Last night after Pirate was in bed, the grown-ups watched "Hitch". Pirate's mother had seen it already, but B.A. and I had not. We were charmed. It was a charming movie.
The premise of this film was that a man who trained other men to woo women successfully fell in love himself and acted like a dork. The object of his affections was a gossip columnist, a woman who hunted down the romances of stars and wrote about them in her newspaper. The film dodged any accusation that the hero was just a game-playing scum-pig by casting Will Smith, one of the most likable stars in America. Also, Will Smith can do smooth and dorky at the same time--quite a feat.
The film also underscored the good intentions of its hero by showing the nice (but dorky) men he helped and the nasty man whom he refuses to help. Most of the men who consult "the date doctor" have crushes on specific women and dream of marrying them but are too frightened even to approach them. The nasty man just wants to "pump and dump," and the "date doctor" realizes that the nasty man doesn't even like women.
Sadly, the nasty man is a lot closer to the reality of game and the Pick Up Artist movement. Men who study or teach "game" aren't usually interested in love and marriage but in getting sex. And given that the more partners a woman has, the more likely she is to contract HPV (which condoms don't necessarily prevent and for which men can't be tested) and cervical cancer, this sort of predatory behaviour can be lethal. (Sorry to mention cervical cancer again, but my friend Hilary has it and has just had a hysterectomy, and yesterday I had a nightmare in which I found her hairless and unconscious in an Italian airport. At this rate I might even end up giving chastity talks.)
The movie is sweet, and it would be nice if men thought more about how they appear to women--without thinking about how they can psychologically manipulate us onto our backs--so as to make good impressions and tweak our interest. Heaven knows we WANT men to impress us. It was heartwarming to see these men so humbled by love that they would seek help from another man. And it was heartwarming to see how much "the date doctor" cared about his clients.
The dark part of the film is that the heroine is a gossip columnist and is, during the inevitable crisis, shown to be in the wrong. Ironically, a large part of game is making women feel that we are in the wrong, that there is something wrong with us, and that we need to work harder or do something we might rather not do to win (or win back) a man's regard.
But I liked "Hitch" and he certainly seemed to have made a lot of money doing what I do for free, which is to give advice to my own sex to coping with feelings about the opposite sex. Hitch has the advantage, of course, in that men are naturally and traditionally, in most cultures, the suitors of women, not women the suitors of men. Hitch can tell men what to do, whereas I write an awful lot about what not to do. Hitch tell men, "Call her now", whereas my advice usually boils down to "Don't call him! Wait for him to call you! And if, despite your friendliness, he doesn't approach you at all, forget him!"
Update: I just visited the site of a man I think of as "the worst man on the internet". I'm not going to tell you who he is or link to his PUA blog. But I will tell you that once again I am convinced that PUAs hate women, even though they might think they love them. They hate women the way an alcoholic hates the bottle that has lost him everything he holds dear. They bed women the way nasty little boys kill frogs. And I'm not kidding about them spreading HPV. HPV doesn't hurt them after all, so why should they care? They can't even be tested for it; if they have it, nobody can know.
And now a light moment...
Seraphic (kidding): You got game, baby!
Benedict Ambrose: I do? In the fridge? Venison or rabbit?