Saturday, July 3, 2010
Don't be Nervous Talking to Girls
The game these guys are playing is one of those things that would be incredibly brilliant if it had any idea how stupid it was. It's called "Don't be Nervous Talking to Girls" or possibly "Don't be Nervous: Talking to Girls." The idea is that an ostensibly beautiful woman looks you dead in the eyes and reads an unconvincing script. You then have a choice between two responses. Sometimes one is obviously wrong and the other is obviously right, which, because this game was designed by cretins, means that often the obviously wrong choice turns out to be right. (They are teaching you "counter-intuitive" lessons about how women like it when you play hard to get or project overwhelming manliness in their direction, I think.) Sometimes both seem fine, or at least equally appropriate. If you choose the wrong one, she freaks out and you have to try again. It doesn't matter how relatively bad your decision was, she's always really offended. If you choose the right one, you get to talk to her longer.
Sometimes she quizzes you about math or birth stones, and you only get five seconds to memorize her number. She WILL NOT WRITE IT DOWN ON A NAPKIN.
If it meant to be, this could be a very avant garde short story.
There's a small industry devoted to teaching frightened men how to talk to women and this game demonstrates nicely how it works. The game tells me not to be nervous about talking to girls, but in fact everything about it is nerve-wracking. In this world, in this vision of womankind, every woman is ready to furiously end any conversation the second you make the tiniest mistake. She will quiz you on math and obscure trivia, and if you get anything wrong, she will be horrified. Worse yet, the game teaches us that there is always the knowledge that there is a correct sequence of steps -- very precise, very obscure -- that will lead, in any conversation with any woman, to the receipt of a phone number. Presumably this logic continues through the first date, and the entire relationship, such that if you do things right you will inevitably take her to bed, you will marry her, you will have three beautiful children, she will love you forever. If only you can do all the right steps. And if you don't, the haunting knowledge that you could have.
The game -- and "the game," the system by which pick up artists train each other to date and bed women -- teaches men that women are terrifying aliens by building up an incomprehensible set of rules and rituals surrounding the most fundamental human impulses of friendship, connection, and sex. In their attempts to teach us not to be nervous around each other they teach us precisely how frightened to be. It's a self-perpetuating cycle that makes them both viable and necessary. We wouldn't need pick-up artists if we knew that women were people. I don't think this is a cynical strategy. Rather I think it's a reflection of our collective insanity re: gender, re: love, re: friendship, re: humanity.
Here is how to talk to a girl: remember she's a person very much like you.
Here is how to hook up with a girl at a bar: Go to the bar. Talk to some men there and also some women. Some of the women will be interested in sex when you talk to them, and some won't be. Don't worry about it too much. Some of the women who are interested in sex will be attracted to you, because some people -- not all, but enough -- find you attractive. It's true. Some of the women who aren't interested in sex on a particular night will discover that they actually are when they realize they're attracted to you. Again, don't worry about it too much. Be nice. Sometimes it'll all work out and you'll go to bed with someone. Maybe you'll want to spend some more time with them afterward, and maybe they'll feel the same way about you, because of how nice, attractive, and interesting you are (to some people, sometimes).
It's that easy. And there are lots of other ways to do it. Women are people. Remember about that. Be nice.