Tom Torero has died, and he is said to have died by suicide. RIP. I don’t recall when or how I first started reading him, but it was many years ago, and I bought some of his books. I remember finding both DAYGAME and BELOW THE BELT (neither seem available on Amazon right now, sadly) amusing and at times inspiring: though, like many guys interested in these matters, there seemed to be a thread of darkness running through his soul + writings. He was smart, and I’m saddened by his passing.
There is a line of intellectual descent running through many guys interested in pickup or seduction, and it seems many guys found his work. Right now, the TomTorero.com domain seems dead, and I wonder if anyone has a backup of his material.
A few years back, Torero asked if I’d be on his podcast: for reasons of anonymity, I said no, though I listened to some episodes. If he’d been born centuries ago, he might have been a priest, or a heretic, the line between those two positions being thin. Heresy attracts me.
I’m saddened, and have read some of the memorials devoted to Tom, and I’m also thinking about others who have trod, if not his path, then paths adjacent to him: Roosh found god and has become… a curious personage, to be polite, although many less-polite descriptions are possible. If you wish to have him exhort you to find god yourself and stop sleeping with hot chicks, you can do so, though I don’t personally wish to.
Another guy, Goldmund, tried to monetize game and being a game coach for a number of years, before disappearing for a while and then coming back around, apparently also in some kind of spiritual/religious cast, after family tragedy. I find his recent work and exhortations… not compelling. That he’s done a 180, though, is notable. Why should we believe he won’t randomly change again? He is scientifically and technically illiterate, something he shares with others in this space.
Neil Strauss wrote THE TRUTH, then got divorced after it. It’s not clear what he’s up to these days, though I’ve heard reports he’s lonely and obsessed with cam girls. Could be false. I now read THE GAME as a brilliant book, still, but also a cautionary tale. Mystery has a peculiar WordPress site up now, with some older videos; he seems also to have (mostly) disappeared.
A fellow named Jack Murphy isn’t a game guy, exactly (from what I understand: I’ve not followed him), but he was into game-adjacent men’s development. He appears to have written an article about being into being cuckolded… and he made some prostate stimulation videos, which someone or someones dug up. I dunno, if that’s what a guy is into, fine, so be it, but it would also seem to me that if that’s what he’s into, he’s better off owning it than pretending.
Many, many people have trouble owning what they really want, sexually. Jack Murphy has, or had, the problem of selling faux-masculinity to rubes, and his audience won’t accept those parts of him. He also exists in a space where the audience wants a kind of fantasy, and is most interested in guys willing to sell that fantasy. He ceased being an avatar of that fantasy and now seems to be cast from his fold.
Pat Stedman participated in the 6 January 2021 insurrectionist riot in an attempt to overthrow a presidential election, and possibly murder senators along the way. Does that sound like a sound, well-balanced person to you? Or, read this piece on him.
Roy Walker said in February 2022, “Well, I think Putin had full rights to invade [Ukraine], whats the difference between Rus/UK vs The West/Libya?” I guess Walker is an apologist for dictators? Judge for yourself.
Krauser advocates for genocide, pretends the Holocaust didn’t happen, and openly admires actual fascists. Maybe he is an edgy 4chan troll… but he is pretty old for that.
And then there is this guy.
How many of the guys speaking online are “Internet people?”
Judge for yourself. By the company you keep, you shall be known.
I worry that some of the people most attracted to this world are either driven mad by it, or that those with some madness within them already are attracted… one can see a kind of madness and tribalism in response in rampant science denialism. There are many who claim to have found The Secret… only for those same guys to recant and reject the previous “Secret” a few years later. I’m not denying the power of game, or the power of understanding evolutionary biology, or of attempting to learn about female behavior and psychology. But this post is about the utility of looking deeply at a person’s life and trajectory, before buying into whatever they are pitching. That is one reason I encourage guys to consider status or coolness first, though I could add the words “accomplishment” or “achievement.” It may also be that the guys who get most into this are too outsider for too longer, to the detriment of their own development and growth.
In addition, life has many seasons. For most guys, there is a season in life for game and chasing women and getting laid, but for very few guys should that be life’s only season. Most guys seem to have two to five years of chasing women in them, and then they focus on other things.
Many of the smartest and most competent guys in this space live in it for a little while, up to a few years, and then evolve out of it. Mark Manson started as a pickup guy, then moved on to generalized self-development and social skills. Wayne Elise used to be known as the pickup artist “Juggler,” and now writes other material. The Charisma on Command guy moved on from pickup. A lot of guys spend some time in pickup world, they beat that game, and then they evolve into some other world. These guys also probably realize the small total addressable market (TAM) of pickup and game specifically. The smart guys get in this area, do it for a few years, and exit.
