This is another post looking at the issues I have with the PUA industry. This time I want to focus on an issue that for me stands on the premise, “what if their advertising bumf is accurate?”
The following complaint goes at least in some measure for most PUA products and providers. The main exception is Mark Manson who used to be in the PUA industry but “became sick of the industry and the toxic advice within it” and no longer identifies with that industry, so he’s not much of a counter-example.
As usual, I’m going to focus on Daygame.com, because even though they seem to offer advice that is more relevant to me in some ways, they still fall down for me on this point. They also have a new product out called “The Girlfriend Sequence”, and the advertising for this is a classic example of my problem. (They also claim it to be unique, but I know of at least one other product, with a similar name that IIRC includes “activation” in it, that makes similar claims – I sometimes wonder how much opposition research PUA companies do to make their claims of uniqueness.)
Here’s the claim that so many PUAs make, that I find a complete turn-off:
“Take any girl through these steps, and you will make her long to be with you.” If it’s “traditional” PUA, then it’s “long to sleep with you”. The Girlfriend Sequence (or its competitor product) claims that any girl will be eager to be your girlfriend. And the biggest “selling point” is always that anyone can do it. Which is my biggest “not interested” point. (A separate note – PUAs seem universally to use the word “girls” to talk about the women they want to meet. Never “women”.)
I have mentioned before that there is a curious invisibility of male (or non-specific gender “picker-up” – let’s not forget the coaches like Hayley Quinn, who coaches women as well) desire in the products and advice on offer from dating coaches for men, and especially from PUAs. It is taken as given that desire is present, abundant and immutable. It is, so to speak, the water in which PUA swims and you can see why, in a way: after all, if you want to meet women, enough to spend hundreds of US dollars on products to coach you, then surely it follows that you have a strong impetus – desire – to approach the women. You want that woman, right? While it works for a generalised “I want something,” specific women are distinct from one another in many ways and desiring “a woman” is a distinct proposition from desiring this woman and this interaction. I am busy composing a post exploring in depth my feelings on the issue of of desire in this context, but for now let us say that male desire is invisible in PUA.
A common term in PUA is “abundance mentality”, which is designed to build confidence and reduce fear of rejection on the one hand, and also help people move on quickly after a woman breaks up with them. It is described as believing that it is easy to find another woman to take the place of the one you’re approaching/who just rejected you. Such that the common retort to someone who’s been dumped has its own acronym. FTOW: “Find [or “Fuck”] Ten Other Women” (actually, the only exception I can think of for that “girls” language point earlier). The result is that the importance of specific desire is diminished and women come to be seen as similar and replaceable.
The absurd thing is that if women are replaceable in PUA thinking, then men are, if anything, even more so.
If any man can “win” any woman with this special sequence of steps in the product being marketed, then there is no need for it to be any specific man who does them. The bumf for Daygame.com’s Girlfriend Sequence product says, “you will give her an experience that she loves and that will make her want to be your girlfriend.” Okay, that’s wonderful for her, but she doesn’t need me to do that. It could be any other bloke who either has a knack for this, or who has bought the same product.
This adds up to, “she wants the experience, not the person”. And I want to be wanted for me, not for my performance. (I wonder what would happen if she starts dating two men because she’s not committed to either one yet, and they both use the Sequence?) If “FTOW” reduces the value of any given woman, making her easily replaceable by someone else, then “Works For Any Man” (or WFAM, I suppose that might be) inherently devalues the very customer who buys it – whose value to the PUA coach is defined mainly in terms of profit. The business depends on their products being exclusive, because they are supposed to give an edge over all those other guys who haven’t bought it. The Girlfriend Sequence, for instance, is limited to 200 customers. From a woman’s perspective, therefore, one might think that it is unlikely that more than one person she meets is going to know how to give her that experience, so he will seem rare and highly valuable. For some people, that aura of high-value, scarcity-driven desire is enough: she acts like she wants you, therefore she is giving you what you want.
For me, that is not enough. I am rare not because of some course, but because of the unique combination of qualities and experience that I have – I am rare because I am me, and not someone else. The value is not a Sequence or Experience, but the unique range of experiences that we can share that no one else can.
Of course, one can argue, “But Valery, darling, you have your own unique way of doing the steps in this Sequence, surely that is enough?” Ah, yes, but am I valued for those wrinkles and that individuality, or am I valued for the things that any other guy could do?
This leads to a curious paradox. I am seeking ways to use what I’ve got to be more attractive to the sort of woman I would like to meet and have a relationship with. If I find something that will work for “any woman” (or, indeed, “any woman of the type I’m attracted to”) then immediately I lose the value that I would gain from that relationship. But if I don’t, then I have to accept that there must be rejections because I am not in myself what she looks for. That leaves me wondering whether I am just not her type, or if I made some other mistake. (It follows also, since I need time to figure out if she is my type, that a rejection could be because she’s not my type, as well.)