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PUA’s: Not Endangered Cats

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When I first started reading feminist blogs a few years back, I had to bone up on my acronyms. MGTOW meant Men Going Their Own Way, not Men Grabbing Their Own Wangs. MRA meant Men’s Rights Activist not Mega Raging Assholes. And PUA meant Pick-Up Artist, not Pigs Under Arrest, which is a shame, as some PUA techniques are certainly criminal, at least in the figurative sense.

I don’t know if you all saw the link I posted in my last entry thread, but if you didn’t, I give you some comic relief*… Meet the PUAs!

 

*Which I desperately need every time I read stuff like this.

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  • Shalimar

    Alternatively, this could be 3 methods for inducing Stockholm Syndrome in victims.

    • sharculese

      PUA really is based on the same principles as Stockholm Syndrome. The basic principle is mix small acts of kindness with the fear that that kindness could be revoked at any moment for reasons the target doesn’t understand.

      • ChrisTS

        This. Win them over and then sabotage their psyches.

        • I thought it was sabotage their psyches and then win them over.

          • Hogan

            That was my impression too. Then put them by the curb on trash day.

          • ChrisTS

            I think (other than the real SS, of course) the method is to draw in the victim a tad, get her feeling comfortable/loved, and then effect the sabotage so she won’t leave.

            • Well, but a big PUA thing is “negging” where you never let the girl get comfortable–you interact with her negatively, insult her to draw her attention, and try to tantalize her into seeing you as a challenge. This is specifically aimed at destabilizing the woman’s self confidence as the first step to making your approval necessary to her. The idea is that high status women (and all women really, because they are delusional) get so much approval and attention from men that you can only gain their attention and dominate them by turning the tables from the get go.

              I find this aspect of Negging very interesting (and, btw, there’s a lot of negging going on in the Alec Baldwin “coffee is for closers” clip posted below in this thread) because Negging involves the assumption that to be high status is to be able to insult people of lower status. Thats almost better than having an actual relationship or even sex with her. If you, as the man, want to dominate the woman you claim higher status by beginning with the insult and forcing her to conform to your hierarchy. If you don’t, you risk sinking to low man yourself. IF you do manage to get off a few insults and get her attention but never get her to sleep with you–at least you got the insults in.

              Seduce first and then abuse is more a Pimp thing.

  • CaptBackslap

    I don’t always see references to MGTOW, but when I do, I’ll think of this post and chuckle.

  • TribalistMeathead

    At my place of employment, an MRA is a Matter Requiring Attention.

    Then again, so are Men’s Rights Advocates.

  • fka AWS

    This is a common annoyance with me, all the acronyms that nobody bothers to explain. Farley did it the other day with his post about the Japanese self-defense forces and some VTOL (vertical takeoff and Landing i found out) plane. At least Balloon Juice has a lexicon to decipher *some* of the lingo.

    For a while, I didn’t understand what MRA meant (isn’t that the food soldiers get in combat?) because it appeared in random comments.

    People would do us laypeople a favor to at least use the name on first reference unless it’s a widely understood acronym like CIA, FBI, IRS, etc. EBITA, for instance, is not one.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      I just ask. figure I can’t be the only person that doesn’t know.

      so, what is EBITA?

      • Mr Rogers

        earnings before interest, taxes and amortization

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          thanks!

          • The Kenosha Kid

            EBITDA = Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization

      • Hogan

        Don’t you remember the scene in that Madonna movie where all the accountants are chanting “EBITA! EBITA! EBITA!”?

        • Karen

          I thought it was a brand of Louisiana beer.

        • Now i’m imagining a totally different kind of Enron movie.

          • Anonymous

            Written by Aaron Sorkin!

    • The Dark Avenger

      Yeah, it’s not like there’s a website where you could look up what an acronym stands for or anything like that……………

      • ChrisTS

        To be fair to fka (?) AWS, some acronyms are easier to discern than others. VTOL turned up the appropriate-seeming phrase pretty easily. Some of the more ‘urban’ or slangish ones have multiple possible meanings. True, it does not take a lot of time to run most of them down, but an initial explanation would not take much effort, either.

    • Dave

      Oh FFS, STFU. I could GTFY, but I won’t, you lazy, self-centred POS.

      • Hogan

        You left out RTFM.

        • TribalistMeathead

          Fundamentally, though, PEBCAK.

    • TribalistMeathead

      Yeah.

      So what does “fka” stand for?

      • It’s what you say after being attacked by feral aardvarks: fucking killer anteaters.

      • Hogan

        I’m guessing “formerly known as.”

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          “Fervently Killing Accountants”

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        Or “AWS”?

        • john (not mccain)

          Average White Sand.

          • zombie rotten mcdonald

            Anomalous White Staples.

          • Hogan

            Average White Stripes.

        • ChrisTS

          I didn’t read that part as an acronym. I thought it was an expression of emotion: aawws.

        • Origami Isopod

          Alewurst with sauerkraut.

          • ChrisTS

            Mmmmm.

    • witless chum

      My personal hatred is for the use of POTUS. You saved five letters from President, congratulations.

      • I hate it because its so ugly. And FLOTUS is worse.

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        POTUS FLOTUS SCOTUS MOTUS BOTUS

        • Karen

          Lumos! Wingardium Leviosa! Aveda Kedavra!

          • Aaron B.

            +horcrux

          • zombie rotten mcdonald

            Ph’nglui Mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Fhtagn! Ia! Ia!

            • Njorl

              eieio

              • Halloween Jack

                Voe doe dee oh doe!

