Strauss: Where Is He Now?

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:05 pm

Interesting article in the Grauniad: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/neil-strauss-the-game-book-truth
His currenty holistic approach to how to git better at dating/life seems to be in line with how the Doc turned out.

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Post by Werel on Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:33 pm

Similar thinkpiece on Slate which paints the whole scene as sordid enough to make me to half want to schadenfreude-read his stuff. Bottom line seems to be that dude's a consummate enough businessman to write puffy confessionals about how empty and wretched a lifestyle is, while still aggressively selling $130 DVDs on how to live said lifestyle. Uh-oh
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Post by Guest on Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:38 pm

Well... Strauss is dead, but he left us beautiful music like The Blue Danube.

Oh! You're talkin about Neil Strauss... I always thought The Game was more of a memoir than a 'how-to' book? scratch

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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:33 pm

Werel wrote:Similar thinkpiece on Slate that dude's a consummate enough businessman to write puffy confessionals about how empty and wretched a lifestyle is, while still aggressively selling $130 DVDs on how to live said lifestyle. Uh-oh

Well said, Werel. As a former writer/comic who often mined his personal life for material, I can relate to those articles on both those levels.

Certainly, I've gone through a similar arc as Strauss in my relationship life though the details are not nearly so dramatic. I'm grateful for that these days, though that wasn't always the case--it seemed very important a few years ago that my life be as intense and interesting as I could make it, as much for the material as anything.

I think for all of us who use self-disclosure as entertainment for others or as a way to make a living it is sometimes easy to find ourselves massaging stuff into a story even as its happening, a compulsion to take genuine moments and make them part of our 'brand.'

People have often asked me about how 'true' the stories/jokes I tell are and I never know what to say because they often feel uncomfortably truthful and absolute bullshit at the same time.

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Post by Conreezy on Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:24 pm

The Mikey wrote:Well... Strauss is dead, but he left us beautiful music like The Blue Danube.

Oh! You're talkin about Neil Strauss... I always thought The Game was more of a memoir than a 'how-to' book? scratch

It was, but there was a fair amount of explanation of Game. The book also brought Mystery and his bootcamps to a wider audience, setting off the whole PUA craze.

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Post by BasedBuzzed on Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:58 am

Werel wrote:Similar thinkpiece on Slate which paints the whole scene as sordid enough to make me to half want to schadenfreude-read his stuff.

Is it weird to want to (auto)schadenfreude-live this stuff? The kooky personalities, the cheesy one-liners, the doing-weird-stuff-for-the-weird-of-it(crashing a commune seems like a recipe to combo volunteer work with campfire debating whether or not marshmallows are acceptable in a veggie environment)...it has a certain appeal to it.

On second thought, it probably looks mundane from the inside. Barhopping, clothes shopping, routine skirtchasing; it would probably start to grind pretty fast, in both senses of the word.

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Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:40 pm

It's been a while since I read the Game, but I remember the narrator there as quite similar to the Strauss in the article – quite aware of the cost to himself from the lifestyle he is describing. Neither in the book or in the article does it look like he has much to say about the cost to the people he interacts with.

There's a self-centeredness in there that I can sometimes reognize in myself... one of the things I try to work on...

As for weird-stuff-for-the-weird-of-it, that sounds like something I might enjoy too, but I try to be aware of (and avoid) being weird in ways that make others uncomfortable. One of the early lessons I took away from DNL, actually.
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Post by Werel on Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:33 pm

BasedBuzzed wrote:
Is it weird to want to (auto)schadenfreude-live this stuff? The kooky personalities, the cheesy one-liners, the doing-weird-stuff-for-the-weird-of-it(crashing a commune seems like a recipe to combo volunteer work with campfire debating whether or not marshmallows are acceptable in a veggie environment)...it has a certain appeal to it.
Laughing Yeah, but a Garden State kind of appeal, where "unique" and/or "kooky" is equivalent to "valuable" or "interesting":
Strauss: Where Is He Now? Original

