1027: "Pickup Artist"

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Soeroah » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:47 am UTC

This thread makes me think of someone who claims they love South Park until suddenly hating it for making an episode that makes fun of something they themselves enjoy.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Alaska Girl » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:48 am UTC

Ooh! A BHGuy+BHGirl comic! Great stuff. I like how nonchalant they both are about his plans for the bathroom...
*ignores raging controversy in earlier posts*
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby flatten_the_skyline » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:51 am UTC

Ulc wrote:To be entirely honest, i don't think advertisers are a useful standard of ethical behaviour.


Word.

I usually don't like it when people are called "BHG's girl", but since a) he has a feature to be recognized for (his hat) and b) He is at least as crazy as she is he is worth mentioning. So now they're two of them. And I think in a realistic scenario a PUA wouldn't stop because she has a boyfriend.

And to all who feel injured by her harsh words:

These words were meant to hurt. No matter how your life looks like, you can always say motivational things, or demotivational ones. Even when you relate to this guy, there's many people who find their place in life, their big thing, what they want to be after some trying out. Don't give up. And don't try to undermine other people's egoes, you're pretty much doing the same to them as she may have done to you. It looks like two can play that game...

BTW when I first read XKCD I thought it was drawn by a woman, because you finally get a good female character. When I realized you're a guy, Randall, I was more thrilled, because if a nerd can get it right, it shouldn't be so hard, now should it?

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:09 am UTC

Deza wrote:The girls words really hit home. I'm going to quietly sob alone now....

Derosian wrote:This is the first time I've ever read an XKCD and felt bad about it. Not because of the PUA bit, but because of what she says and how it feels like she is talking to me. The problem is me, but how do I fix me, if trying to fix me isn't going to work? Is it pointless to even try and I should just give up? I just don't know anymore.


The reason her "negging" is so effective is because this is a deep-seated fear that nearly everyone faces. At least, anyone the least bit introspective or reflective. By definition (or, well, by a normal distribution), most people are mediocre at most things; and anyone who is able to look at themselves as an object in the world, examine themselves and their relationship to the world, and not just see the world besides themselves as a thing unconnected to their own actions, will ask themselves these questions whenever they face the perpetual challenges of struggling against mediocrity. I felt like those words hit home too; those are things I've often said to myself; and then I remembered, everyone but the implausibly fortunate or laughably oblivious feels this way.

I don't know what the epiphany that will turn your life around is. I don't know what the epiphany that will turn my life around is. I don't know that there are any epiphanies to be had. I don't know that there is any hope at all to be had. It might be pointless to try. But, I know that we'll never know any of those things until the time comes that they happen or not, and that if we never try, the outcome will always be "not". So even though it might really be hopeless, because we cannot know that it is hopeless, it is always irrational not to try, because that would guarantee it to be hopeless.

And whether or not there are "epiphanies" to be had, there is always learning to be done, no matter how slight; and consequentially, some small progress to be made, always.
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby fenris » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:11 am UTC

A decent depiction of the average "pick up artist" indeed. What would you expect of giving a sexually frustrated and socially awkward dude an extremely controversial and aggressive philosophy, while also tempting him with fantasies of power and sexual abundance? Well, some of them don't even reach the underlying philosophy, just repeat canned material.

The marketing scam around these things is a disgrace, but if you'd inspect the core principles - the "inner game" as they cal it - they're all pretty solid and beneficial to the individual.

The PUA material, among other things, teaches you to:
- Talk to strangers. Instead of being a social recluse, you have to face your fears, get out of your house, and invite a bit of danger to your ego to your life.
- Enjoy social interaction. Control the interaction to amuse yourself, instead of seeking everyone else's approval. This should not mean you should genuinely hurt people, as there's no amusement to be had there for both parties. Which brings me to the next part...
- Stop putting women on pedestals. See them as human beings, with their own flaws and immoral instincts, and accept them with all their imperfections instead of pretending they're an ideal you've created in your head. You don't need to impress them. You don't need to have them, at all. Learning to detach your self esteem from whatever a given woman thinks of you is probably the most important thing in all of the PUA philosophy.