    • zombie rotten mcdonald

      People would do us laypeople a favor to at least use the name on first reference

      That only works if you’re around when the acronym is first used. Or do you mean the first use every day?

      Seriously, though, if you are annoyed by acronyms, don’t get out of the boat in the MRA fever swamps. Those douche-canoes REALLY like acronyms.

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        Trying to figure out how to decipher REALLY as an acronym/joke, but not having much luck after Routinely Emphasize Assholish Logic…

        • Aaron B.

          The first letter of “REALLY” stands for “really.” The rest are just a bonus!

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          Really Emphasize Acronyms Like Lucky Yahoos.

          • ChrisTS

            Really Emphasize Acronyms Like Lucky Loser Yahoos.

            • ChrisTS

              drat: supposed to be a cross-out not italics.

            • zombie rotten mcdonald

              ooo, better.

  • brad

    Such a tribal feminist, tsktsk. Just because they call themselves something in alignment with a specific set of odious beliefs you’re willing to reject their perspective as valueless? What if in their obsession for the perfect abs they accidentally cure cancer? Would you even lift?

  • TribalistMeathead

    Oh, how I remember the halcyon days of 2000, when I watched Magnolia for the first time and asked if there were really seminars like Seduce and Destroy.

  • Paul Herzberg

    I realise “Alpha Male” might be something slightly different than a PUA, but I stumbled across this recently:

    Hollywood Alpha Male, ep. 1: Alec Baldwin Kicks Ass in Glengarry Glen Ross

    I can’t work out whether it is hilariously or scarily misguided.

    • Oh, wow. I shouldn’t have clicked the link but FASCINATING. First, the ad they make you sit through before the video is all about “family farmers” and how much they care about the land–why, they can support their family by farming and by leasing their land to the frakkers! How do you know this? Because the farm has been in the family 30 whole years.! Yes, 30 whole years! Can anyone imagine the ties this family has to this land? Their devotion to farming? The liklihood that the children are planning on staying on this farm after the water table is poisoned? 30 years must be the new 15 generations for people with short attention spans.

      Then the narration for the glen garry clip is, itself, priceless. Don’t skip it. You will find yourself listening to a sweet voiced guy lecturing you on how to perfectly imitate and abusive asshole, frame by frame.

  • As noted by Randal Monroe at XKCD, “pick-up artist” sounds a lot better if you imagine it being a fan of “pick-up art,” analogous to “pick-up basketball.”

    • CaptBackslap
      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        that was awesome. Bob Ross rules. Much preferable to that Light Painter asswipe.

  • cpinva

    “Men Grabbing Their Own Wangs”

    I might almost consider joining this group. if I won’t grab my own wang, who will?

    • ChrisTS

      That’s the way to go: self-responsibility, lift yourself up by your own …. uhh

    • Lee Rudolph

      if I won’t grab my own wang, who will?

      And yet, even for Rabbi Hillel, the mohel got there first!

      • I’m scrolling backwards to this comment just to give it the props it deserves. Also, to quote that renowned talmudic scholar Robin Williams

        “Never buy gribnetz from a Moil.”

  • ChrisTS

    A few weeks back, I did the google for PUA and found another phrase that had something to do with underpants. (Yes, it was vulgar.) Now, all I see on the first whole page is pick-up artist stuff. I wish I could recall the alternative; I preferred it.

  • zombie rotten mcdonald

    MGTOW meant Men Going Their Own Way, not Men Grabbing Their Own Wangs

    News to me.

    • Karen

      There’s. difference?

      • I think Men Going Their Own Way is a subset of the much larger group.

  • I love the acronyms of the MRA movement. I’m not sure what impression they leave on outsiders qua impression-that is, I’m not sure its merely done for effect. Its very (literally) boy’s clubby of them and clearly is the goal and the result of trying to rapidly build up a self referential literature that is accessible only to initiates who meet primarily online and through text. Nobody s *says* MGTOW do they? They just write it.

    Mr. Aimai does a lot of work with the gov’t and in computers and anything that can be rendered into an acronym is, almost instantly. This is very mil-speak, on the one hand and very computer speak on the other. I don’t know the history of the lead MRA guys but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is also part of their culture–an apeing of military vernacular and also compu-geek patterns.

    • CaptBackslap

      And like mil-speak, it also serves to distance them from what they’re actually doing to people.

    • Hob

      “Compu-geek patterns” don’t exist in isolation either— among software engineers I work with who are under 35 or so, there’s a pretty strong jock element and a tendency to adopt all kinds of tough-talking slang from any source, so for instance I’m constantly seeing “HTFU” (harden the fuck up) as a response to any complaint. It’s all supposed to be playfully ironic, and yet… isn’t exactly.

      • Plus, also, too, MGTOW is basically going galt for the thumbsucking failures in the dating game. Apparently it needed a quick reference point, mabye because these guys twitter more than they leave their basements.

  • Honestly speaking

    I’ll probably get blasted for this, but I’ve always felt a sense of tragedy or sadness about the PUA thing. Once you strip away the misogyny and silly (and misogynistic) gimmicks, they actually do have an important message — that (most) (straight) women are attracted to assertive and masculine men. And believe it or not, that’s something that a lot of younger men don’t really learn these days, probably for a bunch of reasons. So you have this whole cohort of young men who are frustrated because they don’t understand why (most) women aren’t romantically interested in them. There’s space for a voice to help them figure that out. But the only real existing source is dominated by an overwhelming hatred for women, so it’s a shame.

    • Aaron B.

