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Jul. 22 2009 - 5:33 pm | 1,725 views | 1 recommendation | 54 comments

Some I Insult, Some I Let Go

– “All’s fair in love and war.”

The community of men who study picking up women — let’s call them “players” — are unified by a belief that dating is a “game,” and that utility should guide one’s approach to it. The results can be harmless enough. An item I once saw in a men’s magazine advised that a good first date might involve walking across a suspension bridge, or standing atop the observation deck of a tall building, because what women feel when they experience vertigo mimics the butterflies that accompanies proximity to a man to whom they’re genuinely attracted. I imagined some poor guy bringing his date on a long hike to the bridge over the river only to discover that she isn’t confused nearly as easily as he was led to believe.

Of course, the belief that one acts amorally by manipulating women quickly leads to abhorrent behavior. The rogue who is zealous for sexual conquest at least understands that he acts badly if he uses deception to get sex. The cerebral “player,” exemplified by the author of the blog Elysium Revisited, doesn’t grasp that anything is the matter with his behavior.

As a result, he is quite unabashed as he describes a male behavior that I’ve observed on many occasions, and that I abhor more than any other mainstream pickup technique. Though I’d never heard it referred to as such, Sebastian Flyte dubs it “the Neg,” and calls it “the Swiss army knife of pickup.”

I’ve been thinking about the neg recently. It’s an amazing little tool that accomplishes so much in such a small amount of time. For those who don’t know, the neg is a comment lobbed at a woman that knocks her off her pedestal. It is not an insult… well, actually, it kind of is (semantics). Who are we kidding? But it’s a playful insult, and some women secretly like being insulted.

He offers examples:

Negs: turning your back to her, pointing out a flaw in her clothes, her hair, something, anything. ‘Hey your nose wiggles when you talk’. ‘Your lipstick is weird’. Eating a sandwich while talking to her, with sweet sandwich in your mouth. Ignoring her. Correcting body language is a great neg. I don’t like when people cross their arms, it’s a sign of anger, so when girls do it I tell them to uncross them. They always do, it’s a very alpha neg… and compliance test… and IOD… and DHV!!! Oh sweet negs, you do so much, so very very much, you are the swiss army knife of pickup!!! They Alice-in-Wonderlandise the world, black becomes white, up becomes down, cute becomes ugly – that 9 you would covertly beggar yourself for is suddenly seeking your smile, your good graces, like some moon-pale concubine in Kublai’s court!

I’ve never seen anyone do this to a woman who hasn’t seemed to me a complete asshole even beforehand — and I’ve been dismayed at the frequency with which it works. Oh, Sebastian Flyte overestimates its utility. But it does work sometimes. Wait, let’s try that sentence again. It works sometimes! And I must admit that the author does a pretty solid job describing when it works: “Be wary though, it must never rampage out from bitter fields – it must always be quick, indifferent, and stealthy, like a dark assassin or pot of poisoned pears. It reaches just out over the abyss without falling in…”

Here’s the part of the post I find most telling:

But there is trouble afoot. The neg has gotten such a bad rap from the disgruntled masses that it has been abandoned by many a seducer. Few dare defend it. Every dimestore doofus who interviews a guy in the community is instantly confronted on the dreaded neg question – isn’t this proof that pickup is purest evil, that it is wrong, wrong to learn what works, wrong to help the piles of beta males left behind by the sexual revolution, wrong wrong wrong!!

Fascinating, isn’t it? The author perceives a world wherein women unjustly pass over beta males in favor of alpha males. He justifies the insults in the same way that MIA justifies Third World robbery and murder: as a tool that is the only choice of the dispossessed to achieve equality.

Interestingly, the author is trying to disabuse us of the notion that the pickup game is depraved when he writes the following:

…without the neg the Mystery Method is nothing, pickup is nothing. It doesn’t work. The neg is central to the whole system. There is no edge without a neg, you become some dancing clown spouting rudderless routines with no backbone to them, very approval seeking. I ‘upgraded’ to Magic Bullets from the old Mystery Method, learned a pile of routines, read some other natural game gurus and so forth, but then had a sudden slump. The reason? No negs!! I completely forgot to neg!!

The neg links it all together. It changes you. It sows the choosy seeds inside that are so key to this whole art. ‘“In the mountains the shortest way is from peak to peak: but for that, one must have long legs”, so said Nietzsche. Let negs be those legs, they will take you from peak to peak, atop each peak you DHV in your own peculiar way, but without the neg you won’t get to those cold peaks in the first place, and you will run your routines in the dark and lonely valleys where no-one hears or cares.

What that passage actually does is demonstrate precisely why — beyond its immorality — the neg is a terrible approach: “It changes you.” Without a technique “that changes you,” the author argues, “pickup is nothing. It doesn’t work.”

Imagine that. The notion that the pickup approach to dating is irrevocably flawed.


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  1. collapse expand

    Can you provide some acronym education pls? ‘DHV’? I’m too tired to go to urbandictionary.com

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    Google says “display higher value”; i.e., manifest alpha-ness. ‘Display’ is probably the wrong word since it implies a sync between appearance and reality. But the disjuncture between appearance and reality is the whole point of the PUA movement.

