A shockingly good book on attraction and dating for men. No pickup lines. No complex charts. No crazy jargon, acronyms, and so on. Just advice on inner development, and living a lifestyle defined by honestly pursuing your desires (towards women and everything else).
My overall thoughts and review of the book will be posted soon.
Notes and Quotes
Originally published in 2011, Manson rewrote/updated the book in 2016.
The book is mostly directed at heterosexual men, but the core concepts “apply to all human beings, regardless of gender, orientation, genitalia, or whatever.” Whatever your dating life looks like, you can apply most of the advice in this book to your own situation.
What does it mean to be a man in today’s world?
Two movements have emerged: one that is calling for a new masculinity in the face of deep uncertainty, and a second movement that calls for men to do inner work to improve their interactions with women.
Manson’s approach isn’t about lines, it’s about an internal mindset for dealing with intimacy in a healthy (and more attractive) way.
The book is divided into five parts:
- Part 1: Attraction
- Part 2: Dating Strategy
- Part 3: Honest Living
- Part 4: Honest Action
- Part 5: Honest Communication
Seduction is not about emotional manipulation, but about honest emotional connection between two people.
Part 1: Attraction
Chapter 1: Non-Neediness
Neediness: placing a priority on other’s perceptions rather than self-perception. Non-neediness is the opposite.
A non-needy person does things for their own enjoyment, rather than trying to control what others think.
A non-needy person is more invested in themselves than they are in a woman.
A non-needy person is very similar to being high status. When you’re at the top of the social hierarchy, you don’t need to beg for anything or defer to others unless you want to. Those at the bottom only survive by begging and deferring.
All relationships require investment (and that’s what makes them worthwhile), but whether you’re needy or not is defined by this: are her perceptions/thoughts/feelings/enjoyment more important, or are yours more important?
Needy and narcissistic people do get into relationships, but mostly dysfunctional relationships with people who are also needy or narcissistic.
Being attractive isn’t about the things you say or do. It’s about being secure in yourself, non-needy.
The costs of sex are higher for women (9 months of pregnancy), and they have to be picky for who they choose as a partner. Hence why they are looking for a man who makes them feel secure.
Security isn’t just about a man being physically fit or financially wealthy. Those things help a man be attractive, but if his behavior is unattractive, he will be passed over.
“Seduction is the process by which a man induces a woman to become as invested in him as he is in her.” This applies to marriages, relationships, one night stands, etc.
You can learn pickup artist tactics – lines, game, etc. – in order to generate attraction. But pickup is a form of performance. It’s needy, revealing insecurity about who you actually are. It’s not fulfilling in the long term and covers up the real problem. The alternative is to be secure, and to express your sexual desires in a secure way.
To keep long term relationships working, you need to invest in yourself.
Performance might work in the short term, but not in the long run. (AKA “You can’t game your girlfriend.”)
Stop thinking about whether you are attractive enough or good enough for her. Ask if you will like her, whether she will recognize your good qualities, if she is interested in the things you enjoy, do you want to be with her, etc.
It sounds like selfishness, but is actually the foundation of non-neediness: strong boundaries, high standards, and high self-esteem.
“The only real dating advice is self-improvement. Work on yourself. Conquer your anxieties. Resolve your shame. Take care of yourself and those who are important to you.”
Narcissism is a shield used to protect your inner insecurities.
Narcissistic men overcompensate for their insecurities by only serving themselves, and believing a wide range of negative beliefs about women to justify using them for their own ends.
A needy man (AKA nice guy) is meek to gain approval, while a narcissist talks about how great they are to gain approval.
Women are attracted to narcissistic men if they are 1. extremely needy, or 2. narcissistic themselves and want to lift up their own greatness.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is ultimately another form of performance and insecurity.
Sometimes the nice guy will become a narcissist in pursuit of women, but ends up only attracting emotionally unstable women.
Chapter 2: Vulnerability
Most men have negative associations with “vulnerability,” but it’s the key to non-neediness.
Vulnerability is not about sharing sob stories or telling everyone about your insecurities, it’s about putting yourself in a position where you can be rejected or risk your emotions being hurt.
Vulnerability is a form of power that demonstrates internal security. “A man who’s able to make himself vulnerable is saying to the world, ‘Screw the repercussions; this is who I am, and I refuse to be anyone else.’ He’s saying he is non-needy and high status.”