Very few guys actually want to be players, and the overwhelming majority interested in this area want to get acceptable girlfriends, so, for the average guy, he learns enough game / pickup / fitness / whatever to get a girlfriend, and then he quits. This reduces TAM. The market size is limited, and, for most purple-pill guys talking about game and whatever, there’s a lot of natural churn as guys succeed.
And that is not even taking into account the reputation assassination as practiced by online haters.
For guys looking at the Torero option, if things are going poorly, or if you are experiencing a midnight of the soul, reach out. To someone. Anyone. Life will have helpers in unexpected places (though you too will be expected to help others, in your own time). Life needs a balance of giving and taking, and I fear that some guys attracted to this space are over-fond of taking, and not fond enough of giving or building. It is of course a mistake to give away too much value. But I think we are built for mutual reciprocity and small groups: two things less foregrounded today than they were in the past. I’m not saying the past was great (I wouldn’t have wanted to marry some chick when I was 20 and stayed with her forever), but there are elements of the past we should consider. Life design today is the individual’s responsibility, and with responsibility comes risk.
Balaji likes to say that the internet increases variance. It tends also to shred real-world community bonds. I’m not saying we should go back to a pre-Internet world, but we should contemplate what extreme variance does to the human psyche. What it does is not always good, though it can be. Torero and many other guys writing about game enabled me to achieve incredible heights with chicks, the kinds of heights I’d not have thought possible at say 19 or 23. Pre-Internet, I probably would’ve gotten married in my 20s, and ignored that nagging feeling of underperformance, gotten divorced in my late 30s, never fully realized what could go right. I’ve learned much, and Red Quest is an attempt to pay some of that learning forward.
Many guys neglect building larger communities and families, because they want to pursue the game. Contrast that with someone like Paul Janka, who was a very successful player for years, and then did something else. I’m not saying his way is the only way or the right way, but the difference between him and the guys in it for the very long haul matters.
The best people, the more you know them, the more admirable they become. Many people, as you know them better, reveal aspects of themselves that aren’t so good. You’re the top five people you spend time with and around. Pick with care. Remember the Internet isn’t the real world. Many people who spend too much time online have problems. Those problems tend to leak out over time.
All of us want our lives to be meaningful, though what “meaningful” means may vary at different points in life. To attempt to forever pursue the game, seems to either attract guys who have other challenges, or to present other psychological challenges to guys, or maybe both. At the bottom of game and red pill is a question: “What does it mean to live a good life?” Developing skills with women is one part of that, but pursuing that throughout the lifespan likely leads to diminishing returns. Life, like calculus, is about change. Choose your idols carefully.
19 thoughts on “The curious, cautionary fates of many of the guys who go deep into game and Internet”
As usual, a really well written post.
ty. One I wish weren’t so relevant.
The people who are totally convinced their way is the right way, and who then do a 180, are fascinating from a psychological perspective. Plus, it’s like, “You were 100% sure you were right before, and now you’re 100% sure you’re right again. What’s to say you’re not going to change a third time?”
Demands for consistency and correctness seem low to me, but I guess that’s the human condition.
You seem to be one of the most sane and grounded voices in the pickup community (though, of course, the image you project here may not reflect what you are like IRL). Is the reason you’re not doing game coaching etc. preserving anonymity or sth else?
The funny thing is that I’m among the less sane and more looney of my friends. That I’m a bastion of sanity and groudedness relative to the pickup “community” may speak to the state of most other guys interested in this world.
Re: game coaching, I don’t think I’d be that good at it, and, while I’ve done cold approach, it’s not been my specialty… I think Red Pill Dad is better at most coaching, and I don’t think there’s money in it, relative to present activities. The post at that link pretty thoroughly describes what I’ve seen.
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“I probably would’ve gotten married in my 20s, and ignored that nagging feeling of underperformance, gotten divorced in my late 30s, never fully realized what could go right”
I have to think about that often too. I could also be divorced now and live in a shitty apartment alone. Life means making decisions without knowing the outcome. If you choose Game, you might envy those with traditional families because you feel lonely. If you are stuck in an unhappy marriage or have had a bad divorce, you envy those who lead a “carefree” bachelor life. You never know what you will get
The trick I think is that many guys choose game for a period of time, develop their skills, learn how to properly judge women, and then can choose from a position of strength, not weakness or desperation. Also, guys who understand a mechanism are much more likely to be able to fix or repair it, or accept its limitations. Most guys don’t understand women and so are frustrated by women and capricious female nature. Guys who understand women accept the good and bad.
Simple experience, and lots of it, has improved my understanding of women and ability to pick better ones and shape them, while understanding the limitations of my ability to change anyone. Most people won’t change and so don’t.
That doesn’t mean I can’t choose poorly or that things can’t go sideways (every choice is a probability), but it means I’m improving the likelihood of good outcomes. Most guys never really get enough experience to choose and to understand. Game helps guys get that experience.
