Jerks will be jerks

by Maria on November 13, 2014

The thing about an ICANN meeting is they’re mostly men, and most of them are lovely, especially the older, very techie ones. I do the policy circuit and the 16 hour days, and I mostly skip the big industry parties. (Actually, I’m not usually invited. Probably because I’m such a blue stocking.) So I don’t usually interact with the trade show marketing types, the back end salesmen and the domainer guys.

But once, I think it was in Dakar but they all blur into one, I’d had a couple of drinks and ran into a friend I call in my heart of hearts the ‘king of the registrars’, the hard scrabble companies that sell domain names and figure out how to game any system they can get to let them in. Whatever hotel this was, it had managed to create some mystique about having a club on the top floor that didn’t advertise itself. It was the place to be. My friend convinced me and a female colleague to go up for a nightcap.

Now my colleague was six feet tall, blonde and the kind of gorgeous that makes even straight women pause to enjoy an extra look. In fact, when my boss first introduced her as his incredibly capable new assistant, we all went ‘uh-huh, sure.’ (He took it on the chin and sure enough she turned out to be the smartest on the team and pretty much indifferent to being ritually dismissed for her beauty.) So she and I catwalked out of the elevator on whatever secret floor this club was on and right into a long glitzy bar we walked the length of, got seen to be seen, and went and sat down on a magically free sofa. It was just that kind of night.

Various youngish guys we didn’t know sat down to talk, offer us drinks and wander off. I was on water by now. Holding court beside us was the alpha guy I liked to call the king. A bit like ‘the king of the travellers’, in that you don’t get it by being born – you have to fight smarter and tougher than anyone else, and a bit of charisma doesn’t hurt either. Guys would ply their differing wares to him, then us, or vice versa. One glommed on to me, probably because I was older and plainer than my colleague. The conversation started off harmlessly enough, the usual ‘what do you do’ and ‘where are you from’. He was keen to show he was also a big time domainer or domain name seller or something, and he’d keep nodding in the direction of the king.

Then things got a little strange. He would ask me a question and I’d answer it, and he’d say something rude about my answer. I wish I could remember the actual things he said. They weren’t outrageous, just mildly obnoxious. I’d nod and wait for him to say or ask something else, and then say ‘right’ or ‘is that so?’ But he was quite insistent about me giving substantive answers that he would then say rude things about in a weirdly affectless way. I remember wondering if he was Aspergers or something, which is not unknown in the technical community, though this guy seemed far more interested in money than code. I swatting that idea away. The rudeness had an edge. It was intentional.

So I said to him ‘wow, that was really quite rude, did you mean to say it?’ And he said something like ‘come on, you liked it. You know I’m in charge’. Or something equally asinine.

And then the penny dropped.

I was being chatted up by a real live Pick Up Artist!

I burst out laughing and said ‘oh my god, I don’t believe it. You’re doing that thing, aren’t you?’
‘What thing?’ he asked.
‘You know, the thing where you try and make a woman feel bad enough about herself that she’ll suck your cock.’
‘Don’t flatter yourself’, he said.

Then my little lizard brain stirred deep down in the folds of the amygdala and said to me ‘you know what will work best here, don’t you?’. And I thought to myself, this doesn’t make me a good feminist, but it will be nasty good fun.

I turned to the king and said, over the guy’s head, ‘you’ll never believe what this guy just tried on. He negged me. Have you heard of that? The whole PUA thing?’

‘What, him?’ the king said, laughing, to us both. ‘Little jerk. Is he even old enough?’

And the little jerk slunk away, defeated.

Oh how we laughed.
Patriarchy. You’ve gotta love it.

{ 196 comments }

1

Main Street Muse 11.13.14 at 11:24 am

Is this what dating rituals are now? The man tries to make the woman feel like shit about herself?

I know it didn’t work here – but it works elsewhere?

Happy to be out of the dating scene. Worried about what my children will have to endure.

2

yabonn 11.13.14 at 11:54 am

Worried about what my children will have to endure.

Will just have to add “jerk awareness” when teaching them the internets.

3

david 11.13.14 at 12:07 pm

A private club in Dakar for Westerners sounds exactly like a place where an attractive woman would be assumed to be the trophy of the most senior man in the room and an unattractive one to be his relatives.

So the pathetic negging has extra incentives: a bed-warmer and networking!

4

Daniel 11.13.14 at 12:08 pm

Apparently it is a thing now, and has been written up in the Guardian (I prefer your version to Hadly Freeman’s).

If only these guys had studied more heterodox economics, they would be familiar with the concept of a “minority game” and of strategies which only work if they are in an unusual niche. Sadly they’re stuck in the paradigm of mainstream game theory and Nash equilibrium (I am not joking; cf the relevant pick-up artist scene in the film version of “A Beautiful Mind”). The old Welsh proverb comes to mind … what was it .. oh yeh. “Ah well, tough shit”.

5

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 12:17 pm

Is this what dating rituals are now? The man tries to make the woman feel like shit about herself?

I know it didn’t work here – but it works elsewhere?

It varies every which way.

The physicist Richard Feynman wrote about it, based partly on his own experience soon after WWII. I’ve never done it except by accident. My explanations are that some women want approval so much that once they notice they’re being disapproved by somebody who only wants sex with them, they’ll do that for the approval. And some women surrounded by men who flatter them to pick them up, find the one who doesn’t flatter them stands out from the crowd. And probably some women recognize the technique and go along, the way they’d go along with a lame pickup line if they’re in the mood.

I talked with a number of pickup artists when I researched NLP. They didn’t use this method, their method was to talk to women they were attracted to, describe their philosophy of mutual pleasure with no strings, no commitment, and no craziness, and if the woman was not interested then smile and politely say goodbye and try the same line on some other woman. They claimed very good results but I didn’t actually watch them do it.

I have not had any extended conversations with pickup artists who use negging, but my speculation is that the ones who do it, want to think they are manipulating women into having sex with them who otherwise would not. When it succeeds they feel like they’ve won some special victory, and when it fails they figure anything else would have failed too. It is a psychological crutch for men who think of women as something other and alien. They feel better to have a magic ritual which is supposed to prevent rejection and which allows them to talk to women despite their fears.

6

Daniel 11.13.14 at 12:28 pm

The physicist Richard Feynman

A friend of a relative of a friend was a reasonably senior (kind of Tommy Smith level – not a galatico, but a proper local hero for a very good team) physicist in the 60s and knew Feynman quite well. When I talked to him, the film Amadeus had just come out, and he claimed that meeting RF made him feel exactly like Salieri did in the play – how can all this divine music be coming out of that total arsehole?

7

ZM 11.13.14 at 12:34 pm

People from other countries might not be following Australia’s recent Pick Up Artist incident.

An apparently (in)famous Pick Up Artist tried to visit Australia recently.

People were not happy about this.

Then our government declared Pick Up Artist techniques such as you mention are intolerable in Australia and then our Immigration Minister proceeded to cancel his visa and deport him, while the police announced his departure on Twitter and the Police Commissioner deplored him:

““We can confirm Julien Blanc left Australia overnight,” Victorian police said on Twitter. “His assistant is also due to leave shortly.” The pair had planned to stay until December.

The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, said Blanc’s visa was cancelled Thursday night.

“The matter was raised with us and we had it investigated and this fellow looked at,” Morrison told Sky News on Friday.

“This guy wasn’t putting forward political ideas, he was putting forward abuse that was derogatory to women and that’s just something, those are values abhorred in this country.”

Victorian police commissioner Ken Lay, who has consistently worked to end violence against women, was so disturbed by Blanc’s behaviour that he released a statement Friday condemning it.

“I’ve seen Julien Blanc’s work,” he said. “To me most of it appears to be deeply disturbing and offensive. Labelling women as objects and actively promoting the abuse of women degrades the dignity of our whole community.

“We want to assure everyone that we have been paying close attention to this issue and appreciate that so many community members have expressed concern.””

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/nov/07/protesters-force-us-pick-up-artist-julien-blanc-to-quit-australian-tour

8

engels 11.13.14 at 1:00 pm

PUartistry is repulsive but the ev-psych world view of this post doesn’t really seem like much of an answer to it (just my two trollish cents).

9

Ronan(rf) 11.13.14 at 1:18 pm

Kicking this Julien Blanc dude out of Australia is pretty outrageous. No different than the sort of hysteria in the 00s against radical clerics and the likes. There’s pretty much no constituency anymore for old school live and let live liberalism; our political culture is just a collection of leftist and libertarian authoritarians, completly illogical disgruntled conservatives and PC anarchists who’d have you shot in the morning.
(this isn’t a comment on the OP, which I enjoyed, only the case ZM linked too)

10

engels 11.13.14 at 1:23 pm

Ronan, wasn’t he advocating physically assaulting women- that sounds fairly non ‘hysterical’ grounds for a ban to me.

11

Ronan(rf) 11.13.14 at 1:41 pm

engels – I don’t know, it doesnt go into too much detail in ZM’s link and (although this doesn’t do my position much good) it’s the first I’ve heard of him. But still, I dont see that as being a reason to ban him. The men who will go to this bootcamp are his ideological stormtroopers. They have signed up to this vision of the world completly. Their perspective won’t be changed by Julien Blanc not getting in. They have multiple other means of buying what Blanc is selling. At the very best, it’s a meaningless symbolic victory, but what does it symbolise ? That most liberal countries political cultures aren’t capable of putting up with divergent perspectives,(I agree that the perspective is repulsive)
Plenty of radical Islamist preachers have advocated assualting women (by any reasonable definiton of assault) , hating gays, upturning the political order of the West. It’s a problem, but a minority one, and worth keeping some perspective over. Better tackled through education, ignoring or making fun off than banning orders.

12

gianni 11.13.14 at 1:42 pm

“Blanc’s “PhD in female attraction” involves a disturbing fixation with physical violence. Blanc proudly posts photos across social media of him propositioning women in chokeholds using the hashtag “#ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld”.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/05/julien-blanc-the-female-attraction-expert-glorifies-sexual-violence-the-less-seminars-he-holds-the-better

Links to twitter were in the original text, but the sources have all been deleted.

Getting him kicked out of the country due to public protest is certainly remarkable, but I don’t know about outrageous.

13

Phil 11.13.14 at 1:43 pm

their method was to talk to women they were attracted to, describe their philosophy of mutual pleasure with no strings, no commitment, and no craziness, and if the woman was not interested then smile and politely say goodbye and try the same line on some other woman. They claimed very good results

I used to know a guy who did exactly that & he claimed good results, too. Well, I say ‘exactly’ – what he did was walk up to girls and say “Do you fancy a shag?”. The first one might tell him to eff off – the first ten or twenty might tell him to eff off, for that matter – but by the end of the night he’d be on a promise.

What gets me about guys like those NLP Jedis is how terribly terribly seriously they take the business of being a creep. I’m reminded of that Hollaback street harassment video, and in particular of the first comment I saw on it, one place where it was posted. This bloke says, “I work very long hours and I choose not to date at work (because I am Mr Ethics), so I pick up women on the street, because otherwise I would never get my end away at all, and that would be Wrong. And hey, sometimes a woman tells me to get lost, so I back off and no harm done, but you know what, sometimes they really love it – sometimes a woman’s just waiting to start a relationship with a random male stranger, even though she doesn’t realise it. It’s like all those films you see, it really is. So, you know, calling it harassment and all, what the hell?”

As well as turning a discussion of street harassment into one about how awful it would be for this one guy not to get laid – which is quite a trick in itself – I was really struck by the way he turned himself into the good guy, when all he’d described himself doing was basic, instrumental, exploitative sexual predation. The idea that he might get to know some people (of the opposite sex), become friends, and move on from there to the whole sex thing just never seems to have pinged his radar.