    Revenge of the nerds does indeed seem to be a big motivator for a lot of the guys who get into this. Interestingly, if you click through some of the links at ER, some of the people making a living at this (e.g., Mystery, who really has to be seen to be believed) disavow that kind of negativity (though not the neg as a tactic obviously), and profess to be looking for love. Though they may not be entirely trustworthy, as they are trying to make money, and don’t want to alienate someone who is trying to improve his game, but isn’t actually boiling over with hostility towards the women he hasn’t succeeded with.

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    C-dog: I’m lost. Why is it immoral to call out a girl who’s adopting a bitchy stance towards you? Why is it wrong to break down the self-importance adopted by women in bars? Why is it bad to change the way that women perceive you?

    I’m not saying you gotta neg. You can get tons of ladies if you’re totally nice but play the numbers game and never get discouraged when you get shot down. But, seriously, what’s wrong here?

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    DHV is demonstration of higher value, which includes many things. Eg a story that includes allusions to the fact you are successful, date beautiful women etc.

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    I really don’t think the neg is sleazy at all. I think an easier layman’s term for the “neg” would be “tease.” The idea is you pick out something little and tease them about it. At least that’s how I’ve always seen it done. It can be funny and lighthearted but still break down some of the barriers good looking women put up while they are out at bars.

    The whole PUA community is just trying to provide a science and method to things lots of guys do naturally. Guys who are “assholes” do better with women because they generally act more confident than the poor guy who never gets any women.

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    Conor, I think you’re looking at a neg through the eyes of what the community would call an AFC (average frustrated chump). BTW, as an ex-member of the community the guys don’t like to be called players (for good reasons). A player hides the fact that he dates different women at the same time. A PUA does not. And Phil is correct. A neg is more of a tease and there’s a science to it.

  7. collapse expand

    Hah! I had no idea this was a pickup tactic — much less had a name — but I always immediately put guys who used “the neg” were gay. Or if they were clearly hetero, I figured a guy had to be into only himself to be such a jerk.

  8. collapse expand

    Coates: Here is a guide to the ubiquitous abbreviations.

  9. collapse expand

    Sooooo, let me get this straight: PUA stands for pick-up artist? “Picking up” women is an art? Or is it a game that has hard and soft rules with its very own community and lexicon? And if it is a game, does that make the women prizes to be won? More importantly, what happens when you “win”? Are you no longer a PUA, or is it just the off-season? Or do PUAs collect several prizes if the prizes themselves are okay with it? New to the concept here, so I’m a bit confused.

    If a woman is inaccessible because she’s wallowing in an ivory tower, does it justify the use of a “neg”? Mark says, “Why is it wrong to break down the self-importance adopted by women in bars?” My question is: Why bother making an effort? Even if you succeed, the likelihood she’ll go out with you might be small. And is that the type of woman an honest guy would want to go for, anyway? Or is the point of a “neg” to boost one’s self-confidence at the expense of a woman’s ego?

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      Flores, man, I feel like I’m giving my teenage brother a pep talk here.

      “My question is: Why bother making an effort? Even if you succeed, the likelihood she’ll go out with you might be small. And is that the type of woman an honest guy would want to go for, anyway? Or is the point of a “neg” to boost one’s self-confidence at the expense of a woman’s ego?”

      I had a friend in college who thought the girls we went to school with were too stupid. He said he should transfer to a better school where someone else made sure the women were smart so he could discriminate on the basis of looks like everyone else does.

      Women – in bars, at parties, on the street, on the subway – are naturally suspicious of men who are approaching them. It’s not just superficial sorority girls. They make an initial assessment based on looks. So lots of guys are scared to approach women because they think they’re not good-looking enough. But what you say once you’re talking to her matters a lot more than what you look like. Which is great, no? Beauty is more than skin deep; women are more profound than we give them credit for being, etc…And we all know that a funny guy can get women who appear to be out of his league. As a jew, I know no other way to explain the dating success of jewish men in general.

      And all we’re talking about here is what to say to disarm a woman who’s suspicious of you. If you’re not a comedic genius, you may not be able to think on your feet. So you need a strategy with a few rehearsed lines.

      And why not build your self-confidence. Most men start out pathetic. To paraphrase Adam Carolla: “There’s nobody lower than a 19-year-old guy. No-one his age will go out with him, and he can’t touch high school girls.” So you do have to build up your confidence. You have to get used to talking to women. And you have to get used to getting shot down. You need to be confident to do that effectively. And, truly, if it’s at the expense of a woman’s ego, that’s not a bad thing – young women are notoriously rude to legitimately nice guys, even if that’s who they actually want to be with. It’s the way of the world.

