Further Ruminations on Game

I. Introduction

This post is a continuation of my series on Game. It is motivated in part by a desire to continue the discussion started in my previous posts on the subject here and here, and also in response to Deep Strength’s first post and second post on the subject. [In case folks weren’t aware, Deep Strength, a regular commenter here and elsewhere in the ‘sphere, has started his own blog. You can find it here.] This post is going to meander a bit, mostly because I have scattered thoughts and not so much a coherent argument to bring forth on the subject. Everything adds up to reach an overall conclusion, but it won’t be as polished as is my norm. You’ve been warned.

II. What’s in a Name?

One problem that consistently plagues any discussion of Game is what it bloody well means. You know its bad when you realize you’ve said something along the lines of that sentence many times before. Definition is a serious problem, because it sets the scope of debate. It is usually easier to agree on what Game is than what it isn’t. What Roosh does is obviously Game, and no one contests that. I think that most would agree that the various methods employed by Roissy to keep a STR going would also be considered Game. But when someone like Joseph of Jackson adopts some of the things he learned to find a potential wife, is that Game? When Dalrock, Keoni Galt and SAM (Elspeth‘s husband) put their respective wives in their place, is that Game? This is far from clear. Some would argue yes, and others no.

These distinctions are important, because depending on what falls outside the scope of Game, a moral defense of its can become easier or impossible. I think that Deep Strength provided a good summary of some of the different definitions in his first post:

  • The first crowd believes that “game” is a specific set of codified techniques that were “pioneered” by the PUAs in order to improve your relative attractiveness to a woman’s in order to use other techniques to get a woman into bed.
  • The second crowd believes that “game” is a toolbox insomuch that a tool such as a hammer can be used to do constructive things such as building furniture whereas it can also be used as a weapon to bash someone over the head.
  • The third crowd believes that “game” is fundamentally about “charisma” or “self improvement” because masculinity is about building a man who is not just respect by women but by other men, children, colleagues in the workplace, etc. It is the ability to wield influence.
  • Finally, there is a fourth depiction of game that Leap has been commenting on which is the one I most agree with having studied the Scripture more in depth. This is the depiction of game that it is inherently worldly in nature, and that masculinity of the positive variety comes from being a masculine man of God as the Scripture define it.

Deep Strength takes the same position as Leap of a Beta, that Game is a worldly thing. My own take has varied since I found the manosphere. For the longest time I held to the “toolbox” view. I saw Game as a series of tools that could be used, like all tools, for Good or for Evil. But Leap’s comments about how Pride is at the heart of Game have caused me to reevaluate this approach.

[I should note that under the first categorization, there are plenty of types of Pick-up Game out there- “fast game” and “slow game”, “day game” and “night game”, “direct game” and “indirect game”, etc.]

In my second post in the series, “Godly Masculinity versus Game”, I considered several different models which tried to explain what Game was. I think that they represented real progress in defining Game, but were still incomplete. My biggest problem was how they treated the base of both systems, “Masculine Frame.” I gave both the same base, but this didn’t set well with me and I explained that I thought there were differences between the two. This is where Leap’s comment on Pride comes into play.

You see, part of the reason why I waited so long before writing this follow-up post is because I wanted to become more familiar with Game. I knew some things about it, but had never really dived into it before in depth. So I did some digging. OK, a lot of digging. And in the process realized that Leap was quite right about the role that Pride plays. Pretty much every Game practitioner that I found, from Heartiste on down, emphasizes the importance of confidence to Game. More than even the importance, the centrality of it. Heartiste has as one of his “16 Commandments” the development of an irrational self-confidence in oneself. And Pride is at the heart of this confidence in self. But past the Pride, past the self-confidence, past even “Frame” you find the real core, the base or foundation of what Game is all about: The elevation and advancement of self above all else.  Or otherwise stated, the Idolatry of Self.

This new understanding leads to another definition of Game: A philosophy grounded in Idolatry of Self that frames itself around prideful self-confidence and revolves around creating a toolbox of methods to advance one’s self-interest in all walks of life.

So Game is not a Toolbox, but rather a toolbox is what Game seeks to go about creating. It is a step in the process of advancing oneself. This leads to a new model for Game:

Revised Game Pyramid

Idolatry of Self forms the base or foundation of the pyramid, which is the core guiding principle.  This foundation is not visible, you have to dig beneath the surface to find it, which is why many (including myself) fail(ed) to realize it. Above it we find self-confidence, which is the core of the “Frame” that a man carries himself about in. This is visible, and is the basic manifestation of a man’s character. Above that is the Toolkit, a combination of knowledge and skills developed to achieve whatever goal is sought. And at the top is Temptation, the end result of successful Game in a specific endeavor: to bed a woman.

With all of this in mind, the concept of Game being a “way of life” doesn’t seem nearly as far-fetched. When people talks about applying Game to other aspects of their life besides

III. The Placebo Effect

One Game related topic that is getting talked about a lot right now in certain quarters is the “conversion” or success rate of Pick-up Game. A good example of this debate can be found at ZippyCatholic’s blog, in his post How About Earning a Living Playing Slots? His whole post can be summed up as-

Game is a placebo, which is “better than doing nothing at all: there is quantifiable benefit, in general, in just putting in an effort.” The low success rate proves it doesn’t work as advertised.

I agree with Zippy that most Game does in fact provide a placebo effect. Although not quite in the same way that I think he does. The key thing to keep in mind is that a placebo only works when you don’t know that it is a placebo. [Wrong. See here for a better description of the Placebo effect. Thanks to Deep Strength and Zippy for pointing this out to me.]

Most of what Game does for the majority of its practitioners is to bolster their confidence. The various tricks and gimmicks that they use (and they are just that)  to “generate attraction” or “provide comfort” (or the other components of whatever Game system is being used) don’t actually work like that. Let me explain by example: When a PUA thinks up some great new “opener” to approach a woman with that he is certain will work, and it does in fact work, it isn’t the opener that is the reason for his success. Rather, it is his certainty, his confidence that the opener will work that makes it work. This is because the woman isn’t really listening to what he says, but how he says it and the rest of his overall body language.

