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Pretty Day, Ugly Thoughts Redux

Damn, I’m in an unusually ponderous mood.  I blame the weather.

I’ve been trying for days to wrap up my thoughts on this with a nice little bow.  I thought I should because it’s an issue I’ve raised many times before, and now it’s so very timely.  The “it” in that sentence being the relationship between the pickup or seduction community (a phrase that seems to be favored by many, but I can’t really use without giggling) and .

Let me rewind here.  There’s been several times, both here and in the comments on other people’s blogs, where I’ve mentioned my concern that much of what I see coming out of the PUA  (PUA = pickup artist) blogs and forums is full of hatred towards women.


Let me make that clear.  I am not stating that all of the guys who teach/use pickup have issues with women.  Some of them seem to have very healthy attitudes towards women and all human beings (funny thing, we women, we’re human).  But others do seem to be full of hatred.  And many of the guys on the forums (yes, I read this stuff, I read LOTS of things) seem to be full of anger and resentment and fear.

Women are blamed for a whole heck of a lot.  Our evil feminism ruined everything.  And now the natural order of things has been disturbed.  And we need to be put back in our places.  And men who learn to put us in our (lesser) places (where our only value is for our beauty and potential sexual service) will be the victors.  Whatever.

Like I said, I don’t mean to demonize the whole seduction community (*giggle* I’m sorry, it’s a silly name).  There seem to be some guys out there who are all about teaching men to get over their insecurities and self-improvement.  Completely worthwhile things.

But then last week this misogynist nutjob named George Sodini killed a bunch of women.  And he had attended a pickup seminar. But instead of doing everything they could to distance themselves from the asshole, there were men on PUA blogs who were saying how much they could relate to Sodini.  And others who were saying that the guy could have been “saved” learning (For those of you who haven’t wasted hours of your life reading this shit, game is what these boys call the skill of picking up women.).

I poked around dozens of blogs and only found a couple of guys who came right out and stated the obvious.  This guy hated women.  He was a sociopath who hated women.  His problem wasn’t his long-term celibacy (as I’ve seen written by many guys in the last week, gag).  His long-term celibacy was created by his problem (I’ve watched the video, can you say creepy).

It’s sad that people (because, women are people) died.  Sad that we live in such a violent world.  And sadder still that there are so many young men who look at this guy and see him as a “nice guy” who didn’t learn game and so he couldn’t get laid and so therefore went crazy from the celibacy.

But still, we live in a world of 24 news cycles and so by next week no one is even going to remember this guy.  There will be new tragedies, new deaths, new chaos.   Maybe, just maybe, there will be some guys in pickup/seduction community who have been sensitized by this.  Even if only a little.  Maybe they’ll have read some of the truly repulsive comments and thought, “this isn’t right, these guys sound like they hate women”.  And they’ll say something.  Reshape the discourse.

Some relevant articles:

Gunman Murders Gym-Going Women; Misogynist Approve from

Gym Gunman Was Not Alone: The Making of A Misogynist Murderer from Jezebel

Pittsburgh Shooter George Sodini and his “Dating Young Women” Guru: R. Don Steele from the Village Voice

Pickup Artist: Gym Shooter is One of Us from

George Sodini, R. Don Steele and the Pickup Artist/PUA/Seduction Community from eSeduce

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20 to “Pretty Day, Ugly Thoughts Redux”

  1. Hammer86 says:

    There’s definitely some misogyny in the community, but I don’t think that anyone’s really condoning his behavior. The thing is that we can ALL identify with having had flashes of similar feelings towards women, and can imagine a scenario in which these feelings deepen and grow stronger to the point that someone snaps.

    I want to explain a little about where this comes from, because it’s really kind of sad. Most of these guys have been broken by women. They spend years of their life bending over backward for a woman in their life, buying them things, doing things for them, or otherwise trying to constantly make them happy, only to have their hearts broken by being cheated on, emotionally abused, divorced with half of their shit taken, not being able to see their kids, etc. The crazy thing is, though, that these guys want to be empowered and alpha. They want to make decisions. They’re being the “nice guy” for you! They think it’s what you as a woman want. So of course they’re going to be resentful of women.

    You do stuff like this all of the time when you blow a guy off because he isn’t assertive enough in making plans with you. And I’m not saying you’re wrong to do so, not at all. Attraction isn’t a choice, and no one should settle. But that’s where the resentment comes from. It’s like when you bend over backward for a friend and she’s completely unappreciative. You’re going to think that friend is a bitch and maybe cut her out of your life. When you magnify that hundreds of times to account for the emotional investment that a man makes in a woman or the extent to which he will go for her, maybe you can start to imagine how these guys feel.