14

William Timberman 11.13.14 at 1:46 pm

An anecdote related by a friend: when he was fairly young and inexperienced, and new to the big city where he’d come to seek his fortune, he was adopted as a sort of mascot by an older guy with who apparently radiated enough charisma for him to shelter under. When they went bar-hopping, this guy would walk straight into a place, check out the women, and then proceed from one to another like a bee in a flowerbed, never spending more than 30 seconds or so with each one. When my friend asked him about his technique, he explained that a) experience gave him instant insight into whether a woman would be interested or not, and b) it was important for his self-esteem not to linger long enough with a woman who wasn’t interested to get his feelings hurt.

The story reminded me of Mae West’s line: so many men, so little time. It also made me ask myself whether, given that coup-counting seemed so important to so many, I’d been shorted somehow in the libido department.

15

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 1:51 pm

PUartistry is repulsive but the ev-psych world view of this post doesn’t really seem like much of an answer to it (just my two trollish cents).

I don’t think it’s repulsive in general except for the public health issue. Some people use repulsive methods.

The ones I met seemed OK. In public situations, they approached women who didn’t mind talking to them. They explained their libertine philosophy. One-time hopefully-pleasurable sex, no consequences, no expectations. They made their offer if the woman hadn’t already told them to go away yet. If she agreed, probably she was OK with it. If she said no thank you, she liked the idea but not today, then they politely said goodbye. If she said it was a good idea but not with somebody she found personally repulsive like them, they called over one of their friends to try and politely bowed out. If she said no, she didn’t do that kind of thing, then they politely said goodbye. If she said “How offensive! What kind of woman do you take me for?” they said “A liberated woman who makes her own choices, now please pardon me I must be going, no need to take more of your time.”. They did not want to seduce women who would be upset about it afterward, so they tried to quickly find someone who wanted what they honestly had to offer.

People who randomly approach women and try one trick after another to make them say yes, have to be incredibly annoying. This particular incident gave Maria the chance to get back. The guy tried to damage her self-confidence, so she damaged his badly. ‘Little jerk. Is he even old enough?’ It didn’t do the world a whole lot of good — the implication being that the little jerk will someday grow into his full powers. But it got him out of her hair.

(Like when you find chewing gum in your hair. The sooner you get it out, the better. There must be a thousand ways to do it other than threatening it with a knife, but most of them involve other disadvantages. Peanut butter, WD40, mayonnaise, lemon juice, baking soda, tooth paste — You didn’t ask to have chewing gum in your hair in the first place and then it’s hard to get rid of.)

16

Lynne 11.13.14 at 2:12 pm

Maria,

“And I thought to myself, this doesn’t make me a good feminist, but it will be nasty good fun.”

Oh, I don’t know. Feminists like to have fun. :)

17

Lynne 11.13.14 at 2:19 pm

ZM,

I never heard of Julien Blanc but wow, good for Australia. I followed your link, and then a link within that article and ended up at a video of him giving a seminar to other white men about how to behave with Tokyo women. Just grab the back of their head and apply their face to your dick, says he, demonstrating. And then it shows him doing so, over and over, in public situations so you think, surely nothing is happening. But he says he had a very good time in Tokyo. Scary stuff—he looks like a big guy.

This routine use of force reminds me of the Jian Ghomeshi case that is unfolding here in Canada, where a well-known public personality has been accused of repeatedly assaulting women he dated (he claims they wanted to be beaten). Unsavoury things are coming out about his behaviour to his colleagues, too. Maybe the most surprising thing about it, to me, is that he thinks it’s okay. He didn’t see anything wrong with squeezing a woman’s neck until she couldn’t breathe, for instance, or beating another woman on the head with his fists.

18

dsquared 11.13.14 at 2:21 pm

But still, I dont see that as being a reason to ban him.

As I have had occasion to reflect a few times (and indeed there are two posts on the front page about this) we currently live in a world where entering someone else’s country and getting the visa to do so is a privilege, not a right. This is even more the case if your purpose of visit is business rather than pleasure, and yet more still the case if your business involves the holding off large public meetings.

If the immigration authorities become aware that you’ve got a history which makes it seem very likely that you’re going to use your meetings to encourage people to commit the crime of assault, then yeah, that sounds to me like the kind of thing that is going to go badly.

19

Sasha Clarkson 11.13.14 at 2:32 pm

I once saw negging used as a strategy on a lady friend of mine by an Irish builder who had a track record of wife-beating. She introduced us in a pub and he tried to involve me in his conversation with her: “Don’t you think her hair would look so much better if …” Yeuch!

20

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 2:55 pm

“Happy to be out of the dating scene. Worried about what my children will have to endure.”

Things are mostly better now then they were. So don’t feel too bad.

21

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 3:00 pm

” That most liberal countries political cultures aren’t capable of putting up with divergent perspectives,(I agree that the perspective is repulsive)”

Assault is illegal Ronan and he isn’t a citizen. So he is advocating illegal activities while a guest in another country.

/Let me play the worlds smallest violin.

22

Ronan(rf) 11.13.14 at 3:10 pm

“we currently live in a world where entering someone else’s country and getting the visa to do so is a privilege, not a right”

I agree it’s a privilege, but it’s a privilege I think should be extended more generously. This is mainly a disagreement on where that line should be.
As a hyperbolic example; Australia (I am sure) has a number of racists. If those racists wanted to attend a rally by a well know, backwoods Idaho militiaman preaching about the coming race war, then they should be allowed to do as much. There should be no fundamental difference between *that* unsavoury character entering the country than, for example, Michael Moore. Citizens of countries should be allowed develop their insane political views through foreign guests. And at the end of the day PUAism is a political program, the domination of humanity by Alphas. IMO the moral equivalent of fascism, but still, nonetheless, a perspective a significant minority agrees with.

Much better to err on the side of openness than on the side of immigration services being pressured to ban people by activist groups (which is what appears to have happened here. The visa was revoked after pressure, not beacuse he didn’t pass Australian immigration control qualifications – not that that matters overly, but worth noting)

23

Ronan(rf) 11.13.14 at 3:16 pm

MPA – I’m not saying we should be losing sleep for this dude. Mine is more a larger philosophical perspective, like Aristotle and shit. ; )

24

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 3:22 pm

“Mine is more a larger philosophical perspective, like Aristotle and shit. ; )”

Ha! Well you are a better person than me Ronan.

25

bianca steele 11.13.14 at 3:42 pm

I get an awful lot of that, actually. Like in The Social Network where he keeps insulting his girlfriend. (I associated that with guys who weren’t actually techies but I later found out moved in the same circles in high school as Sorkin did. FWIW.) Is it a deliberate pick-up thing now? I thought it was just what certain guys did to show who was boss, or something. But then I’m probably plainer and older than you are, Maria.

26

mud man 11.13.14 at 4:40 pm

This just all makes me very sad. As a guy personally, I know the PUA guys are just the extreme end of a massive tendency to do what it takes to get next to women; argyle, anything that gets a guy next to women is assessable as a tactic. Not wanting to be a tactician … well, one has to be something of a tactician, not so? Or else go live in a cave. I mean, not the brightest star in my particular galaxy here; I would be a tactician in a low-key appropriate non-PUA sort of way if I could figure out how to get better at it. Not giving up.

27

James Nostack 11.13.14 at 4:46 pm

So, my understanding is that the “Pick-Up Artist” or PUA thing is a variation on guys just trying to have casual sex. The thing that distinguishes the modern PUA version is general contempt for the woman’s agency, and attempting to denigrate, confuse, upset, and cross boundaries in a way that makes her socially uncomfortable about sticking up for herself. (I think some of this stuff crosses the line into tortious assault, and almost definitely is sexual harassment in most U.S. jurisdictions.)

It’s absolutely contemptible, and these people ought to be castrated.

There’s apparently a really weird hate-fest between the PUA groups and the Men’s Rights groups, as the MRA’s seem to believe that women are suckered by PUA folks and thus there are no “worthy” women for the MRA guys’ attentions. God only knows what these people have instead of brains.

Speaking as a recently single man in his late 30’s, who never dated much in high school or college, it seems possible to date–or even just to hook up–in an honest, ethical, consensual way as long as you’re respectful, kind, honest, trustworthy, and thoughtful to people.

28

Barry 11.13.14 at 5:00 pm

” I thought it was just what certain guys did to show who was boss, or something. “

IIRC it’s a standard abuse technique – break your target’s ego.

29

bianca steele 11.13.14 at 5:07 pm

It seems to me a pretty common thing among theater types, the drama coaches I’ve known, they were the type to do just that, try to produce a bunch of little H.L. Menckens, going around trying to be gadflies. Trying to get those passive, wishy-washy women to “man up” and act like people, with (correct) opinions. But not just them, definitely men who were definitely not picking on me, whether family members or gay.

30

bianca steele 11.13.14 at 5:08 pm

Double-clicking the word “picking”->submit? S.b. “hitting on me.” Or “picking me up.”

31

bianca steele 11.13.14 at 5:21 pm

J Thomas @ 5

NLP: Please tell me this means natural language processing, like you were trying to model conversations, not neuro-linguistic.

32

The Temporary Name 11.13.14 at 5:35 pm

Fine work Maria.

33

engels 11.13.14 at 5:37 pm

Imo nothing wrong with sexual libertarianism and picking up partners in public places (if you can do it without pissing lots of other people off). The repulsiveness consists in misogyny, manipulation and attempt to apply conservative ideology, half-baked Ev Psych theories and corporate management techniques to the project of controlling partners’ behaviour in intimate relationships. Afaics it isn’t uniquely sex anyway and many of the men it appeals to are sexual conservatives seeking long-term relationships.

Great Dissent article: Cock-Blocked by Re-Distribution: A Pick-Up Artist in Denmark
http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cockblocked-by-redistribution

34

engels 11.13.14 at 5:46 pm

Fwiw I knew a guy who was into this and he didn’t use ‘negging’, it was all about trying to exert or project the illusion of dominance in social situatiosn ie. to become ‘alpha guy’ (strange term, I think, for a human being as opposed to a monkey) who rescued Maria in the anecdore in this post….

35

Phil 11.13.14 at 6:02 pm

If she said “How offensive! What kind of woman do you take me for?” they said “A liberated woman who makes her own choices, now please pardon me I must be going, no need to take more of your time.”.

Dear God, that’s even worse. He approaches her in a way she finds disrespectful, she tells him so, he tells her she’s wrong to be offended – and leaves, ego intact, before she has a chance to say anything else. Awful, manipulative, passive-aggressive dickery.

I can understand these guys working so hard on maintaining their self-esteem – the basic starting-point of “I go looking for casual sex with strangers and I am a thoroughly nice person” must generate some heavy-duty cognitive dissonance. But I don’t find it pretty.

36

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 6:11 pm

“”I go looking for casual sex with strangers and I am a thoroughly nice person” must generate some heavy-duty cognitive dissonance””

This is basically just slut shaming. There is NOTHING wrong with having or looking for casual sex with strangers. Now how individuals choose to approach this may be inappropriate, pathetic rude and/or disgusting but the act itself is completely fine.

/Go forth and do it my horny friends.

/It is depressing how sex negative parts of the left remain. :-(

37

mattski 11.13.14 at 6:53 pm

First of all, well played ma’am.

And second, as disgusting as this sort of thing is, with a little training it’s not too difficult to use the opportunity for a well-earned ju-jitsu smack down just as Maria did.

38

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 6:54 pm

It looks like I might have been banned here. My comments don’t show up and there’s no notice that they were moderated, they just disappear. If I try to repost the same thing again it says it’s a duplicate comment but the first one is invisible.

How strange.

39

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 6:54 pm

But that one did show up. Stranger still.

40

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 7:04 pm

“But that one did show up. Stranger still.”

I suspect it is either the RAND Corporation or Reverse Vampires…

/More seriously I wouldn’t worry about it. Probably just some buggy code or something.

41

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 7:04 pm

“First of all, well played ma’am.”
+1!

42

Billikin 11.13.14 at 7:13 pm

Across the animal world a lot of courtship ritual looks like aggression. IMO it is mock aggression, which is hard to tell if you are not of the same species. Why? Maybe mock aggression sends the signal, “I am dangerous, but not to you. “

Once at a sushi restaurant I frequented I was there at closing and the boss asked me to escort the new waitress to the subway, which I did. Later she told me that she had thought that I was a gangster. (Why is not important.) I asked her how she felt when I escorted her to the subway. She replied, “Very safe.”

