“A man who loves like a woman becomes a slave. This is the Nice Guy.”—Pook
Before commencing, it might be helpful for the reader to visualize the person who is telling the story. Imagine an ectomorph. An ectomorph whose upper body muscles show through his intentionally tight clothing, with really high powered glasses and a rather goofy looking face, pockmarked with pimple scars from back in the day when I was trying to tell myself “appearance shouldn’t matter”, and thus didn’t do a thing about. My name is Andrew, age 22 as of writing, and I have lost to a girl I liked in an arm wrestling match (ok she is right handed and I am left handed but still). Let’s be honest here ladies—if it weren’t for the way I carry myself, you would probably not think that I am the type of guy who has even heard about a Taken in Hand relationship, let alone be capable of one.
Foresight teaches gently—error teaches brutally
My first success with females was when I was in primary. In 3rd grade I remember following around a girl that I liked. She despised me. I remember wondering “hmm I was supposed to be thoughtful and caring; why isn’t this working?”
Throughout middle and high school there was a girl I really liked, but I never made a move on. This was the girl I lost to in arm wrestling. Later on it turned out she liked my friend, and dated him for a while. That was not fun. The first lesson was taught—but I did not learn it. It was:
“Rejection is better than Regret”
While I was in middle school, I attended some local event. I was extra confident that day, and it showed. I went up to all the girls and asked for their names before the event started. I did nothing else worthy of mention, but all the guys looked up to me and all the girls were eyeing me. A girl whom I did not know told me to sit next to her at the very back of the bus. We became fast friends and she took me to dinner with her family. I had a feeling that she liked me, but I didn’t act upon it because I was afraid that my true self would show, namely that I’m a loser at middle school and the friendly, outgoing person she saw in the local event was just a one off. Out of all the girls with whom I swapped email addresses with after the event, she was the only one I remembered. This is also why I think ladies should take initiative sometimes, because it makes you stand out.
This episode really puzzled me. I thought I had lost it forever when it came to girls. So how was it that I somehow managed to become the life of the event that particular day? Was I really, at heart, a natural at this?
I also had another run in with the oddities of females when I asked a girl I didn’t know for her hand at a dance party. We danced… not very well, but I imagine she thought that I liked her. Which might explain why, after a few days of me not doing anything after the party, all her friends started to hate me. I guess you’re not supposed to dance with a girl if you’re not interested in her?
In High School I found that the social hierarchy was based on popularity, and surprisingly, my natural personality placed me at the oddities table, far, far away from where all the hot chicks were. In order to climb up the ladder, I tried on many mannerisms. I picked up the bad habit of brain farts, I sometimes acted like I was on Prozac because I thought that would make me more popular (it didn’t), I sometimes made stupid and immature comments. Needless to say this did not work.
And so in this confused way I graduated and went to university. My brain still shuts down whenever I want to talk to a beautiful woman (as it has been wont to do since 1st grade). Yet I kept my standards impossibly high. A lot of people say “why go for a beautiful woman when you can have a caring loving woman?” and I always respond with “why can’t I have both?”
Yes, why couldn’t I have both? I realized at this point that my behaviour was getting me nowhere. It takes a certain humility to buckle down and admit that yes, I am bad at attracting women—something that so many other guys are afraid to admit. Yes, I need help. And so with my best companion and friend since 3rd grade, the personal computer, I set off in search for help on the seas of the Internet.
“You are the Great Catch.”
I first signed up on Sosuave in 2008, but that was after reading David DeAngelo’s Cocky & Funny and Neil Strauss’s The Game. I downloaded Mystery’s TV show. Tried the Apocalypse Opener at a club, to a resounding failure. I followed David DeA’s advice on banishing approach anxiety, which was to go up to random chicks on the street and tell them you were practicing talking to attractive women. That was a good one. I like C&F—it’s natural and always gets a good reaction. When I approach women, I feel like I am “the man”. But it soon felt like a job. Whenever I saw an attractive woman, I just had to approach her, or I would feel like I was lapsing into the old ways, and no longer “the man”. This subtle sense of insecurity bugged me and I could never feel like “the Great Catch”. Plus I realized that a lot of these “techniques” were actually my natural behaviour during the local event at which I was so popular in middle school. Eventually it all fell by the side and I forgot about it for some time.
