Random dude: "I'm looking for Neil Strauss."
Me: "Oh. The Game." [stands up, brushes dust off pantlegs, heads in direction of book]
RD: "You know it."
RD: "Does it work on you?"
Me: "Lemme see: sad men trying to make a connection with women and sabotaging themselves because they chose manipulation as their opening gambit?" [two beats] "No."
RD: "Come on, you can't lie to a woman, I mean, if she falls for it..."
Me: [rounding on the dude with that smile that's more like showing my teeth] "Let me ask you this: if you lie to a woman and she believes you, who exactly is at fault there?"
RD: "You can go away now."
Me: [customer service smile] "Have a nice afternoon!"
There was a much less amusing story featured in one of our local weeklies about pickup artists (or, as they're apparently called, PUAs--pwahs?--am I the only person who thinks that acronym should be avoided at all costs?) and the pickup scene, which is apparently big in my city. Huh. For the record, I am not against the notion of picking up, or the idea of casual sex. All I ask is that all parties give informed consent, (which, duh, means that you can't lie to each other about what you're looking for out of the experience) and that everybody tries to make sure that everybody else is having a good time. If that seems like an unreasonably stringent standard to you, then don't bother commenting, because we have nothing to say to each other.
(I'm not going to link to the article, because frankly I don't have time or energy to handle the trolls and all the tedious, tedious things I know they'd call me, but if you would like to throw up in your mouth a little, you can find it by googling "pickup artist" along with "worship the cock." Yeah.)
One of the discussions we had at my place about it was about whether the author had a responsibility to frame the discussion a bit more around the guy she was profiling. My opinion on the subject is that while there's a valid critique about whether you want to give this man a lot of airtime, framing the discussion would have been a mistake, because it implies that there's a discussion to be had. There isn't. Not with this guy. Because he fucking hates women. There's no discussion possible with that level of pathology. The guys you want to discuss with, they're the guys who end up in pickup workshops because they'd just like to meet girls. Maybe for a long-term relationship, maybe for sex. I think there's a hole in the culture where we could be talking about the challenges that men face in meeting women, and an article about that and where/whether the pickup wave falls into that would be...interesting.
Based solely on a short trip down the relationship aisle in the bookstore I can tell you--newsflash--that folks looking for love, sex, and romance have no clue how to go about it. Well, there's no shame in that. Our culture, gender roles, and expectations continue to evolve, and they're damn confusing. I long, however, for strategies which are less depressing; for every book about how to have sex with women you met in bars by being an asshole, there's at least one about how to get some guy (apparently, any guy will do,) to marry you. Also by being an asshole. The Mystery Method, meet The Rules. You totally deserve each other.