The point of "negging" is not killing someone's self esteem - it's playful teasing, showing someone that you're not a suck-up who's afraid of offending them, and subtly encouraging that person to prove herself to you. While flirting, both sides engage in that kind of thing and it is not meant to be taken seriously.

I can see that because of exposure to "game", my love life became better for everyone involved, and I simply became a better person - more confident, less neurotic, enjoying various aspects of life instead of being stuck in my complexes and fears. Granted, a lot of the "PUA" material warps these ideas horribly, but that happens to everything as long as there's money to be made...

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby madjo » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:39 am UTC

XKCD Fan wrote:This is bullshit. So we are suppose to equate ANY AND ALL attempts to pick up, go out with, or otherwise "score" with a girl as misogyny against or objectification of women? Further, we are also suppose to believe that acting on these ideas is simply a mental defect in our brains completely insurmountable; ie. If you cannot get a girlfriend, its because there is something wrong with your brain?

In an ideal world you'd be able to be honest and straight with women about your intentions and eventually everything would work out. Do you want to date? You would get a simple yes/no answer. You want casual sex? Also a yes/no answer. ANY guy who has put himself out there knows this peaches and roses scenario does not exist and never will. You have to be cool. You have to be smooth. You have to pretend not to care. You have to flirt. You have to act natural at the same time. etc.

He does not realize it but the "pick-up artist" of this comic is actually the winner here. This woman he's taken an interest in has proven herself to be an utter bitch. Better to be single than to be with a stuck-up snot who believes in some sort of genetic superiority based on intellect (the foundation of said belief being completely rooted in pseudo-science).

With all due respect- actually, fuck that. Fuck you, Randall. I don't care if I get banned since I don't care to read your comic EVER again. This is too close to home. Bookmark deleted; no more recommendations.


For a self-professed XKCD fan you seem to lack the ability to identify recurring characters.
The girl that's being approached here is the partner-in-crime of Black Hat Guy also known as the Classhole. And she's every bit as classholish as BHG.

Incidentally, the girl in this case is just using the exact same tactic against the "pick-up artist", and made HIM feel bad about himself.
Why does that make her the bitch, and him the winner in your eyes? They both use the exact same tactic. Double-standards much?

Trying to pick up women by putting them down and hurting their self-esteem is a Bad Move! If that's your tactic, then please remove yourself from the gene pool.
:)

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:02 am UTC

@Fenris: That "core philosophy" of pickup artists doesn't sound so bad... until you realize it boils down to "Want chick to like you? Try improving yourself!" While that is not exactly bad advice, the motive given for it is what makes the whole thing sleazy. Put the right way around, it would be "Try improving yourself! It will make your life better, including making people like you more, including women, among other people, among other benefits!" There are many, many reasons to improve oneself. Doing it all explicitly for the sake of attracting women, though, casts serious doubt on your priorities and motives. (And seems to go against the very "realize that you don't need women" attitude that's supposed to be part of that "core philosophy". Unless you want to claim that the whole "seduction community" is really some kind of support group for people too obsessed with getting laid to realize that it's really not that important?).
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby noouch » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:24 am UTC

Everyone could use a good existential crisis now and then :)

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Moz » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:32 am UTC

In the first panel, "adverserial" should be "adversarial".

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Azkyroth » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:33 am UTC

XKCD Fan wrote:This is bullshit. So we are suppose to equate ANY AND ALL attempts to pick up, go out with, or otherwise "score" with a girl as misogyny against or objectification of women?


No, stupid.

No one ever said anything of the sort.

"Pick-Up Artist" has a specific meaning. What you're doing here is about as smart as walking in and hearing people making derisive comments about "People's Democratic Republics" and concluding that they have some kind of problem with "people" or "democracy."

And OF COURSE there's nothing wrong with flirting or even seeking out casual sex with other human beings who you have some rational basis for believing might be interested, when you behave with honesty and reasonable consideration. Key words include: human beings, honesty, consideration.

