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The State of Seduction

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Hoinsky: Clooney. I think Clooney could do it.

One of the most memorable concepts of Neil Strauss’s The Game was “the neg,” a technique of slyly insulting a woman to prey on her low self-esteem. Are there techniques that are now too manipulative to be used?

Lyons: Neil Strauss is a good friend of mine, and if the biggest thing you took out of The Game was the neg, then you obviously didn’t read the book. That book is about a man who searches for love and eventually finds it. He only mentions negging probably five times in the entire book. It’s a story. That’s like reading Game of Thrones and being like, “The only thing I took out of it is that everybody has swords.”

Leigh: People think negging is an insult that’s designed to lower a woman’s self-esteem so she’ll seek validation from you in order to compensate for that. The truth is that a neg is a statement or action designed to temporarily disqualify oneself as a potential suitor. So, for example, a guy blowing his nose in front of a girl can be a neg, because she’ll be like, “No, if he’s blowing his nose in front of me, he must not be that into me.” It’s designed for her comfort if she feels the guy is coming on too strong.

Lyons: It’s like in The Rules, for example, when they say, “Don’t text a guy too often because its showing disinterest.”

Schneider: I feel like The Rules have been misrepresented. The way a guy knows that a woman is interested is if he asks her on a date and she says yes, assuming he asks a few days in advance because we won’t go out with you tonight. We’re just teaching women to pull back, to not do everything too emotionally, because they get hurt and we don’t want to get hurt and we want to get the guy. And we find the best way to get the guy is to not initiate and not be overly available.

There’s a lot of common ground. With The Rules, you’re saying no in a way that leaves the door open until you get the answer that you want. And with pickup artistry you’re being persistent to get the yes against all the no’s that you’re getting.

Perrion: Fundamentally, we just want to belong to something. We want to be loved and we want someone to love us. I don’t think anybody’s intentions are bad.

Hoinsky: Nobody talks about love because it’s a big scary word, but at the end of the day it’s about making connections and falling in love. It’s a beautiful thing.

Schneider: We talk about love and say that sex is a beautiful thing, but it’s not beautiful if you sleep with a guy in a hookup and never hear from him again, or get five meaningless texts in a row. When a guy walks into a party he knows in five seconds whom he likes and doesn’t like. He either likes the tall blonde or the short brunette. Girls, in our estimation, do not have to stand next to him or ask him the time or do any technique to get his attention. If he doesn’t notice you, then he doesn’t like you.

Leigh: Okay then, Sherrie, let me ask you a question. I originally started crushing on my boyfriend when I saw him on television. I figured out a way to approach him through one of his friends. How was I going to get that guy I wanted that I saw on television if I didn’t do anything?

Schneider: You’re in a nonmonogamous and long-distance relationship, correct?

Leigh: Yes, that’s correct.

Fein: I’m hearing, He’s far away and I had to go see him, and if I hadn’t seen him, he wouldn’t notice me and I had to make all of the effort.

Leigh: That’s absolutely not true.

Fein: We don’t want to hurt your feelings, but this guy that you’re dating — we don’t think you got him.

Leigh: You don’t know me, and you don’t know my relationship.

Schneider: One on one, if I were to do a consultation with you, I would grill you about why you don’t have a bit more. Anytime you want to call we are available.

Leigh: Could you be any more condescending? You’re going to judge my relationships, tell me I’m not happy, and offer me counsel?

Fein: If you were a client, we would do a childhood history and figure out that something happened with Daddy. You should be with someone who is crazy about you.

Leigh: He is crazy about me.


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