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PUAs invade OkCupid!

Honestly, this would freak me the fuck out too.

Over on Buzzzfeed, a couple of interesting pieces on the fine art of online pickup artistry.

Kelly Bourdet looks at some of the online PUA gurus and their teachings, noting that

Online pick-up artistry has taken the original aims of IRL pick-up — to develop general tactics and techniques for attracting and bedding women— one step further. One dehumanizing step further. Now, instead of “peacocking” (wearing gaudy outfits to demonstrate Alpha status) in bars and using tired negs, we have them deconstructing every aspect of online persona and communication to create sleek, marketing packages of human beings to sell to one another.

In an even more entertaining companion piece, Ouiser Boudreaux (AKA the Annals of Online Dating gal) reports on some of the actual terrible things these online PUAs write to women in an attempt to “neg” them into their IRL beds.  Like “nice headband, bitch,” or “Lol, you look like a space commando.” Or this little passive-aggressive masterpiece:

You nearly have a perfect lack of grace. What happens when you realize only the also ran hotties slum it in brooklyn? Somebody who says they’re not good at being surface and rattles off a list of authors read mostly in high school english classes is nothing but surface. Your profile is among the most trite and cliche i’ve come across. which is a compliment of sorts, though keep in mind, you’re not in kansas anymore. You know who else won’t deal with a narcissist? just look in the mirror to find the answer: another narcissist.

None of these worked, in case you’re wondering.

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crocodile
crocodile
10 years ago

I just don’t get it… Do these guys really think that they can attract women by undermining their self esteem? Ok… may be sometimes these guys get laid, but it happens for a different reason.
Once I met a guy who asked me if I was afraid of having sex with him. I’m not sure if it was some kind of a PUA strategy (that’s not negging), but I answered with “no”. He understood it as my willingness to bang him and was pretty irritated in the end when I turned him down.

Ithiliana
10 years ago

*smacks forehead*

OMG, I don’t know why I didn’t recognize it before!

It’s the fourth-fifth grade dynamic where suddenly the boys instead of freaking out about girl cooties suddenly started calling certain girls (the ones they liked, we were assured by our parents) NAMES. (I was called “Weed” by one boy most of one year.) (Somehow despite the assurances that ‘boys only do that if they like you,” I did not like it. Early queer feminist manjawed tendencies no doubt).

They’re stuck in fourth grade! (Not a new insight, I know, but I just had such a visceral memory of that year.)

Pecunium
10 years ago

Helen: So I suspect it’s not so much that negging “works”, but that the women don’t give a shit if they just want a quickie.

This. When all one has is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

When you look at the amount of, “women don’t really like sex” that tends to go with the PUA/MRM one begins to see how it might end up that they think this works.

Because it seems to me that, except for the people looking for sex tonight, this is going fail, a lot. It’s also going to drive away the people who don’t have, “sex tonight” as the agenda. Maybe they might be willing, but you takes yer chances when you go out just to, “get lucky”.

And these guys really resent the smallest of rejections, so this is a decent culling mechanism; in that regard. I suspect it also weeds out some perfectly decent one-night stand opportunities, and that just telling people, “I’m in the mood for sex, how about you?”, would work at least as well, and with a whole lot better result.

Because they wouldn’t have to see the objects of their desires in a negative light.

Ithiliana
10 years ago

@Helen: welcome!

I just love how your post so casually and ‘naturally’ notes your agency in this situation–and love how enraging it would be to MRAs!

*hearts you* (in platonic virtual fashion appropriate for first interaction on the internets of course”

filetofswedishfish
10 years ago

I know the conversation has probably moved way, way past anecodtes, but I wanted to chip in: when I was on OKC iunno. Two years ago? PUA type stuff was rampant there. There are times I wish I’d saved the texts of some of the more outlandish stuff. Sadly, I got my lulz and just deleted them. If I’d only known the humor value now…

Steph
10 years ago

How is “you look like a space commando” a neg? That’s like a straight-up compliment. Space commandos are AWESOME. Maybe they meant “space cadet”? The way it’s phrased it just makes me think of Ripley, though.

Magical Laura (@_magical_laura)

Oh boy oh boy I must have some good old OKC messages, let’s see…

Hmm I have received quite a lot of messages since I stopped logging on and they’re all pretty nice and non-creepy tbh. Mostly “Hey you sound interesting would you like to chat?”.

