I once knew a guy that had an allergy to gluten (coeliac disease). He was always sick and even when he wasn’t was gaunt and sickly-looking. Once they determined that he had the coeliac problem, he took on a gluten-free diet and the effects were immediately noticeable. He then came up with the idea that the problem wasn’t that he had coeliac disease. He was unsure such a thing even really existed, believing that it was something the Medical Establishment (which he loathed) made up. It wasn’t a particularly well-formed theory, but nonetheless he decided that gluten was to blame for all that was wrong with the modern diet and most specifically obesity (he was not himself obese). He told this to a couple other people I know (well, he told this to everybody, but a couple people proved receptive). These people weren’t sick like the original guy, but they were overweight and decided that they would try a gluten-free diet. Sure enough, they lost weight!

Now, it’s possible that there is some sort of relationship between gluten and obesity, but I strongly suspect that the weight loss was attributable to the fact that gluten-free diets were at the time (and are now, though less so) really hard. They prevented you from eating out and from eating a lot of really tasty junk food as well as limiting carb-intake by way of fewer options. They took that out of the diet and they lost weight (until it proved more than they could handle and the weight came back). The gluten-free diet proved helpful by helping them do what they could have done by eating more common food in smaller quantities. It’s sort of like how I intentionally buy crackers that I like less because I will eat less of them. The crackers I buy are not, in and of themselves, weight-loss conducive. But they are insofar as they change my habits.

In other words, I think my friend was wrong about gluten, though his advice had the virtue of helping people lose weight (albeit temporarily) for other reasons.

Long before I was introduced to a concept called Game, I had created something I called RAIN (or RAN) Theory. RAIN stood for Relationships As Implied Negotiation. It was based on the observation that my failures in the relationship realm mostly revolved around making myself too available to girls too early on. In other words, I was showing my hand before it was time and I was not demanding that she would meet me where I was before I would move to the next place. The theory expanded over time to improving my bookcover to better make women more interested in reading the book. In the end, I noticed that more than anything else, it was about finding ways to be more appealing, and less scary, to the opposite sex.

So when I first heard about Game, a large part of it rang true. The first variation of it I was introduced to was Doc Love and his System. Then Neil Strauss and Game proper, though by then I was less interested in such things. With the exception of some of the weirdness of Strauss, most of what I initially heard seemed true by the most important standard, which is that confirmed my existing biases. I still think that there is something to a lot of it in the most basic sense. Ferdinand Bardamu’s The Fundamentals of Game post, for example, seems extremely commonsensical. He breaks it down into seven components, all of which are important in some fashion or another. Should I ever be in the position of having to teach a son of mine about approaching women, I might use that very post.

The problem with Game, though, is that it often comes with a lot of baggage. And a good portion of its acolytes extrapolate these lessons the same thing that my friend extrapolated from Gluten-reduction. They found something successful (or claim to have, or have heard someone else claim to have), but often come up with reasons for its success that have more to do with confirming their (often very angry) biases rather than simply accepting the formula as something that can work. I am not calling out Bardamu on this. Though I disagree with him on a multitude of issues, his explanation of game is such a productive one I am not interested in hashing out the points of disagreement.

The great part about the system is that it can easily cure a very specific set of ills. Namely, what ailed me for the longest time. There are a lot of smart people that have poor feedback receptors. They obviously don’t know what they’re doing is not working, but don’t know why. I managed to figure out a lot of this stuff on my own because my feedback receptor is better than that of the average geek (I’ve noticed this most recently on job interviews, where I can tell if I am getting off-base really quickly). But a lot of people don’t. And so they can just keep making the same mistakes over and over again and never be able to isolate the problem. Further, these people often have limited exposure to girls and so they don’t get enough repetition to see their mistakes.

A problem with Game, as it is frequently discussed, is that its proponents often tend to fixate on a few aspects of it. Ferdinand, to his credit, manages to address the often (though not always) neglected aspects of it such as Presentability and Sociability. I know some guys that fit the first five to a tee and have no success because they completely and utterly fail on the last two.

So having it outlined is an extremely helpful thing. Perhaps the most important of the seven is Indifference because it’s Indifference that allows you to take the hits that come with asking girls out. When you ask out one girl a year, it’s (a) difficult to learn what you might be doing wrong and (b) inherently a big deal. If you can make it not a big deal, you can extend yourself more often without fear of being shot down. Not that you won’t be shot down, but you’ll be more likely to realize that in the end it is only as big a deal as you allow it to be. Calmness, another of the seven, is also helpful.

Insofar as Game is what Ferdinand describes it to be, I think it’s an extremely helpful thing for guys that have trouble with girls to consider. The main thing is that it seems to so rarely stop there. I think it’s one of those things that seems to commonsensical (when you think about it and have your “Eureka” moment) that people feel the need to extrapolate on it. And those extrapolations can lead to some pretty bad places made all the worse that the people that talk about it the most are often the people that have a history of failure and the bitterness that so often accompanies it. Folks like Roissy exploit this by playing to the dark aspects of the theories and making it so dark that the whole thing turns back on itself and the guy feels better about himself (or at least more Righteous) for not playing. For Roissy and his ilk, this is perfect because it becomes a loop of bitterness and self-righteousness.

