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Feminism Friday: Why, if you think women should be flattered by your harassment, you are stupid

Guest Post: Today’s Feminism Friday opinion piece is by Jennifer Kesler, crossposted from The Hathor Legacy

I recently wrote a post to explain the difference between street harassment and sincere flirtation. Unthinkingly, I wrote it to an audience of women. I guess I unconsciously assumed any man who would yell sexual remarks at strange women would not come to this site in an attempt to figure out why “that uptight bitch” glared at him, told him off or called his boss and damn near got him fired!

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write that version all the same, so here it is. If you’re a man who has been rebuffed more than once by women you thought you were flattering, this article is for you. (I say “more than once” because misunderstandings could account for the occasional incident.)

It’s not up to you what I find flattering

The first problem with thinking a woman should be flattered by your behavior and getting irritated when she’s not is that flattery is subjective. Some people are flattered by comments about how smart they are. Others want to hear how good they look. And some of us react warily whenever someone seems to be attempting to flatter us because we assume they’re buttering us up for a favor.

If a woman doesn’t take what you intended as a compliment the way you expect, the correct response is to recognize you’ve had a communication problem, and it might be that she misunderstood you but it might also be that you don’t sound like you think you do. To think of her, call her, or later describe her to your friends as an “uptight bitch” is an attempt to feel superior to her – to label her as defective. Because that is the real reason you’re yelling at her – to, in some way, make yourself feel superior. If that weren’t true – if you really just found her appealing and were hoping for her phone number – you’d be anxious to correct the communication problem and, with any luck, actually get that number.

Approaching women in packs isn’t flattering. In fact, it’s threatening.

Being approached by a group of strangers rather than one lone stranger is always intimidating, no matter your gender, the context, or how big and strong you are. Being outnumbered by people you don’t know well enough to trust gets your guard up. You know this because you are alive on Earth and you’ve been approached by a group of strangers at some point in your existence. You know what that feels like. And you can’t seriously think that when the strangers are commenting flatteringly on her body (which is most likely less physically imposing than any one of theirs) this mitigates the effect. It’s often quite the opposite, in fact, as it calls attention to her vulnerability.

You know deep down it’s not flattering; that’s just your excuse.

If you’re honest with yourself, you know it’s not really about how attractive she is. It’s about one of two things:

* The men. Most often, catcalling at a woman is a way men socialize with each other. You’re trying to impress each other with who can say the most outrageous things, or who can get a smile or glance from the most passing women. The woman is just part of the scenery, so it’s no surprise you’re oblivious to her feelings. Her responses don’t represent a person with sensitivities to you; they represent a finish line, and tell you whether or not your verbal volleys are scoring.
* Intimidating women. For every bunch of guys who thinks catcalling is harmless because they know their own motives aren’t hateful, there’s one guy who really hates women and revels in feeling that a woman is afraid of him. He thinks his buddies feel the same way, and when they engage in the same behavior, they are (perhaps unwittingly) encouraging him.

Whether you’re merely insensitive to what strange women feel or actually hate them doesn’t really matter. The behavior was invented by men who hate women, and by participating in it – in fact, by not calling on other men to stop doing it – you’re encouraging misogynistic attitudes whether you mean to or not, whether you share them or not.

It’s not so much what you say as how you say it

Flirtation can be edgy, even with strangers. People often think the whole “politically correct” movement is about a list of words and gestures you can or can’t use, and all you have to do is follow the “good” list (which leads to eye-rolling logic like this: “Okay, guys, we can’t yell Suck me! at them anymore, so I guess we’ll yell Come sit in my lap! instead”), but it’s not that simple. It’s mostly about listening and paying attention to the signals the person you’re talking to gives off in response to you. This is something everyone has to do in flirting – even women. Even really gorgeous or rich people. Communication is a tricky thing, and we all make mistakes in it, but listening is the most important tool. (In fact, listening is probably the top skill that enables people who aren’t gorgeous, rich, or witty to attract those who are.)

But harassment isn’t communication

The best definition of “harassment” (of any sort) I can give you is one-way communication. It’s that simple. It doesn’t even have to involve an ugly motive; it’s just someone talking at you instead of with you. While everyone has a different tolerance for that sort of behavior, no one likes it and that’s why you need to stop when someone tells you to back off. The man who yells at a woman about her boobs isn’t engaging with her; he’s talking at her. The religious zealot co-worker who lectures you about your evil ways every day at work isn’t engaging with you; she sees you only as a potential point on her score card of godliness. When someone’s engaging with you, they stop to listen. That’s how you know the difference.

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writer, singer, webwrangler, blogger, comedy tragic | about.me/vivsmythe

76 comments on “Feminism Friday: Why, if you think women should be flattered by your harassment, you are stupid

  1. This article should be mandatory reading for everyone in the history of ever. <3

  2. What the fuck is with the comments that are just a quote from the post [...]put between these bizarre elipses[...] ?

    Is it supposed to be spam? WTF?

  3. That’s how this particular blogging template/theme treats trackbacks from other blogs, Aerik.

    I prefer other ways of displaying them, but that’s one of the few things about this template that I don’t like, so I put up with it.

  4. I love Kesler’s work. She’s very good at taking a broad idea and making it very easy to grasp, and this post is a very good example of what makes her such a good writer.

    [apologies for the delay in publishing your comment - I only just found it in the spam bucket - silly false positives]

  5. “The men. Most often, catcalling at a woman is a way men socialize with each other.”

    This is me thanking the Gods there’s people like you in the world. I’m a guy and I often say that to my lady friends. Packs of guys on the prowl aren’t looking to “score” so much as they’re looking to further their position in the pack.

    I don’t subscribe to that mindframe because I seldom hang out with guys, and when I do, they’re usually the intellectual or gamer types, in a relationship and respectful of women. Would that there be more of us who actually know how to treat humans in general…

  6. OK, thank you. As a guy, I appreciate the respectful tone toward men, most of whom do not yell things at women.

    Also, if men are truly serious about an interest in a woman, I would suggest afoolproof method: have a discussion about something, then a few days after the event, ask if they enjoyed it. Well, that could work for speaking to anybody, couldn’t it?

  7. Wow.

    I begin work as a trainee secondary school teacher in a month. I’d love to use this as reading material in my lessons!

  8. Nia, I suggest you contact the author using the guest-poster link at the top of this post if you are seeking permissions.

  9. A man who is sincerely puzzled about why women aren’t flattered doesn’t mean well when he catcalls. He’s still threatening. He’s just flabbergasted that women are smart enough to see through him.

  10. Amanda: No, not even remotely and there’s no reason at all for you to say so. Response doesn’t create intent. None of THESE statements are meant to threaten:

    [to the next car over at a spotlight] “Nice car! What is that, a ’65 Camaro? Sweeeet ride.”

    [to a person wearing a band tour T-shirt] “Did you get that at Madison Square in ’89? I saw that, that was a kickass show, rock on dude!”

    [to person with new high-tech wizzlegoober] “Is that the new iPhone? Oh, these are sweet — can I see it for a second? I wanted to get one of these but they were all sold out, you must be pretty lucky…”

    I guarantee you that nine times out of ten when a man is puzzled by a woman’s bad reaction to a catcall, it’s not because he is surprised that she sees through his misogyny, he doesn’t get why someone doesn’t want to be complimented on something they have like that. If the guy in the Camaro got real huffy about people ogling his car, this guy would be pretty confused too! Why would they be different, he wonders, perplexed.

    Insensitivity, ignorance or apathy are not the same thing as deliberate malice and intimidation, and are not addressed or solved by the same methods.

  11. huitzil, you CAN’T compare any of these things with catcalling. There are power dynamics in our society, catcalling IS part of those power dynamics. Maybe they aren’t doing due to conscious misogyny, maybe they are just trying to get the approbation of their peers. But no. It’s not for ‘complementing’.

