There is a very large amount of randomness (noise) in pickup and game

There is a very large amount of randomness in pickup and game, and I’ve written too little about the role of randomness: it should be emphasized by guys writing about the game. If you’re interested in the psychological parts of pickup, in the “why” in addition to the “how,” you’ll develop a theory of human nature… but that theory needs to have a whole lot of space for “random” in it. When I was younger, I wrongly thought people are pretty consistent. Now, too much evidence to the contrary has changed my mind… I’ve seen girls be harlots on Saturday nights and nuns Tuesday nights, and sometimes vice-versa.

Girls are so random that part of what guys learn in the game is to accept her randomness. Some of the way chicks run hot-cold is them testing a guy. Some is just them being nutso. It’s just noise in the process. There is experimental evidence for the noise:

I’ll tell you where the experiment from which my current fascination with noise arose. I was working with an insurance company, and we did a very standard experiment. They constructed cases, very routine, standard cases. Expensive cases — we’re not talking of insuring cars. We’re talking of insuring financial firms for risk of fraud.

So you have people who are specialists in this. This is what they do. Cases were constructed completely realistically, the kind of thing that people encounter every day. You have 50 people reading a case and putting a dollar value on it.

I could ask you, and I asked the executives in the firm, and it’s a number that just about everybody agrees. Suppose you take two people at random, two underwriters at random. You average the premium they set, you take the difference between them, and you divide the difference by the average.

By what percentage do people differ? Well, would you expect people to differ? And there is a common answer that you find, when I just talk to people and ask them, or the executives had the same answer. It’s somewhere around 10 percent. That’s what people expect to see in a well-run firm.

Now, what we found was 50 percent, 5–0, which, by the way, means that those underwriters were absolutely wasting their time, in the sense of assessing risk. So that’s noise, and you find variability across individuals, which is not supposed to exist.

And you find variability within individuals, depending morning, afternoon, hot, cold. A lot of things influence the way that people make judgments: whether they are full, or whether they’ve had lunch or haven’t had lunch affects the judges, and things like that.

Now, it’s hard to say what there is more of, noise or bias. But one thing is very certain — that bias has been overestimated at the expense of noise. Virtually all the literature and a lot of public conversation is about biases. But in fact, noise is, I think, extremely important, very prevalent.

Accept this in pickup and pickup should become more pleasant, because you won’t take rejection personally. Young guys ask themselves, “Why does she like Mike and not me?” There may be great reasons for her to prefer Mike, but often the reasons are that she’s not that into you, she has a boyfriend she genuinely likes, she’s not in the mood, she hates men that day, etc. etc. Frequently, there will be no reason at all, and your searching for a reason will be futile. Your approach will fail no matter what, because of matters internal to her own mental state. The higher your value and the better your game, the more likely she’ll go for you, but higher value and tight game aren’t guarantees. They improve the odds, but any given girl will be random. You can sometimes ask girls why they do things or don’t do things related to men, and often the girls themselves will admit, “I don’t know.” 

Sometimes she likes Mike even if he is “worse” than you in ways pickup artists would identify. Take Peaches. She is still seeing her original guy. He is worse than me in most ways… dumber, worse body, worse career, worse social skills… doesn’t matter, she still likes him, for whatever reason. I may be too masculine for her. Seriously, some chicks like guys a little more feminine and androgynous. Not most chicks, but some, including some who are pretty attractive.

Randomness also leads to the conclusion that “Women don’t think that women can make adult decisions and be held accountable for those decisions.” How a woman feels is often more relevant to her than what she promised or previously decided. Her feelings rule her logic. For men, ideally our logic rules our feelings. Fundamental irresponsibility also helps explain why so few women make it to the top of big corporations, where internalizing responsibility is vital to improvement.

You cannot judge your own game skills based on a single interaction. You can try to improve one thing from every single interaction, but you can only average your skill across many interactions. The underwriters in Kahneman’s experiment have great incentive to be consistent, but they are not. The underwriters are “noisy.” They are operating in the Fooled by Randomness world of Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Guys also have some randomness, though we often call it “state.” I have been the funniest, sharpest, most socially wonderful guy in the world. I have also been mopey, miserable, depressed, anxious. In one state I do pretty well, in the other I don’t do well, most of the time I sit between them.