The placebo effect occurs when the idea is implanted into a player’s mind that if he can use the right moves, then he is guaranteed success. This false impression can give him the self-confidence he needs to act more attractive, rather than generate it through silly gimmicks like clever openers and wearing silly hats.

IV. Lies, Damned Lies and…

This is of course the perfect time to address conversion rates. I’ve seen a lot of people make assumptions when they shouldn’t, and misinterpret the numbers given out by PUAs. So I will take the time to clear a few things up. I will be repeating myself and a few others here, but I think the repetition will be valuable.

When a Player talks about how he has a 2.7% conversion rate, what that means is this: Approximately 2.7% of the women he approached had sex with him. It does not mean that Game works on 2.7% of the female population. It doesn’t even mean that Game works on 2.7% of the women he approached. It means simply that 2.7% of the women that the individual player approached responded by having sex with him.

A different player might have a higher conversion rate. Or a lower one. And he might have success with entirely different women. While female preferences don’t vary as much as male preferences, they do have them.

But why such a low number?

Well, that is just one example. Other PUAs have higher (and lower) numbers. Of course, most of them never really get conversion rates which are terribly high (such as over 10%). There are two main reasons for this, one of which is a short answer that I will get out of the way.

The 2.7% number comes from a guy practicing “Day Game” that sounds pretty direct. Also, he was almost certainly using “Fast Game” as well. For those who don’t understand those terms, a brief explanation: Day Game means using Game on women outside of nightclubs or other hotspots, basically, everyday locations like malls, grocery stores or just walking on the street. This is difficult because women rarely want to be approached in this way while going about their business. Direct Game is where you make your intentions and interest obvious from the very start. Indirect Game, on the other hand, involves hiding or couching your initial interest and attempting to get inside a woman’s comfort zone before escalating. Direct Game is high-risk, high-reward; it is very easy for it to blow up in your face. And “Fast Game” is a technique that includes a very rapid-paced Direct Game that is built towards quickly assessing whether a woman might respond positively to the approach or not.

What this means is that the approaches the PUA was engaging in were difficult, and they were quick paced. So he didn’t actually spend a whole lot of time (or money) to get what he wanted. And apparently he was only approaching very attractive women who were much younger than he was. Under these circumstances, from the perspective of someone wrapped in sin, this isn’t bad at all. I should mention at this point that Cane Caldo has written several excellent responses to Zippy’s various arguments. I would start here, and then read this.

V. A House Built on Sand

24 “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; 25 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; 27 and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”

(Matthew 7:24-27)

This brings us to the second reason why most PUA success or conversion rates are so low: they have built their houses on sand.

As I explained above, Game builds up an artificial confidence in would-be PUAs through a sort of placebo effect. As a result of this, their  self-confidence is hollow and unsteady. This, combined with another weakness I will cover shortly, leaves their Frame weak. If something should go wrong with their approach, then their confidence will wane, and their frame will start to fall apart. If that happens often enough or if they make a serious mistake then the whole approach risk collapse.  In which case they get rejected.  Not to mention, many women will see right through the illusion that is their “masculine” frame and turn them down.

The hollowness comes about because many PUA types advocate a “fake it until you make it” philosophy when it comes to confidence and frame. But the truth is that few, if any, ever truly make it. After their initial foray into Game, most of their confidence is founded on their success with women. But if they should have a dry spell where they enjoy little to no success, then they will begin to question themselves. This of course only increases their angst and further weakens their chances.

It isn’t surprising that for many the pinnacle of Game, tempting women into their beds, becomes the center point of their lives. You can see this in statements like “Every man must learn Game” and in the way that many PUAs pull more and more women, just to be certain that they can. Their Frame, the concept of self they present to the world, demands it.

Another reason for this hollowness is found in the often effeminate nature of much of Games. In his latest post Cane Caldo dissects Game and its origins, focusing on how many Game advocates started to drum up the manliness of it over time:

Wounded by the charge of effeminism (as men should be) the PUAs started to respond with more sophisticated evo-psych nonsense about Game being a covert, esoteric, and ancient manliness. Covert so as not to upset PC sensibilities during the performance of Game; esoteric so as to explain why their knowledge about such tactics aren’t common (When they are by all accounts procreationally necessary, and even genetic! How did all those Alphas spawn all these Betas?) ; ancient so as to cast a glamour over those susceptible to the trappings of tradition.

It should be noted that not all Game practitioners are effeminate. But many are, including a lot of the leading lights. I theorize that the reason for this is found in the gimmicks and tricks that they use. Many of them are quite passive-aggressive in nature. Cane’s description of the Neg (as practiced by PUA’s) as “cattiness with plausible deniability” is spot on. Essentially, using these methods to tempt women is to play their own “game” against them. Passive-aggressive tactics are the go-to weapon for women. And Game as practiced by PUAs is full of passive-aggressive tactics meant to get inside a woman’s head.  The way I see it, if a man uses feminine tactics long enough, it starts to effect him. As he practices female techniques, he starts to become more feminine.

Natural players don’t tend to be like this at all. They are also usually more successful than Game using players. Why? It is because the naturals had to build up their own Frame, isolated from the precepts of Game. And that frame is usually very masculine in nature, because that is what women are looking for in a man. Naturals often end up using many of the same tools, but they acquire theirs through trial and error. Game practitioners never develop this sense of masculinity because their Frame isn’t something they build on their own over time. Instead, it is something that is sort of built for them by whomever teaches them Game. With only the concept of irrational self-confidence to guide their Frame, users of Game are themselves susceptible to the manipulative forces they seek to unleash on women.

V. An Alternative

Given what have I said so far in this post, it is obvious that Game is incompatible with Christianity. Christians worship God, not ourselves; yet that is the central premise of Game. So what is a married Christian man, or a Christian man looking to marry, to do then? Free Northerner has just created a post asking for an alternative to Game for Christians. Why? Because there is none at the moment. And one is badly needed.

The current MMP is a disaster for Christians. Good men and women cannot find one another. And even when they do find one another, neither knows how to go about the process of courtship. Women don’t know how to signal and men cannot recognize the signals that do get made. For decades Christian men and women have been fed misinformation about the opposite sex. Married Christian men are in an especially delicate position, because they face a hostile culture and legal system that has empowered and encouraged their wives to detonate their marriages on a whim.