But of course, if you really were not a dehumanizing creep who sees relationships as adversarial, women as sex toys, and just talking to women like human beings as unacceptable, you probably wouldn't be so quick to take offense....

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby markfiend » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:37 am UTC

XKCD Fan wrote:tl;dr

eightbitman wrote:tl;dr

Translation: eightbitman and XKCD Fan think their desire to get a fuck outweighs women's desire to be treated like human beings.

We already know you're willing to lie for sex. So how far are you willing to take it, guys? Hypnosis? Rohypnol? Hold her down with a knife to her throat?
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby filmund » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:38 am UTC

This is bullshit. So we are suppose to equate ANY AND ALL attempts to pick up, go out with, or otherwise "score" with a girl as misogyny against or objectification of women?


The obvious troll is obvious.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby jalohones » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:46 am UTC

Two pages of discussion of "That description fit me so well!" and no one has mentioned the Barnum effect?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect

Presumably this is the basis of why negging can be effective, as well.

Also, since this topic always seems to spark a certain kind of reaction, then I might as well chip in with: ALL MEN ARE BASTERDS U R TEH INFERIOR SPECIES NAO I GO HAZ FREAKY LEZBIAN FEMINIST SEX AND YUO DONT GET TO ENJOY IT IN ENY WAY HAHAHAHAHA!!! Apparently it's what women say all the time anyway, so I figured I might as well get it off my chest.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Spill Wooner » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:52 am UTC

Pfhorrest: Yes, it would be nice if people's urge for self improvement always came from a noble place. If there's an ulterior motive attached, is it really better for them to throw up their hands lest they sully the purity of bettering themselves?

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Orlando » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:00 am UTC

fenris wrote:A decent depiction of the average "pick up artist" indeed. What would you expect of giving a sexually frustrated and socially awkward dude an extremely controversial and aggressive philosophy, while also tempting him with fantasies of power and sexual abundance?

I couldn't agree more, which is why I find your subsequent turnaround and attempt to defend this ill-advised conglomeration of psychological abuse methods a tad bit confusing.

fenris wrote:The PUA material, among other things (my bold, not OP's), teaches you to:
- Talk to strangers. Instead of being a social recluse, you have to face your fears, get out of your house, and invite a bit of danger to your ego to your life.

Fair enough. This is indeed an admirable aim. Many self-help / therapy methods teach people this as well, without the stupidly high risk of letting those social or sexual frustrations run amok with aggressive new strategies for socialising. This is why it's almost always healthier for a reclusive person to get face-to-face help from another trustworthy person with coming out of their shell - they need at the very least a few heads-ups for checking their own behaviours to make sure they aren't becoming harmful.

fenris wrote:- Enjoy social interaction. Control the interaction to amuse yourself, instead of seeking everyone else's approval. This should not mean you should genuinely hurt people, as there's no amusement to be had there for both parties.

The common need to "enjoy" social interaction is on a completely different wavelength from the desire to "control" social interaction. The methods of "control" that PUA teach may make the user feel safe and insulated from harm, but at the expense of turning around and preemptively flinging the same harms they fear - belittlement, scorn, and challenges to your right to exist in the same space as the other - into the faces of the women they meet. This is not a "side-effect" of badly-used PUA; this is symptomatic of the whole system.

Enjoyment can be derived from social situations without ego-maniacally gaming to control ever single detail of interaction, even if you are by nature uncomfortable with interacting with others. Another method, one among many alternate choices, is to actually step outside your own head for ten minutes and try some basic empathy. Put aside what you FEAR other people are thinking about YOU, and try to imagine that they have entire lives which concern them and their close friends and family, none of which is connected to / can affect or harm you in any way. You can step outside the situation this way, and just observe it as it flows naturally. There's a good deal of detachment involved in this, which you claim PUA is supposed to encourage with this gem of an endorsement:

fenris wrote:- Stop putting women on pedestals. See them as human beings, with their own flaws and immoral instincts, and accept them with all their imperfections instead of pretending they're an ideal you've created in your head. You don't need to impress them. You don't need to have them, at all. Learning to detach your self esteem from whatever a given woman thinks of you is probably the most important thing in all of the PUA philosophy.

