Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Goodness of Gut

There was a flurry of fuss over yesterday's post.

Clio was first in the comments box, sure she could smell a Pick Up Artist/Gamer all the way from Canada.

Invocante, however, felt sure I had corrected pegged "Confused"'s suitor as a good-hearted man initially as confused as confusing.

Kate was rightly shocked by the emailing, etc, going on behind the (alleged) girlfriend's back.

Clio expanded more on PUA/Gamer technique, and I began to panic, especially as Easily Swayed pointed out that sometimes guys DO 'make' you love them. I don't know if Easily Swayed knows this, but using dirty tricks to snare a girl is the whole point of Game.

Rosemary gave Mr. Confusion the benefit of the doubt, and then Theobromophile observed that the expensive restaurant was way over-the-top for a first date and voted "Gamer".

What was an Auntie to do?

I'll tell you what I did. I emailed "Confused By This Man" and asked her. And it turns out that Mr. Confusion did tell her what he had been thinking for eight months. The problem is, he did it with so much drama and feeling that "CBTM" was alarmed. Her gut said, in short "No way," and that, poppets, is good enough for me.

Clio has been suckered by Game, and so have I. Alas. The Gamer was so angry that I ran away (with help from my friends the police, the Sexual Harrassment Office and my spiritual director) that months later he left mean comments on a literary website I wrote for, signing them Mystery. Mystery is the name of a Game expert back home; I suspect Mr Psycho had actually taken his PUA courses. Meanwhile, I turned my experiences of what emotional and psychological abuse ("gaslighting") does to the psyche into the year-end paper for my Lonergan's Insight course. I got A+, which just goes to shows you that good can indeed come out of evil.

I have no idea if Mr Confusion is a Gamer. Never met the man. But "CBTM" thinks he might be, and I believe firmly in feminine intuition. Feminine intuition is Experiencing, Understanding, Judgment happening so rapidly, you simply don't have time to ponder it. Sometimes you just know you're in danger, and you get out. If you start to doubt yourself, you could be in for serious trouble.

If Clio is up for it, I'd like her to do a guest post on Game, the psychological dirty tricks men learn and use to break down a woman's reserve and chastity. I don't know very much about it, so I'll just outline two well-known techniques.

The first one is the "neg" or mild put-down. A man walks up to a pretty girl, someone he is relatively sure gets over-the-top compliments all the time, and says something off-kilter about her to get her attention. One neg that has stuck in my mind was by a man addressing two beauties dressed identically in white. He said, "You two look like dirty little snowflakes." It worked like magic. "What do you MEAN?" wailed the girls. Used to praise, the non-praise confused and worried them. They wanted things set right.

The second one is--well, I don't know its official name, but it's when a man showers a woman with attention and compliments and then doesn't call. He doesn't call and he doesn't call and when he meets up with the woman again he showers her with more attention. And then doesn't call. So guess what many a woman does in that situation? Right. She calls him. Suckered! And it is for the same reason as above: she wants things set right.

The saddest question women ask is "What did I do?" "What did I do?" we ask when the man who was so kind doesn't call us. "What did I do?" we ask when the man who was so kind slaps us across the face. "What did I do?" we ask when the man who was so kind kicks us down the stairs. But this is a pointless question, because we didn't do anything. We were suckered by a creep, and quite a lot of the time, if we are honest, we admit that there was something we didn't do, which was to listen to our gut's warnings against him.

I love men. They are our brothers. Life would be dull without them. They are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life. Women who go into cloistered convents are making a real sacrifice. But this does not cancel out the fact that some men will lie, cheat, steal, drug, rape--do anything, in short, to have sex with the woman they want to have sex with. Some? Many. And it has always been this way. The earliest law codes have laws against rape and seduction, and that is because they were needed.

Today only a few brave women attempt to sue men for their lies; "breach of promise" cases are rarely heard of these days. But there is something we still have: our gut. If you feel uncomfortable around a man, don't feel guilty. Just get away from him. ASAP. No man is worth sacrificing your peace of mind for.


Anonymous said...

Certainly I'll do a guest-post on game, if you like... I'd like to protect other women from this stuff.

Just remember that Game *at its best* can be as useful as The Rules are for women - a way for men to boost their self-confidence (essential for a successful courtship) and figure out who's really interested in them and who isn't.