OH WAIT, some guy has messaged me telling me he’s jerking off over my photo in the 10 minutes I’ve been on here.

Pretty much hit and miss then!

burgundy
burgundy
10 years ago

I’ve had really good experiences with OKC, but mostly that’s because I message a lot of people and am pretty good at picking out those I would get along with. I did have some guy messaging me about how ridiculous he finds polyamory, relationships are less intimate, etc. It turned out he thought sharing was for betas. So I thanked him for reminding me to update my profile to say that anyone who uses greek letters to classify people shouldn’t message me. And then some other guy messaged me to say that we should argue about politics and have sex, first one to come loses. I just said no thank you. But that’s basically it.

mythago
10 years ago

@Manjaw, yep, it’s not at all about what the target wants. It’s a social technique to manipulate people into doing [thing], by implying there is something wrong with them if they don’t do [thing]. The trick is that it only works if the person wants to prove you wrong. (In the case of the teenage girl, by showing that she is too grownup and mature; that’s a pretty easy button to push in teenagers.)

Where PUAs are, as ever, clueless, is in assuming that this means a) all you have to do is insult women to get their interest, and b) forgetting that they have to care what you think. In an ongoing relationship, negging very much can work to keep the other person off-balance and trying to please, because they actually give a shit about your approval.

BTW, the story about the teenage girl did have a happy ending. Here’s my obligatory lecture for you all go to read The Gift of Fear RIGHT NOW if you haven’t already.

Amog
Amog
10 years ago

“The only thing this contact inspired in me was a desire to make him my Asshole of the Day by mocking him on my journal, with commentary. At least he can provide entertainment for the rest of us.”

Wow, what a nice person you must be. Those guys will surely be kicking themselves for missing their chance with such a charmer as you.

Well, well, if it isn’t the old “Let’s all bash PUAs, ho ho, aren’t we clever?” routine. Tell me something, if they’re all such losers and their tricks don’t work, why all the hate? Why talk so much about them? Feeling threatened? Jealous, maybe, that they actually achieve success by going out there, facing their fears and interacting with people while you smugly pass judgement from behind your keyboards? Not that I’d expect you to admit any of this, of course. And I wonder if it’s a coincidence that most of these PUA-bashers, when pressed for dating advice of their own, will stammer out cliches like “uhh, you know, be yourself and stuff… maybe someday you’ll meet somebody…” revealing that they know absolutely nothing about dating and if they stumbled into a relationship, it was probably by sheer luck and the law of numbers? (not that they’d ever admit that, either). Thought so. And BTW, this isn’t a neg.

ozymandias42
10 years ago

My girlfriend and I have agreed that if Mystery propositioned us, given that he is a skinny pale dark-haired nerd with eyeliner and STEAMPUNK GOGGLES, all he would have to do to get us in bed is (a) not fuck it up and (b) let us wear the giant fuzzy hat.

Dracula
Dracula
10 years ago

Mystery missed his true calling, in my opinion. He ought to be a professional cosplayer. He sort of is already, really.

Lu
Lu
10 years ago

Thanks. I wasn’t.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
10 years ago

I really can’t see why these guys expect to succeed with online negging. I mean, PUA focusses heavily on visual presentation of attractiveness and wealth to get the girl. Negging is supposed to make yourself a “challenge” to overcome to get that hot or well put together guy. Now, if I don’t have the superfically charming eye candy dancing before me to distract me from what he’s actually saying, why am I supposed to fall for the insult again?

seranvali
10 years ago

God! I’m so glad I’m married and don’t have to deal with this bullshit! It’s really nice to know that I’m never going to be negged or put down in that particularly nasty and manipulative way. Living with another person long term can get a bit fraught occasionally but I find it infinitely preferable to this kind of nonsense!

Also: I honestly don’t think I’d trust them enough to even have a conversation with them. Damned creepy and potentially abusive.

katz
10 years ago

I always felt like, if negging is supposed to hurt your self-esteem and make you willing to settle for less, it would be more effective at getting you to date other people, since the guy who is dissing you has to be the least attractive option. So PUAs shouldn’t actually be negging–they should be trying to get other people to neg, maybe by convincing them that it’s a really effective way to get girls…oh, wait…

Bee
Bee
10 years ago

Somehow I’ve managed to avoid paying much attention to Mitchell and Webb until this morning, when I stumbled upon Numberwang and got sucked in. WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?? Anyway, this seems relevant.

indifferentsky
10 years ago

Regarding negging, I found it interesting that a PUA piece of advice is for the guys to go into a club wearing something that stands out, or that is strange, and they said, yes, even something ridiculous that the women might point to and make fun of. They said this establishes a connect, even tho it’s negging and that you’ll likely end up going home with the lady that makes fun of your gaudy necklace. I’m pretty sure that they said something about part of it being that girl starts to feel bad and make up for it if you play your cards right. I think this was on Letterman, there was PUA guest on there once.