    What you really have to understand about the seduction community though is that most guys are BAD. Especially if you’re on a forum, the guys are keyboard jockeys trying to flex their web muscles and seek validation from other men. These are the misogynists. I’ve never met someone who was actually good at attracting women who didn’t have a deep respect and appreciation for the fairer sex.

    I love women, and I love being able to take the the role that I’m comfortable taking, and talking about things that I used to hide from women, and have them respond in ways that even six months ago I never could have imagine possible. That’s really the part that I like the most: being myself and having women respond to it. Even when a woman rejects me, it doesn’t really bother me that much because I know that I’m being myself and if she’s rejecting me she’s probably not that good a fit. This is in direct contrast to these guys who are getting scarred by women after acting the way that they thought women want them to be for years. That incongruence with themselves is what makes it sting even harder when they get hurt.

  2. AGirlNamedMe says:

    Sodini was clearly not a healthy individual. The part that so many can identify with may not be his hatred toward women (and others – he calls his brother a bully and says his father was useless), but the incredible loneliness he felt and the (literally) overwhelming need to be validated by being in a relationship.

    I’m sad for the families of the women, but I also find myself (strangely) sad for Sodini, too – that he couldn’t get the help he needed.

    This has always been one of the red flags in new relationships for me – someone who has not had sex for a long period of time. Normal people want to have sex and work to make that happen. (There are some circumstances where that’s not the case, but mostly.)

  3. aguy says:

    “The thing is that we can ALL identify with having had flashes of similar feelings towards women, and can imagine a scenario in which these feelings deepen and grow stronger to the point that someone snaps.”

    You think, Hammer? Ummmm…. No. Honestly, I have a girlfriend at the moment — but being alone ain’t so bad … I mean, get a dog!

    I just watched this guy’s videos, and I have to agree with SG — he just seems like someone with an undiagnosed mental illness. Seduction “guru” Ross Jeffries says as much in a comment in the eseduce blog Simone links to. As Jeffries mentions, this guy had no friends, no family he relates to, seems to exhibit depressive/paranoid thinking, and completely lacks affect. They’re just creepy, creepy videos.

    It should not be that hard for most men who aren’t creepy/mentally ill and who aren’t looking to date women 10 years their junior to meet ladies!

    Also, I looked at some of the comments in that Rossy blog … ugh, just ugh. To repeat a comment by Bob, “There are some pathetic ass men posting on this site. Feminism is responsible for your unhappiness? Nah, I think being a punk ass idiot is responsible for your unhappiness. I’ve never encountered such a group of entitled, pathetic whiners. God almighty. No wonder you aren’t getting laid. “

  4. RVASarah says:

    It sounds like he (Sodini) was fixating on women who gave him any attention at all. A simple “Hi” or a smile at him would take him up so many levels that when the women weren’t there with him, he’d take it as a rejection and ultimately fall into a deep depression.
    And Hammer, is it possible that when Sodini was “bending over backward for a woman,” she had no clue who he was or how he felt about her? It just sounds like a lot of these rejections may have been part of his deteriorating psyche.

  5. Simone Grant says:

    I think you missed my point. You agree that there is a certain degree of misogyny in the community. AND??? It’s fed and fueled. Never named. Never labeled as unacceptable. And THAT”s repulsive. Because every time some PUA wanna be starts to spout a bunch of women hating nonsense and no one from the community calls him on his hatred, it makes you all look like a bunch of women hating knuckle draggers. Yes, it’s guilt by association. But you choose to remain associated with those fools.
    You’re a very compassionate person. It is very sad that he couldn’t get the help he needed. But them, he reached out for “help” – just not the right kind.
    Yep. Seriously, I had no intention of writing about this. But then I went to that blog and read the comments. I was so full of sadness and anger, for days. Just gross.
    It’s so wonderful that I have readers who actually try to understand what goes on in the minds of sick (mentally sick) people.

  6. Simone Grant says:

    Wow, my comments were lacking in some basic punctuation. I hate when that happens. Must learn to type slower.

  7. Hammer86 says:

    I think you’re missing my point. I try to avoid placing normative judgments on people, particularly regarding their emotions. It’s kind of amazing to me that at your advanced age, you still lack maturity in this area. Telling someone that the way that they feel is bad or wrong is not going to help them or really anyone, it would merely fuel the fire. A better solution would be to help him work through his issues and more importantly take responsibility for his life, but again, how is it my place to get involved in that?

