The Game by Neil Strauss

December 14, 2009 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

One of the primary rules of pickup is that a girl can fall out of love with you as quickly as she falls in love with you. It happens every night. The girls who start rubbing your chest and making out with you in a club in two minutes will leave you just as quickly for a bigger, better deal. That’s the game.

I read a lot of Weird Books, mostly out of curiousity but partly out of a desire to have something interesting to post. Neil Strauss’ book The Game is certainly not one of the most ‘normal’ books I’ve ever read, and one look at the cover, decorated with pin-up girl sillhouettes in provocative poses, indicates that I wasn’t Strauss’ target audience.

Who was Strauss writing for? One might be tempted to say the uber-cool ladies’ man, but really The Game seems aimed at what Strauss and his fellow artists call the AFC, or the “average frustrated chump” who desperately wants to be smooth with women but always falls short somehow. On the most basic level, this is a book about how even Strauss, a nerdy writer and former AFC can rise to the very top of the pickup game — and, of course, have sex with incredibly beautiful women, which is what the main point of The Game is, after all.

Strauss is certainly an unreliable narrator, as readers can see from his dedication, which reads, “…to the thousands of people I talked to…I want you to know I wasn’t running game on you. I was being sincere. Really. You were different.”  I have to admit, he had even me fooled for a split second before I thought, Of course he was running game. That’s what he does, the point of the whole book. It’s all part of the game.

For me, the tales of sexual exploits got a little tedious, though I’m sure any man reading this would beg to differ. There’s only so much emotional manipulation I can be a pseudo-witness to without getting a little disgusted, but any AFC would find the myriad of ways to speed seduce women fascinating, I’m sure.  It’s not even like I could read these techniques under the guise of learning to recognize them — this sounds ridiculous, but I feel like even if I heard those lines in a bar somewhere, if the guy had enough charisma, I’d fall for it. Maybe not the evolution phase-shift (biting on the neck? Really?), but almost everything else is pretty fool-proof.

Would I recommend this book? I guess, for the AFC who wants to transform himself into a misogynist. There’s a compelling story running through the whole thing, but it’s a little drama-heavy for my taste. Plus, Strauss and the girlfriend he finds at the end broke up recently (sorry for the spoiler). Maybe a book worth borrowing — and only if you have a few days to kill and a burning desire to learn the tricks of the pickup trade.


Entry filed under: Non-fiction. Tags: , , , .

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