      I really don’t think “(most)(straight) women are attracted to assertive and masculine men.” Assertiveness is one thing: being a wilting wallflower is attractive to some, but why should a potential romantic partner recognize what you have to offer if you can’t even recognize it yourself? But the extent to which women are obsessed with traditional masculinity has been vastly overstated.

      I am probably in the bottom quintile of “traditional masculinity,” to the point where a certain segment of friends is constantly telling me that I “really should be gay,” (which is actually quite offensive if you think about it). And I wouldn’t consider myself conventionally attractive. But I’ve had three substantial relationships and a few other partners besides, and I’m still quite young.

      I think the real problem is that many of the men who think they’re passed over because they’re not “alphas” are actually passed over because they have the whole “nice guy” bullshit going on, with all that entails.

      • Honestly speaking

        But isn’t the whole “nice guy”* phenomenon the result of men being clueless about which qualities women — and probably people in general — like in society, and which qualities cause chemical attraction?

        * I mean “nice guy” phenomenon in the sense that being a polite, friendly, supportive guy with women isn’t sufficient in itself to cause them to be attracted to you, much to many “nice guy’s” disappointment. Not the Marcotte “I hate nice guys because they’re just pretending to be nice to get in women’s pants, and in any event, they think that women owe them sex” phenomenon, which I’m not sure is a thing.

        • You can’t “cause people to be attracted to you” if they aren’t attracted to you. Being nice to people because you think that will get you into their pants is like flashing money around and hoping that someone will fall in love with you. Totally irrelevant. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

          The NiceGuy phenomenon is specifically one of ressentiment. Its a claim, a demand, on women (generically) to respond to normal social relations with sex as a payoff. It only comes into play when it doesn’t work, when the guy feels all injured and betrayed because his magical incantations and gestures didn’t produce sex on demand.

          When I was a younger person and was nice to people I did it because I wanted to–I cooked plenty of meals for my friends, did favors for them, was a study buddy for them because I enjoyed their company. Since I wasn’t expecting a payoff in money or sex I was satisfied with what I got: their company doing those things. Frankly, its creepy to think of engaging with people on any other basis. I’ll be nice to you if you have sex with me, and only in order to have sex with you, is just a horrible attitude to have towards people you pretend to have as friends.

          • Honestly speaking

            First, I wasn’t using “cause” in the “acting like this or that will make someone be attracted to you” sense. I was using it in the “if you have these qualities it will be more likely that more people will be attracted to you” sense.

            Second, this is where I think a lot of people are talking past each other. Marcotte — and you, it seems — have constructed this view of “nioe guy” assholes who have a transactional view of attraction and sex where if they act nice and polite they’re owed sex, and they get to bitch and moan if they don’t get it. I agree that anyone who thinks and acts like this would be an asshole; I just am skeptical that this sort of person exists in any appreciable number.

            When I think of the “nice guy” phenomenon, I think of men (generally young men) who are friendly and polite and attentive around women — who actually like many of those women — and then who are perplexed and frustrated when those women aren’t attracted to them (in my view, because they lack a basic understanding of what qualities women are attracted to).

            • There is some weird, basic, misunderstanding about life going on here–I’m not surprised by it, I get it, but its weird.

              This is a thing:

              When I think of the “nice guy” phenomenon, I think of men (generally young men) who are friendly and polite and attentive around women — who actually like many of those women — and then who are perplexed and frustrated when those women aren’t attracted to them (in my view, because they lack a basic understanding of what qualities women are attracted to).

              You are saying that there is such a thing as a nice guy who doesn’t get the girl, and he doesn’t get the girl but some other person who is, somehow, not a nice guy does get the girl? That’s the story, as I understand it, a “nice guy” who has “done everything right” doesn’t get the girl because all girls (and this one) like either jerks or more sucessful guys?

              In the real world people are not entitled to “get” the girl–no matter how nice they are, or how not nice they are. No explanation is needed because women aren’t “attracted” to “qualities” but to other people, regardless of those qualities. If a “nice guy” fixated on some woman who choose someone else there isn’t some other strategy he could have gotten to “get” her. To argue anything else is to argue that instead of Al, or Bob, or Tristan the woman is confronted with a stock character like a romantic advertisement: 5 foot 11, broad shoulders, middling income, no car, likes pets and long walks on the beach and ethnic food. And then she has to take him because he fit some mad libs boyfriend model. Or, you seem to be arguing, she can reject him because he “didn’t have a car” and “women like men to have a car” so just “get a car” because women “like that.”

              Sometimes people don’t have romantic luck with other people. Sometimes you just don’t meet the right person at the right time. This, oddly enough, happens to women all the fucking time. There are women out there right now who don’t have dates and won’t get married because they were unlucky enough not to meet the person who loved them for all their qualities. Why is there no female equivalent of the PUA/MRA “nice guy?” Its because women are not raised with a sense of entitlement about how if you do X and Y, and Z you get the gorgeous hot guy who is already involved with someone else.

              • Honestly speaking

                Wow, that’s a lot of words put in my mouth that I never, ever said.

                Just to be clear: I don’t think anyone is entitled to attraction or sex based on doing X, Y or Z. Hence why I never said that.

                Nor do I think that women are attracted to “jerks.” That’s also why I refrained from saying anything resembling that as well.

                • I’m really puzzled why you think your original argument doesn’t, in fact, resolve itself into exactly my paraphrase.

                  A nice guy puts in the time being nice to a girl, or lots of girls, and he doesn’t get the girl. He is sad. You argue that if he knew how to behave (had better tutoring in what women want) he would get the girl. He would be happy.

