BDSM and pick-up artists

I’ve mostly ignored the pick-up community. On this blog, obviously, but also in my life.

1  Better a person than a method

The main thing I know about encouraging a woman to want to fuck me is to talk to women I fancy and think are interesting, so that I’m enjoying myself whatever happens. That way, though I hope she’ll want to take me to her bed, or flop into mine, I can be relaxed about it. I try to be funny and clever, and let her talk what I probably think is most of the time. (Which means that she probably does about half the talking.) 

At some stage there’s a pause, and a moment, and then we look at each other, and we might decide that it’d be a good idea to kiss. Or else not. But if the pause ends in kisses or a held hand or a held thigh, then more physical stuff is likely to happen, after which we take it outside. And then we take it home, hers or mine.

That’s how most sex has happened to me, anyway. But it isn’t the PUA (pick-up artist) way. 

Of course, it’s fine that the PUA approach doesn’t suit me. My approach is my approach because it’s what works reasonably well for me. I’m better at talking than anything else, so I stick with what I’m best at.

I’ve seen guys impress and attract women on the dance floor, where it’s damn near impossible to say a word. So I know that that works. It just doesn’t work for me. People don’t actually see me dance and run away in horror, but that’s all you can say. No-one has ever seen me dance, and, as a consequence, wanted to fuck me. 

So don’t go for formulas. Keep the sun out of your eyes and be yourselves, that’s the spirit*.

2   PUA thinking, “negging” and so on

But there’s more wrong with the PUA mind-set than just the fact that it doesn’t suit me.  

PUA guru Mystery. Truth is, I've got a hat like that, and it gets outings at parties. Wouldn't wear it to a bar, though. Not in the mountains, hey?

PUA guru Mystery. He’s wearing a ski hat with sunnies, which is his idea of “peacocking”. I thought it was pilot headgear at first, which was more interesting. I’ve got an old-fashioned pilot’s hat and goggles thing that I sometimes wear to parties, so I do peacock. Wouldn’t wear the Biggles gear to a bar, though. Not in the mountains, hey?

Take the “neg” thing, where the PUA says something to the woman that sounds like a compliment, but also  undercuts her. Like, oh, “Like your hair colour. Are the roots meant to be showing?” Or, “That’s a great dress. And brave of you to wear it.” Or some such.

The idea is that attractive women get compliments all the time, and handle them complacently, reading them as, “please pay attention to me, you goddess.” So they ignore those approaches.

A neg is supposed to be more interesting than a straight compliment, and because it includes an element of put-down, it’s supposed to make the woman feel that she needs to work for the respect of the man who negged her.

So it’s manipulative, and that’s creepy. It also seems pointlessly unkind. Why would you say something calculated to make the person you’re with feel slightly worse? Especially if you actually fancy that woman? 

Even a single night in bed is a relationship. It seems odd to want to start any sort of  relationship based on putting the other person down.

If you use negs, and other “techniques”, you turn yourself into a method and not a person. I might get sex from a method but I wouldn’t get the affirmation and, oh fuck it, the ego boost I get when someone meets me and decides she wants to fuck my lights out. 

Worse, it’s a sign of contempt. You could only bring yourself to neg someone if you think they’re dumb enough not to notice, and unassertive enough to feel a little worse about themselves rather than realising that you’re a toxic fool who should be avoided. 

So the put-down isn’t the specific content of the neg, but the fact that you even chose to try one. 

So that’s one part of my lack of interest in PUA and “game”..

wolvesThere’s also the talk about alpha and beta males you get on PUA boards and sites.

I’m not a biologist or animal psychologist, but I’m interested in n how ethics works across species. Also, in some parts of Africa and Asia, when you get out of your vehicle it can be handy to know about the likely behaviour of pack or herd animals that can kill you. 

I’m snob enough not to want to have much to with people who write ignorant bollocks about how animal heirarchies work. Mostly they’ve only read some dated stuff about wolves, and about non-human primates, and tried to apply it to humans. This is doubly stupid: first, their model is wrong about every animal species I know something about.

For example, most alpha males aren’t all that aggressive, and they spend a lot of time making sure everyone else in the troupe or pack is fed. And alpha males generally don’t keep their position unless the alpha females support them. They don’t control who gets the sex in their group, because the females fuck who they want to. The females initiate a lot of the sex, and it seems that they like youth and good looks more than alpha status. Alpha males aren’t the aggressive ones, and they aren’t the studs: basically, they’re politicians.

Second, you can’t even apply models from chimps to bonobos, let alone from wolves or chimps to humans. It’s just embarrassingly stupid.

Also, the homo sapiens guys who think of themselves as alpha males, as they understand the term, tend to strut about doing a lot of body language and oration. And that’s just tedious.

3   The bdsm link

So what’s this got to do with bdsm? Well, the PUA message seems to be getting more openly nasty as time goes on. There’s an increasing emphasis and acceptance of non-consensual scenarios.

For example, there’s the PUA “teacher” Julien Blanc who recommended that guys just go up to women, grab their heads and push them down towards the guy’s crotch. He showed footage of himself doing just that, in Japan. He got away with it, because he’s a gaijin, so the girls laughed because they were shocked and embarrassed about how weird and offensive he was being.

In Japan, laughter doesn’t necessarily mean the person laughing is having fun, or that they are enjoying you being around. Blanc was too stupid and arrogant to bother knowing anything about Japanese culture. It’s a pity no-one called  a cop or kneed him in the bollocks: he couldn’t claim he didn’t understand that

Blanc also recommends that men wear down women’s “bitch shield” (which seems to mean reluctance to spend time with Blanc or his “students”) by commanding them to “get down on your knees, call me Master, and BEG ME to kiss you.” 

The use of bdsm tone and terms is becoming more common. There’s another PUA guy (not linking to him) whose training includes telling guys with poor social skills that many women will obey commands, and “secretly like to be commanded”. 

This worries me because that’s actually true about many women, and not just women who identify as “submissive”. I’m not going to argue about why that is. Of course it’s partly cultural, and to some extent it’s also probably innate and part of our primate, even mammal, heritage. Dominance and confidence are survival traits, and they’re sexy. But there’s a reason why bdsm has so many caveats about consent, in particular informed consent.

If they want to be any good at domming, doms have to learn a lot about power and how to exercise it. And also how to not exercise dominance and power. At work, for example, I keep a very firm lid on all dom signs: body language, tone of voice and so on. As much as I can manage I’m mild-mannered Clark Kent, very polite and unassuming. In fact, I’m like that everywhere, except in the company of a submissive woman who knows who she is and who I am, and who has explicitly given me her consent.

But it is true that a man can give a woman (some women) small commands, and make the orders bigger by degrees. He can also make the orders more and more explicitly sexual, after that third glass, and he’ll probably get away with it. He may get her undressed and himself on her body. He may get a fuck out of it. 

It’s just … Afterwards, she may be happy with that and she may not be. She probably wasn’t raped, in a legal sense, but she has good reason to feel that she was conned and manipulated. It’s rape-ish. Not necessarily a prosecutable crime, but certainly bad behaviour.

So my problem is that some bdsm skills, about mind-fucking and establishing dominance and submission, seem to be seeping into PUA teaching. But without the ethics.

The Jian Ghomeshi case, where Ghomeshi assaulted several women quite seriously, and then claimed he was doing consensual bdsm with them, was an early warning. Promoting behaviour control methods from bdsm, without including bdsm’s ethical rules – especially about informed consent – is dangerous and irresponsible. I don’t see it leading anywhere good.

 

 

* “Keep the sun out of your eyes and be yourselves” is said by the bad guy in Cherry 2000, whose dialogue is a mix of feelgood psychobabble and psycho-killer babble. I’m going to watch Cherry 2000 again soon. It’s probably terrible, but I’m curious to see if I’m still in lust with Melanie Griffith. There was something about her sullen face and squeaky little voice that deeply appealed to the schoolboy Jaime Mortimer. Phwoarr, I thought. Hope I still do. 

35 thoughts on “BDSM and pick-up artists

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  20. “In Japan, laughter doesn’t necessarily mean the person laughing is having fun, or that they are enjoying you being around. Blanc was too stupid and arrogant to bother knowing anything about Japanese culture.”
    This sentence reminded me of when I went on holiday to Thailand a few years back, and in the travel guide, the writer made a similar point about Thais. The writer added that Thai people will often laugh if you have done something incredibly stupid or made an appalling social faux pas because they feel embarrassed on your behalf and are showing empathy by trying to help you laugh it off (something like that).
    Maybe these Japanese ladies felt embarrassed for Blanc’s dickheaded-ness and were laughing out of pity.

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  26. Could be. He’s a pitiable guy in many ways. He’s not over-bright, and a very unattractive man, ironically enough.

    (Though I suppose he can turn that to his advantage, in a commercial sense: “If even a creepy-looking guy like me can get laid, then there’s hope for you. Sign up to my course!”)

    On the other hand, he’d just delivered a violent sexual assault, and you’d have to be a pretty saintly Japanese girl – or any girl – for pity to be your first response to that.

    Though I guess they thought he was weird.

    A lot of Asian countries have that use of laughter. Mostly it works, unless the Westerner thinks he or she must be the life of the party since everybody’s laughing, and ramps up their annoying behaviour even more. But most people aren’t as malign as Blanc.

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