      I’ll leave you with an anecdote. I have a friend who was amazingly skilled at meeting women. He could sit down, by himself, at a table with six unapproachable women, and have them laughing and eating out of his hand in seconds. He was 5′7″, prematurely bald, kind of looked like a lizard, and did so badly on the verbal SAT that he was asked to take the TOEFL. But it didn’t matter. He was a talker. And he made it obvious: it didn’t matter who you were; if you knew what you were doing, women would go for you. And when he met his future wife, his skills served him well – unlike many guys, who are afraid to approach even the woman of their dreams.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    I think you’re making an outraged mountain out of a molehill. I took a longer view at ER, and while Sebastian certainly seems uncomfortably wrapped up in “The Game,” negging is just another recent term to describe a successful dating behavior that’s been around forever.

    Women understand that guys in bars, clubs, and other social venues conducive to dating are Looking For Something, and the textbook-approved smothering combination of sideways glances, free drinks and effusive compliments only confirms as much. Gratuitous negs are no more deceptive than the socially acceptable nice guy routine – it’s “I pretend I’m not into you, but I am” vs. “I pretend I am into you more than I am.”

    The reason negging works is because it sets that particular guy apart from the rest, and demonstrates a peculiar kind of confidence: his lack of excessive flattery is a refreshing break from polite lapdogs, and shows he is confident enough to engage in conversation and hold her interest without resorting to such compliments. It doesn’t just apply to men, either: negging is, quite simply, the male analogue of “hard to get.”

    Before negging and “cocky but funny” and AMOGing and other such arcane terminology existed, there was always That Guy. He was charming and funny, but had an edge to him that kept women guessing and set him apart from the swarm of suck-ups. It might even be That Girl; I’m currently in Japan, and meet enough passive, agreeable women that when someone has the confidence to throw me a jibe or two, she immediately captures my interest.

    Negging, like any tool, can be used charitably or deviously. It can help a pushover stand out and break through to a woman long enough to get a good rapport going. It can also become an entirely new personality worthless men don in hopes of confusing women into bed with them. Save your scorn for those who deserve it.

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      Yup, this is it in a nutshell. Srsly seriously gets it. The stereotypical behavior of buying drinks and flattery seemed incredibly banal and insincere to me (it’s been 20 years since I lived in the world of pick-ups and dates). An approach that showed more imagination would catch my attention. It didn’t have to be a neg, though that’s quick and easy if you have no opening, just something out of the ordinary and personal. “Hey, Baby, can I buy you a drink?” is icky and impersonal, and while I wouldn’t respond to “Your lipstick is weird,” I probably would respond to a polite challenge of my behavior that tell me that you noticed *me* and not my general womanly shape. And as you mentioned, confidence is key to attraction and ignoring the social conventions shows confidence.

      It’s a stretch to assume that all women will like this or that a woman who responds to the tactic will like any man who tries it, or even that every man who tries it will be good at it. Still, done playfully, it’s a way to make yourself stand out.

      It’s funny, too, reading all these comments from men casually mentioning “the barriers women put up in bars,” as though we put them up just to thwart the unworthy or to be mean. Those barriers probably do exist, after all a bar is still a room full of strangers, but they aren’t any different from the barriers we have when we’re walking down the street. I think many guys use this as an excuse for failure before they even start. Accept that the barriers are there for good purpose and give us a reason to lower them a little for you. And, of course, I don’t speak for all women, just for myself and for those who are like-minded.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        “It’s funny, too, reading all these comments from men casually mentioning “the barriers women put up in bars,” as though we put them up just to thwart the unworthy or to be mean. Those barriers probably do exist, after all a bar is still a room full of strangers, but they aren’t any different from the barriers we have when we’re walking down the street. I think many guys use this as an excuse for failure before they even start. Accept that the barriers are there for good purpose…”

        Of course it’s also possible that women behave suboptimally in an effort to protect themselves from the real slimeballs. You can’t deny that if a woman’s goal is to ultimately meet a nice guy and get married, that the typical barriers women put up are an impediment to this. There’s a great beer commercial on this topic.

        My favorite spot to meet women in college was while we were waiting for a bus. But it only worked at the bus stop up the hill on the leafy part of campus, not on the gritty part near downtown where there were homeless people. Women had different barriers in different places – justifiably so – and in the leafy part, they could let their guard down enough for something positive to happen to them.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  11. collapse expand

    @Phil and puanyc
    The difference between teasing and negging is: if you’re playful and OBVIOUSLY don’t mean it, it is teasing. If she’s not sure. it’s a neg. At least that’s my working definition.

    @Marc Flores
    Being good with women is indeed an art; the notion of “game” does not refer to a contest between jocks about who can sleep with the most women or such nonsense. However, picking up women happens in socially competitive environments (clubs, for example) and there are hard and soft rules that dictate your success. What these rules are is ever open for debate (just like in social science), further complicated by the fact that all women are different.

    No one in the community would view a women as a prize to be won. That term is a red rag for the community, who think that viewing women as a price leads to supplication.

    PUA is a self-aggrandizing term for those in the community who are already good with women. Naturally, once you are good with women you don’t lose that status, even if you are faithfully in a commited relationship.

    When approaching women you often get rejected, sometimes right away. The theory behind the neg says, that this is because she perceives you to have low value to her. The neg is supposed to close that perceived gap by shooting her down to your level so that you can continue “gaming” her.

