcut. And the article says there are no shortcuts. You likely went out with openers and scripted material to start off with – then after it worked a few times got enough experience to have an idea what you should and shouldn't say. Maybe you started off saying how bad your day was going and how your life sucked, but by using openers you realized that they worked *way* better than complaining about things and you never off started talking about negative stuff again. One would likely move *past* using canned openers and scripted material – but going through that step was part of the process. Same thing with what "assertiveness" means – canned lines and approaches gives you the experience so that you can stop using canned scripts and openers, and it shows you that things you never thought would work are actually fairly normal. Figuring out how to lead a life that is "vibrant and full" is often about figuring out what else it out there, as if you already knew about it you'd probably already be doing it. Putting up a false front is sometimes a necessary step in making that "front" a reality – as long as your goal is to use that "front" to learn what it means and move *past* it just being a front.

        Like I said in my original comment, it makes sense to me – "Don’t look for the one secret, the short-cut, the magic bullet that will solve all your ills." But it doesn't make any sense to me to say you need to do the work, and that there are no shortcuts, but also that you can shortcut over the steps that actually made you successful.

        • Mel_

          Why do you keep insisting that learning PUA techniques are an essential step in becoming good with women, and that skipping that step would be a shortcut? Do you honestly believe that every or even many guys who are getting dates and into relationships learned PUA techniques before they were able to do so? How exactly did any guy manage to date before the PUA scene came along, then?

          Learning PUA techniques may be one way for a guy to get started, but surely you can agree it's not the *only* way? And why would you want to start with a method that contains a lot of negative and even hostile ideas about women, quite a few negative ideas about men, and that does try to set itself up as a quick fix rather than one step along the way (I.e., it doesn't encourage you to shed the negative stuff after leaning what's useful) when there are other methods you can use that don't involve those things?

          When I first started dating, I had no idea how to have a relationship. You know how I learned? By first being in an emotionally draining codependent relationship for four years, and then spending a year with a guy who was outright emotionally abusive. Those relationships taught me a lot about what I wanted and didn't want, and how to communicate that, sure. I doubt I could have had the healthy relationship I now have with my husband if I'd had *no* prior relationships instead of those. But if I was writing a relationship advice blog, I wouldn't advise people to get into codependent or abusive relationships so they could learn those things. I'd point out the warning signs so hopefully they could do their relationship learning in less destructive situations.

          Would that mean I was trying to give them a "quick fix" by telling them to skip a "step" I went through myself? I don't think so. I *could* have learned those things in healthier relationships that didn't take a toll on my self esteem and mental health instead. Just like a guy can learn to come up with his own honest material for starting conversations, to present himself as confident without being an aggressive asshole, and to banter without trying to demean the person he's talking to. And there are plenty of non-PUA sources from which to learn those things without the harmful extra baggage.

          • Paul Rivers

            You're the one saying that game is the only path, not me. My argument is that one needs specific things to try to learn how to do these things so they become "natural", and claiming that you can shortcut that process – while also claiming there are no shortcuts – is not possible.

          • Mel_

            Um, where exactly did I say game is the only path? I asked why *you* were saying that.

            Direct quotes from your comments:

            "It's not logical to claim… You can shortcut doing game by just magically "improving yourself" and not having to go through that awkward time of openers and poorly understood theories."

            If it's not logical to claim that you can shortcut doing game, then what you are saying is it is logical to *have* to do game first.

            "But saying "just skip step 2" [which according to you was "Then you learned game"]- that's a shortcut.”

            Again, if you say skipping game is a shortcut, then you're also saying learning game is necessary.

            Right there in the article, DNL acknowledges that coming up with opening lines (of your own, based on who you really are, not someone's made up anecdotes), working on developing confidence, and building emotional connections (without putting the other person down) are useful steps. And he has other articles explaining how to do just those things. You seem to take his saying "these PUA techniques aren't necessary or even useful in getting good with women" as him saying "you don't have to learn any skills whatsoever", which is a ridiculous conclusion based on the article itself and on having read DNL's other posts. The only reason I can see for you to be so bothered by him saing not to do those *specific* PUA techniques, and for you to repeatedly claim it's a shortcut and illogical to for him to say you don't have to learn those techniques, is if you think a person does *need* to learn those techniques. Because… that's basic reading comprehension.

