Friday, March 9, 2012

The Gamma view of Game

Ooh, isn't she smart and witty! She's so dreamy... I'd never treat a woman like that! I'm never sure if I find xkcd's pedestalization of women, particularly his smart, nerdy Platonic supergirl, to be more amusing or tragic. Probably the latter, given the number of lonely nerds in his readership who genuinely believe he's painting a meaningful portrait of women for them. But I like to imagine the artist isn't the bathetic romantic he appears to be, but is rather a viciously cruel individual who is misleading them all for his own dark amusement.

"Just talk to them like a fucking human being." There speaks the voice of a thousand lonely nights and a hundred shoulders dampened by the bittersweet tears of women pumped and dumped by other men. Notice too how he makes the girl's dismissive and dehumanizing cruelty the punchline while labeling the would-be pickup artist a "dehumanizing creep" for the sin of approaching a woman in what he deems an insufficiently respectful manner.


Koanic said...

the peacocking self-amusing sociopathic alpha in the background is one hell of a subtext.

but he's worked into the dialogue. I don't get how it's all the artist.

basically it's a pretty true comic, if you replace her verbal putdown with nonverbal ones. and the content of the putdown is spot on.

Soga said...

You know, the chick's hair is relatively well-drawn for a stick figure comic.

What do I win?

Anonymous said...

The trouble is that PUA is now becoming an easily identified stereotype, and the more that happens, the less effect game is going to have. The cocksure ass entering a bar is going to be immediately challenged by those he approaches, and a large percent of them are going to fold like lawn chairs -- because game is inherently based on pretension, and pretending. All of this is, of course, just going to visit misery on genuine men who actually do like women. One way or another, game was always going to cause more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who A.) thought the chick's insult wasn't that cutting to begin with, and
B.) It was nice of her to let him know she was a nutjob up front?

mac said...

The cartoonist is 100% on the money i.e. he's a rampant misogynist.

A hapless guy walks up and clumsily tries to make conversation with a girl. What's the harm in that ? Her reaction ? Gratuitously blow him out of the water with a vicious ad-hominem attack on his personality, his life, his perspectives...

Now I ask you : what kind of a human being would do a despicable thing like that ?

Answer : "fucking human beings" of the feminine sex. So the cartoonist understands women more than we may give him credit for.

Of course, no PUA worth his salt would advocate walking up to a girl and negging them straight off. That's ridiculous. But why stop at facts, when you can caricature and distort them to serve your arguments ? Hey, that's a feminine tactic too, isn't it ?

Of course, this guy has his own private PUA routine, which is doing stick drawings putting down PUAs in the hope of impressing his girlfriends and getting into their underwear. Good luck to him !

Anonymous said...

It's as bad for a woman to do it as a men ("negging," that is). I think PUAs got the original idea from women who thought put-downs instilled a certain air of intrigue. That has been a technique of women for centuries. Myself, I never found it provocative in the slightest, and I've seen it practiced many times, but in men I find it an obnoxious and desperate affectation. PU Art is now at the point of giving all men a bad rep. It's really got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Why is that fool trying to hit on a girl who's obviously with someone else? Does he want that bowling ball put somewhere it wasn't intended to go?

demonkoryu said...

Christ. Am I the only one who gets it?

The message is this: Play to win.

The artist actually portrayed the insecurity that is the ground for rejection - fear of rejection - as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Anyone "game" wouldn't have lost his track about a few words from a female he barely knows, and carried on.

Nolo Promittere said...


You're right - no pick up artist would advocate going straight up to a girl and negging her. Most would advocate starting a conversation with the guy she was with while deliberately ignoring her.

Unfortunately, that wouldn't leave the guy in this comic much beter off.

mmaier2112 said...

I've recently said "screw it" and thrown caution to the wind. Over the last few weeks, I've flirted with nearly every woman I've met in some manner; some I've known for years and never said anything like how I'm speaking to them now.