On second thought, it probably looks mundane from the inside. Barhopping, clothes shopping, routine skirtchasing; it would probably start to grind pretty fast, in both senses of the word.
Right? Why not just go all the way and start your own cult that does weirder things, but doesn't attempt to involve/bother/fuck skeeved-out bystanders? Hirundo nailed it that being weird is great; being aggressively weird at people who aren't in on it (nor want to be) is just obnoxious. That's what that makes Mystery such a perfect face for PUAs-- everybody groans internally when a street magician singles them out as a "volunteer," cause they're about to have some embarrassing showmanship/performative weirdness forced upon them. Press-ganging people into serving as an audience for the You Show is a dickhead move and the core of the PUA concept.

edit: post count jackpot Shiny/thrilled
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Post by kath on Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:40 am

Hirundo Bos wrote:It's been a while since I read the Game, but I remember the narrator there as quite similar to the Strauss in the article – quite aware of the cost to himself from the lifestyle he is describing. Neither in the book or in the article does it look like he has much to say about the cost to the people he interacts with.

It was also kinda interesting that it's the one time (it's presented as the one time) someone's tried to "game" him, but he doesn't seem to really have a ton of a handle on what that's like for people on a day-to-day basis.
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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:06 pm

Since the topic seems to be drifting towards PUA in general and a little bit on writing and I have experience with both, I'd like to address them. I'm not trying to argue with anyone; I'd just like to add to the discussion by talking about my experience, which admittedly is a) not current and b) colored by my own memories

BasedBuzzed wrote:
Is it weird to want to (auto)schadenfreude-live this stuff? The kooky personalities, the cheesy one-liners, the doing-weird-stuff-for-the-weird-of-it(crashing a commune seems like a recipe to combo volunteer work with campfire debating whether or not marshmallows are acceptable in a veggie environment)...it has a certain appeal to it.

I don't think I understand what you're talking about here, but think it's normal to be curious about it, if that's what you're saying.

BasedBuzzed wrote:
On second thought, it probably looks mundane from the inside. Barhopping, clothes shopping, routine skirtchasing; it would probably start to grind pretty fast, in both senses of the word.

There's boring moments. There are also moments of crushing disappointment, frustration and feeling like the worst, most unworthy person on earth. I'd be lying if I said there weren't some real highs as well--for me a lot of those highs came from doing something I didn't think was possible.

I don't think its something you can enter into and half-assedly try a couple times for kicks though and expect much to happen, good or bad.  Self-improvement and self-destruction both require time and commitment.

So you need something to keep you going. I was motivated by helplessness and unwillingness to be where I was anymore mixed with desperation, but over time that changed to..i don't know, the process itself became....not fun exactly, but this sense of discovery, like both my inner and outer worlds were opening up. I was doing things I never imagined myself doing and meeting and being exposed to people and situations from all these walks of life I wouldn't have otherwise met.

On the less healthy side, I think there is an addictive quality to it--it's like gambling in the sense that the rewards are unpredictable and intermittent so there's always that compulsion to approach even when you don't really want to because you never know which ones are going to pay off.

Werel wrote:
Hirundo nailed it that being weird is great; being aggressively weird at people who aren't in on it (nor want to be) is just obnoxious. That's what that makes Mystery such a perfect face for PUAs-- everybody groans internally when a street magician singles them out as a "volunteer," cause they're about to have some embarrassing showmanship/performative weirdness forced upon them. Press-ganging people into serving as an audience for the You Show is a dickhead move and the core of the PUA concept.

I remember the core of the PUA concept as guys finding what worked for them in terms of getting the romantic life they wanted. Generally being aggressively, weird or making people uncomfortable would be taking them in the wrong direction.

But you're right. Some guys do and did that. I imagine they feel they're regaining a measure of power from doing weird stuff, even if its completely counterproductive. It's not excusable and I'm sorry for the trouble they cause.

I also think those guys were missing the point. The point isn't to be weird and uncomfortable. The point is to not let the fear of being weird or making things uncomfortable stop you from doing or saying what needs to be done or said.