Women can be exploitive, nasty, and ruthless too, and men - NCBs and others - need guidance to pick their way through the worst of us. It isn't helpful to tell them "just be yourself" any more than that is useful advice for women.


Domestic Diva said...

I have asked the "what did I do?" question since I was a child, not just of men but also of friends and adults who expressed some kind of disapproval of me. I guess that made me a born sucker for gaming men. I heartily agree that most men are not like this (my father & brother are most definitely NOT), but somehow I seem to fall for the ones who are.

However (perhaps because my father and brother are not gamers), I do have a feminine intuition, and after being burned a few times, I have learned to trust it (more). I can't always articulate *why* the alarms are going off in my gut, but I now know when they are.

I would love for Clio (and others) to give additional practical pointers, such as the ones Seraphic has articulated here.

Rosemary said...

Good for CBTM! More of us should listen to our guts rather than get pulled into these emotional games.

I haven't heard of "Game" as such (it sounds rather like a sport!), but I am familiar with some of these tactics. I would love more information!

Seraphic Spouse said...

Okay, Clio! Bring it on. I don't post on Sundays, so any time next week would be great.

theobromophile said...

Great post, Seraphic. I particularly love the point about wanting to set things right and the admonition to listen to our instincts.

Bringing in your (implied) query to me in the first post, regarding an appropriate venue for a first date: I think it's mostly context-specific. That which is fine in your thirties is not when you are in college (and vice versa). What makes sense for one social/economic set does not for another. (Some very manipulative men take women of lesser means out on expensive dates, then demand that they pay half. Ugh.)

Just as getting engaged after knowing the chap for a mere ten days can be either absolutely mental or totally right (but probably nowhere in between!), there are some dates that are either totally right or really manipulative. To me, given the background that CBTM gave us, the date seemed really inappropriate.

dark but fair said...

Great! Clio's post will be much needed. Thank you Seraphic for this post.

About Game: Yes, there are a lot of tricks and lies that some people will try to dominate or use other people. I grew up with a lot of them.

About Gut: I have never seen or heard of a woman (friend or mine or acquaintence) who was taken advantage of or abused who was a confident woman who trusted her instincts and her intellect and knew deep down in her soul that she was beautiful. Even women who recieve praise and compliments all the time can deep down be very unsure about themselves and insecure. I am convinced that Gamers can "smell" lack of confidence. These are the women that they target. Women (and men) need to trust their guts and know that they deserve better than that treatment if this evil is ever to be stopped.

Anonymous said...


I haven't been on line for a while, but . . . Clio nailed it.


Can I stay truly anonymous? I used to play "wingman" (what do you call that if you're a girl) for a shy male friend. It worked because it added the spice of trying to take him away from me. (Before I was practicing Catholic). Would not do that again; it was wrong.

Isabella of the North

B said...

I actually read The Game (as in the book on the subject) at one point, just to find out what it was all about. The really, really scary part of it is how easily I could see it working.

theobromophile said...

I am convinced that Gamers can "smell" lack of confidence.

For the real creeps, who make Gamers look like child's play, confidence is the allure. Some men would prefer to be like the high school baseball player who gets wins against Little League; others would prefer to compete against those in the major league.

Yes, confidence deters most of them, but not all. Yes, fighting back (or showing that you are not going to be a victim) deters most attackers and rapists, but there are certain attackers who take fighting back as a turn-on and make it worse for their victims.

There's a myth among women that there are panaceas to bad male behaviour - like confidence, happiness, or listening to your friends. I know of whack jobs who had everyone fooled - everyone from the friends to the family - and went after talented, confident women until they were broken down.

Listening to your gut? Easy in theory, but tough when everyone else around you is not getting those signals. Listening to your gut is also easy when it's telling you something to listen to, but impossible when it's not. For heaven's sake, the brilliant true crime writer Ann Rule was friends with Ted Bundy for years before she caught on.

Sorry for the rant. Yes, listening to your gut is good advice. Yes, having some security in who you are and knowing that a man isn't going to solve anything is a great thing. Those things help you play the odds, and odds are that you'll meet many more Gamers than sociopaths, but crosses before blood-thirsty vampires they are not.

JF said...