I've become very "handsy" in comparison as well. I gently guide women off-handedly and I really can't believe no one's said anything about it yet.

Heck, I got a neck rub just by asking for it. I got an incredulous reaction, but then after I shrugged the "rejection" off, she did it anyway.

Not one has called me out as a faker. Not one has reacted negatively.

I was called a "horn dog" yesterday and some folks are wondering what's with me but it's all good so far. I'm having a ball. And I should have done this years ago.

The real test will be if there's a coconut donut from DD's sitting on my desk when I get to work in 20 or so minutes.

I really hope so. And I'd bet $1 on it. Though certainly not any more than that. :)

Anonymous said...

"Probably the latter, given the number of lonely nerds in his readership who genuinely believe he's painting a meaningful portrait of women for them."

The only ones who'd genuinely believe that's a meaningful portrait of women are guys who've never really talked to women in real life.

So... yeah, probably a good chunk of his readership.

Anonymous said...

Read through the archives guys.

"Man with hat" and "Mean Girl" are recurring characters, both of whom are into applied evil.

I don't know the author's perspective on game, but it's probably that game is a facade used by insecure guys on insecure girls.

This neophyte PUA just happened to pick the most evil girl in all of existence to neg.

Markku said...

At least Randall has a realistic view on commitment

mmaier2112@work said...

Were I betting man (I didn't get my donut, dang it), I'd bet that XKCD is written by a wuss boy that thinks 1) he's too clever for his own good and 2) women are to pedestalized, not manipulated.

Difster said...

Maybe his girlfriend or wife told him to write that cartoon.

Daniel said...

I fall on the side of the artist having a double-message: one cruel and misleading, the other grounded in reality.

The alpha response in the final panel would be to say, "Cool. No wonder your dark and twisted emotional landscape seems so familiar."

The problem here is two-fold: that a confident guy in a hat just took a bowling ball into the bathroom to roll it under the stalls. I don't care who you are: that's competition at the highest level - at least the highest level that a prize of this middling quality will merit. Nerd girl is already getting fairly decent stuff from violent alpha nerd.

The second half is that the chump is a chump - that isn't even a neg that he employed. A lame joke about a skinny girl's salad doesn't even register as a mild insult, but a completely missed mark.

This is why I think there's a double message: Game, as employed naturally by bowling hat guy, is something that gamma bald advice guy is terrified by, and gamma pua is intrigued but inept at, and mid-witted nerd girl thinks she has it "figured out" because she only has experienced its improper implementation [which also indicates that she's not that great of a catch - if she were higher rank, she would have naturally succumbed to Game in some guy's practiced hand.]

Thus, the double message: Game is pathetic in the wrong hands...not because it is dysfunctional, but because it is fully operational under the command of someone who understands it.

Just because the would-be PUA fills a Porsche with his own crap right before crashing it into a wall does not mean that it was the car that was poorly designed.

So, that, to me is the joke: the car is defiled and totalled, and the terrible driver stumbles out, cursing Stuttgart and those idiotic Germans who couldn't engineer their way out of a paper bag.

I now aspire to full-time omega-hood, just so I can overanalyze more comics.

Markku said...

"Nerd girl"

As it has been already pointed out, that is the Evil Girl. The Platonic Girl is a different character. Those two characters are both actively evil, it's not just that the girl is blindly following.

Daniel said...

Those two characters are both actively evil

How does that make them distinguishable from any woman in her natural state?

I don't follow this comic enough to know any of the long-term stuff, so I'm really only going off of what I see here. I have no idea how character back-story impacts the reading of this vignette.

T14 said...

Top hat man seems to get it.

Astrosmith said...

Have y'all heard this new Gamma theme song?

"Watching You Watch Him"

Good Lord.

Markku said...

"How does that make them distinguishable from any woman in her natural state?"

They aren't quite as professional in it as the evil guy (with the top hat) and the evil girl (whom you usually recognize only from being with the former, as the visual style doesn't allow for much detail).

