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 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.

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 decided. 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 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 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… 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. 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.

“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.”

“The Loneliest Generation: Americans, More Than Ever, Are Aging Alone”

The Loneliest Generation: Americans, More Than Ever, Are Aging Alone” is not about the game. (Alternate temporary pastebin of the story). Guys under age 30 need not read it. But for guys over age 30, it’s worth thinking about. We all know that female sexual marketplace value is highest around ages 15 – 25. It declines more seriously after age 30 and very rapidly after age 35.

But there is also a male sexual marketplace value peak, typically in the 30s or early 40s. Some players will end up like the loneliest generation people described in the article. Some of those people have no one but themselves to blame (“Karen Schneider, a 69-year-old in East San Jose, Calif., went through an acrimonious split from her husband in the mid-1990s that left her estranged from her two daughters and without anywhere to live,” and that’s code for “she wanted to chase strange d**k and her kids now hate her”).

It’s popular for Red Pill guys to make fun of women age 30 or 35+ who don’t understand that their own SMV is going to fall, sometimes very rapidly. At some point, however, guys have to decide how they want to live as well. The term “pickup artist” is useful, as some artists practice their art till the very end. If a guy conceptualizes pickup as a form of lifelong artistry, maybe he should keep going until the moment he cannot.

Almost everyone age 50+ who I know derives their life’s meaning and satisfaction from their families and family relationships. Guys who get deeply into the game are not normal guys, but we should think about what we might learn from normal guys.

Players also learn better social skills than normal people, so we have that working for us.

But the body, even taken care of, does break down over time.

This is not an argument that players should pack it in at age 37 and go get a wife and a s**t house in the suburbs. It is a warning, though, that friendships rarely replace family and that what you value later in your life may not be what you value today.

I think the game is fantastic and men must know the Red Pill to understand the society we live in. I’m never going to be one of those guys who repudiates who I have been.

The Feminist Life Script Has Made Many Women Miserable. Don’t Let It Sucker You” talks to women, but this is relevant to men as well:

We all want to believe that we’re exceptional, that patterns of human behavior don’t apply to us. That while bad things happened to other people who did the same things we are or want to, those bad things won’t happen to us, too. We’re special. We’re different.

We are all the products of evolutionarily success parents, going backwards to the start of sexually reproducing life. Our psychologies have been tuned to the needs of family life. That doesn’t mean a man should marry (today, he should not). But a lot of guys, as we get older, we think about what we leave behind and what we want to do besides getting laid. There may be nothing beyond the next notch. There may also be a reason many players age 35 – 40 exit the game and focus on their families.

Jeremy with the burns

In college I knew a kid, Jeremy, who’d been burned pretty bad in a fire as a child. Part of his torso and upper arm were messed up, as was part of his face. His face wasn’t too f**ked up, but it was misshapen enough to be noticeable. I don’t know if he was naturally on the shorter side or if the fire stunted his growth, but he wasn’t real tall, either. Sounded a little funny, too.

Not a guy you’d expect to do well with the girls, but he made up for his physical problems with personality. He was kind but not a doormat and had an ability to make people feel good about themselves. People, including me, just liked having him around. He’s one of the best listeners I’ve ever met. I’m not sure he consciously thought to himself, “I have this fucked up body, so I have to do well in other respects,” but he might as well have thought about it consciously.

On some level, he realized that his problems with his body meant that he needed to work on his mind and social skills. He must have spent many years doing just that. I doubt he read How To Win Friends and Influence People, but I think he discovered everything in it on his own, like a hedge mathematician who rediscovers already-known theorems.

Today, Jeremy might not be very successful on Tinder, but he knew how to operate in the real world. His natural game was better than mine, even though I had considerable physical advantages over him. Did he care about taking off his shirt? Not a bit. When he’d see people staring at him, he’d call out his own obvious deficiency (“Sick burns, right?”). Instead of trying to hide his deformity, he’d call it out, neutralize it, and then move on. I think people who knew him pretty much stopped seeing the charred skin.

Did he get as many chicks as tall, well-built, gregarious guys? No. No he did not. Did he sometimes get tooled and friend-zoned by hot chicks? Absolutely. But he did pretty damn well by the standards of college and he considerably out-performed what you’d expect. He had a lot of deficiencies and weaknesses, but he worked to turn those weaknesses into strengths. He tried to make up for his physical deficits with his personality… and it worked.

Personality and social skills are probably the hardest things to teach and describe in the game toolkit. That’s probably why newly RP guys are taught to overcome their approach fears, hit the gym, quit sugar, etc. … all activities that are easy to describe and implement. “Learn how to interact with people” “read social cues,” those things are hard.

