(Warning: Vulgar language ahead. Usually I don’t like swearing, but I directly quote pickup-artistry in this post because I want to argue against it)
A few days ago, I was traveling in Seattle, Washington. The traffic there is notorious for being bad, and I had the fun experience of being able to enjoy it firsthand. I was driving along one of the streets downtown and saw was a green traffic light in the intersection in front of me, about 20 or 30 feet away.
“No problem,” I thought as I pressed down on the gas pedal. “I’ll make that with time to spare.”
As I approached the intersection, the car from the adjacent lane suddenly pulled in front of me—without signaling—and stopped right there. My foot slams on the brake, my Starbucks coffee begins to spill out of its cup, and my car makes a horrible SCREEECH noise as it continues to slide ever so slowly towards the car in front of me. I close my eyes and cover my face with my arms.
A deafening silence pierces the next few seconds. I cautiously lower my arms to see the damage. There was none. My car had come to a stop mere centimeters away from the one in front of me. The driver who cut me off was busy texting away on her phone, completely oblivious to the destruction that she almost caused.
I’m a calm and gentle person by nature and it takes a lot to get me angry. So, when something does get me ticked off then you better believe it’s a big thing.
This ticks me off. Buckle up because it’s about to get real.
A little while ago, I saw someone on an internet forum complaining about how hard it was to get a girlfriend and talking about how he had such a difficult time interacting with women. I decided to ping him a Private Message and asked him,
“Hey, I’ve noticed that you’ve been having a hard time with women. Whatever you’re struggling with, I’ve probably been there as well. Let me know what you’re having difficulty with and perhaps I can help you out.”
He starts off telling me some common problems he has that a lot of other men struggle with as well. He’s quiet, has a hard time holding a conversation, finds it hard to be confident…the usual stuff.
The next thing he tells me send me into a rage.
He told me, “There’s often talk of girls ‘testing’ guys, to see if they’ll put up with their emotions/be a doormat for them. Simple stuff, like holding purses, or rushing out of an argument expecting the guy to follow. If they fail or do what she wants, a girl loses attraction for her man. It got me even more paranoid because now I have to analyze everything I’m doing and saying.”
*sigh* It reeeeeeeeally ticks me off that this type of advice exists.
In the pickup-artist world, there’s a concept called “Shit Testing” where women will apparently “test” men that they’re interested in to determine if he’s more of an Alpha or Beta. If he’s an Alpha, she’ll gladly sleep with him but if he’s a Beta then she’ll get turned off.
For example, if she says: “I’m mad at you!” then the incorrect or Beta response (apparently) is to ask her what’s wrong or how you can make it better. Supposedly, the correct or Alpha response is to say something like “Good”, “I like you better mad”, or “That’s too bad. Frowning causes wrinkles.”
Do the “Alpha” responses in that last paragraph make you feel uncomfortable at all? If so, that’s a good thing because it means you’re a decent human being. Common sense tells you that the supposed beta response of asking an upset woman what’s wrong is the right thing to do.
There’s a couple of reasons why I dislike this type of advice. First, it’s dead wrong. Please don’t ever treat women this way, okay? And second, I really hate the idea that some well-intentioned men who are struggling with dating might stumble across such pickup-artisty advice and actually think that it’s how they’re supposed to treat women.
Why is this kind of advice prevalent on the internet even though it’s wrong?
It provides a way for blame everyone else for your problems
As Dale Carnegie writes in How to Win Friends and Influence People, the infamous gangster Al Capone never thought himself guilty but instead saw himself as an unfairly persecuted man who only wanted to help others. When we fail at something, one of the hardest things we can possibly do is to take an honest look at ourselves and try to identify what we did wrong. It’s much, much easier to find someone or something else to blame for our shortcomings.
That guy who was my classmate in school and is now getting paid more than I am? He’s just a brown-nosing suck-up. I’m having trouble getting a date? It’s because I’m short and/or Asian. My friends keep beating me in Mario Party? They’re just lucky. As the Joker said in The Lego Batman Movie, “I’m not your worst enemy. Your worst enemy is you.”
This kind of sleazy advice is prevalent because it offers men who are struggling with women an alternative explanation to why they aren’t having success with women. Alternative facts, if you will. Some men struggle with women because they’re socially awkward, or they’re not presenting themselves well, or they have a negative attitude that women find unattractive. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
An easier pill to swallow is to simply blame other people for your failures. It’s much easier for them to blame feminism, or to claim that women don’t like nice guys, or to say that women are all irrational creatures and that’s why they can’t get a girlfriend. It doesn’t matter to them whether or not that’s actually true. This sort of poison pill ideology offers them the dark promise of being able to get success with women without having to take that hard look at yourself and admit that you may be doing something wrong. The cost of admission is that you become a terrible person in the process. You sell your soul to the devil.
The truth about “Alpha” and “Beta”
According to the poison pill ideology, the “Alphas” form 20% of the men and they get to have sex with 80% of the women. This is commonly referred to as “Alpha Fucks/Beta Bucks” by random weirdos on the internet who have no formal education in human behavior and yet who claim to understand women better than women understand themselves. If you pass her “shit tests” then you can prove yourself an Alpha but if you fail then you’re a Beta.
The poison pill ideology claims that this is how wolves behave in nature. The Alpha wolf is the leader of his pack and has the first choice of female wolves to choose from, while the Betas get his leftovers. They use this to justify acting like a jerk in real life because that’s supposedly how Alphas behave.
That’s also wrong.