    Someone subscribing to that theory would therefore disagree with your point that the likelihood she’ll go out with you will be smaller.

    The Neg-Theory is not shared by everyone in the community, though.

    HTH

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      @emc2
      I understand, I was just being a little tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing. I don’t mean to put anyone down, but the notion of a community dedicated to picking up women is completely foreign to me. “Negging” and all the other methods of helping one’s game seems predicated upon the notion that men know how women work, therefore they know what works on them.

      In this case, one size does not fit all. There are few people I’m wary of and men who think they’ve figured women out are one of them!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        You want to know what really “works”? The “Hurry-Up” offense (see Dave Chappelle if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Challenge a girl to a drinking contest, buy a bunch of shots, and see how the evening progresses.

        It’s amazing that people can get so worked up over guys trying to improve their game that they forget what sleazy guys usually do to get women.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Am I really the first woman to comment here? Isn’t that in itself something of a problem with this whole discussion?

    I don’t find the idea of “negging” as described in this article nearly as offensive as I find the whole notion of the “PUA community” (? WTF) itself.

    I don’t know. If guys want to spend their figuring out how to, essentially, trick women into having sex with them then… sure, whatever. But I’m sure I speak for a lot of women (though being happily married I haven’t been a potential pickup for a long time) when I say the merest hint that you are any such thing would have sent me screaming for the hills.

    Perhaps this is why the “neg” – what a stupid word for it, the pseudo scientific nature of all this is just… ugh – is sometimes effective. Unremitting flattery suggests that you have a game plan. Random negativity has a hint of the honest about it. Plus, it shows you’re paying attention. Women (like all human beings and most primates) like it when people pay attention to them. Noticing specific things about me makes you interesting.

    But seriously? Eww. Eww to the whole thing.

    What’s the ultimate objective of this whole PUA thing? Is it just to score as much sex as possible, or are these people looking for companionship, fun, interests in common, friendships as well as dating? Because the whole culture of “scoring” really mitigates against all these things – which to me takes away everything that makes dating fun and sex good.

    • collapse expand

      >>Am I really the first woman to comment here? Isn’t that in itself something of a problem with this whole discussion?

      How so?

      >>I don’t know. If guys want to spend their figuring out how to, essentially, trick women into having sex with them then… sure, whatever. But I’m sure I speak for a lot of women (though being happily married I haven’t been a potential pickup for a long time) when I say the merest hint that you are any such thing would have sent me screaming for the hills.

      This rubs me the wrong way. Long hours at the gym, flashy clothes and an expensive hair cut: socially acceptable ways to boost one’s attractiveness. Understanding how to approach, talk to and entertain a woman, and breaking down the mental barriers that keep you from being confident: deceitful, manipulative and obscene?

      >>Perhaps this is why the “neg” – what a stupid word for it, the pseudo scientific nature of all this is just… ugh – is sometimes effective.

      As I said earlier, all these terms are an effort to define what makes a naturally attractive man naturally attractive. Some guys are born chick magnets, and I don’t see a blog post coming down on them. Only the guys who want to learn how they do it seem to catch heat.

      >>What’s the ultimate objective of this whole PUA thing? Is it just to score as much sex as possible, or are these people looking for companionship, fun, interests in common, friendships as well as dating? Because the whole culture of “scoring” really mitigates against all these things – which to me takes away everything that makes dating fun and sex good.

      People try out PUA techniques for varying reasons. Some guys want to get laid, obviously. Some guys are looking for a long-term relationship, or even The One. Regardless, it all comes down to understanding the mistakes you’ve been making, and understanding how to present yourself. The entire section of “mental game”–that is, everything that concerns you alone, and not your situational interactions with others–is basically mainstream self-help psychology, and people who try learning PUA report confidence boosts and greater effectiveness in all aspects of their lives, beyond dating.

      And honestly, how many young women go to bars and clubs looking for a serious boyfriend? Singles in their 20s and early 30s go out to party and get laid. If the girls are looking, can you fault a guy for wanting to get noticed?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        >>This rubs me the wrong way. Long hours at the gym, flashy clothes and an expensive hair cut: socially acceptable ways to boost one’s attractiveness. Understanding how to approach, talk to and entertain a woman, and breaking down the mental barriers that keep you from being confident: deceitful, manipulative and obscene?

        Ummm – did I say deceitful or obscene? And of course it’s manipulative. Manipulation is the point. Which is fine. People manipulate each other all the time. I thought that what I was trying to convey was that I find this behaviour EXTREMELY UNATTRACTIVE. And since nominally the goal here is to be more attractive to women, that strikes me as relevant.

        Unless you openly acknowledge to the women you meet that you a self identified “Pick Up Artist”, you must intuitively know that – that women are creeped out and turned off by this idea.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          >>Ummm – did I say deceitful or obscene? And of course it’s manipulative. Manipulation is the point. Which is fine. People manipulate each other all the time. I thought that what I was trying to convey was that I find this behaviour EXTREMELY UNATTRACTIVE. And since nominally the goal here is to be more attractive to women, that strikes me as relevant.

