Gone out of Style
This will not come as much of a surprise to anyone who was paying attention toward the end of last year (I admittedly was not), but (former) pick-up artistry guru Neil Strauss is, apparently, getting divorced.
Now, the source for this report was The Daily Mail, and they got their source from a celebrity gossip website, and Neil Strauss's own website makes absolutely no mention (at the time of this writing) of the impending collapse of his marriage to model Ingrid De La O (that, apparently, is her really-for-real name).
Just for shits and giggles, let's have a look at the woman that will (possibly) be pulling Mr. Strauss's wallet out through his genitals:
Not exactly a minger, eh?
As Mr. Strauss himself said in his rather interesting, if problematic, book, The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships: she looks like a Russian model, but is actually half-Mexican, half-German.
Most blue-pill betas would give their right arms for the chance to get a kiss from a woman like that - never mind marry her and sleep beside her every night.
However, my brothers, you and I are not most men. We know a little something about the female mind, and we also have the self-awareness and humility to accept some rather painful truths about the male mind.
Given these things, it behooves us to examine a few things about Mr. Strauss's impending, apparent, divorce through a couple of different lenses.
The very first link that I provided up top goes to an article titled, "Lessons We Can Learn From Neil Strauss's Divorce", and within it is contained a powerful point:
While The Game is a good book from a narrative standpoint, Strauss’ attitude towards the seduction community is one of dismissiveness and arrogance. He constantly presented Mystery and his fellow gurus as emotionally disturbed and unreliable while he stood above them, and he attempted to wash his hands of the community by renouncing pickup not long after the book was released.
The Game also has a convenient fairytale ending in which Strauss meets his dream girl, Lisa Leveridge, who broke up with him less than six months after the book’s release. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to find a girlfriend or move on from past experiences, Strauss takes a similar attitude with all of his writing subjects: infiltrating them, then trying to wash his hands of them afterwards to maintain his reputation. [...]
This is a running theme throughout Strauss’ career: constant flip-flopping on just about everything. His most recent book, 2015’s The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, details the sexual wasteland he exiled himself to after the events of The Game.
Designed as a counterpoint to The Game, The Truth purports to chronicle Strauss’ journey to monogamy and family as he checks in and out of sex addiction clinics and passes out at orgies. When he married his current wife, he even made a show out of “killing” his Style persona at a mock-funeral.
If Strauss had been the pickup guru he claimed to be back in his Style days, The Truth would have never been written, because he would have been able to put his expertise to use in finding a good wife. Instead, he’s floated through a bizarre tableau of sexual failure, from relationships with cracked-out cluster-B psychos to sad sex parties with sad people.
It is worth noting that the last sentence that I highlighted there contains a huge mistake: pickup skills do not, and never have, translated into relationship skills. The two are not the same things.
As I pointed out in probably one of my best ever blog posts from back in late 2017, the skills required to become a great pickup artist are radically different from the skills required to become a good husband and father.
Pickup artistry skills require you to put on a mask, to hide your deepest insecurities and most fundamental flaws beneath a clownish, almost outlandish exterior. This can, and does, allow a man to have sex quickly and easily with beautiful women.
Unfortunately, those women tend to be just as shallow and insecure as he is.
Why? It's really simple. A girl who is reasonably confident in herself, who understands her value and worth, who knows what she wants in a man, and who actually has the looks and wits and wisdom to back all of that up, is not going to be taken in easily by the smokescreen generated by a PUA. Such tend to be highly perceptive and read emotional weaknesses much better than other girls who are less intelligent (or more stupid, if you prefer to be blunt), and less deep.
This is the exact opposite kind of girl from the ones that are easily taken in by the canned lines and rehearsed routines of a pickup artist.
I've dated a girl who is a high-quality woman. She came with her own laundry list of issues and problems about a mile long, and that created a huge series of challenges for me, personally - but her problems were made considerably worse by my problems at the time. Yet she wasn't fooled by my (mostly non-existent - I'll readily admit that) pickup skills. Instead, she was attracted to my core qualities of integrity, honesty, decency, kindness, strength, courage, and honour (her words and sentiments, not mine).
But she also found me to be highly childish, with a severe case of tunnel-vision about many things, and extremely unbending about my schedule and desires.
And if I had tried to attract her using PUA skills alone, it would never have worked.
High-quality women are still women, make no mistake. They are still ruled by emotions and rationalise their stupid behaviour constantly. They throw massive childish temper tantrums and make you go through Drama From Hell just to see how you will respond. That is what women are like, and there is not much of anything you can do about it.