I have some ideas that I want to work out to create this alternative. Others are already trying to figure this out, including Leap of a Beta and Deep Strength. One of my commenters is working on a guest post with his own thoughts and I like some of what I have heard already. My ideas are by no means complete, but I will voice what I have at the moment.

To begin with, I think that the same kind of model that I applied to Game would work to understand this system (which I don’t even have a name for right now). That means a pyramid.

At the base of the pyramid, the Foundation, is masculine Godliness (as compared to Godly Masculinity). Essentially, a deep-abiding faith in the Almighty which also fully embraces the masculine nature that God intended for men to posses and express.

On top of this foundation we have the Frame, which is built around sophroneo, soundness of mind or sensibility (see here for more). This is what Titus 2:6 urges that young men be taught. Self-control is the name of the game here. Rather than suppress our masculine instincts, we learn to control and harness them. The goal is to manifest a certain kind of unflappability  and sense of control in our lives. To be the rock that women naturally want to cling to.

Above the foundation we have the Toolkit. This is similar in many respects to its counter-part in Game, but is not exactly the same. Game teaches three main things: 1) Behaviors and Attitudes to drop because women find them unattractive; 2) Behaviors and Attitudes to adopt because women find them attractive; 3) Specific techniques to use in order to attract women and tempt them. This Christian alternative Toolkit will use most of #1, a good chunk of #2 and very little of #3.

Lastly, at the pinnacle or cap-stone of the pyramid, we have Adoration. This is the sentiment that we want to kindle in God-fearing women. Attraction by itself is nice and good, but the goal is to become the kind of man that Christian women look up to, the kind of man that they would willingly join their lives to.

Masculine Godliness PyramidThat is the graphic representation of it. I think that most of the work on this project will be focused on the Frame aspect, what I currently refer to as Sophroneo (thanks to Lyn87 for cluing me in to that). Creating a foundation of Masculine Godliness is mostly a personal venture that will take time and effort, but not be all that difficult. A good understanding of how feminism has corrupted Christianity will go a long way. The Toolkit aspect is mostly combing through Game teaching and the Classics to find out what is valuable and what isn’t when it comes to attracting women, then sifting for what is compatible with Christianity and weaving it all together. Adoration should come naturally enough when everything else is put together.

If done right, this system should help Christian men who are already married, as well as those looking to marry. It should be especially helpful for the former, because Game as a means of keeping a wife attracted/interested in marriage is rife with problems. As Seriouslypleasedropit notes in his latest post, PUAs (and Game itself) is a short term endeavor. It isn’t built to sustain things in the long run. Running Game in a marriage will grow to be a tiring affair that is likely to make a husband question its worth. Not to mention possibly fall apart in the end because of the possible feminizing nature of Game in the long run.

VI. Conclusion

As I warned earlier, not exactly a focused post. But hopefully one that has some merit somewhere, and can keep the discussion moving.

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49 Comments

Filed under Alpha, Attraction, Blue Pill, Christianity, Desire, God, LAMPS, Marriage, Masculinity, Men, Red Pill, Sex, Sin, Temptation, Women

49 responses to “Further Ruminations on Game

  1. We are so close. I think I’ve bracketed it.

    “Self” as a foundation is obviously crap. It’s bootstrapping. If bootstrapping were possible, we wouldn’t need salvation.

    But “the masculine nature that God intended for men to possess and express” is…well, not wrong, but it doesn’t really say anything. How to be a man? Be a man! No, we have to go to the source.

    What is the purpose of Man?

    “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

    What is the proper relationship of men and women?

    And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

    Help. Assistance. Support. Company. The man has the mission. The woman’s entire existence is to help him with it.

    I am really trying to get this across here—from Cane, to Tacomaster:

    “Finally, stop masturbating to porn. It is poison. It is so tempting because those dead soulless pictures of dead soulless women exist to please you, and that is what you most desire from your wife.”

    Okay, stop. Are we feeling misogynist yet? Do phrases like “entire existence” and “exist to please you” freak you out? I’d be lying if they didn’t freak me out a bit.

    But what is our role in relation to God? Help. Assistance. Support. Company. His mission. We’re just helping as best we can. We exist to please. What turns that from a nightmare to a dream is that it’s God we’re talking about. What turns women’s role from a nightmare to a dream is good, godly men. They crave that role—assuming it’s the right guy.

    Before your butthurt-Christian-beta alarms go off at that last phrase (mine do, ha)—yes, women are illogical and feelings-centered and have high time preference. How exactly do you think God views us? As far as our salvation is concerned, our lives could be a thousand times worse than they actually are. Why aren’t they? Because we’re illogical feelings-centered mortals with high time preference, and he throws us a bone. I’m sure He derives no particular benefit from us not not dying to tornadoes or whatever, but we do, and we need it. Just because our struggles are miniscule to Him doesn’t mean they’re miniscule to us. So he throws us a bone. But what do women get from us?

    Consider the plight of Christina Christian (YES, I brought her back). The Christian boys are dutifully focused on scripture study and math or whatever, and it is all so dull, and future-oriented, and she needs the feels. But the adults, rather than encouraging the boys to provide said feels and get married, keep them on the straight-and-narrow to…what? Money.

    When she goes to college, they are *still* nose to the grindstone studying to be engineers or lawyers or whatever. The guys are wanting to have sex. Christina has been wanting it (and attendant feels) for longer. Think of Job. (I may be exaggerating a bit here, but…)

    Remember, these are not kids.

    I feel like I’m in rant mode, so I’ll stop.

  2. I’m gonna continue, because I need to tie this up. You can edit as you see fit.

    The proper foundation for let’s-get-married-game—which is really the only kind that we should be using—is this one.

    That is the base of your frame. You can handle all objections from there: “But she needs to explore the world first…” Nope. She needs to help you subdue it.

    “But she doesn’t want to get married yet.” Fine, but whether I say it or not, she’s not fulfilling her purpose.

    “She’s not attracted to you.” Fair enough.

    “You talk about submission a lot.” Look, I’m on a mission to multiply, replenish, and subdue, OK? If you don’t like that’s fine, but that really is a dealbreaker.

  3. “Would it make you feel any better if you knew that what I’m asking here is a holy thing?”