          Fair enough; I misrepresented your argument, and even contradicted myself later.

          So, what is it about improving your social game–like negging and so on–that you find EXTREMELY UNATTRACTIVE, in contrast to the usual fancy clothes and whitened teeth?

          I guess I can see why the idea of PUAs creeps some out, but I’m biased in that the dudes I know who are interested in it are all safe folks. One thing people forget about when they quickly stigmatize PUA behavior is that the girl having a good time is critical to “success,” and it feels ridiculous that I even have to point that out. That and the fact that I’m male color my impression somewhat, and I find groups of people swapping scientifically-tinged attraction pointers much less bizarre than, say, anal bleaching.

          shrug!

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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    Degrading a woman and breaking down her confidence is an easy way to gain power and influence over her. This has been done for centuries, albeit with a bit more rape and violence. Old habits never die.

    If the object of the “Dating Game” is to screw as many women as possible, then yes, his technique works well. If it’s a matter of “conquering” women, like you do enemies or rogue countries, then anything you can do to break them is a win.

    People who think with anything other than their genitals find other things to hope for.

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      I find it highly uncharitable to equate guys who try to be more attractive to women with rapists. In the modern dating scene, guys are usually expected to make the first move, and women accept or reject it. The guy must prove his worth in some way to be accepted. Maybe he’s suave, maybe he’s witty, or maybe he’s just drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s got to be something.

      Negging turns this on its head. It says, “I’ve noticed you, but I don’t feel like I have to prove anything.” If she isn’t interested anyway, then nothing’s changed. If she IS, but expected him to make some show of worth, she’s now in the position of having to make herself stand out to him. She might flirt, or banter back, or start an interesting conversation, but the end result is that the neg breaks down the expected passivity on her part and invites her to be proactive.

      I’ll disclaim all this by saying I’ve never attempted to be a hardcore pickup artist, and in my ignorance I leave open the possibility that there’s a secret scroll for the initiated which amounts to mind control. Taken by itself, though, I feel negging is just a way to get a girl who might be interested in you to open up. If she wouldn’t give you the time of day regardless, telling her “Your lipstick is weird” won’t do you much good anyhow. But if she was already considering you, you’ve just given her an opportunity, or even the drive, to knock back and start a genuine rapport.

      I sense a lot of callous demonizing from those in this discussion who feel like anyone wanting to up his attractiveness is some sort of rape-notist, so I’ll try to put a human face on this and open myself to your criticism.

      I’m a twentysomething college guy, and on weekends you’ll often find me with my friends at bars or other places where party-prone twentysomethings gather. I meet lots of people when I’m out, and if a girl strikes my fancy–maybe I like her smile, maybe she has rad shoes, maybe she likes the same drink as I do–I’ll start a conversation. Maybe we get along. If we do, maybe there’s a spark. If there is, maybe we act on it, and maybe we spend the night together. Or maybe we have nothing in common beyond a mutual appreciation for white russians, and go our separate ways.

      But the point is, I don’t go out meeting people because I want to conquer them. I’m comfortable with my current situation as a young man who enjoys a casual night out, and if I meet someone on the same page, there’s a night we can share. I don’t misrepresent myself in order to coerce reluctant women and make them think they’re getting something they aren’t. But I don’t suck up to girls, and I’m not afraid to tease if I think it’ll pique her interest and possibly lead to a fun conversation. Negging is that tease. It’s the male hard to get, the pinch of tension that invites a girl who’s interested to show her interest. And it’s led to some honest good times with women who wouldn’t have been as receptive to yet another lapdog.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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    >>Negging turns this on its head. It says, “I’ve noticed you, but I don’t feel like I have to prove anything.”

    Oh, but that’s where you may be wrong. As men, we have everything to prove. We have to be smart, funny, charming, attractive, successful, etc. In general, women have all the selecting power, not men. Every guy knows that women get to be picky whether or not it’s fair – whether you’re a great guy.

    Negging, whether the intentions are good or bad, is manipulative. At worst, it seems like a case of sour grapes. “Oh, you think you’re too pretty for me? Well, you’ve got lipstick on your teeth.” Negging sounds like a defense mechanism for men who can’t handle rejection.

    >>I feel negging is just a way to get a girl who might be interested in you to open up.

    I disagree. Say something smart or funny. Offer to buy a drink. Introduce yourself. Be nice. Compliment the attire or hair she spent hours on. If a woman is even remotely interested, she will open up or give you opportunities – even if you make a fool of yourself. Believe me. Negging is supposed to bring a woman down to a guy’s level?! Since when is hurting someone else’s feelings ever proactive? Being a good person isn’t a sign of weakness.

    I’m beginning to get the impression that PUA advocates think that being nice means being a chump (in the weak sense that alpha males would define a chump). Being nice is walking away from rejection with dignity. Negging is just being an asshole hoping you’ll catch a girl who’s insecure enough to fall for it. Whatever happened to letting things happen naturally instead of resorting to manipulative tactics or adhering to beliefs that a set of “tried-and-true” methods will work on women?