    I will tell you something, EVERY time I have reacted to a random man catcalling me, EVERY time I got laughs, some joke, or men trying to intimidate me. Never I have gotten someone who looked truly and innocently ‘puzzled’ by my reaction.

  12. By the way (because I know I’m going to have to explain or debate this all over again), the power dynamics I’m talking are about ‘women as sex objects,’ a very real part of our societies. Maybe a man never thought about it, maybe he doesn’t consciously thinks that ‘women are just for sex’, however he is part of our society, and it permeates our culture from media, relationships, etc. He knows he can freely catcall a random woman without getting weird looks, he knows he can look at her like a random piece of meat. A woman knows she isn’t supposed to catcall a random man, and if she does it, it isn’t as insulting for the man because that doesn’t make him a ‘random piece of meat’. Society doesn’t reduce men to sex-objects. And THAT’s very real. And those power dynamics are conscious, or unconsciously accepted.

  13. huitzil: Notice that your three examples the “harrasser”‘s comments are provoked by things – a car, a t-shirt, an iPhone. They are objects of desire to the speaker. The implication is in each case the speaker wishes to have / own / use those things.

    A woman is not a thing. Treating her like one is objectification – treating her as if she is something to be owned or used.

    The alternative is to regard her as another human being, an equal.

  14. Doh! “Notice that [in] your three examples …”

  15. [to the next car over at a spotlight] “Nice car! What is that, a ‘65 Camaro? Sweeeet ride.”

    As other posters have already said, this is not a catcall. And this is not the kind of comment we are complaining about.

    [to the next car over at a spotlight] “Ooh baby you and your t**s look so hot in that Camaro. How ’bout you let me give you a sweet ride.”

    It can happen with one guy or a carload of guys and afterward they laugh and make obscene gestures and peel out when the light turns green, pull in front of you and continue their gesticulations out the window or out the back window.

    We get from men in suits, men in work clothes, homeless men, foreign men, teenagers and college students and old men who look like doting grandfathers.

  16. I don’t necessarily agree with Amanda, but I’m now wondering what world a man has to grow up in to be “ignorant” or unaware of the fact that catcalling* is objectifying and threatening. And if “apathetic” and “insensitive” are not malicious, it’s really just a question of degree.

    *And as the last few commentors mentioned, none of the “your thing is nice I wish I had it” examples apply here. For one thing, women =/ things. (Imagining that they are is a form of misogyny, yes?) For another, catcalls =/ compliments, and vice versa. I walk everywhere, so from a wealth of strange encounters I can think of some examples of things that men have called out to me that have (to my interpretation) been nonthreatening and complimentary. I’m not going to list them here, because that’s not what this thread is about.
    But choose to believe that women are smart enough to know the difference.

  17. The fact that someone here had to have it explained to them how women differ from things is highly instructive in itself.

  18. I thought huitzil’s point was that to the catcaller, women are objects men possess, like cars and iPhones. Huitzil’s man doesn’t realize that a woman thinks of herself as human, since every individual in our culture is conditioned to see the world (including ourselves) through a white male perspective. Therefore, the man in huitzil’s example sees the woman as a sentient car. Just as he would expect the car to be flattered by his desire if it was capable of feeling, he expects the woman to be.

    That may be a fairly narcissistic extreme, but I’ve certainly known men like that. Sadly, I think it’s very possible for young men to inherit their attitudes without comprehending the dynamics, and then get angry when someone tells them “You can’t behave that way even though respected men you know do.”

  19. Oh, and Nia, feel free to contact me. The guest author link will take you to the site, which has an “email us” link midway down the right sidebar. :)

  20. Huitzil’s man doesn’t realize that a woman thinks of herself as human, since every individual in our culture is conditioned to see the world (including ourselves) through a white male perspective.

    I thought that might have been the commentor’s intention, which is why I added that such thinking, when turned into practice, is a form of misogyny. A person who thinks that women are on display and that their attributes are as open for comment or enjoyment as iPods or cars is a threat. Lack of self-awareness doesn’t really decrease the violence of that dehumanization.

  21. Fetternity, while I understand what you are saying (coming from a geek/gamer/hacker background) don’t automatically assume that because guy gamers in general bemoan the lack of women in hardcore games they are any better than the average in this case. Ask any female multi-player gamer about the reaction in a new server or community. They tend to get mobbed.

    Hackers unfortunately tend to be even worse as the community is the prototypical chest-beating, self-aggrandizing, better-my-pack-standing culture. One of the things I will regret the most for my entire life was an eternity long moment of inaction and fear in a crowd of drunken men surrounding a woman who was trying to tell a story at a hacker con, yelling for her to take her shirt off.

    I know that it isn’t exactly what you were talking about, but trust me, geeks can be just as bad given the right circumstances.

  22. huitzil

    First of all, there’s the fact that all of your socially accpetable analogies involve people talking about objects. Please do the world a favor and stop for a second think why that might be and why that means that your anologies in no way disprove Amanda’s assertion.

    And then there’s the fact that you seem to live in some strange universe where “catcalling” involves men saying things like:

    “Hello, I’m sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to stop and tell you that you look incredibly pretty today.”

    “Wow! You are so gorgeous!”

    “OMG are you really that smart!? I really want to lick your brain!”

    That sounds like a fun place to live. Can I come?

    (although, apparently in your alternate universe, iphones are hard to keep in stock, so maybe not)

    and I see veryone else has all this well-covered already. oh well.

  23. Men always think they are superior than women, and they happen to be brought up in that kind of society, where they think I’m the number one. Even when they have to appreciate women, they can’t accept the fact.

    What is really important for women is just treat her like a normal human being.

  24. [...] by Jennifer Kesler (of The Hathor Legacy, for those of you who follow that blog) called “Why, if you think women should be flattered by your harassment, you are stupid.” The FF101 site looks pretty cool so far, and Jenifer Kesler is always a good read, so I [...]

  25. There have been places where women (the one I am thinking of is high school girls) turned the table and started catcalling guys, and hey, the original problem dried up in a hurry.

  26. Interestingly enough, there exists a small percentage of woman who DO respond to catcalls and “boob compliments,” in a very positive fashion.

    What kind of man would want to be with a woman like that, you ask?

    The kind of man who makes cat calls, of course =)

  27. Hi, I didn’t actually come here expecting to have a question, since being a feminist, most of this is way old news. I came here curious about using it as a resource in discussing feminism with others. But yeah: I do have a question.

    Recently in a very childish argument (plenty of false assumptions and even name-calling), a man who was claiming that men experience just as much sexism as women used as an example being cat-called by intoxicated girls in our town in the middle of the night.

    I was extremely disinclined to believe him at first, until I remembered a female friend of mine telling me a story where she and another female friend were driving and cat-called two men outside a bar. They ended up driving back and picking up the men. Obviously I was appalled.

    Now, there is no doubt in my mind that female-on-male street harassment doesn’t hold a candle with male-on-female, when it comes to numbers of incidents, the intentions behind them, the possibility of hostility or violence, etc.

    But I want to know others’ thoughts on the subject. I believe that women acting in this way is a sad result of living in a society where we internalize discrimination and reflect it back on others. How would any of you go about responding to such an anecdote (assuming the man telling the story, unlike this one, is discussing civilly with you and would respond to continued discourse)?

  28. How much actual physical threat did those men feel from the female catcallers, JC? Not that it isn’t internalised discrimination I agree. But this is like the conflict tactics scale – doesn’t take the actual level of threat into account.

  29. I’m also not sure why an anecdotal account of women behaving badly would trump the statistics that cat-calling is both more likely to be performed by men toward women and (as Helen pointed out) is more likely to end badly for the harassed woman.

    In the same way that one feminist’s actions do not disprove the validity of feminism(s) in general (there’s an FAQ about this also), a few individual aggressive women do not by themselves cancel out the validity of a criticism of largescale male aggression.

  30. And the answer to Helen, of course, is that he didn’t feel threatened at all; he used it in his argument as if to say, “Well it happens to me, too, but I don’t get all pissy about it like you do! ‘Cause what’s the big deal?”

