Oh how I’ve missed Neil Strauss, Mystery, and the rest of our PUA friends. Neil Strauss, if for some reason you are not as entranced by the Pick-Up Artist community as I am, wrote a book in 2005 called The Game about this hilariously douchy group of dudes, led by their guru Mystery, who developed a system for getting women to sleep with them that involved all of these stupidly transparent mind games like “negging” and “peacocking”.
I think the book started out as sort of an anthropological study of these weirdos but Strauss got sucked in and now he is like one of the top PUAs in the world or something. That is the kind of pull that Mystery has over people! True story: during the height of PUA mania—when the TV show was airing—I was home in San Antonio and we went to this shitty bar called, no joke, Coco Beach, and I totally saw one! A real PUA in the wild! He was peacocking in this ridiculous Harry Potter scarf and giant hat, and attempted to neg me, not realizing that asking if I was a lesbian was actually a giant compliment. And then I was like OMG are you a pick up artist and he was like no what’s that but he immediately left and wouldn’t talk to us the rest of the night even though my friend’s friend was super drunk and actually wanted to sleep with him. Anyway.
I have a love/hate/fascination with the whole thing and so am excited to see that Neil Strauss is coming out with this completely ham-fisted-looking board game called “Who’s Got Game: The Game with Benefits”. It basically serves the purpose that playing truth or dare did in high school:
“Who’s Got Game” essentially consists of an assortment of cards that direct you to do things to win or lose points: sing a song, answer a true/false question, tell someone they have terrible nails. But you can ignore the points. The real purpose of the game is to create an environment that generates an immediate sense of intimacy between you and the three other players, preferably ones you’d like to get to know biblically. “Give her a neck massage,” “Name a sexual act you’ve never experienced,” the game tells you, and suddenly you’ve got plausible deniability for letting down your inhibitions.
Which is about as sophisticated as the rest of the PUA “psychology,” with the added absurdity of letting whoever you are playing this game with instantly know that you are attempting to pick up artist them. I thought it was supposed to be a secret? But the box has Neil Strauss’s goofy face on the front of it, wearing an outfit that makes him look like Walter White, Jr.
Oh, Neil Strauss. You used to write for the New York Times! Now you are pushing a sub-spin-the-bottle-level card game with a giant logical flaw built into it! I guess if you gaze too long into a PUA message board, it gazes also into you.