                  That’s the MRA/PUA argument. He did the work, he should get the girl. The girl, they say, went to some other guy who did not do the work, or fooled the girl, or was of higher social status. That all these are more desirable men is implicit in your continued evocation of the notion that all women want agressively masculine or powerful men and that they can’t reliably be wooed by “nice guys.”

                  You don’t go that far but your argument does. If your argument doesn’t precisely go there I’m not sure even what your imaginary nice guy’s complaint is? He’s in his twenties and he did some stuff and no one loved him? That happens to people! It happens to women! We don’t say “needs better role models to hold her hand as she navigates dating.” We say “thats life!” We even say “get a life.”

                  This is not rocket science. There’s no magic word to get the girl because there isn’t only one girl with one set of preferences in the world. Look around you–nerds and geeks and homely guys with acne get girls all the time, and rich handsome guys do too. When men complain that they can’t get a girl they simply mean they can’t get the one they wanted when they wanted her. But nothing guarantees that–not good hygiene and not wealth. She still has agency and choice.

              • Honestly speaking

                Oh, and I think that the reason there isn’t a female equivalent of a “nice guy” is that there is a lot less confusion among women about the distinction between qualities that society admires in general vs. the qualities that (most) (straight) men find attractive in women.

                • Look, HS, you are making a straight up MRA/PUA argument even though you don’t want to go all the way and approve it because you don’t like those guys (and I don’t blame you.)

                  But you basically are arguing that there’s a kernel of truth to their assertion that guys get the short end of the stick, and probably need to do something, in order to “get” the girls they want in a society in which women are desired but sometimes seem (crazy, I know!) to choose not to accept the first nice guy who shows interest in her.

                  In your version 20 something year old guys have a problem because they don’t know the magic attributes or words that will make the girls want to date them. If only they knew! If only some older guy could show them!

                  Those are some magic words and actions, thats all I can say.

                  As for this:

                  I think that the reason there isn’t a female equivalent of a “nice guy” is that there is a lot less confusion among women about the distinction between qualities that society admires in general vs. the qualities that (most) (straight) men find attractive in women.

                  Again, I think its bizarre and essentialist. Are you seriously asserting that women understand what straight men want and that this is all that is necessary for women never to suffer from wanting a guy they can’t get? Because I know that society admires tall blonde, blue eyed, women with a BMI of a starved cat then my dating problems are over? Because I can’t begin to figure out how I managed to get married given that my charms,s uch as they are, don’t track “qualities that society admires in general” or “qualities that most straight men are popularly supposed to value.”

                • Honestly speaking

                  I’m going to stop now, but I’ll conclude by saying that I know I was saying something akin to what a PUA/MRA-type would say (hopefully without the woman-hating). That’s why I said what I did in the original comment!

            • slightly_peeved

              Marcotte — and you, it seems — have constructed this view of “nioe guy” assholes who have a transactional view of attraction and sex where if they act nice and polite they’re owed sex, and they get to bitch and moan if they don’t get it. I agree that anyone who thinks and acts like this would be an asshole; I just am skeptical that this sort of person exists in any appreciable number.

              HOW TO FIND A GUY LIKE THIS ON THE INTERNET

              1) Type “http://www.reddit.com/” into browser
              2) Smash face repeatedly on keyboard
              3) Hit enter
              4) Read stuff from guy like this

              It’s not bspencer and Amanda Marcotte who know about guys like this. It’s Randall Monroe. It’s people at Cracked. It’s freaking “Not Another Teen Movie”. The “friend who sticks by the girl until she falls in love with him” is such a common plot that it is a cliche spoofed in Wayans Brothers films – you really think the intersection of that cliche and ‘sexist guys who bitch on the internet’ is small?

        • Also: I deny that men can hide behind “clueless.” Women never get to claim “clueless” when it comes to social relationships–we are always held to be at fault when we make a social mistake or fail to read signals (thats exactly what happens when rape victims are blamed for causing their own rape by trusting the wrong guy). What makes men entitled to not know what women want or how to get it? What other human social relationships are transactional like this nice guy model? Are male friendship relationships a quid pro quo like this?

          • Honestly speaking

            Who said anything about any hiding behind anything?

            Anyway, as I just said, I think that we’re talking past each other. When we talk about the “nice guy” phenomenon or problem or BS, we’re talking about two different things. I agree that the “nice guys” you are describing — men who think they are owed sex if they don’t start calling women names — are assholes.

            • The Dark Avenger

              I’m skeptical about ‘men in their 20s’ not knowing how to have a relationship with women. In fact, I call bullshit on that concept, unless you have some statistics to back up this extraordinary claim.

              • Honestly speaking

                When did I say that?

                • You are saying that, both DA and I think you are saying that. It may be a communication problem on your end because DA and I are both pretty good at reading stuff.

                  Your argument boils down to “some men are young men and don’t know what women want” –that is why they are “clueless” and if they would get a clue (presumably) they could get the women they are interested in. This is false.

                  1) What women want is not the big freudian mystery. The heart wants what it wants when it wants it. Women aren’t any different from men, in general. And if you are talking specifically about an individual woman–the kind you might meet if you were a man between 16-28–if you don’t know her well enough to know what she wants and what she likes and where she likes to be kissed then you simply aren’t close enough to her to attract her and gain her romantic interest.

                  2) Men have the same chance that women have to study the object of their affections and figure out what makes them tick. If they want a woman–they can do the hard work of figuring it out. If they don’t have the emotional IQ to do that, they really shouldn’t try to have a girlfriend. That doesn’t mean they won’t get a girlfriend! Women have agency and they will often pick perfectly horrific guys to fall in love with. But to the extent that the nice guy in your scenario wants to dictate who falls in love with him as well as who he falls in love with he may be out of luck.