            If what you really meant is only "you can't magically become good with women without doing any work, but that work doesn't have to be these techniques DNL objects to", then I question why you feel the need to say this at all, since right in this article it talks about needing to do the work–just, not the work of learning these specific techniques. And I'd also recommend you pay more attention to what you're actually saying, because you've repeatedly criticized the article not just for (according to you) offering a different shortcut, but specifically for suggesting "skipping" those techniques.

    • 1. The article you brought up is about lifestyle changes and self-improvements. Ya know, things that take TIME to develop so YOU YOURSELF can become a better person. Basically….the polar opposite of what this article is against; the get-rich-quick schemes everyone tries to implement. If you were to read the FIRST PAGE OF THE ARTICLE YOU JUST GRABBED, you'd already know that.
      1A. You talk as if self-improvement is somehow a BAD THING….which is kind of disturbing.

      2. I was going to comment on that, but the Doc answered you himself xP

      • Regarding 1A, I have/have had this somewhat negative/suspicious attitude towards self-improvement. Oftentimes, I read "self-improvement" as "change." As in, in order to work on self-improvement, you actually have to change who you are. I have yet to read a dating, self-improvement dating book for women that doesn't say, in some form or another, that women need to stop being so masculine/argumentative/etc, aka, they need to change their personalities to be more feminine and thus appealing.

        A big part of me balks at this kind of advice because, deep down, I kind of LIKE who I am. That isn't to say I don't have flaws. But the parts of me that seem to be identified most as needing "self-improvement"…. being argumentative, being overly-analytic, coming across as masculine… are parts I actually enjoy about myself. The only, ONLY reason, I don't enjoy these parts of myself is because they directly contradict with social norms, and make my social/dating life a lot more difficult.

        So, what to do, what to do? Do I change myself to become more acceptable and pleasing to society, or do I keep these traits that I actually enjoy (and are beneficial in some settings?) The refusal to "change" or to seek "self improvement" is, I don't think, always a sign of laziness or fear, but possibly a manifestation of the rock-and-hard place I find myself in.

        It might be beneficial to explain how one could self-improve without necessarily changing themselves. For me to be successful with people, is it going to be necessary for me to wipe away many of the traits that I enjoy, and how I identify myself?

        Note: I have no idea of that is the poster's problem with self-improvement, I am just tossing it out there.

        • Obviously I'll start out by saying don't try to become something YOU aren't comfortable with just to appease the masses. That's a Red Flag Flashing Lights Geisha Girl Fan Dance Big Ol NO on that. You try to please everyone and you end up pleasing nobody, as the old saying goes. But at the same time, some of your beliefs/actions may very well be roadblocks that get in your own way more often than not. I'm sure we all have self-inflicted hurdles we put in front of us if we were to really think about it.

          I think the best way to think about the idea of self-improvement is this: Are there things about you becoming a HINDRANCE to you and how you interact/relate to others? Like, what can you take about yourself and improve upon to make you more well-rounded?

          Okay lemmie see if I can make sense of that….alright so let's just take the analytical trait, right. You're studious, you're about the details, you analyze situations before diving feet first into them. And the argumentative trait; so you like a good debate, to stir up discussion, you don't accept things blindly which is how most arguments usually start, what have you. Nothing inherently wrong with those traits. Those CAN be spun as positive things. But when you're consistently arguing with people when it really isn't necessary to the point where they think ANY topic will lead into a fight, or your over-analyzing prevents you from taking a chance and stepping outside of your comfort zone, then it might become a problem.

          I'm being broad and generalizing here, but I hope you can see what I mean. Self-improvement doesn't mean "Conform to what the rest of the world wants you to be, mongoloid!", at least my definition doesn't. It means taking the traits you do have and trying to bring out the best out of them so they can bring the best out of you.

          • The issue with that is that even if I could potentially enhance the analytical or argumentative trait to the best of my ability, a majority of people don't LIKE those traits, or only like them in very, very specific contexts. So even when the traits have been sharpened to their "best," they are still not welcome in most social circles.

