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« Always Chasing 20-Year-Olds | Main | Elsewhere »

June 04, 2008

Question for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Tyler Cowen asks, Is Roissy evil?



posted by Michael at June 4, 2008


I must say it's a quintessentially Cowenesque piece. By that I mean you'd be able to tell who wrote it with only the text. Only Tyler Cowen writes like this:

'But IS he evil? Is there not a theorem which suggests that rule-governed sweet young things will in fact overinvest in the rule and, if you could selectively induce "rule disengagement," human welfare might rise? But no...that theorem was refuted some time ago.'

That's why we love him! A parody, for the interested.

Posted by: Sebastian Flyte on June 4, 2008 5:54 PM

On the MarginalRevoution site, someone posted a link to Roissy's picture. I don't know if that is Roissy in the picture, but if it is, he is very good looking. I'm surprised, I guess. I think I'd assumed he would be a plain fellow.

I'm not sure if that is his picture though because the guy in the picture doesn't exude confidence, and according to Roissy et al, confidence is everything, right?

Posted by: blue on June 4, 2008 6:00 PM

Evil? Yes.

It's this whole modus operandi of, I'll sleep around as much as I can, but when I marry, it will be to an uncorrupted 18 year old virgin from the old country.

I don't object young men wanting to marry young virgins, but older men who've been catting around like mad? Yes.

Posted by: blue on June 4, 2008 6:41 PM

i'm not evil... i'm just drawn that way.

or: chicks dig evil jerks.

Posted by: roissy on June 4, 2008 7:11 PM

Yeah, sleeping around is evil, but promoting Open Borders and slandering those who want to keep the country afloat is saintly.

What fucking planet do we live on?

Posted by: agnostic on June 4, 2008 8:00 PM

Who gives a shit?

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on June 4, 2008 9:53 PM

I can't think of anything that gets me angrier than labeling someone evil because he is "controversial." Agree with Roissy. Disagree with Roissy. Vehemently, if you are so moved. But call him evil? What follows from that, as night follows day, is a movement and then legislation to shut him up. Or imprison him. Or worse. Roissy and all the other Roissys who say the wrong thing, the hateful thing about sex, or race, or religion, or the coming obamessiah, or global warming, or...

It's the way our world is moving and there's no reason why it can't happen here.

Posted by: ricpic on June 4, 2008 9:58 PM

He appears to be what we in the industry call a "Tool." Evil is too majestic a word for him, don't you think?

Posted by: Sister Wolf on June 4, 2008 9:59 PM

Has anyone ever heard of the game called Fembot Bingo? You can Google it. Fembot Bingo is a game where men get to check off all the cliche "arguments" feminists use when confronted with reality (ie women age poorly).

Instead of hitting you with logic, they hurl cliche insults. These include: You must be gay, you must be ugly, you "hate women," you must never get a date, you must be a child molester, you "hate your mother," and you have a small penis.

Between Roissy and myself, we are pretty much won a game of Fembot Bingo with Sister Wolf as our unwitting (and witless) accomplice. I'm waiting for Sister Wolf to hit just a few more cliches so we can win.

Maybe then Roissy and I can get a drink together in DC (I owe you one) and check out women young enough to be Sister Wolf's daughter, but lucky enough not to actually have such a frightful designation.

For many years (the ones when men built the world), there was a stereotype that women could not put together cogent thoughts and responded with hysteria to men's ideas. The continuing popularity of Fembot Bingo proves this assertion largely correct, at least for some women.

Posted by: Days of Broken Arrows on June 5, 2008 12:35 AM

Hahaha! I wasn't even thinking "gay" until you invited Roissy for a drink!

God I love men. I am no feminist, by any means. I don't even think that women should be sportscasters.

