The Tao Of Badass
Of course in the last 10 years many things have changed in the dating scene – Tinder has arrived on the scene, for example, the pickup artists have grown older and perhaps wiser, and if you look at Neil Strauss's Book The Game, you'll see that he now calls some of the techniques described in that book horrifying – on the basis that they objectify women.
He is also married, which is probably not something which many pickup artists have managed to achieve long-term, and he repudiates the idea that "getting" a woman is just a numbers game – in the sense of hitting on enough women will eventually get one of them to succumb to your approach, no matter how formulaic or standard.
Of course Tinder, bless it, has probably made such a situation more common – but Strauss has written a new book called The Truth, which describes how he ended up settling down and making peace with the sex addiction that plagued him for so long.
You see, The Game isn't just a book about pickup artistry, but it's also a story about Neil Strauss's personal development. We've seen a lot of those books recently, and for a while they were all the rage – it looked like every self-help shelf in every bookshop had several biographies of people who'd suffered during childhood and were describing how they'd overcome their problems.
Neil Strauss's book isn't quite like this, but it's similar in the sense that it describes something many men have problems with – meeting and dating women.
There is, undoubtedly, in our society a massive barrier for many men about meeting women; it terrifies some men, and it makes almost every man who tries it anxious. There are many reasons for this, and I'm not going into them now, but one thing I will make (as an observation in passing) is that we are not taught by men – specifically our fathers – how to relate to women in our society.
So we are left to struggle on our own, with no roadmap or manual of how to talk to women. It's all very well saying "women are just human beings, talk to them naturally", but the fact of the matter is that women are different to men, as everyone knows, and their expectations, hopes and desires differ as well.
If this were not true, which it so manifestly is, then pickup artistry in general, and the Tao of Badass in particular, would never have become so famous and popular.
Neil Strauss was just one of many men who were - and are - scared to talk to women, and who found the techniques described in pickup manuals like the Tao of Badass a great help in learning how to open a conversation with women, develop it, and eventually seduce them and have sex with them. (Ah yes, so it's sexual drive at the root of all this....)
However, as Neil Strauss describes in the book, eventually he met a woman who just didn't succumb to any of these techniques, and then guess what – Neil Strauss fell in love with her.
Now what's the moral of that story I wonder?
It's interesting, isn't it, that the one woman who doesn't succumb to the pickup artistry described in Tao of Badass or other pickup manuals is the one Neil Strauss falls in love with?
There is a moral there although I'm not going to try and interpret what what it might be.
Narcissistic Women and Badass
Neil Strauss makes a very valid point: which is that before publication of his book The Game, very few people outside the pickup artist world had actually even heard of these techniques for getting together with a woman – and so the book became almost a manual in its own right of techniques and ideas.
And some of them, it has to be said, were not particularly nice – the assumption, unfortunately for Strauss, being that The Game was actually the place where these ideas were first set out.
He also admits that the techniques, 10 years ago, seemed like a good way to learn how to court a woman: but today the techniques which involve manipulation, or define an outcome before you even start on the process, are not a healthy way to engage in human relationships.
Now he is showing a certain level of maturity, and indeed, Strauss does seem to be repudiating the techniques of pickup artists, which would include repudiating the Tao of Badass.
On the other hand I still maintain that a manual which can help men approach women is vitally important to overcome the anxiety so many men feel when they are trying to date.
Strauss claims in retrospect that his book was actually about male insecurity and low self-esteem – and of course he's right, because a man who is confident will feel less anxiety and more motivation to meet a woman through normal methods, rather than through pickup artistry. And it's also true, as his interviewer said in the piece on the Internet from which I've taken this information (click here), that if the book came out now the probably be much louder reaction to it than there was 10 years ago.
Interestingly enough, if you move onto the analysis of why this happened, it turns out that men who were involved in the pickup community seem to have often had narcissistic mothers. This is not helpful to a boy's sense of self-development – but like I said in another page of the site, where the heck are the fathers who should have taught boys to overcome these problems of narcissistic mothers?
The answer is they didn't know how to cope with such women either, because if they did they certainly wouldn't have been in relationship with a narcissistic woman.
The essence of narcissism is that it leaves no room for anybody else in the relationship; the centre of the world of a boy child is his narcissistic mother's emotionality, personality and basically her problems.
It's no wonder that men in this situation don't know how to relate to women, and turn to techniques which essentially are about manipulating women.
The fear of such men is a fear of being overpowered by the feminine, a fear which lasts into adult life, and makes men behave in ways that are basically about seeking power. Is Tao of Badass basically about seeking power? Well, yes, I have to it is, although I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing.
You see, my conclusion always comes back to this: that if a man is weak in relationship with women, or suffers anxiety or low self-esteem or low confidence, yes, sure, he needs to work on himself, but in addition he needs techniques to help him get over the hurdle of actually approaching a woman in the first place. That I think is why manuals like the Tao of Badass are no bad thing.
Last updated 05.04.16
May 4 2016