The book called the game about dating

Any way you could do this—and there were lots of bizarre techniques with goofy names, like “peacocking,” where you might wear an outlandish hat to give people something to comment on—helped you get the access you needed to try to convince someone to sleep with you. I was surprised when I first read [Strauss: Yes, totally.

Obviously, it was important not to seem desperate while applying these very detailed rules you learned in a self-help book. Tinder has happened, Strauss is older, and he knows not all of the book ages well; he now calls some of the techniques he documented—and used—“objectifying and horrifying.” He’s married to a woman he loves very much, for which his pickup-artist friends of yesteryear might accuse him of having a case of “one-itis.” For was also a numbers game: Hit on enough women and eventually one of them was bound to succumb to your advances. Gilsinan: If I read it right, you start out scared to talk to women, you learn all these techniques and score a lot, and then, to spoil it, you meet this woman for whom none of it works and you fall in love and swear off your player ways. I think more people have heard about than have actually read it.

When Neil Strauss’s blockbuster book about pickup artistry came out a decade ago, I was a Midwestern ingenue in New York City, and I read it mostly as a defensive measure. (The cube represents the woman’s ego or something—so if it’s big, it means she’s self-confident; if it’s transparent as opposed to opaque that means she’s open as opposed to guarded; if it’s pink that means she’s bright and energetic …

student named Jon had mentioned , and was demonstrating how it worked by means of “The Cube” routine, where you ask a woman to imagine a box standing in the desert, and you tell her about herself based on how she describes it.

The second one is, for me, it opened up a door to incredible self-improvement, that I wouldn’t be here, married with a child and my wife, if it wasn’t for which led to this great, joyful fatherhood.

I really, like, it sounds cheesy to say but I’ll be there with my wife and my son and look around and be like, oh man, I’m so happy, I’m just so lucky, I feel so good.

Like surely there are female-specific tricks to, in effect, manipulate people into sleeping with you. Because obviously if you’re trying to get something from someone—it doesn’t even have to be an outcome like sex, it could be self-esteem—when you talk to somebody who’s needy, where they’re just being funny and entertaining but they just need a response to feel better about themselves—Gilsinan: I don’t identify with that at all ... It becomes like hits of crack, whether it’s laughter or sex or admiration or fame or money, all those things—I can speak to the sex part—don’t end up making you any more happy than you were without them. [If your] status is lower in that moment, it’s like, how can I make it equal to [hers] or higher.

If you ask me today about it, I’d tell you that anything that involves manipulation or needing to have a certain outcome is definitely not healthy in any way. I thought I was a nice guy, I really did, you know? And then there was a moment where I told her the story of my childhood. A lot of it is asking questions and treating people like they’re interesting.

What do you think that says about the utility of the techniques for banging lots of women versus finding someone who likes you without your having to use tricks on them?

Strauss: Yeah, so if you’re going to talk to me today about it versus then, right?

So I’m wondering if the guy you meet at the beginning of or was it something else? I would hope that at no time is that ever okay in history. But now he wouldn’t be able to get out of bed without rocks being thrown through his window. But I’m wondering, aside from some of the abhorrent techniques that you’ve sort of disavowed, are there any principles you think apply in the Tinder era?

Strauss: Obviously in my journalistic life, I’m just a big believer in free speech and art not being censored no matter what it is, and I don’t think a book is responsible for someone’s behavior. For me, it spoke to a wound of mine that already existed before. People already exist and they find their communities. Gilsinan: And then there’s other small stuff, like one guy whose signature move is to bring women home to look at his Win Amp media player with him. These are problems that people are still trying to solve.

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It’s all about getting over fear of talking to humans. It did have the sort of hopeful implication, that everyone’s afraid to talk to attractive people and just to strangers more generally, but you can follow this set of rules and you’re basically guaranteed to get laid.

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