So, you’re saying that unlike normal predators, who are emboldened by pack members, men tend to behave more when in numbers and only get stupid when less observed? Maybe so. I wouldn’t call it a rule, but it’s ponderable. Not just because their fellows will call them out and block them from unacceptable behavior, but also if the woman gives back as good as he’s giving, it’s an embarrassment his fellows will burn him with for a good while.
Speaking of embarrassment and awkwardness… let’s go there a moment. I think, going back to my “boys tribe / girls tribe” observation, that one big factor in non-communication between the two is discomfort, bordering on terror, of the engagement. Hey, I’m 47 now and I don’t give a shit at all, I’ll say anything to anyone honestly and constructively. But, when I was 20ish for some reason, rejection and ridicule were comparable to physical assault. I mean, think about the leap of bravery a guy has to work up to even walk up to a girl. Then you get there and your brain shuts off, you panic, can’t talk… “uh… um… Hi. Well, gotta go!” and then the internal “god dammit, shit fuck shit, now she thinks I’m an idiot” burn that goes on for an agony of moments afterwards. Yeah, it’s no wonder we don’t get good at it for a while.
The worst thing that can happen is open ridicule. Our friends really help by trying to pour gasoline on the fire if they’re around. Thanks guys. So this, I think, sets up a couple of problems. One way to overcome how insanely high-stakes this social game is, is to construct a scenario where you’ve already lost so it doesn’t matter. Be a jerk. Women can mis-identify that as “confidence” and skinner-box men into thinking that “douchebag = success”. The other possible angle is objectification, where women are a strategy game, and you develop a routine of pushing buttons to see what results you get - but what matters is cause and effect and not acceptance or rejection because it’s not social rejection of you, just your strategy. Once rejection isn’t personal, it’s something you can do all night, trying to fish for the result you want.
Point being, to talk to girls without fear of burning emotional trauma, inexperienced men have to find a mind-game to play on themselves that gets personal risk out of the equation. And, generally that involves eliminating the person status of both parties. Guys who don’t do that aren’t noticed because they’re wall-flowering and dealing with their inadequacy compared to the guys they see apparently having no issue with the approach and rejection/success cycle. What have they got that I don’t? Well, they’ve “got game”. Ding.
Chatting up the opposite sex turns out to be more like door to door sales than high stakes poker. The guys who bloom late go “all in” on their bets. You don’t last long in sales if you don’t realize fast that it’s a numbers game… 10% will buy what I’m selling, so if it’s not going to happen just move on and don’t dwell on it as failure, just iteration. Salesmen who agonize over every rejection and agonize about knocking on each door don’t stay in the business because they take rejection personally instead of brushing it off as “who knows why, but they weren’t buying, next house!” The good sales guys will tell you this secret, but knowing it and internalizing and living it are very different things.
Some salesmen are too persistent, try too hard, get overly aggressive about pushing their product on a customer who is obviously not interested. They might even make some sales that way, and think it’s the way to go. But, they don’t get repeat business or good referrals. They, too, are overly invested in outcomes. They can knock on the door, but it took so much investment to do it that they’re not leaving until you buy. Once that works a few times, it becomes their game. But they never beat the guy who is concerned about the customer’s needs and realizes when his product isn’t needed and moves on gracefully with a smile. Next time in the neighborhood, they’ll remember he wasn’t pushy or unpleasant and hey maybe they do need something now - so they’ll even approach him.
I think the big step in “effective salesman training” is to eliminate the terror factor.
How do you do that? Well, instead of educating men about how to sell, and women about how to be wiser shoppers - what if you had a no-risk no-investment meeting? Nobody’s here to make any deals, we’re just going to talk about the game. We get to know each other as people, and talk about why I’m terrified to knock on your door, and why you’re nervous about answering the knock.
Envision this… instead of college having classes about women’s studies or gender inequality problems and such, let’s have a “sex ed” class about men and women communicating. Call it “inter-gender communication studies”, and instead of talking about the problematic history of it, actually conduct it as a lab. Men and women sit with each other, in groups at first, and just talk about something. Start off with neutral stuff like “what music do I like and why” and move into things like “things I wish I could ask girls/boys but can’t.” Later in the course, each person sits 1-to-1 with someone else and tells the other person things they find interesting or attractive about them and asks questions about how that makes them feel. By the end of it, everybody has had multiple benign non-sexual questions in a zero-stakes environment with someone of the opposite sex and has gotten over their awkward terror and fear of rejection. At the end of the process, they can all talk to each other in groups again about how they’ve gotten over their anxiety, don’t have objectification mechanisms as rejection-defense, and have actually talked to 15-20 people of the other gender about themselves as complex people and not obstacles to be overcome.
I guess my thought is that if you take a bunch of young adults who haven’t had a game-free environment to learn about each other without the pre-conceived tribal barriers, and put them in a safe environment for purposes of acclimatizing and “getting over it” you might get more compassionate, comfortable, and confident acclimatized people coming out the other side of it. Mostly, this defuses the tension and discomfort that I think breeds the negative behaviors. Maybe… what would happen if you had one of these PUA seminars where half the attendees were women? Let’s talk about what men do, why they do it, and what would be better - and let’s talk about our vulnerability and discomfort. If women are half of the people there and you move it from “us vs. them” into “how do we do this without creating negative outcomes?” then maybe you’d have a whole other sort of seminar that gives men what they actually need instead of what they think they have to have.
I dunno… I just think if I’d had as many girls in my circle of friends as I did guys, and everybody was unconcerned with defending against “being judged” and just was above the table with all their feelings and reasons, all that dating awkwardness wouldn’t have existed back then. The shit is too tense and false high-stakes as it’s currently done. Men don’t understand subtle signals and women don’t understand “just say it”. Why don’t women just say what they want? I assume that’s awkward in their camp. Sure wish we could have just confessed to each other and got it out of the way.
Related story… I married the girl who said “We could talk all night, but I’d rather do something else to you.” You see, sometimes ladies the direct approach wins. I’d have kept talking otherwise.