And this is where the "among other things" comes in from the top. PUA teaches shy guys to stop putting women on pedestals by chipping away at them with barbed words and throwing them down with blindsiding passive-aggression. PUA teaches awkward guys, as another poster mentioned, that they don't need to impress women if they can convince them they don't deserve better than what's in front of them. PUA teaches reclusive guys that they don't need to have meaningful, deep connections at all because they can make themselves feel like invulnerable tiny ego-gods by manipulating women to interact with them in ways that boost their self esteem.

This is forcing social interactions out of other human beings who never asked for them, and who, as an identity group, are disproportionately targeted by psychological and physical manipulations from others to the extent that your behavior, when you "tease" and expect that they are now obliged to give you the attention that you want, falls solidly into the spectrum of male privilege and misogyny. As hurtful as ostracisation feels to you, unwanted attention can have the same detrimental affects on women.

That is not your fault as an individual, but if you have enough brainpower to read these words, then you are perceptive enough understand that it is a social reality you need to be aware of, and act to change it rather than make it worse. PUA makes it worse to make you feel better. That is not acceptable.

TL;DR: Great comic, Randall. PUA-apologists, please re-take some objectification and male privilege 101 courses.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Astrognash » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:04 am UTC

Today's comic was excellent. Randall, I applaud thee.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Q748921123 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:15 am UTC

... and so Hari Seldon went home alone, and after much thought added the second axiom: "the population must remain ignorant of the Art".

Any bets on how long before this shows up in PUA training materials? Probably already covered, actually, with a pithy saying about breaking eggs or bloody noses.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Vettle » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:29 am UTC

Yeah, the PUA community is horrible, but did anyone else find this comic really depressing? I think it applies to virtually everyone. Ouch.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby TimXCampbell » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:35 am UTC

Derosian wrote:This is the first time I've ever read an XKCD and felt bad about it. Not because of the PUA bit, but because of what she says and how it feels like she is talking to me. The problem is me, but how do I fix me, if trying to fix me isn't going to work? Is it pointless to even try and I should just give up? I just don't know anymore.

BHGirl's deconstruction of the guy is aimed directly at his ego. Consider this, however: one's ego is based upon an image one has of one's self. And that image is a mental construct. So when she states that the problem is intrinsic to the guy, she might be knowingly selling him a line of crap that she has sensed he'll accept as gospel.

Some things are indeed intrinsic. If you're born color-blind, you'll probably die color-blind. But if (as in the comic's example) a person skips from one epiphany to another, that's a behavioral issue — a habit. Habits (like getting a regular epiphany fix) can be changed. It might take time; it might be difficult; it might require a deep and searching assessment of one's values and beliefs. But it's not somebody's destiny to believe certain things about themselves, or about how life works.

If it feels like she's talking to you, then okay, that's what it feels like. But you're not doomed to be what she describes.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Holograph » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:44 am UTC

Randall, Excellent comic today, I applaud you. :')
Though I suspect I like it mostly because it's exactly what I want to hear. My confirmation bias approves! :¬D
I used to be very insecure when it came to women (in sexual context, I still had many female friends) so, like many others I looked around to see what the Internet had to say about it. It made me uncomfortable and offended. Offended because hateful assholes where talking about how they were getting laid when I weren't and uncomfortable when faced with the idea that, unless I wanted to be a virgin forever, I had to become one of these assholes I hated so much. So I guess I don't want the PUA community to be right about all their BS, so I like this comic.
I don't have much experience compared to most guys but I think intimacy is very important. And if you view it all like a game or a hunt, my intuition says that you miss out on the valuable things in life.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby markfiend » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:00 pm UTC

Holograph wrote:Offended because hateful assholes were talking about how they were getting laid when I weren't

This comment is not just aimed at you, but as you brought it up...

