There is a very large amount of randomness in pickup and game, and I’ve written about the role of randomness. It should be further emphasized by guys writing about the game.
If you are interested in the psychological parts of pickup, in the “why” in addition to the how, it’s hard not to see yourself developing a theory of human nature… but that theory needs to have a whole lot of random in it. When I was younger, I wrongly thought people are pretty consistent. Now that I’m older, I’ve seen too much evidence to the contrary: I’ve seen girls be harlots on Saturday nights and nuns Tuesday nights. 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 of it 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. Young guys ask themselves, “Why does she like Mike and not me?” There may be great reasons for that 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, etc. etc. Your approach will fail no matter because of matters internal to her own mental state.
Sometimes she likes Mike even if he is “worse” than you in ways that pickup artists would identify. Take Peaches. She is still seeing her original guy. He is worse than me in most ways. 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.
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 two things:
- Improve themselves.
- 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 one 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. Christ at Good Looking Loser calls it “Sexual availability” and some other things. 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. 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 (I did this some in high school and college). 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.
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.
Magnum also says, “women are random.”