            So do I keep those traits and just pray I stumble onto the few and far between social circles that accept them, or do I downplay/get rid of them so I appeal to a broader audience?

            I think it's also I feel extremely daunted by the idea of "self-improvement." It feels far too much like trying to make myself perfect, without flaws. That is an extremely daunting thing to accomplish (also impossible), so I give up almost before I've begun because:
            1) again, daunting
            2) no idea even where to start.

            If self-improvement is individual-specific, then where do you even begin with your own personality?

          • I don't know what you're like on a day-to-day, situation-to-situation basis nor do I know the kind of people/social circles you hang around, so I really couldn't tell you about what you should do when it comes to finding where it clicks or who it clicks with. Like you already kinda answered with the last line, most of those questions you're gonna have to answer for yourself seeing on how it's YOUR personality. Again, it's not about being "perfect" or having a broader appeal, it's just about compatibility. Not the same thing.

            I would however suggest not to do too much assuming, because the assumptions you're making about yourself may in fact end up being wrong/part of the problem. As a personal example; I used to never pull the trigger and respond to people that talked to me/that were nice to me because I always had some negating excuse in the back of my head, like "Oh she's just nice like that to everyone" or "Oh she's just talking to you because she has to" or something like that. Looking back though, the fact that I was the main target of practically getting Attack Hugged by a fellow coworker of mine everytime I came into work maaaaay have meant something more than I thought x)….who knows, maybe it's NOT as bad as you think it is in your head. It happens, no real shame in that.

            And sometimes it just happens without you even realizing it. Sometimes you look back on your past and go "Oh wow…how was I EVER this person??", but then when you take a closer look at it you can see where the dots connect. You learn, you grow, you change, you evolve. Hopefully for the better if you look back and realize you didn't like that person as much as you thought…

            "Self-improvement" is really a lifelong process, rather it SHOULD be one. We should always constantly learning, growing, experiencing the world around us so we can make our own unique footprint and make sense out of something that won't give us a straight answer. I know it seems easier and almost looks like it makes more sense to just give up and settle, but to me that just seems like you'll be missing out on what this place truly has to offer.

        • Matty C

          You know I think I know how you feel. A somewhat similar example from my own life. I love computer & console games and love playing and collecting them – it's a major hobby of mine (I also love them as an art-form in the same way that a movie enthusiast loves cinema, things like their history, how they're made, how they've affected people, the stories about them and the people behind them, etc). Yet SO MUCH self-improvement advice is "get off the couch and stop playing xbox / girls don't like computer games / grow up / hide your geeky game stuff when girls come over". So I'm in the same boat. It's a core part of who I am, yet there are big parts of society that don't accept it. What to do? I think actively searching for and cultivating your own social circle that DOES accept the things that are important to you is possible. It's something I keep in mind.

          • eselle28

            I think there's a middle ground. It's important to find people who enjoy the same things you do, and there are certainly plenty of women who like video games. That being said, you do need to get off the couch if you want to meet them, and many people who like gaming will expect you to be able to talk about and do other things in addition to that, so there are some things people can remind themselves to do without sacrificing the idea of themselves as gamers.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Also note that there's a big difference, in terms of interesting conversation, between being able to discuss why Bioshock's regeneration pods remove any sense of a death penalty from gameplay and being able to discuss how the producers didn't actually trash Objectivism with Andrew Ryan since it was his interference with the market (by banning religious texts, for example) that allowed Fonatine's underground to rise to power. The latter goes beyond just gameplay. Granted it may be a bit too deep for a first conversation but it illustrates the point nicely.

      • Paul Rivers

        Denny, I have no idea what you're saying – I agreed with point #1.

        That's why I wrote "sure" and linked to another article on the topic…because I agreed with it…

        My post was "I agree with #1, but it's #2 that seems contradictory".

    • MrSpiff

      To me, it seems like the Doc promotes "Ethical Game."