I drifted along until sometime last year, my friend broke it to me with some hard love. I had no social status. I acted like an overly Nice Guy in front of the girl I liked. I wasn’t studying. I didn’t take good care of myself. I wear my heart on my sleeve (sometimes I use this to my advantage). I am too easy to read. And a few other things that I don’t quite remember, or probably didn’t want to keep in mind.
It hurt, but it was true. I never really got the urge to study, but eventually, I managed to drag myself into doing pushups every 2 days to build muscle, to take care of those pimples on my face, to shower every day, learning to insult each other wittily, and most importantly to me, to start reading those dating advice books again. This time, I also read dating advice for women. And I read Casanova’s Memoirs.
“Ambitionless men are those who live like women. Ambitionless women are those who live the equality of men.”—Pook
Casanova is very far removed from the pickup artists of today. He didn’t memorize routines, memorize astrological trivia, learn palm reading, or try to break it down into a science/process. What he had was poetry, a sharp wit, very strong convictions, a way of forming social connections quickly and with a lot of people, and a frame of mind that made everything seem like an adventure. And he did live adventurously, going from place to place, meeting strange people, meeting extraordinary women, and getting his way with women anywhere, anytime, whether he was poor or rich. And every person who entered his life came away somehow enriched. Or at least, that’s the impression his memoirs gave.
“Manners for men: direction of masculine strength, not the denial of it.”—Pook
Casanova was also odd in that he had severe oneitis. Oneitis is when a pickup artist thinks that a particular girl is “the One”. Usually what happens is then he starts to revert to his old self around her, thus making her lose all interest in him. All pickup artists avoid oneitis like the plague. They try to date lots of other women to get their mind off them. But Casanova seemed to get severe oneitis for some women, and they didn’t care. In fact, they welcomed him with open arms (and legs)! Obviously there was a duality going on here—women like seeing the soft side of masculine men! And the pickup artists, because they used to fall in love too soon with a woman, now overreact and try to never show that they love a woman. This also works on a physical level. Watch Le Samourai, which stars Alain Delon. Quiet, determined, always composed, yet something feminine about him. I think that’s why women think he’s attractive.
“Technique is nothing. Communication is everything. The 'techniques' that supposedly 'work' are nothing more than good communication of your desires and intention.”—Pook
Shortly before reading Casanova’s memoirs I had found a few posts by somebody on Sosuave called The Pook. Somebody had kindly compiled his posts into The Book of Pook. Pook’s posts really resonated with me, because having read The Game when I first got into this study, I appreciated the importance of having inner game, i.e. being in touch with yourself, being a good, respectable character before searching for a woman. The Game specifically demonstrates how Mystery, despite his incredible powers of seduction, fails in keeping women because he is childish and attention seeking, incapable and scared of giving love. His Mystery Method is only a coat that he dons when he sarges. The Game also makes it clear that many males who play the speed seduction game fall into the narcissistic trap of hoarding numbers from women and having all of them; but only a select few rise above that, and realize that in order to get better women, they have to better themselves, not sharpen their “technique” or develop more routines.
“Never Change Your Mind Just to Please a Woman”—Chapter 6, The Way of the Superior Man
Pook is all about improving and being true to oneself before meeting women. Much like David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man recommends, the focus is always more on the self, less on the woman. Casanova, although he never spelt it out explicitly, lived his life according to the same principle. Pook talks about being a man, and why women go for men and not Nice Guys—because men do not deny that they are male, while Nice Guys try to hide it by acting female. Meanwhile, as I’m sure all the females on Taken in Hand know, sexuality remains alive and well, but mostly only in romance novels.
The Book of Pook, The Way of the Superior Man, Casanova’s Memoirs, Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus, and The Game all confirmed a nagging suspicion that when it comes to girls, there are no rules. No “wait x days before calling”, no “absence creates fondness”, “never say I love you within 3 months” (broke that rule successfully!), “be mysterious”, “when she does this, do that”. I would post more if I remembered them but the fact is I try not to read any more material that advocates “rules” with women, and I especially abhor The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. There are so many of them, for each differing situation, and each person has their own set of rules, that it’s impossible and tiring to try and remember them all. Plus such posts always advocate a sort of false front. And we all know women hate false fronts. This is why women are leery of men who admit that they learned The Game. They know that at some point, he was not being true to himself; he was just following a caricature of some other guy’s behaviour. And if there was any doubt on the matter, listen to Mission #17 of the Victory Unlimited Show (I love how he mixes a military vibe into it). Now that’s a guy who knows what women want.
