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HughRistik comments on More art, less stink: Taking the PU out of PUA - Less Wrong

67 Post author: XFrequentist 10 September 2010 12:25AM

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Comment author: HughRistik 12 September 2010 12:21:32AM 9 points [-]

Deliberating sending out signals that match women's unconscious detectors for high socioeconomic status is duping in a sense, in a similar sense that makeup is duping.

PUAs are more interested in signaling high social status than specifically socioeconomic status. I disagree with the analogy between status signaling and makeup. It's a lot harder to assess the "truth" of a status signal than it is to assess how someone really looks.

The socially reality a PUA constructs can be based on blatant factual errors, and this is exactly the duping of the second type that I was discussing.

Ok, then could you give me a specific example, other than one I've already stipulated (e.g. telling anecdotes about friends who don't exist during the first 10 minutes of conversation)? No, there isn't really a fight outside, and no, you don't really have a friend who is buying his girlfriend a cashmere sweater.

But can't we excuse such white lies in helping people learn to socialize? Once a guy gets some social experience under his belt, then he will have entertaining anecdotes about friends that are actually true, and he will be as cool as those canned stories make him seem.

A more novice PUA may use canned material and routines to fake a level of social status and charisma that the PUA does not actually possess. That is duping in the weaker sense of 'false signaling'.

I agree with wedrifid below. It's hard to assess the "falseness" of charisma, since so much of social reality is decided by perception.

There is a difference between duping someone in a way that will never be true, and trying to get people to believe something that will be true if you can get enough people to believe it. No matter how much makeup you use, it will not make the underlying face more beautiful. Yet many ways of supposed fakeness in social interaction actually can become real.

The mechanism I propose is biofeedback and the looking-glass self. Just like people holding pens in the teeth making them smile can make them feel happier, people acting charismatically (even the aid of scripts) can make them feel more charismatic, facilitating non-scripted charismatic behavior in the future. The theory of the looking-glass self is that people create their self-concepts based on feedback from others (i.e. seeing the reflection of their behavior in other people's reactions). So if you can get people to think you are charismatic, they will treat you like a charismatic person, and you will learn from them that you are charismatic, leading to more charismatic behavior in the future.

A PUA who spins amazing stories about being an independent film director and movies he has made blah blah but in fact is a dental assistant or something.

Except PUA don't advocate this sort of lie. If you think they do, we are not on the same page, and I'm wondering what sources you are basing these conclusions on.

PUA then convinces a women that he has a genuine interest in her.

I don't see a strong view in the seduction community advocating convincing a woman you are interested in her when it is false.

The closest is how Mystery points out that telling a woman that she has been on your mind can be potent for seducing her if said at the right time. Mystery says absolutely nothing about the truth value of the statement. Does that mean that he thinks it's OK to lie? I really don't know. I do know that Mystery believes that he often falls in love. So he might be saying these things truthfully (or at least, he can self-deceive himself into believing that he has feelings for women he is trying to seduce, such that he can feel that he is authentically expressing those feelings).

In contrast, a big component of Juggler's method is trying to get a woman to show you a quality that you genuinely like, and then rewarding her by expressing how you like that quality. Juggler does seem to believe that showing more-than-sexual interest should be genuine.

In general, most pickup methods don't actually use displays of platonic interest as a major part of seduction. It's viewed as too close to "nice guy" complimenting of women. PUAs are more likely to feign indifference than feign interest.

Obviously PUA-dom is a diverse and broad set of folks, and most aren't like that. But some are, and this is the aspect of PUA that women dislike.

Yes, there is a subset of PUAs that engage in lying beyond inventing imaginary friends to get their foot in conversations. The point is that PUA literature in general doesn't advocate such behavior.

I think that PUAs engaging in impression management, or even using scripts as a temporary measure to learn social skills, are not in the same moral category as substantive deception (lying about accomplishments, career, and income) or the same moral category as deception on a permanent basis (makeup, push-up bras). I think women should recognize that the intention of PUAs is not to deceive women about how they measure in qualities that women use to evaluate them, but to actually develop those qualities over the long term.

Furthermore, even the use of canned routines for training purposes may demonstrate qualities that women find attractive: it shows a sort of resourcefulness and ambition. Even the choice of a canned routine requires a certain level of social savvy.

It's widely accepted that it's OK for women to deceive men about their physical attributes. Part of the reason it is acceptable is that we recognize that men have more restrictive preferences for looks than women do. By the same token, we should recognize that women are more selective about the personality traits and behaviors that men display.

Botwin and Buss (1997) found that:

Across both samples of couples, women expressed more extreme preferences for the personality characteristics of their ideal mate.

When lesbian journalist Norah Vincent dressed up as a man for a book (I harvest some revealing quotes from her here, she was in for a rude awakening in the dating world:

On dates with men I felt physically appraised in a way that I never did by women, and, while this made me more sympathetic to the suspicions women were bringing to their dates with Ned, it had the opposite effect, too. Somehow men's seeming imposition of a superficial standard of beauty felt less intrusive, less harsh, than the character appraisals of women.

Given the kind of challenges that men face matching up to the character appraisals that Vincent describes as "harsh," it may be justifiable for men to "fake it 'til they make it."

I suspect it's a little more complex than that. A guy who is really into PUA is probably not at a LTR stage in his life.

Except for the ones who are. Beginning PUAs often aren't ready for relationships, but since beginners are less attractive to women, there is less of a chance of women trying to have relationships with them. By the time a PUA reaches a significant level of attractiveness, I'm skeptical that PUAs are any less interested in relationships than other non-PUAs that the same women would be attracted to instead.

As I mention in the post, most of the pickup instructors I've met (who probably qualify as guys who are "really into" pickup) do relationships. It's just hard to date lots of women and not eventually run into one who you fancy for something a bit longer term.