My working hypothesis about negging is that some of these guys observed mock aggression in humans and mistook it for the real thing. Creepy.

43

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 7:24 pm

#35 Phil

“If she said “How offensive! What kind of woman do you take me for?” they said “A liberated woman who makes her own choices, now please pardon me I must be going, no need to take more of your time.”.”

Dear God, that’s even worse. He approaches her in a way she finds disrespectful, she tells him so, he tells her she’s wrong to be offended – and leaves, ego intact, before she has a chance to say anything else. Awful, manipulative, passive-aggressive dickery.

What should he do? Should he hang around and argue with her? Do you figure usually she’d like that better?

They have different opinions about morality or something. If he’d known, he wouldn’t have approached her. When he finds out, he backs off. She has time for the last word. Given that he is what he is, how could he do better?

44

rea 11.13.14 at 7:26 pm

RF made him feel exactly like Salieri did in the play – how can all this divine music be coming out of that total arsehole?

My mother, who worked with him on the Manhattan Project during the war, thought he was one of the nicest, kindest men she ever met.

45

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 7:33 pm

“RF made him feel exactly like Salieri did in the play – how can all this divine music be coming out of that total arsehole?

My mother, who worked with him on the Manhattan Project during the war, thought he was one of the nicest, kindest men she ever met.”

Amazing how this happens. I really think it all comes down to first impressions. Maybe he was tired or sick when he first met the person who thought he was an asshole? Or maybe he had just gotten some great news when he first met your mother? These first impressions then coloured their perception of his behavior going forward.

Or maybe he had an evil twin?

46

Phil 11.13.14 at 7:38 pm

They have different opinions about morality or something.

No, he’s just approached her (an act, not an opinion) in a way that she found offensive. He’s just offended her. He’s in the wrong.

When he finds out, he backs off. She has time for the last word.

O RLY? The line you wrote -“now please pardon me I must be going, no need to take more of your time” – doesn’t sound like somebody giving the other person the last word.

Given that he is what he is, how could he do better?

“What he is” is a featherless biped. Of course he could do better.

MPAV – OK then, “I make a habit of invading other people’s space on the off-chance that they might want to go to bed with me, and I am a thoroughly nice person” must generate some heavy-duty cognitive dissonance. Better? Or maybe I’m just a puritan.

47

Doug Weinfield 11.13.14 at 7:41 pm

This xkcd seems appropriate:

http://xkcd.com/1027/

48

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 7:47 pm

““I make a habit of invading other people’s space on the off-chance that they might want to go to bed with me, and I am a thoroughly nice person” must generate some heavy-duty cognitive dissonance. Better? Or maybe I’m just a puritan.”

Better. Thank you for rephrasing it.

/Not kidding.

49

Billikin 11.13.14 at 8:00 pm

engels @ 33

Thanks. That is a great article in Dissent.

50

novakant 11.13.14 at 8:01 pm

Up until reading this post I had never encountered the concept or practice of negging – this is extremely depressing in a what is the world coming to kinda way.

51

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 8:04 pm

“Up until reading this post I had never encountered the concept or practice of negging – this is extremely depressing in a what is the world coming to kinda way.”

Well if it makes you feel better I don’t think it is actually that common out in the real world. I have never seen it in person. Though truly if it happens at all that is too much.

52

Ragweed 11.13.14 at 8:06 pm

“If she said “How offensive! What kind of woman do you take me for?” they said “A liberated woman who makes her own choices, now please pardon me I must be going, no need to take more of your time.”.”

“Dear God, that’s even worse. He approaches her in a way she finds disrespectful, she tells him so, he tells her she’s wrong to be offended – and leaves, ego intact, before she has a chance to say anything else. Awful, manipulative, passive-aggressive dickery.”

What should he do? Should he hang around and argue with her? Do you figure usually she’d like that better?

They have different opinions about morality or something. If he’d known, he wouldn’t have approached her.

Uhm – how about he just say “My apologies” and move on, without the need to put her down for having a different opinion about morality.

The “liberated woman” comment is particularly troubling in a US context because it was so often used as a come-on and a means of trying to break down women’s rejection of sexual advances during the sexual revolution. It’s still used in some subcultures to make a woman feel there is something wrong with her for rejecting an advance. Even among very sex-positive people, there is a big difference between “wants lots of sex”, or even “wants lots of casual sex,” and “wants to have sex with you”. So I would question that this guy is as forthright about his intentions as he seems. Not that I think he is, at least according to the description, any sort of predator, and I suspect the “liberated” put-down is an ego-save rather than a calculated form of negging, but it still smells a little rotten.

53

Ragweed 11.13.14 at 8:07 pm

sigh – that should have italics up to the 4th paragraph. My comments start at “Uhm…”

54

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 8:09 pm

#31 Bianca Steele

NLP: Please tell me this means natural language processing, like you were trying to model conversations, not neuro-linguistic.

No, the other one.

I met a military interrogator who said that he took it and found one useful technique from it. You can watch somebody and tell whether they are remembering or thinking things out. Sometimes he interpreted the latter as lying, but it wasn’t that simple.

They made extreme claims, and here was somebody who actually verified one of them. So I looked into it. I looked at the Usenet site and at a lot of websites. I didn’t want to pay for it, or get exposed to things that might unbalance my equilibrium.

I’d like to write more but I don’t know why it’s getting censored. I’ll see if this much gets through.

55

Igor Belanov 11.13.14 at 8:09 pm

The disappointing thing about ‘The History Man’ was that it worked for Howard Kirk.

56

The Temporary Name 11.13.14 at 8:15 pm

Up until reading this post I had never encountered the concept or practice of negging – this is extremely depressing in a what is the world coming to kinda way.

It’s possibly less depressing than thinking “Negging!” at “He would ask me a question and I’d answer it, and he’d say something rude about my answer.” That such knowledge is not ubiquitous makes things a little nicer from where I sit.

And yes, thanks to engels. It seems it’s a confidence game.

57

bianca steele 11.13.14 at 8:17 pm

I have to say that back when I was single, the couple of times I experienced the kind of negging Sasha Clarkson describes, I took it as a definite sign that I was in the Friend Zone, as the guys call it.

58

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 8:21 pm

“What should he do? Should he hang around and argue with her? Do you figure usually she’d like that better?”

Uhm – how about he just say “My apologies” and move on, without the need to put her down for having a different opinion about morality.

That sounds fine to me. I didn’t actually follow these guys around and I don’t know in any detail what they actually said in that circumstance. I know they were taught not to waste any time trying to persuade women who were not warm to the idea. If they needed ego-protection, it makes sense they’d get it by maximizing the time they spent with friendly women.

Some other pick-up traditions emphasized the idea that women who express any deep emotion might say yes, and are worth attempting a very hard sell. This has given them a well-deserved bad reputation, though they probably do get some sex that way which keeps them doing it. I have the impression that the easiest way to get rid of those is to stay bored, and that won’t much work if there are no other targets at hand. Like getting chewing gum out of your hair….

59

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 8:24 pm

It looked like NLP was mostly about social cues. People let social cues limit them, and by ignoring the cues you can sometimes break through some limits. If you want to learn from somebody, and you pretend you’re actually them, you learn faster. I tried it, it worked for me. A lot of it was about identity, about accepting other people enough to sort of merge with them.

I noticed an interesting social thing at the Usenet site. The NLP teachers got their students to pretend to be them, and to hold the utmost respect for them, since the students learned fastest that way. It also stroked the teachers’ egos a whole lot. But then at the end of the course the students were supposed to go out in the world and use their new skills to do wonderful things. The salesmen and diplomats etc had no trouble applying it to their jobs. But a whole lot of people felt like what they wanted most in the world was to be NLP teachers! They were still identifying with their teachers. And the result was that there was a surplus of NLP teachers and even the most prestigious of them had trouble getting enough students to pay the bills.

One NLP student, Ross Jeffries, stopped to think. He looked for a better market than just compete with everybody else for NLP students. He instead taught Speed Seduction. He would sign up lots of men who didn’t know how to talk to women for a $2000 seminar in Hawaii. He and his open-relationship girlfriend Kimmy taught them how to pick up women. As near as I can tell what they taught was what anybody would teach about that – meet women, be friendly and approving, make an offer, if it doesn’t look like it will work out then politely retreat and try again with someone else. But they taught like it was a secret technique that would manipulate women into sex. The students were ready to believe that, because they thought they needed secret techniques. And the techniques worked, of course. Most men who’re ready to ask, say, ten women to have sex with them will find one who will.

Ross invited other NLP teachers to come give talks at his seminars. The most prestigious, senior NLP teachers did that because they needed the money. It rankled them that they were the best, while Ross was the boss with the money….

60

J Thomas 11.13.14 at 8:26 pm

I found a local NLP teacher who offered free classes. He was a young beginning teacher who wanted to practice teaching. The classes met in a meeting room at the Taco Bell, we all bought Taco Bell stuff to thank them for letting us use the room. Every student but me had taken the Speed Seduction course. SS got a lot more students than NLP.

This teacher did not teach the memory tricks or the learning tricks or the stuff about reading body language that had been useful for the interrogator. He taught about rapport. He said if you have rapport with somebody, you have everything and if you don’t have it, you have nothing. He was right. He was good at the methods to better accept other people, I got value from those. Some of the methods to influence other people seemed unethical to me.

Like, he recommended astrology, palmistry, Tarot, etc. He pointed out that when you tell somebody’s fortune they believe you, and they believe in you. He didn’t recommand actually learning any astrology etc, because so few people know enough to trip you up if you fake it, that it isn’t worth the effort.

After awhile he had polished enough lessons he was ready to go pro, and he quit the free seminar.

I tentatively recommend learning about NLP. Some of it can be valuable. Also, it’s good to recognize when people try to use the techniques to influence you. When I see it, I usually come out and say, “I like you. And I like the deal you’re offering me. Right now let’s focus on exactly what the deal says because that’s what I need to know.”. Then when they keep trying to use rapport to influence me, I try to influence them right back. The important thing is at the end, to say “Thank you. I like you and I like the deal you offer. I need a few days to check around for other deals and probably I’ll come back to you because this looks like it will be the best.”.

61

hix 11.13.14 at 9:43 pm

Now we are entirely in territory where lines are blured, where all comes down to cultural context. Where does private space start and what is it about? What behaviour is trying to get at someones ego and what is just socially expected honesty. The guy described in the op could have just been German, honesty norms and all that…. Not that it necessarily has the cultural desired effect in Germany, i m rather bad at taking it myself, but its still far more normal and people are far less hurt by it on average when they are used to it.

62

Anderson 11.13.14 at 10:08 pm

Hix, if PUA conduct is typical of German men, then fuck ’em. Or rather, please don’t.

63

J. Parnell Thomas 11.13.14 at 10:23 pm

Knd f rmnds m f th bhvr f cpl f dsqrd’s mlttdns sckpppts n Bll’s cmmnts th thr dy.

64

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 10:38 pm

“Kind of reminds me of the behavior of a couple of dsquared’s multitudinous sockpuppets in Belle’s comments the other day.”

Huh?

65

J. Parnell Thomas 11.13.14 at 10:40 pm

Yp.

66

Phil 11.13.14 at 10:44 pm

hix – many women find it offensive to be propositioned by a stranger; that’s really all you need to know (and I think we all do know it). So, our bold warriors in search of no-strings-attached instant pickups are deliberately approaching people in a way which they know will cause offence – not always but some of the time, possibly most of the time. However nicely they dress it up, that’s entitled and exploitative behaviour.

67

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 10:48 pm

“Yep.”

?

68

clew 11.13.14 at 10:52 pm

64: It’s a neg.

I’ve been failing to come up with a response to the jerk that didn’t reinforce the Jerk System. The jerk doesn’t care what Maria thinks and will interpret almost anything the king says as authority derived from being a more successful jerk (I think). Maria, has anything come to mind since then?

