Causation vs. Correlation: Where Classic “Pick-Up” Advice Went Wrong.

The publication of the book The Game by Neil Strauss, over a decade ago, marked the birth of the modern “pick-up” industry, whose intent is to teach men how to become more successful in meeting and attracting women. Many men started religiously following the advice that they got from such books, lectures and online forums, because when applied, it did indeed appear to lead to better results.

However, almost all these men, including the very authors of the advice, often misattributed the reasons behind why their techniques were successful. They believed that the specific actions that they were taking were directly causing their success, when in reality their success was primarily the result of separate factors which were only correlated with their actions.

In all actually, half their success could just be attributed to the fact that they were consistently going out and actively interacting with many new people. The more you interact with strangers, the more comfortable it becomes for you. This is a simple truth that many dating coaches exploit to convince their students that what they are teaching is effective. Such coaches simply have to push their students into many new interactions with women and create the potential for success. Any additional advice or techniques that these coaches teach is often irrelevant. They simply play a numbers game, and then let the students attribute any apparent success to their teachings.

A peacock’s beautiful plumage does not contribute to a peacock’s ability to survive in the wild. It is actually an impediment which causes the bird to be more visible to predators. A brightly colored peacock’s tail correlates with the bird’s ability to successfully gather nutrients and survive despite carrying a colorful target on its back. This ability to survive and thrive is what a female peahen actually cares about in a mate. If a peacock had another way of demonstrating these attractive qualities to a potential mate, it would not need to rely on flaunting its tail feathers.

Men who ascribed to the classic pick-up technique of “peacocking,” would wear outlandish outfits with the intent of getting the attention of women. However, wearing a pink fur coat and ski googles is not what directly caused women to find them attractive. Attraction was generated by these men’s ability to remain confident and self-secure in social situations, despite wearing an outfit that constantly elicited ridicule from all around them. The ability to wear such an outfit in public correlates with a person who is highly self-confident. This display of confidence is what actually causes attraction in women. These men could have instead chosen a less superficial way of showing confidence, and been even more successful because of it.

While having flamboyantly dressed men reciting pick-up lines can be dismissed as farcical, a more disconcerting interwoven adjunct ideology began to develop within some hemispheres of the pick-up community. This adverse ideology preyed on a man’s sense of feeling inadequate or derelict, and fueled any contempt that these men may have already held towards women for rejecting or hurting them in the past.

These men felt vindicated when they were presented with a narrative which told them that they were victims of an unjust society that would never appreciate their better qualities. This new doctrine wrongly taught men that they must adapt a Machiavellian approach to dating, where subversive tactics are needed to manipulate women who otherwise would only take advantage of them.

While some men were quick to embrace this ideology since it vindicated a lifetime of suffering, other men came to adapt it much more reluctantly and do to having found a lack of alternatives. While these men may have felt that something was a bit off about this new philosophy, they still found certain aspects of its teachings helpful. And the more that certain concepts seemed to hold some truth, the more likely followers were also to accept the misguided reasoning behind the ideas.

This new Machiavellian ideology was as deeply flawed as the mainstream social conditioning that its followers were trying to escape. You attract what you are. If you view all women as being inherently dishonest, then you will disproportionately bring into your life women who serve to reinforce this belief. If you become a person who plays validation games to attract women, then the majority of the women that you attract will be ones who respond to such games.

Subscribers to such ideologies normally find that even though they now receive attention from women, these women are not the types that they truly desire. This then only causes them further frustration, while providing them with additional skewed evidence for what they wrongly believe to be the “true nature” of all women.

When I wrote the book Fundamentals of Female Dynamics, it was written for the purpose of educating instead of indoctrinating. My hope was that the book would serve as the needed alternative for men looking for unbiased advice about what women truly find attractive. Unlike almost every other book which teaches a hodgepodge of tips and tricks while ignoring context and reasoning, this book instead focuses on the core principles which are universally true.

Using excerpts from the book, we will now exam and discuss why the classic pick-up techniques such as not buying women drinks, being disrespectful, giving backhanded compliments (negs) and running pre-prepared routines appear to work. These types of behaviors do not directly cause attraction, but simple correlate with deeper principles which do.

Let’s start with buying women drinks.

The issue is not the actual act of buying a woman a drink, but what the act sub-communicates and one’s intentions behind it. When you offer to buy a woman that you barely know a drink, it often carries with it a clear connotation. You are communicating that you are willing to provide material possessions in exchange for attention, affection and/or potential sexual favors. Even if you tell yourself that you don’t actually want to sleep with the woman, you are still sending her the message: “Please take this gift and like me.” While you may believe that you are offering an altruistic gift, in reality you are still in fact asking for something in return. You desire that your gift will be met by a positive response or at the very least recognition. If you believed that you yourself were of value, then you would not feel the need to provide immediate material compensation to a woman with whom you want to converse.

