I’ve said as much before, so maybe this one won’t stick either, but I think I’m basically done writing Red Quest. After more than five years of writing, few, if any, of my original goals for Red Quest have been accomplished: I thought, to cite one example, that writing about sex clubs and non-monogamy would make a bunch of guys try some of the strategies I suggest, then report back on what they found, but, instead, I’ve moved closer to the view that most guys interested in or peripherally orbiting this space don’t get laid at all, or minimally (a view elaborated in most guys don’t care much about getting laid, I hypothesize). Most guys feel they are doing good enough and thus don’t try to do better, or they are so mired in their existing problems that they think the path to improvement too long and arduous to start.
Aspiring towards excellence seems the exception, not the rule, and not a common exception, either. Look at the chart in the preceding link, showing male sexlessness increasing. The era of widespread information being available about how women work and how to pick them up has coincided with fewer guys getting laid. Maybe Internet pr0n is a substitute for many guys… maybe more guys are pathetic than ever… maybe women are more demanding… maybe something else, I don’t know what, is happening. But I thought I’d inspire guys to try the strategies I’ve been articulating, but it seems that hasn’t happened, or, if it has, I don’t know about it.
I also thought I could improve the quality of the discourse around men’s sex and dating lives… look back at the pickup artists (PUAs) of the late ’00s and early ’10s (when I began noticing this space), and notice how a lot of them were having fun and getting laid… “having fun” comes through in Brad P’s work, in Juggler’s, in the Book of Pook, and in the many now-deleted blogs that guys wrote then. Today, look at, to use one example, the Red Pill reddit, and one sees a lot of anger, folly, and resentment, but little fun, joy, or pleasure. The guys moderating it are losers, and they’re most interested in hilariously petty tyranny, and minimally interested in effectively helping other guys, or learning. They are Reddit guys, with all that entails.
Resentment is not sexy, but it’s almost everywhere in the spaces that should be devoted to becoming more effective.
I speculated about the fun deficit to one guy, Madd Monk (who is making progress), and he replied,
The guys who are having a ball – are having a ball. They’re not writing about it, and probably don’t have to. I’ve met a few cool guys, and that’s exactly it. They feel light, they move effortlessly, and they create fun situations effortlessly (at least it seems that way). Girls can feel that. They gravitate to that for the most part. I can feel my heaviness when I’m around these guys. But these are guys I’m trying to make friendships and alliances with. Hopefully we can learn from each other.
I’m definitely working my way out of this deficit. My guess is most “players” start writing when they are in a deficit. And let’s be real, the deficit, and the grind to get out of it is not fun. Few continue writing once they’ve made it to other side, if they ever make it.
This seems possible. “Girls just wanna have fun” is one of the best pieces of game advice, but most guys seem unable to incorporate this idea. Few guys are blogging, from what I can tell, though I’d be pleased to learn of examples I don’t know now, and yet that’s where the independent voices who might focus on fun and effectiveness are likely to arise.
Regarding my failure to move the needle in any larger way, it might be that most guys simply don’t like reading, and reading has become an activity limited to the cognitive elite, while the masses are limited to audiovisual material. But most guys with anything going for them won’t put their faces and voices to pickup material, and so few guys will do “pickup and getting laid” podcasts or videos. Those who do, won’t tell it like it is, for fear of reputational damage and blowback. The guys with anything going for them want to be anonymous. Although I’ve encouraged many guys to write their pickup blogs, few have.
It’s possible that my analysis is wrong… one guy said regarding a draft of this,
Look, what you’ve accomplished goes far beyond what you realize. Also, to the extent that getting guys to do sex parties was the goal, that is extremely difficult to do, even for those of us who’ve tried! I mean, I could have certainly done a lot more if that was my ONLY goal and concern, but, like most normal guys who want to be successful and live a decent life, it’s not. But to go back to the larger picture, sex parties are hard for so many reasons, with logistics/culture being #1. If you don’t live in a very large city where there is a sex positive culture, and have a bunch of other advantages, it’s simply very hard.
Maybe he is right, not me, but unfortunately I can’t bring myself to think so, however much I’d like to.