The mundane kind of evil comes more like an accident or instinct than their kind.

M said...

Do most women really not neg men back? Interesting. If you insult someone then you shouldn't whine when insult you more.

Anonymous said...

If the cartoonist is going to make jokes that demand our recognizing certain characters with certain personalities, he should give up cartooning until he actually learns to draw.

Stickwick said...

But I like to imagine the artist isn't the bathetic romantic he appears to be, but is rather a viciously cruel individual who is misleading them all for his own dark amusement.

He's clever enough to recognize certain patterns with women, but it's not always clear whether he's lamenting them, simply observing them, or actively misleading his readers about them for his own amusement. Here is another prime example. But given his consistent pedestalization of nerdy supergirls and his inconsistent portrayal of an appealing jerk like Man in the Hat, I'm going with "laments."

Stickwick said...

By the way, I'm assuming negging works when deployed correctly, or no one would bother teaching aspiring PUAs how to use it. But what is the proper deployment of negging? Should it be done in such a way that a woman is not really aware of it? I ask, because the few times I was aware of a man trying to neg me, the neg not only made me feel bad, but I regarded the man as some kind of schizo nutbrain when he followed it up with behavior that indicated he was interested in me. How is it supposed to work?

Anonymous said...

What's really interesting is that wednesday's comic: was actually a pretty good example of a neg.

Anonymous said...

What's really interesting is that wednesday's comic: was actually a pretty good example of a neg.

Stingray said...


Negs are difficult. The way I understand them, they are not really supposed to be a put down so much as a way to bring a woman down a peg. An example that I remember is something like "That skirt looks good on you, though black would be much nicer." Also, I think the more the woman thinks of herself, the harsher the neg usually is as she has farther she needs to fall.

One of my favorites, if I am understanding this correctly, is the Facebook "LOOK AT ME" photo neg, "I like your left ear better than your right."

Adam said...

So what's the best retort to her comment, assuming you find "midwit suicide girl" a turn-on.

Best I've got is "Hey, I saw that on a shirt at hot topic."

Giraffe said...

The mouseover on the comic leads me to believe that he wasn't pedastalizing the woman.

She's the Michael Jordan of Make You Feel Bad. (evil bitch)

Not the poor little girl who got negged.

I think he used to have more gamma tendencies but maybe is growing out of them. I haven't followed the comic religiously.

Daniel said...

"I was aware of a man trying to neg me, the neg not only made me feel bad, but I regarded the man as some kind of schizo nutbrain"


Here are a couple of questions: in these instances were you "out of his league?"

Negs from guys who are beneath you in the social order are insulting - not because they are negs, but because they cause you to question your own quality. In other words, if a semi-loser thinks he's worthy of you, what does that make you?

Second, were the negs stupid? In the comic, that neg is terrible: he basically calls a skinny girl fat. That would make anyone (sane) feel bad, but not because it is true, but because the guy is missing the mark completely and still wasting your time. He hasn't taken the time to get to know you well enough to insult you appropriately.

People at least want the illusion that others who express an attraction to them are actually attracted to them.

My thought is that the "bad negs" you've received have come from people you perceive to have outclassed, or from such lousy practitioners that the neg inspired a repulsive confusion rather than a reluctant appreciation.

When you neg a showy girl about her left ear or whatever - you are negging something true about her: she's an attention whore. But you don't neg smart girls about being dumb (instead, you neg them about not being as clever as they think they are) or skinny girls about being fat (instead, you neg them about their eating disorder.) When a guy negs traits that don't exist, all that the guy has shown is that he's talking to one lady and thinking of another.

That's not nice for anyone's emotional landscape.

Anonymous said...

Haters gonna hate.

Stickwick said...

