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.


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Elizabeth is a professional belly dancer, a flaky computer scientist, and a returned Peace Corps volunteer. She lives in Georgia (the state of the U.S., not the country) but is nonetheless somehow not a combination of stereotypes from Gone with the Wind and Deliverance. Her personal blog is Coffeefied. Operafied. Fluffified. Beglittered.


  1. February 11, 2015 at 12:04 pm —

    Once you get past their ethical horribleness and shallowness, you have to start noticing the mental games they play to justify their systems.

    It can’t be that their “game” failed to get their girl, it has to be them failing the game. “I couldn’t get this one girl I really wanted because I really wanted to be with them” is one of those refuting ideas that someone not super attached to game ideology would recognize in a second.

  2. February 15, 2015 at 5:23 pm —

    I don’t know if the idea of oneitis originated with PUA types, but I think it has some validity in the real world. It’s not the idea that an individual woman can’t be special–it’s an unhealthy fixation on someone with whom you haven’t even made a connection, that blinds you to other possibilities.

    • February 15, 2015 at 5:26 pm —

      At least that’s the way the people I know use it. It sounds like Style et al have a more specific and more awful definition.

  3. February 18, 2015 at 10:14 am —

    Oh, Style has a very specific definition. In his glossary (because of course he has one), he defines it as:
    1. An obsession with a girl whom one is not dating; pickup artists believe such an extreme fixation on one woman significantly lowers a man’s chances of dating or sleeping with her. 2 a girl with whom one is obsessed.

    If, however, we take the general concept out of this weird and creepy world Style lives in, I’d say you are absolutely right. Except for the part where an unhealthy fixation on someone with whom I haven’t made a connection sums up my entire relationship with Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

  4. February 20, 2015 at 7:25 pm —

    I can definitely empathize, re: Capt. Reynolds, even though I’m a straight guy.

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