Thursday, May 22, 2008

Losing The Game on the (dance) floor

What happens when we take others' advice to heart and forget our gut instincts? Disaster.

Unfortunately for some of us, the sheeplike cult of men following Neil Strauss's advice from The Game are no exception to this rule.

If you've somehow missed The Game phenomenon, Strauss's advice goes a little something like this: to pick up a woman, put her down. Nothing as awful as, You, your family and entire ancestry are an irrevocable blemish upon society. But something more along the lines of, That shirt doesn't look good on you. And after perhaps the girl's initial outrage, he subsequently follows up with, It'd be better if it were blue to match your eyes. Wrap up that compliment in a good, old-fashioned neg.

This negging [thanks, Urban Dictonary] is supposedly wildly successful. Far be it for me to argue with this—even Ugly Betty had an episode where Betty herself was duped.

But then you get men like this one, who we'll call Sugar.

Andrea and I had decided to make our low-key girls' night into an all-out rager, stopping first in Boystown to see J spin at Scarlet and then trekking over to Smart Bar for their 25th Anniversary party featuring Green Velvet.

Inside Smart Bar, we were greeted by a pummeling bass beat and the sweatiest, pushiest, most enthusiastic-about-techno men I've ever seen before. (If you're looking for a point of reference, check out this YouTube video from the night, which features some of the much tamer parts of Green Velvet's Shake and Pop.)

Somewhere between this huge bald guy stepping on my feet and then making like a door in front of us and another dude passionately breaking into dance and spilling half his amaretto sour on me, Sugar showed up.

Here, Sugar takes the stage, mentally rehearsing various negs he practiced in front of the mirror at home and channeling his inner-Strauss. Beer in one hand, he taps Andi on the shoulder with the other.


Here's our first problem—only I can hear this neg since Sugar is standing directly behind me. Sugar is standing four modest feet away from Andi, his shouts drowned out by Green Velvet's ball-busting beats.

"WHAT?" Andi yells back, clearly confused as to why Sugar's trying to launch into conversation on the dance floor, right next to the subwoofer.


(Nice example!)

"WHAT?" Andi looks at me this time.

At this point, Sugar yells more about how Andi looks like a girl who would have a good time and she should show it because she doesn't seem to be having any fun, but he confuses the order of his delivery, trails off and ultimately ends up relaying the message to her through me.

So there we are, with drinks spilled on us and our feet stepped on, and here's this guy telling Andi (through me) to look happier.

As I finish relaying this message to her, Andi snaps around and shoots Sugar an icy look underneath a squinched-up brow. Fortunately for him, Sugar looked like he'd drank plenty of the sugar water and didn't seem to notice Andi's disapproval.

I'm proud of Sugar for going out there, putting himself on the line, knocking women down a couple pegs so he can try to improve his station in life, love, or whatever else. And I won't argue with this negging idea by getting on my ladylike side saddle high horse and disputing it.

But I'm pleading with Neil Strauss and the publishers of The Game--in the next edition, spell out each step for these guys--if the girl can't hear you, the neg won't work. Maybe save those negs for somewhere with better acoustics... like say, a library?

1 comment:

Savoy said...

Like any new skill, some people take some time to get it right. I know I sure did, and I can't imagine what women I met in bars were blogging about me ten years ago. Fortunately, blogs weren't as common then :)

In any case, most people in dating science don't really emphasize negs anymore. Playful teasing is more what we teach.

If you're curious, you can check out some of what we're doing now at