    I write my blog for me. I enjoy the interaction and think I have some interesting perspectives for people reading. I imagine you probably write for similar reasons. Most of what I discuss on my blog is very advanced and high level, really not designed for those “women hating knuckle draggers” to read or understand.

    I associate with the community and the people in it because I have undergone massive change in my life and overcome incredible obstacles to get to where I am today as a result of it. The deck was stacked against me hard, and I’m not going to let the idiocy of one sociopathic buffoon cheapen the value of what can be gained.

    When it comes down to it, the seduction community is essentially a specialized branch of the self help industry, and misogynists in the community need help, not reprimanding. But you can’t really help someone until they’ve hit rock bottom, and at the point of misogyny you’re still dealing with someone who’s in denial about their own issues. It isn’t until someone takes responsibility for their own failures that they can really look to make changes, and I think this is a big part of why the misogynists in the community are allowed to run free and play with each other at the kiddie table while the grown ups help those who really want to change.

  8. Simone Grant says:

    Once again, I’m shaking my head at you. “My advanced age”. Hysterical.
    There are actually rights and wrongs in this world. Hatred is wrong. When people are speaking and preaching hatred, it’s wrong. You can choose to view it however you like. But, a bunch of men venting about their hatred of women on a forum is no different than any other hate speech. And that’s dangerous because it festers and feeds on itself. The fact that it’s so casually tolerated in the PUA community is the main reason why the community is given so little respect. You don’t deserve it.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

  9. URwingman says:

    The “Community” will continue to have a very hard time getting out of the “dark hole” only because of public perception. This certainly doesn’t help. As someone who has seen what goes on in the community, I’ve noticed that there is a small element of desired manipulation in order to avoid feeling manipulated. It’s like beating someone to the punch. And for someone who has been on that beginner’s road to personal development, if I can see that, it’s not too hard for the “outsiders” to see that either.

    On the other hand, for those who are genuinely “good people,” they use the “Community” as a means of learning self-development and channel it through learning to be better with women – simply because most men depend their success on the women that they are with and can “use” women as a focal point for that self-development. It’s easier for them because women are very valuable (for social and biological reasons) and so an instant priority.

    A man’s hatred toward women IS wrong, just like a woman’s hatred toward men. I don’t know all of the details but I do know that there is a difference between venting and proclaiming. We’ve all been hurt. Simone has talked about it many a time and she’s vented a good deal but at the same time, I don’t remember her proclaiming all men evil. I think many of us here WOULD say something. From what she wrote in this particular post, it seems like no one really said anything when the guy proclaimed his hatred for women, which does question the integrity of the “Community.”

    Just some late night thoughts before I head to bed.

  10. MindyMom/SingleMomSays says:

    Great post Simone. I think you hit he nail on the head.

    Some of the comments here have the same tone as some on a recent post of mine:

    This was a a follow up to the post before it which also had some pretty heated comments.

    The issue was different but the thought process is the same. Until men can SEE how what they do and say impacts the rest of us nothing wil change. It takes awareness to implement change and you have to be willing to consider another’s perspective to become aware.

  11. Hammer86 says:

    I’m glad you liked that advanced age comment. First of all, hate speech still speech, and last I checked speech is protected in this country, as it should be. So even if this misogyny were manifesting itself as hate speech, which it’s not, it would still be allowed.

    You really are quite judgmental, and it shows a lack of maturity on your part. When I look at hateful people, I don’t look at it as good or bad, I just feel sorry for them. People who are happy and self-validated don’t hate others. I guess that you still have quite a lot to learn in that department.

    The thing is that you’re misinterpreting insecurity and frustration with genuine hate. If these guys really hated women, they wouldn’t want to try to date them and develop relationships with them. These men don’t hate women, they’re just emotionally bruised and damaged. I know you don’t have any sympathy for these guys, but maybe if you weren’t so judgmental of them and instead reached out and tried to meet some of them, you’d have a better understanding of what the community is all about.

    There is a fringe arm of the community, composed of Roissy and Roosh among others, who do come off as very misogynist and women hating, but from what I can tell this whole thing is just an act. They are talking this way because they find it entertaining and enjoy pressing people’s buttons. They’re like the heels in wrestling. These guys don’t actually hate women at all, they just love to be hated themselves, so they say things in inflammatory ways to get a rise out of people.

  12. klawless says:

    Thanks for writing this post. I get too hung up on all the objectification and opposite sides mentality in the mainstream PUA community to be able to write about it clearly. Why do men and women have to be on opposite sides? Aren’t we all aiming for the same thing? And since when does someone else’s actions excuse another person’s behavior? You are who you are and you react out of that place.