                • Honestly speaking

                  I never, ever said anything about “men in their 20s not knowing how to have a relationship with women.” I never mentioned anything about relationships. (The “young men” I referred is a group that encompasses men in their 20s, so that part is accurate.)

                  As for the rest, I never said that if young men better understood female attraction they could get the women *they are interested in.* Obviously that’s not going to happen. A supermodel is never going to be interested in me, for example, no matter how finely attuned I am to what she likes and what she doesn’t. I did say or at least imply — and I believe — that understanding what qualities (straight) women tend to find attractive in a man would improve young men’s prospects with women in general.

                  Finally, here’s the main thing. You say: “Women aren’t any different from men, in general.” I guess that’s the big disconnect. In terms of attraction, I think that what women find attractive in men (and vice versa) are, in fact, very much different, at least in olaces (there’s obviously some overlap). I also think that what women find attractive in men and what men think that women find attractive in them are pretty different as well.

                • The Dark Avenger

                  And believe it or not, that’s something that a lot of younger men don’t really learn these days, probably for a bunch of reasons

                  Since I’m an older guy in my mid-50s’ I read this as referring to men in their 20s.

                  You still haven’t explained the source of your assertion, so I still call bullshit.

                • Honestly speaking

                  I clarified above — it was the “relationship” part, not the age part.

                  As for a source to my statement that a lot of younger men just really don’t understand what qualities women find attractive (vs. what qualities society as a whole admires), I mean, I guess you’ve got me. I don’t have a stat for that.

                • Honestly speaking

                  (Also, I should note for the sake of full disclosure. I’m not one of those younger men. I’m in my mid 30s, happily married for more than a decade, with a bunch of kids.)

                • 1) Young men in their 20s aren’t really all that young. Certainly young women in their 20’s aren’t treated like frail flowers who don’t know which end is up.

                  2) Why do you think that is, exactly, that young men don’t know what pleases women? Have they been living in monastaries all their lives?

                  3) I never made the mistake of thinking you were either extremely young, or a PUA, or even unmarried. I find your hypothetical sympathy for clueless males to be touching, though misguided.

                  4) I think you are a bit disingenuous with the “I never made this argument” line w/r/t the line we might draw between getting a clue, knowing what women find attractive, and getting a given woman. None of what you are arguing makes sense if you don’t think that “women” find “things X” attractive and that it is lack of “things X” that causes clueless men to be unable to attract women.

                  Here is a hugely important piece of information about women: they like lots of things. They are so different from one another that you find some who like big juggs and some who like big bootay. Oh, I’m sorry, that’s guys. Well, it applies to women too. Women like so many different things that it would be impossible for a guy not to find a woman somewhere who will fall in love with him and be willing to do anything to be with him. However (!) it is not the case that he can find that woman, necessarily, in the space and time alloted to him if he is himself prey to some preferences as to age, style, color, habits, etc…

                  When “nice guys” say they “can’t attract” a woman they are lying. They usually mean that they can’t get the one that they want, and that they don’t want the ones who are available to them and will consider them. That has nothing to do with cluelessness. That has everything to do with their own standards and their own choosiness.

                  The Brazilians have an expression: for every crooked foot there is a crooked shoe. Nice guys have as much a chance as any woman of finding their match. If they don’t they are mismatching themselves with the world around them and it has nothing to do with women and everything to do with their expectations.

                • Lee Rudolph

                  if you don’t know her well enough to know what she wants and what she likes and where she likes to be kissed then you simply aren’t close enough to her to attract her and gain her romantic interest. [emphasis added]

                  It may be just me, but I can’t imagine any period of my life when I knew, of any woman whose “romantic interest” I had not already gained, “where she likes to be kissed”. I can’t even imagine any (remotely credible to me) mechanism by which I might have gained that knowledge. Am I that unusual in this regard? Is it a generational thing, or what? (Short shameful confession: I have also never engaged in what are colloquially known as “locker room conversations” with my male acquaintances, and not only because I have stayed out of locker rooms as if they were abbatoirs. So my personal boundaries may just be set abnormally far from the norm.)

            • slightly_peeved

              The scare quotes in “nice guys” are used to imply a fake nice guy, as described by Amanda Marcotte, bspencer and a shitload of other people.

              If you want to talk about a guy who is genuinely nice, I believe the way of doing it is nice guy.

              Thankfully, I as a young man, while getting terribly close to being a “nice guy”, knew enough about what being nice entailed (no obligations, for starters) as to remain a nice guy until I grew the fuck up and learned all that stuff Aimai mentioned earlier.

          • Aaron B.

            Maybe we just need more positive male role models who can demonstrate a better way for men to make themselves attractive potential partners? “Socialize in this way, cultivate some valuable skills, learn to be funny and charming, don’t cross boundaries.” I feel stupid saying those things out loud, but Honestly speaking may have a point in that some people just don’t know these things and then channel all their pent-up frustration into ressentiment.

            • Honestly speaking

              This was my initial point!

              • Aaron B.

                Yeah, but the bit about “what women are really attracted to” struck a bad initial chord. For me, at least. The things I listed above are just… what people generally are attracted to.

                Anyway, I’m not out to demonize you, just meander around the edges of this discussion.

                • Honestly speaking

                  Well, by putting a “really” in there, you make it sound worse than what I said.

                  Anyway, I just said this in responding to Aimai, but I disagree that men and women are attracted to the same qualities in each other. Or rather, I think that they tend to weight certain qualities differently. For example, I think that men probably value looks more than women do (although women certainly value them!), whereas women probably value confidence more than men do (ditto men!).