    Ultimately I think this is the kind of discussion that would be pretty quick to resolve, assuming the other party was actually trying to discuss with you and learn, and not provoke.

    The more I think about it, the more I doubt that it would even come up in a civil discussion.

  31. I really relate to this. It is just crazy how men seem to randomly harrass women. They do definately do this to impress each other more than anything else. I have noticed that this behaviour is grately influenced by how accepted it is by their subculture its attitudes on the matter. Some areas are deffinately more afflicted that others.

    The really disturbing thing that I have noticed is that, well in my experience at least, these men tend to go for women who look vulnerable. Girls more than women. I used to get this harrassment all the time through my teens and esp in my school uniform! Now I am in my twenties (and actually less pimply and more attractive) it does not happen, well hardly ever. When it does happen it will always be a group of guys who hestitate in saying anything while they seem to assess my age. It is ridiculous. If I am not harrassed as much now in my (if anything more attractive) twenties than in my teens then there is no doubt this is about power, control and vulnerability. It feels really good not to have strangers yell at me and approach me anymore. Have definately got used to that!

    Also from my experience if you encounter harrassment that makes you feel uneasy or treatend hostile verbal response works best. Otherwise people just do not get the message. I guess its a messge they do not want to recieve otherwise they would pick up on subtler ques at an earlier stage. There was a guy (some one i did not know) when I was younger who would yell blow job blow job at me whenever he saw me on the street. I just ignored him thinking it was just stupid. One time I walked passed him and a group of his friends. They shouted darling ect. But then they actually started to follow me and a friend of mine while yelling at us and speaking loundly to each other about how they wanted to have sex with us both . Very threatening. I waited untill I got to a public place then yelled at them severly. That did the trick. Fortunately from then on the back off and I had no more trouble. I now think its good to draw boundaries asap. They need to know that their behaviour makes people uneasy and is therfore unacceptable. Before they get the idea that they have a license to intimidate people to their own ends, without any complaint, in the name of so called ‘flattery’ that is.

  32. I’m going to start saying “I really want to lick your brain!” to my girlfriend.

    (But note that that’s funny rather than creepy, because she has at this point 3 1/2 years’ living together worth of evidence as to whether I treat her like an object and how I’m handling the power dynamic in our relationship.)

  33. It’s not that I think women should be flattered by harassment, but that most men can’t comprehend going through life with the amount of opposite sex attention that women receive, and women can’t see that from a man’s viewpoint. Your average woman is complimented daily by her male peers and total strangers. She is asked out on dates and even propositioned. The average man receives none of that. Instead, if he is to make any headway on finding a date or significant other, he is forced to take the initiative and be aggressive and risk rejection.

    It is very easy for women to dismiss emotional and biological needs when they are not their own nor support their cause. Many women think that because they have to ‘weed out’ the good men from the bad that they have it harder. Not so. Women are like employers in an economic crunch. Sure, you have deluge of applicants, many of whom might be unqualified. But they’re never at a loss for ‘bites.’ It is the unemployed job seekers, the men, who put themselves on the line, and are frequently turned down, ignored, and hungry.

    Because of the differences between men and women, of course what would be seen by woman as threatening or unwelcome would be viewed as “my lucky day” by men.

  34. James, that is certainly a dynamic at play, and no, it’s not fair to men that they are constantly expected to be the aggressors in relationship settings. The greater issue at play, however, is that it is partially because of this dynamic that catcalling is offensive. Being the “aggressive” sex definitely has its downsides, and I’m all for men examining how sexism has been a severe harm to them as well, but there is an inevitable power in the aggressor’s favor.

    Desire places an uncomfortable burden upon someone else when it isn’t respectfully expressed or expressed to someone who has indicated they might be receptive. It’s discomforting. It immediately suggests the question of how the catcaller is going to respond when you respond negatively or indifferently, especially when, as a women, you are taught to fear strange men.

    I don’t take compliments from catcalling strangers as compliments. They aren’t compliments. They’re basically saying “hey, you’re healthy, decent-looking and don’t have a Y chromosome!” The ‘decent-looking’ part isn’t even complimentary, because judging me solely on my looks places me in a hierarchy of women and there is always someone younger, fresher and more willing to spread their legs than me; I’m bound to lose, should I place any stock in my place in that hierarchy at all. Decisions about who to have sex with are a lot riskier for women than men because of the culture we live in, and having to be the arbiter because we are the only ones who are charged with dealing with that riskiness is NOT an advantage to us.

  35. James – catcalling/street harrassing a random stranger is not a legitimate attempt to start a potential romantic relationship with that random stranger. It’s not even an attempt to start a discussion with them. The harassing words are called out “at” the woman, not “to” her.

    There is an unwritten social rule that we respect each other when out in public and do not invade a fellow stranger’s privacy by talking to them (other than perhaps to just say “hi” etc). This social rule applies in respect of everyone – unlesss they are a young decent-looking woman. Young decent-looking women don’t have the same right to privacy and respect on the streets as other strangers do, and are open to being catcalled.

    Me, and every other woman I know, just want to be left in peace by complete strangers – like everyone else is – when we are on the streets in public. Being catcalled – ever – by a random stranger, or group of strangers – humiliates me and makes me angry.

    Any catcaller would have a million times greater chance at a relationship with me if they simply smiled and said “hi” to me every time they saw me (= treating me as a person that they like), instead of shouting sexual comments at me (= treating me as a nonhuman object that exists for his benefit).

  36. When I read James’ post it reminded me of something.

    Part of me wonders if some street harassment is coming from a place of frustration on the part of men who think that they understand the experiences of women; and who therefore feel entitled in some sense to extract some of that power that they feel women unfairly wield.

    I’d like to address some of the assumptions he brought up:

    People often use poor metaphors to describe the dating market to ascribe power to one group or another. But Tim Hartford in his book “The Logic of Life” , using a Dating Supermarket Metaphor, elegantly demonstrates that men or women experience a real loss of power only when there are not enough potential mates in their community. Other issues tend to even out because in general men and women have overlapping emotional and biological goals and people will compromise to achieve them. That’s just the reality.

    But in communities where males are incarcerated at high rates, there is real loss of power for women who wish to find a partner within her community. Same for men in communities with fewer eligible women because of decades of gender selection via abortion or infanticide.

    “Your average woman is complimented daily by her male peers and total strangers. She is asked out on dates and even propositioned.”

    This is another common misconception. Dating preferences tend to be quite rigid and exclusionary such that by definition such a woman getting the amount of attention described above is most likely not average. And unfortunately for the sake of argument this woman’s experience is often considered the default, even though it doesn’t mirror that of the everyday woman.

    This misconception also renders invisible the experiences of women who are already marginalized on the dating scene (for one reason or another) yet continue to be fair game for inappropriate comments, unfriendly gestures, and other unwanted attention: so she gets none of the cordial compliments from her peers yet she is still subject to harassment.

    Hopefully others aren’t as quick to accuse women of dismissing men’s emotional or biological needs— especially since men and women are more similar than we are different in this respect.

  37. Do women ever cat call men? I am a male and I have experienced groups of women out at bars cat calling me. I am not saying this is not a good thing, but alcohol aids in the confidence of women calling out to men.

    You do not see cat calling at the middle school ages, and even high school ages at times. But when men and women get older alcohol and drugs begin playing a role, and that is where we see many cat calls come out when they are out together in the evenings. The alcohol takes regular flirting to the next level, without people thinking about their actions.

  38. “Me, and every other woman I know, just want to be left in peace by complete strangers – like everyone else is – when we are on the streets in public.”

    I think we all start out as strangers and we have to meet in public, so while I think cat calling is a bad way to meet women. It is a part of life to some extent, just as stupid people are.

    I have been reading tones of these blogs and FAQ’s and I have yet to see what attraction strategy that feminists prefer. How do the XX and XY people meet and mate according to feminism?