  4. @ Dropit

    I was going to fill out the pyramid in another post, but you are on the right track with masculine Godliness. Genesis has much of it. Other parts can be found in the Wisdom books and scattered about the NT.

  5. Not following your latest comment dropit. I should warn you, I haven’t had the time to read all the comments at Cane’s or Zippy’s place yet.

  6. Just a joke from the video. (Sidenote: the frame of the video is perfect, btw. Not “Want to get the band together?” but “We’re getting the band together. Want to come?”)

  7. jack

    Overall, a good post.

    The end result of whatever this is should result in marrying while young, and having a satisfying sex life as the only many with whom your wife has had sex.

    Anything other than that is generally already available to Christian men, as long as they wait a short period of time. Worn-out and promiscuous women are always on sale for the low price of marriage 2.0.

    I don’t imagine I will be meeting any women in my age group who still have any virtue left to offer, but I would be glad to see younger Christian guys operating in truth rather than under the lies that were preached to me from the pulpit.

    Even getting a career girl who stayed a virgin until she was 30 is kind of a cheat for a young man.

  8. In his latest post Cane Caldo dissects Game and its origins

    Erroneous link.

    [Ed: Thanks for catching that. Fixed it.]

  9. Defining the endpoint will clarify things. Nearly every time I see a reference to Game, it’s about bedding women, not self-improvement. That’s usually spoken of as “Inner Game.” Anyone else here remember when it was the old-skool colloquialism for “psyching out” someone (think of a boxer talking trash or otherwise verbally undermining his opponent – running game on him – to better the odds of winning)?*

    Game builds up an artificial confidence in would-be PUAs through a sort of placebo effect. As a result of this, their self-confidence is hollow and unsteady. This, combined with another weakness I will cover shortly, leaves their Frame weak. If something should go wrong with their approach, then their confidence will wane, and their frame will start to fall apart. If that happens often enough or if they make a serious mistake then the whole approach risk collapse

    As I wrote elsewhere, this is merely papering over their previous way of thinking instead of tearing it down and reconstructing it from the ground up. Game isn’t a magic bullet, any more than “The Red Pill” is.

    Game, as far as I can tell, was by and large codified by Aspies for Aspies. I freely admit to having some definite Aspie tendencies myself. I got over them (mostly) by painstakingly dismantling the thought patterns and reflexes that had built up. But as it took years to build them, it took time to break them down, and more time to construct new ones. One doesn’t get over 20+ years of conditioning in a weekend. “Fake it til you make it” can work – just ask Steve Winwood – but it requires genuinely internalizing the behavior and – just as important – understanding it, not memorizing a stack of crib sheets.

    The Midwestern gaming community (as in, you know, games, not Game) was a lot different in the 80s and early 90s, before MUDs and MUSHes etc etc.

  10. Great post. Sorry, when I made the original comments I thought people were more familiar with the reality of what game is, but came from a place where I should’ve known better. As Christians no one here likely delved into it or practices it as much as I did before my conversion.

    I’m working on the alternative. Its just slow going

  11. THe best way to create the foundation.

    Pray and ask God for the tools to be masculine. He will surely give you what you need. You will get the true tools instead of gimmicks.

  12. And then once you have completed that first task…start doing. A lot can be learned through trial and error.

  13. deti

    This is great stuff.

    Free Northerner has a point that no one else anywhere is teaching men anything about masculinity. I’ve been around these parts coming on three years, and I ‘ve yet to see anyone offer anything better, or even anything else, other than Game.

    And standing around on the sidelines telling men not to “high five” cads isn’t helping. What we don’t need are naysayers flailing their arms talking about what a horrible human being Roissy is. Roissy proclaims his depravity for all the world to see; it does little good for tradcons to point fingers and agree with him And we don’t need tradcons calling most men “faggots”, complaining about how these men need to start getting jobs and working for the Cathedral and marrying the first available woman who shows them any interest, because “it’s the right thing to do”.

    This doesn’t work because Christian parents have been telling their sons these things for years, and look where it’s gotten us. Christian parents call their son’s acquaintances d-bags and jerks, while said d-bags and jerks laugh all the way to the boardroom and the bedroom. Moreover, said d-bags and jerks give not the slightest of damns what anyone thinks, and especially not some square Christian thinks. Christian parents tell their sons to grow up, work hard, get educated, and get jobs because “well it’s the right thing to do” and giving them no incentive at all to do any of it.

  14. To put it bluntly…Christian men have been pointing out the logs in everybody else’s eyes and not seeing their own.

  15. I would like to suggest two things to add to this discussion. The first is a nuanced understanding of sin and how to deal with it, along with an understanding of what St Paul is referring to when he talks about the flesh (sarx). There seems to be a binary division between atheistic Roissy style game, worshipping the ‘dark triad’ and so on, and an idealistic aspiration for “1950s-lite” gender relations. I don’t think either of them represent a properly Christian path.
    If we are to overcome the world, the flesh (sarx) and the devil, then we need to understand the nature of those things which is, after all, what the Lord himself instructed. What the atheistic writers about game talk about is either true or not true; to the extent that it is true then it is, by definition, compatible with Christian faith. The truth sets us free, and understanding the nature of female sarx – and male sarx – is part of that truth. The issue is what we then do with that knowledge, and whether we worship ‘the dark gods of the blood’ and so on.
    The nuanced understanding that I think is missing is that which flows from a recognition that we live in a fallen world and are therefore not afforded the luxury of completely clean hands. We are living in a situation where we have to make choices between evils, not choices between evils and goods. The question of what is the best way forward is different to what is the best way as such. St Paul recognises this when he says that it is better to marry than to burn. I wonder if he would say today that it is better to fornicate that to spend decades in involuntary celibacy. Genuine celibacy is a vocation afforded to very few, and involuntary celibacy is, I’m quite certain, not part of God’s ordained plan for us. We live in a society where we are fractured beyond all recognition. The issue is how to head towards the Kingdom, God’s full intentions for us, in the best way that we know.
    To that end, the second element which I believe would benefit from more sustained attention – at least from the Christian side – is the nature of the First Commandment. Strangely, someone like Roissy seems to have a better handle on this with his commandments – the man simply must not give away his mission in favour of currying favour with a woman. I believe that this has to be appropriated into a Christian context in order to be understood properly, and that the appropriation is all about honouring that First Commandment, ie to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. It is in following this commandment, abandoning all idols, that we both come into our own inheritance as men and also – inevitably – make ourselves far more attractive (how could it not turn out that way given God’s benign intentions?) The key difference between the secular and Christian ways of understanding this lie in how the Christian is able to positively attend to and nurture this sense of divine mission, or vocation. Where the Christian is able to combine a proper understanding of these two elements – putting God first in all things, recognising that it is not possible to achieve perfection in a fallen world – then, I would argue, we are in a position to develop a properly Christian understanding of ‘game’; or, perhaps better, we are in a better place to begin understanding what it is to be male in our present corrupt civilisation, and relationships between the sexes as one aspect of that.