Jeremy and I lost touch over time, but he did marry a pretty girl (“out of his league” the online punters would say) and had a couple kids. Very normal life trajectory. You could say he overperformed his expectations. I’ve not met anyone quite like Jeremy, but I think of the short guys who become doctors, the guys who realize that if one form of the game doesn’t work, it’s time to play a different game. Every guy who exists today exists because, going back to the beginning of sexual selection, his ancestors made him happen. If his dad and granddad and great-granddad could make him happen, he can make it happen too. He needs to avoid giving into despair. Jeremy could easily have given into despair.

I think about Jeremy sometimes when I read guys’s complaints. Jeremy was a guy with some problems, but he also made it a priority to figure out how to overcome those problems.

I wrote earlier that for the vast majority of guys there is no easy way, there is only the hard way. Every guy is working what he’s got, to get laid. Jeremy had less to work with than many guys, but he got there. Chances are you know a Jeremy in your life, and it’s good to ask yourself what you might be able to learn from him.

Get past your identity and look at the data

The stink of poly-ticks is high in this post, which has little to do with actual game, so you may want to skip it.

Riv finds it strange that I don’t have an anti-immigrant or right-wing identity, since both seem somewhat common among RP guys, but I suspect I simply read a lot more than most guys, and that reading leads to posts like, “The best books for learning game.” It’s also led me to the literature on identity and identity formation, and there’s a good book on that subject, Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. It’s about the presidential campaign, sure, but it’s also about how the stock of anti-immigrant sentiment got turned into a flow of anti-immigrant sentiment in 2016.

Anti-immigrant sentiment has a long and weird history in the United States. It’s “weird” because the United States is an immigrant country; unless you are Native American, your ancestors moved here, and they probably moved here in a way that would be “illegal” today (mine did). Seriously, go back and look at the Know-Nothing Party, or this article. People hated the Irish then, as a group. People hated the Italians in the first half of the 20th Century. Over time, these groups became part of the background of the United States, as other identities formed.

Today the arguments are the same… the immigrants are coming to steal your jobs, change your religion, dirty your house, etc., etc. When the arguments remain exactly the same but the targets of the audience change, you should be real suspicion about the argument’s accuracy. You should build your identity around examining arguments, not around believing one of them. We should read more history and put forth fewer online memes. We should look at the data that show immigrants are great. We should encourage people to be free and expressive.

So where’s this RP, right-wing thing coming from? Probably from the bad feminist tendencies on the left. It is true that the feminist left-wing in Western politics is very bad. But I would encourage Red Pill guys to avoid thinking that, because the feminist left-wing is bad, we must therefore join or admire the right wing. We don’t and we shouldn’t. Game works to make the world a better place by helping guys gain the social skills and make the connections that wouldn’t happen otherwise. We should be thinking about how to do the same thing, in political terms.

There are also few genuinely religious people left, particularly among the young. Most of the “Young Christians” I know have had so many “slip ups” and “mistakes” that you can discount their protestations of faith. What takes up the space that religion used to occupy? Claire Lehmann is one of the most interesting people on Twitter and she says, “Having hundreds of people explaining to me on Twitter that everything from sex to nature to beauty is ‘political’ makes me realise that Western civilisation really hasn’t come up with a viable alternative to religion, yet. Until we do, politics will be the opiate of the masses.” A lot of Red Pill guys—like Blue Pill guys and people more generally—treat politics like a religion, instead of like an intellectual field in which new information should be able to change your mind.

If you find yourself lining up behind one party on all issues, you should really stop and ask yourself: do my views on these numerous and unrelated issues line up so neatly? Or am I following the herd?

Players know the danger of herd-following. Try to be yourself.

Outside of Twitter and among people who study actual immigrants and immigration, there is little doubt that immigration improves lives. Here is one paper, but there are many more. Don’t let emotional coverage of one extremely uncommon event sway you. Look at the data. Just as a player should not let any interaction with any given chick sway him, you should not let some random and unfortunate event sway you (unless maybe you are going to let an equally random and fortunate event sway you).

Why doesn’t this information make it to guys on Twitter? Partially because Twitter is limited in character count, so no one can make complex arguments on it (like this argument). Partially because all of us, including me, like to incorporate information that already agrees with our preexisting worldview. Partially because almost all of us need someone to hate. It’s not the Communists anymore, so immigrants and Chinese are conveniently distant bogeymen.