    I know a LOT of men and women who go for long periods without sex and it doesn’t make them kill people or try to turn them into sex objects with the same amount of emotional connection you have with a vibrator. Like you say in your post… we are all people. Some good… some bad… some both depending on the day.

  13. RVASarah says:

    Hammer: You calling Simone “judgmental” is like the pot calling the kettle black.
    I’ve seen your comments over the past few months, and many of them are laced with judgment towards Simone and women in general. You sound like you’ve been hurt deeply by women. I don’t think being hurt is an excuse to take out your anger on someone you don’t know. Your comments indeed show your lack of maturity –a term you use on this site quite frequently.

    judg·men·tal (adj.): 2. characterized by a tendency to judge harshly

    The above was me passing judgment on you.

  14. JayCataldo says:

    Hi Simone,

    I totally understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been involved in the “community” in varying degrees since 1997 and while it’s done a lot of good for many men, there are still many things wrong with it. Yes, if you browse the blogs and message boards, you will find writings filled to the brim with anger and resentment towards the opposite sex, but almost never from the instructors, so I think the issue here is with the clientele the industry attracts.

    Since they’re marketing to frustrated, lonely men you’ll come across all different types from the normal, well-adjusted college kids who happen to be shy around pretty girls, to the crazy lunatics that despise the entire female race. And just to be fair, it’s not only the PUA boards that harbor this kind of hostility. You’ll find misogynistic rants on some of the social anxiety boards, as well as other places where frustrated men tend to congregate.

    Now as far as the PUA’s believing that “game” would have turned Sodini’s life around, I’m not surprised at all. Most Christians will tell you that the Bible would have saved this man, whereas a Scientologist would say all he needed was an autographed copy of Dianetics. However you slice it, the “community” is essentially a cult, so it’s no wonder that some of these guys are programmed to believe “The Venusian Arts Handbook” would have transformed this deranged lunatic and saved the lives of those poor women.

    Yet, all three camps are mistaken. Some people are just plain messed up in the head and nothing short of serious psychological help (in addition to meds, in some cases) will help them combat their inner demons. I agree that pent up sexual frustration could be a contributor to Solini’s mental deterioration (some muslim sects use a combination of drugs, hate conditioning and sex deprivation to manufacture their suicide bombers) but it’s not the only factor here. There are plenty of celibate muslims who would never resort to violence and I personally know of many men who couldn’t score if there lives depended on it, yet happen to be the kindest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet. Soldini had problems that went way beyond his inability to attract women.

    So maybe an RSD seminar would have helped Solini end his dry spell. Hell, he might have even gone on a crazy tear and burned through four box-springs. But no matter how “same day lays” he racked up, this is the kind of guy that finally settles down with a girlfriend, gets cheated on and enacts a horrific revenge (see O.J.) regardless of how many Mystery Method dvd’s he’s studied.

    Now if you’re running a pickup company or message board, I doubt there’s any way to weed out the psychos, and even if there was, you would need a lot of integrity to draw the line since banning them leaves a lot of money on the table. But you have a point, Simone… just sitting back and overlooking these types of comments, for whatever reason, subtly sends the message that it’s ok to propagate these sentiments (and there’s a big difference between telling someone it’s wrong to feel what they feel and simply stating that hate-fueled diatribes will not be tolerated).

    So the question is, are the instructors/leaders going to man up and set some standards for their throng of worshippers (it isn’t that difficult and I’m sure a few have already done so) or are they going to turn a blind eye to avoid upsetting potential customers? Hopefully, more posts like this will follow suit and help convince these guys to do the right thing.

    And hammer86, this: “It’s kind of amazing to me that at your advanced age, you still lack maturity in this area” is completely unnecessary and in terms of “maturity” (like RVASarah said) is pot calling kettle so please be respectful of Simone and the rest of the women here. Thanks.

    -Jay Cataldo

  15. aguy says:

    “So maybe an RSD seminar would have helped Solini end his dry spell” … um, Solini DID attend a R. Don Steele seminar. And bought his book!

  16. Simone Grant says:

    Thank you everyone for chiming in. I will probably comment some more tomorrow to the specifics, as I just got in a from a date and I’m tired, but just quickly re Jay’s point: YES, it might cost the leaders/authors/instructors/whatever some money if they said, “hey, that’s a lot of hate you’re spouting there and if that’s the way you feel about women maybe you need a different kind of help”. But it would be the right thing to do. Instead what I see happening is a mob mentality forming on some of these forums. One guy says something hateful and then another says something encouraging and then another and then it snowballs into a bunch of men encouraging each other to be more and more hateful. And I do believe that that kind of stuff breeds more hate. And potential violence.