What does this type of “vulnerable” man look like? They look people in the eye, they share their emotions at the risk of having them be rejected, they are unfazed by negative opinions of them, they stand up for themselves when challenged, while also admitting fault and weakness when appropriate. They aren’t trying to hide themselves.
The more bottled up you’ve been during your life, the harder it will be to start being vulnerable.
Neediness is only cured through vulnerability – sharing who you are, rough edges and all.
Women will like you for your ability to authentically express yourself, and conclude that you’re a person she can be emotionally and physically open with.
“We always think that we’re the ones that are fine. It’s everyone else who is screwed up.”
“It’s not about words or behavior, it’s about intentions.”
If you’re worried about whether something you do “doesn’t work,” you’re still performing. You’re being needy. Authentic expression doesn’t “work” or “not work.”
Vulnerability is about honest expression of emotion. When you say or express something you have to mean it, state your honest feelings, give honest compliments.
Chapter 3: The Gift of Truth
The intentions and implications of why you say something are far more important than the words themselves.
You can say almost anything, even disgusting and stupid things, but if you say those things from a place of rock-bottom investment and high vulnerability (internal security), it displays incredible attractiveness.
THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS SHINING THROUGH.
Give women more credit, they have a sixth sense for your motivations and emotions.
Vulnerability requires honesty, and honesty requires a lack of ulterior motives.
We don’t trust people who are extremely invested in us early, they’re either an axe murderer or trying to sell us something.
“I don’t know you, but I’ll do anything to win your approval.” Very needy and pathetic attitude. If you go up to woman in a bar (or anywhere) with that mindset, you’re communicating that your only value is money and compliments.
Nice guys always give. Narcissists always take. Both are desperate for approval.
Compliments aren’t a bargaining tool. Stop using them like one.
Trying to buy a woman’s affection or trying to impress her will make you unattractive.
It’s about being less invested, rather than not invested at all in other’s perceptions. Nice guys are completely invested, while narcissists have zero investment. Non-needy people are less invested.
Non-needy people set clear boundaries. Because they have clear boundaries, they are willing to tell scathingly honest and angry truths if it makes those boundaries clear.
Nice guys have no boundaries. Narcissists pay no attention to the boundaries of others as a form of overcompensation.
Needy people only respect others. Narcissists only respect themselves. Non-needy people respect themselves and others.
If women play games with you, or give you all sorts of “tests”: Make it clear you won’t tolerate games. The women you attract will stop playing them, and you’ll stop attracting game-playing women.
Non-neediness is demonstrated by having clear boundaries, and being willing to walk away if they are violated.
Establish boundaries. Learn to say no. Have opinions. Define what you will and won’t tolerate. Be as painfully honest as you have to be about all of these things.
In order to be painfully honest, you need to have self-awareness. Know thyself. Sit down, and figure out who and what you are. Define your values. Understand your own motivations about why you do what you do. Set boundaries based on your new self-awareness.
Come to terms with your old wounds, your insecurities, your motivating emotions, all of your rough edges. Therapy might be useful (only as a tool – not as a solution).
Remember that even if someone is incredibly attracted to you, that doesn’t mean they’re going to jump into an intimate relationship with you. There can be friction and projection that get in the way.
Friction: a values mismatch, or other circumstances that make acting on mutual attraction impossible.
Projection: the person is not comfortable with their sexuality (or sexual men), and will project their anxieties and insecurities onto you. Often related to abuse, or a long series of disappointing men. (Note to self: this probably also applies to men uncomfortable with sexual women and female sexuality)
“Incompatibility is a fact of life. No matter how you behave or what you’re into, the majority of women out there at any given time are simply not going to be interested or emotionally available to you. Our job is not to attract every woman, but to screen for women with a high potential for being attracted to who we really are.”
Part 2: Dating Strategy
Chapter 4: Polarization
Manson is giving advice with the intent of it being effective and practical.
Remember: Rejection exists to keep people apart who aren’t good for each other.
Having all women attracted to you through pickup, by saying the right lines, is a fairy tale.
First, eliminate all of the women you’re not attracted to. Then sort the remaining women into three categories:
- Unreceptive: Unavailable or uninterested. You’re too needy. They’re in a relationship. There’s friction. They’re not looking for anything, period. They aren’t reciprocating your advances.
- Neutral: Need to be swayed one way or the other. As a man, you should never have a woman spend too long in this category. They’ll most likely become Unreceptive if you don’t make a move. Your actions, and your authentic expressions, will force her to decide one way or the other.
