The Game as Anti-Handicap

It never occurred to me that The Game was is built like a Bible. Same style of cover, red lash, Holy Bible feel. Was Ryan Holiday behind this? Recently I have been thinking about how Conversation Deliberately Skirts The Borders of Incomprehensibility.

The Game chronicles Neil Strauss’ adventures in the pickup artist scene. Neil was never particularly good with interacting with women and his initial skepticism of the pickup community. With that he has most people’s confidence. Neil encounters a number of the figureheads of this niche movement, who all happen to go by corny names. First there’s Mystery and there’s Herbal, Durden … The book is part strategy, part ethnography, and part autobiography as Neil finds himself becoming one of the figureheads himself.

The pick up artist community is basically a hodgepodge of people who spend a lot of time picking up women, practicing picking up women, and thinking about picking up women (though there are versions of the community focusing on pickup up men as well). They focus on tricks and hacks to dating and hooking up in a pseudo-empirical fashion.

 As far as advice given by the representative of the movement goes, much of it misguided, some of it is decent. The advice is optimized for bar and club environments. Very alpha male. I don’t doubt are successful for some people in some environments.

Most people’s reaction to the community: these people are odd and creepy. They are losers (in part because they need to practice), they make field reports, and they are kind of misogynistic.

Pick up artists don’t pay the costs of personal interaction, in particular, they don’t handicap themselves to the extent that normal people do. In a way, their practices are instrumentally rational. They want to get laid / get a girlfriend / whatever. Their methods are a semi- psuedo- rational way of approaching that goal. It probably has better “results” than what most people would get with their personal status quo. But probably not the best (candidate?).

But people who approach dating with heuristics and tricks are seen as playing tricks as dating rituals demand is handicapping — no planning, no “top 10 ways to get laid”. Top 10 articles are fine for getting a job — that’s a different field. In dating, we demand a kind of irrationality to improve the quality of information.