      He's acknowledged more than once on this site and on the podcast that PUA techniques do have a degree of success, and are rooted in some physiological and social truths about the way humans interact and form attraction, but that they also contain a lot of harmful stuff as well that's best avoided. Much like Bruce Lee in his approach to martial arts, the Doc looks across PUA and other seduction methods, takes what is useful and discards what is useless.

      The overall impression I've formed of the good Doc (who I don't always 100% agree with, but who has helped me a hell of a lot this last year, and to whom I'm very grateful) is that whilst there are some strong similarities in some of the things he advocates to the tactics found in PUA culture (he likes adversarial flirting, which arguably bares certain similarities to PUA Negging) he's taking away the adversarial "here is how to break down and dominate your enemy" mindset that PUA culture seems to have, and replacing it with "here's how to make yourself more appealing to a like-minded person and make the best impression you can with them, either for a relationship, a one night stand, or a friendship." It's often the intent, or the rationalisation of WHY something works ("Women are status hungry creatures who like Alphas" vs "Many people find confidence attractive, and women are people")

      Sorta like the force. The Doc uses it for knowledge and defence. PUA uses it for attack.

      • So DNL = Obi-wan Kenobi and Mystery = Emperor Palpatine??? 😀

      • Paul Rivers

        Sure…but just like one might look through a list of generic interview questions in order to prepare for a job interview, one might also look through a list of openers or conversational tactics in order to have a better starting point for starting a conversation or keeping one going. The difference is whether you see it as an "end all" or see it as a tool in the process of getting better at it, with a goal of not being able to use anyone else's openers any more.

        But the article says game isn't worth it…even by what you're saying, clearing some of what's being recommended is "game".

    • Gentleman Johnny

      It's not logical to claim both that –
      1. You can't shortcut your way through the process
      2. You can shortcut doing game by just magically "improving yourself" and not having to go through that awkward time of openers and poorly understood theories

      Except that 2 is the whole point of this blog. Like every article about how to get better as dating is about doing the work and how its not easy and it doesn't happen overnight and its not magical. Its also much more worthwhile than having a seduction flowchart because the confidence you cuild is based on actually being a better person.

      • Paul Rivers

        And my point is that it doesn't make sense to talk vaguely about "doing the work" and "improving yourself" – while dismissing the exact intermediate steps that one used to get there. It's like saying "learn to speak Spanish" while also saying "you don't need to read books on how to speak spanish, those are for losers, just go out and start speaking it with people who speak spanish"…the time spent alone practicing is boring, but necessary.

        If you feel that I missed your point and that your point was that the rest of the site offers those kind of intermediate suggestions, then really we agree that it's kind of contradictory. And as a lot of the suggestions offered by this site are the same ones "game" suggests.

        There's another topic in there – that this site isn't telling you everything that works. In addition to the difficulty of expressing all of one's real world experience's to other people, there's some stuff that's obviously left out. I've seen articles where he makes recommendations, then in the comments someone says "that could be misinterpreted" and he responds saying the took that part out. I imagine other stuff that works well – but "could" be misinterpreted doesn't make it in at all. But that's another topic entirely.

        • eselle28

          My impression is that the Doctor doesn't think that PUA techniques were an intermediate step, but instead a pathway in the wrong direction.

          • Paul Rivers

            Really? That's what you got out of "I learned a lot from it, don't get me wrong, but I also learned a lot of the WRONG lessons"???

            But that goes onto another topic as well. What I said was that either there are shortcuts (I can tell you what's good and what's bad about game!) – or there are no shortcuts and you have to go through *exactly* the same process because there are no shortcuts. Both those philosophies cannot actually be true at the same time.

    • GernBlanston

      Paul Rivers, one reason for the dissonance in this article is that Dr_NerdLove is a PUA who is pretending that he's not a PUA any longer. All of the material he writes about is consistent with recent thought in the PUA community, although he may insist otherwise. Dr_NerdLove thankfully omits the sexism to the extent that he's able, but the rest is pure PUA.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I would argue that using similar or even the same techniques while specifically advocating that women are people and not a puzzle to be solved or a boss fight to be conquered is precisely not PUA. Explaining self improvement as something you do for you, not as a way to fill in your seduction character sheet is precisely not PUA. Helping someone become an interesting person without the underlying assumptions about a mostly mythical "status" is precisely not PUA. Its the difference between a locksmith and a lockpick.

