The Game and Real Social dynamics: Is the seduction community pushing the idea that ‘no’ just means ‘not yet’?

This form of teaching 'how to pick up women' can have a darker meaning

Share

Why is it that cults so regularly seem to collapse into scandals involving sex?

There is always the suspicion of course that it’s because they are invariably run by gruesome and sexless old men. The fanatical devotion they usually demand, combined with the vulnerability of those almost magnetically drawn to charismatic “gurus” who claim to be in sole possession of “the truth”, offers perhaps another explanation.

There are also those cults designed wholly with the pursuit of sex in mind. As I write these words thousands of men are trying desperately to master the art of approaching women by reducing it to a formula which, so its proponents claim, will make it possible to “attract the women you’ve always wanted any place, anytime, and in any situation”. This is otherwise known as the “seduction community”, a subculture of men made famous by Neil Strauss’s 2005 book The Game and VH1’s hit reality show “The Pick-Up Artist”.

For the uninitiated, pick-up artists, as they call themselves, dedicate their lives to bedding beautiful women. They exchange ideas in online forums, arrange meet-ups, visit bars and nightclubs to hone their “skillset”, and post about their exploits online. As with most cults, there are rival ideological approaches and theoretical schools. The best known figureheads in the business – for like most other branches of the self-help industry this is first and foremost about commerce – bring in millions of pounds a year selling books, instructing students, and organising conventions resembling World of Warcraft gatherings on steroids.

I actually took a brief interest in the seduction community during my first year at university. For a young man in his late teenage years and early twenties, much excruciating time is spent trying to figure out how to make oneself attractive to the opposite sex during a period when females seemingly hold all the cards - not to mention have the ability to destroy a young man’s self-esteem with a flick of the hair or a turn of the head. The feminist canon about patriarchy holds true for the most part of course, but rarely acknowledged is the fact that women have a greater degree of sexual choice. At no time is this more apparent than during the pangs of adolescence when one’s thoughts turn incessantly to intimacy.

Like most men my age, I didn’t feel in the slightest bit privileged let alone empowered because of what was hanging between my legs.

There was always a dark side to the community, however, and this was what kept my interest in it brief. I managed to get a girlfriend too – and without any of the various wheezes recommended by the pick-up artists. This proved to me at least that I was perhaps not as repulsive as I had feared. I also noticed among friends who took an interest in “the game” that, as with most cults, once they started to feel good about themselves they rarely stuck around.

Together with the casual misogyny of the seduction community – women are regularly referred to as “targets”, “HBs” (hot babes), and “warpigs” (physically unattractive women) - the most disturbing thing I encountered was the idea that when a woman says no it doesn’t really mean “no” at all, but rather “not yet”. Assuming one has executed a successful “seduction” and persuaded a woman that your lodgings are the best place to carry on getting to know each another, the next step according to “the game” is to outflank a woman’s “anti-slut defence” – a socially conditioned response to the fact that society holds promiscuous women in low esteem – and take her to bed.

The “techniques” deployed to overcome a woman’s disinclination to have sex, arguably in some respects, have elements indistinguishable from date rape. One famous PUA known online as “Roosh V” was even placed on the Quarterly Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a long-established civil rights organization which monitors and litigates against hate groups in the United States, after promoting in books and articles the notion that what no really means is, well, yes. According to Roosh Vörek (his real name) who says that the SPLA had to “partially retract their list by stating those on it are not members of a “hate group.”, “women need to understand that men aren’t robots who can suddenly stop at the drop of a dime with all that testosterone pumping through their system”.

“Therefore”, he asserts, “it would be prudent for them not to enter situations where the average man can’t stop due to his innate weaknesses as an animal whose entire existence depends on him successfully mating”.

Bastardised evolutionary biology crops up repeatedly in this strange world. Men and woman do not apparently make decisions influenced by their surroundings as well as by their biological drives. No, the way they behave in the sex game is entirely “hard-wired” – a belief which conveniently absolves men of all responsibility when they “can’t stop” due to their “innate weaknesses as an animal”.

And there was I naively thinking self-help was about personal responsibility.

Ok, so there are weirdos out there. Internet weirdos at that, which is probably even less of a revelation. Don’t be fooled by the goofball amateurishness of it all, however. Nor by the nerdy jargon which treats mating as if it were a level in a particularly enthralling computer game, with women as “targets”, friends as “obstacles” and other men as “AFCs (average frustrated chumps)”. Every weekend in London alone, Real Social Dynamics - probably the largest company teaching pick-up in the world, and which holds bootcamps in all major Western cities - will take around half a dozen men out to the capital’s bars and nightclubs (for the eye-watering price of £1,259) and will try to instil in them the core principles of pick-up as they interact with women.

It might not be harmless chivalry that students are imbibing, however.

One delightful thread on the Real Social Dynamics forum from 2011, entitled “Lie your way inside a woman’s vagina”, advises readers that, once they have a woman back at their house, they should not be “afraid to physically force her to do anything or to tell her no or shut up”. The poster goes on to counsel readers to “ignore what she says and physically force her. You must be able to verbally and physically dominate a drunken 18 years old girl”.

Another user chimes in: “yeah, and then when you're done with her, you just like grab all her clothes and then throw ‘em at her, then shout get out you f***ing whore. Women deserve this because ofwhat they've done to us.”

Rather than banning the above posters, or even deleting their posts, which are still there for all to see, Real Social Dynamics dating coach Jeff Allen, aka “jlaix” – a published author who teaches students every week in San Francisco and London - is “Loving the responses”.

Be careful out there, won’t you.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Transport Administrator / Planner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee