"There are sluts and whores and nice girls too." This line, from The Guide to Picking Up Girls, epitomizes the approach of men's dating guides, which can be summed up thusly: Women are still the problem.
There are far fewer dating guides specifically aimed at men, less still if you exclude the unisex offerings. And yet, some common themes begin to emerge while reading. While the Mystery Method has been rightfully derided for it's high creep factor, many of these guides follow the same premise: hunt women for sport; women can easily be manipulated to your ends;, and you need to sift through a lot of women to find the one who is worthy of you. I do admire this take though - unlike guides aimed at women, which seem to think we should be thankful for any man who crosses our path, most of the male-directed books stress finding the best person for you. How to go about finding that person, however, is a completely different ball game...
1. The System, by Doc Love
Okay, okay, I need to confess - I did not shell out $99 bucks to read this book. I will discuss it, however, as I've been reading Doc Love's columns over at Askmen.com for the last five years. That is more than 250 weekly doses of Doc Love's special blend of "mentoring" which all boils down to basics:
The Women You Want Are Flexible Givers
A flexible giver is a girl who is so interested in you she goes along with everything you need and rarely asks for anything in return. Occasionally, Doc Love will chastise a guy for being selfish, but rarely - the goal is to get her to initiate and ask for everything.
To Get Them, You Must Be a Challenge
A challenge is a guy who comes off as aloof and funny, who remains distant, and who stays in control of the situation at all times.
Your main job, as a guy, is to raise her interest level. This is not as easy as you think.
You're not here to make this girl happy, buddy. You're here to raise her Interest Level. While you're trying to make Holly happy, her Interest Level is swirling around the toilet bowl. Like the old Chinese proverb goes, "So why are you on this road, grasshopper?" It's obviously the wrong one. Are you sure you have my book?
Making someone happy. Ha! You fool. You also raise and maintain interest level by doing things like waiting a week to call the girl you like,staying off the phone, and not initiating physical contact.
Don't Fall For Womanese
Womanese is apparently the craziness we say when we mean something else. According to the Doc, if a woman is giving you any kind of static (too many arguments, resistance to your distance) she's speaking womanese to mask the fact that her interest level is falling. Get it?
Here's an example:
Anytime a girl utters the words "I need space" or "I don't know what I want" or any other such Womanese, that means you're out. You're finished. This is what Ranita's telling you, Avenir. They all use the same lines. I don't care if the girl lives in Bangladesh or Bangor, Maine — it's the same.
We silly little puppets just need to learn to play nice.
2. The Guide to Picking up Girls, Gabe Fishbarg
Gabe is obsessed with your rap. You know, how you kick rap to the ladies. Chapter One, Section One is titled "A Rap is What You Say When Talking to a Girl." I feel like I could have learned this watching Blossom, from Joey. Or maybe from the Fresh Prince era Will Smith. Fishbarg continues:
Improving your rap and honing your rap skills should be a long-term project.
I agree. I was going to put a copy of this book in the mail to Soulja Boy, 50 Cent, and a few others before I realized he's still talking about picking up women.
"The Guide" often refers to itself in the third person. Example:
"The Guide understands, like you do, that there are many different types of girls you will meet in life. There are pretty girls and there are ugly girls. There are girls who are bitches and there are girls who are not. There are sluts and whores and nice girls too."
The Guide is very clear about what it is not.
"You may read The Guide and then hit it off with someone on your first night out. Put this book away and date that girl. [...]This is purely a manual on how to pick up a girl and get her phone number."
The Guide also speaks to you in a series of commands:
Being nervous is not an option. The Guide will help you lose any nervousness you may have. If you are nervous, see the section on alcohol on page 76 of The Guide."
"Traumatized in high school? You and everybody else. Forget all the high school, college, or post college rejections and the girls who ignored you. It doesn't matter. Girls can be mean and full of anger. Forget them. The time for anger is over. It's time to party and have fun."
"As a general rule, you should never dance. Dancing is a big waste of time. Avoid it at all costs. Most straight men can't dance without looking foolish while doing it."
There are also a whole set of wingman related commands.
"At some point in the rap, you must buy your girl a drink. The wing man must buy his girl a drink too. You should pay the wingman back for his girl's drink if he has "taken a grenade" (i.e. his girl is unavailable or unattractive.) If his girl is cute, no need to reimburse him for his wingman expenses. [...] A good wingman must be willing to take the grenade. In the military, a soldier will fall on a live grenade to save the rest of his buddies. While his friend talks to the pretty girl, a good wingman must be ready, willing and able to take the grenade and talk to the married girl, the angry girl, the fat girl, the ugly girl, etc."
All that? No wonder they get their own song.
But I did get completely skeeved out with this line.
"You are on a mission. Your mission is to impose your will on a girl."
Record scratch! Seriously? All I could think was:
"You are going to convince the girl that you are the guy she should want. She will believe that you are what she is looking for. She can't do better than you."
But I was done. Abandon book!
How to Succeed With Women, Ron Louis and David Copeland
I really wanted to like this book. Initially skeptical, I was won over by the initial thoughtful advice and the plain, common sense manner. Until we got way off the tracks in the middle, I was about to push this book for some kind of dating award. But let's start with the good.
They attack "nice guys"
"If you believe that you are a nice person, who only has nice thoughts and desires, you'll be less able to be responsible for your behavior. You'll do things that most definitely are not nice, but you won't even notice you did them. After all, you'll tell yourself, no way could you be mean: You're a "nice man." You will ruthlessly refuse to admit you were ever unkind. Women tell us repeatedly that it's the "nice men" they have to watch out for. They tell us that "nice" guys are more likely to express their anger indirectly, and to hurt them emotionally, all the while acting innocent and claiming to be victims themselves."
They explain what they mean by "be yourself"
"Being yourself" doesn't mean that you are utterly impulsive and driven by whatever behavior is most convenient for you in the moment. In different situations, you naturally bring out different parts of yourself."
They tell men to stop whining
"If you are a man who whines about how dating isn't fair, and how you have to do all the pursuing of women, you must stop that right now." […] "Our advice is to get over it. If you don't have the sex life you want, it's your responsibility to get it."
They explicitly tell men what they need to understand
"Fear of being abused, hurt, or raped by men is the biggest concern women have in dating. Dawn and most other women smartly scope out men to make sure they won't be physically hurt by the ones they date. They want to be sure they can trust the men they are attracted to before getting physically vulnerable with them." [...]
"Put yourself in a woman's shoes. If you were aware of stories of rape, spousal abuse, torture, and the murder of women everyday in newspapers and on TV, you'd be paranoid, too. Women need to be a bit paranoid because so many men are psycho. It simply isn't worth the risk for a woman to go home with a man who could hurt her."
Word! Dear men on the street: stop acting with shock and surprise that I do not want to get into you car with you after you blew your horn and yelled something about my ass. I do not want to end up dead. Kthxbai.
In addition to the sensible attitude toward dating, they also treat their readers with respect. While books aimed at us tend to call us fat harpies, they took great pains to explain to men the horror that is shopping.
"Almost all women spend time thinking about how they look to men, and spend a lot of time trying to improve their attractiveness. Heck, they even put paint on their faces to make themselves look better! We're not suggesting you go that far, but since women spend time thinking about how they look to the other sex, perhaps spending a little time on it yourself is not so unreasonable." [...]
"Some clothing stores are better than the average man than are others. If you are a bit overweight, some of the more hip and upscale stores may not fit you well. Very often one store will have a whole line of pants that don't fit you well. It's just the way clothes are cut. Another store, on the other hand, might have a wide variety of pants that fit you. It's a good idea to keep shopping around until you find a store where the clothes fit, they look good, and the salespeople help you expand your style."
Copeland and Louis introduce a "Thirteen Point Body Makeover for Being Attractive to Women" which boils down to: do your hair; trim ear, nose, and eyebrow hair; get nice glasses or contacts; don't snort/spit; trim your beard; use chapstick; go to the dentist; use lotion/moisturizer; reduce smelliness with deodorant/Beano/mints; don't overload your pockets; have a nice belt; clean matching socks; stand up straight.
Must be nice, right?
They also bring back an old school favorite: Goofus and Gallant. You remember them?
Chapter four details where to find women, using guys named Bob and Bruce as foils.
Bob (aka Goofus) is a little fucked up. In the fake scenario, he wakes up thinking:
Oh no, another day. Can't I go back to bed and pretend I'm dead? This is going to be worse than yesterday. God I wish I were sick today. Maybe I should call into work and pretend I have the flu. I haven't met any women in over two years.
Bruce (aka Gallant) wakes up to "Foxy Lady"calls the radio station and tries to flirt with the DJ. At 6 AM. Bob hates his life, Bruce is always on an adventure. Bob masturbates home alone, Bruce is macking on anything that moves at the gym. After Bob passes out while masturbating, Bruce gets it in with his piece on the side.
While offering up good tips like the best places to meet women (coffee shops, malls, bookstores, bars [flagged for short term sex], happy hour, the internet) and secret places to meet women (yoga [where to meet new age women]; dance class; church; outdoor music; personal growth seminars; volunteering; friends and fam), this was the part of the book where I started to pump the brakes.
Let's revisit that concept of "a piece on the side." In the book, this term is defined as
a woman you know you can have, but who isn't attractive enough for you to try to start relationship with.
The idea is that you fuck the piece on the side so that you won't be nervous around the girl you really like.
Yo, that's cold.
I can understand the idea of diversifying, of dating a few different people to combat investing everything in one person too soon. But to use someone who you know likes you for purely sexual purposes? Bad dating karma.
And the rest of the book also gives that same vibe - while they claim to be different, and have even learned some of the concerns of women, much of it is a prettied up rehash of Doc Love and Mystery. By the time I got to Chapter Eleven - "When Babes Attack: Handling the Problems Women Cause" - I was done. While there was a lot to be learned from this book, their front that "women are people too" started to show a little too much wear at the edges.
Next Time: Race and Dating in Black, White, and Whatever