Alpha Males, Beta Males, and the Illusion of Game

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I think it was in March when I stumbled upon this article by Roosh, a pick up artist, about how Toronto is in his opinion the worst city in the world for men to live in. The post goes on to deride the women of Toronto for being obese, disinterested cockblockers who care more about getting late night eats than hooking up. (Oh, the humanity.)

As a single man who has lived in Toronto for a long time, his article was a shock to me. I since discovered that Toronto is famous for being a city where it is difficult to meet people, and for having a terribly fucked up dating culture. There have been dozens of forum threads, news articles, and blog posts about this. Even The Grid, (an alt-weekly magazine whom I have written many fine pieces of journalism for), sets people up on dates that flop much of the time. The city is sometimes called “Toronto the Cold” and many Torontonians who travel abroad are astounded to see how much friendlier people are in other countries.

This launched me into a frenzy of research on the pickup artist subculture. I read a many blogs and watched a multitude of You Tube videos about this whole concept of “game” and the distinctions of alpha males and beta males. I discovered that the whole pickup artist culture actually started in Toronto with guys like Mystery, the subject of Neil Strauss’s highly acclaimed book The Game. Mystery has become one of the most well known pickup artists in the world and even hosted his own VH1 show called, ostensibly, The Pickup Artist. And so I began to wonder, did PUA originate in Toronto, and continue to be very prevalent here, because it is so hard to pick up in Toronto? Did we perpetuate this whole subculture to begin with?

I dug further and further into the characteristics of alpha males, the nature of game, and the various tactics and techniques they use to ensnare their prey (women). I walk the streets of Toronto and most of the women I see have earphones and big movie star sunglasses that make it impossible to initiate contact with them. Did they get this way because of the incessant advances of the thriving PUA culture here, or did the PUA culture arise because of their consistent distancing from male suitors?

It’s a bona fide chicken-and-the-egg scenario. I don’t know if anyone ever will figure it out, but I will say that the women in Toronto have very high expectations which make it difficult to connect. The men, on the other hand, are mostly too chickenshit to approach them and strike up a conversation. In most cases people in Toronto meet either through online dating, or mutual friends. The PUA indoctrination forces men to start doing cold approaches and tries arms them with the weaponry to dismantle the shields women raise at the onset of their advances.

The goal of PUA dogma is to turn beta males into alpha males in a similar fashion as how the army turns soft, squishy doughboys into hard, tempered war machines. The distinction between the alpha and beta male are many, and listing them would be exhausting, but I can make it easy to understand if you know anything about modern TV and Hollywood movies.

To imagine an alpha male think Don Draper, James Bond, or Hank Moody. To imagine a beta male think about the entire cast of Big Bang Theory, or any character played by Seth Rogen or Michael Cera.

The alpha male characteristics are so highly prized because they arouse attention and attraction. The beta male, although endearing and kind, does not warrant a second look. This is certain death in the eyes of the PUA.  A beta may as well hand over his balls because he is not a real man. He will not attract beautiful women. So PUA trains these men in the ways of the alpha, instructing them on posture and body language. Refining their conversational skills and adjusting their reactions to social cues. Whipping them into shape at the gym and forcing them into grooming regimens. Updating their wardrobe to look fashionable, and reprogramming their mannerisms to look cool.

PUA attempts to teach these men that as long as they play the game right, keep their skills tight, then they can have the women they desire. Rejections will come, it’s a fact of life, but the PUA forges ahead confident they will succeed as long as they keep their game tight. They will face humiliation time and time again and attempt to look unfazed, always soldiering on against all odds until they get their dicks wet. Game is really just about numbers.

Like playing the lottery, it’s still a numbers game. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what a dashing Casanova a PUA might be, he may still be doomed to failure. PUA infuses men with a false sense of bravado and pride making them think they are much more than they are; an elaborate coping mechanism designed by men from hard-up cities like Toronto to deal with the agony of being shot down a million times. There may be useful things to glean from it, but it is still a game.

I think about those sad sack bastards shelling out money to go to PUA courses and shake my head. It’s great to want to improve yourself, but these PUA courses fill your head with the wrong ideas. When you get into systems and boiling things down to strategies, you venture into dangerous territory. Human interactions are dynamic ecosystems and there is never a plan for every contingency.

You can be a better man, you can adapt the PUA techniques, but you can only ever be the best you that you can be. The PUA teachings only add to it, or even enhance it. They do not guarantee anything. All game is illusory.

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