    • Hello, Disingenuous PUA: just like the rest of womankind, feminists are not a hivemind with just one way of reacting to the world. Different women have different preferences, whether they are feminists or not. However, in general women prefer to be treated as people rather than as things owning desirable sexual organs, and street harassment does not treat women as people, as explained in the post.

      Certainly, it is possible for men and women to meet and mate whilst considering only each other’s sexual organs, and sometimes such depersonalised sexual gratification can be mutual good fun with no commitment sought by either party. If someone has made it obvious that they’re up for no-strings sex via personal ads or going to a blatant singles pick-up joint, then by all means do your best to be the one chosen for the fun.

      If you are out on the street and see a woman you find attractive and are genuinely interested in seeing whether you could meet and be compatible, why not find a non-creepy-stalker way to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation that might end up with a phone number?

      But if you don’t want to actually introduce yourself and try to hook up, why would you want to just yell something that most women find at best irritating? Why would you want to be the guy who possibly ruins a woman’s day by yelling in a manner she finds threatening or perhaps PTSD-triggering? What possible benefit is that to you in terms of actually meeting/mating?

      • Psst! tigtog,

        Did you not read the part of my post that said “I think cat calling is a bad way to meet women. It is a part of life to some extent, just as stupid people are” or were you too anxious to get to the word Disingenuous? I agree that cat calling isn’t a good pick up methodology, and for what its worth I have tried most techniques, so I know what works.

        You mentioned that “If you are out on the street and see a woman you find attractive and are genuinely interested in seeing whether you could meet and be compatible, why not find a non-creepy-stalker way to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation that might end up with a phone number?” For the record that’s exactly what I (and most PUAs) do. Shockingly disingenuous, I know. My point is women should understand that men LIKE and even LUST after women, again shocking. And some men are retarded, but to get offended and give it more than a passing thought is to be externally validated or violated, as the case may be, and that sets up all kinds of psychological issues. I am bewildered that more women don’t just brush it off and give it little thought.

        As to your “hive mind” point, many of the blogs I have read and the comments that feminists seem to laud and approve of, point as much to a “hive mind” as they attribute to the seduction community. So I thought it would be fair to ask what the mating strategy is closest to being approved by the majority in this community. I think that is a fair and honest question. I will reserve the right to not concur or even to outright disagree with the validity of it, but I am ingenuously interested in the answer. It seems that if men look at women as beautiful, we are immediately accused of objectifying her and thus we devalue her as a person and are not worthy to be a suitor. I find that hard to wrap my testosterone filled brain around, because men like beauty and it attracts us. Isn’t that ok? If not, why not?

        Mr. Alighieri

  39. The “disingenuous” bit I was referring to was this bit:

    How do the XX and XY people meet and mate according to feminism?

    Which I answered (respond to and interact with women as whole people, not just body parts), only to be confronted with this old strawfeminist argument:

    It seems that if men look at women as beautiful, we are immediately accused of objectifying her and thus we devalue her as a person and are not worthy to be a suitor.

    Sexual attraction is not the same as objectification, and anyone who claims it is has simply not thought/listened enough.

    Obviously, humans (not just men) are a visually oriented species, and we all respond to visual aesthetics. Reacting positively to someone’s beauty/handsomeness is not what constitutes sexual objectification, although it is a necessary first step (just as reacting negatively to someone’s skin colour is a necessary first step to racial stereotyping, racial prejudice and racist objectification).

    Where sexual attraction progresses to sexual objectification is if you don’t care anything about the woman’s thoughts and opinions but only about getting an orgasm via her body, THEN you are objectifying her.

    This is a trivially obvious distinction that anyone who can string together sentences with the facility you have displayed thus far was perfectly capable of grasping back in high school. This is why I referred to you as Disingenuous, and why I stand by it.

  40. Actually that is not what I got from the general discussions I have read, thus my quandary. I was not disingenuous, I had a real sense that from an attraction perspective many women saw the fact that men approached women with the thought that she was beautiful and he was sexually interested in her as objectification. The posters never clarified that even if the initial reason for attraction was sexual, the overall interaction could still be redeemed. I think the argument was largely coloured by the fact that the discussion revoled around PUA’s and how we teach men to attract women. So maybe the full argument was eclipsed for a reason (otherwise it validated my point), or maybe I (admittedly) am not as up to speed on what is and is not seen as “patriarchal” in this community. Thank you for the clarification on this point.

    We teach men to convey a attractive personality that is theirs. And we also teach that if *she* isn’t attractive as a person why put in the time on her, there are other women who the guy would enjoy more. That brings me to the other issue I am curious about. Whats the issue with all the uniquely feminine blogs that eviscerate PUAs about what we do if it isn’t about meeting women based primarily on sexual attraction? I actually do seek enlightenment on this, so try to keep the gnashing of teeth to a minimum.

    Regards,

    Mr. Alighieri

    • No doubt there are PUAs and PUAs.

      Those who brag about “bagging” 100s of women are the ones who stir feminist antipathy. The strategies of negs and having wingmen too: that’s manipulative bullshit and will always be manipulative bullshit. Where’s the honesty?

      Nobody can have viable personal relationships, even on a mutual no-strings fuck-buddy level, with 100s of different sexual partners in a year. The objectification of those partners as interchangeable fuckholes is transparently obvious, and the communities who glorify such trophy collecting PUAs as aspirational icons are playing into a highly dysfunctional model of relationships that demeans women and desocialises men

      I do know that not all seduction community groups operate like that or teach these manipulative techniques, but that only raises this question: why embrace the term PUA if you don’t?

      Teaching men to be more confident about approaching women they find attractive, so long as it is also about being honest and open about what any potential relationship will be about, can only be a good thing. If that’s what you do, both those men and the women they approach will save a lot of time and relationship angst by testing fundamental compatibility right up front.

      But if what you teach includes manipulation as a tool to meet women who then become trophies to boast about to other men, then feminists will never be your fans.

      • Those who brag about “bagging” 100s of women are the ones who stir feminist antipathy. The strategies of negs and having wingmen too: that’s manipulative bullshit and will always be manipulative bullshit. Where’s the honesty?

        There are 2 different things here that I would like to address and or have/give clarification on.

        First, I don’t understand how a “wingman” is manipulative. If I have to approach five girls at a table and I have a friend with me to assist me in keeping the conversation going and interesting. How is that manipulative? It’s 5 against 1 and if I can’t keep everyone engaged in the conversation, then the whole group will bail if even one isn’t having fun.

        On Negs, this is a highly misunderstood tactic even in the community. It is not about offending, hurting, or demeaning the girl. I will give that a second to sink in. *waiting*

        Ok that being said. Most guys F*ck it up due to what we do to one another. Guys banter with each other as a sign of bonding. We as men say insulting and demeaning things to each other playfully all the time. It doesn’t get under our skin. However a Neg is not the same thing. A neg is a comment that should convey a playful attitude that lets her know you don’t thing she is perfect.

        Something like

        “nice nails, are they real?”

        “no”

        “Well they look nice anyway”

        This isn’t manipulation, it is conveying that you notice things and even if she isn’t perfect, you are still attractive to her. In a way, a woman knows you are going to see her as she is, flaws and all and still be attracted to her.

        I guess I could walk up and just say “Hey I noticed you are not perfect, but I am still physically attracted to you.” I doubt that would get very far.

        Nobody can have viable personal relationships, even on a mutual no-strings fuck-buddy level, with 100s of different sexual partners in a year. The objectification of those partners as interchangeable fuckholes is transparently obvious, and the communities who glorify such trophy collecting PUAs as aspirational icons are playing into a highly dysfunctional model of relationships that demeans women and desocialises men

        Ok, again I hear two different things, which confuses me. One, women say its cool and acceptable to have “no strings attached” sex if everyone knows the parameters, then you say it has to be a “viable personal relationship.” A mutual one night stand isn’t a relationship, its a one night stand. Way different things, transparently so.