    The ladies who have chimed in are clearly repulsed by the idea that a PUA community even exists. Some of them men champion the idea and think methods like negging are great. Am I the only one seeing the huge incompatibility here?

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      >>Oh, but that’s where you may be wrong. As men, we have everything to prove. We have to be smart, funny, charming, attractive, successful, etc. In general, women have all the selecting power, not men. Every guy knows that women get to be picky whether or not it’s fair – whether you’re a great guy.

      And as I just explained, a well-placed tease can remove her from that seat of power and put you on an equal level. As long as you keep thinking there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do.

      Of course it’s manipulative, in the same way starting an interesting conversation or having a great ass is manipulative. That doesn’t make it wrong. You can’t manipulate someone unwilling into finding you attractive, but you can guide someone who seems interested into giving you a chance.

      >>Negging is supposed to bring a woman down to a guy’s level?! Since when is hurting someone else’s feelings ever proactive? Being a good person isn’t a sign of weakness.

      You call it “bringing a woman down;” I call it equal footing. The whole point of going out and meeting people is to have fun! If you hurt her feelings, you’re doing it wrong. Any teasing will have a bite to it, but there’s an important difference between clever banter and brute insults. Though poorly put, Sebastian was on target when he said the neg is a subtle tool. Throwing someone off-balance in a conversation is not mutually exclusive with being a “good person.” It’s mutually exclusive with being a lapdog.

      >>Negging is just being an asshole hoping you’ll catch a girl who’s insecure enough to fall for it. Whatever happened to letting things happen naturally instead of resorting to manipulative tactics or adhering to beliefs that a set of “tried-and-true” methods will work on women?

      I disagree. I believe I mentioned in my first comment that I find it very attractive when a girl is confident enough to tease me back. A neg can be a clumsy attempt at lowering a girl’s self esteem, but it can also be an opportunity for her to show she can bite back. For you to make no distinction between people who set out to beat a girl down and people who just mean to disarm some initial hostility is unproductive for this discussion. And I find this talk of what’s “natural” to be quite silly: being charmingly abrasive is completely natural, for people who are naturally good with women. I guess the problem is when people who aren’t, try to improve?

      >>The ladies who have chimed in are clearly repulsed by the idea that a PUA community even exists. Some of them men champion the idea and think methods like negging are great. Am I the only one seeing the huge incompatibility here?

      clearly there is no difference between a packed club and the commenting section of a blog about blogs

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      >> [Lengthy encouragement to engage in supplication deleted] “she will open up or give you opportunities…Believe me.”

      Cool. From what I’ve read of PUAs, they’re all about what works, not about what they’d like to think will work. If your technique works, write about the successes you’ve had with it. I expect they’ll listen.

      They’ll want more than “Believe me,” however.

      >> “Since when is hurting someone else’s feelings ever proactive?”

      If that’s how you’re negging, you may be doing it wrong. From what I’ve read, a good neg is a lot more subtle. The aim is to put a girl just a tiny bit off-balance, not to knock her to the floor. “You could almost be a model,” but not “Gee you’re ugly.”

      >> “The ladies who have chimed in are clearly repulsed by the idea that a PUA community even exists.”

      Yeah. But their friends keep going home with these guys.

      I feel ya. I hate it too. Here’s hoping it’s all just a big scam. A couple self-styled PUAs are fleecing their desperate little flocks of model-chasing nerds, selling them useless and inexpensive books and useless and extremely expensive seminars. The guys who report getting great results are liars and probably in on the con. The reporters who’ve covered them so far are credulous and report more success than their subjects are actually achieving. Here’s hoping, anyway.

      The alternative, that people are complicated and can be subtly manipulated by trained operators, that successful techniques can be discovered and practiced, that people aren’t always aware when they’re being manipulated, that people think they’re more resistant to subtle manipulation than they actually are, and that people sometimes have and act on a view of human interaction that’s based more on idealism than reality, is too horrible to contemplate or take seriously.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  15. collapse expand

    Over on Sullivan’s blog, Conor tells us that he’s been writing here about “one of the sleaziest ‘pickup techniques’ short of drugging.” Wow, what what sort of mad cruelty are these beasts up to? I had to click over and see. Turns out that, to Conor, telling a woman that her nose wiggles when she talks, or that her makeup looks funny, or to uncross her arms, is something approaching the moral atrocity of slipping a girl a date-rape drug.

    Conor, I don’t know how well you do with women yourself, but you are pussy. Get a sense of proportion, son.

    • collapse expand

      Agreed 100% – I clicked over too to see what was so offensive and then though, “what’s the big deal?” Making a mildly negative comment about a woman isn’t a particularly bad thing to do to her. We just aren’t that fragile. And, actually, I disagree with his characterisation of this as deceitful – if the guy honestly holds the mildly negative opinion, it’s just a carefully constructed kind of honesty.

