McArdle has a follow-up post to her contention that the men women love are girly.
Incidentally, I’m being accused in the comments of engaging in some sort of conspiracy to keep the Beta Man down.
These things are never conspiracies. They’re more like hindbrain blurts.
More on primate theory later, but for now let me point out that as a married woman in her thirties, I have very little possible interest in the behavior of the PUAs; I’m not their target, and they’re sure not mine.
Marriage is no plenury indulgence from the soul ripping cenobite chains of the sexual market. You are being judged always and forevermore, and you are always wishing to be judged in the best light possible, even though you may not have practical reasons for feeling so. Lest you think I’m kidding, tell me what happens to the glowing love your hubby lavishes on you if you bloat up 70 pounds in the next year. Similarly, let’s see how much love — sexually and otherwise — you feel for your husband should he find himself unemployed for years on end and devoting himself to herb gardening. The attentions of the PUA (or, as I like to call them, the freelance seducer) is just a single infidelity away. Don’t tempt disaster by thinking that dropping out of the fuck market is an acceptable lifestyle choice.
To a person with a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, and to a person with a sociobiology theory, everything starts to look like some primeval competition for resources on the veldt.
The dismissiveness of the anti-reductionist (complicationist? squid inkist?) never ceases to amuse. All your extravagant and high-minded appeals to human rationality, individualism, and exceptionalism are but a coat of desperately hopeful rhetoric concealing the animal motives below. To those with the eyes to see, the veldt is everywhere. Indeed, the veldt is written into the machine code of your brain. The average American woman has a hippo grazing in her brain.
But it’s misleading to claim theory as a sole teacher. Years of messy real world experience and observation endorse sociobiological theory, while the theory offers guidelines to men looking for answers and a plan of attack. Game is, if nothing else, field tested and motherfucker approved. And that’s what gives it credibility, as opposed to the lofty academic discussions that waft like a stale fart across women’s studies departments. Once a tactic stops working, it is jettisoned in favor of something that does work. If a tactic is proven ineffective, it hardly lasts more than a few approaches before being discarded. And with the zoom zoom of the internet, proven tactics are uncovered and disseminated very quickly.
This tendency should be strenuously resisted; not everything fits into a neat primate model, whether your Preferred Primates are bonobos or silverback gorillas.
Human nature can be observed and analyzed to form a working generalizable sociosexual theory without resort to knowledge of the habits of our ape cousins. The fact that there exist those precious special snowflake exceptions that hearten rationalists and equalists alike does not disprove the rules.
My off the cuff observation was a genuine one; this whole thing sounds like what girls used to do.
Yeah, because we all know how much girls try to figure out how to pick up women. And “used to do” — what, have girls suddenly changed their nature in the last few years?
McArdle is conflating the learning process with the execution. For example, a PUA teaches himself how to walk and stand and motion such that he signals nonverbal alpha dominance which is universally attractive to women, and this process may sound odd to women accustomed to imaging courtship as something magical that “just happens”. But once the PUA is “in set” and executing his game plan it will all seem natural and unforced to the woman if he is doing it right. She won’t be thinking “oh how girly he is”; instead, she’ll be thinking “wow, this guy is kinda cute and really cool”. (“Cute” being the internationally accepted girl code for describing any man — cute or otherwise — they are attracted to but unable to verbalize exactly why they are attracted.)
And in fact, at some level the PUAs have to know that it’s not really particularly manly.
Men use many tactics to attract women. It’s just the socially approved ones that transfer wealth from men to women, like slaving away in a corporate hellhole and buying dinner at expensive restaurants, that don’t raise the shaming hackles of banal, unreconstructed feminists like McArdle. It happens to be the fact that game is successful because it co-opts a woman’s tools of the seduction trade to use against her. Qualifying? Negging? Teasing? Takeaways? Push-pull? Aloofness? All are tactics that women use naturally in their dealings with male suitors. That perhaps is why game strikes older women as girly; there are indeed elements of femininity in seduction, and it is well known that this is highly attractive to women. The classics of literature abound with examples. The best seducer must get into the mind of his quarry, and to do this requires a level of empathy that is almost transmutative.
In the final analysis, though, I doubt many men getting their dicks wet are gonna fret that they might be perceived as girly by a scornful married feminist.
Why do I think this?
Because you’re a masculine woman? nttawwt.
Because if your girlfriend (however temporary) caught you mimicking Tom Cruise in front of the mirror, or spending your spare time trolling message boards for magic tricks to impress women with . . . well, would she be more enamored, or would she slither out of bed in disgust and start looking for her clothes?
The mirror thing is a red herring. No freelance seducer spends his waking hours posing in front of a mirror to get his stance right. That’s the domain of bodybuilders. Dominant body language can be learned by observing alpha males in the field. As for reading online seduction material, I was once discovered by a girlfriend to be reading one of those forums. Looking over my shoulder, she asked me what it was about, and I explained it exactly as it was, describing the science of human social dynamics and male female psychological differences. I didn’t cringe in embarrassment or apology like some weaker betaboys would have. I was matter of fact. She became intrigued and read along with me. The only slithering that night was her receiving my meaty intrusion.
I am not against people attempting to upgrade their social skills, nor am I horrified at the thought that “beta” males will somehow sneak into the gene pool; after all, I live in the city often called “Hollywood for Nerds”.
Beta is a state of mind that can be found anywhere. It is anhedonic. Game is the cure.
But the combination of artificiality, superficiality, and manipulation in the PUA manifestos makes it really hard not to snicker.
Ok. So her beef with game can be best summed up in this:
Artificiality — makeup, zit medicine, pushup bras, high heels, wrinkle creams, nail polish, botox, bikini wax.
Superficiality — Lavish adherence to fashion and culture trends, consumption of celebrity gossip, fascination with the supernatural and occult, upholders of PC shibboleths, ingrained sexual preference for tall men, lantern jawed men, and high social status men.
Manipulation — Making a guy wait for sex, wearing sexy clothes and pretending to be offended when he notices, flaking on dates, coyness, not picking up the phone on the first or second ring, expecting paid-for drinks on dates, shit testing.
I wonder if McArdle is aware she has indicted her own gender?
By the way, the manipulation criticism is one I hear all the time from detractors of the crimson arts. It’s a tawdry conceit. All goal-oriented communication — verbal or nonverbal — is a form of manipulation. When a woman advertises her cleavage she is manipulating men to do her favors or otherwise impress her. When a man works hard at his job to buy a nice car and house he is manipulating women’s attraction mechanisms. When both refrain from picking their noses or farting in public they are manipulating people’s impressions of them. McArdle and her ilk need to get over this manipulation mental roadblock they construct to assuage their feelings of lost power. If seduction is manipulation, then women don’t want guileless entreaties. The spread pussy speaks louder than the snickering blog post.
A reframe: if soccer is the beautiful sport, seduction is the beautiful manipulation. The herculean efforts required of the vast majority of men to seduce women that strike McArdle as unseemly and calculating when compared to the relatively easy go of it women in their prime years have when setting about to seduce men is just a reflection of the biological inequality between the sexes in their value on the sexual market. Sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive, and all that. McArdle is mistaken to assume this disparity in degree of mating effort caused by intrinsic sex differences is proof of men’s venality or women’s nobility.
(We will return to our regularly scheduled programming of learning about actual game, rather than jawboning about its cultural significance, tomorrow.)