How emotional sleight-of-hand makes losers of us all

Imagine you’re a woman at a bar, just out on the town having a drink. In walks a guy who doesn’t look too bad, but you wouldn’t call him Brad Pitt or some other male celebrity of the day. He strikes up a conversation, asking how you’re feeling, and if you’re having a good time. It all seems innocuous, but then it gets weirder: he starts repeating words and phrases, like how fun it is here, what a great time you’re having, isn’t it all lovely — even though you just met five minutes ago. And then just as you’re edging away, things get even more uncomfortable: instead of casual conversation, things take a personal turn. Maybe he comments on how good you look, for a girl your size. Or maybe he starts listing all the guys in the club he could beat up at the drop of a hat. He asks where your boyfriend is, and then says, “If I were your boyfriend . . . ”

Why is this behaviour so prevalent in bar culture? Why the charade, instead of a straightforward chat-up that can receive a straightforward answer? A plethora of programs on YouTube and various other websites are teaching men that women are malleable, and that it’s OK to manipulate them. Such pick-up programs prey on the notion that being an “alpha male” is not only acceptable, but preferable. The alpha male is powerful, confident, and assured he should get what he wants. Men are taught that sex is proof of their status, and any means to obtain consent, including playing on emotions, false pretences of friendship, and “wowing” the woman with shows of affluence, potency, skill, or any other nonsense are acceptable. As long as they keep the appearance of obtaining consent, anything is fair game.

While sites like kezia-noble.com, pumaskills.com, or the YouTube channel Speed Seduction might be the surface source for overt strategy, the real problem goes deeper.  The real question is not the exact manner in which to “score a perfect ten” but why the concept of the manipulative alpha male exists at all, let alone is seen as a positive version of manhood. Why do men “play the game”? Largely, because we let them. At worst, we actively encourage them. It’s in our movies, our advertising, our literature (hello, Twilight).

But it’s not just men who are conditioned to behave in certain ways: women are taught to not only accept these overtures, but to determine their very self-worth by them. Male attention is validatory; the best kind of woman is one who is attractive to men. There is an entire genre of film, the “make-over movie” dedicated to this tripe. So when a guy walks up to you in a bar, society expects you to not only tolerate his attentions, but thank him for them.

So how do we stop this particular trend? First, we tell guys that this kind of crap isn’t appropriate, let alone admirable, and isn’t fooling anyone. Women aren’t objects to be moulded and manipulated. Doing so doesn’t make you more of a man; it just makes you less of a human being. Honesty seriously is the best policy.

Without putting the responsibility on the women in these situations, there needs to be a recognition that our society socializes women to be polite and accommodating. If a guy won’t take no for an answer the first time, be blunt with him. You are in the right to do so; whatever society suggests, you don’t owe anyone anything. Men need to know that women are their equals and they do not have the right to treat a woman like cattle. Words, when used wrongly, can hurt or manipulate; it’s time that something is done to render them powerless.

10 Comments

Avatar ML

D Rock hit me up at scdngy@gmail.com, I took the article similarly and appreciated your comment. Here’s mine.

Everyone should be careful in bars and really anywhere, clearly. A friend of mine now has AIDS because someone roofied him. There was no “manipulation” at all – just plain ill-intentions. So let’s not get carried away and crap on men who have learned to go out and get something they need and want (and that women want, but expect a man to initiate). And if those guys who have learned how to initiate conversations and more and get women out of their shells have written about their experiences and insights to share with other guys, then GREAT! That info DOES NOT have to be used against someone’s will or with ill-intention.

I’ve read those books and listened to Kezia (a woman who knows where her tw*t is and likes it, I’m sure, and GOOD for her!) But has the author really considered these sources without bias? I don’t think so. They’ve taught me something my unfortunate and emasculated father never did – really, how to be a man. Now I don’t go looking for “tens”, and use manipulation to trick anyone into something they don’t want. But women DO want to see and hear certain things form men and such information is not crap – nor is every guy born or learning this stuff in academia or at home. IMO, it’s very useful information and isn’t as manipulative overall as this article makes it appear, notwithstanding the 5% spent on insights regarding NLP, which I guess could be effective on anyone: male or female, adult or child, if every theory was tested true in every case. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, ok? Most guys don’t “treat women like cattle” or want to do anything she doesn’t want to, sheesh. IMO women need to be LESS afraid, get out more, not think every guy is a manipulator, and realize that actually many men are JUST as sensitive as they are and appreciate clarity. It’s people who are afraid or stupid or lazy that make other’s forceful and frustrated. Kezia is a great woman who knows what she likes and doesn’t like and shares it – with men. What a great bridge builder, getting people together, not scaring them!