        Do guys sleep with 100′s of women a year? Doubtful. Some might, but that’s at least 2 women a week, every week for a year. Hard to keep that pace up especially if you don’t live in a city with A LOT of women. Once a man learns to attract women and has success, usually they want to do it a lot. That I would think is a natural reaction to any new thing. Just as the new car you once bought was so cool all you wanted do was take it out to drive and wash it, but eventually that gets old too.

        So while some men do sleep with and brag about how many women they have had, the idolatry isn’t about the numbers as much as it is the SKILL they have acquired. Most men admire skills in other men, even we wouldn’t use the same skill the same way. I can admire Hitler for his ability to communicate and inspire, but not condone the atrocities he perpetuated. Heck, most men even respect their enemies, if the enemy has a skill that is impressive. (Patton respected Rommel for his skill, yet hated Montgomery) So while the instructors have to brag a bit to get students (only dysfunctional people want to learn from people that don’t know what they are doing) most men quickly find, that for the very reasons you state, they wouldn’t even WANT that success even if that was originally WHY they got in the community. Except for maybe for a brief time and sociopaths, this is self correcting amongst the community.

        Why embrace the term Pick Up Artist? Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, pick up IS an art. To be a smooth operator, you have to have skills, yes, but you also must learn to read and interpret subtle cues of another person and that is more art than science. We call it calibration in the community, but it really is just matching your skills to the person you are picking up. And men love acronyms, so why not embrace it?

        Teaching men to be more confident about approaching women they find attractive, so long as it is also about being honest and open about what any potential relationship will be about, can only be a good thing. If that’s what you do, both those men and the women they approach will save a lot of time and relationship angst by testing fundamental compatibility right up front.

        But if what you teach includes manipulation as a tool to meet women who then become trophies to boast about to other men, then feminists will never be your fans.

        Most of the guys that have been around a while will tell you that much of this Art is about “inner game.” Which is to say how you feel about you. Once a guy masters his self confidence and is no longer externally validated then he begins to get good at attracting people. All guys that get good, are just learning how to best present themselves to women to make a good impression and then see where it leads, but first we must get them so they arent wetting themselves or trying to hump a girls leg when they go over to talk to them.

        As far as the type of relationships that start from pickup, like all human interactions they vary. Some pickups will be one night stands, some will lead to long term relationships (LTR). But that often can’t be seen at the first few meetings with a person, unless one has determined for themselves all it will be is a STL or one night stand and are totally against LTRs. If that is the case one should be honest and communicate that parameter.

        I would be interested in what you see as manipulation, other than the things I have already covered.

        Regards
        Mr. Aligheri

      • Quick response here just to this bit:

        Ok, again I hear two different things, which confuses me. One, women say its cool and acceptable to have “no strings attached” sex if everyone knows the parameters, then you say it has to be a “viable personal relationship.” A mutual one night stand isn’t a relationship, its a one night stand. Way different things, transparently so.

        You should be hearing 3 different things, not just two. When you have “no strings attached sex”, there is no ROMANTIC relationship. There should still be a PERSONAL relationship.

        P.S. Please read the Comments Policy regarding the guideline against overly long comments. Keep your points pithy, please.

      • Kandela

        And when you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made right?

        In my experience, many ‘pick-up-artists’ aren’t trying to best present themselves, they are trying to get sex and if this requires outright lying about who they are then that’s no obstacle. The acronym PUA implies this disingenuous approach, otherwise you’re just someone who is popular with women. The first of these things is bad.

        Thanks for the sarcasm. Why do you assume a PUA fakes sincerity? He is probably honestly attracted to you. I will let you know that most men are trying to get sex either by a long term relationship or a one night stand. I know that might be a surprise to you. So the difference between the Average Frustrated Chump (AFC) and a real PUA is that most men are just trying to learn how to attract women. Some will lie to do this, most PUAs of any note do not condone this behavior. Men may chose not to reveal everything about them right off, but no one does. There is nothing disingenuous about a PUA, he is trying to pick you up. His motivations and goals may vary from yours, but he probably isn’t being disingenuous. The distintion between PUA and just being popular with women is simply that the PUA is not a “Natural” with women. He has to learn a skill set that women find attractive so he can be “popular with women.”

        As you mentioned
        And you are right about self confidence being desirable and affective but that self confidence needs to come from being comfortable in yourself, in the value of your own attributes. Attempting to achieve self confidence through acquiring the skills needed to obtain casual sex seems pretty stupid to me.

        So if I may ask, how does one become confident in your own ability to attract women if you dont attempt to aquire and use the skills that attract women? Some men want casual sex, others want relationshipes, I pass no judgement on either group, I just try to help men get the skills to get the kind of relationship with the quality of women they want. How they use those skills is individual to the man. If learning to attract women seems stupid to you, fair enough, but men like to attract women and have relationships with them.

        Regards,

        Mr. Alighieri

      • Mr. Aligheri,

        I assume PUAs fake sincerity because I’ve heard them share their exploits. Bizarrely, the occasions some seem most proud of are those where they completely misrepresented themselves.

        If you don’t teach misrepresenting yourself then don’t use the label pick-up-artist. To the majority of people there is an association between pick-up-artists and con-artists, in fact the two artistries share many common skills.

        I happen to be male. There was a time when I wasn’t very confident around women I didn’t know. As a physics student I rarely encountered girls with similar interests to myself and so was left wondering what they valued, thought that they didn’t value what I found important and consequently subconsciously had a low opinion of my worth.

        Two things changed that. The first is that I gained a female best friend, it turned out that we had a huge amount in common. She was a physics student too (among other things) and, perhaps, because there weren’t any other girls around she confided in me*. As a result I learnt that there were girls who would share my interests, if an individual girl didn’t value what I did then that wasn’t a reflection on me.

        The second thing was, I started achieving things for myself. I got my degree, started writing fiction, etc. All things that meant something to me. Once I felt good about myself it suddenly became easier to talk to girls. The individual girl I was talking to may still not be interested in me but that didn’t matter any more because that didn’t affect my self confidence. My worth wasn’t dictated by what a stranger thought of me.

        I believe the principle is the same for everyone. Once you have a sense of self worth that doesn’t hinge on what others think of you, talking to the opposite sex is no longer a nerve racking experience.

        *This was probably step 2 in my identifying with feminism. The first step was to notice there was an inequality in interests and to consider that it wasn’t all biological (that I did on my own without any reading). Where being a kindred spirit with a girl helped was in showing me the extent of the problem. If I could have so much in common with one girl then biology must have very little to do with the differences at all I thought. In time I became somewhat resentful of a society that was denying to girls the opportunity to enjoy the things that I enjoyed in the same way, and perhaps denying me many more good friends.

      • Kandela,

        I am not sure where you hear PUA’s misrepresenting themselves, but the guys that are really good, have no need to do that. Besides women are so much more intuitive than men, they *feel* lying and that is the quickest way to lose the girl is to have her feel like you are lying or untrustworthy. Now I will caveat that a bit. I once told a girl I owned a bar and played in a band. She was very excited and we talked a bit about my band and the bar and I suggested she come see me play and hang out at the bar.
        After some more conversation we decided to meet the next night as I had a gig. So she meets me at my house, where I show her my Tiki bar, which while impressive, its not a commercial bar. Then she said something like “I thought you owned a bar” I looked at her and said “I do, is that not a tiki bar?” She said “well yes it is.” Then I took her upstairs to my theater room, where me and some friends were playing RockBand. Then I introduced her to the “band.” When she realized I had been totally honest with what I told her, she simply interpreted it incorrectly, she laughed and we proceeded to have a fun night filled with rockband, drinks and other pleasurable activities. Now if that is the kind of “Misrepresentation” you mean, yeah I do that stuff all the time. And if this particular girl had gotten pissed and left, well no big deal I was still having fun and there were other out their that would see the humor in it and that is the kind of girl I like. If guys are outright lying to women just to sleep with them, then that is just guys that suck and have no game therefore not PUAs.