While I don't subscribe to being weird on purpose, I do think there's value in approaching strangers even if it doesn't go well. There is another subset of guys (I was one of these) who believe something Nameless and Terrible will happen if you approach a stranger, especially if it goes badly. In some ways I think the most valuable approaches I did were the ones I screwed up on--I got to see that I could totally make a mess of things and NOBODY WOULD DIE.

Part of it was learning that I could handle rejection, but an equal measure of it was learning that women were more than capable of handling themselves--I wasn't going to poison them with my Unworthy Unlovable Poison Toxicity.

That didn't just help me with approaches. It helped me with being more honest in romantic relationships but in other areas of my life. Just learning not to be so afraid of hurting someone or making them feel bad or uncomfortable that I held things back from them or didn't speak out. Learning to have faith in people's ability to handle their own feelings and that it was okay for them to be angry at me or hurt and that I 'protecting them from their own feelings' was no excuse to keep from them things they needed to know.

At its best, learning to approach is learning to trust.

At the same time, there are dickheads out there, there is a time and a place for approaching, and our approaches and actions DO have an effect on the person we're approaching, and that has to be acknowledged.

Hirundo Bos wrote:
It's been a while since I read the Game, but I remember the narrator there as quite similar to the Strauss in the article – quite aware of the cost to himself from the lifestyle he is describing. Neither in the book or in the article does it look like he has much to say about the cost to the people he interacts with.

I've noticed the same tendency in Strauss' writing. I've also noticed it in my own when I'm writing first person non-fiction. I can't speak for Strauss, but in my case I'm really uncomfortable reporting on thoughts and feelings that weren't my own, partly because I can't know what those are, partly because I want to protect people's identities as well as anything that is personal between them and I, partly because when I'm writing for public consumption, I already have to make choices between absolute accuracy and maintaining the flow of the piece. In the face of all that, its often easier to keep other people as vague as possible.

I agree the writing (both mine and Strauss') suffers for it. I think one of the challenging things about non-fiction in the first person is that tends to bring the narrator front and centre.  For me, not only does it not feel good to turn real people into side characters or take away their voice in their own story, I think a lot gets lost without having that balancing point of view, and it partially erases people who are or were an important part of my life and deserve to have their story acknowledged if they want.

ETA

kath wrote:
It was also kinda interesting that it's the one time (it's presented as the one time) someone's tried to "game" him, but he doesn't seem to really have a ton of a handle on what that's like for people on a day-to-day basis.
That's true. I've had a few experiences being hit on, some pleasant and some not that I talked about on the old forums, but they're relatively few and far between. So I really can't say much about what the cumulative effect of having it happen over and over again is like. Even if each individual approach isn't too bad, I can imagine it can wear a person down having it happen repeatedly over a short period of time or day in and day out.

Thanks for the opportunity to talk about this. It's a part of my life I don't get a lot of opportunities to talk frankly about or reflect on. I like to think my involvement in the PUA community was a net positive for myself and the people I engaged with, but...looking back I don't even how I would measure something like that in myself, let alone with others, some of whom have been out of my life for years.

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Post by kath on Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:56 pm

Dan_Brodribb wrote:I've noticed the same tendency in Strauss' writing. I've also noticed it in my own when I'm writing first person non-fiction. I can't speak for Strauss, but in my case I'm really uncomfortable reporting on thoughts and feelings that weren't my own, partly because I can't know what those are, partly because I want to protect people's identities as well as anything that is personal between them and I, partly because when I'm writing for public consumption, I already have to make choices between absolute accuracy and maintaining the flow of the piece. In the face of all that, its often easier to keep other people as vague as possible.

But you don't need to state unqualified assumptions about what other people are feeling. You can just wonder it. That's a key component of what we're doing when we try to empathize with others, and to include that in prose about a topic like dating as a lifestyle ... makes quite a lot of sense, since the point is that you want it to impact more than just you.
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