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I put Neil Strauss' "The Game" on my Amazon wishlist a number of years ago. Never pulled the trigger and actually got it. I was looking at iTunes Music Store's free downloads this week and they had a preview of a series called "The Pickup Artist", which features Mystery, the guy Neil Strauss apprenticed to. I looked at the preview in preview (that is, I didn't download the free download) and knew based on that that I'd want to pay for at least one episode.

While I abhor the sort of attitude I get from what I've read of Mystery and his coterie (pick women based on looks, put the emphasis on bedding as many as possible...shallow as can be), I am still fascinated because I've always felt that I'm missing something in the social skills area (sfguyy might prick up his ears here because I'm about to go into what "social skills" mean to me). No, this doesn't mean that I don't brush my teeth and wear deodorant. Nor does it mean that I pick my nose in public or anything so obvious. I'm well-groomed and when it comes to being in a number of public situations, I'm fine. But when it comes to meeting people and forming bonds, I feel like I'm not firing on all pistons. Most of my life I have alternated between thinking there was something wrong with other people and thinking there was something wrong with me.

Maybe 7 or so years ago I was exposed to the Daniel Goleman book "Emotional Intelligence" and much of it rang true to me. What was so frustrating about that book is that it spends the entire time making a case for the existence of such a thing as EQ, but it doesn't tell one how to address deficiencies in EQ. For those of us not lucky enough to have had an idyllic upbringing where our parents, teachers, siblings, mentors, etc. modeled the proper behavior to us and nurtured those skills in us, how do we repair the lack? Everything practical I've seen since focuses on EQ in the workplace. Because books geared towards CEOs and managers are what keep the filet mignon on the table.

So though I abhor what I assume Mystery stands for, I'm also deadly curious as to what about his "method" is applicable to my situation. And watching the first episode tonight I could see I'm probably going to have to pony up for the whole season. It's not that I have NO ability to pick up on social cues. I do. I'm not autistic. I don't have Asperger's. But sometimes the whole social dance (whether it's about friendships or work relationships or romance) feels like a game everyone but me has the rulebook to. Seeing Mystery and his coterie observe the 8 socially awkward acolytes and comment on what they were doing wrong was a bit eye-opening. It could be that it's simply their opinion. It could be that what the whole thing boils down to is just faking it 'til you make it. Exuding confidence. But I'll listen and see.

I feel sorta weird even blogging about this. My experience with folks is that you're not supposed to admit anything like this. It's not part of "faking it 'til you make it" to admit you have difficulties in social situations.

I've heard so many men say that women hold all the power. I've even seen books that perpetuate that premise. I think it's poppycock. I've never felt in power, I've never felt like I had men wrapped around my finger or any such drivel. I think the people who have the "power" are the confident, the beautiful, and perhaps the wealthy, regardless of gender. Of course there are exceptions. "The Pickup Artist" had at least a couple guys I thought were quite good-looking, one very much so, and it seemed it was mostly their lack of confidence that held them back. So their looks alone didn't carry them through. But, the point is that women as a gender do not have their hands on the reins or their fingers on the button at all times. Not at all.

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spidra

September 2014

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