Guys in the game need to do at least two things:

  1. Improve themselves.
  2. Approach women, then escalate them from “Hi” into observation or comment into chat into a date and into bed from there.

Many guys who think they’re in the game seem to get stuck at point one. Some guys do a lot of point two and none of number one and then wonder why their fat, floppy, sloppy selves can’t get chicks. Combine them and you will maximize the likelihood of getting the good chicks.

Almost every guy learns that chicks are random… Chris at Good Looking Loser calls it “Sexual availability” and some other names too… guys get confused by female randomness because 1) guys are more logical than chicks in general and 2) guys have a simple mating algorithm: we want to have sex with as many as the hottest chicks as possible. Chicks have a much more confused and nuanced mating algorithm that chicks themselves don’t understand.

And they frequently can’t explain why they feel or why they do what they do, as I said above. If you try to interrogate a chick’s logic, you’ll often get such confused garbage and babble that you’ll still not understand it and, worse, make the chick angry by quizzing her about it (I did this some in high school and college). Chicks feel more than think. It’s important for guys to lead for many reasons, one being that most chicks are psychologically incapable of leading in a romantic situation. Their evolved psychology compels them not to lead. Guys feel too, but the feeling is much simpler… “Is she hot enough to f**k? I want to f**k her.”

Novice guys want to do what they could have done differently with “this one girl.” The answer is often, “Nothing.” Or, “Something, but she still might have said no.” Don’t let any individual girl get in your head. She probably says no for reasons that have little to do with you and a lot to do with her.

Internalize this lesson and you’ll do better at the game, while taking whatever chicks say less seriously. The rejection is often not about you. It’s about her. Did you open her when she’s hot for male attention and feels like she’s not gotten enough? One reaction. Did you open her when she’s on her period and is antisocial? Another reaction. Did you open her when she bought a new outfit recently and feels she looks cute? Another reaction. Did she get into a relationship with a great guy? She might like the sexual attention but decline, because she’s not in the market right now. 

Chicks are random” is also one of the many factors explaining why few women reach the top of companies and organizations. Guys figure out that women are random and keep that in mind when choosing colleagues, promotions, etc. And randomness in dating life also manifests itself at work. That’s why your female colleagues are more likely to have weird random meltdowns, be inconsistent, etc. Chicks are wired that way and can’t help it. The randomness players see in the dating market, you will also see in job markets.

Magnum also says, “women are random.”


Chicks are random, and there's a lot of randomness in the game
Random, right?

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

32 thoughts on “There is a very large amount of randomness (noise) in pickup and game”

  1. Good post.

    >> those underwriters were absolutely wasting their time, in the sense of assessing risk. So that’s noise, and you find variability across individuals, which is not supposed to exist.

    Yes to this.

    — you start out thinking everything is a mystery
    — then you find science, but do science “wrong”
    — then you do it pretty well, and realize… there is a lot of randomness in everything
    — then… you bump up from “science” to “art” (use data, but also “your gut”)

    This is my experience. Even in marketing… data driven marketing… so much noise. I make a lot of gut decisions.

    But there ARE winners/losers. And there ARE patterns. And there are GOOD/BAD tactics… some are universally bad, and some are situationally bad/good.

    > You cannot judge your own game skills based on a single interaction. You can try to improve one thing from every single interaction, but you can only average your skill across many interactions

    That is right.

    I still like the POKER analogy for GAME. Part SKILL, and KNOW-HOW, and EXECUTION… and even so, it’s about the CARDS. And the fall of the cards is pretty random.

    I keep waiting to go on a trip and get completely “skunked.” Imagine if my trip to China had 0 lays. I’d feel like a failure. And it could happen… based on “bad fall of the cards.” A loser can look like a hero… if he gets perfect cards.

    You can protect yourself from NOISE… with large sample sizes. I HAVE had good/bad “cards” on my trips. On my last day in Japan last year, three different girls flaked on my on me in the same day for scheduled dates. That is crushingly bad luck. But then… I SDL’d a new girl that night. That is ridiculously good luck. Sort of…. I was running big numbers, so I won a lot.

    Big samples sizes produce more stable results. They produce more “usable” reference experiences.