Also, when I was listening to guys say this, I realized that in my past I did the combative teasing type thing with cute guys in social situations and that it was some sort of hook. I do feel that I have fallen prey to men creating situations that would drive me crazy if they weren’t resolved, and so that was a hook. I would say women need resolution in situations, but that most likely is not just a woman thing, maybe just more likely to be pervasive with us. It seems to me that men can more easily walk away with something up in the air, but it’s more likely that the shoe is on the other foot lots of times as well.

Does this all boil down to “challenge”? I know that I have been irritated and intrigued in the past with guys I knew that were surrounded by swooning women and I would try to take him down a peg or seem above it all. That was when I was a teenager, but still this conversation reminds me of all that.

I also, like Helen, wanted sex sometimes, and just overlooked that someone had an offputting personality, I just didn’t care.

Jessay (@jessay)
10 years ago

@burgundy

Yuck. Those messages are such a turn off.

If I hadn’t just simplified my profile to the one mentioned in the IT Crowd clip I posted I would add that greek lettering system thing to my list of “don’t message me ifs”

Just FYI, once I changed my profile from a relatively thoughtful description of myself to that IT Crowd quote I have gotten three messages (nobody of interest though of course) and they all took it really seriously. One guy wrote:

well played… im not trying to show any interest in fucking you here… but you are obviously a jerk and the world needs more of that… keep it going and maybe the world will start to suck less

I was like…. wooooowwww. I told him to calm down because what he said was really rude and he goes

haha oh i was taking it quite easy. In my own way I actually meant that as a compliment

GTFO of my profile please.

Oh, I just remembered the time a reasonably attractive guy messaged me but when I looked at his questions he said that gay people should not be allowed to get married. When I said, “Hey, what’s this about?” In hopes that, I dunno, he clicked the wrong box by accident, he gave me this schpeil about how, “liberty is more important than equality and each year america is losing liberties and communism is equality without liberty.” There was a back and forth about who was more ignorant and he deleted his entire profile. LOL. Those messages were a treat.

Anyways, in my experience, the asshole persona only works if you’re very obviously joking. I have friends who are really kind, compassionate people, but make horribly offensive jokes and we joke back and forth at each other’s expense. But when I need them they’re there. I can find that sort of banter very attractive but it has to be from someone who I know is actually a good person and is just playing with me. And it’s not going to work from someone who I wasn’t already physically attracted to. You can’t “neg” me into wanting to sleep with you. You just can’t. And as for stupid looking costumes, I will laugh at you and that will be the extent of it. If Mystery walked into my bar my friends and I would be having a field day. The day I go home with a dude who wears a fuzzy hat is the day I sunk to a state of complete desperation.

tenya
tenya
10 years ago

I remember finding out about negs and PUAs and remembered once upon a time in a club when I was 19 who used several on me, and I did start up emailing and back and forth with this guy after those. Note, I probably would have anyway, because I was terrible at saying “Nope, not interested” for a long time. The negs just served to be insulting. Years later I learned what negs and so forth were, so uhm, a person might have limited success with inexperienced 19-year-olds. Ended up being a rather stalker-y situation anyway, not exactly a feather in the PUA cap.

Ann
Ann
10 years ago

Long time lurker here. I usually don’t get involved in the discussions, but this post reminded me of an exchange I had on OkCupid about two years ago. It still makes me roll my eyes, so I thought I’d share. Hope the formatting isn’t too wonky.

******************************
His first message:

Hi there!

Listen: I’m looking for someone who knows how to generate happiness from within…you wouldn’t happen to know anybody like THAT, would you? 😉

Looking forward to hearing back.

Until then, hope you’re having a great week!

P.S. On AGE: (please ignore if you didn’t let a mere NUMBER decide happiness) My favorite retort: Yeah…that’s true – but then again, the last guy you dated was old enough to be your brother. Mmmm, hmmm…uhmm, wait – what WAS your point? ROFL!