                  My first point was that it’s really just the PUA/MRA groups — with all of their awful and misogynist baggage — having that conversation from the male point of view now. And that’s unfortunate.

                • This is in response to “women probably value X while men probably value Y.” This is complete essentialist crap. I can’t speak for men but I can certainly speak for women–there are women who are turned on by looks and looks alone, and women who are turned on by a guy’s brain. There are people who are turned on by spindly geeks for their looks, and women who are turned on by handsome guys because of their adventures and their kindness. People are mixed bags of desires and experiences.

                  I think its incredibly weird and infantilizing and insulting to assert that a man in his 20’s doesn’t know how to behave in public, doesn’t know what the object of his desire likes, is so stubborn that he fixates on mere appearance and goes for a woman who could never in a million years be attracted to him and then pouts when he can’t get her. I don’t have sons but christ on a pogo stick I’ve got a brother and a husband. If either of them were so stupid in their twenties I’d be very surprised. In fact: I know they weren’t.

                • Honestly speaking

                  I think its incredibly weird and infantilizing and insulting to assert that a man in his 20′s doesn’t know how to behave in public, doesn’t know what the object of his desire likes, is so stubborn that he fixates on mere appearance and goes for a woman who could never in a million years be attracted to him and then pouts when he can’t get her.

                  When did I say this? I thought I said that I thought that different qualities weighed different in men’s and women’s attraction calculus. Obviously that’s a generality.

          • Njorl

            Autism spectrum disorder is about 5 times as common in men as women. Women who are affected are usually severe cases who do not function in society, and are not in the dating populous. I’d estimate that about 2-4% of men in the dating populous have a severe, organically-based, social handicap which is present in less than one tenth as many women women. The inability to read social cues is not only a handicap in and of itself, it also slows emotional development the same way dyslexia can slow development of reading skills.

            I was, by all accounts, a good looking guy. I was 6′ 4″, 225 pounds, 4% body fat, good grooming, cute face (no chin though). I used to get whistles and catcalls from girls. I was even funny, which is even better than being cute. I was utterly clueless though. I couldn’t get a date until I was 19.

            I could copy superficial things that others did, but getting to know a girl meant having her stick around beyond the point where she found out I was faking acting like a normal person. I think the natural impulse is to immediately jump to “serial killer, flee”. Eventually, I learned enough social skills to fit in, the way some people eventually learn enough math to balance their checkbooks. But it was painful at times to see my peers socialize romantically with such ease.

            Anyway, I can see how young men with high-functioning autism could fall prey to the PUA mentality.

            • Origami Isopod

              Can we stop blaming male entitlement to women’s bodies on neurological disorders? Because the vast majority of men who behave with this kind of entitlement are not autistic. “Asshole” is not on the spectrum.

              • Njorl

                “Can we stop blaming male entitlement to women’s bodies on neurological disorders? “

                We’d have to start doing that first. I’d prefer not to.

              • ChrisTS

                Holy shit.

                I am nearly 62 years old, and I have encountered would be MRA types all of my life. I am sorry that anyone with an autism spectrum problem has difficulty interacting with other people, but this has or nothing to do with sexual harassment.

                • njorl

                  I was replying, initially, to this comment:

                  ‘I deny that men can hide behind “clueless.” ‘

                  A non-negligible percentage of young men can justifiably do just that. Yes, the majority of emotionally stunted, entitled jerks are that way by choice. Some are not.

              • Lee Rudolph

                I See A Great Need for a new spectrum—the Asshole Spectrum.

            • slightly_peeved

              Women who are affected are usually severe cases who do not function in society, and are not in the dating populous

              (a) this is bullshit. Go google the musician Ladyhawke. There are plenty of others.
              (b) It’s “populace.” Populous is a game Peter Molyneux did before he disappeared up his own arse.

    • I think Honestly speaking has it exactly backwards. PUA is about how to game women to give you sexual favors when you don’t have any of the attributes that you, yourself, admire in men: you are not handsome, you are not generous, you are not wealthy, you are not powerful and you may not even have good hygiene. You are not even interested in the woman as a person.

      A sane person would say: ergo: you are not “conventionally attractive.” You might need to work harder to find the right woman, the woman who will look past your flaws and find the wonderful person underlying these demerits. PUA and “game” assert that rather than, you know, working hard to make yourself more attractive to one woman you work hard to disguise your lack of attractiveness with overbearing masculinity, covert threats, mind games, and trickery. Your goal isn’t to be in a long term relationship with one woman it is specifically to “pump and dump” because women aren’t worth spending quality time with other than during sex.

      I think its interesting that you think of this as a “young man’s problem.” Its only a young man’s problem in the sense that people starting out in any endeavor might have a hard time making headway. But, of course, young men are in actual schools with young women and ought to know them pretty well. Have things changed so much that a good looking guy with a sweet nature and time to spare listening to details of your life can’t get laid? Doubtful. Most women aren’t waiting for James Bond (or Alec Baldwin in Glen Garry Glen Ross) to assert his masculinity all over them. Really.

      • Anna in PDX

        Yes. First, their idea of what women like is completely based on projection and their own inadequacy issues. Second, they are not interested in the women as people. If they only started just seeing women as individual human beings and started sharing interests with women who like or do the same things, they would discover that this stupid stereotype that women only like jerks is, like all stereotypes, neither true in the universal sense nor useful as a tool in meeting women.