    1. So much of life is about the noise. I was one of those young guys trying to micro-analyze girls’s behavior. Now I recognize that effort as futile. Girls themselves probably have no idea why they were doing what they were doing, or what they were not doing. I was hunting for reasons, where there often were none. I was looking at cards from a randomly shuffled deck, seeking non-existent patterns.

      That’s also why it’s important for guys who want to be players to live in the biggest city they can afford or find. Lots of chances to seek a new hand.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. > That’s also why it’s important for guys who want to be players to live in the biggest city they can afford or find. Lots of chances to seek a new hand.

        This is exactly it. We can’t help but “make meaning,” it’s one of the weirdest parts about being a human.

        But you “escape” over-reading the tea leaves by RUNNING LOTS OF VOLUME.

        Men will notice they will think “longer” when they have fewer options… and less so, when they have many. You’ll still “over think it” (it’s natural), but you’ll get distracted by the next girl… and that will interrupt the thought.


      2. We’re too quick to create narratives. Often, the “why” about a given girl is 1. She didn’t fancy you for some pre-verbal internal reason, 2. she just isn’t that into you (variant on #1), 3. you aren’t her “type” or there is some other mismatch. Yet there are many guys (not you), who are eagerly and wrongly investing in an interaction with an individual chick.

        Learning some psychology will help guys with the game. We come with weird blindspots built into our cognition.


  2. Good post, and comment from Nash.
    Randomness used to do my head in. Several years ago I realised that the difference between life and death could be a couple of seconds taking that last swig of coffee before you go out the door in the morning. You don’t take it, get the green traffic light on the way to work and drive happily on. You take the last swig, get the red light, end up in a fatal truck-crossed-lanes accident further down the road, just because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That couple of seconds made all the difference. Totally unpredictable, totally uncontrollable.
    So much of what we do is futile attempts to eliminate that randomness. We can’t bear to be out of control. (I recommend reading The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker for a run down of the various ways that we fight knowledge of the inevitable.)
    But I’m convinced that the gut does help, on some level, in some circumstances. It’s important to learn to listen to it. There are brain cells in the gut, connected to the skull brain by the vagus nerve.
    In some ways game literature works against our getting laid because it encourages us to try cognitively to micro-manage ourselves and our targets, whereas it would probably be more effective to be more relaxed and simply increase the sample size, as Nash says.


  3. When I first started to get real attention from women it went to my head a little. I vividly recall meeting in a hotel lobby a group of guys, and someone asking me what I had going on… and a sort-of-rival (he was angling to pick up an ex of mine) commented “He’s always got something going on.” I was just leaving the hotel room of one gal and heading to a meeting with another. I said “Oh, not much.”

    But I always noted the calendar of women that I dated. At some point if you keep seeing a gal, you find out she is menstruating, or ovulating, and you can do the math back to the day you first got her attention.

    I had thought that I was a great seducer. I realized that mostly I was standing in the right place on the date and time when a girl was horny (ovulating) and I didn’t do anything to screw it up.

    On the plus side I realized that a guy should never kick himself for getting rejected. The same woman who laughs at you one day might very well tear your clothes off and tell you “don’t worry, I’ll take a plan b in the morning” on some other day of the month.

    Two or three days out of thirty. On those days she will monkey branch, take a chance with someone new. On the other twenty five days the ghost of JFK would likely strike out. So we start with a one in ten chance before any other factors. Of course if you are getting a strong IOI that changes the odds, its likely the right time or her eyes would be downcast.


    1. It’s just good to remind yourself, “Chicks are random.” You work on your game with the knowledge that only some is within your control. I’m not a big poker player and read that only like 15% of hands in some poker variants are worth playing.


  4. Regarding “Guys also have some randomness, though we often call it “state.” I have been the funniest, sharpest, most socially wonderful guy in the world. I have also been mopey, miserable, depressed, anxious…”:

    Give that a number… maybe from 0=mopey to 1=most socially wonderful guy in the world.

    Then, accept that the same goes for every girl: Her state will be somewhere from 0=antisocial to 1=desperate for attention.

    Both values can change from one minute to the next.
    Finally, accept that the multiplication of the two numbers is what matters for predicting the outcome of an approach.

    There are other complications; e.g. the girl might have certain types of men that she likes… but overall I think it’s a neat formula.


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