******************************

My first response:
I’m looking for someone closer to my own age. It may not be an important factor for you, but it is for me.
Best of luck elsewhere,

******************************

His second message:
First let me say “kudos” – you passed the filter (phrew!)…seriously. Most ladies I find shy away from anything that is remotely – shall we say – deviant from the Disney “Life-Outline” and for you to engage at all is exemplary, really.

Second, given that you seem to possess above average intellectual ability, let me put a very quick and very easy exercise to you that will either leave you in a much different place, or, right where you began – in which case forget what I said.

Here it is:

What is it about age that makes it an “important factor”? That is, what grounds or evidence can you offer that justifies THAT being used at all when making considerations of THIS kind?

Take a whack and see what happens 😉

Looking forward to your response,

******************************

My reply:
I don’t need to offer evidence, or justify my position. It’s rather presumptuous of you to assume that I owe you any sort of explanation about my dating preferences.
I took the time to reply to your message and let you know that I considered our age difference too great and wasn’t interested in pursuing anything with you. Have the decency to accept my response and move on.

******************************

His third message:
You see, [name removed] – there is nothing to “accept” – I simply asked you to provide the grounds for which you are operating, i.e. to supply (if you even know) what justification you can offer for THAT being a preference AT ALL.

So, as you can now plainly see, that while your own presumption that I assumed anything whatever other than, of course, your own statement of preference (I presumed you knew what you were prefering and why) there’s really nothing of the kind you mention.

Athough I would point out that YOU mentioning it does make your thinking about such matters patently obvious. And with regard to moving-on (sigh) – perhaps you haven’t learned yet – but you will, I promise – that everything you’re experiencing has to do with YOU.

It was all there before I arrived, and it will be there long LONG after I’ve departed…so while in one sense your remarks are, well – shall we say: expected, in another supposition that I was asking you “explain” something rather than seeing if you even knew yourself really puts youself into question.

Get it?

******************************

My last message to him, after which I hit the block button and went on with my life:

I do not owe you an explanation or justification for why I have those views. In repeatedly insisting that I explain my opinions to you, clearly with the intention of changing my thoughts on the subject to be more favorable towards you, you have done nothing but demonstrate a repulsive level of entitlement.

******************************

BTW, his profile included this gem:
What I’m doing with my life –
Pioneering a new discipline of psychology.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
10 years ago

Gee look at all the fun stuff I missed out on when I was on Plenty of Fish. I made it pretty plain they’d be dealing with a feminist bitch who knew what she wanted and other than a few “well aren’t you a stuck up bitch” comments I met some really cool guys. Also, my profile is exactly what atracted Beloved, so sifting through was pretty short and I did get exactly the kind of person I wanted.

pillowinhell
pillowinhell
10 years ago

Amog, I AM a charmer and many a man has sobbed into his pillow at night because he knows he’ll never have me. I have no problem with being called judgemental for calling people on bullshit…I suspect that many folks here feel the same.

Anything else you’d like clarified?

Manjaw the Mighty
10 years ago

Ann, that’s really unsettling. His third message is completely incoherent. It looks like something Tommy Wiseau would write….

Lady Zombie
Lady Zombie
10 years ago

I’m sometimes tempted to create another profile but then I’m harkened back to my experiences from a few years ago. I thought that if I listed honest things about myself, like how I was a vegetarian, atheist, that I loved motorcycles and rode one of my own, that I’m an amateur writer, and how I had just earned my Master’s in Psychology, it would weed out men who were incompatible with me. I figured they’d look at my profile and then move on to one more to their liking.

How wrong I was.

I was amazed at the anger, the entitlement, and the privilege these guys displayed. I was accused of believing that I was so much better than everyone else and therefore was a huge bitch. Once I got concern trolled by some guy who advised me that my profile was intimidating because I listed that I had a post-graduate degree and that I might “scare off” otherwise decent men.

I responded that if a man found a woman with a Master’s degree as “intimidating” than that man is not a “decent man” by any stretch of the imagination and he is most likely a sexist asshole.

He then repeatedly messaged me with various mansplanations about why I was doing everything wrong and how he just knew there was a perfect man waiting just for me and all I had to do was dumb my profile down and be a bit more docile to attract him. I finally told him to go choke on his privilege and blocked him. He’s probably and MRA now LOL!

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