      Guys do much jerki-er things to women all the time. How about lying about salient facts of your life (job, where you live) where you come from on the theory that the girl might like the fiction better and you don’t plan on sticking around long enough for them to learn the truth? This happens all the time and is much more asshole than “negging”.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  16. collapse expand

    Women are onto “the neg.” It may be time for the PUA community to innovate.

  17. collapse expand

    >>Oh, but that’s where you may be wrong. As men, we have everything to prove. We have to be smart, funny, charming, attractive, successful, etc. In general, women have all the selecting power, not men. Every guy knows that women get to be picky whether or not it’s fair – whether you’re a great guy.

    Some guys have everything to prove. Remember that guy from high school who was the lady’s man, or the asshole frat dude from college who got laid all the time? He had choice, he had a fair amount of selecting power, and if he so much as looked at a girl she’d melt. Those guys didn’t act like women had most of the power, in fact just the opposite. And they got laid. Empirical facts trump theory any day.

    >>I disagree. Say something smart or funny. Offer to buy a drink. Introduce yourself. Be nice. Compliment the attire or hair she spent hours on. If a woman is even remotely interested, she will open up or give you opportunities – even if you make a fool of yourself. Believe me. Negging is supposed to bring a woman down to a guy’s level?! Since when is hurting someone else’s feelings ever proactive? Being a good person isn’t a sign of weakness.

    Being a good person isn’t a sign of weakness, but buying a girl a drink, flowers, etc. is. It says, “I’m so unattractive, I have to bribe you to pay attention to me.” Negging – which is really just another name for teasing – shows that you’re comfortable enough around other people to not have to suck up all the time. Sure, if you sound bitter or do it all the time you’ll come off as weak, but “negging” every once in a while is something people do to each other all the time.

    >>Being nice is walking away from rejection with dignity.

    I get the feeling that there are many guys who would rather get laid than boost their dignity in a bar they’ll never go to again.

  18. collapse expand

    I want to add a couple more thoughts:

    First, I think it’s funny the amount of backlash there is towards these guys. Basically these men have identified a part of their life where they see themselves lacking and are working to improve. Would we be saying the same things about men who wanted to lose weight or earn more money? That would also improve their success with women. Obviously with any group of people there will be a subset that don’t have the best intentions, but you clearly don’t have to know what the word “neg” means to be an asshole at the bar.

    Second, I’ve never been part of this PUA community, but I learned pretty quick that buying girls drinks and doting all over them wasn’t a very effective tool for me. I have enough friends who go to bars without their wallets because they are expecting men to buy them drinks all night. They aren’t interested in any of the men, they just want free drinks.

    Also, if a woman is only interested in the amount of money I have, well, I’m not going to get very far. So I learned to use what tools I have a comparative advantage in. That’s being smart and funny. I’ll second the comment that says being nice and teasing a girl are not mutually exclusive.

    I think it’s more offensive to assume that buying a girl enough drinks will lead to them sleeping with you. That is a declaration of power over a woman that teasing or “negging” would never get to. If you just handed the girls the equivalent amount of cash, it would be considered prostitution.

    I could write a lot more, but we’ll leave it there for now.

  19. collapse expand

    Also, completely unrelated but I hate that if I want to read comments by people who know what they are talking about I have to keep pressing the “all comments” button. Maybe that should be the default, with the option to switch to a lobotomized conversation owned by talking heads? Toto, we’re not in The Atlantic anymore.

  20. collapse expand

    The neg is the male equivalent of playing hard to get.

  21. collapse expand

    Re the third world murder comparison (“..as a tool that is the only choice of the dispossessed to achieve equality”) Why such a dark analogy? Why is it not like teaching curve balls and knuckleballs to pitching prospects that have poor fastballs?

  22. collapse expand

    “The neg.” Sure, go ahead and try it… if you want my drink in your face.

    The “PUA” scene?: it’s a joke. It’s hilarious, all this furious scrambling to avoid seeming like they’re objectifying and depersonalizing women by subscribing to a “theory” that… objectifies and depersonalizes women.

    If you’re the kind of guy who thinks that all women can be categorized, generalized and that a “PUA” class can be taught on how to pick us all up, then you need more help than you think. There’s a sucker born every minute apparently. If you believe this “PUA” crap, then that sucker is you. It might get you laid a couple times, sure. But it’s setting you on a path towards a shallow and empty life, alone.

    I mean, c’mon… are you so gullible that you think some “PUA” salesmen in goofy rave clothing can sell you the “secrets to bring women to their knees”? You are aware that women can read things on the internet, yeah? The cat’s out of the bag with the “PUA” ’s whole shtick, especially that retarded little “neg” thing, not to mention the Neuro-Linguistic Programming and other assorted smarmy Psy-Ops tricks they use to get their dicks wet. Women don’t respond well to this kind of trickery. She might not know about “PUA”/NLP now, but you can bet that a woman or male friend like me will tell her eventually, or she’ll read about it, and then you’re irreparably fucked.

