I hold dominion over my world. I am the ruler of my own existence, and everything here, everything I possess, ever memory, every action, every inch of my skin as it blisters in the sun is absolutely a manifestation of my presence of self. Every aspect of me that every other person perceives as I strut through this world is merely a product of everything that I have ever been and everything that I ever will be. I control the narrative of the self, and other people are simply reading the words of me that I have put forth. No one can ever change that, and the decisions I make are the ones that I choose because I am the only one who can decree what I do next. My past and the way I carry it are unique to who I am, and I am the person I am today because this is who I always wanted to be. And while that might be a constant work in progress as the tides of the outside world ebb and flow while I float through the sea of the world today, this is the only me that I could ever be in these circumstances. This is the only person I could possibly think of being with a life like this. If my life were different, then my decisions would be different, and I would be a different person – but those are merely hypotheticals, which are a waste of time, because we are dealing with the reality that we live in now and not the fantasy of tomorrow. Nothing will change the fact that I am me, and that the me I am today is the perfect summation of all my past experiences, the ideal incarnation of my best thoughts and worst decisions. I am who I am because this is who I am supposed to be, and this is who I have chosen to be. If I do not wear myself with pride, it is no one else’s fault other than my own that the life I live is not in some way coated in gold. I choose gold for me.
I miss the pain of wanting him, and I miss the horror of having him. I walk through these days like a well tempered woman, but there’s something missing in my step as skip down these streets. When just weeks ago, I was wracked with the pain of him in my life. I was broken and crying because of him. And now that he is gone, and now that the pain of missing him has dissipated, and now that I am a real woman again – but it feels so empty for some reason. Not feeling pain for some reason equates to not feeling anything at all. Instead of being replaced by joy, the pain has simply disappeared and left nothing in its place. I feel hollow. He was the knife in my back, and now that it has been removed, I am not bleeding, and I want to know why. There is no scab, just a hole in my back, which is why I want him back, so I can feel bigger again. So I can feel something again, really. I am feeling nothing, and it is not because I have anesthetized myself to pain, but rather because all feeling has evaporated. There is no pleasure. There is no pain. There is simply nothing. And I think I would like to feel something, anything more than just nothing, so I seek him out in these streets and in between my sheets so he can hurt me again so I can feel alive again. It is easier to seek comfort in the arms of hurting than to traverse the other side of the chasm of personal emptiness because the prospect of finding something better than the pain he gave me every day is the most frightening thing of all.
I’ve been reading a lot of books on the art of picking up women recently, and I have to admit: they’re quite fascinating. The Game by Neil Strauss (2005) is a look into the world of picking up women at bars, mostly in Los Angeles. It chronicles Neil aka Style’s metamorphosis from a regular chump into a so-called stud, and when the book was released it caused quite a stir. Mostly because generally unattractive men could figure out how to fuck hot chicks, and for some reason that was revelatory. To boil down the science of PUA into something short and simple, basically you have to have confidence. That’s really what it’s all about. Have confidence, understand the art of conversation, and understand how to initiate sex. These are three very basic tenets that he explains over the course of a 400 page book, which is cool, but by the end it becomes kind of exhausting. Mostly because: we get it. If you want to make out with a chick or get her phone number or bang her, then you have to turn off certain insecurities, learn how to handle to occasional rejection and be self assured in your conversational skills.
Apparently these tenets are so esoteric that people’s minds were blown when this book came out and the information was disseminated in a cut and dry, easy to consume manner. But, in all honesty, when looking at the “game” that these books and this lifestyle preach, it’s not very complicated. There are plenty of people who intuit this information from an early age. These people are called “naturals” and are the guys who got all the girls in high school without having to log into generally misogynistic PUA forums online. This isn’t carefully guarded knowledge, and it’s not hard to understand or execute. Yet for some reason, not everyone in our society can grasp the concepts of confidence and conversation.
When thinking about it critically, it becomes apparent that the skills of socialization – while essential to one’s happiness because we are social creatures who rely upon each other – are skills that everyone is expected to have but no one is taught. We are taught math, science, the arts, language – but we aren’t taught how to interact with each other. We aren’t taught how to talk to each other. We aren’t taught how to talk to members of the opposite sex. We aren’t taught how to be confident in our sexuality. Instead, these are basic skills that we are expected to pick up on as we venture out into the world. But everyone’s experience in the world is different, and especially as children go through an education system that is meant to turn out obedient workers, the human element of our early education can miss the mark. Our inability to find each other and engage each other galvanizes misery and unhappiness, yet there doesn’t seem to be a good solution to the problem.
In the PUA books, the characters become masters of initial human interaction. The characters learn to master the first step of relationships. They are experts at beginning relationships, and their techniques are the result of obsessive fixation on how to start a conversation or form a connection with someone. These are very day one interactions, and it’s interesting to see people fixated on mastering something so basic. It’s almost pitiful when, at the moralizing end of the book, they come to realize that they have mastered how to initiate a sexual relationship, but they have no understanding of how to maintain or foster those relationships into something more fulfilling or meaningful.
It’s easy for women to decry PUAs as misogynistic and demeaning towards women, and often times that culture is. But PUAs are born out of fear of women, and they conclude in a very masculine culture. PUA culture depicts a fairly sad but also mesmerizing aspect of modern American masculinity. While often times PUAs can be condescending, manipulative, dishonest and cruel towards women, the bitterness that comes from having been a person who had no game is merely goaded by an innate, inherent desire for love, affection and sex. As one’s perspective on the value of love, affection and sex changes over the course of time when one realizes that those things are cheapened after mastering the ability to easily attain them, it’s easy for attitudes towards love, affection, sex and ultimately women to fall into a trap of cynicism and disrespect.
But if we can repair the culture of misogyny that PUA spouts by demystifying this knowledge and even teaching children how to properly socialize across gender lines, and, then, as they mature, to handle their sexuality gracefully and confidently, then the bitterness of late bloomers can be assuaged. Talking to women shouldn’t be a rarified art form that only the privileged few can access. It should be something that anyone can engage in, because talking to women is a natural, average thing to do.
On the flip side of that, I’m wondering where I can pick up the female PUA book. Where in our culture are the ugly duckling women who grew up to be beautiful and then learned the art of seducing men, taking their money, and walking away unscathed? I guess those women are called strippers and sex workers these days, and our society generally looks down on them, but here’s some food for thought: if women got as hysterical as men do about picking up sex partners, imagine what that would look like! But, actually, we don’t, because the art of being a woman is mystical practice, one that has been honed over centuries, one that we share with each other even in the face of being constantly slut shamed and distanced from our own sexuality. The art of being a woman is power, and I hope to share some of that with you here.