Using Insults to Pick Up Women

Men may have success using insults to pick up women — if both the men and the women involved are misogynists, say researchers.

This particular chick magnet strategy was made popular by Neil Strauss, who checked out a workshop run by an aspiring magician named Mystery when his book editor asked him to explore the community of pickup artists. The resulting manual, The Game, reads a bit like the frog-turned-Prince tale of Crazy Stupid Love.

Some tips involve misogyny, others don’t. “Approach a woman within three seconds of seeing her so you don’t lose your nerve” and asking “What’s your sign?” or “What’s your type?” seem nontoxic enough.

But men are also told to isolate “the target” from her friends and subtly insult her to lower her self-worth. That’s called “negging.”

For instance: ignore the girl you want and flirt with one of her friends instead. Or, briefly disqualify yourself from being a potential suitor:

I go to blow my nose and I look at her and I say, “What, are you gonna watch?” I’m disqualifying myself as I’m blowing my nose in front of her!

Mystery explains that if “the target” is especially beautiful she’ll wonder why she’s being ignored and assume the man is highly selective and accustomed to beauty. Next, she will admire his status and want to win him over.

In another “neg,” Mystery suggests men ask unflattering questions like, “What have you got going for you other than your looks?” Or, “I like your hair, is that your natural color?”

This takes the woman off-guard and makes her question her value. So, of course she wants to win the guy over.

But really, why would anyone be drawn to such men? A woman attending a seminar hoping to get an inside scoop was puzzled by advice to ogle other women:

Despite the theory that what is unavailable becomes more appealing, and the fact that at times, it may seem true, there is absolutely nothing sexy, alluring or seductive about obviously looking at other females while talking to a woman… It’s just rude. Period. And if a guy can’t maintain a two-minute conversation, what’s he going to be like on an actual date, let alone in a relationship?

Exactly! I’ve always broken up with guys like that. And the “neg” advice didn’t work in a documentary I saw on speed dating when a couple of guys tried it.

Yet studies show that it can work – for those who are sexist.

In two different studies University of Kansas researchers found that the more negatively women viewed women, the more receptive they were to these techniques. These women were more likely to accept male privilege and to like aggressively dominant men.

And the more negatively men saw women the more likely they were to use the techniques.

A match made in heaven – or hell.

Forewarned is forearmed.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on August 27, 2012, in feminism, gender, men, psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. hahaha, this isnt just some women its all women, i was raised by a woman and i listened to all the advice from women to be nice humble loyal loving kind courteous well mannered sensative, needless to say im a 37 yr old virgin, i only now realized why, women told me the exact opposite of what works, i still cant figure out why, but women do genuinly hate nice good men, and i know they hate them because they all lie to them and all the men they pick are the opposite of good guys, and no its not just a few women i was rejected by all women all the time. Whats sad is if women just told the truth my life could have been so much nicer, women do want to be abused, raped, used, dominated by the most arrogant overrconfident bully abusive bad mannered low lifes there are nd we all know this, why do women have to pretend its not true ?

    • Well I’m a woman and so are my friends and we all married nice guys.

      Have you noticed that mean girls are the popular girls in high school? Does that mean that guys only like mean girls?

  2. As a man, I totally dislike the whole pick-up artist stuff, especially “negging” just because they amoral for me. But as well I hate the “traditional” view of courtship, like “make a move a first, invite her to a dinner” because it makes me extremely vulnerable at all stages of the process.

  3. I was at a sports bar, enjoying a drink and watching a local soccer game on one of the tvs. I’m not big on sports, but I do like watching soccer every now and then, because I like it. Simple as that. Some men seem to have a problem with this. I was approached not once, but twice that night, which is understandable, considering the situation, but both times I was insulted for my interest in soccer as a female. The first one asked why I would want to watch men flap their legs and kick a ball around. He thought he was a real comedian, and seemed a bit put off when I didn’t fake a giggle for his satisfaction. Then he asked me if I wanted to go outside to cheer him on for a game involving tossing sacks into a hole and be his good luck charm. I stared at him until he walked away. He may have tripped in his haste to leave. The second one arrived not five minutes later, and, noticing that I was watching the game, proceeded to question my soccer knowledge, which is quite not a lot. The more I didn’t know something, the more he seemed to grow, in confidence, in a swelled head, whatever. He wanted my number. I told him where he could put his soccer facts. I don’t go out a lot, and that night reminded me why. It was hard for me to think of why those men thought that insulting me and my like of soccer would make me receptive to their advances. Were they like those males that hate on women who dare venture into typically male dominated things like video games, and in this case, sports? Did they think that their sexist humor would amuse me as it did them? Or do I just attract jerks? Who knows, maybe it’s a bit of all three, but I guess it’s a thing now, to insult women and shake their self esteem to try to get them into bed.