- Receptive: They initiate, or reciprocate your advances. There are several signs that she is receptive (strong eye contact, unprovoked touch, making excuses or reasons to spend time with you away from her friends, etc.), and you need to watch for several of them in a row.
Women initiating is very rare, for personal and cultural reasons.
Very important to watch for the difference between a woman responding positively to your advances (Receptive), and a woman not responding at all (Neutral).
How many women around you are Unreceptive, Neutral, or Receptive is called Demographics (just not the Census Bureau kind).
You’re not going to win an Unreceptive woman over. Stop. Your only job with Unreceptive women is spotting them as quickly as possible.
If you don’t act on your sexual interest, you are demonstrating neediness, caring too much about her potential rejection to go for it. You need to indicate your interest early and make a move, or you will only be a friend. At best.
If you’re now in the “friend zone” with a woman, it’s probably because you waited too long to make a move, and she became Unreceptive (or was from the beginning). Move on.
Don’t waste time with women in relationships, for obvious reasons. She won’t cheat, and if she will, it’s not worth it. Don’t sabotage relationships so you can swoop in. Don’t be arrogant and manipulative waiting around for her to “wake up” to how great you are. Women in relationships sometimes flirt for fun – don’t take it seriously.
If a woman tells you she has a boyfriend, Manson recommends taking it at face value. Even if it is a “test” he still recommends against trying to win her over.
Your goal with Neutral women is to quickly make them decide between yes or no. Express yourself freely, look for friction, don’t be needy by trying to adapt yourself to her.
Narcissists cause an extreme reaction, while nice guys cause no reaction at all.
A Neutral woman is where you need game, or good communication skills. Get her to make up her mind about whether she is Unreceptive or Receptive.
Even if she becomes Receptive, she will go back to Neutral and then Unreceptive if you don’t make a move.
Woman who are Receptive from the very start of your interaction will often be Receptive indefinitely – including into and out of the “friend zone.” But don’t count on it.
“The percentage of women who are Receptive to you will increase proportionally to the quality of your lifestyle, your social status, and your looks. The percentage of women that you’re able to move from Neutral to Receptive will be proportional to how good your “game” is, or how well you’re able to communicate and express yourself with women. And your ability to sort through each type of women and meet as many as possible will be determined by how fearless and bold you are when it comes to meeting women.”
Rejection is not only unavoidable, but is a tool to sort out women you aren’t compatible with from those who are.
You need to be polarizing, even controversial. This will very quickly weed out Unreceptive women (who you’ll be able to tell aren’t interested) and push more Neutral women to be Receptive.
Sexuality is by default confrontational.
Everything that is attractive is polarizing. The things that make you extremely attractive to one person will make you extremely unattractive to someone else.
If you’re too invested, you’re not going to be able to express your desires and will defer or conform to the people around you.
Express your emotions and desires boldly. A surprising number of women will become attracted to you simply because you were willing to stick your neck out.
Even if they’re not interested/available, bold men get introduced to available friends.
“In my experience, the more polarizing a man is, the more they are flooded with opportunities with women. This is true for every man I know who is incredibly successful with meeting and dating women.”
Chapter 5: Rejection and Success
Some people will be crazy or act inappropriately when you approach them. It can’t be helped. You can’t control how other people react to you.
95% of attracting women has nothing to do with you. There are so many circumstances out of your control. With that in mind, you can (and should) do what you want.
“Right person at the wrong time” happens all the time. Don’t worry about it and move on.
Rejection is a tool keeping people apart who aren’t meant to be together. Whether she falls in love with you on the spot or throws her drink in your face, you have found out the truth.
You need a healthy concept of “success” – success is about maximizing happiness with the woman or women you prefer, pushing the interaction to a highest point it can go. It’s not about validation, phone numbers, “field reports” or number of women you sleep with. It’s about getting the fulfilling interactions you want.
Vulnerability is practiced through being honest in our values (lifestyle), intentions (bold action) and sexuality (communication).
Chapter 6: The Three Fundamentals
- Honest Living: Creating an attractive and enriching lifestyle.
- Honest Action: Overcoming your fears and anxiety around socializing, intimacy and sexuality.
- Honest Communication: Mastering the expression of your emotions and communicating fluidly.
Improving these three things will improve your interactions with women, along with your general wellbeing.
Honest Living: What do you want as a man? Do you like your life, or are you living a life you hate for the needy approval of others? Have your compromised your identity for the approval of others? If you’re spending 40 hours a week at a job you hate investing in what others want, that’s fundamentally needy, and you will always be unattractive compared to living a life true to yourself.