Am I missing something?
I must not attract many Gamers because I have not had such bad experiences!
I believe that many, many men are good, and I am not suspiciously on the lookout for Gamers or sociopaths.
I also believe that God can help direct us to what is good and holy.
And I'm a discerning, careful, intuitive woman.
Call me naive, but I just don't see things in the way you describe.

Seraphic said...

Well, I agree that Theobromophile's vision here is on the dark side. I do concur is that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that in hindsight there was nothing that the good people could have done to stop it.

Yesterday I was told about a group of boys who randomly threw a water balloon on the highway. My friend's windshield shattered, and she and her husband could have been killed or paralyzed. Were the little boys hoping to cause a horrible accident? Perhaps they were. Perhaps they were bored and wanted to do something big. And my friends were just randomly selected targets.

But I too believe that most men are good. If you go around thinking that most men are bad, you are going to become bitter and blight your life.

Alisha said...

"I am convinced that Gamers can "smell" lack of confidence."

Me too. Often "niceness" can be seen as "easy" or lack of confidence. Nice is not very helpful, unfortunately...can I suggest we advocate being GCG or Bs(Good Catholic Girls or Boys) instead of Nice?
Despite the fact that there are some crazies out there, confidence, intelligence and being surrounded by people who are wise (not just good or nice but WISE) is key...I'm almost never approached by men at clubs: what I think helps is this - don't scan the room. Somehow, there is an openness in that gesture. If you are looking for someone in particular, that's different...also, if you find someone is using Game on you, point it out right there in front of everyone. Eg. someone makes an off kilter comment/compliment, respond by saying "That's a weird thing to say. Are you just doing that to try to get my attention like in that Game book? Cuz if you are, that's pretty sad." Then walk away.

theobromophile said...

Often "niceness" can be seen as "easy" or lack of confidence. Nice is not very helpful, unfortunately...can I suggest we advocate being GCG or Bs(Good Catholic Girls or Boys) instead of Nice?

It is helpful... because for all this nonsense about bad men being attracted to "bad" traits in women (lack of confidence, lack of Catholic faith, lack of whatever-good-thing-of-the-day), the sad reality is that bad men often target good women. It's absolutely true that some men can't distinguish between selfishness and confidence; the bad ones end up being jerks to thoroughly decent women, and the nice ones just date (and sometimes marry) lousy women.

Look, it was a big wake-up call for me when one of my friends pointed out that my modest dress made me a target - I was inadvertently playing into virgin fantasies.

It was also a big wake-up call when I looked around and realised that my nicest, kindest, least selfish girl friends were the ones with all the man trouble, and the more selfish (and often less self-confident) women had all the men fawning all over them.

Apparently, pointing out reality is "dark", but reality is that good traits are not like magic incantations in Harry Potter that scare all the bad things away. No, most men aren't whackadoodles, and you can't live your life expecting to be murdered by the guy buying tomatoes next to you in the produce aisle, but is it too much to ask for women to know that they have been lucky? That a certain (albeit small) percentage of men out there do not have your best interests at heart? That there are no definite ways to avoid them, and that all you can do is play the odds?

Since when is "there are no guarantees in life" controversial?

Seraphic said...

Okay, I have to jump in at "modest dress" making you a target. I wore a Catholic schoolgirl uniform for five years. It probably made me a "target" to some people, but I only felt ogled once, and I kept on wearing my uniform because it was the school rule. One wears modest dress not for protection against randy men but for protection against the weather and the good of society---unless one lives in the Arab world, of course.

I agree that to a certain extent "men love bitches." Bitches make men work.

Meanwhile, I think there is a danger in women being hypersensitive about bad men although I agree that many women have simply had some very bad luck. How we fit this into God's plan is a theological difficulty.

Seraphic said...

Sadly, Alisha, I can't use anagrams with multiple Gs because of a certain sex columnist who uses them to mean sex partners who will "selflessly" go along with any sexual act his/her partner proposes.

Nice Catholic Girl and Nice Catholic Boy are meant to be slightly self-mocking.

Alisha said...

@Seraphic - as Proodens might say: Good heavenly days! :) Ew. Thanks for pointing out the self mockingness; I guess I may have caught it in some specific posts but I was taking it at face value. :)