There's a modern-day tribe out there that walks among us. I first read about them last year in a book that changed my life, albeit briefly, when my natural inclination for laziness, carbohydrates and booze was temporarily put aside.
I was vaguely aware of that tribe and that book, The Game, and 'The Secret Society of Pickup Artists' it details. I'd avoided the book for several years because I found it crass, and I still do. In a nutshell, it's all about sad, lonely men trawling bars and streets looking for women to talk into bed.
Okay, there's much more to it than that, but essentially that's the point. Every possible social interaction is dissected and analysed, and framed in militaristic language and acronyms. Groups of people are known as sets, and it's the PUA's (Pickup Artists) job to open those sets in a variety of ways depending on factors such as gender, environment, whether you're playing day- or night-game, etc. You have to ignore your "Target" at first, getting instead the approval of the set as a whole and ideally hitting on the target's friend(s) in order to provoke jealousy. Going out on the prowl is called Sarging, and Seduction forums are alive with FRs (Field Reports) where PUAs discuss and debate tactics from earlier that day. Thought you were with your friends having a drink in a bar? Nope. You were a target in a set in the field.
I've been looking into this for some time and I still feel it's a world of unabashed cuntery populated by sad, pathetic men who have to rely on canned openers, negging, and DHV spikes to make up for their lack of actual personality.
But here's the uncomfortable part: It seems to work.
Now bear with me here, because I get no joy admitting any of this (again): I have a problem with wankers, specifically of the smug, self-satisfied genus. I don't like them or their fatuous, shit-eating grins, their lack of body fat, their boundless, unfounded self-belief with their square jaws and confident swagger that suggests they're better than you, and they know it.
I used to have issues but I'm totally cool and relaxed about it now with absolutely no hangups at all. These two guys, PUTRID, FESTERING SCUM and EVIL DRIBBLING SLAG are two such wankers from my past who fit the aforementioned description. They were PUAs who never needed the manual. Their life's work had been (and perhaps still is) fulfilling their desires via as many vaginas as possible. Trouble was, some of those vaginas belonged to friends of mine. A couple were owned by women I even loved a little bit, yet Scum and Slag still won them over. Not only did they barely have to try (square jaws and all), but they weren't nice guys, and that was NOT how I was expecting the world to work. I was, after all, the fat, faintly innocent bloke brought up mostly by women, and taught to respect everyone.
And it made not one jot of difference. I know the world is phenomenally unfair in vastly more important arenas, and if anything reassuring can be said about losing in that great Battle of Love to a pair of selfish dickheads, it's if that's the worst thing that ever happens to you, you've been lucky.
But here's the part that galls: Nothing, for me, has changed. In fact, time has stood still.
I last had a girlfriend in 2006. I'd like to say I've dated since, or at least 'played the field' in that time, but regular readers will know that all I've done instead was accidentally pay for and copulate with a Thai lady whose business was in such transactions - and as funny as that awkward story ended up being, it's also tragic.
I have a woeful dating track record. After falling for various women that all went unreciprocated, I met my first girlfriend through a friend of a friend one weekend in 1998. She was followed by a drunken one night stand, then more pointless unrequited love at work. Months of staring at ceilings came to a brief end after another night out when I slept with a girl I worked directly opposite (Awkward Factor: 1 Billion). Cue my next official girlfriend, another work colleague, which lasted a couple of months. That ended badly, and months of brooding later I'd dated and split up with my third girlfriend at that company and indulged in another drunken one night stand. By now it's 2005 and I'm on dating websites where I have my final one night stand with a girl who essentially had to yell at me repeatedly how horny she was until the penny dropped. My next two (also my last two) girlfriends continued in the same awkward dating website vein with horrendous meetings in pubs that made me sweat and panic for days in advance.
And then I had sex with a prostitute.
The point I'm trying to make is that I'm doomed. I've never really taken charge as I have the confidence of a kitten in a bear-pit, and on looking back at my unlucky thirteen years since V-Day, I've been pretty lucky to have got this far. Most women I met through friends, and work, whilst drunk. Since 2005 I've worked in a small, male-only environment where we don't socialise, and most of my friends are all married and settled (thus they don't socialise much either). I shouldn't really be surprised at my situation.
