So, I've been digging through a website on PUA lingo
. It's been illuminating, though a little enraging. As much as I hate to say it -- and believe me, I hate
this -- whoever codified all this shit has some pretty solid psych background. Granted, it won't get the average guy into bed with every woman, every time... but psych doesn't work like that, anyway. Nor does it need to, in this case; if a PUA attempts to bed five women and successfully persuades one to go to his place, he doesn't care if the other four women think he's a complete douchebag.
In a bid to at least pretend to be charitable, I'll start with the positive.
I don't like how it's expressed, here, but I like
the concept that PUAs refer to as an avatar. Indeed, I don't think it goes far enough. Most of us are the people our parents have made, but we then have the power (to varying degrees) to make ourselves. I only disagree with the stated motivation here. I haven't spent the last few years going to the gym, working on my anger issues, and making various other changes because I want to pick up chicks -- I'm doing all that because I like this new version of myself better than I liked the old version. Sometimes, being a new person is very hard work. Sometimes, we fail. Sometimes, it's impossible. Whatever the case, I'm not going to bash the PUA community for preaching this... not when I've got so many better reasons to bash them.
Negging, for instance. A neg is a casual insult a PUA offers to a woman to take her down a few notches, an attack on her self-esteem. It's intended to express disapproval, and is usually coupled with the PUA trying to establish himself as an alpha male, i.e. claiming authority. Since he has authority, his approval is important, and it means something that he's withholding it, but the woman in question has a chance to earn his approval. Gee, guess how?
Yes, this is slimy... but it works, and it's not limited to pickups. It's the reason that used car salesmen are sharply dressed and total assholes. It's why the Catholic Church has magnificent buildings, finely dressed officials, and a never-ending drumbeat of guilt, sin, and godly disapproval. It's why so many fitness gurus have perfect bodies and open hatred for fat people. It's why a lite beer ad campaign is depicting men as unmanly, but suggesting that these men "man up" by drinking their particular brand of insipid piss-water. It's why children try so hard to please their parents even if their parents are emotionally abusive. As disgusted as you might be by it, it gets results.
Of course, there are other weapons in the PUA arsenal. Anchoring, for instance, is a textbook application of classical conditioning, and PUAs use it both on themselves
(warning: really fucking annoying song) and their targets. After all, if you're new to the whole "actively playing mindgames to try to get women to fuck you" routine, you need to be in the right frame of mind, right?
Of course, some women aren't instantly pliable fucktoys, and have their own responses when they don't like or trust a given man chasing them. And of course, these have been codified as well, with terms like Bitch Shield and Shit Test. Notice that these terms are much harsher than most of the other terms in the PUA lexicon. There's a reason for this -- it's to exclude the concept that women might actually have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to go to bed with the PUA. In the field of general semantics, there's something called a map-territory relation, and humans tend to confuse the map for the territory -- if we have no words for a concept, we can't really discuss the concept meaningfully, and even thinking about that concept is difficult. In codifying women's negative responses so harshly, the PUA is dealing with a map with a hole in it.
That hole is not
there by accident. It's the same hole in the map that allows the PUA to dismiss his own failures. Remember those four women the PUA didn't succeed with in my first paragraph? They weren't actually people. They were bitches with bitch shields and shit tests, so he needn't judge himself for how they reacted to him. If one of them slapped him for attempting a kino escalation (read: touching her boob within ten seconds of introducing himself), the PUA lexicon makes it easy to dismiss her reaction as having her bitch shields on high. The concept of inappropriate contact is curiously absent from the lexicon.
One other thing about language: it can define a culture. People who share a language share a cultural bond. The PUA lexicon, deficient as it is, is enough to create a sort of cultural bond. Think, for a moment, of the person (or small group of people) who created it. By creating this language and this body of applied knowledge, they are creating a sort of brotherhood... and they are making money off of it.
This is all psychology. It works... or at least, it works enough to be worth using. If you are human, you are probably susceptible to these techniques, even if you're not necessarily a woman being picked up, even if you're not a woman at all. For instance, a tough salesman may not think that you're putting out indicators of interest or that your reluctance to buy something is a bitch shield, but he still thinks of your objections as buying signals, as things to be overcome.
All around you, people are trying to reach into your head. Some of them do it because they're human, and we all do it, often without realizing it. Some of them have made a science of it. And some of them use that science to try to exploit you.