One main purpose of writing is to start a dialogue, and I’ve been in conversation with many of the guys who came before me, but not very many of the guys who are concurrent with me. I’ve tried to make the dialogic quality happen, but, with two main exceptions, it’s not happened. Maybe the fault is mine, or maybe it’s the larger environment. Orating is usually inferior to conversation. The podcasts that work are almost always dialogic.
After five years, I’ve likely said all that I have to say (“Age and players” covers some of the topics that I’ve been feeling more keenly). Besides game itself, I’ve analyzed legacy media nonsense about men and women, but that too seems to have had little impact, and what I’ve written is no better and probably worse than what The Last Psychiatrist wrote. People who listen to the legacy media on topics relating to sex and dating are mostly fools, and there’s little hope for reform or critique along this route, although sometimes the occasional true or true-ish thing slips accidentally through the net. But there seems to be no larger movement to make the media world better or truer, and the amount of bullshit it contains is high and I guess will be high for the immediate future.
I get a stream of messages from guys, but almost all of them are newbie questions that have been answered in many times and many places before, questions on the order of “How do I talk to girls?” or “What should I say when I approach a girl?” Anyone who finds his way to Red Quest should have the tools to figure out the (many) answers to those questions and the (many) discussions of that question. The sidebar has links to writers who answer that question. The question is almost always framed in this kind of helpless, loser tone, too. The question is never like this,
I talked to seven girls this weekend. This is how it went,
* I said to girl 1. “Hey, I’m John, nice to meet you.” She said…
* I said to girl 2., “I notice your funky shoes, so I had to say hi.” She said…
* I said to girl 3., …
See the difference? The questions I get, with some exceptions, mostly consist of Reddit-quality ineptness, of the “I can’t do anything or think for myself” variety. They are questions guys should pay a coach to ask, and they are the questions of guys who are never likely to go anywhere, because the guy hasn’t yet figured out how to help himself first.
I’ve come around to the view that too many of the guys interested in this stuff losers, or dumb, and most of those who aren’t still have some pretty serious problems and/or blind spots. “Most” does not mean “all,” so you need not register your protest that you are different, because if you are, you are.
It is humorous to me, reading the red pill and pickup people who are like, “Let’s see through the matrix and into the REAL truth,” but, when you dig just a little bit, it’s apparent that they’ve traded one set of delusions for another set. Which isn’t to say I have a monopoly on truth (I don’t), but, by comparison to a lot of guys, I’m a lot closer, and I have much better error-correction and feedback mechanisms.
There are good and powerful ideas circulating in the communities I’m criticizing. Studying and applying pickup works. There are traits and behaviors that women systemically prefer, and guys can learn them. Learning pickup is an example of the light, positive, prosocial side of these communities, but there is also a dark side of them. The best of pickup helps women get what they want and men get what we want. The best creates social connections in an anti-social world that most benefits Google and Apple shareholders. The worst focuses on zero-sum mentalities, taking, narcissism, and destruction. Both the best and the worst are possible. I’ve tried to accentuate the positive while acknowledging the negative. The negative is real, and common, and should not be denied. Many things in life are neither black nor white.
But, although there are good and powerful ideas circulating, ones that have helped me greatly, there are a number of people with broken lives, ineffective psychologies, and other serious internal or external problems. Some of those people are prominent, or at least noisy. If you don’t realize this relatively quickly, it may imply that your own ability to judge character and sanity has some problems. There are people who need therapy, or something, much more than they need game or pickup, with the game and pickup being bandaids that don’t address the underlying problems. Consider an analogy to the people, often teens, who say they are “transsexual,” when in fact their problems and challenges are of a very different sort. The diagnosis is so wrong that the treatment is going to make all of the real problems worse, not better.
There are about 580 Red Quest posts, in addition to two books. That is enough, and if you don’t get it from that corpus, you never will. Most of the guys participating in the pickup space, I have come to conclude, are mostly Internet people.
The time of the elves is over, and we are leaving these lands.
Do things that matter, not things that don’t. Life moves forward and when one stage is done, it’s time to move forward to another.
The time of the elves is over, and they are leaving Middle-earth forever.