  16. I agree with Zippy that most Game does in fact provide a placebo effect. Although not quite in the same way that I think he does. The key thing to keep in mind is that a placebo only works when you don’t know that it is a placebo.

    Placebo works even if you know it’s placebo… if you still think it works. This is the power of the mind/spirit (or faith for those that read my latest blog post) that God has created.

    Just wanted to comment on that before reading any further.

  17. lauratheringmistress

    I had come to many of the same conclusions you had this week, courtesy of a teaching workshop I attended. (Apparent) efficacy is not the same thing as truth.

    Regarding masculine godliness, we have a crucifix in nearly every room in our house. They’ve been acquired over the years and vary in size from tiny to huge. But there is one visible in each room. Whenever I am overwhelmed by something, particularly something that leaves me in fear of the judgment of the world, my husband points to the crucifix. “That is our model. He is our model. Nothing else matters.” Keep your eyes on the highest good. It helps that he lacks the party of the brain that says “Don’t do that, you might look silly.” But the core is faith that keeps his priorities in order.

  18. This is a good post, I like this style of writing.
    I like your points, you made some excellent ones. 🙂

    I don’t have much to offer to the points you made they are great, but I would like to say about several godly men I have encountered recently. One who’s brother is a monk, (I’ve never spoken with the brother so I cannot speak for him – women are not allowed there), but his brother spoke very well of him. Anyway, his brothers are Orthodox, and I was absolutely compelled by their kindness, they were clearly masculine and strong but they radiated love and humility. It really made me admire them. You know when a man just has that quiet strength, it’s there.. but sometimes you just can’t put your finger on what exactly makes you feel this strength?

    I’ve come to realize that godly masculinity is sometimes subtle, and can go undetected by those who cannot detect virtue in another. I’ve also been reading more about the lives of the Saints, the men in particular to understand examples of extraordinary godly male virtue. Like Elder Paisios was such a gentle and humble man, BUT had he not been a monastic he still had the leadership skills to lead a woman. He was gentle, but he definitely wasn’t a “wimp”, he once even slapped a theology student for blaspheming the Lord! lol
    I read this story by Elder Paisios about one young man –
    “A young man was telling me that he went to Patmos to worship and fell into temptation’s trap. A female jumped on him and hugged him while he was walking. He pushed her away saying, “My Christ I have come for worship not for love” and he went away. That same night in his hotel room, during prayer, he saw Christ immersed in Uncreated Light. Do you see the reward he received for that one push? Others strive for years in the ascetic life and may never be blessed with something like that. And he saw Jesus Christ only because he resisted temp­tation. ”

    My point here is, this woman was not his mission, Christ was. In his focus on Christ, he could not afford to be tempted by women so he pushed her away. A woman won’t like that of course, but that’s unimportant, he’s already established that she is not his mission, he has established his godly masculinity, his eyes are firstly are on the Lord. I think game with it’s focus on women and attraction/desire will naturally detract from focus on God. Perhaps I’m wrong, I don’t know. It’s just my observations about the men I’ve seen, in all the examples of godly masculinity I’ve been blessed to see in Priests, monks, laymen, etc. they all had in common that they were focused on serving the Lord and not generating attraction with women. This generates also a certain kind of “aloofness” at times, when a woman becomes frustrated that she will never be his mission because “thy desire will be for thy husband” .But it also is admirable.

  19. deti

    A few more thoughts.

    The modern Christian church teaches only “Godliness”. It does not say much of anything about godly masculinity or masculine Godliness. It does not say much of anything about Godly femininity or feminine godliness.

    Where are men going to learn masculine godliness or godly masculinity? It’s not the job of the church to teach it. If not the church, then who? Fathers? Most of them are beaten down p*ssy betas, divorced from the mothers of their kids.

    Cane’s seminal work on anti-Game or “alternative” to Game is to wash your wife in the water of the Word. Well, until he is married, a man has no authority to do that. She has no obligation to listen to him, trust him, obey him or follow him. She has no obligation to let him speak Scripture to her or give any credence to it.

    Cane also wisely talks about being masculine, knowing how to talk to women, knowing how to put down fitness tests, and knowing one’s mission. But it all comes off to me as an elaborate version of “just be yourself”. This also isn’t Cane’s first rodeo; he has written about the sin in his life. He comes off to me as a “natural”, a la Dannyfrom504 and the husbands of the red pill women in our midst, HHG and SAM. For his part, Cane Caldo comes off to me as just a natural with women; a likable player who’s reined it in and harnessed it. Most men aren’t so fortunate and aren’t so “natural”.

  20. But I forgot to add I am all FOR self-improvement, anything that helps us to be better men and women. I think if there is not adequate support for boys and men in the Western Church then ministries should be set up encouraging and teaching godly masculinity.Self improvement is not game, it’s a duty.

  21. and I think the ministry for men will be a good idea, because even if you men know about godly virtue, there are perhaps other men that don’t.. and the next generation..and the next etc.

  22. Pingback: The foundations of Christian masculinity | Reflections on Christianity and the manosphere

  23. Donal:
    It actually isn’t true that placebo only works when you don’t know that it is a placebo. There is a measurable placebo effect even when the person knows.

  24. This is a good post. Christian men are better off striking out in their own with Christian principles rather than giving in to the natural desire to follow a leader and becoming part of the PUA harem.