    And any PERSON worthy of the title of leader would stand up and say something.

  17. aguy says:

    I don’t know … looking at the Roissy blog, yes there were a few guys in the comment section saying misogynistic things. And there were a lot of other guys saying, umm, you are being losers who need to stop blaming women for your problems. I didn’t read all 2,000 comments that were left after this, but at least that was my impression from skimming them.

    It’s worth noting that Sodini’s blog wasn’t so much hateful as … pathetic. Aggrieved. Alone…

  18. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I too have been disturbed by the “gaming” community for years now. What disturbs me most is that I don’t think this kind of misogyny is something the Internet created. I think it’s just given a voice to it. Somehow, I think we got fooled into believing that the women’s lib movement eradicated misogyny when really it’s been there all the time, simmering just beneath the surface. The Internet is a reminder that it’s still very much present but frighteningly concealed out in the world.

    It also bothers me that it takes murder for the public to condemn this behavior. The problem with the “gaming” community is not that it teaches men how to attract women but that the goal usually seems to be to attract them in order to deceive and manipulate them for personal gain. Where is the condemnation of that? That attitude toward women, as objects to be used and discarded, is the precursor to violence.

    Hammer86: You said that if a guy has been extraordinarily hurt by a woman, then “of course [he’s] going to be resentful of women.” I’ve been deeply hurt by several guys. I resent THOSE GUYS, not men. “Men” didn’t hurt me. THOSE GUYS did. The inability of these “gamer” types to distinguish between a few women who hurt them and the rest of womankind is scary. Also, misogyny and repulsion are not the same thing. A man can be very attracted to women but harbor ugly attitudes toward them and/or treat them poorly just as a woman can be attracted to men but harbor ugly attitudes toward them and/or treat them poorly.

    AGirlNamedMe: There are lots of reasons why someone might not be sexually active for awhile other than that they’re not “normal.” Some people only have sex with partners they have strong feelings for, so if someone like that isn’t available for awhile, they’ll take care of their needs on their own. Other people put sex and relationships aside while they’re focusing on other things in life–education, travel, new business, creative pursuits, whatever. There’s a lot more to life than just sex and dating.

  19. Jonsi says:

    I agree misogyny exists in the community, and it is not something limited to a fringe group of frustrated men. There is nothing empowering or alpha, when describing a “lay report”, about how “this bitch was giving me last minute resistance, so I did xyz, and then she took my cock like a good little girl should.” No, that is NOT misogynistic, but it is CONTEMPTUOUS.

    Another aspect for your consideration: the community RARELY advocates professional therapy. Why not? Because it would eat into their profit margins? Because it’s too beta? Clearly, Sodini needed this, but most frustrated men who the seduction material is marketed to would benefit, especially from cognitive behavioral therapy. I don’t have statistics, but the prevalence of depression/anxiety is certainly high in those entering the community. Pickup largely focuses on the behavioral component of CBT, but for all the talk of “inner game”, the cognitive aspect is marginalized. It focuses on results-based behaviors and it is successful. That success will lessen your anxiety, but it does not illuminate the distorted thought processes, and how and why they are distorted, that initially caused the anxiety. It’s easy to recognize (especially in person) those individuals whose cognitive distortions is what primarily limits their success with women. The community should advocate those men receive CBT in addition to pickup behaviors. It would result in a healthier community, a healthier population, and healthier relationships.

  20. Simone Grant says:

    -Wow, so many great comments. Thank you all for chiming it. I’m not even going to address them all specifically because I’ve been out of the conversation for a couple of days. Just a couple/few of things.

    I think it’s incredibly important for people on any blog/website/discussion forum to be able to discuss their personal experiences. I frequently talk about specific issues with guys in my life. I have someone who I call the evil. AND, I’ve written about how much I love men in general. As URWingman pointed out, I would expect people to say something to me if all I did was say how much all men suck.

    As Singletude pointed out, there are lots of guys in the PUA world who don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between “my ex was a bitch” and “all women are bitches”. And no one is calling them on their shit. Not healthy.

    Jonsi, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the seduction community should be advocating counseling (real, professional) for men who clearly need it. And it frustrates me to no end that they don’t.

    aguy, The discussion thread you reference was seriously affected by the publicity of this case (and the many women’s sites who linked to it). I’m really talking about the every day talk that goes on, when no one from the outside is looking.