Any PUA or MRA talking about how often they are getting laid is almost certainly lying.
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby zmic » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:05 pm UTC

Vettle wrote:Yeah, the PUA community is horrible


yeah I agree. Any guy who considers a woman as some adversary that need to be conquered --by playing any dirty trick-- should really ask himself if he simply isn't a closeted homosexual. After all such person can hardly claim that he loves women.

but did anyone else find this comic really depressing? I think it applies to virtually everyone. Ouch.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby beachbum2012 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:10 pm UTC

Finally, I did it! I drank the Cool-Aid and jumped the bandwagon. I joined xkcd after lurking for many, many years. Needles to say I love it. So howdy ya’ll, it’s good to be here. :D

I wanted to chip in because I have read ‘The Game’ and feel like I understand the comic well and the discussions going on. First though, let me say that I am a bit surprised why Randal comes up with this now. I don’t know anything about the PUA community itself and if it is still thriving (if it ever was…) but the book came out so long ago (ca. 5 years, if I recall correctly) that I find this somewhat old news. However, the content itself doesn’t suffer from it and is still excellent.

I have read ‘The Game’ at the end of a ca. 2-year phase of casually picking up girls and having regular one-night stands myself. I was no PUA by any means, nor did I use “negging” or similar techniques but I have changed from a shy and I wish I could be with her (or her, or her) guy to a bold and I am going to get her (and her, and her) guy by gaining a certain emotional distance to the whole dating game. It seems that a certain egocentric approach does work, at least if you’re out for the casual encounters. Ego is the key word here. You need to work on your self-esteem instead of trying to work hers. It doesn’t mean you have to become a complete asshole, but I find it did mean becoming a lot less caring about whether this girl will be the mother of your children or simply the one that shares your bed with you tonight. It makes sense, confidence (or the apparent display of it) speaks to women (and people in general) and one is more likely to have sex with you for just one night than if you portray low self-esteem and every encounter is a fight or flee reaction in your brain (which usually ends in fleeing).

So when I read the book, admittedly :oops: I thought I should go try some of the techniques there. Not necessarily the ones where you put her down but more so the peacock stuff and the general bold approaches. (Funnily enough, a week after that, I met the woman that is now becoming my wife and I didn’t even have time to apply anything from the book; so I could never really try out some of the stuff in there and I got my wife through all the classic, normal means: alcohol and a pub :lol: .)

For those who have read the book, I find that ‘The Game’ ends on a very reconcilable note. In the end he falls for the one he didn’t play. The one where his feelings go topsy turvy and the one where he didn’t apply all his crap techniques. So there is a positive message, I found.

And for those who haven’t read the book: go out and do it. Not because you need to learn what they do (you should take it with a grain of salt anyhow), but because I find it to be one of the best self-help books a shy guy can read. Not that I have read many self-help books (actually, I have read none), but I find that the stories in there give you a sense of self-esteem along the lines of “if they can do it, I can do it too!” I believe it is better than any of the “you are a special flower” books out there because it specifically isn’t a “you are special flower” book.

Cheers

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Marlayna » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:15 pm UTC

Now there's a comic I can get behind. I'm amazed at how many people can't wrap their heads around the fact that manipulating people is immoral.

Holograph wrote:Offended because hateful assholes where talking about how they were getting laid when I weren't and uncomfortable when faced with the idea that, unless I wanted to be a virgin forever, I had to become one of these assholes I hated so much.


Even if it were a choice between virginity and indecency, indecency would still be the wrong option.




On another note: Does "negging" really work? It doesn't make sense. It would seem to me that if you were to take stabs at someone's self-esteem it would make them like you less, not more.
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Holograph » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

markfiend wrote:
Holograph wrote:Offended because hateful assholes were talking about how they were getting laid when I weren't

This comment is not just aimed at you, but as you brought it up...