Honest Action: You need to overcome your fear and anxiety around women. If you don’t act on your desires, you’re being dishonest with yourself and overly invested in her opinion. You’re afraid of sexual reality, and more invested in not getting rejected than in your own happiness.
Honest Communication: “Game” – humor, forming connections, storytelling, being engaging, having charisma, expressing sexuality openly. Communicating your thoughts and feelings in the best possible way. Those who don’t have this will have a lot of missed opportunities simply due to miscommunication.
You need all three – most men lack at least one, and success will be rare without addressing the underlying issue. Approaching more women won’t help without the inner work.
In Manson’s experience two types of men struggle the most with women: socially anxious men and socially disconnected men.
Socially anxious men are skilled with the third fundamental (Honest Communication), but are far too aware of what other people are thinking and feeling to take Honest Action. Funny and charismatic, not brave enough to make a move.
Socially disconnected men are skilled with the second fundamental (Honest Action), but are completely oblivious to the feelings of others. Socially fearless, but socially clueless.
The first fundamental (Honest Living) is a work in progress for everyone.
Part 3: Honest Living
Chapter 7: Demographics
You need to ask yourself: “Which women do you want to meet and what kind of relationship do you want to have with them?”
Demographics: the context of where and when you meet people you’re potentially compatible with.
Important principle: Like attracts like. People attract other people that are similar to themselves. The women you attract into your life are much more likely to be a reflection of your qualities than the fundamental nature of all women.
If you have a basic mismatch of values, lifestyle, or personality – he’s an engineer, she’s a party girl – it’s not going to work out.
Short term attraction can happen with lines, but strong mutual attraction comes from similar demographics, and a common ground to build strong attraction off of.
Timing is forever important: Right person, wrong time.
If you want to expand the number of people you’re compatible with, expand your identity and passions through interesting activities and new ways of expressing/presenting yourself.
Your lifestyle choices have a huge impact on who you meet.
Manson presents a list of over a dozen great places to meet women, including dance classes, yoga classes (“a gold mine”), dog parks, etc.
Whatever you are, go to places that you enjoy – you’ll likely meet women who enjoy you. If you’re a dancer, go to dancing events with women who love dancing. If you love to travel, go to places where travel-loving women or foreign women are likely to be.
The Assortment Effect: Your beliefs about women, sex, relationship etc have a huge effect on which women come into your life. Your beliefs are reflected in your behavior, and behavior determines which/how many women are attracted to you.
If you believe all women hate sex or should hate sex, the only women who will stay around you will be women who also believe that. If you believe all women are lying cheating gold-digging whores, you will attract women who not only embody that, but are proud of it.
If you want to improve your relationships, you need to start with the conscious idea that your previous beliefs might have been wrong – and possibly enabling the poor behavior of others.
Age, Money, Looks, and Status are universal demographics that can cause friction. They matter – but not as much as many men think. Even if you’re doing great on these metrics, you still need to have attractive behavior. The more a woman overvalues or exclusively values one of these traits (i.e. money), the less interesting she’ll be in other areas.
“The more money/looks/success you have, the less attractive behavior you need. The less money/looks/success you have, the more attractive behavior you need.”
Social Proof: When we see others valuing something, we start valuing it.
Your goal with women is to raise your individual social proof within your demographic through positions of leadership and power – don’t just have interests, be a leader in your interests. BE something attractive, show your identity, don’t just talk about the things you like.
Chapter 8: Lifestyle and Presentation
Men and women don’t judge attractiveness the same way. A good looking man, in spite of his good looks, can still present himself in an unattractive way. Your goal is to be attractive.
Your outward appearance is a reflection of your self-investment.
Three basic rules of men’s fashion: 1. Wear clothes that fit. 2. Wear clothes that match. 3. Dress to your personality.
Get rid of any clothes that don’t fit, and get your measurements. Manson gives suggestions for what a basic wardrobe should look like, but beyond that – dress to your personality.
Exercise, no matter what. Get a gym membership. Clean up your diet, and eat right.
Body language is king. Body language improves through intentional practice, exercise, and internal work. Manson gives an outline for what a confident stance and confident walk looks like.
Your ideal vocal tonality is sexy, expressive, and loud. Speak from your chest, not from your head/throat. Speak slower, talking fast can be a sign you fear being interrupted – a sign of neediness. Speak louder. I said, SPEAK LOUDER!
