Game is pick-up-artist lingo for the skillful manipulation of mental states ("frame") to help with courtship and seduction. In practice, game means different things to different pick-up artists, but all use 'game' as part of a broader meritocratic philosophy of gamifying life, complete with 'winners' and 'losers'. Among major PUAs 'successful game' is mostly about 'self-induced self-esteem'. Smaller PUAs include showing-off or fabricating accomplishments in general as 'successful game' quite often.
Around the mid-2000s PUA lingo entered colloquial speech through the adoption of modified PUA tactics by the general public, Hollywood, dating coaches etc. Colloquially, game is about confidence, charm and smoothness in showing off, much like courtship is presented in many Hollywood films. Or even more broadly and colloquially, "game", is shorthand for any type of non-arranged seduction activity.
Frame is a pseudo-scientific concept used to refer to mental conditions that "give direction" to everything that happens in an social interaction (including dating) and which a man with game can skillfully manipulate to his advantage.
Neil Strauss[edit | edit source]
In it, Strauss describes game as boldness, speech patterns, standing out, smiling, awareness of surroundings, not asking questions, and being able to take compliments.
RSD Nation[edit | edit source]
RSD Nation were arguably the most influential in formalizing, "game", in the PUA community. Perhaps because they were the largest PUA group in history. They argued that looks and money did not matter in dating, and that only 'game' did. RSD Nation promoted, "natural game", and defined it as changing "how you expect the world to respond to you". This boils down to thinking positively about yourself to make others do the same. In general, RSD nation promoted game as a neoliberal or highly individualistic self-actualization project, such as literally asking people to read Ayn Rand to develop game. Unnatural game, promoted by followers of RooshV, rather than RSD, was about "becoming the best man you can be", rather than thinking-it-to-fruition.
Ineffectiveness[edit | edit source]
Multiple studies on face-to-face, online and blind dating concluded that among a variety of physical and personality traits, including extroversion, only physical attractiveness predicted initial romantic interest and strongly so. Since game should correlate with extroversion and confidence and such traits did not predict romantic interest or meeting again after the first date, this suggests game is largely ineffective in such settings as only looks matter. One of the first studies on this phenomenon dates back to 1966, which suggests superficiality in face-to-face dating at zero-acquaintance level is not a new phenomenon.
Similarly, when OkCupid asked users to rate looks and personality separately, users did not distinguish between the two. To confirm their hypothesis that pictures were what people were rating as good personality, OkCupid followed up with another internal study which showed that online bio text accounts for less than 10% of what users think of the profiles. This means game in terms of witty and confident textual self-descriptions is also largely ineffective. Meeting online is notably now the primary way couples get to know each other, however, this includes meeting up through social networks and chats, where personality may play a larger role than in the blind and semi-blind dating.
Effectiveness[edit | edit source]
Arguably, game in terms of charm, social skill and Machiavellian behavior may be effective outside of the face-to-face dating context, e.g. during socializing in a group, which is the more natural human mating context anyhow. In a social context, confidence, charm and related social skills may act as means of gaining social status and intimidating other males in intrasexual competitions which, in turn, enables men access to women. This intuition is perhaps what misleads PUAs to believe related behavior would be an effective dating strategy in the face-to-face setting.
It would be inaccurate to say personality does not matter at all. For example, there is a line of research (however yet to be reproduced) on "mating intelligence" suggesting a correlation of r = .41 with mating success. Confidence also exerts an effect on male attractiveness as judged by women. Relatedly, one result suggests the link between testosterone and mating success is also not mediated by looks, but behavior (though this study considered serum T levels, rather than measures of androgyny and pre-natal exposure to androgens). Certain personality traits are weakly but consistently linked to higher sexual success in males, namely those linked to a faster life history like extroversion and psychopathy, while their slow life history counterparts, i.e. agreeableness and (in some contexts) conscientiousness predict lower sexual frequency and longer, higher quality marriages. However, the underlying causal factor here may rather be a genetic life history predisposition causing both personality and mating behavior, in particular men's ability and willingness to engage in male intrasexual competition and/or willingness to sexually coerce women, rather than such personality traits being a matter of choice. Research also indicates, that (especially for slow life history strategists) free mate choice and direct sexual approach may be unnatural, with the majority of historical human societies, even primitive ones, having primarily practiced arranged marriage (especially during the first marriage), possibly explaining a high prevalence of approach anxiety, shyness and poor dating skills among incels. Further, personality traits are around 40–60% heritable (despite personality instruments being somewhat unreliable), implying personality predispositions are not easily nor arbitrarily malleable.
There is evidence that a minority of fast life history women even desires being raped and a greater share of women is at least willing to give in to a moderate amount of sexual coercion. Hence, PUA techniques may boil down to overcoming female coyness by coercion or even outright rape packaged in socially acceptable dating effort such as small talk and charm (even though these themselves have little to no effect in a one-on-one, direct approach, non-coercive context). Such dating strategies might work less well for very awkward and unattractive men, who women more likely accuse of sexual harassment. However, despite looks being crucial in the zero-acquaintance setting and unattractive individuals facing a number of impediments, looks are also only very weakly correlated with lifetime sexual success, however, looks do matter somewhat in terms of assortative mating as attractiveness ratings within couples (both short and long-term) are moderately correlated (r = .4), meaning very attractive people rarely mate with very unattractive ones.
Other studies on frame-projection[edit | edit source]
Humor[edit | edit source]
A study claimed that humor was seen as a desirable long-term-partner trait in men by women, but only if the man is good looking. A different study found self-deprecating humor by high-status presenters (but not low-status presenters) increased long-term attractiveness for both sexes.
Clothing[edit | edit source]
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Game Trick Turner definition and others
- https://theblog.okcupid.com/we-experiment-on-human-beings-5dd9fe280cd5?gi=1cf765506912 [Archive.li]
- Haydon, A. A., Cheng, M. M., Herring, A. H., McRee, A.-L., & Halpern, C. T. (2013). Prevalence and Predictors of Sexual Inexperience in Adulthood. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 43(2), 221–230. doi:10.1007/s10508-013-0164-3