Alpha and Beta don’t even exist in nature. The terms alpha and beta were first popularized in part by Dr. David L. Mech in 1970 based on his observations of wolves—in captivity. However, in 1999 he realized that wolves don’t naturally behave that way without human intervention and has since renounced the concept of alpha and beta. That’s right, the poison pill ideology is based on concepts that have been disproven for almost 20 years!
Why do this, then? Why use the terms alpha and beta when they’ve been demonstrated to be false? What’s really going on is that Alpha and Beta are used as a recruitment strategy. It forms a sort of club, and anyone who is a part of their in-crowd is labeled an “Alpha” and anyone who isn’t is labeled a “Beta”. The people who have swallowed the poison pill and accepted the alternative facts as objective facts become their own clique, like the way that the jocks or cheerleaders or nerds form their own groups in high school.
Forming their own clique allows them to rationalize away any logical argument against their ideology. If someone tells them that alpha and beta don’t actually exist in nature, they can just say “Oh, don’t listen to what he’s saying. He’s just a beta.”
As Cobb says in Inception, “What is the most resilient parasite? …An idea. Once an idea has taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate.” Ideas cannot by physically harmed, but they too can die if no one believes in them anymore. Latin is a dead language because no one speaks it anymore. The Aztec gods are dead because all of their followers were wiped out. Just the same, the poison pill ideology must recruit more members than it loses or else it will die. And it does not want to die.
Hence, “Alpha Fucks/Beta Bucks”. It’s a way recruit more members by promising them the impossible. It tells men struggling with women that the reason they aren’t having any dating success is because a mysterious subset of 20% of the population is stealing their women. The Alphas. They are the enemy, and the poison pill ideology promises to give them the power to stop being a beta and to take back what the alphas have stolen from them. It’s eerily similar to how racist groups like the KKK blame people of color for the nation’s problems, or how Hitler rallied the Nazi’s against the Jewish population during World War II. It’s not true, but it can sure sound seductive to someone who’s had no dating success before.
Hold up for a second! Aren’t the poison pill ideologists themselves supposed to be the alphas? Why are alphas now a mysterious subset of 20% that are stealing 80% of their women? Is the poison pill ideology promising new recruits the ability to take back power from themselves? That makes no sense! The truth is that the poison pill ideology doesn’t hold water under scrutiny, and members of the ideology are discouraged from questioning it for that very reason.
Alpha and beta don’t exist in nature, and anyone who gives you dating advice around being an “alpha” has no idea what they’re talking about. Don’t get too concerned about trying to look more alpha to be attractive to women. The men who put on a show and try to act like jerks typically just end up making fools out of themselves.
Women who do “test” men are probably not relationship material
Finally, I do want to warn you that there are a few women who are immature enough to play these sorts of games when dating.
Not most women.
Not even some women.
A few women, though.
I knew one in real life. Whenever my acquaintance “Hannah” went on a first date, she would always pretend to be busy once he called her to set up a second date. She would tell him that she’s not free when he tried to ask her out again. If he called her a second time, she would once again pretend to be busy. Finally, if he called her a third time, she would give in and agree to go on a date with him again.
Hannah thought that by pretending to be busy all the time, she would appear to have a very active social life and this would make her seem more valuable to him. This was supposed to make him want her even more while also weeding out men who were not serious in dating her.
Or, so she thought.
What actually happened was that the men she went out with would assume that she was not interested in a second date and no longer tried to ask her out again. Incidentally, she would always complain about how she was always single and how hard it was to find a boyfriend.
Luckily for Hannah, one of her friends called her out on it. She told Hannah that acting this way was not doing her any favors, and that it’s why she was always single. Eventually, Hannah learned to drop this behavior and act authentically, which helped her get into more relationships.
A few women do pull this kind of behavior. It doesn’t mean that all women are like that, or that women are naturally irrational creatures. It just means that you happened to meet one specific woman who lacks maturity. And if you do happen to meet one of those women, I don’t suggest trying to beat her at her own game. Don’t let her pull you down to her level. Just move on.
After all, water seeks its own level. If you are sincere and polite then the women you attract will also be sincere and polite. And if you play games then you’re going to end up meeting other people who also play games. Wouldn’t it be better to find a woman that you can be comfortable around instead of one whose “tests” you constantly have to pass?
Being successful with women
There’s a lot of sleazy dating advice on the internet. To be honest, when I first came across this sort of advice as an inexperienced young man I was terrified. It made me wonder:
“Is it true? Do women have some sort of secret nature that only they know about? Do women shit test men? Are 20% of the population going around romancing 80% of the population? Is this what I would have to become if I wanted to get a girlfriend?”
It me feel uncomfortable because I did not want to behave this way in order to find love. And I thought that I would rather be single forever than going down the PUA route.
Turns out, I didn’t have to. All that sleazy advice is spread by a very vocal minority who are by-and-large themselves unsuccessful with women. It’s funny how these men claim to know women better than women know women.
Try going to a happy couple and asking them what they like about each other. Chances are, she’s not going to say “I hurl shit test after shit test at him and he passes them all with flying colors” and he won’t say “I’m good at passing her shit tests and making her think I’m not a beta.”
Ultimately, if you read some advice on the internet that gives you that sick feeling in your gut because it involves being a jerk or it seems sleazy and childish, then I want you to listen to that feeling and I want you to question that advice. My rule of thumb is that good dating advice always makes you a better person in the process. For example, learning how to be a better conversationalist or how to be more confident.
There’s no need to be someone you’re not in order to find love. Instead, you ought to be your best authentic self when interacting with women. You should be the version of yourself that your friends and family enjoy being around.
That’s the best way to be attractive!