      • Paul Rivers

        I agree that that's generally speaking the source of the dissonance…though he often brings up the fact that he is/was a PUA in the comments, so it's not like he's faking something or anything like that. It does seem like the tension between what actually worked, and trying to reframe that in more politically correct terms does lead to this kind of dissonance though.

  • LeeEsq

    When I started taking dances lessons, I was awful. The proverbial two left feet. The teacher of the group class actually took me aside at the end of the class and recommended private lessons. Reluctantly, I signed up for a private lesson. Than another one and another one. I ended up taking one private lesson a week in addition to group classes. It was a lot of work and expensive. It was necessary though because without the work I could not of become even an average dancer. Everything takes work. Long, hard and grueling work.

  • Tea

    I'm a little flabbergasted by the number of people who can't tell the difference between teasing and negging. Flirty teasing ISN'T meant to bring someone else's confidence down, end stop. Real teasing, teasing that creates attraction, is both people enjoying themselves and laughing with one another as much as they are laughing at one other. You can tease people by poking at their egos, you can tease people about touchy and potentially offensive subjects, you can tease people while having an energetic verbal spar, but ultimately teasing works within the comfort zones of both participants. If you cross a line while teasing someone else, the proper response is to apologize sincerely and verbally back off.

    Anything intended to "cut someone down a peg" (ie. a neg) crosses the line and is no longer teasing because it's not mutual. It's one person targeting another's perceived insecurities so they behave the way you want (so maybe now this girl/guy/whatever will talk to me, date me, sleep with me whereas I couldn't do that unless I brought them down to my level).

    • Tea

      Of course, everything is dependent on context. You can make comments that, in one situation, would be a neg– really a backhanded compliment to try and make someone behave the way you want, and in another, would simply be a tease, a joke at a friendly stranger's expense that you both fully expect to laugh off. What would differentiate inappropriate negging and playful teasing, to me, is a willingness to take what you dish, the ability to gauge an appropriate audience (and apologize for going too far), and to enjoy the mutuality of the experience.

      Anyway, I can't say I'm setting out to be a ~player~ (or whatever the female version is), but this article really reminds me about how far I have to go and how much work I need to put in with… well, getting better with guys. I can't flirt for beans, or when I'm flirting, I don't realize I'm flirting, or when there's a guy I want to flirt with, I don't even know where to begin. Maybe that's a question I should pose to DNL sometime (what kind of flirty girl behaviours he's seen or appreciated), but in the meantime it's something I'll just need to remember to work on.

  • Gentleman Johnny

    I'll jump into the comment fray in a second but I had to stop mid-article:
    "greatest thing since WWIII"
    Wow. I thought they burned the negatives for that movie. That one was obscure even for you, Doc.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Dude, I have the soundtrack.

  • Gentleman Johnny

    Given that anything will work on someone I choose to do the things that don't diminish me as a decent human being in the process.

  • Trooper6

    DNL, have you stopped making the funny little floater tags for the photos? I didn't get any this article, and I miss them.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Huh. I think the latest build of WordPress handles image alt-text differently.

      • Dr_NerdLove

        There we go. Fixed it.

  • GernBlanston

    "I get a lot of marketing emails from various OTHER dating gurus."

    I fixed it for you.

    "The problem is what they’re selling: snake-oil."

    They're selling essentially the same information you're providing here for free. The great majority of the advice in your articles is hardly different from much of what's currently sold by the other dating gurus – especially those that focus on "day game". To start with, many examples of banter in previous articles reference canned lines trotted out by other gurus. Even the practice, practice, practice mantra is everywhere in PUA land. I could go on.

    The way they market their products IS the way snake-oil is marketed, however. Whether it's actually snake-oil is a good question. I, for one, agree that much of it is.