        I embrace the title PUA, because that what I do. I am talented at picking up women. I am not a con artist, and frankly the only thing the two have in common is the word “artist.” Con artist try to take something from you, that you don’t want to give them, normally by appealing to your greed. PUA’s want to lead women into fun, enjoyable adventures. These adventures may be for an evening, a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime. That depends on the two people involved. So I dispute that Con artists and PUAs are the same or use the same tool set.

        And as I read your story of how you achieved the success you have, I am reminded of my students. Each come with almost the same story. Shy introverted guys that have brilliant minds but don’t know how to convey themselves properly. So we teach them not to worry what some girl (or anyone else) thinks of them and we teach them to be more attractive, by showing that personality in a way that women like. So you came to the same place that most of our guys get to, they just took a class instead of working it out themselves. *shrug* Most of Pickup is learning to be internally motivated and validated, not externally like most men are.

        I hope this adds some clarity to the PUA world for you.

        Regards

        Mr. Alighieri

      • tigtog,

        You should be hearing 3 different things, not just two. When you have “no strings attached sex”, there is no ROMANTIC relationship. There should still be a PERSONAL relationship

        So what is a PERSONAL relationship within the confines of a one night stand or a purely sexual realtionship?

        Mr. Alighieri

      • Tigtog,

        My lack of pithyness beside, you didn’t respond to my requests to answer the charges about wingmen or negs being manipulative as they are defined.

        Regards

        Mr. Alighieri

      • There should still be a PERSONAL relationship.

        Please define how a one night stand is a PERSONAL relationship, not just a SEXUAL one?

        Also there was no response to how Wingmen and Negs as they are defined here are justified as being a bad thing in the dating scene.

        I hope you can bring me some clarity on this, my lack of pith aside.

        Mr. Alighieri

      • I thought I replied to this last week, but obviously not.

        I have personal relationships with lots of people who aren’t lovers or close friends – the neighbours I wave at, the local shopkeepers, my kids’ teachers, the dog folks at the park, various colleagues and clients. Don’t you?

        If you honestly don’t understand how having a personal relationship with a one-night stand is possible, I suggest that’s a glaringly large deficit in your empathy chip somewhere, which is probably why you think that men treating women the exact way that used-car dealers treat customers (using NLP and other cognitive pressure tricks to overcome natural resistance to a dodgy deal) is somehow not manipulative.

      • I have personal relationships with lots of people who aren’t lovers or close friends – the neighbours I wave at, the local shopkeepers, my kids’ teachers, the dog folks at the park, various colleagues and clients. Don’t you?

        Ok, I misunderstood you then. I have yet to be intimate with a woman that I didn’t have more than a neighborly respect for. I thought you might mean that I had to be personally involved in their life or something akin to that. I will accept then that I and most PUA’s have both Personal and sexual relationships with the women in one night stands.

        And while I agree with the personal relationship point I would argue that using NLP or other “Cognitive pressure” methods are manipulative. The used car salesman cant sell you something you don’t already want. If they can, you have a weak susceptible mind. I have worked and performed with magicians and hypnotists for years and each would always tell me that if someone doesn’t want to be hypnotized, they cannot be. Just like the psychic hot line, tarot card reading, horoscopes and the like, if you are inclined to the belief then you can be lead to believing. But if you are not inclined, you cannot be tricked into believing them. A strong mind will resist these methods unless it wants to believe. And there are strong minded women I have met that somethings would not work on, so I adjusted my methods to something she liked better.

        However can NLP (and other techniques) help? Yes. Will they take a girl that doesn’t want to go home with a guy and suddenly make her jump on him? Absolutely not. However if a girl wants to go home with him and he gets her mind thinking about how much fun it might be, then she sells herself. We used to call this “charm” or “charisma.” People with “natural charisma” do the same things, they just don’t consciously know they do it. That’s how the techniques were developed, by watching “naturals” and mimicking what they did. That’s a foundational principle in NLP. If someone else can do it, then so can you. Just as there are some jerks that are naturals and they hurt women, there will be a small percentage of guys that learn the methods just to get laid and hurt women. They are no more welcomed in most PUA circles than they were when we were the “nice guys” and hated the jerks.

        Also any follow up on “Wingmen” and “Negs.” I am really interested in your viewpoints as to why you find these distasteful as I defined them.

        Regards

        Mr. Alighieri

      • I would argue that using NLP or other “Cognitive pressure” methods are manipulative. The used car salesman cant sell you something you don’t already want. If they can, you have a weak susceptible mind.

        So people who are socially immature or perhaps not that smart should just suck it up when they are tricked by a game-player without feeling resentful? Natural selection, is it? Us smarter more “strongminded” folk shouldn’t care that others are being manipulated and exploited? Better them than us? That’s mighty cynical.

        I have worked and performed with magicians and hypnotists for years and each would always tell me that if someone doesn’t want to be hypnotized, they cannot be.

        And you believed them? Seriously, received wisdom is that higher IQ folks are easiest to hypnotise – something to do with visual imagination. Sure, people who know upfront that a hypnotist is in the room can resist, but what if they don’t know that they are being hypnotised? That’s the parallel situation here.

        What a car customer wants is a reliable car, yet often they are knowingly sold lemons by unscrupulous sales staff. What most people want from sex is intimacy with dignity and respect as well as fun (because without dignity and respect it’s usually only fun for one of the people involved), yet they are often knowingly fooled by unscrupulous seducers who don’t care a jot whether the other person enjoys themself or not. Just as car-yards give out their prizes for Salesman of the Year to the best liars on the plot, so too the PUA community not only enables the unscrupulous, they are often lionised. Your assertions to the contrary, that’s what people see when they research PUAs and read the literature openly available – so if you don’t do this, the question remains – why embrace the label?

        Also any follow up on “Wingmen” and “Negs.” I am really interested in your viewpoints as to why you find these distasteful as I defined them.

        Wingmen are knowingly used to take advantage of women’s socialisation to be “pleasant”: as you say, they might give a solo the shoulder, but they’re less likely to ignore two men. So, some women are having a fun night out, and instead of being able to easily dismiss a loner interrupting their conversation, they feel obliged to pretend that they are enjoying the interruption of two or more men into their interactions. In my experience every woman in that group just wants both guys to sod off, but they are reluctant to be assertive. Knowingly presenting a situation where women feel intimidated against expressing their true emotions is bullying, even when it’s subtle like this. That’s why it is distasteful.

        Don’t have time to take on negs right now. Gotta get kids to band.

      • Tig,

        I can’t imagine wanting to pickup a weak minded person. They are boring and I make it a personal policy to only pick up women that have more than a lukewarm IQ. YMMV

        The reference you make to higher IQs and hypnosis is true, but only to a point. People with highly visual mental processes go the farthest in hypnosis. However, even when “hypnotized” and trace like, your mind will resist any harmful or incongruous behavior. The human mind is powerful and very protective of its equilibrium. Therefore, while I can suggest a sexual thought, I cannot make you act upon it, unless you want to. And this argument is about as relevant as saying that my doctor could hurt me, so I should avoid him. Remember the goal of most PUAs is to get girlfriends, so why trick them? It works against you in the longer game. I have explained the title and most PUAs reasons for it at length. I think people are looking for a reason to be offened by what very few in the community do and judge the rest by those things.

        Oh so “wingmen” are taking advantage of women’s socialization, but women traveling in packs DOESN’T work to intimidate men? Sorry that’s the worst argument I have ever heard. So its ok for women to use men’s socialization but not the other way around? And I have seen more than one primary and his wing get blown out if they don’t have game. And I have seen two other men go to the same group and end up getting numbers and dates out of it. So your theory of “women playing nice if there is more than one man” just doesn’t hold up to the field. Now you are saying PUAs bully women? Wow, that’s rich. Most of the men I have seen couldn’t bully a woman to save their lives. If anything they are way too polite and empathetic to some girl in a club that blows them out.