Stingray and Daniel, thanks for the clarification. I think it was just lousy practitioners. One neg in particular that I remember was a crude insult that humiliated me in front of other people, followed a little later by a come-on. It was repulsively confusing. I suspect the times I've been skillfully negged, I wasn't even really aware of it.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Fantastic! Too funny, totally TRUE!

JCclimber said...

Yet, xkcd is the comic that posted that hilarious, long comic about the gamma who tries to snag the hottie by being a long term shoulder to cry on. Which you used a couple years ago to illustrate an earlier point on game.

As soon as I saw hat guy in the background, I knew what was coming before scrolling down the page. Ouch.

Oh, and it is pretty funny to me that someone perusing PUA sites thinks that it is only a collection of tips, rather than an entire shift in paradigm. Funny, but also sad given how many single women I know who are aging into spinsterhood because most potentially quality men have almost no game, and therefore no hope of attracting a good woman.

Markku said...

This is probably the closest to what he really thinks about Game.

Stickwick said...

Oh, and it is pretty funny to me that someone perusing PUA sites thinks that it is only a collection of tips, rather than an entire shift in paradigm.

That gets to the root of my initial feminine reaction to Game, which was irritation and a desire to learn its superficial tricks so that I could easily deflect them. I perceived that (some) men would fail to understand that it's a paradigm shift, and instead utilize Game as a collection of cheap manipulations to trick women into accepting men who are still fundamentally unfit. (I think the other thing that bugs women about Game is that we've cornered the market on subtle manipulation, and don't like the idea of someone else using it on us.)

Anonymous said...

I agree that the use of terms like PUA, Game, and seduction put the process of learning how to interact with women in a horrible light.
I have trained dogs for years, and I have the bad habit of comparing dog training with raising children and meeting women.

If you don't understand how a dog think and how to interact with it, you just get bit.
But learn to proper way and you get a dog who loves to do things with you. Dogs want to please you and be with you.
And in my warped and twisted mind, I believe women work the same way.

I also believe the reverse is true of women interacting with men.

BTW I actually believe women are more like cats, which is totally different from training dogs.

OK, you may now feel free to completely pick this apart.

P.S. I personally feel the cartoon was incorrect on just about everything it was trying to say.

Ariane said...

A previous comment from Daniel, "if she were higher rank, she would have naturally succumbed to Game in some guy's practiced hand," left me wondering. High status women are more receptive to Game? Or that high status women are more likely to BE Gamed, and therefore more likely to have already succumbed based on sheer number of attempts? Is the converse true; that if a woman succumbs to Game, she gains status over those who don't? Or again that her having succumbed to Game is an indicator that she was inherently worthy of a Gamemaster's attentions? Just wondering-- please enlighten me. Thanks.

Daniel said...

Ariane -

Higher rank women attract both better application of Game and better Gamers is all that I meant.

All women "succumb" to Game, as do all men - even those who rail against its existence - because it is simply the natural way that good long-term relationships arise.

In other words, the perfectly sensible and natural tendency of women to marry as well as possible for their security and social standing dictates that the rules of Game have very few people, men or women, who live on its sidelines. Those who do reside there consist mainly of the unmarriagiable, the terminally unhappy or also a very few people who avoid sexual society Game on special principle (which I guess is a subset of the unmarriagiable).

But I know a few nuns and other life-long celibate women, and they all (with the exception of one that I can think of) happily play social Game, including the social-sexual (but, obviously, not the sexual) aspects of it. So, in effect, every woman plays it: the only ones who think they don't are either simply confused by its identity or disappointed in their current position in its hierarchy.

It's been a long time since I've come across a woman who doesn't respond to Game.

Ariane said...

Thanks, Daniel.

Koanic said...

Yeah, knowing the backstory of the two characters just makes the author pathetic on multiple levels. Especially when put together with their two polar opposites, the "good" characters. Classic inability to internalize his dark side. Gamma trait.

Astrosmith said...

Learn Game, get tracked by the SPLC:

Candide said...