Carry on! I hope this thread goes on forever. God bless you, Mr. Blowhard.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on June 5, 2008 3:37 AM

I found Roissy's blog from this site, and now read him regularly. I don't always agree with him (I agree with you to some extent, Michael, about the hyperbole and the 'performance art' aspect of Roissy's blog). But I also completely agree with ricpic's comment above: political correctness in its many forms is destroying us and depriving us of our freedoms (and eagerly seeking to take more all the time). Look at how the US Senate tried to shut down Rush Limbaugh based on a lie about what he said, or how the Canadian Human Rights Commission is trying to restrict free speech and freedom of the press regarding Mark Steyn and Macleans magazine. Look for lots more of this sort of thing to come. *Insert standard "world going to hell in a handbasket" lament here.* So long live Roissy and all similiar thorns in the side of PC butt-kissers like Tyler Cowen who seem awfully impressed with themselves by being able to use big words.

Posted by: Laikastes on June 5, 2008 4:34 AM


I once astonished a feminist acquaintance of mine when I said I was not a feminist. She gaped (an interesting reaction), and gasped, "You don't think women are people?"

I felt like answering, "Women are people? Whaaaaaaaat?" But instead I told her why I am not a feminist. Here goes:

The cliches, stereotypes and generalizations about men and women that abounded in the days before feminism are by and large true. Everybody still believes them today, but we just can't say them out loud.

That includes cliches about how poorly women age (as Fred Reed once put it, "Men are uglier than women, but we age better"), how women are emotionally fragile, have problems thinking clearly, etc., etc. (And the good cliches about women too, e.g., women are more lovable than men.)

The irony is that feminism is entirely subsumed within that network of cliches. It is itself an ongoing proof of the differences between men and women. The Fembot Bingo (hilarious!) is just one of many bingos we could play with the cliches if we cared enough to bother. The problem is, with guaranteed wins, there's not enough risk to attract testosterone-addicted men. I'm afraid we'll have to stick to Texas Hold-em, chemical abuse, and war.

Posted by: PatrickH on June 5, 2008 8:42 AM


Sister Wolf has not lacked wit in her comments, and you don't win arguments simply by declaring that you have done so. The cliched insults have been flying in both directions here.

Trust me, women are well aware of what happens to them when they age. And it isn't just women. I've watched many men encounter the day when they can't run their 8:00 mile jog pace anymore, or when that nagging pain in their shoulder just won't go away, and it's just as upsetting. No one wants to face the void, but when I do, it's not going to be my attractiveness to men that I'll be thinking about.

If that is Roissy in that pic, he looks like a slightly dissolute European playboy. I suspect he gets a lot of mileage out of that look.

Posted by: CyndiF on June 5, 2008 10:25 AM

Hmm, two more reflections?

1) An "age speaking here" alert ... The whole topic of "what turns me on" (whether addressed by a gal or a guy) is one that's hypnotically fascinating to young people. Which is as it should be. That said, it's also a question that -- while it retains its fun and fascination -- does diminish in importance as time goes by.

It starts to be just as fun to learn about what turns other people on. You get a sense of perspective vis a vis what flips your own switches. What gets you hot isn't any longer world-shatteringly important, it's fun, it's silly, it's of no great import in the larger scheme of things. Moments may even pass when you aren't obsessed by the question of what turns you on.

Also, the concept of "living for what turns you on" subsides into some kind of perspective for many people. The fact that some things turn you on is a nice aspect of life, but it does tend with time to stop being the one reason you get out of bed in the morning.

Which, amusingly, doesn't make the whole turn-on thing any less fascinating or fun than it once was. It just means that your appreciation of life generally has expanded. (It also means that your hormone levels and drives have subsided a bit too. But what are you gonna do about that? Time does pass, and there's no getting away from that.)

2) I think one unspoken theme or fact that underlies a lot of what gets raised in these conversations (this one and the 20-year-old-gals one) is this: The older set has some experience of life before '70s feminism, or at least of life when it wasn't as dominated by '70s feminism as it is now; while the younger set has no such experience.

They grew up with feminist moms, and feminist teachers and bosses, and a feminist pop culture too.

For the older set, the fact that there's now some irreverence around towards hyper-pious feminism, and that stuff like evo-bio is there to supply some hard-science ammunition, is just nice -- it represents a return to common sense. But it's a common sense that most of us on some level never lost touch with.