One of the best guys I’ve ever worked with was born in Pakistan, and his family brought him to the U.S. when he was small. He didn’t get his immigration situation sorted out till he got married (to a U.S. citizen). It is striking that the people who are most opposed to immigration have the least exposure to actual immigrants. People are more alike than not, and that is why game works in different countries: there are cultural variations, but the male-female dynamic remains. It is true that wealth and access to medicine changes the supply curves and elasticities of sex, but the game skillset and mindset remain.

The United States is great at taking in people and, within a generation, turning them into Americans. Europe should be trying to do the same thing. So let’s have less blood-and-soil, less xenophobia, and more historical knowledge. Immigration is good from both a moral and practical standpoint. Don’t let your right-wing identity get in the way of those basic facts. Think for yourself.

I have seen lots of ill-conceived political tweets from Red Pill guys, but the real response to those political tweets is book-length, not tweet length. Even this post is far too short. I write it because I want at least one comprehensive statement out there. Your identity as a player need not be linked with an anti-immigrant or right-wind ideology. Go your own way. Be independent.

The world is not a zero-sum place. If it were, we’d not have had the incredible progress of the last two centuries.

Let’s all try to do better.

Immigrants do a great job of becoming Americans.

Is this not enough on the topic for you? Here is a follow-up post with yet more data citations.

High school memories: no sex for you, but yes for the next guy

Don’t know why, but I was thinking back to high school and remembered a kind of weird dark pattern: a couple would start dating and the girl would refuse sex. Eventually they’d break up. Then she’d go f**k another guy right away, sometimes the next weekend. It actually happened to me, with a hot girl when I was a senior and she was a junior.

I still don’t have a great theory as to why girls do this, but I saw it often enough to make me think it’s pretty common. Red Pill and player guys know that, when a woman denies sex and is not progressing adequately towards it, she should be dropped. Young high school guys usually take a while to get to the same place. I guess high school girls think they can get the attention without providing the sex, and when that turns out not to be a viable option, they go out and just give the sex, leaving young high school guys confused, as I was.

I went to a high school with a pretty wide range of people in it, from hardcore atheists whose parents had been in communes at various points to hardcore Christians, most of whom claimed to wait until marriage. Typically the hardcore Christians married in their late teens or early 20s, then divorced a few years later. Some of them “made a mistake” in high school. Sometimes a lot of mistakes.

There were the typical groups of jocks, nerds, band kids, etc. Who was f**king who was the primary topic of conversation among most people. I think I missed, barely, the hysterical college admissions race stuff that seems to occupy a lot of students today.

Hint: What you do in college and with your life matters infinitely more than the college you go to.

Players typically have a three-date rule, where if sex doesn’t happen by date three they bail. There can be exceptions for when the girl is progressing adequately but is not quite there yet. For high school guys, though, the timeline will probably be longer for some girls, but I’d wager that if she’s not f**king by six to eight weeks of dating, it’s time to move on. I had some problems with my game in high school and early college, but this precise problem wasn’t usually one of them.

The average guy and the player have different problems

In thinking about responses to “Open or poly relationships from the superior position or inferior position” and “Game-aware guys being ‘poly’ or ‘open’,” I realized something obvious that almost never gets discussed: average or below-average guys have very different problems from players (and elite guys in general). In terms of women, the average guy has trouble lifting consistently; he eats sugar; he’s never cold-approached in his life, or only a couple times while drunk; he half-asses online dating; he has trouble attracting and retaining a single woman. Because he has trouble attracting and retaining one woman, being open or poly are either repellent to him (he’s risking the greatest source of value in his life) or something he might reluctantly engage, but only because he fears, possibly correctly, that if he doesn’t acquiesce, she’ll leave anyway in search of newer, shinier guys.

The player has different problems (and he does have problems). He has trouble cracking the very top tier of chicks; he spends too much time seducing each individual chick; he’s working on his game ecosystem and sustaining his investments; he’s aware of the way evolutionary biology make long-term male-female cohabitation difficult; he’s trying to maintain his psychological state in order to maximize his results. He is somewhat alienated from the larger society, in which other guys (with weak or no game) disdain players or underrate the value of sex.

The player might not like being open or poly, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll consider those labels as ways of maintaining chicks over the medium or long run, when the chicks start asking, “Where is this going?” He’s not very afraid of that “Where is this going?” question, because if one chick drops off, he’ll get another, or three or four. For the same reason he doesn’t worry much about “his” chick flirting with other guys or engaging in other forms of bad female behavior.

Players also know that when a woman is looking for a long-term provider guy, she’s probably going to reject the player. That’s okay. There are more girls out there. Younger prettier girls in developed countries don’t care much about material assets or “good” secure guys. They want fun and excitement. Players learn that and give it to them.