  25. @ NSR

    While I don’t disagree with your observations about Game, I think one of my general points stands. Its origin and foundation are not compatible with Christianity. The process/philosophy can change a person, but not in the way a Christian should be changed.

    @ Leap

    I knew a fair bit already, but most of it I had learned a long time ago, when I first found the manosphere. Your comment jogged my memory and convinced me to take a refresher course.

    @ Earl

    I agree about the importance of doing. Dynamism is the essential quality of masculinity. Trial and error is an inherently masculine approach.

    To put it bluntly…Christian men have been pointing out the logs in everybody else’s eyes and not seeing their own.

    Disagree. The problem is that Christian men have been pointing out logs in their eye that don’t exist, and ignoring the ones that do. All because of improper training and education about what is and isn’t a log, and how to spot them.

  26. @ Deep Strength and Zippy

    Thanks for catching me on the placebo effect. I’ve updated the post accordingly. Goes to show I shouldn’t rely on things I learned (or thought I learned) when I was teenager when writing blog posts.

  27. Donal – I think one of my general points stands. Its origin and foundation are not compatible with Christianity

    Not arguing that. I’m just saying that whatever definition is settled upon has to be Asperger-level precise, because there are so many interpretations of the word “game.” Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough, I did some last-second revising on my comment around 2 AM and probably muddied it up. Also, there should be an asterisk before the last line.

    [Ed: No problem. I am guilty of having made late night comments more than a few times myself.]

  28. @Zippy
    “This is a good post. Christian men are better off striking out in their own with Christian principles rather than giving in to the natural desire to follow a leader and becoming part of the PUA harem.”

    I agree…but there is a lot to unpack there. If you find yourself saying the same things tradcons are saying, you should probably be careful, even if everything you’re saying is true. Note that you spend most of the sentence bashing on PUA’s and two words on what men should do.

    What your lovable, dutiful beta Christian dork will hear when he reads your version is “Do what your pastor tells you.” That’s good from a church solidarity standpoint, I guess, but completely throws the kid under the bus as far as actually helping him.

    Here’s my version:

    “Christian men are better off surgically removing from their heads lies like gender equality, mutual submission, and female spiritual superiority. They would be wise to read the Bible thoroughly with an eye on gender relations, ancient and modern. They should read the account of the Creation and the Fall ten or twenty times. They should read what the Bible has to say about whores, and what they can learn from God’s oft-used analogy of Israel to a whore.”

    That’s a mouthful. It doesn’t go down easy. But it has the two virtues of a)getting him laid
    and
    b) being holy.

  29. I think this is the right direction. Here’s the thing. When the Church/Christian community etc don’t show men how to go about it, men get lost. When they get lost they look for tools. Game does sort of provide that. But you are right on about both the base and point of Game – at least as far as I can discern. I remember watching The Pick Up Artist on VH1 and thinking with a Christian brother of mine, “somehow we need an answer to this”. But the answer has to based in Jesus, and it has to actually work at some level.

    Where I kind of got to as a single person was that my confidence (in dating, but certainly with anything else) has to come from my identity in Christ. If I have my core questions in life answered from God then why would I not be confident (not cocky, not confident in just my own ability) around women or whoever. I think the big question, and you raise it here, is where does your frame come from and what is the end goal. Those answers HAVE to be right or else you are truly on sand – even if you get married. Heck maybe especially if you get married.

    Great thoughts.

  30. seriouslypleasedropit:
    “Christian men are better off surgically removing from their heads lies like gender equality, mutual submission, and female spiritual superiority. They would be wise to read the Bible thoroughly with an eye on gender relations, ancient and modern. They should read the account of the Creation and the Fall ten or twenty times. They should read what the Bible has to say about whores, and what they can learn from God’s oft-used analogy of Israel to a whore.”

    Agreed, that’s good.

    Note that you spend most of the sentence bashing on PUA’s and two words on what men should do.

    I may not have any special insight as to how to go about fixing civilization as a whole (nor do I think anyone has such insight), but I’ve been advising men and women alike to abandon the lie that is liberalism since well before the Web even existed. So it strikes me as rather precious when men who have elected to become part of the male PUA harem lecture me about why their bad boys are so attractive as leaders.

  31. A Man For All Seasons

    It’s interesting that a lot of concepts in life sound nice, then you reach a point of experiencing them first hand, and all the sudden, you have new insight, and the simplest words have new depth and meaning.
    As an example I’ve been thinking that frame is the most important thing. If your frame is strong enough, you can pull individuals, groups, crowds, and even nations into your frame, and lead them according to your will. It’s common to see the YouTube clip of Alec Baldwin’s character giving his speech in Glengarry Glen Ross. This guy has a strong frame. Not only does he have a strong frame to dominate the other guys in that room, but he’s right, that he really could have go out on that rainy night, and make $15,000, because he is also able to project his frame on potential customers.

    All of this is a preface to saying I think Donal is right to recognize that the self is actually at the core, below frame, and that the correct thing for the Christian to do is to put God in that position. If God is at the core of your life, and if your frame is based upon his will and his precepts, and if your frame is extremely powerful, then you can be a Billy Graham, or a Joseph of Jackson.

    I think this is an important new concept in the manosphere. Before now, I’ve always seen frame presented as the foundation of the behavior stack. Adding the choice of self or God as the true foundation opens up a lot of insights. It provides new insights into the olds sayings of let God into your heart, surrender yourself to God, or put God at the center of your life. Now I can see much better how to do these things. You do these things by building a strong personal frame based on Godly precepts, and by committing yourself and your will to doing God’s work.

    As a separate topic, I think that game is very real, and it makes a big difference, both in attracting new women, and in dealing with LTRs. The biggest eye opener when I took the red pill was to recognize that women get wet for men that lead the relationship and do so with a cocky confidence. This explained why my wife loved me, and wanted to stay married to me, but couldn’t stand to have sex with me.

    The other shocker was the idea of the fitness test, or s**t test. I never understood why my wife criticized the way I loaded the dishwasher every time, or why my wife would start berating me angrily about how five years ago, I saw the lamp shade was crooked, and I knew my mother in law was coming over, and I walked right by it without straightening it, because I am a cruel monster, and I love to torment her.