        And with due respect, if you have to get kids to band, when was the last time you were in the dating arena anyway? I was out for 4 years and it changed vastly in that amount of time. I think your facts are a bit dated.

        And as much as I enjoy circular arguments as that seems to be the direction this is going, I think I am going to get off the misery-go-round now. I teach men to be honorable and respectful in pickup. I am proud to be a PUA and of the men I have helped. I know what I teach makes the men and women they date happy. Most women when they find out who the guy was before and what lead him to change they applaud the work he has done, and I admit I get some satisfaction from that. I know what I teach works and works well and does no harm. So that being said, good day to you Ma’am.

        Regards,

        Mr. Alighieri

      • I have explained the title and most PUAs reasons for it at length. I think people are looking for a reason to be offened by what very few in the community do and judge the rest by those things.

        Like it or not, people will associate you by the loudest and most obnoxious example of whatever label you choose to apply to yourself.

        Oh so “wingmen” are taking advantage of women’s socialization, but women traveling in packs DOESN’T work to intimidate men?

        “Leave us alone” variety defensive intimidation in no way justifies offensive intimidation of the “I’m just going to intrude and interrupt your social occasion” variety. The first says “I am not a suitable target for your attentions” and the other one says “you must stop what you are doing and pay attention to me”. Capital-E Entitlement City.

        Most women when they find out who the guy was before and what lead[sic] him to change they applaud the work he has done, and I admit I get some satisfaction from that. I know what I teach works and works well and does no harm. So that being said, good day to you Ma’am.

        If you are managing to teach men to be more confident with enabling the obnoxious jerk aspect of PUAdom, more power to you. That some guys like you exist is not going to stop criticism of the obnoxious jerks though.

      • I can’t imagine wanting to pickup a weak minded person. They are boring and I make it a personal policy to only pick up women that have more than a lukewarm IQ. YMMV

        No need to make it personal – this is not about you or me as such, this is about the whole PUA “movement”. I’m not inclined to dismiss the manipulation and exploitation of those who are easily swayed by con artists as somehow their own fault and that their weaknesses exculpate the con artist. Nope. The con artist is still a despicable jerk.

      • Addressing points separately so as to break up overly long replies:

        The reference you make to higher IQs and hypnosis is true, but only to a point. People with highly visual mental processes go the farthest in hypnosis. However, even when “hypnotized” and trace like, your mind will resist any harmful or incongruous behavior. The human mind is powerful and very protective of its equilibrium. Therefore, while I can suggest a sexual thought, I cannot make you act upon it, unless you want to..

        You’re being overly simplistic there. What you say is very true for rigid social taboos such as murder or armed robbery. Sexual expression is much more complicated: what if a person is generally in the mood for sexual activity, but not entirely sure about right now with the person right there and their instinct is to wait for a while? I’m almost certain that a skilled hypnotist could push that caution away to tap into the underlying desire, and also that con artists can do the same with cognitive manipulation skills. There may be a grey line there between persuasion/manipulation/deception, but if you have to fall back on the defence of “there’s a fuzzy/grey line” then it’s pretty sure that your behaviour is at least ethically suspect.

        And this argument is about as relevant as saying that my doctor could hurt me, so I should avoid him. Remember the goal of most PUAs is to get girlfriends, so why trick them? It works against you in the longer game.

        I understand about the whole “killing Beatrice” thing (for women, the equivalent is to “kill Prince Charming”) in terms of getting rid of unrealistic expectations and getting some experience and having some fun with Good Enough candidates instead of fixating on The Perfect One. I agree that it helps focus the mind on what are must-haves and what are deal-breakers in any longed-for long-term relationship. So far so good.

        But what seems to happen in some PUA groups is that killing Beatrice becomes a goal in and of itself, with the bedpost-notch collecting becoming a competition, and the long-term goal of Finding A Girlfriend being subsumed into a macho competition that ignores the humanity of the women who are the targets. That’s toxic. If it doesn’t happen in your particular community, then booyah to you. But it very obviously does happen in many PUA communities, and that is what’s distasteful.

      • P.S. More on Wingmen – the whole strategy of using tricks, of which having a wingman is just one, to stop a woman filtering one out, i.e. manipulating them into giving one their attention, strikes me as a picture-perfect example of harassment. At it’s most innocuous it may be low-level and relatively benign in intent, but it’s yet another example of the continual low-grade harassment that women are confronted by every single day.

        It’s soooo tedious.

      • TigTog-

        I think attraction has two components…a biological component and a social component.

        The component that men and women actively think about is the social component. The social component is made up of “compatibility,” “personality” and all the things we actively look for in a partner. However, there is an initial biological (and mostly unconscious) “filtering out” that we do.

        Since traditionally women have been oppressed in society, they have become quite adept at manipulating the biological component of male attraction. Fashion and makeup were tools used to manipulate this attraction…now they are simply seamless components of modern society.

        With the fairly recent equalization of the power structure, PU is an example of how men are now finding ways of manipulating female biological attraction.

        I believe that PU is a natural result of greater gender equality.

      • To be a smooth operator, you have to have skills, yes, but you also must learn to read and interpret subtle cues of another person and that is more art than science. We call it calibration in the community, but it really is just matching your skills to the person you are picking up.

        And when you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made right? [/sarcasm]

        In my experience, many ‘pick-up-artists’ aren’t trying to best present themselves, they are trying to get sex and if this requires outright lying about who they are then that’s no obstacle. The acronym PUA implies this disingenuous approach, otherwise you’re just someone who is popular with women. The first of these things is bad.

        And you are right about self confidence being desirable and affective but that self confidence needs to come from being comfortable in yourself, in the value of your own attributes. Attempting to achieve self confidence through acquiring the skills needed to obtain casual sex seems pretty stupid to me.

      • That first paragraph should be in quotes.

        The second paragraph I used a / sarcasm tag at the end that didn’t come out.

        [Moderator note: fixed! ~tigtog]

      • Lots of men totally suck at their aproach. Women don’t mind approaches of good PUAs, because they give a woman a lot of room to say no. They often play “hard to get” and even expect the women to put some effort into getting the guy instead of pushing themselves onto a woman. They make the woman want them. Those are true pickup artists. The guys who are harrasive don’t know what a woman wants or how to aproach her properly. They are pick up wannabes or pick up try outs but no way artists.
        You don’t have to be dishonest when you pick up women for sex. Women seem to enjoy hard to get. “I dont want a relationship at this point in my life” only seems to add to the “hard to get” value. You are honest about wanting just sex. But women go try get a relationship MORE when you say that, while you say you don’t want one.. strange effect. Women often use sex often used as a manipulation tool in hopes to get a relationship…. even after honesty. (leaving women pissed sometimes which sucks because you were honest) But yeah.. guys can’t help it if a girl doesnt understands a “no” ;)

  41. Hi Mr.Aligheri, if I could jump in here for a minute?
    I think right there you’ve given a pretty good account of why being a “pick-up artist” should be considered manipulative. It’s a matter of skill, or artistry, and having your skillfulness admired by other men. The role of the woman in this is at best an obstacle to be overcome, at worst an opponent to be outwitted.
    That’s the distinction between no-strings-attached sex and objectification – if you were open and up-front about wanting sex and finding a partner who was looking for the same thing that’d be one thing, but when you’re talking about convincing someone to sleep with you (or to go on a date, or to give you a phone number, whatever) just to show that you can, that you are a skillful ‘artist’, that’s objectification, and when you learn techniques to help you do it, that’s manipulation.

    I’d also like to point out that that’s some *epic* Godwinning there. It’s not often you see someone get from pick-up bars to Hitler in one step…

    Hugh.

    • Hugh,

      It’s a matter of skill? Yes. Dating and social interaction is a skill set. Social graces have to be taught. Why do you thing there is so many etiquette books out there? Getting the woman in the intereaction with you attracted enought to feel comfortable with talking to you about what she might like is a large part of what we teach. Women want to protect themselves from guys that will mistreat them so they screen ALL men that might hurt them out. PUA’s learn to navigate those filters so we get a chance to intereact and get them attracted to us, so we can have a “relationship” whatever that might be to each man/woman combination.