69

J. Parnell Thomas 11.13.14 at 10:55 pm

f crs t s tr, nd thr’s n rtnl rsn fr dng t.

70

MPAVictoria 11.13.14 at 10:57 pm

“Of course it is true, and there’s no rational reason for doing it.”

Sorry, you misunderstand me. What is true?

71

Anderson 11.13.14 at 11:01 pm

66: being propositioned by a stranger may be offensive, but if the guy takes no for an answer, it’s orders of magnitude better than being deliberately insulting on the theory that women like that.

72

floopmeister 11.13.14 at 11:01 pm

Fwiw I knew a guy who was into this and he didn’t use ‘negging’, it was all about trying to exert or project the illusion of dominance in social situatiosn ie. to become ‘alpha guy’ (strange term, I think, for a human being as opposed to a monkey) who rescued Maria in the anecdore in this post….

Yeah, had a guy try this at a party once years ago. I (male, if my name isn’t hint) was in a mixed group (couple of men , couple of women) that was standing around, drinks in hand, talking. One guy decided to get really unpleasantly nasty about everything I said – snide critical little comments, edging on naked aggression.

Really threw me the first few times until I remembered that an acquaintance had told me that a couple of PUA’s that he knew were coming to the party and I twigged what the guy was doing. Then it became amusing, for I was happily in a relationship and the two girls weren’t interested in either of us, from what i could tell.

Eventually he made some ridiculous comment about something that I actually knew a lot about and I took great pleasure in taking him apart, all the while explaining that I wasn’t a prop for his sad attempts to ply his ‘art’ and that if he wanted to be part of the conversation perhaps he could grow up and show some respect.

Deeply immature I know but the guy was a really unpleasant piece of work and it made me feel better.

This BTW was in the late 1990’s – this shit has been around for a long time.

73

Palindrome 11.13.14 at 11:27 pm

@33: The same creep profiled in that Dissent article (Roosh Valizadeh) has now jumped into the whole #gamergate mess with both feet, because of course he did. There seems to be some serious synergy between PUAs and gamergaters – even though it’s actually about ethics in games journalism.

At the link, there is this lovely excerpt from Roosh ‘s “Bang Iceland”:

While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she legally couldn’t give her consent. It didn’t help matters that I was relatively sober, but I can’t say I cared or even hesitated. I won’t rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do.

To call these guys slimeballs does a disservice to molds and fungi.

74

The Dark Avenger 11.13.14 at 11:30 pm

Maybe mock aggression sends the signal, “I am dangerous, but not to you. “

Or, it could indicated fitness for survival against a predator or rival male. Courtship dances by various species of birds certainly can’t be mistaken for agressive behavior, IMHO.

75

Lynne 11.13.14 at 11:40 pm

J. Parnell Thomas,

I’ll ask again since you didn’t reply in the other thread, what handle were you commenting under when you were banned?

76

The Dark Avenger 11.13.14 at 11:43 pm

Oh, and from what you got from NLP wasn’t anything that new or revolutionary. A reading of “How to Make Friends and Influence People” would’ve told you as much as you got from NLP, and the I’ve known two people who went through the course to improve their communication skills. One was a post-doc in the biology field, whom needed confidence when she presented her papers at seminars and the like.

As for the interrogators’ lesson, that’s known in Method Acting as “The Inner Dialog” where you have to have the thoughts to match the dialog that your character speaks. You see that in Paul Newman in many of his roles, as Larry McMurtry noted in his essay about the making of Hud, Newman was more introspective in his facial expressions than a real cowboy would be.

77

Mark 11.13.14 at 11:53 pm

@64 & @67:

I believe he’s implying that you’re actually dsquared under an alias. An accusation which would be laughable if not so… actually, no, it’s just laughable.

78

Nine 11.14.14 at 12:00 am

It took me a while to grok that the NLP referred to in comments above is not natural language processing. Oh, well … all is clearer now.

79

MPAVictoria 11.14.14 at 12:03 am

“I believe he’s implying that you’re actually dsquared under an alias. An accusation which would be laughable if not so… actually, no, it’s just laughable.”

Me? I wish I was that good a writer.
/though laughable is a little harsh ;-)

80

js. 11.14.14 at 12:13 am

What’s laughable is that this fool thinks dsquared would use sock puppets! (At least that’s what I think Mark meant. I mean, I kind of want him—JPT—to keep going, just to see what other gems he can can come up with.)

81

Helen 11.14.14 at 12:41 am

Ronan:

Kicking this Julien Blanc dude out of Australia is pretty outrageous. No different than the sort of hysteria in the 00s against radical clerics and the likes. There’s pretty much no constituency anymore for old school live and let live liberalism

As that Octopus meme says: Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. You obviously haven’t checked out this guy’s actual written artifacts. He has produced a pictogram which is literally a guide to domestic violence and control.
“Use coercion and threats…Use intimidation… Use isolation… Use children(!)…Use economic abuse…”

http://d22r54gnmuhwmk.cloudfront.net/photos/2/yn/ov/fdYNoVzirtADWxW-556×313-noPad.jpg

“Live and let live” is only relevant here if you’re of the dominant gender and don’t give a hoot about what might happen to others as a result of this – the phenomena shown on that diagram are already all too common, they do lead to injury and death, and it is not just some kind of theoretical discussion. And then there’s the video advocating, or rather training for, actual sexual assault, as Lynne points out.

It’s not a case of “a larger philosophical perspective, like Aristotle and shit”, it’s a kneejerk acceptance of a straight-up advocacy of violence towards others, because you’re unlikely to be one of the unlucky people on the receiving end of any resulting behaviour.

(Maybe dsquared at #18 and MPAVictoria at #21 have explained this better already).

82

hix 11.14.14 at 12:42 am

Considering the personal level, (a) im male, (b) i dont do that.

Im sorry, i should have known better, too much fealings hurt with that topic.

83

MPAVictoria 11.14.14 at 1:04 am

“MPAVictoria at #21 have explained this better already)”

I think you explained it better than I did Helen. Thank you.

84

J Thomas 11.14.14 at 1:12 am

#76 TDA

Oh, and from what you got from NLP wasn’t anything that new or revolutionary. A reading of “How to Make Friends and Influence People” would’ve told you as much as you got from NLP

Well, no. I took the Dale Carnegie course (and read the book) for business, and while there’s some overlap that you could get from either, they don’t overlap all that much. I can’t describe either one in just a few words, though.

The NLP stuff has a lot of complicated theory that most of the practical techniques don’t directly depend on. Some of it fits modern neuro stuff sometime within the last 30 years, while other parts is apparently supposed to be ahead of the science. Most of what I saw looked more-or-less plausible, but they gave no indication how they found it out. I marked it all as tentative. I may not be the best person to describe it because I looked at the parts that various different people were giving away free and stitched them together — my understanding is basicly pirated. But there’s a lot there which I did not find in Dale Carnegie, although it’s quite possible the guys in the $2000 SS course got nothing beyond Dale Carnegie.

As for the interrogators’ lesson, that’s known in Method Acting as “The Inner Dialog” where you have to have the thoughts to match the dialog that your character speaks.

I’m pretty sure what he was working with was a claim that when people think in different ways — about the past present or future, thinking creatively or analytically or remembering, something like that — that their eyes automatically turn to the side in different directions. Left and up, left and down, right and up, right and straight across, etc. The claim is that you can tell what sort of thinking they’re doing by watching their eyes. It did not seem particularly plausible to me, but this guy claimed it worked for him. I did not ask him how well he tested it. If he assumed it worked and then interpreted everything on that basis, he might usually get results that fit his assumption whether it was true or not. He seemed pretty careful when he talked about technological issues and science fiction. (He interrogated foreign techies about techie stuff. There was some overlap with things I knew, he didn’t jump to conclusions on the things I could check. But people who take NLP courses come out of them believing the things they learn there. So I don’t give his testimony as much weight as I would on something else.)

85

Ronan(rf) 11.14.14 at 1:22 am

Helen – I was joking with the Aristotle reference, and I accept the dominant gender qualification .. but I still don’t see how, plausibly, the sort of men who would attend one of his lectures are not going to behave in exactly the same way despite his ‘bootcamp’ being banned. So it is, IMO, still a symbolic (and relatively meaningless )victory. They still have access to this ideology and set of theories from multiple sources. (this is leaving aside the fact that my normative preferences, as stated above, are for openness even with repulsive ideologies and characters. I accept that my position is influenced by various identity privileges as well)
TBH though, having looked more into his ‘theories’ and ‘positions’ over the day I can see the other side on this (Im not 100% sure where I stand on this as a general rule, or on this case specifically)

86

Collin Street 11.14.14 at 1:31 am

It’s interesting that of all the people who are being kept out of australia by the personal intervention of the australian immigration minister, the one solitary example Ronan thinks of as his best demonstration of the importance of free movement of people is, you know, that guy.

87

Ronan(rf) 11.14.14 at 1:31 am

It’s the example given in the thread

88

Ronan(rf) 11.14.14 at 1:40 am

Or to be clearer – I’m not sure what your issue is, Collin Steet ? Do you want me to go through every person who has been denied a visa/asylum to Australia in the last decade ? Fine, get me a list and we’ll get to work.
Do I favour less restrictions on immigration between poor and and rich countries ? Yes. Do I favour erring on the side of openness in granting visas to individuals engaged in political speech even in cases I dont agree with ? Yes. I’m willing to accept this doesnt fit either of those two caveats, but why would you assume the worst if these are my general preference ? It seems a semi logical extension of them (Also, look above. I didnt bring up this person)

89

Seth 11.14.14 at 3:15 am

MPAVictoria @45

“RF made him feel exactly like Salieri did in the play – how can all this divine music be coming out of that total arsehole?

My mother, who worked with him on the Manhattan Project during the war, thought he was one of the nicest, kindest men she ever met.”

Amazing how this happens. I really think it all comes down to first impressions.”

It may also come down to who is forming the impression. A professional rival is more likely to be defensive and threatened than someone who is not competing. The social class of the observer is also relevant. Feynman was not particularly ‘genteel’.

90

MPAVictoria 11.14.14 at 3:22 am

@89
Totally plausible explanation as well.

91

ZM 11.14.14 at 3:38 am

Ronan(rf),

” .. but I still don’t see how, plausibly, the sort of men who would attend one of his lectures are not going to behave in exactly the same way despite his ‘bootcamp’ being banned.”

I have only half followed the story , but I don’t think you are necessarily right here about the attendees. I myself am ambivalent, but the men’s issues writer in The Age newspaper here wrote a piece sort of defending the men who would go to the seminars. This is because the seminars were protested and apparently yelled at the attendees and videoed/photographed them (youtube footage at the link)

The defense (excerpted below) sort of went that the men who attend and pay for these seminars are actually probably not likely to be the sort of men who routinely debase or abuse women, but more likely awkward nerdy men or men with disabilities or men of ethnicities that are not preferred by women in the Australian dating scene.

If this is the case they would do better getting normal advice on talking to women, not advice on how to insult and abuse women. So they are lucky to be saved by the government from getting such bad advice. If only the government would do this more often on other forms of bad advice.

It was actually quite interesting that the government intervened this time. Occasionally these sorts of things come to attention here but often the government does not act, like the other year there was the case of Tyler the Creator that women wanted not to be able to come and perform his concerts with songs that are abusive to women. But from memory the government did not intervene but during the tour he abused a woman in the audience and some sort of nasty twitter war happened with Tyler the Creator and his fans and the women who campaigned against him.