    Furthermore, I had always heard that women don’t care about appearances like men do. Once I learned the truth that it is important to develop some muscles, and to wear decent, matching clothes that fit well, and to maintain consistently good grooming, it made a big difference.

    These things make a huge difference in the way women react to a man, and they are simply not known by the majority of men. In fact, a large portion of society angrily disagrees that women are turned on by a man providing confident leadership and dominance in a relationship. I would say learning to show confidence and leadership, learning to handle fitness tests, getting into decent shape, and dressing well are about 90% of game, and will solve 90% of any man’s problems in dealing with women. The one other thing in the case of single men is to simply learn to approach women and carry on a good conversation with them, and as Alec Baldwin would say, Always Be Closing (ABC).

  32. @Zippy:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to jump on you in particular: you’ve been a part of this conversation for a long while and you’re allowed to not have to spell everything out every time.

    But give guys like me some credit for intent and effort, if not savvy. I’m not out fornicating and sweeping it under the rug because Leviticus mentions female chastity a few more times than male chastity. I was raised in this environment, and even in an explicitly patriarchal religion, this stuff just isn’t understood by the public at large.

    Anyway. We agree.

  33. seriouslypleasedropit:

    Word.

    I was raised in this environment, and even in an explicitly patriarchal religion, this stuff just isn’t understood by the public at large.

    Very true. Liberalism is so deeply ingrained as a background assumption that it is almost impossible to get most people to even become aware of it.

  34. My Take

    Very good post. I read all I can about game and I agree that until now I always thought there was somethinh inherently wroong with the concept. The whole idea of pride being the base really sums it up rather well. I look forward to reading more as you and the other God fearing men continue to flesh this out. As always, Earl has hit the nail square and true with his usual
    succinct Christian replies. This idea is necessary in order to a) teach the godly man how to attempt to live and b) enable him to choose and satisfy a wife. I do not know how much longer the west can hold out against the liberal onslaught, but I believe with the Lord’s help, we will succeed.

  35. deti

    “These things make a huge difference in the way women react to a man, and they are simply not known by the majority of men. In fact, a large portion of society angrily disagrees that women are turned on by a man providing confident leadership and dominance in a relationship.”

    Good comment, Man for all Seasons. Just don’t accept the position some on this thread take, which is that to succeed with women and in life, you just need to be your good, devout, chaste, courageous, temperate, prudent and fair self.

  36. @ Deti

    Yes, FN is right that no one in the mainstream is teaching Christian men masculinity. Or providing accurate and effective advice on how to discern, find and marry a God-fearing Christian woman. Or the same, but to keep their wives after they marry.

    The modern Christian church teaches only “Godliness”. It does not say much of anything about godly masculinity or masculine Godliness. It does not say much of anything about Godly femininity or feminine godliness.

    I wouldn’t say that they even teach Godliness. The truth is that Godliness is either masculine or feminine. It is specific to men and women. There is nothing generic about it.

    As for masculinity, it cannot be taught. It can only be built up, over time. And that just doesn’t happen for most men these days. The naturals “get” this, but they don’t know how to guide those who need it to the point where they can learn it for themselves. I suspect that they can’t, because their personal experiences are so different they lack a common understanding to act as a proper mentor.

  37. @ Justin

    When the Church/Christian community etc don’t show men how to go about it, men get lost. When they get lost they look for tools. Game does sort of provide that

    Yes, exactly. Most Christian men are lost these days, and quickly discover that they have no idea what they are doing, or why. Game is so attractive because it provides answers and success in areas where many men had nothing before. Given this, it is hardly surprising that many lose their faith. An effective alternative is needed, or at the very least, Churches need to stop misleading men in this area.

    @ A Man For All Seasons (great movie, by the way, recommend it to everyone)

    Thanks for the top-notch comment. I appreciate your input here. Its always good to hear from the guys in the trenches.

    @ My Take

    Thanks. I always knew there was something “off” about Game, even aside from the moral component. I just couldn’t place it. But the thing is, it is something that can be tested empirically, and when you do that it really does work. And that makes it hard to dismiss (again, outside of the moral component), at least, until you observe the long-term effects.

  38. Ooh, this is getting exciting.

    A note on sophroneo, just a thought: This word, and the word used in Titus 2:4 to exhort older women to help younger women, both come from the root sophron, which means “of sound mind.” (At Titus 2:4, the word means “to recall to one’s senses, to restore to soundness of mind”, even if most translations render it “teach” or “train”.)

    It’s kind of funny, that the screwed-up way of things is implied to be insanity. And it’s also interesting to note that each side is supposed to be working together, contra what the Game-mongers propose (which sometimes appears to be that a woman’s godliness is wholly and solely dependent on the nearest attractive man, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost if ever I saw it…)

    So, what it would seem is also needed is us Christian women showing one another how to be, which means that while you gentlemen are hashing out masculinity in its proper form (i.e., fit to accomplish God’s purposes), we women need to be sharing what we know of our own God-given purpose (i.e., how to help your man in his pursuit of God’s purposes, and absent a man, what else we can be doing without overstepping our authority or annihilating our purpose).

    The two rivers will flow together again, and things will be made right. It’s like a revival. It’s awesome to envision!

    Because we don’t have the direct wisdom of our elders anymore, this means study! Original languages! Prayer in bulk! YES! I AM ENTHUSED!

    …Assuming I can ever get back to blogging, that is. *frustrated noise* But at least I’ll have it in my head, which makes it worth the effort by itself, and I can pass it on to Little Squish.

  39. Neguy

    I don’t agree with this at all. When I discovered Red Pill/Game I actually found it to be a refreshing secular distillation of what Christianity has always taught about identity. That is, don’t find your identity in the woman/relationship (ie, ONEitis). Don’t let crippling fear of having your ego bruised by rejection keep you from making an approach, etc. Self-confidence is, I agree, idolatry, if it originates in a false identity. But if self-confidence comes from having a secure identity in Christ, then it is completely godly. Then you can put yourself out there and take a risk, and not over-invest in relationships, and can be comfortably with worldly failure precisely because of that eternal security and identity.