What you can do is fix yourself first before you try to make a relationship work with a high-quality woman. One of the core rules of masculinity is that, if you want a high-quality woman, you have to become a high-quality man.
Note the emphasis on the MAN part. You cannot be an adult boy. You have to be an adult man. And that is really bloody hard to do.
PUAs are not adult men, for the most part. Their insecurities and fears stop them from becoming men and in many cases they remain stuck in an adolescent world of parties, poppers, and pussy from which they emerge way too late, with lots of great experiences and endorphin highs, but not much by way of real skills at building or maintaining anything.
The reason why PUAs exist in the first place is because of a clear and observable change in the sexual and marriage market places.
It used to be enough for a boy to grow into manhood, get a job, find a reasonably attractive if perhaps slightly plain girl to marry, have children with her, and thereby ensure the fulfillment of the prime male imperative: to pass on his genes.
That is obviously no longer enough. Women, especially in the West, have been taught for fifty years that they can have it all, that they should aspire to having great careers and therefore delay motherhood and child-bearing for as long as possible, and that they no longer need a man to protect and provide for them.
So men have had to adapt. That is where PUA skills come from. These routines and lines were tested over and over again in the field by hundreds, and then thousands, of men who kept what worked and threw away what did not. The goal of these things was to secure sex, and they worked great for that purpose.
The problem is that these skills and techniques involve showmanship, outlandishness, and displays of confidence and playfulness that are all too often mere masks.
These things work, and work well, in securing sex from women, because they reduce sexual attraction down to a series of transactions, more or less, which build one upon another until a woman "puts out", so to speak.
These things are absolutely useless for creating real, lasting relationships between pair-bonded couples.
Why? Well, again, that is because women are far more emotionally intelligent than men and can detect bullshit, insincerity, insecurity, and childishness far better than men. They can be fooled, and quite easily actually, over short time frames through appeals to emotional triggers, which is why pickup artistry works so well on them.
But you cannot fool a woman over the long term, especially if she is the kind of companion that almost all men want to love and marry. (Such women do exist, but they are almost as rare as unicorns.)
Women are hardwired through genetics, evolution, and God-given gifts to test extremely hard for men that they want to pair-bond with for life. A really high-quality woman who gives herself to a man wants to know that she will get back in return more than she puts in. And the higher her own qualities, the more she will demand from her man, and the harsher her personality will become when she sees that her demands are not met.
Everything that Mr. Strauss writes about Ms. De La O indicates that she is precisely the kind of highly intelligent, fun-loving, gentle, warm, compassionate, understanding, erotic, loving, innocent-yet-wicked woman that almost every man wants.
And everything that Mr. Strauss writes about himself indicates that even now, after everything that he went through, after all of the pain and suffering and growing up and that he had to endure, he is STILL "all apple, no core".
His writings indicate that he moves the way that the wind blows, that he does not have a firmly centred philosophy or view of life, and that he has never quite achieved true wisdom.
In fact, it occurs to me that if you take a look at Mr. Strauss's books, he displays huge doses of classic Gamma traits. That is especially true if you look at the artwork in The Game and Emergency which depicts Mr. Strauss himself.
Here is an example:
That is what Mr. Strauss would like you to believe he looks like, in an idealised sense.
This is what he actually looks like:
(I used that specific picture for several very good reasons. See if you can figure out why.)
Now, I could be entirely wrong about all of this. If I am, then I will be absolutely delighted to retract every single criticism that I have written above about Mr. Strauss and issue a public apology to him right here on this blog.
It could also be that Ms. De La O just got bored of being with a man significantly lower than her in terms of looks - she is still jaw-droppingly beautiful, after all - and cheated on Neil.
It could be that the pressures of being parents just got to both of them and one or the other, or both, snapped.
Any or all of these things could be true. The only people who know exactly what happened are Mr. Strauss and Ms. De La O.
But, let's take a look at what another former pickup artist - and happily married man, whose marriage has lasted almost as long as Mr. Strauss's did - has to say:
After reading The Truth where he sounded like he didn't have his act together mentally at all, I'm not surprised. The biggest tell was how he flip-flopped his beliefs from one moment to the next and didn't seem at all solid for a 45 year old grown man.
We all know Neil and probably wouldn't be here writing or reading this FB post if it weren't for The Game, so I'm grateful to him for that. Likewise I know that a lot of you regard him, Mystery, and David Deangelo as unassailable legends, but yeah I never saw the appeal of Neil as a wise guru.