      How far do you think most men would get if they just walked up to women and started off by saying “I want to have sex with you?” Not far, I suspect. Probably the only reward they would get is a sexual harrassment suit. That’s why there needs to be some attraction and chemistry built up and then the type of relationship can be broached, whatever it might be. You seem to think that guys are just doing this for the bravado of doing it. I would disagree. Men want to attract and date women, not just to brag to their friends that they got a number or date. You apparently haven’t seen a grown man cry because he is so afraid of approaching a woman. Its not about bragging its about feeling like you are attractive to the opposite sex. I would say that other than being able to protect oneself that being attractive to the opposite sex is a top priority to most men.

      Remember that convincing a woman to enter into a relationship of some type is the whole reason for dating otherwise, arranged marriages would still be the norm as it was 150 years ago. Convincing is simply persueding another to your point of view which there doesn’t have to be manipulation in that if you have integrity.

      Regards,

      Mr. Alighieri

    • Hugh,

      Of course you may jump in here, it is after all a public board. No need to ask my permission, but thank you just the same. So you think having a skill admired by other men, in this case an ability to charm the fairer sex, is manipulative? I would be interested to see your argument on that. As most in the community see it, we learn to pick up women and are admired for who we become. You are right in one sense that women are sometimes not the point of the admiration amongst PUA’s, often it is seeing the self actualization that the men go through to learn to be more attractive to women that is admired. Women are often simply a by product of a lot of hard work to be a better person. So if women are ticked that we teach men not to be NEEDY and to not use women for validation which ironically attracts women, so be it.

      I would be interested in your ability to get no strings attached sex if you walked up to 100 beautiful women and just simply said “I want to have sex with you” how sucessful that would be. I am betting that you would get slapped, ignored, bounced, most of those times. And the few times you would get a shot, she would think you were just being funny and not like the normal “nice guys.” What I am trying to illustrate is that PUA’s learn to create some attraction between two people to compare goals. I don’t know right off if a girl is interested in a ONS or a long relationship. So we converse and we communicate our needs and goals and make a decision if the goals are close enough to make it work. The goals may be different at first but she or I could convince the other to join to the new goal. There is no mind control involved no deception, so give women enough credit to see that if the goals aren’t the same and she (or he) isn’t willing to adjust the goal, then end the intereaction and move on.

      No one seems to be able to tell me why pick up arts are bad for women other than some boys might brag that they can pick up women, so its all bad. Its the same red herring argument that since some feminists are militant lesbians, all of them are. Neither is true. Again teaching someone the techniques of how to attract women, isn’t manipulation. If you think it is, justify your reasoning. So far there has just been a statement of supposed fact without a real basis. Again to illustrate my point, Men don’t become PUA’s to impress men. We get into it to meet women. The majority of men are impressed by great skill. As Style mentions in the GAME “women were the point, men were the result.” We form friendships and earn respect from the men in the community, but it is truly about improving oneself until you become attractive to women.

      Mr. Alighieri
      Mr. Alighieri

      • Hi again Mr.Aligheeri.
        You asked why I see PUAs as manipulative, but I’d say you’ve done a pretty good job describing it yourself:

        “Women want to protect themselves from guys that will mistreat them so they screen ALL men that might hurt them out. PUA’s learn to navigate those filters”

        You recognise that (some of) the women you approach are ‘filtering’ you out, but rather than complying with her wishes you want to use your skills to overcome her resistance.
        You’re right that learning dating and social skills is a fine and good thing, but there’s a crucial difference between using those skills to establish a dialogue, get to know them better and find out if they want the same thing as you, and using your skills to convince them to suit you.

        So, question for you: You talk about confidence and wanting to feel attractive. How does it make you feel attractive to the opposite sex to know that you have learned techniques which will make them do what you want? What does this give you confidence about, other than your ability to exert power over another human being?

  42. ” Women are often simply a by product of a lot of hard work to be a better person. “

    And if that isn’t a perfect illustration of viewing women as a non-human commodity, I don’t know what is.

    • Maybe a better phrasing would be “the ability to attract and maintain women in one’s life is often simply a by product of a lot of hard work to be a better person.” Same meaning, just more words. *shurg* And if you find offense in that statement, explain why. I could have just as easily said “Friends are often a by product of…..” Sometimes people just chose to be offended even when no offense is intended or even implyed.

      Regards,

      Mr. Alighieri

    • [depho's comment snipped by moderator]

      [Moderator Note: this blog enforces a Three Comments Per Day rule for new commentors - please read the Comments Policy ~ tigtog]

  43. In my experience every woman in that group just wants both guys to sod off, but they are reluctant to be assertive.

    Yes, absolutely. Countless times I’ve been on a night out with female friends and one or more guys have felt entitled to interrupt us, and simply WOULD NOT TAKE the blatant hints that we weren’t interested in their company.

    I’ve now reached the point where I will just pointedly turn my back to them and go back to enjoying my night with my friends. Guys DO NOT UNDERSTAND this. Just DO NOT. Many of them get actively hostile because they’re ENTITLED to female company, dammit! They’ve chosen to grace us with their presence and we have no right to reject that!

    Usually my “rudeness” (as if the men’s behaviour isn’t rude!) is enough to get them to leave eventually, whereupon everyone will breathe a sigh of relief that they’ve fucked off, and that they didn’t have to be the “uppity” one or get the verbal abuse for doing so. Guys don’t foist themselves unwelcome on other groups of guys and expect them to be grateful for it, but groups of girls are supposed to graciously entertain guys all night when they’d rather not because…because why exactly?

  44. Oh so “wingmen” are taking advantage of women’s socialization, but women traveling in packs DOESN’T work to intimidate men?

    You’re completely right. I know I hear about gangs of women raping/attacking a solitary man ALL THE TIME. The two situations are completely equivalent.

    If anything they are way too polite and empathetic to some girl in a club that blows them out.

    Well that’s a chilling sentence. How should they react to a girl “blowing them out”, exactly, if being polite and empathetic is a bad thing? Get hostile? Push them around? Catch up with them in the parking lot?

    I teach men to be honorable and respectful in pickup.

    You can say that all you like, but there’s nothing honourable or respectful about seeing women as things to be manipulated.

  45. Mr Alighieri-

    An associate at another board linked me to this article and specifically to your comments as an example of why PUAs deserve “zero times nothing” respect.

    I would just like to say that the way you have presented the PU community on this board is superb and I really appreciate that. Though you have been repeatedly baited and had your arguments met with sarcasm, you have continued to present your arguments in a gentlemanly fashion. I would have known you were a talented PUA even if you hadn’t identified yourself as such.

    I teach PU in Las Vegas and I can assert that I would have written these answers pretty much word for word the same.

    Thanks again,
    Imposter H

  46. Tig Tog-

    I think that often the “bragging” some people see in the PUA community boards is actually a product of learning. Though some posters abuse it, the idea of such “field reports” is to be instructive to new PUAs honing their craft. PU is not something that was invented overnight by some guy in his basement. It is a collection of stories and experiences that are presented and then tested to see if they are useful to everyone or just another story.

    Not to knock the boards (cause they helped me a great deal in the beginning), but many of them are more or less an anecdotal male Cosmo Magazine. They give men a place to start, things to consider and solutions to what they might be doing wrong. However, the journey of a true PUA is one of learning, experience and self-discovery.

  47. PUA = Those creepy guys who don’t want to be judged by their physical appearance, but rarely practice what they preach.
    Ever wonder why these dudes never approach women who are on (or near) their own level of attractiveness?

    I find it hilarious that deception & manipulation qualify as some sort of “artform”. ROFL!

    Bottom line: If you need cheap parlor tricks to score sex, you were never desirable to begin with. Why fake it? Any half-way intelligent person can spot a phony a mile away.

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