All apple, no core

Among the, yet again, FAR too many books that I find myself reading at the moment, is Neil Strauss's latest work, The Truth. It details Neil Strauss's journey from a monogamous relationship with his beautiful girlfriend (and eventual wife), Ingrid Deleo, to flagrantly and repeatedly cheating on her with various women, to exploring non-monogamous relationships in all of their variety and weirdness, and all the way back again to marriage and commitment.

Those of you familiar with the basics of "game" need no introduction whatsoever to Neil Strauss. The very few of you who are here and have never heard of the concept of "game" should make your way to your nearest bookstore- or to, which is a far shorter and more efficient trip- and buy a copy of The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. I read that book back in the spring of 2011, and it was one hell of an eye-opener. Even today it still occupies a place on my bookshelf, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

To put it very simply: Mr. Strauss started out as a pale balding dweeby journalist, began studying pickup artistry under the well-known PUA Mystery, and created a pickup persona known as "Style". Eventually, he became regarded as the best pickup artist, and teacher of pickup, in the entire country, if not the world.

He got to the point where he could get just about any woman that he wanted into bed. He was, in many ways, living the dream that most horny young men aspire towards.

Imagine the most beautiful woman you've ever seen. Imagine knowing exactly what to say to her to get her to give you her phone number. Imagine being able to make her giggle and laugh on command, to touch her in all of the right places to build her attraction, and to break down any and all last-minute resistance at any time when she ends up alone with you, at your place or hers.

Neil Strauss had all of that. He learned from the very best pickup artists in the world. He became the very best in the world.

Yet he could not make a monogamous relationship work. At all.

To give you some idea of just what kind of woman he was cheating on, by the way, here is a picture of him with his now-wife:

‘All I did was cheat on my girlfriend,' writes Strauss. His girlfriend - now wife - Ingrid, 26, was born in Mexico to a German father, ‘and somehow ended up living in America and looking like a petite Russian blonde’

Look at that woman and tell me that you would not want to come home to that every night.

But that is precisely what Neil Strauss could not bring himself to do. He could not commit to one woman, no matter how feminine, how sexually adventurous, how accommodating to him, and no matter how badly he himself wanted a family of his own.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the book now, and it does, as the byline promised, make for rather uncomfortable reading. It is quite graphic and sexually explicit- this is NOT the sort of book that you want to hand out for Christmas. Yet it is highly informative in many ways, if not perhaps in quite the way that the author intended.

The core lesson that I take away from Mr. Strauss's journey through monogamy, sex addition therapy, reuniting with his girlfriend, breaking up with her, attempting to enter into a polyamourous arrangement, and going all the way back again to marriage and monogamy, is that he spent a very great deal of time and effort trying, and failing, to deal with profound and terrible insecurity.

I suspect that this is a common theme among pickup artists. If you have read The Game, or if you are reasonably familiar with PUA sites in general, then you will be aware of the fact that many PUAs emphasise "peacocking" as a way of gaining and securing female attention.

The basic idea comes from ornithology. The concept revolves around the fact that male peacocks have very colourful and impressive plumage, that they display in order to attract females; the larger and more ornate their feather patterns, the more female attraction they get.

PUAs took this concept and applied it by crafting gaudy outfits for themselves- the picture up top gives you some idea of what the top PUAs looked like back in their heyday on the way to a night of "sarging" in various clubs and bars.

Yet all of the peacocking in the world cannot disguise the reality that, deep down, a lot of PUAs are troubled individuals with some quite serious psychoses and insecurities.

This was certainly the case with Neil Strauss, and I suspect that it is true for a lot of former PUAs who have more or less given up their old lifestyles and committed themselves to monogamous relationships. He more or less admits as much in his book and in this article.

Neil woke up to the realization that where he once felt trapped by the desires of one woman, Ingrid, now he had three women with desires and needs that were choking him. 

He had broken up with Ingrid because he believed one person should not own another person's body. Now he had to go cold turkey from all of his habitual sexual explorations.

A friend helped him block all pornography, social networking and dating sites on his computer. He was locked out of his old email account and given a new one.

No old lovers from around the world could connect and talk about sex.

He was finally moving closer to what was psychological: fear of loving, the terror of being loved, the compulsion to cheat, the cowardice of lying, the weak sense of self – and all the defense mechanisms that kept this system in place.

Indeed. And therein lies the critical flaw with pickup artistry in general.

Now, let's get one thing straight right here. I am not knocking pickup artists in and of themselves. I respect any man who musters the courage to acknowledge that he isn't getting what he wants in life, and takes concrete steps to improve- in whatever area, be it his finances, his health, or the quality of his women.