After receiving an unsolicited gift from a man that she does not know, some women will immediately be made uncomfortable by the feeling that they owe you something in return. Other women, who are of the type that are constantly seeking validation, will smile and thank you before leaving you to seek further validation elsewhere. Regardless of how the woman accepts your gift, you may immediately place yourself at a disadvantage by establishing an initial frame in which you are overtly trying to sell yourself.

You can just as effectively signal your interest to a woman without also offering a bribe. Do not misinterpret this lesson and believe that the point is never to buy a woman a drink. Again, the issue is not the action itself, but rather what is being sub-communicated. There are certainly situations where it is appropriate to pay for a woman, e.g. she has already bought you a drink or the drink comes from a place where you are not giving to get something in return. However, it is necessary for the woman to perceive this as the case. Often by initiating a conversation by offering to purchase a drink for a woman, the woman will automatically group you in with the other 95% of guys who do it to barter for her attention. Thus to prevent being pegged as one of these men, I have found that not buying a drink is the correct decision the vast majority of the time when initially interacting with a woman that I do not yet know.

On the subject of being disrespectful and saying backhanded compliments (negs):

I personally do not believe that it is ever necessary to be purposely disrespectful to other people. However, I fully understand why being disrespectful seems to yield positive results with women. An understanding of the deeper fundamental principles regarding attraction reveals the truth behind the popular belief that women love assholes.

Most women that have had a half-way decent childhood are not attracted to men who are mean, self-centered, arrogant, obnoxious or indifferent towards others. Instead, it is the underlying complementary characteristics that often go with being an asshole that account for why women are attracted to them. Fortunately for humanity, these positive and attractive characteristics are not mutually exclusive to being an asshole. One can cultivate these positive attributes separately from the other negative traits.

Self-centeredness can be a characteristic of a man who is fervently pursuing what he deems as his purpose in life. Arrogance often correlates with a man who has great belief in himself. An obnoxious person typically believes that what he has to say holds value. Appearing indifferent can be a trait of a man who has abundance and is secure in his environment. Thus women are not attracted to assholes per se, but instead to confident men, who are secure with themselves, know and go for what they want and do not let the opinions of others faze them.

As previously discussed, a nice guy’s actions can often be interpreted by a woman as an attempt to buy her affection. Thus inversely, being disrespectful to a woman is the clearest way of communicating that you are indifferent to her opinion of you. After all, a woman who has not read this book would likely find it hard to rationalize why a man interested in her would be insulting. An insult can sub-communicate to a woman that you are not trying to impress her or are emotionally dependent on her validation. Thus the woman will not sense that you have an agenda and will be more likely to trust what you say as being honest.

While I do not advocate actively insulting women, you should not be filtering your true thoughts and beliefs in an attempt to impress a woman or tell her what you think she wants to hear. When a woman senses that you are stuck in your head and filtering your words, she loses the sense that she can fully trust what you say and realizes that your emotions are dependent on her validation.

Conversely, when a woman senses that your emotions are not dependent on her validation, an immense pressure is removed from the interaction. Through removing one’s filters and ceasing to seek approval, you will gain the trust and respect of most women. In general, women will more often be intrigued by your honesty than upset that you don’t share same exact opinions as them.

A woman likes a guy who is an asshole because he communicates honest signals. She can trust that he is not putting on some type of act, and that the man she is getting to know is actually who he says he is. The actions of a so called “nice guy” are often extremely dishonest. By pretending that you are not interested in a woman, and that you are only being nice, you are effectively lying to the woman. There is incongruence between your thoughts, words and actions. This incongruence shows the woman that although you like her, you lack self-confidence, crave her validation, and want an intact ego more than you want her. To be clear, the goal is not to become an asshole, but to learn to communicate your honest intent. The types of women for whom you actually need to become an asshole to attract are the same ones that you should probably avoid.

I would say “negs” in the form of playful teasing are fine. But I would not purposely insult people to get a response. There is really no need. If you are not seeking reactions for what you are saying, and speaking honestly and unfiltered, then your conversation is going to organically have negative and positive emotions within it.

Finally, the reason that scripted techniques and routines seem to work is primarily because of the confidence they instill in the person reciting them. The user is confident in the technique because of the positive past reference experiences that they have gained from previously having used the technique successfully. While the content of the routines themselves can contribute to the generation of attraction, the confidence that the person reciting them shows contributes even more. However, ideally this confidence should be drawn from a person’s internal belief in oneself, instead of from the belief in some external technique.

The primary problem with classic pick-up advice was that it focused on teaching men how to appear as an attractive man, instead of how to actually become an attractive man. It was through repeatedly taking action and applying techniques (a mix of good, irrelevant and ridiculous), that some men eventually learned the deeper principles and developed a core confidence in themselves, which is at the heart of true attraction.

Check out the book Fundamentals of Female Dynamics for a mature guide that teaches the core principles behind attraction.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusreddittumblrby feather