The young set, though, has never known anything but PC baloney. They've had their balls cut off, ridiculed, and demonized from Day One.

So when they emerge into the non-protected world, or they stumble into something like evo-bio, the reaction isn't a sigh of relief, it's an outburst of indignation and rage, followed by a huge amount of joyful stomping-around and pissing-on-icons.

Which is, FWIW, how I take much of the carrying-on over at Roissy's -- "You mean, I can swing my dick around AND IT'S OK? I can mess with a girl's feelings AND SHE MAY LIKE IT NO MATTER WHAT SHE ACTUALLY SAYS?" (Answer to both questions: Sure!)

From my point of view I think what goes on and gets said at Roissy's is fun, and a sign of a nice development. Young guys are ripping off the shackles that a scared, domineering, and pussified culture placed on them. Great!

But there's another question that follows too: once the high-spirited Apache war dances have run their course, what then? Do the kids adjust, accomodate, and move on? Or do they wind up forever locked into the mode they're in now?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 5, 2008 3:52 PM

FWIW I don't think Roissy is evil, though I do think him the Devil's virtuoso. Roissy's philosophy in life seems to be the maximisation of hedonism. He'll do what it takes to achieve it. He is more amoral rather than evil: an opportunist. If virtue was rewarded with sex then I imagine Roissy would be a candidate for sainthood; the fact is it isn't. I don't think that he is inflating his success with women, I actually think he has a rather profound knowledge of the average female nature which he uses to his advantage. Women will of course disagree, but from the perspective of the average male, everything he says is true. Generalisations are not falsified by the occasional exception.

Of interest, this link from his site is fascinating. Please note that men do not have the same eager interest in forming relationships women on death row. The facts speak for themselves.

From the point of view of a Catholic, the fact that Roissy behaves less than the gentleman and yet still scores copiously proves that women dig rouges in preference to gentlemen. One does not need studies to prove the point, one simply needs to look about themselves to verify his observations. In fact Roissy's comments on the effect of abortion and sexual liberation on women are pretty much the same thing you hear from Catholic social thinkers; namely that women lose and men win by the situation. It isn't an opinion it's a fact. Roissy's value lays in the fact that he is a great writer and that he clearly and rather forcefully illustrates the reality of the male/female sexual dynamic: he dispels the fantasy that our society and women in general like to perpetuate. He does a great job destroying pretty lies.

Christ described his followers as sheep amongst wolves, today a more apt description is likely to be virgins amongst whores. I would urge the young Christian to study Roissy's writings as he would the heathen philosophers, worthy of study and full of valid instruction and observation insofar as they don't conflict with Christian principles. Note to Christian men, the chivalrous knight does not get laid. Roissy is the Ovid of this barbarous age.

Posted by: Slumlord on June 5, 2008 7:55 PM

sister lamb:
He appears to be what we in the industry call a "Tool."

and what industry is that? cat care products?

Maybe then Roissy and I can get a drink together in DC (I owe you one)

i'll raise a guinness to that.

Posted by: roissy on June 5, 2008 8:09 PM

Oh and another thing.

i'm not evil... i'm just drawn that way.
or: chicks dig evil jerks.

The proof

200 freaking letters!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Slumlord on June 5, 2008 8:16 PM

Michael the links don't seem to work.

Posted by: Slumlord on June 5, 2008 8:24 PM

My theory: Not only is that not his real picture, but he does not actually exist. He is a fictional character, created to make certain people really angry. Roissy is a hoax.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on June 5, 2008 10:44 PM

The bitter, tireless agony of aging men (Roissy, Agnostic, VK, et al) is extremely depressing.

I thank God that, for now, I'm a young man able to enjoy young women without stigma!

Posted by: Gfoe on June 6, 2008 1:28 AM

I've become resigned in my old age to the reality that I seem to live in another dimension.

I get a kick out of reading Roissy, but his writing has no relationship to the world in which I live... and I am glad of that.