      • Honestly speaking

        Wrt the first two paragraphs, I think we’re basically making the same point (or at least same sort of point). PUAs main observation of what causes basic, chemical attraction in (again, most straight) women may be accurate to a large degree — and at the broad level of “masculinity” (probably a better way to say this is “attractive qualities that society characterizes as ‘masculine'”) or confidence or assertiveness, I tend to think it is. I mean, hell, when the first thing Martha Nussbaum says about what attracted her to Cass Sunstein is his “aggressive masculinity,” then there’s probably something to the idea. But then the PUA takeaway is that men can come up with work-arounds to trick women into thinking that the men in question have these qualities, as opposed to, well, trying to develop them. That’s what’s sad about the whole thing.

        As to the last paragraph, maybe it’s a life stage thing and it’s always been this way, but my impression is that the vast majority of young men today are simply clueless as to what women are attracted to.

        • Um…Martha Nussbaum was attracted to Cass Sunstein because he seemed agressively masculine? File that under “no accounting for taste.” Its simply not the case that women are always attracted to men who are conventionally “masculine” if by that you mean anything from merely wealthy to merely an asshole to merely agressive to merely good looking. What men admire in other men is not the same thing that women admire in men, and never has been. But, at any rate, its not relevant and its not even a problem that only young men face. As I believe Amanda Marcotte has pointed out when young or old women have a hard time finding lovers the general reaction is to hold the woman at fault for being too old, too unattractive, too overweight, too choosy, etc..etc..etc…

          • ChrisTS

            Um…Martha Nussbaum was attracted to Cass Sunstein because he seemed agressively masculine?

            Yeah, I choked on that, too.

            • Honestly speaking

              (By the way, you’d really choke if you’ve met Sunstein.)

              • I have met Sunstein.

                • Honestly speaking

                  I definitely didn’t get the masculine vibe from him. Though it was a while ago. And he was apparently a superstar squash player in college, so it might be my masculine-dar.

                • “I didn’t get the masculine vibe from him” goes precisely to the incoherence of the point you are making. Chacun a son gout. One woman’s “agressively masculine” is another person’s “get the fuck outta here with your wimpy self.”

                  Its a horrifyingly sexist poem but here’s some Yeats for ya:

                  While that great Queen, that rose out of the spray, Being fatherless could have her way
                  Yet chose a bandy-leggèd smith for man.
                  It’s certain that fine women eat A crazy salad with their meat – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15530#sthash.iv16DRzG.dpuf

              • ChrisTS

                I have.

          • Honestly speaking

            Quote at the bottom.

            http://abovethelaw.com/2008/02/the-real-reason-cass-sunsteins-going-to-harvard-hes-got-the-power/

            I never said that women are “always” attracted to men who are “conventionally” masculine. But I pretty much agree with the rest of this.

            • I read that “he’s got the power” thing totally the other way. Older man seeks union with younger, more powerful woman who is politically active and moves in social circles he wants to stay in, dumps older woman who can’t add to his power. There’s nothing in that about his agressive masculinity or that says that it is his hypothetical agressive masculinity that got him two high powered women.

              Power couples are just that–power couples. Both are exploiting many dimensions of attractiveness-in-mates and an essentialist quality like “agressive masculinity” or even conventional masculinity is really besides the point. Powerful men are sexy and sexy men are powerful and ditto for women. Men have been using money and political power to gain access to women for a long, long, time and when women are in the driver’s seat–say, Queen Elizabeth the first–men have been drawn to them too.

              • Honestly speaking

                The timing of the quote was after he had started a relationship with Nussbaum but before he moved on to Powers.

                If what you are saying is that Nussbaum’s statement about what attracted her to Sunstein isn’t really what attracted her to Sunstein — it was his power and status — then fine, I guess.

        • Emily

          “my impression is that the vast majority of young men today are simply clueless as to what women are attracted to” is a hell of an assertion not to back up with some actual data other than a vague “impression.”

          My “impression” is that the young and inexperienced display their inexperience in a variety of ways, from shy and tentative to brash and over-confident. There is no reason to rush them to confidence because true confidence develops gradually, with experience and learning. This is true of young women too, but a certain subset of men just seem completely unable to acknowledge that and see all young women as magically confident sex on legs. That’s what’s obnoxious to me about this discussion. Young women also come in a variety of personalities and self-possessedness, and some are lonely and feel ugly, unworthy and rejected. There is no essential gender difference.

    • zombie rotten mcdonald

      So you have this whole cohort of young men who are frustrated because they don’t understand why (most) women aren’t romantically interested in them

      Cracked had an interesting article recently that said, basically, the reason is because you need to have something to offer. You’re a nice guy? The next guy over is nice, and plays guitar. You like museums? This other museum lover is also a trained masseuse. It’s a crazy thing, but very few women are interested in bitter loners who play a lot of video games.

      The answer is not to practice Pick Up Artistry, but get away from the computer and do something. Anything. Try painting. Ride a bike. It’s not about what young men are or aren’t learning, it’s about what they’re DOING.

      Anyway, it was a good article. A little searching, though, I couldn’t turn it up.

      • ChrisTS

        Exactly. The 2nd part of it is communicating to a woman that you are an interesting person and might find her to be so as well.

        I mentioned my son and his male pals above/below. They don’t spend 90% of their time with each other and only go out hunting females the other 10%. They have lots of interests and hobbies, and they include women in those interests and hobbies.

        Jeesus. Why is this so difficult?

      • wjts

        Was it this one?

        • zombie rotten mcdonald

          yes, that was the one. Thanks.

      • JustRuss

        Too quote Napoleon Dynamite: “Girls like guys with skillz.” Man, so much wisdom in that movie!

    • CaptBackslap

      It’s true that most women don’t find it attractive when dudes come at them in the style of supplicants to Athena at the Parthenon, but the solution is not to go with the style of Silvio Berlusconi instead.