The problem with pickup artistry is not that it doesn't work- of course it does, and we have several living examples of it as leaders within the Manosphere, including Roosh himself, who wrote several excellent guides to approaching women and getting laid.

No, the problem with pickup artistry is that it is great at teaching men how to approach and seduce women- but offers next to no clues whatsoever about how to have relationships with them.

I am not alone in making this criticism. Blackdragon, for instance, has long argued that it is a terrible idea to take relationship advice from pickup gurus. While I personally find that his arguments about non-monogamy really only make sense for men with high sex drives and a lot of experience dating and banging women, and do not make any particular sense to the majority of men who actually do want a lifelong partner in a society that encourages lifetime pair-bonding, the fact is that BD has a very valid point.

The reason why most PUAs cannot offer particularly valid relationship advice is the same reason why they cannot seem to pair-bond particularly effectively themselves. It is because their skills are limited to one particular aspect of masculinity, but do not address the fundamental insecurities that drove them to seek out those skills and experiences in the first place.

PUAs become highly skilled at presenting a "persona" that women find highly attractive. But inevitably, that persona becomes stale very quickly the moment that those same men try to commit to one woman.

The result is the male version of that classic Rita Hayworth quote concerning her most famous role:

Every man I knew went to be with Gilda... and woke up with me.

In the same fashion, pickup artistry- useful and valid though its core concepts are- does much the same thing for a man. And when a man who has spent a significant amount of time and energy living that role decides to put it aside, that is when all of the old demons that drove him to the edge claw their way out and make their presence felt.

Rita Hayworth as Gilda, because reasons

There are now several cases that I know of pickup artists who have hung up their old personas and become monogamous, and I am sure that my readers can name many more. One of the more interesting recent cases is probably Richard LaRuina, once known in "the scene" as Gambler. He caused a bit of a ruckus recently when he appeared on a British morning TV show and put host and blue-pill cuck Piers Morgan's nose thoroughly out of joint by very calmly and rationally explaining why British women on balance tend to make for horrid girlfriends and wives. (Let it be known for the record that I've been saying something similar for years.)

He married a (stunning) 24-year-old Russian girl named Katia. Good for him. I really hope it works out.

Of course, he married an Eastern European woman, and as I've also been saying for a while now, the staggering beauty, femininity, and grace of Eastern European women comes at a truly jaw-dropping price unless you are very, very careful. Remember that Russia is supposedly the country with the highest divorce rate in the entire world. As effed-up as things are here in the West, in some ways they are even worse in Eastern Europe, for various reasons.

There are signs that things are on an upward trajectory for Russia and the FSU nations- I certainly came away from my time there with some very positive impressions- but in general, there is good reason for fans of Gambler's work to be more than a little worried about his life choices.

To be clear- any former PUA who decides to "settle down" and get married or at least go monogamous is assuredly entitled to make that choice. I wish such men only the very best of luck and genuinely do hope that things work out for them.

But the uncomfortable truth is that a man who has carefully crafted a PUA persona is going to find it very hard to translate that persona into someone real.

A real man has gained health, wealth, experience, wisdom, and stoicism through often severe and repeated beatings at the hands of a very harsh and uncaring world. A real man uses those repeated failures to re-centre, rebuild, and reinvent himself, so that he can become whatever he needs to be in order to succeed- but the fundamental core of who and what he is, the sense of purpose and morality that drives him, the masculine examples that he looked up to as a child and who shaped him into a man, never leave him.

A former PUA has to find a way to reconcile the mirage that he has built with the man that he really is. And I suspect that for far too many of them, this adjustment is all too difficult- especially when one factors in the psychological effects of sleeping with a lot of women.

We in the Manosphere love to bash loose women who spend their best years riding the cock carousel and banging just about any guy with a pulse who gets her wet. And rightly so- such women deserve censure and shaming, because they are wasting their single most precious commodity instead of spending it building something real and tangible.

However, male promiscuity is in fact also quite damaging.

We don't talk about it much, for two reasons.

First, because the effects of male promiscuity are much slower to take hold than the female equivalent; a woman who has slept with just two or three men has roughly the same divorce risk as a man who has slept with roughly nineteen women.

And second, because one of the defining masculine virtues is mastery- and that includes sexual mastery. Women have no such similar virtue; the feminine equivalent of male mastery is chastity, which is in many ways diametrically opposed and offsetting to its male counterpart.

Yet the reality is that any man who has slept with more than a few dozen women becomes deeply jaded and cynical about them. This is not a moral judgement, it is merely an observation of facts.