Will I be following him and getting a divorce? No, I don't think so. I've been with my wife for four years, and things are getting better not worse. I think I already have quite a lot to say about happy long-term relationships, but I don't think it's that credible until we have a few more years together.
In case you are wondering what possible claim that Richard La Ruina can have to knowing anything about marriage - take a look at his wife:
And if you listen to her speak, you will quickly realise that she provides an excellent foil for her husband:
She speaks better English than any Russian girl (in Russia) that I have ever met. She is beautiful, intelligent, well-spoken, and quite likely pretty accomplished. Unlike most 24-year-olds (at the time of that video), she comes across as quite mature and with a good head on her shoulders.
She is, quite simply, the kind of woman that most men want.
Why has Richard La Ruina managed to make his marriage work, while Neil Strauss apparently could not?
There is no way for us to know for sure. I personally think that it has a lot to do with the growing-up process that both men went through. And I suspect that Mr. La Ruina's process was vastly more successful than Mr. Strauss's.
Mr. La Ruina has written of his process in a pretty honest blog post that pulled no punches about the toll that the pickup artist lifestyle takes on a man. But unlike Neil Strauss, Richard La Ruina was and remains highly consistent in his focus and views.
Mr. La Ruina points out, correctly, that every poon-hound grows weary of the chase, sooner or later. Every man who spends his twenties sowing his oats will eventually tire of it and look for stability, commitment, comfort, and love in the arms of one particular woman.
As he notes, again correctly, after about 6-8 weeks, the true nature of a woman always reveals itself. For some men this can be a terrible shock; you might be lying next to a beautiful girl, wake up in a happy and cheerful mood, turn to your woman and say, "Hi sweetheart! I'm so happy to be here with you!" or words to that effect - and, as Adam Piggott said in probably his most popular podcast ever, she will tear your head and spine out.
Any man who has ever experienced it knows what I mean when I say that, in that moment, the woman in question might as well be a ruthless killer alien or an ice-cold avatar of death.
She no longer cares about your good qualities. She cannot see them. She has no interest in sparing your feelings. Your own weaknesses and failures to provide her with what she needs emotionally - not materially - have caused such anger and revulsion in her that she hates you with every fibre of her being.
She will do that because she will no longer be able to maintain the mask that she disguised herself with. She has detected your own insecurities, problems, and bullshit. She can no longer tolerate you.
This is a soul-destroying moment for almost any man, no matter how often he has experienced it. And the more women that a man gets this from, the less interested he is going to be in investing the necessary effort required to fix the problems.
It is at that point that a man has to ask himself whether he is ready to be an adult - because relationships require transactions between the three parts of every person's mind: the parent, the adult, and the child.
It is beyond the scope of this post to go into detail about Eric Berme's well-documented and heavily supported ideas about transactional analysis. Suffice to say that it works as a good heuristic method of seeing how relationships work, and where and why they break down.
In Mr. Strauss's situation, my guess is that, psychologically speaking, he had still never quite fully moved from his child ego-state to his much more needed parent or adult one, and that this caused some serious problems with Ms. De La O.
The reality is that most women, no matter how beautiful, are basically overgrown children. The best of them grow up with time and become more adult, more mature, and more rational, but they remain, at their core, incapable of making decisions on their own. They are emotional and temperamental and highly tempestuous. They need a strong man with a solid core to direct them and support them.
Mr. Strauss's wishy-washiness indicates that he is not such a man.
That is the primary lesson to be learned from his failure - if, indeed, it was a failure. We just don't know right now. All we do know is that it appears as though his marriage has fallen apart, and that, given his past history and flaws, he played a big role in the demise of his relationship.
Of course, almost no relationship ever fails due solely to one side. I have no doubt that Ms. De La O played her part in all of this too. What and how much remains a matter of speculation, but it is clear that whatever failed here, Mr. Strauss's lack of serious core, of real steel, was a very likely culprit.
The lesson for all of us as men is to understand that game is essential before marriage and within it. But game implies and requires the development of a masculine core that is strong, stoic, resilient, emotionally secure, confident, and - most importantly - adult.
That last part is very, very hard to achieve in a psychological sense. The importance of being an adult, and the ways in which one becomes an adult, will be the focus of at least one upcoming post, but suffice to say for now that if you are not an adult already, and you attempt to have a lasting relationship with a woman, who is FAR less likely to be an adult than you, then you are in for a world of pain and hurt.