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Tycho / on Tue, Aug 11 2009 at 2:49 pm

Love Systems

If things have gone well for me on this go ‘round, it’s because I’m constantly being given opportunities to learn things.  That is to say, I have had many opportunities to be savaged by reality in ironically appropriate ways.  I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to emerge from some of these experiences with, but I do emerge from them, armed for the next surreal asault from a hostile universe.

The most recent example occurred last night at around midnight, when an old friend told me that he was actually an instructor for Love Systems.  They use handles, so I never put two and two together.  I had a very robust model - completely imaginary - decribing both the sort of person who would attend a course of this kind and the sort of depraved animal who would transmit this kind of parselmouth bullshit to lonely men in a desperate, daily search for a less brutal existence.  That’s not who this guy is, this friend of mine.  He is, unmistakably, one of us.

I thought you might find his mail to me interesting.  I asked him about negging, which is usually framed as being purposefully insulting to a woman, and received the following Goddamned novella.

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It’s harmless and normal between two people to tease or even, in the case of you and Mike, insult. How much outlandish and even insulting inside jokes do you have with Brenna or does Mike have with Kara? 

When you call Mike this or that caustic name, you do it because you know you can and because you’re friends. Our students—and probably most men—have elaborate belief systems made around how women are and how men and women interact. A lot of these systems are either misguided or blatantly false (to wit: women don’t want to be picked up when they go out to a bar). The neg gets attention because it SEEMS like an insult, but it’s more a gesture of comfort, a sign that you, the suitor, aren’t going to bend your natural conversational style for the sake of trying to impress a woman. The main reason why assholes get girls is not because girls are just dying to be abused and ignored—although some are for whatever fault of upbringing or genetics—but because women, especially beautiful women, hate the weakness implied when a man bends over backward to impress her. A reactive sign of this is to, um, not bend over to impress her. A proactive sign, a way to signal this in the first few minutes of conversation, is to tease her. 

And the neg is just a tiny sliver of what we teach. 

More than anything our material is about understanding what makes women attracted to men beyond the obvious answers of looks and money and power, beyond the simple snipe of “confidence”. We then help our students implement that understanding through practical application, i.e. actually trying to pick up the girls you are attracted to. 

Mike noted that if it’s guys “hunting women from the back of a jeep” he’s not behind that. What does he (or you) think guys are doing every single time they go out to a bar or club? As my mother has noted during the times I wore a hair shirt about my job, Love Systems didn’t invent the act of guys going out and trying to find girls to have sex with. We just gave guys the tools to do it effectively without boring girls. Our course lets guys make their own calls. For my part, I try to explain the ethical ramifications of hollow sexual interactions, and I try to emphasize the role that developing personal standards for the people with whom you surround yourself has in developing standards for yourself… But if a guy takes away scummy lessons, I am not there to change him. At my last bootcamp, though, there was a gentleman who had an MFA and poetry and ran a non-profit. I just don’t see him as the sleazy guy at the bar with his chest hair poking out, you know? But he had just left a divorce, has two daughters he loves very much, and he wants to know how to interface with the modern world of dating. Mike happened to meet Kara in line at Star Wars. Romances spark at events like PAX and Comic Con. And some people—most people—are content to live day to day and luck into chemistry and attraction. But every guy has seen a girl who has taken his breath away, or been on a date that didn’t end with a comic strip proposing marriage to her through his alter ego, a date where the girl decided, inexplicably, that she just wanted to be friends. 

I am a nerd. I can run D&D 1st, 2nd, or 3rd from memory with very little help, and I have a Planescape: Torment tattoo proudly on my right arm. Just TALKING about Shadowrun gets my excited. I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel and DC comics, and I have strong feelings about what Batman would or would NOT do in any given situation. I built my computer, and I’m going to build my next one, to say nothing of the hundreds of servers I built in the Marines.

And beautiful women, the women I would want from afar, used to scare the shit out of me. 

Our kind, the nerds, are the worst of the lot, man! How many girls did YOU have at your gaming table? They are thin on the ground in my weekly d20 modern group and in my XBox Live Friends list, and I don’t think I’m overreaching with my anecdotal evidence when I say my experience is not abnormal. I’m sure we both have compelling reasons for WHY girls might steer clear of our favorite hobby, but the simple reality is that gaming, even when there are comparitively a LOT of girls, is still going to see WAY more men than women.  It doesn’t grant us the same male/female socialization tools that say, sports does. 

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Jeezy Creezy.  This thing is a fucking rabbit hole.

(CW)TB

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