Second, Women were the original flirters – someone with less than sensitive intentions – so enough already. How many times does a gal give out her number then forget who the guy is or won’t even say Hi to him again? (Ouch!) And I know dozens of guys who’s girlfriends or wives treat them like pet dogs and servants. Ever heard of the “honey-do” list? Who is known to say “I have a headache”? I know of a little girl who knows the system so well she called the cops and lied about their mom’s boyfriend causing trouble. Guess who was arrested, later to be released when they question the daughter about what really happened, about if she could be a tad jealous? Women are actually far better and more frequent manipulators because they have to be to get their way given their generally smaller size. Men are actually newer to the idea of “manipulating” the opposite sex. Men are just catching up; women have CENTURIES more practice at using words to get their way with a man. Plus, imo, they generally know less clearly what they want from men and trying to wear the pants as well sometimes, and sometimes not depending on mood and circumstance, just doesn’t work. “Women are the fairer sex?” Where does THAT come from? I’ve known guys who had their hearts absolutely ripped out by women they loved and cared for. To only point at society being full of trends and men and media that manipulate women is ridiculous and doesn’t put the responsibility, nor the right tools, in women’s hands where it might be needed.

Erasing or mixing up traditional roles doesn’t help either. Those roles need to be improved and strengthened, not switched and muddied. It’s been all mixed up by years and years egotistical feminism, imo, just as bad as all those movies and literature the article points at. So let’s not get hypocritical here, jumping on the “I hate men parade” as my friend D Rock puts it. MEN built western civilization – we were the soldiers, the kings, the scientists, the legislators, the explorers, the lawyers, the miners, the loggers, WE built the skyscrapers of the 20th century and defeated Hitler, ok? Most of us don’t go around bragging or feeling any sort of kinship, but crapping on men as a group is out of line, really. So let’s just drop the sexism ok? Sometimes roles can be reversed successfully, but don’t dump on men for trying to be men. This article is oozing with sexism (reverse sexism?) and I just had to say something, because really women are getting a lot of breaks these days. Men in general, most men, let merit speak and have dropped sexism, and imo as a group, deserve more respect than they’re getting these days, as in this article.

Anyway, the main problem with this article is it puts MEN in a bad light, again, as if women as a group are innocent, again. Women are just as insensitive sometimes, maybe more so. The rare self-centered alpha male described in this article is a psycho, yes, to be warned and resisted even forcefully if necessary. But this article doesn’t help get gals out of their shells nor help boys become men. It craps on guys who know what women want and need and at the same time are looking for respect. Society is falling apart because men have stepped aside or been shoved aside by unbalanced complaining and misconstructions, as in this article. I wish we could just drop the divisiveness and dichotomizing and talk about behaviors that are good or bad or ugly found in all groups and both sexes.

PS I do realize the author makes some attempt at qualifying the perspectives, but overall it’s unfair. Not sure if I helped to erase any divisions. I really don’t like having us/them conversations, it’s in a way so pointless and nonsensical – stereotyping is pointless. Maybe I should have bit my lip, like so many men do at home and in life just for the sake of peace, for their wives’ happiness, only to die younger than their wives because they held so much in. Mmmm?

Avatar Mac

So, I googled it: “How to manipulate Men”. The first hits that came up were written by men complaining about women manipulating them and women being emotionally abused in relationships. There is no instruction manual on how to manipulate men and no demand for such a thing by women. It’s all in your head dude. See a counselor.

Avatar FThis

You have never heard of cosmo before have you? Must be nice to be so naive that you think that manipulation of the opposite sex is a one sided issue only committed by men.

Avatar D Rock

Here are some on my first page of a search…
Wikihow- Make-a-Guy-Jealous
Allwomenstalk: 19 tips on how to make your man jealous
Shape: 5 things that make him jealous
As Fthis said, take a look at Cosmo and the like and you will see a lot about it.’

And this winner: A hypnotist is teaching women how to use simple mind tricks to manipulate boyfriends or husbands into doing what they want.

Avatar Mac

Men are free not to buy people free drinks. There isn’t a lot of women looking for them either so keep your money to yourself. Men need to see a counselor if they chase women around who don’t want them.

Avatar ML

Kezia actually recommends NOT offering to buy a woman a drink. That’s supposed to make her think, “Mmmm, this guys different, let’s stick around and see”. Sometimes that’s what happens, more often probably not. Really who can predict what a woman thinks or how she’ll react, but you have to try something! It’s a theory that makes sense, could work, gets people trying, and shouldn’t be considered “manipulation”.

Avatar D Rock

What are horribly one-sided article. If you are going to talk about bar culture why not mention the women who manipulate men in order to get free drinks? Or why women get in free while men are forced to pay or wait longer at the bar? Clearly this behaviour is not okay but it is not the whole story.

Why not look into the numerous websites and articles that explain how to manipulate men or encourage women to force him to “chase” you? How making them jealous is a good thing? How can emotional manipulation be positive? I guess it is okay thought because it is the women who are doing it?

I agree that society is not helping create equal partnerships based on interest and affection but please learn a little bit about bias and perhaps spend a bit more time on research instead of jumping on the I hate men parade.

Why is our tuition going towards this trash?

Avatar Ivan Marko

D Rock, I agree with you that misandry is a real problem and that women can be horrible too. However, just because this article is written with the point of view of men being attackers and women being victims doesn’t make it an “I hate men” article—in fact it’s very much the opposite, saying that there exist far better models of masculinity. We could write one with the gender roles reversed, or with no gender indications at all, and I think each of these would speak a valid truth too.

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