Eventually such a man stops seeing individual women as special or unusual. He sees them only as pleasant companions and objects for his own pleasure, and finds it nearly impossible to commit to any one woman- after all, why should he? There is nothing special about her. She can be easily replaced by the next beautiful girl that comes along, who is hopefully younger and tighter and hotter than the current model.

And that is precisely what appears to have happened to Neil Strauss, and other PUAs like him.

They tried to go monogamous. They found that the personas that they had built to compensate for their damaged cores could not handle commitment and monogamy. And they realised that their powerful need for sexual variety, combined with their long experience banging many, many women, made it nearly impossible to stay with the one who was Not Like The Rest.

So what is such a man to do?

After all, Neil's book does not paint the alternatives as being terribly much fun either. Non-monogamy might sound great, but the reality, at least the way Mr. Strauss tells it, strikes me as being about as much fun as finding a bag of very pissed off rattlesnakes at the foot of your bed in the morning. The jealousy, the emotional drama, the never-ending bitchiness, the mood-swings, and the extreme level of self-control required to maintain the rules and regulations of a polyamourous group strikes me as way above and beyond what can be expected of any reasonable man.

The standard Manosphere advice, which writers like Blackdragon (rightly) criticise as being way too simplistic, doesn't seem to offer all that much hope either.

That advice consists of: find a young woman in her early- to mid-twenties in her own patriarchal culture, marry her, and stay Alpha.

And that's it. Seriously. That's all there is to it.

It isn't bad advice, perhaps. But everything that I have seen of monogamous marriage- and I have been around monogamous marriages that have lasted sixty years or more- tells me that such relationships are bloody hard work.

And from what I see of most men these days, the hard and sober fact is that most young men are NOT prepared to put in the kind of work that real monogamy requires.

Forget all of the questions about whether lifelong monogamy is even natural- which are addressed in the early stages of Neil's book. There are plenty of good reasons to argue that monogamy does not work from a biological or evolutionary perspective, and there are plenty of other good reasons to argue that it does work from any number of other perspectives.

It is not a question of whether monogamy works or not, in and of itself. It is a question of whether men and women these days are willing to put in the effort to make it work.

And the answer to that question, at least nowadays, is usually a resounding and terrible "NO".

To conclude, the major lesson that I take from Neil Strauss's experiences, and the experiences of former PUAs like him, is that a man who enters into any kind of long-term monogamous relationship without first building within himself a solid core of strength, courage, mastery, and honour, is setting himself up for failure.

Similarly, any man who decides to have a long-term girlfriend beyond, say, a year or so, is doing both himself and her a terrible disservice. Either pull the trigger and "marry" the woman, in whatever form of marriage is safest and least destructive in this degenerate age, or break it off and move on. It strikes me as folly of the worst kind to keep playing things out for years, waiting and hoping that the woman you are with will become the woman that you want to be with for the long term.

Ultimately, game is a powerful and invaluable tool that every man must learn to use, but it is merely a stepping-stone to far greater and more potent truths. It is up to every man to explore those truths for himself, and to use the lessons that he learns to constantly build himself into his best possible version.


  1. In my real life I've never seen men not pay. Even the successful players pay in ways that are obvious to an outside viewer, especially later on. You're borrowing time at best.

    It's seemed in the West since the '60s a new relationship model is due. But still nothing.

    Between a real scarcity of genuinely attractive women to even approach and the costs of having relationships things are looking grim.

    I enjoy reading writings by PUAs, it's a form of entertainment, but they say the same things over and over again about the dark nature of women and they all do a lot of work to get the women they do.

    1. In my real life I've never seen men not pay. Even the successful players pay in ways that are obvious to an outside viewer, especially later on. You're borrowing time at best.

      Correct. Every man pays for sex, in one way or another.

  2. Eduardo the Magnificent4 December 2017 at 16:42

    Plato (or was it Socrates? Doesn't matter. Same guy either way...) warned us about taking too seriously the testimony of experts. In order to become an expert you necessarily must devote so much time and effort that well-roundedness becomes impossible. The ability to connect dots and trade knowledge across multiple fields of study becomes atrophied and eventually disappears. Experts always end up pigeon-holing themselves out of the general discourse for this reason. Outside of their very specific area of study, they're essentially worthless.

    PUAs are incredibly sophisticated at ONE aspect of dealing with women: the approach. I mean, who the hell would deal with Mystery, dressed the way he is, outside of a night club? He'd get laughed out of town anywhere else. PUAs are nothing more than Plato's experts.


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