Any PUA or MRA talking about how often they are getting laid is almost certainly lying.

yeah I always got the feeling that they were at least exaggerating. But even if they weren't lying, I think their need to tell strangers on the internet about it sort of hints on how maybe their life is not so awesome after all. I guess the logic goes that if people envy you, you must be on the right path. But really, that envy just stems from some kind of juvenile fantasy.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Holograph » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:19 pm UTC

Marlayna wrote:Even if it were a choice between virginity and indecency, indecency would still be the wrong option.


I agree. (I hope you didn't misunderstand my post)

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby beachbum2012 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

fenris wrote:A decent depiction of the average "pick up artist" indeed. What would you expect of giving a sexually frustrated and socially awkward dude an extremely controversial and aggressive philosophy, while also tempting him with fantasies of power and sexual abundance? Well, some of them don't even reach the underlying philosophy, just repeat canned material.

The marketing scam around these things is a disgrace, but if you'd inspect the core principles - the "inner game" as they cal it - they're all pretty solid and beneficial to the individual.

The PUA material, among other things, teaches you to:
- Talk to strangers. Instead of being a social recluse, you have to face your fears, get out of your house, and invite a bit of danger to your ego to your life.
- Enjoy social interaction. Control the interaction to amuse yourself, instead of seeking everyone else's approval. This should not mean you should genuinely hurt people, as there's no amusement to be had there for both parties. Which brings me to the next part...
- Stop putting women on pedestals. See them as human beings, with their own flaws and immoral instincts, and accept them with all their imperfections instead of pretending they're an ideal you've created in your head. You don't need to impress them. You don't need to have them, at all. Learning to detach your self esteem from whatever a given woman thinks of you is probably the most important thing in all of the PUA philosophy.

The point of "negging" is not killing someone's self esteem - it's playful teasing, showing someone that you're not a suck-up who's afraid of offending them, and subtly encouraging that person to prove herself to you. While flirting, both sides engage in that kind of thing and it is not meant to be taken seriously.

I can see that because of exposure to "game", my love life became better for everyone involved, and I simply became a better person - more confident, less neurotic, enjoying various aspects of life instead of being stuck in my complexes and fears. Granted, a lot of the "PUA" material warps these ideas horribly, but that happens to everything as long as there's money to be made...


Fenris,

I just read your post after submitting mine. I find we think exactly along the same lines concerning this topic and you expressed it very nicely. Kudos!

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby chemicalfan » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:39 pm UTC

Awesome comic, guy got pwned :D

Also, too many trolls in this thread :?
Stop feeding them!

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Jinksy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:40 pm UTC

Eh, PUA detractors, which of the following statements do you dispute?

[list=]If you practice doing something, you’ll tend to get better at it
The PUA community has a lot of practice at trying to seduce women, and thus tend to be better at it than most people
There’s probably a decent correlation between the methods they claim cause their success and the methods that do
Not all PUAs advocate the same strategies; for eg not all advocate negging
So one should be able to be (and presumably some people *do* be) a PUA without making women’s lives worse
If so, there’s nothing especially creepy about the scene per se
If it still attracts creepy people, a better solution than complaining about it might be to do it and develop more benign alternatives (a comparison with politics springs to mind)
Incidentally, Feynman was clearly a PUA of the Neil Strauss school (‘You’re worse than a whore’, anyone?), and we all think he was cool, right?
Can’t we all get along, now?
[/list]

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby J Thomas » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:52 pm UTC

eightbitman wrote:....
A personal anecdote: I used to take the mocking of negs as an insult to my ego because I, like many people who have studied that stuff, had low self esteem and had trouble believing that a girl would ever be interested in me at all. I thought I needed tricks because it was so hard for me to concieve of someone as awful as me being attractive to the opposite sex. This is usually the case for people who study this stuff. So they start out trying to protect their ego while trying to connect honestly to another person. This is where the entire absurd system of PUA comes from. So people use it, and for some it works. It failed miserably for me at every turn, BUT it did something important. It distracted me from my intense self hatred, and got me in the habit of thinking less and enjoying the basic, obvious excitement of talking to a new, attractive girl. He got shot down that time, and for now he's decided to continue indulging in that boring existential crisis that has kept him in his state of ineptitude, but thanks to BHGirl, he's been encouraged not to bother! Fact is, he still wants to get his pencil wet, so he'll keep trying. I say more power to him, everybody deserves some lovin, right?