    • Too bad so many young women have to encountered that sort of thing. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      • I wonder if unfortunately, it’s the jerk men who are the one’s that may approach sometimes. The reason is because nice guys care about how a woman feels, how she may respond to him, so ironically. The man a woman may want to approach her, doesn’t and what goes based on society of how guy’s aren’t to cold approach women here or there. Or this might make her uncomfortable and feels like a laundry, a stressful laundry list of things a guy has to do right to just have a girl be receptive in a good way, let alone want his number or to give hers after talking.

        You have to almost “not care” to put yourself out there, which unfortunately jerks “don’t care” so they may make the move, but be the one’s the women don’t want to deal with. And then that hurts the good guys who do take the courage to make a move because a woman could have just rejected a jerk and the good guy approachers her after. But now she’s got a wall up and is not so kind to the decent guy. Granted there are good confident guys who aren’t like that, but sometimes the courage needed to put oneself out there is the same lack of care needed that jerks may posses that causes them to approach in the first place.

      • Well, it depends on what you want. If you just want to get laid I guess it helps to develop a thick skin and meet women out bars. If you’re interested in more of a relationship it helps to be involved in activities that help you to get to know someone and them to know you and then it’s all more natural.

  4. Negging is meant for one-night stand sort of pickups, not dating. The Game was not written with relationships in mind. Context.

  5. As dumb as it sounds this is true! I have one friend that does this and gets girls in bed before you even know it! Doesn’t matter where he’s at he will do it but, however there at times where doesn’t happen… He says you have to show them you’re in control and then it will all bound to happen.

  6. Yeah there are women who are catty to other women, or do mean things to one up other women, these seem like the type of women to be drama queens and back stabbers to other women. So they aren’t better than the d bags negging them. Just wondering what your thoughts are on this. As I said there’s a PUA maybe not like mystery and his isn’t sexist like these guys, so it’s not bad like those guys but I don’t care for it. So basically a key part of his advice to guys, while not so much sexist, I don’t care for, because its fake. He tells guys or brings up things to help men’s confidence which is good as in practice just small talking to women in different places to get them more comfortable. But what I don’t care for is a key thing he tells guys is to be “cocky/funny”, not like as in saying something mean or bad about a woman, but kinda of being a wise ass but in a goofy, funny way. But the thing is, I sort of have done that before ever seeing this guys writing, and I read it just out of curiosity. But for me, I don’t try to be that way, I’ll just go with the flow, and maybe just talk normally and maybe if convo lends it self, say something wise, assish but in a funny, non meanm slightly cockyisy way, but I’m not doing that on purpose, it will just come about if convo lends me to say something based on her.

    That’s the problem in my opinion, I think its fine for guys if they naturally are funny or are that way naturally. Telling guys do act this way I don’t think will work because it will be “fake”, and probably not work or be obnoxious is forced in covo or the guy doesn’t do it. I always believe in “not trying to be funny”, and just going with the flow, as that’s when a man is funniest and most charming. There are tons of guys with specific traits and personalities and trying to have guys act a certain way, is dumb in my opinion as cetain things work well for different guys based on their opinion.. It’s like telling a jock who knows nothing about astronomy to talk about it and act like he’s interested and a geekyish guy who carelesss about sports or doesn’t know it to talk about it. Just wondering if you agree on this perspective or not?

    • It sounds like this non-Mystery guy is fairly okay. Helping guys to boost their confidence is certainly fine. But I agree that it’s ridiculous to tell guys who aren’t naturally funny to be funny. Because they’ll probably just end up looking stupid.

  7. I think it’s stupid and luckily I don’;t know any guy who uses these tactics. I still think a man should be himself and if himself is not doing it, then he can work on other parts of himself and his life not just for the sake of dating but in general. An improved man, will bring out a more confident man and a more confident man, a more succesful man with women. The problem here though is it’s true those PUA as you described are d bags, but these women they are “negging”, they use it, because these women are full of themselves and have huge egos. They are so used to getting attention from guys, and approached in a normal way, they feel entitled to have a unique approach or something to stick out to them. So a man providing mystery and not paying attention to her, will throw these types of women for a loop, because their egos are so huge, they can’t grasp not having men fall for them or not pay attention to them. So they chase after these d bags who “negged” them, because he seems different or special, you know, which these amazing goddesses must have, because obviously a regular, genuine guy that probably has approached them or not, got over looked. You see, women like that are not even worth approaching, because of that bad personality, and that’s fine because luckily there are plenty of beautiful women who aren’t full of themselves. that’s probably why this approach works for PUAS on these women, because theyre both ass hats. There’s another guy, even though his isn’t bad as far as negging to women; that talks about pick up tips too that I saw on the internet. His name is David Deangelo. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him before or not, but I’ll explain about him in another post after your thoughts

    • Well, they seem to have a huge ego but with some level of insecurity that needs to be bolstered, or else they wouldn’t really care.

