April 21, 2014

Jan 28, 201212:12 AMSingles Scene

Michael Korb explores the flirty, funny and sometimes frightening world of dating in Southwest Florida

Playing the Game


Being a nerd doesn't mean not getting the girl.

Sometimes we meet people and they surprise us. Sometimes we meet people and they stun us. Then there’s Tom (not his real name). Short, follically challenged and driving a “vintage” Toyota MR2 (seriously?), Tom needs to make some major improvements just to reach average. But here’s the kicker: Tom is scoring chicks like Hugh Hefner in the ’70s (the decade, not the age). To the untrained eye, this makes absolutely no sense. Natural order would suggest Tom could score a woman rated a six (at best) once every 10 months followed by a great deal of internet use. He should only be able to increase that frequency by lowering his expectations from a six down to a four.

And yet he is getting women as if he’s a movie producer recasting Caligula. (He’s not. He works on websites specializing in fantasy sports and spends an inordinate amount of time playing Dungeons and Dragons.) So what’s his secret? Undeniable charm? Sparkling wit? Impressive physical attributes? Nope. Nope. And we doubt it.

“You have to read The Game,” says Tom. “It changed my life.”

Oh god.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Neil Strauss’s The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, it is a fascinating story about a guy, not unlike Tom, who goes from AFC (average frustrated chump) to PUA (pick-up artist) by befriending and eventually moving into a Sunset Strip mansion with several PUA gurus. The leader among them, a PUA named Mystery, eventually got his own television show on VH-1 called, not surprisingly, The Pickup Artist. The entire thing is freakish, it’s frightening and, worst of all, it totally works.

Like Carleton Sheets telling you how to buy real estate with no money down, The Game tells you how to succeed with women out of your league without  actually pretending to be into her for more than her body. And as with questionable real estate deals, it’s probably best to operate from a untraceable P.O. box. It teaches you how to “peacock” (standing out in a crowd), exude extreme confidence, be hard to get, be fun, deliver backhanded compliments, punish bad behavior and bounce back and forth between attraction and disinterest in an effort to keep a woman off balance. And, as we said, it works. (Admit that some of the people you want the most seem to care about you the least. It’s weird. But that’s how many of us are wired.) The Game exploits these simple truths and gives power to the understanding that nice guys finish last and girls love jerks. More often than not, this is a painfully true assessment of the facts. Guys like Mystery get it (literally) and now, so does Tom.

Another friend is addicted to podcasts from Doc Love, another master of the pickup. According to this friend, Doc Love teaches guys that they should approach girls early and often in order to help your odds. As soon as a girl fails to commit to giving you her number, you move on to the next. Wasting your time on one is just that, wasting time. But once you get that number, you don’t call it for at least a week. Then, when you do call, you schedule a date for a weekday, because weekends are devoted to being out and about looking for more dates! A girl doesn’t earn a weekend date until at least the seventh date. (Yep, you read that correctly.) And anytime she fails to appear totally into you, you pull back as punishment. After all, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. But guys MUST stick to the system. As soon as they start incorporating the false concepts of romantic comedies (you know, that girls want caring, sensitive guys who respect them), the wheels come off the bus and you go back to being a loser who gets reacquainted with the word celibacy.

“As soon as I started worrying about what she thought, the whole thing started falling apart,” says our Doc Love-following friend. “But as soon as I went back to the system, it all fell back into place.”

The enlightened among us with look down and laugh at this pathetic attempt to manipulate the opposite sex and we will feel sorry they these guys are incapable of attracting smart, confident, worthy women without the need for games. The enlightened among us probably aren’t going to score this weekend. Tom is laughing at us from behind the wheel of his MR2.