When I think of the incredible bliss Myrna and I enjoyed... well, I know that that isn't easily reproduced, but I would think that most people would make it their goal. In fact, I think that most people do make that their goal.

The world is full of rotten, worthless women (and men). The trick, to me, seems to be to avoid them as often as possible in preference for building a little personal world that is happy, loveable and comfortable.

I just read Roissy for laughs, and maybe for a little condescension. The people he writes about certainly exist. That whole crew (including Roissy) deserves each other. And that seems to be what they want.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on June 6, 2008 9:47 AM

I definitely feel like I inhabit a completely different universe than the Roissy crowd does. In mine, men and women aren't so antagonistic -- the "combat" side of relations comes up sometimes, but it isn't the central metaphor. Even allowing for hyperbole, heightening, profane fun, etc, the Roissy world seems harsh and off-putting to me.

But I don't take this as a sign of them failing. I think part of what's fun about checking in at Roissy's is that you get a glimpse of what life in the younger generetion is like.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 6, 2008 11:10 AM

"When I think of the incredible bliss Myrna and I enjoyed... well, I know that that isn't easily reproduced, but I would think that most people would make it their goal. In fact, I think that most people do make that their goal."

I thought about Myrna when you said that we shouldn't argue with the junior high crowd, Thomas. There are many bitter young men out there who feel that the current post-feminist system leaves them no option but that of playing the cad. Every time you or Michael or JV discuss your marriages, it gives a counterexample that a happy marriage and family is one of the great joys of life for men and women.

Roissy also lives in D.C. which is, frankly, one of the worst dating snake pits in the U.S. I haven't dated in over a decade, but I don't think the rest of the country is quite so dog-eat-dog.

Posted by: CyndiF on June 6, 2008 11:58 AM

How old is Roissy? By his pic, I'm guessing early to mid thirties. That's not so young.

I've got nothing against the relentless pursuit of pussy, but it's just not meant to last. And that's a good thing. Such pursuits beyond a certain age, to me, is not a sign of fortitude and/or a stick in the eye to convention, but a sign of the arrested development of an unhappy person.

I know that the man in question would disagree with his state of happiness, but I'm going by the people like him that I know personally. Fun as hell to be around, smart as a whip, successful in most pursuits, and deeply unhappy.

Me? I'm just garden-variety miserable, like the rest of us.

Posted by: JV on June 6, 2008 4:32 PM

As Michael points out, Roissy and guys like him are products of triumphant feminism. Hope all of you gals who were wearing "I AM A HUMORLESS FEMINIST" t-shirts back in 1981 are happy now...

Also, one slight correction to "Slumlord"; most of the "chivalrous knights" I know are getting laid plenty - but it's with the same woman, because they're married. There are still plenty of girls and women out there who like "knghts" - but they don't hang where Roissy hangs, for obvious reasons.

I can remember being Roissy's age, a long time ago, and I would have agreed with him 100% back then. I hope he continues to blog - it'll be interesting to see his attitude change - because it will. In the meantime, he's hardly "evil" - now Tyler Cowan, that's another matter.

Posted by: tschafer on June 6, 2008 4:50 PM

The world is full of rotten, worthless women (and men). The trick, to me, seems to be to avoid them as often as possible in preference for building a little personal world that is happy, loveable and comfortable.

So true Shouting Thomas, so true.

Posted by: Slumlord on June 6, 2008 6:07 PM

On the subject of "Chivalrous knights", one of the very interesting things that one finds when trawling through the PUA blogs is the fact that there are many decent men who are not misogynistic and are there to learn "game" simply because they have had zero success with the ladies. Many of these guys detest the misogyny that is present on those sites and simply want to learn game in order to attract a single life long mate. The point is that gameless yet chivalrous knights are having a very hard time attracting mates. If Roissy is able to put a bit of polish in their armour and make them more attractive, then I reckon it's a good thing.