    • Paul Rivers


      Yeah, even the better game guys like Tyler Durden (Owen) have such a snake oil pitch that I never would have listened to any of his stuff except for a friend of mine forwarded it to me. After hearing his actual stuff that tried to describe the high level social dynamics that make a guy attractive – I couldn't believe the snake oil approach he took on marketing his stuff on his website. I don't want to post an example and then turn out to be wrong about it, but he had some high level social stuff that even really helped me out at my *job* that turned out to be totally true. But his sales approach…

  • Mel_

    Sorry if it felt like I was putting words in your mouth! I actually meant pretty much what you've said here–failure not in that the techniques didn't result in any success, but in that it wasn't the sort of success that you really wanted or found satisfying in the long run.

  • saucyluna74

    but if your proof is I've seen it a couple of times, it's pretty shaky. plus there are plenty of guys who don't neg women and get dates, so those guys are lying then?

  • Brian

    I agree with the sentiment that there is no magic bullet or quick fix, but what exactly do you mean by putting in work? Can you elaborate on that. I admit I haven't been reading this site for long, but all I've seen is negative direction (don't do ___). Avoiding mistakes is a necessary/minimal requirement but that isn't sufficient. I'd like to hear more positive (do ___) instructions with some practical detail.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Someone will have to furnish the exact links but there are articles on developing your own style, setting incremental goals, talking to women. . .lots of things.

    • Mel_

      Well, for starters, you could put in the work of glancing through the archives. 😉

      I'm not sure what blog you've been reading, though, because just on the front page, I see two articles that are about positive tips of what you should do–one about how to keep your forward momentum while getting better with women, and one about how to present yourself well and get to know women at parties. If you look back through the pages, you'll find quite a lot, or you could use the handy search box to locate articles on particular topics of interest.

    • Paul Rivers

      Yeah…unfortunately, the articles on things you supposedly aren't supposed to do are very specific. While the things you are supposed to do are almost always vague.

  • Robert

    Just want to check, was that meant to be a link to this article?

    • Robert

      Addendum: Because that's what the link is.

  • Matty C

    Here's the thing though – PUA got you out and talking to people. The training wheels analogy is apt. Saying you shouldn't start with routines is like saying you shouldn't use training wheels, just jump on a professional BMX and ride. How do you know you ever would have made the journey if you hadn't started out with PUA methods? Would you have ever had a concrete plan of action to get you moving in the first place? Or even something to convince you that 'being bad with women' indeed wasn't some unavoidable oermanent thing you were born with?

    • Matty C

      What I'm trying to get at is – we need to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. PUA is appealing because it gives you concrete advice, actual steps you can try to see what happens and actual, practical things that you can be more confident in remembering when you're doing that first, nervous approach and being worried that your mind is going to go blank. Take that essence and leave the weird, messed up shit alone. Or as many say, the best thing you can do is get into the PUA scene and then get out of it as soon as you can.

      • Matty C

        ^which btw is generally what I think you DO encourage. My comment is directed more at some other comments I've read.

        I think we need to acknowledge, in fairness, that there ARE big parts of the PUA community that have evolved in a much healthier direction away from old-style 'Mystery' PUA — I'm thinking of the 'natural game' movement and how it has evolved over the years.

        • Paul Rivers

          Matty C – thanks, that's a lot of exactly what I mean. 🙂

    • Matty C

      oermanent^ should be 'permanent'

  • Gentleman Johnny

    Doc, the "phlogiston" link does back to this article. Do you have the correct one?

  • Paul Rivers

    lol, wow, reframing *and* negging at the same time! If you're going to diss game, try not to use so many of it's techniques in your arguments. 🙂

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  • Guest

    Plastic surgery is a short cut- it can make you more attractive- suddenly your jokes will be funny and your observations, instead of inapporopriate, will be seen as risque and avant guard. Sure it might get you a few bad relationships and people on DNL accusing you of daring to be part of a emotionally unfulfilling relationship or 'using' women for sex, but you know, you can also learn from these relationships first hand and use them to get better relationships! DNL himself is a man who got tired of his sins and now is preaching against them, and first hand experience beats reading about how to get relationships online. Sure men cant throw themselves at some girl and hope to get some not matter how good looking they are, and women can, but being good looking greatly increases your odds. Save up for plastic surgery and try to get it outsides the states in a reputable clinic. As for poor guys, hit the gym.

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