“Think for a moment where you’d have to be as a person to pay someone hundreds, often thousands of dollars, to teach you how to talk to members of the opposite sex? These are not evil men, they’re not even creeps – certainly not the types of guy who’ve broken women’s hearts or treated them like crap.
They’re often men who have never had a girlfriend, sometimes never even kissed a woman. Some of the men are from racial backgrounds that are heavily discriminated against in Australia’s overwhelmingly white, Anglo dating scene. Some have stutters, physical or mental disabilities or disfigurements.
Many have had poor male role models in relationships and they’ve reached a point of loneliness, frustration and isolation they’ve swallowed their pride, admitted they need help, then paid for it.
Imagine you turned up at last week’s event with that mindset and had people screaming “creep”, “loser” or “abuser” at you and they were filming it?
These are powerful messages and they are being aimed at a subculture of men who, I’d argue, are some of the least exploitative of women.
These are not footballers who pass women around like toys, bang them in cubicles or pressure them into group sex. They’re not cashed up bankers or bikers who ply chicks with cocaine. They’re not religious nuts who codify the submission and abuse of females of all ages, nor advertising and media executives who aggrandise and profit from sexism. They’re not even the yobbos who catcall from cars and building sites.
They are nerds. They are the guys who rarely get the girl. They are a soft target. It’s hard to imagine they are the most dangerous example of misogyny in this country.”

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/hating-the-search-for-love-20141112-11k5px.html#ixzz3J0hQ4wzB

92

Helen 11.14.14 at 3:51 am

If they’d done the most minimal checks on what Blanc was going to show them, and if they’re spending four figures on the training course they would be a bit silly not to, then they only have themselves to blame if they have demonstrators yelling at them. Really. We’re talking about a guy who advocates sexual assault and deliberate abuse. If they are so socially inept as to know that is not OK, then yes, they do risk being the target of demonstrations.

93

gianni 11.14.14 at 3:59 am

Helen @81

I had actually heard the story slightly differently: that that poster actually was a literal diagram for domestic violence, ie created by an independent group for social workers somewhere so they could help abused women who might be reticent about getting help to identify patterns and such things. What he did is encountered it and was like ‘Oh, this is my approach in a nutshell – said it better than I do myself!’ and happily posted it on his social media account.

Which is of course, even more unthinkable, but there ya go.

Also generally regarding pick up artist community – I think it is good to remember, especially with all these stories of failed pick-up tactics, that the leaders of this ‘movement’ really are cashing in on it. So aside from all the fraught gender dynamics, (detailed clearly above), there is also a bit of con artistry here as well. I just think it is important to keep in mind here, because it is easy to get all ‘why the hell is this still a thing’, but the leaders of the movement have a very clear economic stake in all of this, preying on the lack of confidence of the men who visit their talks. So this predator-ial sexuality is complemented quite nicely by a similarly predator-ial approach to their fan base.

I don’t think we can do much about the leading individuals themselves, (I won’t presume to diagnose them from afar but I am very tempted to), but the steps taken, like in Australia, to prevent them from spreading their message sound like a proper response.

94

gianni 11.14.14 at 3:59 am

Italics fail in the above….

95

The Temporary Name 11.14.14 at 4:26 am

Gianni’s take seems to be the right one: http://www.vocativ.com/culture/society/julien-blanc-youtube/

Not good.

96

Collin Street 11.14.14 at 4:44 am

The defense (excerpted below) sort of went that the men who attend and pay for these seminars are actually probably not likely to be the sort of men who routinely debase or abuse women, but more likely awkward nerdy men or men with disabilities or men of ethnicities that are not preferred by women in the Australian dating scene.

“Awkward nerdy men”.

D’ye know who else are awkward nerdy men? Neo-nazis, islamic suicide bombers, Klansmen. Those sorts of people. The resentment that makes people that violent has to come from somewhere, and… there’s pretty clear patterns, here. Or the prime minister of australia! As nerdy as they come [those togs!] but also an arsehole.

There’s nothing special about nerds that make them not-prone-to-violence. If my experience is anything to go by quite the reverse.

[and in any case, as has been mentioned you pretty much lose your good-guy creds once you start on a course of “causing people pain for your personal benefit”. No matter how fucking nerdy you are.]

97

clew 11.14.14 at 4:47 am

91 — but, ZM, teaching pathetic losers to try to be violent assholes isn’t even good for them, and still doesn’t seem like something the state is required to abet.

98

clew 11.14.14 at 4:50 am

Nussbaum (I think) has an annoyingly-above-it discussion of one of her stalkers in which she suggests that adolescences spent on Ritalin, etc., may be the problem. She makes this suggestion without citing any medical research for it, after criticizing ADD/ADHD medication for being prescribed with inadequate medical grounding, but it’s still a plausible story.

99

gianni 11.14.14 at 5:03 am

I think the crucial third element, so to speak, bridging the gap between ‘nerdy men’ and #chokingasdatingadvice or whatever, is Ressentiment

100

Nine 11.14.14 at 5:07 am

Like many others commenters on here this is the first i’ve heard tell of this douche and his PUA movement. He seems to be just another self-help charlatan distinguished from the rest only by the borderline illegal nature of the goods whereas the others sell bland advisements. It’s also hard to take his bragging at face-value – some of the stuff he claims he did in Japan should have brought him into intimate contact with the woman’s yakuza minder !

101

ZM 11.14.14 at 6:04 am

clew,

“91 — but, ZM, teaching pathetic losers to try to be violent assholes isn’t even good for them, and still doesn’t seem like something the state is required to abet.”

Oh I agree, that is why I said it was good the government saved them from these seminars by deporting the man.

I was just pointing out that Ronan’s idea that the men attendees were already abusive of women so there was no point in the deportation was not necessarily so, at least according to this article where the writer says he has observed various sorts of pick up artist talks.

102

dax 11.14.14 at 9:46 am

Maybe the guy was just a jerk and not trying to pick-up Maria at all. Or maybe he wasn’t even a jerk – maybe he was asking Maria her honest opinion about issues he cared about, thought her answers were incorrect or badly thought out, and (God forbid) said so.

103

Maria 11.14.14 at 10:10 am

Thank you, dax, for your helpful comments and for trying to explain to me something that actually happened. To me. Now sod off.

Mansplaining. Just what this thread on a particularly male form of obnoxiousness needed.

104

Ben 11.14.14 at 10:11 am

Yes, dax, by all means, especially in a thread somewhat about viewing women as people with inherent dignity and agency, let us doubt Maria’s subjective take – for which she provided evidence – on a situation she personally experienced.

Do go on.

Maybe she wasn’t even at the conference! Maybe she was speaking to a bowl of plums.

105

Ben 11.14.14 at 10:11 am

Whoops, my snark wasn’t needed. Par for the course.

106

Maria 11.14.14 at 10:13 am

Not needed, maybe, but welcome, Ben.

107

J Thomas 11.14.14 at 10:16 am

#74 TDA

Courtship dances by various species of birds certainly can’t be mistaken for agressive behavior, IMHO.

Konrad Lorenz wrote a story about some cichlid fish, which I haven’t heard refuted.

He claimed that the males and females looked exactly alike, and mostly behaved alike. He wondered how they could tell their own genders apart. One of his students found out. She observed three kinds of behaviors. They attacked, they ran away, and they started doing sexual behaviors.

…in the male, the motivations of flight and of sexuality cannot be mixed. If the male has even the slightest fear of his partner, his sexuality is completely extinguished. In the female, there is the same relation between aggression and sexuality: if she is so little in awe of her partner that her aggression is not entirely suppressed, she does not react to him sexually at all. She becomes a Brunhilde and attacks him the more ferociously the more potentially ready she is for sexual reactions, that is, the nearer she is to spawning, in respect to her ovarian and hormonal state.”

Conversely, aggression and sexuality are quite compatible in the male; he can treat his partner roughly, chase her all around the tank, and betweenwhiles perform sexual movements and all possible mixed forms of motor patterns. The female can fear the male considerably without suppression of sexually motivated behavior pattern. The bride-to-be may flee before the male and at the same time make use of every breathing space to perform sexually motivated courtship movements.

…. Thus the behavior pattern just described guarantees the pairing of two individuals of opposite sex.

Of course, people are not so simple and do things every which way. And among bird species there’s also tremendous variation.

108

J Thomas 11.14.14 at 10:36 am

#102 Dax

Maybe the guy was just a jerk and not trying to pick-up Maria at all.

And then when he got called out he would be just as embarrassed and would slink off. But that does not fit the “Oh come on, you know you like it” comment which she does not quite remember. She’d remember the tone, and that sort of comment is hard to miss.

We’ll never hear his side of it. There’s no point in assuming she’s lying, and it’s a bit too explicit to say she’s mistaken.

109

Nancy Lebovitz 11.14.14 at 10:41 am

Clarisse Thorn’sConfessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser: Long Interviews with Hideous Men has it that there are decent parts of the PUA group of subcultures, but my observation is that the misogynistic ones ate more popular.

110

AlisonP 11.14.14 at 11:11 am

In threads like this there are always comments which say ‘I know a guy’ (who negs with success). Also men have told me face to face that rudeness works, but always for ‘a guy they know’ never themselves.

I am not criticising the people who have made these comments. I also take on board the response that even if this were true it does not justify a man upsetting dozens of women to get one success.

But above and beyond this, I am coming to feel it is an Urban Myth. Always a friend of a friend, never a first hand report. Always ‘I know a guy’ (who gets results) never ‘I know a woman’ (who responds to negging). It is hard to limit the spread of urban myths, but it seems the first step is to raise the possibility they are myths.

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J Thomas 11.14.14 at 11:21 am

#101 ZM

” .. but I still don’t see how, plausibly, the sort of men who would attend one of his lectures are not going to behave in exactly the same way despite his ‘bootcamp’ being banned.”

I have only half followed the story , but I don’t think you are necessarily right here about the attendees. I myself am ambivalent, but the men’s issues writer in The Age newspaper here wrote a piece sort of defending the men who would go to the seminars.

I don’t know any of these guys, so what I say about them will have to be mostly armchair psychologising, based entirely on stereotypical assumptions.

Let’s assume that they are nerds who do not have much contact with women. On the one hand, they are probably not violent against women or they would not feel the need to pay money to listen to a role model tell them to be violent against women. On the other hand, they are probably already leaning that way or they would not pay money to etc.

It’s reasonable to suppose that people who are discriminated against in the most basic way might feel angry about it. Imagine what it would be like to be raised as a despised minority, and be taught all your life that you can only be complete and happy if a member of the group that despises you becomes your personal special friend….

This anger, while perfectly natural, is not useful to anybody. It will mostly not even get these guys laid. If one of them does start raping women, he will probably not get away with it for very long.

Most of these guys will never find a woman who will have sex with just him, because the large majority of women are raised to think of nerds as unsexy pathetic losers unless they are rich or famous. We can tell them to learn to talk to women, but it’s like telling nerdy short guys to learn to play basketball so they will be popular — they can play the game but they’ll always be at a big disadvantage.

It’s a great big social problem that should not exist but does.

My fundamental dating advice for nerds is: Don’t be a nerd. Be yourself.

112

Maria 11.14.14 at 11:26 am

OK J Thomas, that’s enough for today – no more comments, please.

113

J Thomas 11.14.14 at 11:35 am

#112

OK, Maria, agreed.

114

Maria 11.14.14 at 11:38 am

Tks, j.

115

Chris Bertram 11.14.14 at 11:46 am

J Parnell Thomas is the commenter formerly banned under the handle “godoggo”. Please go away. Your comments will be disemvowelled/deleted as appropriate.

116

dax 11.14.14 at 12:57 pm

“let us doubt Maria’s subjective take “

Yes, I would always doubt someone’s subjective take where the story they relate makes them appear to be a hero and someone else, whose story we do not know, the villain. You don’t? Especially when there are no details about the “penny dropping”; the story simply goes from the guy is being rude to Maria’s realisation that the guy is trying to pick her up by a technique which I confess I have never heard of until hitherto. Maybe it’s because I’m generally a rude person (as perhaps you can tell) that I am rising to the defense of rude people.