    If Christianity doesn’t make you more confident, more resilient, etc. in the face of sin, the brokenness of this world and human relationships, and the vicissitudes of life, then I’d question whether you’ve got the right theology or if you truly have faith in God’s word. (That’s precisely why I think so much of modern church teachings on relationships are false. Christian women would appear to be more frail in the face of sinful husbands than worldly women, e.g., in their response to porn use. This suggests they’re in the grips of false teachings).

    I think the same is true for most of the principles (e.g., self-improvement).

    As for “Game”, I might submit to you that Jesus demonstrated quite a bit of it in his approach to teaching. Why else would he have used parables to get his point across, for example?

  40. jack

    Game is a transitional state, in that it is a means of keeping the beta side muted. Eventually, you shouldn’t need too much game.

  41. @DG

    As for masculinity, it cannot be taught. It can only be built up, over time. And that just doesn’t happen for most men these days. The naturals “get” this, but they don’t know how to guide those who need it to the point where they can learn it for themselves. I suspect that they can’t, because their personal experiences are so different they lack a common understanding to act as a proper mentor.

    Years ago, when I bothered to watch pro sports, I noticed something interesting about coaches. Coaches are drawn from the ranks of the good players, but not the superstars, the “naturals.” I suspect that the good players had to work really hard on the basics and could, therefore, teach those basics. Those with great natural talent never needed to learn how to communicate what they were “born” knowing.

    [Ed: Interesting thoughts.]

  42. As for “Game”, I might submit to you that Jesus demonstrated quite a bit of it in his approach to teaching. Why else would he have used parables to get his point across, for example?

    Because it’s sometimes easier to communicate something symbolically than by straight lecture, and it sticks better.

    Though I am now curious to know how the composing of fables, symbols, and parables is somehow unique to Game.

  43. @ Sigyn

    And it’s also interesting to note that each side is supposed to be working together, contra what the Game-mongers propose (which sometimes appears to be that a woman’s godliness is wholly and solely dependent on the nearest attractive man, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost if ever I saw it…)

    Your line of working together reminded me instantly of Aquila and Prisca. As for the notion that a woman’s moral compass happens to be the nearest “Alpha”, that makes no sense in light of 1 Peter 3:1-6.

    So, what it would seem is also needed is us Christian women showing one another how to be, which means that while you gentlemen are hashing out masculinity in its proper form (i.e., fit to accomplish God’s purposes), we women need to be sharing what we know of our own God-given purpose (i.e., how to help your man in his pursuit of God’s purposes, and absent a man, what else we can be doing without overstepping our authority or annihilating our purpose).

    Yes, exactly! Its a group effort (again, Aquila and Prisca are a good example of Christian men and women working together).

    The two rivers will flow together again, and things will be made right. It’s like a revival. It’s awesome to envision!

    Because we don’t have the direct wisdom of our elders anymore, this means study! Original languages! Prayer in bulk! YES! I AM ENTHUSED!

    Lest you get too excited, keep in mind that the various revivals out there were actually the first steps towards the creation of Churchianity in the US.

  44. @ Neguy

    As for “Game”, I might submit to you that Jesus demonstrated quite a bit of it in his approach to teaching. Why else would he have used parables to get his point across, for example?

    If that is Game, then pretty much everything is Game. And the word becomes meaningless and pointless to discuss.

  45. Neguy

    I personally don’t like the _term_ Game because it is to some extent inherently pejorative. But if we think instead “effective technique rooted in empirical truth” then Jesus certainly demonstrated it. Parables are a classic type of indirection technique. Jesus demonstrated perfect “frame control” at all time. He was routinely “shit tested” by the authorities and always turned it around on them. He was a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” who did not supplicate to win the approval of others or conform to societal expectations of what the Messiah should be.

    In Luke 13 when people asked Jesus to respond to not just the slaughter of Jewish worshipers (who were Jesus’ Galilean neighbors) but the profaning of God’s temple (i.e., where was God if he would allow to be done to his temple), he responded like what we would today consider an “inconsiderate jerk”, saying, “Unless you repent, the same thing is going to happen to you.” How many pastors today would have the guts to preach that sermon after 9/11 or Newtown?

    Also, if you want to deny that Game is a tool that can be used for good or ill but is inherently worldly, then all religious practice would almost have to be dumped under the same criteria. After all, Jesus heavily critiqued religious practice precisely because of the problems many have with Game: it was being used in a way that was self-oriented, prideful, and manipulative. Did he say to avoid religious practices? No. Instead, he instructed in how to do it right. He didn’t say, “Don’t fast. That’s not godly.” He said, “Don’t practice your religion before men to be noticed be them. Instead, focus on a genuine heart towards God. Fast privately and God will reward you.” Again, I’ll stress that Jesus specifically promised rewards for doing it the right way.

    I simply disagree that self/pride has to be the root of Game. I think the Bible is very clear. First, behavior matters, so any activity that is specifically forbidden is sinful regardless of motive. Secondly, within the realm of potentially godly behaviors, the motivation of the heart matters. Thus Game techniques that are oriented around sinful activities are by definition wrong. Notably, extra-marital sex. But otherwise I just don’t get the complaints. Everyone is by definition using a technique. The question is whether it is an effective technique for accomplishing the desired objective. Blue pill life suggests that beta supplicating behaviors are how you demonstrate sincere affection for a woman that she wants and will appreciate. But these techniques are false. Red pill life can seeks the same objective, but based on different premises around what it is that will actually please the woman. The same goal and motive can be pursued through different techniques.

    It just so happens that the Bible gives lots of “Game” advice. It’s called “wisdom literature”. For example, “honor your father and mother that it may go well with you in the land” is both a commandment and Game advice (not an absolute promise of a life outcome if you obey). The Proverbs and Pslams are full of good advice. This is Game you can’t go wrong with. But in areas where the Bible is silent on specifics, you need to go with the right identity/motives and the best techniques and tools you can find. There’s lots in manosphere Game that fits the bill.

  46. Ton

    Power is value neutral. Becomes as powerful and dominating as possible, ignore what holds others back, the chick thing will fall into place

    But this will also require a man to rethink the Word of God to a much more masculine frame. The Bible is a book for conquerors and not the weak milk toast Christian men have become.

  47. Pingback: Christian Masculinity | Free Northerner

  48. Pingback: The weekly admin and links post. | Dark Brightness

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