The Not So Beautiful Game, Step 10: In Which Critical Thinking Would be Better than Mindlessly Following Directions and Making Assumptions
After all the foreboding of doominess in the last step, one would have thought that step 10 (Blast Last Minute Resistance–it’s a euphemism for rape) would find the den of internet libertines in their $50k/month mansion in Hollywood in a slightly different situation than the last step. One would, however, be wrong. Everyone is still in their mansion which, according to Style, is descending into a state of complete disgustingness, hygiene wise. No one cleans, there are too many people still, and they can’t pay cleaning staff enough to keep cleaning up after them, so everything is just nasty. (Don’t they have someone from whom they rent that checks up on this?). Additionally, the house is filled with everyone’s increasingly vicious bickering. Style, however, claims that this means that he is learning to be an adult. In his words, his living situation “was helping me to let go of petty things like personal property, solitude, cleanliness, sanity, and sleep. It was making me, for the first time in my life, a responsible adult.” All I can say about this is that this is not my way of trying to be an adult, and I’m glad for it. In addition to deciding that a stressful and dirty living situation is good, Style seems to be declaring himself the gatekeeper of True Pickup Artistry. He declares that anyone who hates women is not a True Pickup Artist because the True Pickup Artist is actually afraid of women because he has to get all validation from them. It’s never completely healthy to get all one’s validation from other people at the best of times, but I think the point is he needs to be able to disassociate himself mentally from the obvious and virulent misogyny. At the same time, however, he openly talks about how what he does is bad for the soul (his phrase) because he is learning that women are as bad as men. Somehow he never seems to connect placing women on unrealistic pedestals and then being angry or disgusted with them for not being the amazing creatures he imagined them with sexism.
After a lot of essentially petty gossip to detail the tensions in the mansion, Style moves on to discussing his attempts to seduce his crush, Lisa, who plays in a band with Courtney Love. He writes down all the routines that have worked well for him in the past, and then can’t understand why they don’t result in sex with Lisa. Here’s both the sad and the relieving thing about this whole pickup artistry education: it teaches people set routines in set situations. They mostly attempt their seductions in clubs, which is an environment that selects to favor people who are either looking for sex or who have impaired their critical reasoning skills with large amounts of alcohol, or both. So of course their seduction routines will have enough success that these libertines can ignore the failures and tell themselves they have discovered magic and make grand generalizations about the essential and essentially different natures and needs of women as opposed to men. Where Style completely fails at both con artistry and critical reasoning is in his incapacity to either figure out which people will be more susceptible to his routines or of adjusting his routines to be more appealing to different kinds of people. This is both relieving in that I would prefer that enemies of consent not be good at critical thinking, and sad in that the whole reason Style was drawn into the community in the first place was that he felt horribly socially awkward, and he did not actually learn to combat that, he just memorized a bunch of routines and gained no more understanding of other humans than he had before. In fact, he chalks up his failure to seduce Lisa to oneitis, his term for believing that one woman is special, which most people would call love, or at least attraction. He believes that oneitis destroys a man’s ability to do anything right, where right is defined as resulting in sex.
When not angsting about Lisa, Style is back to talking about Mystery’s problems. Mystery, still obsessing over Katya, is starting to display violent tendencies. Still, no one seems genuinely concerned about Mystery. But this isn’t nearly as important as angsting about Lisa, who Style overhears saying that she might want him (Style) as a boyfriend. This does not stop him from continuing to try just for sex, or asking her what she might like from him. She eventually gets over him for this and stops talking to him, which seems reasonable. Style ends this section by lying in bed being upset about Lisa questioning his life choices in getting involved with this community of libertines.
There is just one more step after this, so surely something must happen by way of plot development soon.