117

Ronan(rf) 11.14.14 at 1:16 pm

ZM @91- I think I’ve pulled this off topic so ill leave it here, but your comments are well taken.(but see below)
Just (and Maria delete this if you think it’s dreailing things) on this idea that these men are ‘discriminated against’ or an ‘oppressed minority’. I mean come on, give me a break. I know that anecdotes dont stand to much, but the one person I knew who bought into this stuff when I was growing up was not ‘oppressed’ in any way, definitely not discriminated against. He wasnt particularly awkward (in general or around women), or a nerd(for whatever definition of nerd) He was just a f***ing ejit, and still is by all accounts, who either felt entitled to sex or became obsessed by the process (I dont know which one) I don’t know why the assumption is that ‘nerdiness’ or awkwardness drives this , rather than a desire to dominate, misogyny, a feeling of entitlement or just stupidity.
Perhaps it really does work like this in the US, but this idea of ‘nerd oppression’ strikes me a little odd. Most of the (what i guess you’d call) ‘nerds’ I knew growing up had personalities that mapped pretty cleanly onto the general population; from quiet and shy to rambunctious to obnoxious. From good in school to constantly drunk. They just had different hobbies. And they were (pretty much all) capable,most of the time,of maintaining relationships (sexual or as friends) with people (women and men) without resorting to nonsense.
I’d accept some men might approach this (unthinkingly) as some sort of self help program, but I dont think people should play down how much of it is just driven by misogyny or entitlement, rather than blowback from the ‘ oppression of a sub culture.’ (Plenty of women also find themselves locked out of the ‘dating scene’ at various times in their lifes, and dont seem to resort to these elaborate schemes and programs to anything approaching the same extent)

118

Maria 11.14.14 at 1:31 pm

Dax, spelling this out so even a rude person can understand; stay off my thread or face a permanent ban from CT.

119

gianni 11.14.14 at 2:16 pm

Yes, the focus on ‘nerds’ is improper. Plenty of people with otherwise totally unremarkable social mores fall into the category, as do a number of women.

120

Lynne 11.14.14 at 2:56 pm

Thanks, Chris Bertram. J. Parnell Thomas bragged in another thread about having been banned under a different handle, and I’ve been wondering what handle ever since. Also, what is meant by being banned.

121

Not my usual pseudonym 11.14.14 at 2:59 pm

@5, 6, 89, 90 – anecdotal evidence that Feynman was no ordinary pick-up artist:

My mother, a mostly conventional middle-class wife and mother who would have been 87 this year, knew Feynman socially. (My father was a junior worker bee on the Manhattan Project.) Once after my father’s death, we were watching a TV documentary about him. We got to talking, and she told me, “Any woman on earth would have left her husband to run away with that man.”

Other than my father, there were only two men that I ever heard her express any interest in: Feynman and Paul Newman. And Feynman, apparently, was by far the more attractive of the two.

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Sasha Clarkson 11.14.14 at 3:47 pm

This thread sent me back to look at some Transactional Analysis books I read about a decade ago. A basic thesis of TA is that problems between human beings arise because they are socialised to play games and have scripted interactions rather than real relationships. The maladjusted individual will try to coerce another person to play the game according to their own script.

In chapter 13 of Claude Steiner’s book Scripts People Live, his guest writer Hoagie Wyckoff writes: “A particularly unhealthy result of our male-female sex role training is that gaps have been created in people which limit their potential to be whole human beings. Later on, Steiner enumerates some of what he calls banal scripts of men and women in relationships. Negging isn’t specifically mentioned, but your jerk sounds like what he describes as a Woman Hater.

Steiner’s an interesting chap actually – and still working. I’m glad this thread reminded me about TA and him!

http://www.claudesteiner.com/

123

CaptFamous 11.14.14 at 4:54 pm

To hearken back to the days of yore (#27), the PUA vs. MRA thing makes a lot of sense in the right context. If you think of it in relation to morality vs. causality, the PUAs are hyper-causal (“because this strategy works to achieve my specific goals, I should use it relentlessly and not be judged by how it negatively affects anyone else”) and the MRAs are hyper-moral (“men who have achieved the status of being a ‘good man’ deserve to have the things they want delivered to them without incremental effort, regardless of how unrelated those things are to the men’s own accomplishments”).

124

Ragweed 11.14.14 at 5:46 pm

The piece of this story that gives lie to Dax and all of his ilk, is the guys response to Maria. Had he just being rude or hypercritical, he would probably have just been flustered, or apologized and been like “no, I wasn’t trying to hit on you” or whatever. But the fact that he had such a well-rehearsed comeback that was so in keeping with the negging strategy, makes it clear that he was caught in the act.

but I still don’t see how, plausibly, the sort of men who would attend one of his lectures are not going to behave in exactly the same way despite his ‘bootcamp’ being banned. So it is, IMO, still a symbolic (and relatively meaningless )victory. They still have access to this ideology and set of theories from multiple sources.

Except that human beings are social beings, and our actions, mores, values, and preferences are largely the result of social interactions. Get a bunch of like-minded people in a room with a speaker encouraging a particularly behavior, and you reinforce whatever it is that brought them together. Like a support group. It doesn’t mean that people will all come out as brazen predators, but the ones that already are predators will find support in being a little more brazen, and the ones who are on the fence might just decide to try it out. Yes, they can seek the info out online, and many will, but that powerful group social reinforcement is removed.

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Ragweed 11.14.14 at 5:55 pm

MRAs are hyper-moral (“men who have achieved the status of being a ‘good man’ deserve to have the things they want delivered to them without incremental effort, regardless of how unrelated those things are to the men’s own accomplishments”).

Except the MRA thing doesn’t even really work to achieve status of being a ‘good man’. Its more like “men who have not been conclusively proven to be convicted rapists deserve to have the things they want delivered to them…” Because that whole “you can’t judge me based on other men’s behavior” thing runs big through the whole MRA discourse as well. Women should automatically assume that any guy hitting on them is not a creep, but a purely well intentioned nice guy, and deserving of their attention, and they are oppressing men if they assume this guy hitting on them is as creepy as the hundred other creepy guys who hit on them the same way. Because I deserve to always be treated as an individual, or something…

126

CaptFamous 11.14.14 at 6:10 pm

“Good man” in this sense is their own subjective assessment, and men in these groups tend to have a very self-generous definition of “good man” and thus think that a lot of men are deserving of a lot of stuff.

You’ve actually restated exactly what I meant by “hyper-moral” btw: They feel that they should be receiving positive attention from women purely based on their own subjective assessment of themselves as “deserving”, and that it should have nothing to do with women acting in their own interest.

127

engels 11.14.14 at 6:14 pm

Our results suggest that assertive courtship strategies are a form of mutual identification of similarly sexist attitudes shared between courtship partners. Women who adopt sexist attitudes are more likely to prefer men who adopt similar attitudes. Not only do sexist men and women prefer partners who are like them, they prefer courtship strategies where men are the aggressors and women are the gatekeepers.

128

Palindrome 11.15.14 at 12:33 am

There was a very interesting article on “The Problem of Richard Feynman” a few months ago, which can be summed up like this: He was a true genius, who revolutionized the study of physics. He was also a sexual predator.

The problem is that the facts are against any excuses. Feynman pretended to be an undergraduate to get young women to sleep with him. He targeted the wives of male grad students. He went to bars and practiced a technique that isn’t so different from the reprehensible “game” of the pick-up artists (PUAs). This is all public record, including anecdotes in his own words from his sorta-memoirs “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” and “What Do You Care What Other People Think?”

To judge from comments in this thread (and from other stories I’ve read and heard), there were some (many?) women who found him charming and his behavior not unappealing. But the problem is that he frankly didn’t care whether his attention was welcome or not. Women existed to meet his sexual needs, and he boasted about this in his memoirs. Many more details at the link.

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David J. Littleboy 11.15.14 at 1:16 am

“My fundamental dating advice for nerds is: Don’t be a nerd. Be yourself.”

No. Being a nerd is fine. Just be honestly interested in the person you are talking to, and she might talk back. Otherwise, she’ll run like hell. Or should run like hell.

130

Origami Isopod 11.15.14 at 1:33 pm

ZM, at #91 you are demonstrating the rule that any discussion about men treating women as objects for their own convenience and pleasure must be refocused on the real victims: the poor men who can’t get their dicks wet.

Plenty of women can’t get laid. They’re “too” fat, “too” thin, the “wrong” color, disabled, “too” old, or not deferential/demure/”charming” enough. But that’s considered to be their fault, which they should address by changing themselves. They aren’t figures of sympathy but of scorn, because they’ve failed in “their role as women.” Whereas men who can’t get laid are told that if they just learn the right set of “cheats,” they can “crack the pussy code.” Because, again, women aren’t people. We exist for men. And if they harm us physically or psychologically in the process, serves us right for being picky bitches who think we’re entitled to standards.

As for the PUAs you describe “not being footballers,” there is plenty of misogyny and entitlement in “geek culture.” GamerGate demonstrates it pretty well, but it’s been around forever. Far too many white geek men think they’re the most oppressed demographic in creation because they were picked on in school (as if girls never are, not that they’d notice). Their empathy for the actually oppressed is nonexistent. And it has nothing to do with autism, because the developmental disorder may affect how one expresses empathy but it does not make a person nonempathetic.

Palindrome and David J. Littleboy: Well said, both of you.

131

ZM 11.15.14 at 1:43 pm

How I wish I never mentioned that article by the men’s issues writer. I will never mention men’s issues again. I am not a man, I have never met a single person who has said they have gone to a pick up artist talk or would like to. How would I know why men go to nasty idiotic pick up artist talks? I don’t even know why they watch sports or porn or action movies for goodness sake.

Ronan(rf) said that the government needn’t have bothered deporting the pick up artist seminar man because all the attendees would already be violent and abusive to women anyway.

I said I myself was ambivalent about what the attendees would be like but this men’s issues writer says maybe some of the men were not abusive but ….

132

Nancy Lebovitz 11.15.14 at 2:02 pm

I think Australia was reasonable to not give that man a visa because he, himself, in person and on video, had a history of committing assault. Even if his presence wouldn’t increase the amount of assault by his students (a dubious premise– people do have some influence on each other), just not having him around means probably a little less assault in Australia.

133

Sasha Clarkson 11.15.14 at 2:49 pm

Blanc is going to be an issue in the UK too. If he actually said the things attributed to him, then it’s incitement to criminal behaviour. He should definitely be persona non grata!

The “sexist vintage ads” displayed at the bottom of the page are interesting. When it comes to adverts for cosmetics, the ad “industry” today is only barely more subtle than the Palmolive ads of yesteryear; and that’s definitely negging too!

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/11/15/julien-blanc-uk-petition_n_6163312.html

134

Maria 11.15.14 at 6:40 pm

j thomas / godoggo / whatever, you are banned.

135

js. 11.15.14 at 8:27 pm

@133:

Wow! I could not figure out the Lysol ads! Kept thinking: why are they advertising household cleaner in such an odd way!? Finally had to look it up.

136

Val 11.15.14 at 10:25 pm

@131
ZM, I feel sympathetic to you, I know you were just trying to see both sides, but I’d be more wary of using Sam de Brito as a source if I were you. Maybe you should read his article more carefully: Julien Blanc is a creep, but the protests were ugly scenes, Blanc’s seminars are bad, but some other un-named people’s are respectful, therefore the people who protested about Blanc are somehow picking on innocent men! Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, to put it mildly.

137

Collin Street 11.15.14 at 10:47 pm

And it has nothing to do with autism, because the developmental disorder may affect how one expresses empathy but it does not make a person nonempathetic.

I don’t know, I’m reasonably confident that autism will be reflected in how you manifest your arseholery. Arseholes-with-autism will have distinctive patterns of behaviour distinguishable from non-autistic-arseholes.

138

weareastrangemonkey 11.16.14 at 11:49 am

@Daniel

In “The Beautiful Mind game” only outcomes in which the blonde is approached are Nash Equilibria. The film gets it spectacularly wrong.

Also, game theory easily explains niche behaviour. You really ought to think a bit more about “mainstream” game theory before making bold claims about what it can and can’t explain.

139

weareastrangemonkey 11.16.14 at 12:19 pm

@134

I am having trouble understanding the policy on posting here. You have banned someone (J.Thomas/Godoggo) and you have threatened to ban someone (Dax).

It sounds like the ban is from CT entirely. They seemed to be arguing for a point of view not in line with the OP but they were not being aggressive or hurling abuse.

1) Are there deleted posts in which they are particularly offensive?