      • zombie rotten mcdonald

        Bob Filner is a more contemporary reference.

        • CaptBackslap

          I’m going to guess that a lot of PUAs are on record as admiring Berlusconi, though.

          • zombie rotten mcdonald

            There are also a fair number who are fans of Ariel Castro.

        • Hogan

          Oh, did you see that the Hooters restaurants in San Diego won’t serve Filner? Because women should be treated with respect. No, seriously.

          • I saw that but I assumed they were simply objecting because most of his groping is amateur and doesn’t involve paying Hooters management for the privilige.

      • I think I’d like “the style of supplicants to Athena.” Odysseus was a hell of a man.

        • CaptBackslap

          Having himself lashed to the mast so as to ignore the Sirens was a metaphor for refusing to be friendzoned

          • CaptBackslap

            Excuse me, SPOILER ALERT

            • I LOL’d until I FOTC (fell off the chair).

            • zombie rotten mcdonald

              SA.

          • Lee Rudolph

            Odysseus, having had his sailors stop their ears with beeswax and tie him to the mast, learned—by direct knowledge, the fruit of his own senses—that the Sirens were silent. But to spare his sailors disappointment, and (perhaps; only perhaps) to burnish his own reputation, he ever afterwards averred that, yes, the Sirens’ song was most attractive…though he had heard better in his time.

                                            —An Eisegete’s Odyssey

        • Honestly speaking

          Easy to be a hell of a man when you have a wife like Penelope to come home to. (Eventually.)

    • ChrisTS

      Sooo, my 21 year old son and his male friends are not ‘assertive’ with women. (I’m not sure what ‘masculine men’ means, unless it means some PUA ‘alpha’ dude.) They all seem to have quite good luck with women, even those of them I would not have thought of as particularly attractive.

      Why would that be? They are interesting guys, smart, have some plans for their lives, and enjoy the company of their female friends and girlfriends. It is not magic.

      Look, sometimes a woman might just be looking for a hookup. (She still is unlikely to want to hook up with some aggressive creep who might be dangerous.) But, those sometimes aside, most women are not attracted to men they feel are only looking for sex. It is really off-putting.

    • thebewilderness

      So you have this whole cohort of young men who are frustrated because they don’t understand why (most) women aren’t romantically interested in them.

      Please explain why it would be reasonable to expect most women to be romantically interested in them?

      That seems a rather absurd notion.

      • This made me giggle. Thebewilderness does not post nearly often enough, but when tbw does then tbw brings the hammer down.

    • Hogan

      (most) (straight) women are attracted to assertive and masculine men. And believe it or not, that’s something that a lot of younger men don’t really learn these days, probably for a bunch of reasons.

      Really late to the party (is there any liquor left?), but–that seems like exactly the kind of thing a lot of younger men believe. Which may be the problem. It’s not like there isn’t a metric shit ton of messaging out there conveying exactly that message, including the entire PUA thing and many many advertising campaigns.

    • Origami Isopod

      The user handle plus the first six words of the comment promised me that bullshit was on its way, and, lo and behold, you delivered. Along with the eventual whine that Aimai was “putting words in your mouth.”

      Most straight women are attracted to confident men. “Masculinity” is very culturally determined, and even then … well, have you ever heard of this thing called “yaoi”?

      For example, I think that men probably value looks more than women do (although women certainly value them!), whereas women probably value confidence more than men do (ditto men!).

      And none of this could be socially conditioned, could it?

      And, no, the “nice guy” phenomenon is about male entitlement to women’s bodies. It’s your privilege as a dude to be able to deny it exists.

      • Lee Rudolph

        have you ever heard of this thing called “yaoi”?

        Yet Another Origami Isopod?

        Damn, this acronym business is tough.

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  • ChrisTS

    Holy crap. Look:

    1) Women,like men, are attracted to other people (same sex or not) for a vast variety of reasons – including nothing that could be meaningfully described as ‘reasons.’

    2) NO ONE owes sex or affection to anyone else – certainly not to a stranger. That’s right, guys, you do not owe sexual services to any woman who finds you attractive and does not behave like an asshole.

    3) People of all genders and all sexual orientations find that some of the people to whom they are attracted are not, sadly, reciprocally attracted to them. This never means that the other person owes you anything or is in any way at fault for not being attracted to you – no more than those who find you attractive are owed anything by you.

    4) There have always been ‘awkward’ people. This is a feature of human life, thus far. While we all ought to be sympathetic with such persons, we must also recognize that the [very basic] rights of others obviate any claim of such persons to the affections/sexual interest of others.

    5) There is a great – and profound – distinction between those who cannot have sex with (‘get’) the immediate object of desire and those who cannot/have not found someone to love. To confound these [groups of] persons is to confound getting sex with finding love.

    • Well, no more needs to be said but you know I can never resist topping off. I actually met Mr. Aimai through the personal adds, in a free newspaper. I did an analysis before I ran my add of other people’s adds, scoping out how male and female adds were different, thinking about the ways your add could sift people out or attract a wider audience of likely possibliities. One thing I noticed was a huge number of male adds were written (almost verbatim) like this:

      “I have the car, I have the job, I have a full head of hair, but I don’t have the woman to continue my self adornment–if you are gorgeous enough and high status enough to go with my car and my job then give me a call.”

      • Lee Rudolph

        “I have the car, I have the job, I have a full head of hair, but I don’t have the woman to continue my self adornment–if you are gorgeous enough and high status enough to go with my car and my job then give me a call. And I can never resist topping!”

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