Posted by: Slumlord on June 6, 2008 6:30 PM

Slomlord: If Roissy is able to put a bit of polish in their armour and make them more attractive, then I reckon it's a good thing.

Me too. I'm all for people learning a few getting-together and getting-along skills.

Hey, one more thing that has taken me by surprise: The alpha-beta division.

Back in the day, I never-ever divided guys up into alphas and betas, and I doubt any of my friends did either. There were jocks, and student council types, and big men on campus, and geeks, etc. And maybe there was a general sense that some of them were more likely to turn out winners and some less likely to do super-well. (Incidentally, life, eh? Most of those assumptions turned out to be wrong.) But dividing the set of all-guys into alphas and betas? Never would have occurred to us.

Question: Is the alpha-beta thing indicative of some change that's taken place in the world of young people? Are you sorted into winners and losers all that young? Or is it just some catchy way of discussing things that's just handy and peculiar to the PUA world? Still, it seems to resonate with so many young guys, and it doesn't seem to be a mystery to the young gals either ...

Another back-in-the-day musing ... One of the things that keeps showing up in these discussions is the plight of the nice guy who can't land a girlfriend. Everyone seems to conclucde that Mr. Nice Guy is a loser in love and sex because he's a nice guy. Hmm. Back in the day, I don't remember that being a big conundrum. You could be a wuss or an introvert and fail to find a girlfriend because you were simply refusing to talk to girls. But being a nice guy? ... If you were a nice guy, reasonably attractive, and could pull yourself together and talk to girls, you'd find yourself a girlfriend. Being a nice guy wasn't seen as a lifelong celibacy sentence.

What has changed in the lives of young people that nice guys are now felt to be losers, and that nice guys themselves genuinely can't find girlfriends and mates?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 6, 2008 7:51 PM

What has changed in the lives of young people that nice guys are now felt to be losers, and that nice guys themselves genuinely can't find girlfriends and mates?

The moral heart of "nice guy", i.e., something that used to be evoked by the word "gentleman", has lost its meaning. The notion of the gentleman explicitly related to the idea of woman as his equal. Now that has disappeared, with a spurious and unconvincing "equality" that is mere sameness or resemblance. Since this "equality" violates our everyday sense of men and women as being different, we dismiss it (rightly) as a fiction. But if we dismiss equality, what are we left with? Hierarchy. Dominance hierarchies, that is. When genuinely equal relations are no longer believed to be possible between men and women, then the only alternatives are relationships of dominance or submission. When the man is dominant, he is an alpha. When the man is submissive, he is a beta.

Note that both types of relationship are based on the relative allocation of power, and differ only in who has the power, the man or the woman. Submission is, of course, as manipulative and selfish a "strategy" as dominance, whether that submission is practiced by a man or a woman. The division between alphas and betas is accurate, because it limns the only possibilities available to today's young. Remove the soul from the man, take away his "gentleness", and all he has left is strategy, and the ability to execute it successfully.

Alphas and betas are strategic positions. Practiced in the void of today. When power is the only language people understand, then they will understand everything in terms of power. This change occurred sometime between our youths, Michael, and today. That shudder you feel when you read Roissy is, I suspect, a mixture of admiration for his ruthlessness in describing what we know is the reality of today's sex market. And relief, as well, that we don't have to live in it. After all, in the end, there's nothing there. Nothing at all.

Posted by: PatrickH on June 6, 2008 8:39 PM

It's something of a badge of honor to be called 'evil' by an economics professor (in some circles aka cold distilled inhumanity), isn't it?

Posted by: Cynically Yours on June 7, 2008 4:42 AM

Question: Is the alpha-beta thing indicative of some change that's taken place in the world of young people? Are you sorted into winners and losers all that young? Or is it just some catchy way of discussing things that's just handy and peculiar to the PUA world?

The latter. Like you said, people didn't divide up the world of men into "alphas" and "betas" before probably a few years ago. The distinction was born of the PUA scene on the Internet and the increasing fashionability of evolutionary psychology. Dating world scientism is what you get when a bunch of nerds direct their systematizing, theorizing impulses to the world of women rather than fluid dynamics, role-playing games, or Linux.