Armed to the teeth with all this newfound knowledge, and having my confidence bolstered by re-reading The Way of the Superior Man on a regular basis, I started to ask out all the physically attractive girls I knew, and whom I knew had not put me in the list marked as “FRIENDS”. In no particular order of physical attractiveness: the first was not interested. The second had a boyfriend. The third was a confirmed hit! I got straight to the point and asked her if she had a guy already. Remembering the Brad Pitt/Alain Delon duality, I wore my heart on my sleeve and slightly exaggerated my nervousness :D what, no harm getting your foot in the door!
What I found was a very quiet, very reserved, warm hearted and incredibly cute girl who never failed to reciprocate my feelings for her, and who also happened to be a total animal in bed. The one time she wronged me, she invested a lot of effort into rebuilding the relationship, in spite of a few hurtful sentences I hurled at her, and seeing her effort, I was touched and could not bring myself to say anything else of the sort. The one complaint I have is that I still do not know enough about her. She knows me better than I know her, but as my friend said, I make it easy for people to read me, so I suppose this is not surprising.
I mention her because she unconsciously taught me a very important lesson:
Men are expected to lead.
At first I thought it was because of her personality—she is quiet and submissive after all. But I soon realized that it was a bit deeper than that. It was always up to me to push the boundaries as to where I could touch her—and her limits were imposed via a gentle repositioning of my hand. And if I stopped because of that, she would look up at me, confused. Now THAT was really confusing. And although we took turns on deciding where to go for dates, she would always be happiest when I was the one making the decisions. I had a faint idea that dates were mostly managed by men anyway, so I figured it had to be something other than her personality.
Now, a strange thing happens to a guy when he likes a girl very much. A man should always want to improve himself for himself. But when he is in love, a man will have the urge to improve himself for himself, and also for the girl that he likes. Read Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus by John Gray. Everything he says there is true on a very deep level. Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man also shares common ideas with Mars/Venus. And so it came about that I was looking for ways to further improve myself when I came across a post on Sosuave called “A Crash Course on Masculine Power”. It opened with a quotation from this article, which was first published here on the Taken In Hand website. I found this quotation incredibly fascinating, and it felt like it was stolen from a written article, so I Googled the exact line. I had stumbled upon Taken in Hand.
“It seems that the most gifted Don Juans were the most miserable failures with women earlier in life. It is like when they found they couldn’t have their way, they had to compensate by realizing and cultivating their faculties and talents. This is also true with geniuses.” —Pook
It amazes me how mature, honest, and understanding people on Taken in Hand are. Totally different from Sosuave, but probably because there’s a lot of females here too. Their ages also amaze me. Too many accounts of marriages going down the drain because the male has not yet learned to deal with the female, and the female wants the male to be strong enough to handle her and is disappointed that she married a male who isn’t. I have no doubt that Pook has at one time or another read this site too. Like many posters on Taken In Hand, he blames feminism for the increasing “equality” between the sexes. The final pieces of the puzzle fall into place: Scarlett’s puzzling reaction after being raped in Gone with the Wind makes sense; pickup artists acknowledge that girls throw out shit tests, but can’t explain why; why jerks get the girls; and a line that my mother once said, but never emphasized, came to mind:
“Women want a man who is stronger than them.”
Even if I had paid attention to it, I would probably have interpreted it in the physical sense. As it turns out, this nugget of gold went in one ear and out the other, much like the other trashy line “Girls like guys who have good grades”. It’s times like those I think my parents assume I’m retarded. Or maybe that was just a last ditch effort to get me to study.
“It is good for young men to read a post full of aphorisms.”—Pook
Well I assure you I’ve studied the subject of women enthusiastically over the past few months, with more gusto than I could ever apply to schoolwork. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:
Women will never stop shit testing you.