This relates back to your recent post about insiders and outsiders. Game is about accepting being an Outsider to “polite society,” in order to be the ultimate Insider to desirable hot chicks.
A few hundred years earlier, Machiavelli wrote that while it’s nice to be nice, sometimes one has to be an outsider to “polite society” and its ethics, to keep the kingdom from being lost.
Most people are only situational rebels. When someone feels their life is working great while they follow The Rules: There’s no reason for them to go outside the lines. Only a few people are naturally Outsider Rebels.
Neil Strauss really likes to be an insider. Whether that’s with gonzo journalism, the cool club welcomed backstage by rock stars, the secret society of pick-up artists, or trying to make marriage work.
Roosh has described how he felt that if he could become enough of an insider for the available hot woman, he’d be satisfied. Now he seem mostly satisfied as as insider with the Orthodox faith. His goal is to be an insider with God’s Heavenly Kingdom once this life is over.
Tom T. was an insider as a teacher in the formal education system. Then he was an insider as a teacher in the Red Pill world.
Rollo T. is an insider of booze marketing and of his marriage. He created an inside of Game Theory for him to be a leader within, and keeps that semi-hidden enough to not blow up his marketing career.
Red Pill Dad and Caleb Jones both described being forced to become an outsider to women when their wives divorced them. Then, they studied and experimented to become an insider to a different type of woman.
Chris Deoudes described feeling like an outsider amid the West Hollywood PUA scene.
It’s possible to make a careful choice that someone can be made a role model, mentor and muse in one area of life, without putting them on a pedestal as the guru for every area of life. But our current society discourages this level of discernment.
As you point out, a man can reject the “blue pill” conditioning, without becoming a lifelong Player like Tom T. or Krauser. It might be best for them to leave the Insider life of the feminist blue pill world, but not go all the way to the Inside of the Seducer Forever world.
Apparently, Tom T. was an outstanding role model in how to pick up chicks, but not someone from whom to gain wise counsel in how to lead an overall balanced and healthy life. He had all eggs in the one basket of being a PUA teacher. Then the Newsweek article dropped an atomic bomb on that basket. What was left for him?
In today’s fragmented society, we can turn on our back on the “inside” we were “supposed” to be in. We can choose which “outsider” group we’ll learn how to be an “insider” within.
We need to choose wisely.
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A good point regarding insider-outsiders… I added a link to the post itself.
>>As you point out, a man can reject the “blue pill” conditioning, without becoming a lifelong Player like Tom T. or Krauser. It might be best for them to leave the Insider life of the feminist blue pill world, but not go all the way to the Inside of the Seducer Forever world.
Right, and the goal is to figure out what parts of game or red pill are useful, and which parts aren’t. It’s like cutting the poisonous parts out of a fugu blowfish so one can enjoy the delicacy. There are many genuinely useful and important parts of game/red pill, but many of them are really at the tactical level, not at the operational or strategic level.
As a guy improves his own life and SMV and game, he’ll improve to the point that just “getting more chicks,” particularly somewhat lower level, lower quality chicks, ceases to drive or engage him. Then… what? Particularly over the course of years.
I just found out, upon logging onto Krauser’s blog, had not been there in a while. RIP. I did not know it might have been a suicide.
This post is excellent, as usual. Sound advice about reaching out. Somebody above mentions that you are grounded, that is a good description. Partially I think it might have to do with you being a father already, that is something that sets you apart from many other commentators in the manosphere.
I recall reading some Torero writings and watching some of his videos a couple of years ago. IIRC, in one of them he advised us guys from Southern Europe to move away from home, which is of course good advice. I have not followed it out of a certain indolence and tendency to accumulate too many books and things in general, assuming in the process that I probably won’t be getting laid. That does not bother me at the moment, as I might have left behind that incel phase of anxiety. I am also in a bad location and have not followed your advice about moving to a bigger city, so one must own up his decisions.
I speak for myself of course, but if you are drawn by this kind of materials chances are you might be at least slightly “traumatized”. If I had a teenage son right now I would encourage him to try to flirt actively and gain some sexual experience early on, mostly to get it over with (something which I resent my father for not having told me about, since he is pretty “alpha” in this general behavior and had early relationship experience). I fancy myself as relatively strong against social fads yet the virginity label after age 22 or so proved a burden a bit too heavy to carry.
I feel I will be forever affected by the fact I did not have a teenage/early 20s relationship. That is my “trauma”, just like for others it was growing up with divorced parents at odds with each other. When you couple that with an above average ambition or conscientiousness (which I suspect many manosphere guys have) you get a distinctive psychological profile. The Internet is like catnip to our natural curiosity but it can also exacerbate you dissatisfaction with life.
Insightful post. 🙏