Richard Feynman discussed his own experience with this.

As I read it, he looked at a Las Vegas bar not long after WWII, and tried to get laid, and failed at it. Then he watched carefully and he decided that very few of the men there were getting laid. Then he found an expert to give him advice. The expert first did a trick to persuade him the man was in fact an expert. Then he gave his advice. "You just have to ask them."

Feynman then applied his intellect to the advice. Women in bars who slept with men who asked them to, were barflies, sluts, etc. Not respectable. So before he could ask a random woman to have sex with him, he had to believe she was a slut and not respectable. And he had to convince her that he believed that, and that it was true.

He found that this method worked for him. I don't remember him giving any statistics about how often it worked, but he seemed to imply that it always worked with women he met in bars, and it worked with one woman he met in a professional context. He gave an example where it worked on a manipulative woman who collected a big group of men trying to do her favors. He got her attention kind of like the sheep who wanders from the flock gets the shepherd's attention.

If you believe you can't ask a respectable woman to have sex with you, and you can't accept a slut, then manipulating a respectable woman seems far preferable to rape.

Many men find that when there is no definite reason a woman would reject them, like a boyfriend etc, somewhere between a quarter and a half of the women they ask will say yes if they just ask them. Feynman's expert told him to ask before he spent money on them, which was excellent advice -- given the amount of disrespect going on, a woman probably doesn't like to think a man might think he's just bought her for the price of a drink or a dinner etc.

My own experience before I married fits this. But a few times women were outraged that I asked, and acted creepy whenever they saw me after that, and each time made a big thing of introducing me to their fiancees, years later. Men who were in each case richer, taller, and more stylish than me. I have several hypotheses what might have been going on in those cases, but no obvious way to test them.
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Tomo » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:55 pm UTC

zmic wrote:Any guy who considers a woman as some adversary that need to be conquered --by playing any dirty trick-- should really ask himself if he simply isn't a closeted homosexual. After all such person can hardly claim that he loves women.


Love women, maybe not, love sex with women? Hell yes.

but did anyone else find this comic really depressing? I think it applies to virtually everyone. Ouch.


Nope, I thought it was hilarious. And I don't really see anything wrong with PUA in general.
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby vbwx » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:58 pm UTC

The last 2 panels make me succumb and write: "Get out of my head, Randall!"
Also, this has to be the most effective neg I've ever heard/read. :twisted:

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Red Hal » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:58 pm UTC

zmic wrote:
Vettle wrote:Yeah, the PUA community is horrible


yeah I agree. Any guy who considers a woman as some adversary that need to be conquered --by playing any dirty trick-- should really ask himself if he simply isn't a closeted homosexual. After all such person can hardly claim that he loves women.

but did anyone else find this comic really depressing? I think it applies to virtually everyone. Ouch.
Ah! The call to arms! Homosexuals of the world unite! The enemy is upon you! The women are here and they must be destroyed! Zmic demands your obeisance!

OK perhaps hyberbolic but, zmic, what you are saying amounts to "If you consider women the enemy then you're probably gay."; a statement which I feel does a disservice to both of those groups and to my opinion of you. Or am I misunderstanding the sentiment here?
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Belial » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

XKCD Fan wrote:Fuck you, Randall. I don't care if I get banned since I don't care to read your comic EVER again.


I'm in a giving mood, so I'm going to help you out here! See, if I didn't intercede and ban you, you might've gotten tempted to let your willpower lapse and come back!

Consider me like your AA sponsor. Stay strong, buddy! One day at a time!
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Asclepion » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:06 pm UTC

This is the comic that made me create an account. I'm not going to talk about negging or the PUA community, rather I'll focus on the comic itself.

