Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lady Killers

Kosmo is no longer an AFC. He has mastered the art of opening sets, stacking, tossing out negs, and DHVing. But it doesn't stop there. He's also attuned to noticing IOIs, a frequent recipient of kinos, and has successfully bounced. Even more, in one day, he took another AFC and gave him the tools and guided him in a field test until that guy number closed. And I couldn't be happier for him.

If you don't know what all that lingo up there means, you haven't been watching The Pick-Up Artist.

I know, okay. I know. I know it sounds like another crass idea from reality TV land. But, honestly, it wasn't. Why am I bothering to tell you about it now that the finale has aired? Because it's on VH-1 and you know they'll be playing it more often and reliably than Phil Hellmuth plays a pair of kings.

It's not crass. It's not objectifying women. It's barely about the women. It's about these socially awkward guys who were completely unable to approach girls/women. They couldn't even look through the window of the hot clubs to begin objectifying them. It's about a guy in Austin, Texas -- Mystery (who's not exactly a Matthew McConaughey himself, okay?) who's broken down the psychological components and small physical cues that can create a successful first social interaction and then has simultaneously intellectualized the process and geek-speak coded the essentials into a veritable Pick-Up primer for wanna-be "gamers."

As Kosmo says, teary-eyed, after he's crowned the Master Pick-Up Artist, "I'm not a pimp and I'm not a player. I'm a Pick-Up Artist, and there's a world of difference."

Bottom line translation: Mystery has given these guys enough confidence to talk to women. And he's done that by breaking down the process and giving them a useful list of tools to open and close conversations. And, well, the tools work. If you're a female, you may have a knee-jerk bad reaction to some of the parlor tricks. For instance, the essential art of tossing out "negs." What's a neg? It's digging into old-school Skinner psychology with the negative reinforcement. Basically, it's an insult to the woman. Seriously. Also seriously? Mostly, it works, when it's done properly. Though it sounds like tacky psychology and makes women seem as emotionally sadistic-grotesque as we fear we may be, it really isn't a "science" and much more an "art" of how to apply these shocks to the pigeons.

Even better, though the women-interactions are brief encounters in a bar, it's actually affirming to see how some of them react to these "negs." When done properly, it's really not an insult. A "neg" isn't nearly as nefarious or manipulative as it sounds. It amounts to lighthearted teasing of the girl. You know, like back when banter was considered sexy? Yeah, it's that.

Sometimes the guys go a wee bit over the line with the negs though. And it can be both painful to watch, as when a guy coolly tells a girl she talks too much, and she then immediately leans forward and strokes her hair (that's displaying an IOI, or indicator of interest) because we see that he's tapped into a chick with low self-esteem who's going to groove on a jackass. However, when another guy goes past flirtatious and hits condescending when he asks a stripper if she's pleased with herself for what she does, it's pretty satisfying to watch a woman, a woman whose paycheck depends on her sucking up to assholes, mind you, get up and politely tell him to have a nice evening, and dust his ass!

And no, it wasn't our dear Kosmo who went over the line with the negs at any time. Which is why we root for him. He's not demeaning and he's not a player and he's just so happy to actually have a woman, like, speak to him. And he ends up taking all this psuedo-psycho-science and working it out and smoothing it out and turning it into his art.

But as one show that's dleightfully, surprising un-crass ends, another one that's dependably gross returns. Instead of women as human beings who can be approached and spoken to, we have the new season of "The Bachelor," which routinely casts the craziest, cooziest specimens to represent our gender. They are pigeons, indeed. But they're pigeons with peacock feathers.

In other words, they're garden varitey fame-whores who look spectacular on the outside.

Hey, ABC, how 'bout you like, do something good and instead of casting 25 shallow models, cast 25 ugly chicks. We wouldn't need Mystery to teach us how to land the guy, because the guy would be stuck having to get to know us. And no fucking twists where you bring in a batch of models when one of the ugos is close to capturing the hottie's heart. We don't need another "social experiment" to prove to us that people are attracted to attractive people.

I'm not saying I'm above the shallow judgment, either. The proof is that I'm even writing about this new season of "The Bachelor" right now. I hardly watch the show and think it's a train wreck and that it is demeaning to women. But I was clicking channels last night and landed on it for a second and then couldn't tear my eyes away. I couldn't tear my eyes away because this season, the bachelor, he's fucking hot. Oh, I've checked out other seasons. You'd think the Italian prince would've been right in my sweet spot. But, uh, no. His personality was just too off-putting. But this guy? You have got to be fucking kidding me!

His name is Brad, this year's bachelor.

Photos don't do Brad justice. On film? Hot! Also? Charming. Extremely easy-going and utterly charming. Also? A Texan. You know, the genteel kind, not the arrogant kind. Kind of like Matthew McConaughey. Only taller. And less gay. The kicker? He owns bars. Bars! Just when I thought he couldn't get any better, he gamely inspects a woman's feet when she tells him she has webbed toes. And then, later, talking about it, he didn't insult her, but he laughed about the incident so hard he cried. Laughed 'til he cried! Did I mention he owns bars?

Even better? He's got a twin brother. Can you stand it? Two of these:

I don't know if the brother laughs until he cries, but he owns bars!

And though this creature who laughs until he cries and owns liquor establishments was clearly, clearly created to be my mate, they send him webbed-foot women and girls who try to impress him by putting their ankles behind their heads or by singing off-key or by stuffing silicone tits in their dresses. But hey, they all may be catty and dumb, but they're also all gorgeous! So he's a lucky man.

Which is exactly why it's all so crass and vapid, and why, in the end, even though he's too young for me to even consider sinking my teeth into, I'd rather listen to Kosmo spin me a tale about some kid who flipped him off; him eager to impress and grateful for my time, while Mr. Perfect can have his cadre of flat-abbed, bleached blonde fame-whores. Something tells me the majority of these women would respond favorably to some serious negs. But something else tells me that handsome Brad wouldn't toss the serious negs out there in the first place. He wouldn't have to. They already give him plenty of kinos and visible IOIs. And yet, there's not a damn thing artful about it.


J. Scales said...


I've laughed until I've cried before. Is that a...bad thing? Or a good thing? I've also cried until I've laughed. I'm pretty sure that's bad. ;)

Excellent blogging, as ever! Talk to ya later!


J. Scales

SusanD said...

Laughing until you cry is a great thing, JS! Especially when it's a cool Texan, like yourself.

So what's new with you?

J. Scales said...

Nada, just working, living day to day, trying to finish another semester. Needing a holiday. That's why I come to your blog, Susan--reading it makes me laugh and I can pretend I'm on holiday! ;)

I'll send an email your way one of these days.

See ya!

J. Scales

P.S. Jersey girls ain't so bad themselves. ;)