“A woman often seems to test her man's capacity to remain unperturbed in his truth and purpose. She tests him to feel his freedom and depth of love, to know that he is trustable. Her tests may come in the form of complaining, challenging him, changing her mind, doubting him, distracting him, or even undermining his purpose in a subtle or not so subtle way. A man should never think his woman's testing is going to end and his life will get easier. Rather, he should appreciate that she does these things to feel his strength, integrity, and openness. Her desire is for his deepest truth and love. As he grows, so will her testing.”—Chapter 15, The Way of the Superior Man
Pickup artists know that shit tests are a sign of interest! It’s one of their probes to test a man’s character. If she wasn’t interested in you, she would not test your character. That is why now and then, they will throw you a shit test, and see if you still pass this month. It can be as simple as asking men for free drinks, or as bad as cheating. If the man does not establish boundaries quickly and decisively, he is seen as weak. The cheating woman will continue to use him for his money. The girl who is just starting to date a guy who lets her get away with a shit test will lose interest in him quickly, or use him as well. A married woman whose husband fails her tests builds resentment for him, and may or may not cheat. At a high level of game, a pickup artist passes shit tests unconsciously. A natural also passes shit tests unconsciously. I don’t know if my girlfriend gave me any shit tests, but I assume I passed all of them.
Taken in Hand teaches that a woman needs a man they can trust to pass their shit tests. Then they will reward the man with even more trust. If they are married to men who let them do whatever they want, who do not take charge, they will lose attraction and either cheat, divorce messily, or devolve into a couple that simply lives together. The funny thing is that this is all subconscious, and even women do not know why they are losing interest in their men! Hence the much misused line “They don’t know what they want”. Pickup artists also acknowledge that women throw out shit tests, but they cannot explain why. Some of them think that women do it on a subconscious level.
Why do girls always go for the jerks, even though they say they want nice guys?
Because it is impossible to install a spine in a pansy. At least the jerk has a spine, and the girls hope they can set him straight. Unfortunately they do not know that it is impossible to change a person who does not want to change himself. Either that or strong men are in such short supply, they’ll take their chances! Also jerks are usually jerks because of an inner insecurity. Young girls are usually not mature enough to look past the outward display of strength. I have never heard a woman describe “quiet confidence” as an attractive trait before coming to this board—and most women on this board seem to be above 30. I think that has something to do with it too.
“In high school, you thought women would ‘mature’ and stop liking the jocks or jerks. In college, you thought women would mature and dislike the frat boys, sports guys, and start to be attracted to Nice Guy. In your thirties, you thought that women were FINALLY wisening up. No, women didn’t mature; they just ran out of don juans. No matter what her age or relationship status, a woman will look at those guys and LUST. Women indefinitely remain women.”
This Pook’s one failing: he accuses women at age 30 or above of settling for Nice Guys because they can no longer attract The Catch.
It is equally likely that they found a nice guy who has strength of character, a spine. It is not readily apparent with just a cursory glance. Of course there are wives who cheat. They cheat because they have married a New Age man, because they have settled. From the posts on Taken in Hand, I get the feeling that none of you in a Taken In Hand relationship would even dream of cheating on your husbands. And no husband in a Taken In Hand would tolerate cheating.
Nice Guys offer flowers, bad poetry, romantic gestures, gifts, and a listening ear to women in hopes that they will fall in love with them. Women only appreciate this emotional surrender if they like the guy. This is the male equivalent of a female throwing herself all over you from/at the first date. You think she is easy. And you don’t want easy women.
Cocky & Funny works because it is an outward display of strength, and shows comfort in oneself. Unfortunately for too many clueless men, this is their only tool for attracting women, and C&F alone is generally not enough. Fortunately, David DeAngelo does not advocate memorizing lines and routines like Jeffries or Mystery. Instead he recommends a view of the world or a state of mind, from which C&F will flow naturally. I should know. I signed up for his newsletter (and got lots of spam on the side).
A lot of pickup artists sarge to reassure themselves that they are the man, that they are more attractive than the nice guys they used to be. The more numbers they get, the more “manlier”, “accomplished” they are. Meanwhile a lot of women go to clubs to feel desired. The more desired a woman is, the more “feminine” she is. Women rank each other based on men’s desire for them. This is also why many women do not dump a boyfriend until they already have another one next in line.