2) Or do we just have to be careful not to put forward opinions that CT administrators/posters do not like?

I really hope it is not (2).

140

ZM 11.16.14 at 1:55 pm

It was J Parnell Thomas/godoggo who was banned. J Thomas is a different commenter and was just asked not to comment for a day.

Godoggo did not like J Thomas much when he was a commenter I think because J Thomas is against Zionism. So maybe that is why godoggo chose a new pseudonym J Parnell Thomas so close to J Thomas…

141

Rich Puchalsky 11.16.14 at 2:12 pm

Thanks for explaining that, ZM. I was having significant difficulty with the idea that J. Thomas was the same person as godoggo, something which was obviously true for J. Parnell Thomas.

142

weareastrangemonkey 11.16.14 at 2:56 pm

Thank you for clarifying.

I should have worked it out for myself. I thought it was possible that J Thomas were being banned because of the threat of banning Dax for questioning the OPs interpretation of events.

I think Dax was incorrect but he did not seem to be offensive or off topic. It is reasonable and valuable to discuss different interpretations of the motives of the various actors. I have often changed my interpretation of an event because someone suggested a different set of motives that might (better) explain the same behaviour.

Dax wondered about the possibility that the guy was just rude. His interpretation is incorrect in this case for the reason pointed out by J Thomas. But to ban someone for getting something wrong seems draconian.

143

mattski 11.16.14 at 3:32 pm

I think what dax was doing was offensive enough to merit Maria’s response. He was challenging her story from a position of laziness, not bothering to read her closely enough to see how implausible his objections were.

144

MPAVictoria 11.16.14 at 4:48 pm

“I think what dax was doing was offensive enough to merit Maria’s response. He was challenging her story from a position of laziness, not bothering to read her closely enough to see how implausible his objections were.”

Yep. Bingo.

145

Igor Belanov 11.16.14 at 5:40 pm

“challenging her story from a position of laziness”.

Too right. It’s about time that this was made a capital offence.

146

Bloix 11.16.14 at 6:00 pm

Maria told an amusing story, “this thing happened to me and the way I handled it was pretty clever, if I do way so myself!” Dax comes along and says, “hey, that thing that you say happened didn’t happen, it was something completely different and you weren’t clever at all!”

And on a post about PUA, no less. PUA is gaslighting, and Dax’s comments are gaslighting. They’re like the PUA of comments.

147

Longitudinally Enabled 11.16.14 at 9:33 pm

Plus, Dax was asked merely to not comment on this particular thread. Only when it appeared that Dax didn’t get the memo did Maria raise the specter of a CT-wide permaban, and that was worded as a consequence of Dax not staying off this thread.

148

weareastrangemonkey 11.17.14 at 12:02 am

Gas-lighting? Comparing Dax’s post to mental abuse seems over the top. Maria told an amusing story with a point. Dax suggested that it is possible to read the situation differently. It does not seem unreasonable to question the interpretation of an anecdote being used to make a point on a public blog.

Argument from laziness might be a fairer characterisation. Perhaps he was lazy or perhaps he just didn’t put two and two together. Perhaps the criticism of his claim is not that obviously correct to him. There is some room for doubt about the interpretation and that was all Dax did – raise a doubt.

It might seem really obvious to us that Maria’s interpretation was/is correct (it does seem obvious to me). But one of the main points of discussion is that what is obvious to one person is not obvious to others. Censoring those different perspectives then seems like bad practice.

There are cases when people are very clearly being abusive or clearly arguing in bad faith. If we could trust our own judgement perfectly then we could censor these people whenever we thought this was what was going on. But the reality is that we are imperfect judges of such things and find it all too tempting to write off those we disagree with as fools and knaves. This often leads to the creation of echo-chambers.

Surely then it is better to err on the side of acceptance rather than rejection. Incorrectly ignoring the views of dissenters is a greater danger to our collective reason than having to occasionally put up with someone who may be a little disingenuous.

149

mattski 11.17.14 at 12:17 am

148

I think you make very good points, and mostly I wouldn’t argue with you.

In this particular case though we’re talking about a systematic cultural phenomenon of disrespect for women. So, if a commenter such as dax can’t manage to show a decent level of respect for the woman telling the story then I certainly don’t blame her for telling him to piss off.

IOW, it would probably be possible to probe into Maria’s account in a respectful manner to shine light on the details and satisfy any skepticism there might be. And, basically, this is Maria’s thread, she’s the boss. That’s the way it needs to be.

150

MPAVictoria 11.17.14 at 12:18 am

weareastrangemonkey

We are guests here. He was asked to stop posting by one of the owners of this site and he ignored her. I imagine that was the reason for the ban.

151

Val 11.17.14 at 12:41 am

I’m probably a bit slow on this, but re-reading the post, especially this bit:

“So I said to him ‘wow, that was really quite rude, did you mean to say it?’ And he said something like ‘come on, you liked it. You know I’m in charge’. Or something equally asinine”

– and remembering some incidents from my not too distant past (and reading the parallel ‘Sexual implicature’ thread) made me think – are these guys on about masculine dominance? Is that what it is?

As I say, probably not a brilliant insight, but if they are in a way hankering for some (partly imagined, but partly true) patriarchal male dominant sexuality, that’s interesting I think. It may also explain the apparent explosion of online pornography and possibly the ‘Shades of Grey’ phenomenon (two things about which I have to confess I know almost nothing)? Both men, in practice or attempted practice, and women, mainly in imagination, are getting off on this (hopefully) passing historical epoch?

I think so many of our current social problems – including neoliberalism – can be explained by people’s unease and reactive responses to feminism and the (as I say, hopeful) end of the historical era of patriarchy. Probably I’m influenced in this view by being Australian and having recently observed our recent female Prime Minister being exposed to some pretty weird and misogynistic reactions (and in my opinion, some pretty biased responses from supposedly progressive men on the left).

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weareastrangemonkey 11.17.14 at 12:57 am

mattski

I personally, in the OPs shoes, would really have to work hard to be offended in the slightest by anything he said. I don’t think I have thick skin either. If, however, there is a historical context to Dax’s comments that I am missing, as suggested by your and MPAVictoria’s comments, then fair enough.

153

ZM 11.17.14 at 1:12 am

I think it was more that Dax was asserting that the gendered and sexualised rudeness in the OP was the same as general rudeness. Possibly he is a man and has never been subjected to gendered sexualised rudeness.

Also, as he himself so blatantly mentioned, he proceeded to do this in a rude way.

If another commenter is rude to me as a commenter I can just greatly take offence or be rude back as I do not use my name and have no dignified managing comment thread duties. But Maria uses her name and if she wants to maintain her dignity she probably cannot be especially rude back, and she also might not like to greatly take offense . So telling him not to comment on the thread again is another alternative.

154

mattski 11.17.14 at 3:26 am

152

Are you male or female?

155

AlisonP 11.17.14 at 9:09 am

I think the phrase from Dax that struck me particualrly was: ‘the story simply goes from the guy is being rude to Maria’s realisation that the guy is trying to pick her up by a technique which I confess I have never heard of until hitherto.’

Isn’t that the very definition of mansplaining? The man ‘splainer knows nothing about an issue (Dax says he has never heard of it until Maria’s post) which affects women. But he proceeds to set the woman right, and correct her. He presumes to know more than her about her own experience of a common female experience that he has literally never even heard of before.

I sometimes see men (here and elsewhere) hurt and offended by the use of the term mansplaining but – here you go – here it is in the wild.

156

weareastrangemonkey 11.17.14 at 9:18 am

I see. I think I would have perceived it very differently and so I found it surprising. I am male and so there’s that. I don’t think that is why I don’t find it offensive but it is hard for someone to know that for sure. My guess it the reason I don’t find it offensive is that I don’t see people disagreeing with me, even vigorously, as anything but that. This of course could be due to me never having to worry that I am being dismissed just because of my gender. But it didn’t look to me like Dax was disagreeing with the OP because of their gender.

But I have now spent way too much space on this thread defending someone who I shouldn’t have had much time for. I at least have a feel for the comments policy now. Sorry to have wasted your time.

157

Maria 11.17.14 at 9:18 am

MPA @150 – yes, that was the ultimate rationale.

By the by, the thing that surprised me about this thread was – for the most part – what didn’t become controversial, i.e. the fact that I called in an alpha male to deal with the twerp, rather than sending him off myself. I hate stories about feminism that rely on a guy to fix things, but this was exactly one of those. And also it was a pretty unkind thing to do to this guy, i.e. it was complete overkill. Emotionally satisfying, but not entirely ethical. But there you go.

158

weareastrangemonkey 11.17.14 at 9:40 am

157

For the record, I enjoyed your post. I didn’t think your response was overkill. Bad behaviour does require some form of social enforcement and I thought your punishment fit the crime.

159

Mario 11.17.14 at 9:43 am

Maria @157

I see what you mean, but I did get a different impression from the story. It was your patience that was exhausted, it was you who chose the solution, you who positioned the weapon and you who pulled the trigger. The weapon was happy to help, it seems, but was rather passive. Men often see it like that and not necessarily unhappy to be used in this way.

160

Sasha Clarkson 11.17.14 at 10:45 am

“I hate stories about feminism that rely on a guy to fix things ….. etc

I hate aggressive behaviour – it makes me feel physically ill: but there’s no such thing as a fair fight – verbally or physically. There’s always someone stronger, faster, cleverer or nastier. However, if you can’t walk away, or don’t want to leave the enemy in possession of the field, then you need to protect yourself effectively by any means available.

Your ‘jerk’ invaded your space and tried, as a preliminary, to mindf*** you. He used his charismatic boss/associate as a tool of his mental assault. What you did was a form of mental jujutsu, using your attacker’s energy and weapon against him. He had to leave you in possession of the field. There is nothing wrong in feeling a certain satisfaction at a well-executed manoeuvre, even if one also feels slightly contaminated by the encounter too.

The sad thing is that, although he might be more careful next time, unlike you Maria, such people are unlikely to question their own motivation or ethics.

161

Lindsay Berge 11.17.14 at 12:47 pm

This seems an equally true statement as far as I am concerned.

Plenty of men can’t get laid. They’re “too” fat, “too” thin, the “wrong” color, disabled, “too” old, or not deferential/demure/”charming” enough. But that’s considered to be their fault, which they should address by changing themselves. They aren’t figures of sympathy but of scorn, because they’ve failed in “their role as men.”

Is this not why they are exercising in gyms, desperately trying baldness remedies, having the hair removed from their backs, even taking courses on how to meet women? Is there a figure held more in contempt than the boring middle-aged paunchy white guy with a hairy back and no fashion sense who dares to wear speedos in public?

162

djr 11.17.14 at 2:03 pm

Maria @ 157: You won the game according to the rules he was playing by, or at least he lost.

163

engels 11.17.14 at 2:28 pm

However, if you can’t walk away, or don’t want to leave the enemy in possession of the field, then you need to protect yourself effectively by any means available.

Oh how much human stupidity flows from this single sentence.

164

engels 11.17.14 at 2:31 pm

(For avoidance of doubt, the above sentiment isn’t meant to apply to the OP.)

165

MPAVictoria 11.17.14 at 2:34 pm

“And also it was a pretty unkind thing to do to this guy, i.e. it was complete overkill. Emotionally satisfying, but not entirely ethical. But there you go.”

In my opinion. you are being WAY too hard on yourself here. The guy deserved what he got.

166

mattski 11.17.14 at 3:10 pm

I find this thread highly entertaining. :^)

But, Maria, I don’t think you “called in an alpha male to deal with it” as much as you used the alpha male as a prop. And I really enjoyed Sasha’s comments at 160, which I guess means I strongly disagree with engels 163! (I do wonder is Sasha male or female??)

The part of the story that grabs me is the, “c’mon you liked it, you know I’m in charge,” which might be a paraphrase not a quote but still… That is the moment when Maria realizes she’s not in a friendly conversation, she’s in a contest and not of her own choosing. That’s why Sasha’s sports metaphors are so apt.