It's a fairly crude metaphor, and there are probably a half dozen other scientific metaphors that would've fit equally well (or equally poorly). Humans are animals, yes, but to claim that the very same social structures found in wolf packs and lower primate groups are present in human society, just on a vastly larger scale, is ignorant of the major differences in complexity between human and, say, bonobo psychology.

I don't think the terms are entirely vacuous, but they don't mean much more than "the guy who gets girls" and "the guy who doesn't get girls." The idea that they have some larger applicability to the world is given the lie by countless instances of men who are good with women but utter losers in life, as well as vice versa -- many of the great leaders of men were hardly Lotharios. Some were, of course, but there doesn't seem to be any intimidate connection between ability to score women with "game" and larger success in life and among men.

Posted by: Alex on June 7, 2008 1:23 PM

PatrickH, Alex -- That's some mighty smart thinking and writing.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on June 7, 2008 1:31 PM

Alex is a genius.

p.s. Forget alpha and beta. The holy grail among females is the man who genuinely loves women.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on June 7, 2008 3:13 PM

there doesn't seem to be any intimidate connection between ability to score women with "game" and larger success in life and among men.

couple points on this.
one: yes, while there isn't a one to one correlation between scoring and general life success i'd say there is a large overlap. men who do well among men often do well with women. what's interesting is that the burgeoning science of "game" has given a lot of men the tools to appeal directly to women without having to put in the arduous work of appealing to women indirectly through dominance displays over other men.

two: it's true the first practitioners of the modern permutation of game were mostly systematizing nerds and "people nerds" who weren't particularly alpha in their professional lives and dealings with AMOGs (alpha male other guy), but the more recent teachings of game incorporate a lot of emphasis on "inner game", which is really about a more science and field-tested approach to anthony robbins- and robert cialdini-style self help. in fact, most of the top PUAs who are immersed in the lifestyle teaching and learning are quite successful in their professional lives. it's no coincidence that many of them are entrepreneurs who run their own businesses. if you're the type to thumb your nose at traditional dating-marriage-kids and flout social convention you're probably not the type to be happy as a corporate drone.

Posted by: roissy on June 7, 2008 4:32 PM

I found many of the comments here and at MR fun (this topic always draws interest), but I find it strange that people (including Roissy?) took Tyler Cowen's "evil" at face value. I thought it was tongue in cheek or at least oblique; the "banality of evil" perhaps? He even wrote it all caps and made an obvious "under the fold" joke. But maybe I have it all wrong:

"There is nothing more pathetic and… alien… than a pre-menopausal aging childless woman throwing herself headlong into the chaotic vagaries of dating. When a woman doesn’t have children to nurture and raise by her early 30s she morphs rapidly into a sad and tragic creature — a shell entity of raging cynicism that can do no more than go through the motions — that no one wants to be around. Whatever is left of her innate femininity, beauty and sexiness is destroyed to dust by that point."

Michael Blowhard may have it right that Roissy is "a super-talented and full-of-mischief provocateur," but the above, from the recent post "Speed Dating Sucks," makes me wonder if I'm the one who doesn't get the joke. It's clearly tongue-in-cheek and I'm sure (or praying) the commenters on Roissy's blog are just playing along, but I think that humor that relies on the expression of an unpleasant or insipid world-view needs to be snappier, punchier, and not just grind along too much as if it were the real thing. I think you need an occasional distinguishing sign beyond the unpleasantness and insipidity.

Posted by: anon/portly on June 7, 2008 5:53 PM

"The holy grail among females is the man who genuinely loves women." Amen,Sister! The Players don't hold a candle to the guy who loves, not just wants women.

Posted by: Bradamante on June 7, 2008 8:20 PM

MB: What has changed in the lives of young people that nice guys are now felt to be losers, and that nice guys themselves genuinely can't find girlfriends and mates?