    A man who cheats at dating, reading crib notes off his sweaty palm in the men’s room while his date has her ass cooling on a bar stool, (surely plotting to get the money out of his wallet, right?) is starting out the relationship on a lie. How can that end well? He’s also not being genuine. If women want to date someone plastic, we go buy a dildo.

    You want to know why “Joe Frat Boy Pussy-Hound Alpha Male” gets the chicks and “Beta Males” seemingly don’t? Well, first of all, at least he’s being honest about who he is, even if “who he is” is an overconfident jerk. A set of DVD’s from some buffoon in a silver cowboy hat, goggles and feather boa isn’t going to give the “Beta Males” any confidence in the real world. I’m sure the burgeoning “PUA” industry will take your “Bata Male” money to help you figure out how to be “Alpha Males” just like them, and not a “Bata Male,” but maybe first you should ask yourself why you agree with them that you belong in a category. Feeling objectified and depersonalized yet? Yes, well, that’s what they’re good at, remember?

    Whatever it is that the individual woman is looking for, one thing that I’m sure we can all collectively agree on is that we don’t want to go out with a guy who is mentally running down some psychological hot-button checklist while he’s simultaneously resenting buying us a drink, all while wearing props to make himself look interesting.

    Throw all that putrid “PUA” bullshit in the trash, and try being yourself, tell a few jokes instead of paying hundreds? thousands? of dollars to learn how to get that golddigger in a nightclub who’s dressed like Paris Hilton’s slutty cousin to suck you off in the backseat of your Prius by making her feel bad about herself. I mean, a joke book is only like $13.

  23. collapse expand

    Who’s the bigger asshole: the womanizer, or the pretentious blogger who’s trying his hardest to show that he’s above ‘the game?’ We may never know.

  24. collapse expand

    So you’ve got this guy and he’s not very attractive and he’s not very amusing and he has a low opinion of himself and he can’t get girls so he reads a book and pays for a seminar and calls himself a PUA and thinks he’s part of a ‘community’ and he’s learnt these infallible techie tricks and he goes into a bar and he thinks he sees a 7.5 although he can’t really tell because he’s probably quite drunk and he ‘negs’ this pretty girl who is quite drunk too and gets her into bed and she wakes up in the morning and she goes to work and she says to herself “ugh! What an ugly boring creep! I never want to see HIM again’: who wins?

  25. collapse expand

    Conor, the neg – when properly deployed – DOES NOT hurt a girl’s feelings! Hurt feelings mean the neg has gone too far. Hurting a girl’s feelings is BAD for the interaction.

    Let’s say I’m a below-average guy, and I’m trying to talk to an above-average girl. If I walk up and call her ugly, will she feel hurt? No! Because she will laugh it off – she knows her own value. She is confident.

    If I’m the best-looking guy in the room and I walk up to a wallflower girl and call her ugly, will she feel hurt? Yes!

    You’re imagining the neg between equals. The neg has no place among equals – it has a place when you’re talking to a girl who clearly thinks she is better than you are. These girls are probably the whole reason you wanted to get into game – to get a more confident, smarter girl.

    The guys who use the neg in every pickup are like guys who just bring a gun to every fight because learning to fight is hard. It is powerful and dangerous but it does have a proper place, and when used properly, nobody has hurt feelings.

  26. collapse expand

    lol, you guys…

    The neg “works” because women need men to display higher value. Women want to submit to stronger men. If you all weren’t such gutless betas you’d see this.

    1. A properly placed neg doesn’t come off as an insult, more like playful teasing.

    2. You’re not changing innate behavior with logic.

    3. Women are soulless, amoral, myopic and delusional. Don’t try to make them out to be anything else.

    And just so you’re aware, The core premise of game is to bring out your actual (masculine) self: the interesting, the playful, the unique and the assertive. Too many men have forgotten what it means to be a “man”.

    Stop being such a pussy Conor.

  27. collapse expand

    “An item I once saw in a men’s magazine advised that a good first date might involve walking across a suspension bridge, or standing atop the observation deck of a tall building, because what women feel when they experience vertigo mimics the butterflies that accompanies proximity to a man to whom they’re genuinely attracted.”

    God in heaven. Can anyone parse that sentence? Let’s just try the final clause: “… what women feel when they experience vertigo mimics the butterflies that accompanies proximity to a man to whom they’re genuinely attracted.”

    First, “butterflies that accompanies.” Friedersdorf really needs to learn English grammar. The verb here should be “accompany.”

    OK, with that error flagged, let’s forge on. How do butterflies “accompany proximity”? “Proximity” means “nearness in space or time.” How could butterflies accompany nearness? This lacks sense.

    “butterflies that accompanies proximity to a man to whom they’re genuinely attracted.” What is the antecedent of “they” here? Evidently it is “butterflies.” So now we have butterflies that are genuinely attracted to a man.

    This is the garbled mess one must untangle in the very first paragraph. Read on after that? No, thank you.

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    About Me

    Conor Friedersdorf is a writer, a Californian by upbringing, and a nomad at present. Refresh his page often.

    See my profile »
    Followers: 140
    Contributor Since: June 2009
    Location:Various cities, and sundry spots between them.