This Seduction world is crass, but there's a lot of information there that makes sense. I lost a lot of weight last year solely because I read The Game and realised that I have to be the best goddamn Me I can. I am a classic AFC (Average Frustrated Chump) and have taken to listening to podcasts and watching clips from humourless seminars about attracting women like I'm some balding, overweight 50-something who's close to shooting pedestrians from clocktowers if I don't do something soon.
Last night it all solidified, both my lack of ability, and the scant progress I've made thus far. I met up with Ed and Large Northern Former Flatmate, who dragged us to the birthday of his work colleague. This was an event that's as rare as hen's teeth for me, so it was nice to even be considered. So imagine my surprise to be surrounded by young and attractive women, none of whom spontaneously vomited when I arrived.
One lady, let's call her The Target, was an HB8 with big brown eyes that seemed to shine and dance. I spotted a few IOIs from her such as prolonged eye contact and repeated hair pulling (although I noticed she did this with others too). I engaged her in conversation which was easy enough as the set was self-starting thanks to me being with a bunch of people everyone else knew. I refused to use any cheesy routines such as The Cube (mainly because I haven't learnt it, plus it's shit), and stuck to my tried and tested conversational skills making sure I threw in an occasional neg, added the odd DHV here and there, plus some mild kino. I allowed the conversation to move on with other people, but ensured my back was to the wall so people could face me. This allowed the Target, who was now facing me from some distance, to observe others surrounding me, adding value. I made sure at this point to make next to no eye contact with HB8, although when I did, she was looking over and smiling.
When it was my round, I got Ed's order and Large Northern Former Flatmate's, the latter being engaged in conversation with HB8. I felt bad ignoring her when I was in drink-buying mode, but I've easily wasted hundreds of pounds buying drinks for complete strangers over the years, mainly women and barmaids. Besides being a waste of money, it's also a huge DLV (Demonstration of Lower Value) as I'm essentially trying to buy someone's affections. Instead, rather than just ignore her I told her I'd buy her a drink once she'd racked up enough points. I have no idea what this meant as I was getting pretty drunk but it seemed less awkward than just ignoring her. I was now sat with Ed at the bar with my back to HB8, and whilst I chatted to him I made a point to chat to the two barmaids stood next to us. It was a quiet night and they had no-one else to serve, yet neither were they interested in talking to us but in speaking to them occasionally, what HB8 would've seen if she looked over was three women validating us by talking to me and Ed.
And then it all went wrong
Ed left to go home as he had work the next day. I realise I am now only staying to 'close', but I hadn't got that far in all the shit I'd read. That was a whole new level and I had no idea how to progress. I knew I had to isolate the target, but because I'm new to this stuff (not to mention vaguely repulsed by it) I'd only been dipping in tentatively. Looking back it would've helped if we were sitting in the dark alcoves at the back of the bar, but instead everyone remained standing in the centre. I decided to go to the toilet - which meant doing something when I got back. I ruined this by, for some reason, depositing my half-full glass on the table behind LNFF and HB8, thereby physically thrusting my drink between them despite there being empty tables all around us. It just seemed odd, and may have suggested on a symbolic level what I inteded to do when I returned.
Post-bathroom, and my mood had obviously changed. I must've become serious or at least less fun as panic set in. I also had no idea what I wanted; a date, a number, a handshake and a promise to meet up again, it all seemed a bit odd. I'd last asked for someone's number several years earlier in an equally clumsy manner by yelling, 'Uh, can I have your number?' which bizarrely worked (although it shouldn't have - and besides, I ruined everything by calling.)
LNFF quickly, oddly, walked off to leave us alone while I sipped my coke. I don't recall what I said to HB8 other than generic blandishments, but my mood must have changed enough for her to now look anywhere but at me. I was now confused and stuck for conversation, and as a silence
descended. I remember wondering how I'd could've taken what had felt 100% textbook thus far, and turned it into that familiar fucking awkwardness. I was now beginning to doubt everything. She clearly wasn't keen, and if she ever was, I'd just ruined it.
I've never been any good when it came to that
pivotal moment with women I'd just met and was never going to see again
unless I made some kind of move. I was
being awkward, I was making her feel awkward, and the whole thing was
turning very, very quickly to shit.
The only way I could make the whole thing go away was by doing that myself.
'Well, goodbye!', I announced, suddenly deciding to go home as if that had been my plan all along.
In summary, I'm going to be studying a lot more of this shit. Sorry, folks. I have to.