That's a very good question. In my mind what women find attractive is a combination of pre-wired genetic preferences and conditioned cultural ones. Pre WW2, a hardworking regular and virtuous Joe was seen as a socially approved catch. Post world war 2, the sexually desirable male was seen as a rule breaker, rebel and non conformist, someone who stuck to rules was continually portrayed as deficient. Society rewards what it approves of, and at the moment bad boy rock stars get far more recognition than Christian computer engineers.As women generally make choices based on social expectation, ( I know I'm gonna get heat on that comment) it's no wonder that bad boys get all the action.

Posted by: Slumlord on June 8, 2008 7:13 AM

In my experience, from your late 20s and on, women like a man who excels at something and is serious about life. The reason is pretty obvious, they want a stable dude who will provide an environment conducive do marriage, and possibly kids. As a guy, if at that time that isn't what you're looking for, then I suppose you do have to start playing "the game" to attract women, because "the game" is at it's core a way to dance around adulthood, seriousness. And it's a good title, because those who play it are children.

By adulthood and seriousness, I in no way mean a boring, staid life. Since the 60s, adulthood has gotten a bad rap, in favor of a prolonged adolescence. We're all free to indulge in that (and it absolutely is an indulgence), but I object to classifying men who do settle down as somehow "beta." Raising kids and providing for a family is as "alpha" as it gets.

Posted by: JV on June 8, 2008 4:40 PM

What MBlowhard is groping toward it the effect of nihilism on mass culture. Nihilism used to be an elite taste, an artistic affectation. But nihilistic values have trickled down into mass culture -- the pursuit of immediate pleasure above all else, a vindictive obsession with power and status in the absence of other values, etc. "Alpha" is the idealized powerful figure who can have all the pleasure he likes without any return in committment, service, or virtue. "Beta" is the poor chump who yokes himself to something besides his own immediate pleasure, who isn't gathering his individual rewards as a "winner" at every moment. One of the benefits of being an Alpha is looking down on Betas.

(It should be noted that this kind of nihilism is a mass pop culture thing; it's for the many and isn't true of many truly successful types -- being disciplined and devoted to something larger than yourself is helpful in attaining success. But anyway.)

The catch here is that, as philosophers have understood for thousands of years, nihilistic pleasure-seeking does not make you happy. Roissy is obviously not a happy guy. He is also not an Alpha, not even close right now(although he might become one if he got real pop culture success with his blog). It's obvious even from his own blog he doesn't have Alpha level success with women.

I take "Alpha" to mean a man who is devoted to casual sex and truly successful at it -- who gets enough women to fully satisfy him without busting his ass for it and fretting about it constantly. That's a high standard because if a man really wants to fill the happiness void with sexual variety alone, it would take at least a new beautiful woman every few weeks.

True alphas attract new women regularly in the course of their everyday lives, and those women pursue them sexually without having to be played (because the alpha naturally has the requisite combination of distance and charm to make him intriguing). Roissy's blog is full of stuff like how to manage hours spent in clubs trying to pick up strangers, how to plan second and third dates, how to arrange your apartment so a woman will be interested in you when she sees it, etc. Alphas in their 30s (the male prime) don't have to do this kind of stuff to get laid. They don't have to work on planning a third date, they don't have to hit on strangers in bars because they get approached by attractive women in the course of their lives, women don't carefully inspect their apartments before deciding whether to sleep with them, etc.

Of course, you can also observe that Roissy is way too bitter toward women to be someone who has really easy success with them. Also, that he's always complaining about how tired and drained he is by the effort of hitting the clubs all the time (which is hard to keep up physically after your late 20s).

I'm sure Roissy gets laid a reasonable amount. But what he is is a hard-working Beta who prioritizes pussy above all else (except blogging, I guess), and dutifully and industriously works the imbalanced DC singles scene, which has way more women than men. (In DC, I've observed that Alpha-type men who really want it often have two or three attractive women they're sleeping with at once, only a phone call away -- the city is just jammed with single women).