If I tell someone I find their behavior towards me obnoxious and they respond by telling me that was their intention, or equivalently, they couldn’t care less, then it’s “game on.”

167

LizardBreath 11.17.14 at 4:13 pm

the fact that I called in an alpha male to deal with the twerp,

Honestly, I did have a negative reaction to that, not that it was unkind, but that it was playing the same game the jerk was playing. It would have made sense for him to walk away thinking not “Trying to dominate women by insulting them is stupid”, but “If I could just project manliness better, like that guy, it’d start working. I’m on the right track!” (assuming, of course, he was an idiot, but he seems to have been). But it didn’t seem worth picking at you about it.

168

afeman 11.17.14 at 5:31 pm

Unkind can be, and was here, entirely ethical.

169

Igor Belanov 11.17.14 at 6:38 pm

I agree to some extent with Lizard Breath @167. I think it would have been better not to ‘play the game’ at all. The ‘ending’ to the story seems to suggest that it was some sort of contest rather than a meeting with someone unpleasant.

170

clew 11.17.14 at 6:40 pm

Maria @157: I’ve been trying to think of an approach that wouldn’t reinforce the alpha-male frame, and haven’t thought of one, and no-one else offered one when I asked. It’s a very self-consistent frame.

The best I’ve ever done in real life was `Try not being a jerk. People will like you more often.’

171

clew 11.17.14 at 6:43 pm

Igor, etc: the problem with trying to `not play the game’ is that the player will interpret just about any avoidance as submission and a number of them will then literally follow you around to collect. Once they’re committed to demonstrating dominance against your will, they’re not listening to standard negotiations.

172

LizardBreath 11.17.14 at 6:53 pm

What Maria actually did was cleverer than what I’m going to suggest, and probably hurt more (which in this context I approve of). But a straightforward “Please go away and talk to someone else. You’re boring and annoying me,” wouldn’t have brought the other guy into it, and it’s hard to see how the jerk could have gone forward with the same kind of behavior from that point. (Not saying that I would have had the necessary aggression to say that in the same situation — in the most similar situations I’ve been in, I think where I’ve actually ended up is some combination of a blank stare and a cold shoulder, just turning away to talk to someone else.)

173

clew 11.17.14 at 7:13 pm

The `please’ is likely to backfire, IME. *By their design* you have to be ruder to someone playing this game than is socially acceptable in good-faith interactions.

174

LizardBreath 11.17.14 at 7:17 pm

You’re right that to handle it straightforwardly, you have to be uncomfortably rude. I think even with the “Please”, though, what I suggested was rude enough — I can’t see what his next line could be after that.

175

engels 11.17.14 at 7:22 pm

Maybe you should have started negging him back, or negging ‘the king’? Or maybe large-scale social problems can only be properly addressed through organised political action, not individual blogogenic acts of retaliation…

176

engels 11.17.14 at 7:22 pm

(Although appreciate the need to do something in those circumstances, of course…)

177

The Temporary Name 11.17.14 at 7:29 pm

I’ve been trying to think of an approach that wouldn’t reinforce the alpha-male frame

“Who hurt you?”

178

LizardBreath 11.17.14 at 7:30 pm

179

Lynne 11.17.14 at 7:33 pm

It sounds to me like just being rude enough wouldn’t have been enough—you’d have to be ruder than the jerk to make the impression you would want to.

But I’m uncomfortable with this line of comments, how Maria might have done better. Most women wonder how they could have done better after dealing with sexist crap, and don’t need the help of other women to second-guess themselves.

If the slant were different, more along the lines of exchanging stories, and what worked and didn’t _for us_ and what might have worked better, I would be happier.

Until this thread, I’d never heard of “negging” or PUA as a movement. You learn something every day.

180

Lynne 11.17.14 at 7:35 pm

Whoa, xkcd did have thoughts. Love it.

181

NM 11.17.14 at 10:38 pm

Maria @157, “the thing that surprised me about this thread was – for the most part – what didn’t become controversial, i.e. the fact that I called in an alpha male to deal with the twerp, rather than sending him off myself.”

Actually that part struck me when I read it immediately, and I wanted to comment the other day but had other things to do. What struck me was that you treated this as a case of you calling in an alpha MALE, while when I read it – while I realised that you were seeking to problematise it in these terms – it seemed to me that you were actually doing something slightly but significantly different: what you were doing was calling in an Alpha, and making the PUA’s behavior public, thus exposing him to public ridicule (well played btw on your part — don’t think you have anything to feel bad about. he got what he was asking for.) . The Alpha’s gender seemed secondary to me in this situation: imagine the alpha had been female, esp. a female alpha both in a professional and a sexual sense (managing director at Goldman with bond girl looks) — would the situation have played out any differently after you “went public” as it were? I suspect not: the chap was being – deservedly – humiliated in front of a power greater than him. The power’s gender seems quite secondary. Indeed, I wonder how important it even was that you were calling in an Alpha, as opposed to just going public: imagine the whole encounter had taken while you were out with a group of people of roughly the same rank (mixed or not), and you “went public” about the chap’s behavior to the group: would things have been different? Again I suspect not, at least if the crucial operating force here is public shaming.

btw, why did J Thomas get banned? He seemed largely perfectly respectful and to be making interesting contributions. Or am I just massively missing something here?

Forgive inelegant language & sentence structures above … putting a huge ppt together one 4 h sleep rather dulls the senses…

182

Bryan 11.17.14 at 10:47 pm

>Maybe she wasn’t even at the conference! Maybe she was speaking to a bowl of plums.

This is just to say
I spoke to the bowl of plums
that you were probably planning
on having a conversation with,
Sorry,
but I knew you wanted me to
because you are a woman and I am a man
and talking to bowls of plums so you won’t be able to
is what I do.

183

Collin Street 11.17.14 at 11:57 pm

I think it would have been better not to ‘play the game’ at all.

It’s not a game, it’s a fight. “Games” need willing participation from both parties, but to get a “fight” you only need one person to want it.

[“who started it” is really, “who wanted it to happen”. And that’s a pretty reasonable question, and the answer isn’t always “the one who threw the first punch”, nor “the one who said the first mean thing”.]

184

J Thomas 11.18.14 at 4:21 am

#157 Maria

… the fact that I called in an alpha male to deal with the twerp, rather than sending him off myself. I hate stories about feminism that rely on a guy to fix things, but this was exactly one of those.

You get to choose your own ethics. From my point of view there was nothing wrong with doing it the way you did. You got to get rid of the guy and you felt good about it. That’s fine. If you want to feel like you should have done something else, you have the right to feel that way.

Say the alpha male hadn’t even been there, say it was just the two women alone for the moment when the jerk showed up. And you told her, and she laughed. Likely that would have worked fine too. No way to be sure without going back and rerunning the experiment, but likely.

And also it was a pretty unkind thing to do to this guy, i.e. it was complete overkill. Emotionally satisfying, but not entirely ethical.

To my way of thinking, if he had really believed that you liked that kind of thing and he was doing it because you liked it, it would have been kinder to help him switch to something you liked better. But I don’t really expect that was the case.

Say he was trying to manipulate you, to treat you as somebody who did not understand your own motivations, somebody who could be tricked into doing things that were likely not good for you. It’s possible he was basicly a nice guy who had come to believe this technique would work, and he didn’t have any ill will. That’s possible. But more likely he wanted to enjoy a sense of power. Maybe if things worked the way he wanted, you would feel so bad about yourself that you would eagerly give him a blowjob hoping that would help you feel better. He might care nothing about fixing what he broke, but when he was done with you just throw your clothes out the door and you too.

I think your ethical obligations to him were minimal. But you choose your own ethics.

Of course it’s better to find a response that might teach him something profound, but that isn’t easy, and you had your own life to attend to. Probably after a drink and a few minutes to forget, he was back in the game, a little drunker and less competent, with one more incident to be angry about. When people lose games like that they usually just get meaner.

You efficiently got him to go away. Probably no big consequences to anybody. It’s a good story.

185

Maria 11.18.14 at 10:15 am

Lynn @179; ‘But I’m uncomfortable with this line of comments, how Maria might have done better’ – it’s ok, I invited this analysis and I think it’s a really fascinating look at what an ethical or effective response could or should be. But thanks – I can see that it wouldn’t be as easy to wear if it had been people’s first reaction.

186

Lynne 11.18.14 at 11:38 am

Maria: Oh, good. Everyone else, sorry to have inserted that “I’m more feminist than you” vibe.

187

Maria 11.18.14 at 2:13 pm

No need to apologise. ;-)

188

Maria 11.18.14 at 2:16 pm

Lizardbreath, oh wow, that xkcd is amazing. ‘The thing standing in the way of your dreams is that the person having them is you’. Zing..!

189

Merian 11.18.14 at 3:36 pm

As for calling in the alpha male, well, yeah, sure, the more feminist thing would have been to dispatch him yourself, but you’re human and don’t have to be wonder woman all the time. It’s the difference between reality and fiction: If I had read it in a story, I’d have been disappointed with the heroine, or it would have been a plot point to reveal what her attitude is like, because Everything Happens For A Reason. Live, not so much. It’s messier. I don’t judge a real person as harshly as a fictional one.

190

Origami Isopod 11.18.14 at 8:38 pm

They aren’t figures of sympathy but of scorn, because they’ve failed in “their role as men.”

Right, because men’s worth in society is judged only by how attractive they are to women. Your parody of my comment is about as valid as a screed against “reverse racism.”

191

The Temporary Name 11.18.14 at 9:51 pm

As for calling in the alpha male, well, yeah, sure, the more feminist thing would have been to dispatch him yourself, but you’re human and don’t have to be wonder woman all the time.

It’s fun that the alpha was alpha and supplied the response he did, but Maria’s blow was strongest: making it public, there in the moment. People could supply shame at that table simply with presence when Maria spoke up, but fortune supplied a little extra.

192

js. 11.19.14 at 12:29 am

the thing that surprised me about this thread was – for the most part – what didn’t become controversial, i.e. the fact that I called in an alpha male to deal with the twerp, rather than sending him off myself.

I thought that any objection along these lines had already been deftly dispatched by the last line of the post. Which was what was brilliant about it.

193

Bernard Yomtov 11.19.14 at 6:01 pm

My fundamental dating advice for nerds is: Don’t be a nerd. Be yourself.

Huh?

“Don’t be who you are. Be yourself.”

194

J Thomas 11.19.14 at 7:47 pm

#193 Bernard Yomtov

“My fundamental dating advice for nerds is: Don’t be a nerd. Be yourself.”

Huh?

“Don’t be who you are. Be yourself.”

“Nerds” suffer discrimination. Who’s a nerd? Anybody who fits the stereotypes that get them discriminated against as nerds.

How did they happen to fit that stereotype? They bought into it. The mass market culture told them what clothes to wear, what jokes to laugh at, what TV shows to look at etc, and it looked like an attractive deal to them, so they did it. Now they’re getting penalized for it.

There’s an attempt to make nerds glamorous. It’s a temporary fad.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFhgupR565Q

So I say, don’t live the stereotype. Put other parts of yourself on display, without fitting too closely to any single trend. If you’re 18 and you’ve devoted your life to being a geek it’s probably too late to do well with another established role, you’ll always be behind the ones that have put their souls into being that. But if you show up as an individual you will attract xenophiles who are looking for people who aren’t that predictable. It’s more fun than being a nerd, and you can get along with nerds whenever you meet them and for that matter get along with any other niche group that lets people get along with it.

195

Bill Benzon 11.19.14 at 9:16 pm

Don’t know whether this has been mentioned here, yet, but Julian Blanc has just been denied a visa to UK:

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30119100

“A petition to deny him a visa attracted more than 150,000 signatures ahead of his UK tour, due to start in February.

“Mr Blanc has apologised, saying his intention was “a horrible attempt at humour” taken out of context.

Crime prevention minister Lynne Featherstone said she was “delighted Mr Blanc won’t be coming to our shores”.”

196

Nancy Lebovitz 11.19.14 at 9:30 pm

Bill, thanks for the good news.

Anyone know whether the Japanese government could have a case against him?

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