The Not So Beautiful Game Step 3: In Which Our Narrator Gets Close to Thinking of Women as People, but Veers Off Very Expectedly into Rapiness
We have reached a need for content warnings, I think. No actual rape, but very rapey attitudes and opinions are expressed.
On a tangential, but unrelated note, I was in Austin, TX, recently, and apparently many famous movie stars live there, including but not limited to Sandra Bullock. I was informed of this by a gentleman, expressing disbelief that a person such as her ex (who was described in disparaging terms based entirely on physical appearance), could have “gotten” Sandra Bullock. Women: still gettable things with appearance being the major contributing factor to a man’s ability to “get” such things.
On that note, Step 3. Demonstrate Value. We’re off! With the assertion that “the best predators don’t lie on the jungle floor with their teeth bared and claws out. The prey is going to avoid them. They approach the prey slowly and harmlessly, win its trust, and then attack.” Fucking predation, how does that work? Whatever, the point is that women are prey and men are predators. But wait! All is not lost! Style is on a quest to be the best pick up artist that he can be, because he has been invited to assist at Mystery’s next workshop. Driven by an incipient sense of unworthiness, Style prepares by devoting himself full time to studying what I can only think of as a combination of showmanship and the human psyche, in the course of which, he discovers that women want sex as much, if not more, than men. He is still thinking of men and women as two borgs, but it’s a breakthrough of sorts. (Somewhere in the underworld, Tiresius is eating pomegranates with Persephone, and saying “I told you so” to the world of pick up artists.)
As Style becomes better at parlor magic tricks, posture, and generally presenting himself, he notices that he is becoming more attractive to his desired sex. However, the obvious point here, that in order to try to attract people, one must be oneself attractive, sighs somewhere above Style’s head as Style develops a weird reverence for hypnotism. Seriously, he feels ashamed of himself for using basic hypnosis as a conversational gambit, and comments that he got into the “Game” to learn confidence, not mind-control. Despite this, he follows a woman back to her room, fully intending to have sex, despite having used what he thinks of as mind-control on her. Hypnosis is not mind control, but that he thinks of it as such means that he is kind of okay with the thought of mind-controlled sex. He even thinks about the self-aggrandizing way in which other pick up artists he has met think of themselves as evil, and is still willing to go through with “mind-controlled” sex. He thinks of himself as a rapist, even if not in such a word, and he is going through with what is, in his mind, rape. Now here’s the really squicky part. Later on in the section, he opines in the way he fancies deep (where deep is defined as reading Ulysses every three years) about alcohol. According to Style, alcohol cannot make women do anything they didn’t want to anyway, so there is no such thing as using alcohol as an aid to rapine.
We have a disturbing side story about Sweater, who has rechristened himself Extramask, and his tale of sex. This is told via a post from an internet forum, which is presumably supposed to be an excitingly original narrative gimmick. Extramask has has problems with painful masturbation, which seems a problem better suited for consultation with a doctor than an internet forum, and has a dreadful sounding first sexual experience, recounted in tedious detail. Extramask’s conclusion from this? He can be a better pick up artist now, because he knows he doesn’t want what women are selling. Sex is not a commodity that women have and men want, and how these libertines of the internet can simultaneously believe that it is and that women have no sexual awareness or agency and are nought but helpless prey is something I do not understand.
To return to our increasingly disturbing yet never actually interesting main narrative, Mystery and Style set off for a workshop in Belgrade, where Style distinguishes himself but angsts over his inability to bring himself to kiss any of the women he interests. Meanwhile, Style’s friend in Serbia, Marko, is enamoured of a lady that he regards as being different from the “materialistic club trash” amongst whom Style and Mystery ply their tricks. Style remarks on how awkward they seem together, the enamoured of lady expresses amorous interest in Style, and the conclusion reached seems to be that women (who are, remember, the borg) are all materialistic club trash and magic mind control pick up artistry works to secure sex with women. Style opened this section by recounting his nervousness when he heard stories of other pick up artists being rejected and sometimes physically assaulted by women, but he seems to have forgotten that and now only remembers successful (?) seductions.
We end this unfocused section with a straightforward travel narrative of driving through Trans-Dniestr. I was almost interested, but the narrative insists on showing us a more vulnerable side of the great guru Mystery, and his home life and problems with his father (which is so pat and close to what I expected that I don’t think I believe it.) that the travel part is obscured. Which is a pity, since frankly, the existence of Trans-Dniestr, of which I had been hitherto unaware, is far more fascinating to me than the personal lives of any of these people.
Tune in next time, when Style decides he will move beyond his shady justification for even being a part of this scene (what editor is offering him enough money to just go gallivanting about to clubs, acting classes, the library, and Serbia anyway?) and just become a great guru of seduction all on his own. Huzzah.