One can also observe that very, very few men are real Alphas. That's another source of bitterness -- a man can get laid a good deal and still feel like women are *short-changing* him he's still not getting all he deserves. That's because the male desire for casual sex has that inexhaustible, addictive, character. Like many addictive-type pleasures, it's ultimately sort of unsatisfying. Most men with the gift for being Alphas try it for a few years and then look for something deeper because it's more rewarding. They often occasionally stray on their wives because it's really easy for them, but especially as they get older they kind of ease off on that too (although they may switch to keeping one mistress, if they have the money). Sometimes guys who are really good at it and driven can keep juggling women well into their 60s, though (and no, they don't have to be rich to do it). If a man has the gift, it will always be there, in my experience.

Posted by: mq on June 9, 2008 2:25 AM

mq, I don't know whether you're right about roissy, but your analysis of the "alpha" phenomenon as it is now defined, and as it relates to the embrace of nihilism by the masses, esp. the young, is very interesting to me. I suspect you're right about that.

Posted by: alias clio on June 9, 2008 8:50 AM

Great post, mq. I think you've hit upon the contradictions inherent in the notion of an alpha who practices "game." Isn't practicing game, after all, an admission that you lack the qualities that might naturally attract women on their own?

On the other hand, I think you're setting the bar for being an alpha a bit too high. You describe an alpha as someone who has women literally throwing themselves at him. There are men like this, but as you alluded to, they're mostly celebrities. These are special cases; they're able to attract women for reasons that have little to do with any inherently alpha qualities they might possess, and much more to do with their circumstances. Let me put it this way: if George Clooney weren't an actor, he'd probably have to do at least a *bit* of work to sleep with women, and put more thought into it than he does today. That wouldn't mean he wasn't an alpha, though.

Posted by: Alex on June 9, 2008 5:57 PM

Just a minor correction: George Clooney would still have the goods without being a movie star. A handsome, witty, confident adult man is devastatingly attractive, even if he's unemployed.

Posted by: Sister Wolf on June 9, 2008 6:17 PM

Sister Wolf understands. It's not that "alpha" types with women don't have to approach women, it's that approaching is like pushing on an open door for them. It doesn't involve much work or planning or sweating on their part, their natural personality and approach does it. In game, they call this a "natural".

Celebrity automatically gives guys power with women, and can turn what was an alpha into someone who really does literally have women throwing themselves at him, and needs bodyguards to keep them away.

"Game" promises to turn regular guys into Alphas of the "natural" sort, through a teaching/apprenticeship/practice process. I think that's very difficult. Much more difficult than getting laid fairly often when you work for it.

Roissy's blog is full of hints of the fretting and flop sweat and worrying he puts into getting girls. He's not near there yet. His continuing insecurities fuel his posts. Actually making him more psychologically interesting than a "natural" or alpha would be, since as a somewhat insecure sex-obsessed guy he's closer to the typical man than an alpha would be.

Posted by: mq on June 10, 2008 6:50 PM

mq: True alphas attract new women regularly in the course of their everyday lives, and those women pursue them sexually
but, these are precisely the women that said alphas should avoid like the plague.
despite 40 years of feminist bluster, the reigning social norm is still that men approach and women evaluate. therefore, when a woman flips this social norm upside down by engaging in active "pursuit", you can rest assured that something is amiss: at best, she has significant ulterior motives; at worst, she is psychotically obsessive.
obviously, mq, you have not been "sexually pursued" by many, if any, women; otherwise, you would realize that women who pursue are always among the most calculating, controlling, manipulative, and deceptive of all.

Roissy's blog is full of stuff like how to manage hours spent in clubs trying to pick up strangers, how to plan second and third dates, how to arrange your apartment so a woman will be interested in you when she sees it, etc.

roissy has found a formula that has attracted over a million hits to his blog, so it's certainly effective.
do you seriously think that roissy's blog would be in some way better if he avoided giving such tangible advice to his readers, even if only to spark comments?
he is entertaining.
end of story.

Posted by: johnny five on June 13, 2008 5:46 AM

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