Reader DavidBN explains some of the sadness of pickup artists:

I don't think that's quite what Megan is getting at. Women are, in my finite perception, attracted to confidence, intelligence, resources and experience. The purpose of The Game strategies is to substitute a relatively standardized routine for wit, apathy for confidence, and then bugger off before the woman realizes your greatest accomplishment in life is a level 60 orc shaman.

The Game, in other words, basically just tells you how to fake it. Which is fine when you're in college or just starting out and haven't had time to do anything yet. But as a schtick, it really wears thin as time passes. What women are looking for is a guy who's trying to figure out how to regenerated cirrhotic livers, can tell you what Tony Bourdain is like in person, or has hilarious stories about hitchhiking in Ulan Bator. If you're out of school and still asking them to imagine a cube, a horse and a ladder, you're going to get getting sadder with every passing year.

The Game is the mental/social equivalent of breast implants. Superficially appealing, especially to the less experienced, but ultimately inferior to the real thing. IMHO.

Incidentally, I'm being accused in the comments of engaging in some sort of conspiracy to keep the Beta Man down.  More on primate theory later, but for now let me point out that as a married woman in her thirties, I have very little possible interest in the behavior of the PUAs; I'm not their target, and they're sure not mine.  To a person with a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail, and to a person with a sociobiology theory, everything starts to look like some primeval competition for resources on the veldt.  This tendency should be strenuously resisted; not everything fits into a neat primate model, whether your Preferred Primates are bonobos or silverback gorillas.

My off the cuff observation was a genuine one; this whole thing sounds like what girls used to do.  And in fact, at some level the PUAs have to know that it's not really particularly manly.  Why do I think this?  Because if your girlfriend (however temporary) caught you mimicking Tom Cruise in front of the mirror, or spending your spare time trolling message boards for magic tricks to impress women with . . . well, would she be more enamored, or would she slither out of bed in disgust and start looking for her clothes?

I am not against people attempting to upgrade their social skills, nor am I horrified at the thought that "beta" males will somehow sneak into the gene pool; after all, I live in the city often called "Hollywood for Nerds".  But the combination of artificiality, superficiality, and manipulation in the PUA manifestos makes it really hard not to snicker.

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