The opener in the comic is actually pretty good. Hinting at dieting for an in-shape girl is harmless. Some commentators implied earlier that this should only be delivered to a more chubby girl? Do you get out much? Negs are meant to be harmless teasing, you don't pick on girls with actual flaws.

What the guy did wrong was that: 1- he picked a humourless feminist who was with another guy and 2- most importantly, he did not stand his ground after delivering the opener.

Negs are done to get an emotional reaction from women, but they aren't one-liners. You need to follow up, first by standing your ground against the inevitable false indignation, then by volleying it back and forth to create more tingles down there.

This guy's frame is weak as piss. The moment he got a reaction he didn't expect, he went down like a sack of potatoes. Admittedly, he'd have no chance against that woman in the comic. She needs a much darker, sociopathic kind of Game, and besides, she's already found her counterpart.

If I were him, I'd look amused, say "geezus, you're no fun. Take a breather!" then turn walk away smiling while shaking my head. It's a numbers game after all, and you run into some crazy bitches from time to time.

Anonymous said...

The mod over there literally started altering my posts as she feels fit. I guess I'm done with these people.

mmaier2112 said...

Anon @837: The mod over where?

Duke of Earl said...

"My friend over there said you were a crazy one... I didn't believe him... until now."

Delivered with a smile.

Anonymous said...

Losers gonna spout the tired bromide 'haters gonna hate'.

I see no pedestalization here. I just see a loser not knowing his place and taking it up the ass like he should.

jlw said...

Another good thing about this cartoon is that her response recognizes a fundamental truth that no blog except Alpha Game gives creedence to: some people are irrecoverable omegas. It's as simple as that. There's nothing they can do, no self-help mantras they can repeat to themselves, no "Game" cliches they can rely upon. They are failures wrt to MOTOS. They need to recognize this fact and move on to areas of life from which they can derive success.

This is the Red Pill for omegas, and I think Vox Day should deliver it someday.

Anonymous said...

"Losers gonna spout the tired bromide 'haters gonna hate'. "

Way to prove his (her?) point.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, what I see here is neither female pedestalization, nor a worthless loser, but a guy who just picked the wrong girl to try to talk to. That's all.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

kh123 said...

Stick figures: Because Egon Schielle loved the fatties.

"Ok, your turn! Ooh, try insulting my hair!"

"Move that scribble out of the way first."

kh123 said...

What was it that someone once said about brevity and wit?; midsentence.

The Original Hermit said...

There's probably something wrong with me that I never recognized the black hat guy as being evil. I always just thought of him as chaotic neutral.

Markku said...

There's probably something wrong with me that I never recognized the black hat guy as being evil. I always just thought of him as chaotic neutral.

That's what an evil man would say...

The Original Hermit said...

Perhaps I need to go home and think about my life.

(BTW, italicized uppercase "I's" look awful in this font)

Anonymous said...

"Way to prove his (her?) point."

Not mistaking smirking bemusement at cliche-ridden know-it-alls for "hating" might be a good place to start...

Anonymous said...

I've been reading xnck from the start, so I can say it's the second option. He's misleading for his own dark amusement.

Bonus info: that black hat guy is some super-asshole of old comics, that's why the girl isn't impressed by the newbie assertion of the pua-in-training.

Anonymous said...

Didnt you read the alt text on last strip?
"Or maybe they knew he was there, and were trying to torment him first"

Anonymous said...

We can see Black Hat and Evil Girl's backstory here:

From 374, I would guess that Black Hat is an Alpha with all of the Dark Triad.

377 shows Evil Girl coming back at him (and granting a momentary stunner).

405: Epic alpha comeback. Is the submarine over the top? However, the "You took my hat. I /like/ my hat." *walks off* is pure alpha.

432: Ouch. Has he gone to Beta?

433: More Beta tendancies, which she calls him out on (by triggering the mines under his car)...except that he just reestablishes alpha by having moved them under her car instead.

That's a Game Neophyte's reading of this, at least.

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