Women generally don’t approach a guy. They just drop hints and expect the man to take the lead. I never understood why, neither do pickup artists elaborate on why (they just accept it as a matter of fact), but the women on Taken in Hand explain it very simply: if he is a take-charge man, he will come and say hi. If he doesn’t, then he is not take-charge, or he's just not that into her, i.e. no big loss anyway. The more beautiful the woman, the more intimidating the cold approach. This is why
“Beauty is a shit test.”—Neil Strauss, The Game
Pickup artists train themselves to overcome approach anxiety, the really nervous feeling you get when approaching an attractive woman, or even worse, a group of women with the target. Often you start out by practicing striking up conversations with strangers. Rejection hurts. Some people try to cope by trying to get rejected as much as possible in the hopes that it will numb them. The Great Catch will see rejection either as a failure of the woman to read his character, i.e. she wasn’t good enough for him anyway. The other “Great Catch” is simply full of himself.
“A Rules marriage is forever”—Ellen Fein, The Rules
If a girl is into you or if you’re far along enough in the relationship, you can break pretty much any rule ever made, and she will forgive you for minor mistakes you make during the approach. And once she is convinced that you are truly strong, you have true core values, then you can break the rules and be weak/nice guyish in front of her. You can even break the “don’t rape a woman” rule, as numerous contributors on this site attest to. The only reason rules exist is to help n00bs along. Too many n00bs never outgrow the rules or realize that the rules were made to be broken.
Dating is a process of qualification. She tries to figure out your true character through shit tests. If you are given the chance to naturally display your confidence, bravery, and true values, and you pass it unconsciously, you gain instant interest from a lot of women, because you just passed a lot of their tests. The man also qualifies the female by taking her out and observing her behaviour in particular situations. The first person, who displays over-eagerness or a weakness in their qualification scheme, is the one who loses. Both sides must be satisfied that they have been tested equally thoroughly to ensure that their feelings will be appreciated. Patience in this stage is an indicator of a well developed qualification process and is well rewarded.
Attraction for males: The man filters based on physical attractiveness. When he sees an attractive chick, he has a desire to get to know this attractive chick more. In his early 20s Casanova likened this to a book with an attractive cover making one interested to read its contents. Even today men concur.
Attraction for females: Women filter based on strength of character. They want this strength of character because they want someone else to take charge, but this someone else must also be strong and disciplined enough not to abuse this privilege. Most girls mistake crudity of behaviour, rudeness, and a do or die attitude for strength of character, and so go for the jerks.
Men are made, not born. Inner strength, regardless of how one comes across it, is still inner strength.
“Most guys here are making it harder than it actually is. You do not have to become some mythical ‘alpha male’. You don’t need to play a ‘Psychological Chess’ with them. You don’t have to have society in awe of you. You just have to simply go ask them out. Instead of facing this simple fact, we spit out and regurgitate ‘alpha male’ manifestos, treatises on women and society, and so on.”—Pook
“The strangest thing has occurred to me on this forum. I came here looking for love but discovered life. Now, it is not a love for woman or women, it is more a love for life. Do you guys feel this way? It is like we have been given a second chance to get life right, a Second Life as gift.”
I wouldn’t dare say I know everything about women now. But I do know more about them than 95% of guys my age do, thanks to Taken in Hand. I also know that many people do not reach this level of understanding until they have gone through a divorce or two. That’s why I’m posting here to support the site: to let you know that you have helped me immensely, and that I am thankful. I could never have figured this out on my own.
“I gave up trying to figure out 'how to get women' and 'understanding women' because I kept coming back to defining men. Just as you cannot define day without defining night, so too you cannot define women without defining men.”
And now I must stop theorizing as I have been doing for a long time, and go out and apply all that I have learned. Many thanks to my parents, Neil Strauss, John Gray, David Deida, Sosuave and its members The Pook, Anti-Dump, Senor Fingers, Jay Julio etc., and of course, Taken in Hand and its legion of brutally honest women who are not afraid to voice their deepest desires despite all the detractors! I have a lot more left to give my girlfriend, and now I know what she will appreciate the most. Some will accuse me of reshaping myself to fit what women want, but what is a man, if not what women want? If real men are truly in such short supply as this site says, then I am glad that I have invested so much time into learning about this, especially at my age, for now I truly know that I am the Great Catch.