      And since these women are misogynistic themselves – dislike women on some level – they are more likely to put up with this negative treatment because it makes sense to them.

      I say they deserve each other.

  8. Why would you want to lower a womans self- asteem just to feel powerful and to gain her attention? Any women who falls for such bull deserves a great amount of disappointment. The correct way to get a womans attention is to be yourself and talk to her, dont be a jerk and insult her.

  9. So do these sexist women have such low self-esteem that they feel the guys are just being honest, or do they see themselves as better than other women and believe that the guys will soon realize that they are the exception?

  10. I had a male friend recommend this book to me, and I frustratingly could not explain to him my frustration with it. He kept telling me I was being close-minded and not acknowledging how social interactions actually play out.

    The problem I had with The Game, was the same problem I had with the Tucker Max stories actually, and that was that the main character never feels or claims to feel any remorse for when their attempts to prey on insecurities works. The main character is so pleased their behavior has resulted in a good story they don’t reflect on their sad or sordid role in the whole affair; and they never delve deep into the reason a ‘victim’ succumbs to their verbal and mental assault.

    Back to The Game more exlusively: the pick up artists, in fact sort of ignore the women themselves altogether unless their trick works. This research about misogyny begetting more misogyny makes sense, it’s a trick that pick up artists believe works because using it has resulted in success.

    Also they never admit the total self-serving reason they are participating in their activities, they are applauding themselves essentially for “winning” at an activity that should be natural, not forced. Some people are better at it than others, and some can be helped to get better, but what these so-called artists are doing is just a scam, a falsity that doesn’t go beyond the illusion of success with the opposite sex. This is the sort of thing that I think Will Smith’s character was arguing against in Hitch.

    My final comment, is that many of these men begin and end their social malicious manipulation of women due to feeling wronged by the entire gender after a poor relationship (such as the author of The Game). It is the same attitude espoused by Miss Havisham in Great Expectations which vilifies an entire gender because of one mistreatment. Even if it is a grave mistreatment, does it justify abuse (even verbal or mental) and should it be glorified? It is okay for men to have temporary flights of fancy which involve the degradation of women because they are “getting over” a bad break up?

    I know that perception is based on experience, but I have seen men take a deplorable point of view on women, one that I believe endangers women who become victims in situations which backdrop on relationships. This point of view extends beyond the relationship and into cases of domestic violence and legislature on rape (i.e. only forcible rape or we must call into question a woman’s honor; if there was no sign of struggle it must have been totally consensual, right?); because, if one woman has jilted a man, than all women must be untrustworthy? I say this because of a man who expressed his opinion that a woman who was the victim of murder in the states put herself in danger because she was slinking around cheating on her husband (in a Dear John manner). When he was confronted he admitted he was projecting a little because he had divorced a woman because she cheated on him while he was away (not at war, mind you, but at a military school in another state, but anyway). This is a man who is supposed to be a supervisor to be approachable to a woman who might be being abused and needs a figure of authority to tell. What if he demeans and doubts her just because he had a poor divorce? It’s a real concern to me, and I think this attitude is reinforced by books like The Game. The repercussions are broader than the author is really aware.

    Hmm, if this is too long a comment can you delete it and let me know, I wouldn’t mind putting it into my own blog, I just got carried away…

    • Interesting. Thanks.

      Comments I make on others’ blogs often give me ideas for my own.

      “The Game” is aptly named. Sounds like it has as much to do with these men’s personal identity as with getting sex.

      Surprising how often that’s the case.

  11. Scary. I hate the idea of ‘pick-up’ routines. Urgh!

  12. From a guy’s POV, I dunno. That sounds like a pretty low percentage game to me. The most likely out come is a) being replied to in kind b) getting a drink tossed in your face or c) waking up the next morning with a potential new stalker. People who use and respond to this sort of move probably deserve each other, but not in a good way! 🙂

  13. renee calloway

    What do you think?

    • Forewarned is forearmed.

      It also explains one of of my students who told me his planned strategy to lower women’s self esteem to get them in bed.

      • Because a woman with any sense of self worth would find him and his advances repulsive? He doesn’t realize it, but he’s telling on himself. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, aye? (Pun intended.)

  14. Any woman who falls for this sort of crap deserves the disappointment.
    Of course, being subject to those kinds of things makes it easy to avoid in the future, and you can usually pick out the sort of boneheads who’d try that sort of crap.

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