The Red Pill movement and many associated writers often lump these two groups together. A lot of guy, maybe the majority, never get out of the average phase. So we see guys making universal statements based on their own limited perspectives.

The problem is:

In the community, we do a terrible job talking about “types.” Types… as in “not everyone is the same.” Not the girls… and not the guys. We are all different types. And that means that we need game that applies to our specific place in the SMP.

And very few people distinguish among these groups.

I’m writing more for the player than the average guy. The material for the average guy who needs a boost is bountiful. In the sidebar to this blog, there is a cornucopia of information related to game, evolutionary biology, interacting with women, improving value, and delivering value. The material for the player is rarer. I think most guys who get into “game” just want a nice, pretty girlfriend, and when they find one, they stop. That is why the deep psychology that keeps men in the game interests me. Those are the guys who don’t stop after they advance a couple levels into the dungeon. They keep going, deeper and deeper into the maze, looking for the next achievements and for the deeper heart of human social existence.

There’s nothing wrong with getting into the game and finding a nice girl and stopping. If a guy gets what he wants, great for him. But his experiences aren’t likely to generate the deeper insights that make for more interesting writing.

Reddit suffers similarly. Most of the guys on it are average or below-average. They’re frustrated and often angry. It comes out in their writing and votes. Many of them also want to vent and complain more than improve. I get the impulse: modern feminism is about hating men and enforcing special female privileges. It’s also true that many women will behave as badly as the men around them allow them to behave, which is often pretty badly. The venting and complaining, I get it, but I don’t care that much about it. I’d rather work on making my own place in the world the best it can be. So I’m not likely to be as popular, and that’s okay.

Photography game?

I don’t have a strong view on photography game, though Goldmund sells a book with that name (or camera game, I can’t remember). A couple of guys have asked me about photography in game, since I often cite “Anyone doing any online dating needs to learn basic photography skills.” I’m chary about cameras as game props, because, as I wrote in Ride a motorcycle—for fun, transport, and dating, “Riding a motorcycle will obviously not fix broken fundamentals of personality, weight, social presence, etc. You cannot buy your way out of who you are.” There is no single tool or thing you can buy to make you attractive to women, regardless of what the massive marketing and advertising edifices tell you. Most guys who think they’ll use the camera to attract and seduce women are deluding themselves and probably come off as creepers. I’ve seen camera-wielding creepers and heard stories from women about them.

But, a guy with good fundamentals can no doubt add the camera as a way to open and bond with chicks. I shot a couple hundred nude and erotic pics of Ms. Slav on a rooftop this week, and she loved it.

One corespondent says,

We discussed whether validation was more important to women than sex itself. He said these women spent the best part of an eight hour shoot talking about how horny it made them feel so he jokingly told me I should set up some shoots of women I liked for the express purpose of fucking chicks! Seems so corny though.

It’s hard for me to judge this kind of thing. I’ve not done photo shoots or camera game like this or like Goldmund describes; I’ve typically done photo shoots and that kind of thing after sex, like I did with Ms. Slav on the rooftop cityscape, when the girl’s sexual excitement shows through her entire body and soul.

I can’t tell if doing bikini photo shoots with a girl you haven’t yet slept with is a demonstration of higher value, lower value, or neither. My immediate instinct is to say, “Lower,” and that setting up a camera shoot with a chick is worse than just doing a regular date with her, and perhaps mentioning a photo shoot in a future-project way. But I’ve not got experience doing this kind of game.

It’s dangerous to judge a game style or technique without trying it out, because what may seem true in theory may not be true in practice. Game should be a practice and a practical set of applications, and I just don’t know here. I do know that chicks are narcissistic enough that getting their nudes done by a guy they trust is fun for them. A decent number later ask me to delete the pics and videos, showing the vagaries of the female mind.

My guess is that if you’re a cool enough guy to make the camera thing work, you don’t need the camera. And if you’re not a cool enough guy to make the camera thing work, the camera isn’t going to help.

Obviously the camera can be a useful tool. In many circumstances I like having a book more, and talking about what I’ve been reading. A lot of chicks are surprised by that because most guys don’t read. Even dumb chicks are somewhat impressed, if it’s done well by the right guy.

“If it’s done well by the right guy” is everything.

By the way, Ms. Slav went on a date with another woman last night, and it was extremely successful. More updates on her to follow. My weekend has been very chill, since I’m recovering from travel and other things. I’m off my gym routine due to travel and a minor injury, so I need to get back into it.