Category: Coffeehouse

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12 Responses to Game & Gluten

  1. Peter says:

    One idea that’s been crossing my mind lately is that a man who’s failing to connect with women should spend some time trying to make friends with other men. Let the women wait for a while. He’ll have a lot less pressure dealing with other men, and more to the point will develop social skills that at least to some extent will carry over to his approaches to women.

  2. DaveinHackensack says:


    A man who is socially awkward around women may have a hard time making friends with other men, unless he can feign a certain normalcy and signal his heterosexuality in a subtle but clear way so he doesn’t give off a creep vibe. Even if he can do that, it would be tough.

    He’s probably better off trying to circulate with the other humans for a while, without trying to make friends or meet women. Just learn to feel comfortable in his own skin, listen, and observe. Have dinner at the bar of a nice restaurant by himself, with a newspaper or magazine. Casually look up once in a while and see what people are wearing, how they are acting, etc. Be open to engaging those next to him in conversation, if they initiate one, but otherwise keep his own counsel. “Date” himself for a while.

  3. MQ says:

    A problem with “game” on the internet is that people only come to it after many years, perhaps decades, of failures with women. This makes them bitter and angry and this bitterness infects the perspective they bring to even the common-sensical aspects of game.

  4. Maria says:

    Sorry, but “Game” has been completely discredited by unpleasant people like Roissy44 and FerdyMooMoo. I have, however, learned enough from it that I can warn my own daughter to stay away from anyone who remotely smells of “Game”, so in that respect it’s been useful to me.

  5. trumwill says:

    It all goes back to how we define Game. If we define it as one in which women are automatons that respond positively to negative stimuli or as part of a larger theory wherein women are to be held accountable for their biology but men are not, I agree.

    If we define it in the narrower sense of how men can muster confidence and social skills (or fake them until it comes more naturally), I don’t think Roissy and the like are powerful enough to discredit that. The stuff that I learned was equally true and helpful prior to learning that it was strikingly similar to something that some folks call Game.

  6. Bob V says:

    my failures in the relationship realm mostly revolved
    around making myself too available to girls too early


    The problem wasn’t that you were making yourself available too early.

    The problem is that you had too little self-respect to want to restrain yourself from making yourself available to any pretty face.

    If you had some sense of self-value and had some sense of how few women out there are actually worth your time (including among supermodels), then you wouldn’t have made yourself available to whoever shows you a shred of interest or whoever wore nice makeup that day. You would have the same effect as following RAIN or Game without having to read about it in a post or learn through tortuous experience. You’d just be there with that simple attitude change, and your relationships with women would be about mutual discovery rather than the wooing of your opponent.

  7. Kirk says:

    Have dinner at the bar of a nice restaurant by himself, with a newspaper or magazine. Casually look up once in a while and see what people are wearing, how they are acting, etc. Be open to engaging those next to him in conversation, if they initiate one, but otherwise keep his own counsel. “Date” himself for a while.

    I’ve done that a fair amount, never for any goal, but just for something to do on a Saturday afternoon. We’re talking about my butt on a barstool for anywhere from 5-8 hours at a stretch. I’ll typically arrive around 4, before the dinner crowd takes all the spots at the bar, have dinner around 7, and generally leave somewhere between 9 and midnight, depending on how I feel. When you live withing walking distance, you can get away with it.

    As much as I’ve enjoyed watching the scenery changing at the bar and surrounding tables, I’ve never had a “Eureka” moment. I’ve never felt myself getting any better at socializing.

    It’s still fun to do though, on occasion. I just don’t think it can lead to anything.

  8. ? says:

    I agree that Roissy’s dark vision is a significant source of his appeal. But Roissy regularly warns his readers about the debilitating effect of bitterness.

    Also, what does “discredit” mean in this context other than “say something you don’t like”?

  9. trumwill says:

    Phi, it means “say something at odds with reality (as I see it).” It’s subjective, of course. I probably would have used a term more along the lines of “tainted”. In any event, Roissy as the face of Game makes the entire enterprise less credible. Not just because he is wrong, but because we believe him to be operating in poor faith.

  10. trumwill says:

    Bob, what you’re saying may have been someone else’s problem, but it wasn’t really mine. What got me mostly was after I got fixated on being with a specific girl. I would invest too much and either make her feel uncomfortable or all but give her an excuse to walk all over me.

    Anyway, RAIN wasn’t built on the notion that playing hard to get is effective as much as it was built on the notion that if she doesn’t meet you half way, she’s not interested in any useful way. And as a preventative measue against coming off as desperate or scary.

  11. Maria says:

    Also, what does “discredit” mean in this context other than “say something you don’t like”?

    Well, as a mom of a pre-teen girl let me just say, no Gamepigs will ever be allowed near MY precious baby.

    “Game” has been discredited with ME, that is for damn sure. And there are a lot of other women who agree with me, including young women like The Escapist who posts here some time.

  12. Maria says:

    And our own Sheila Tone, too.

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