Comic is as follows: A hapless guy walks up and clumsily tries to make conversation with a girl, using a "neg". Girl reacts with a wholly pretentious ad-hominem attack on his personality, his perspectives, and his life. Randall makes the girl's dismissive and dehumanizing cruelty the punchline while labeling the would-be pickup artist a "dehumanizing creep" for the sin of approaching a woman in what he deems an insufficiently respectful manner.

Not only is this not funny (A person saying someone's life has no value and is doomed to stagnation is not humorous by any normal standard), but I don't get a good vibe from it. As a reader I end up sympathizing with the would-be PUA, and my reaction is that the woman is pointlessly hateful and not worth the guy's time. It just wasn't a good comic.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby savageorange » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:09 pm UTC

*Pointedly ignores controversy*.

Until the final line, I was thinking 'great comic'. And then John was the terrible comic.

Sure, "it won't help" in context, is a perfectly in-character thing to say. It just gives a fucking terrible message overall. "'..I need to go home and think about my life.' 'It won't help'." -> "You can't change yourself". That's one of the few things that I feel confident in saying "This is an offense against every human being." in response to.

Personally I would not want to be putting such a message out there without obviously mocking it. Even then it would be questionable...

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby MichaelRpdx » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:10 pm UTC

Way Cool.

Though I would have titled it:

Everything Your Friends, Sisters, Daughters, and Nieces Need to Know
About Pickup Artists

SwL
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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby SwL » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:12 pm UTC

I liked this comic a lot at first, but some things started nagging me:

1) BHG is a classic Alpha or maybe a Sigma. Noodly-hair is a Delta at best. Probably a Gamma. The encounter was doomed from the start.
2) BHG's Girlfriend's comeback would be classified as a Shit-test. If Noodly was up on the game, he would have ignored it or countered it.
3) Noodly was an idiot to start the contact with negging anyway. Negging isn't very nice unless it is response to a shit-test anyway, and is worse than useless if used clumsily.
4) PUA's are supposed to keep their eye on their ultimate goal. His response to BHG's Girlfriend's dis should be either to keep playing until BHG got back (which would have been an even MORE hilarious outcome), or disengage and move to the next "target", regarding this encounter as a learning experience.

Now that I think about it, the comic is more "What we wish would happen to PUAs" fantasy than a real-life insight.

BUT, as usual, the Girlfriend's comeback is full of xkcd keen analytical insightful goodness...A sermon to all of us. We all want to be BCG or the main character (or the girlfriend). Most of us, however, are Noodly hair, whether we like it or not.

Or am I reading too much into it? ;-)

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:20 pm UTC

eightbitman wrote: I say more power to him, everybody deserves some lovin, right?

No.

Everyone is worthy of love. No one deserves anything. There is a difference.
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: 1027: Pickup Artist

Postby Wharrgarbl8 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote: There are many, many reasons to improve oneself. Doing it all explicitly for the sake of attracting women, though, casts serious doubt on your priorities and motives.


I'm sorry, but doing things to attract a partner is sleazy? Is dressing up nice before going out sleazy? Is women putting on make-up sleazy? If improving yourself with the goal of attracting people is sleazy, then I'm a huge sleaze-bag and so are most people in this world. Finding a mate and passing on your genes is a primal drive of every creature, I can't imagine why someone would think there is anything wrong with that.

I read 'The Game' (after getting engaged) and recommended it to a friend too. I understand the hate on 'negging' but it's usually based on a misunderstanding of the idea and how strongly it is applied. For most men, negging is a counter to their tendency to worship the women they talk to. The purpose is less to tear down the woman's esteem, and more to counter the tendency for the man to act like they aren't good enough.

Formula:
Reader's Stupid Woman Worship + Game's Stupid Woman Tearing-Down = Normal Social Interaction!

What I found with my friend, is after using the game's advice he was able to slowly learn how to have normal, fully genuine interactions with women. But he needed a system that allowed him to begin having any kind of interaction with women that wasn't totally negative. It's an extreme system, but most men who read the book need something extreme. Alcoholics Anonymous is extreme too.

edit: clarity
Last edited by Wharrgarbl8 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:34 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.


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