Develop your character. Don’t just “go with the flow,” attractive men are polarizing and uninhibited. Attractive men have unique opinions, experiences, and have uniques lives that they share with the world. Make your own decisions. Develop your tastes, preferences, and opinions. Enrich your life.
Start looking up lists of “the best” things – best movies, best books, best music – and start exploring them. Assume that each of them has something of value, and find out why.
Being a well rounded human being will expand your demographics – and even if reading or watching something doesn’t make you attractive to more people, you’ll gain a better perspective on life, relate to more people, and deal with life better.
“Get your life taken care of. Get healthy. Find a happy group of friends. Find a few hobbies that you love. Develop opinions. Start caring about what you spend your time doing. This increases your self-investment and will make you less needy around others. This, in turn, will give you the courage to take the correct action and the wherewithal to communicate effectively. This is honest living.”
Part 4: Honest Action
Chapter 9: What Are Your Stories?
Many excuses can stand between you and relationship success: Anxieties, defense mechanisms, resistances. Some of them are real, and will change shape rather than going away as you improve. Others are invented in order to resist change. Fight your excuses.
Common defense mechanisms to meeting new people:
- Blame Game – Blaming anyone and everyone else for your fear of meeting people. Often leads to anger and resentment towards the people you want to meet.
- Apathy and Avoidance – You don’t “actually” care about meeting people (newsflash: you do, and avoiding it won’t make the situation better).
- Intellectualizing – Avoiding taking action by continually studying (AKA Analysis Paralysis). Actually leads to increased anxiety, and an even lower chance of taking action.
We all have a favorite defense mechanism – examine yourself, figure out which one you use the most. Become aware of the pattern, and use self-discipline to break it.
You Are Not A Victim. The reason that you’re single most likely lies with you, rather than your stereotypes and prejudices about the women of the world. Don’t kid yourself that all of the good ones are taken – 40+ million single women in the United States alone, and none of them are acceptable? That’s just pure laziness on your part.
Blame is another form of neediness. Take responsibility for your choices, and open yourself up the the possibility that you may be wrong, and your problems start with you.
Porn harms your motivation to pursue women in the real world. While there’s no scientific basis for porn addiction yet, it has confirmed harmful side effects. If you have issues with porn, Manson lays out a four step diet for increasing your real life motivation.
Chapter 10: How to Overcome Anxiety
Rejection isn’t fun – especially for women who want to meet a great guy. Women are secretly rooting for you, hoping you’re the great guy they’re looking for. If you screw up, but a woman already likes you, she will give you an amazing amount of second and third chances hoping that you succeed.
You need to take action. You can’t remove the anxiety, but you can channel it in productive ways. Turn nervousness about talking to someone into excitement.
Non-neediness is feeling the fear around meeting someone (or around anything else), and deciding that something else is more important.
Many books and coaches in the dating industry want full immersion – just go out there, talk to women tonight, get her number tonight. This is more likely to lead to panic attacks than success. Use a stair step approach, divide each part of the process into a step to get better at. Don’t uses earlier stages of the process (saying hello, conversation, etc.) to avoid later stages (asking for a number, dates).
Courage is a habit, and a form of discipline.
Be aware of when you violate social norms, otherwise you’re just oblivious. If you’re talking to someone at an unusual place or time, mention briefly that you know it’s unusual.
Greater boldness = greater polarization. The bolder you are, the more you’re going to stand out compared to other men she’s talked to.
Bold behavior only gets you so far, you also need great communication.
Part 5: Honest Communication
Bankruptcy Your Intentions
As a general rule, men communicate with facts and stories, while women communicate with feelings and intentions.
The key is SUBCOMMUNICATION.
If you try to impress her, you are going to subcommunicate neediness. If you simply express yourself, you are subcommunicating vulnerability.
What you say to women ends up mattering less than your intentions. Needy men are going to be unattractive no matter what they say.
Creepiness is inevitable, even for celebrities and men who should be attractive on paper.
“There’s no such thing as a man who is adored by women who isn’t also creepy some of the time.”
Women intuitively know what creepiness is, but have a hard time describing it. Manson believes that “Creepiness is behaving in a way that makes a woman feel insecure sexually.”
He elaborates that creepiness often comes down to incongruency – if your actions and behavior are not aligned, she can’t and won’t trust you. Just stating your sexual intentions directly is not going to fix this, since women have far more to lose from expressing sexuality than men do. The consequences of sex are higher for women, and they always have been.
Vulnerability is subject to the right intentions – being open about a sad moment in your life to make women sleep with you is creepy.
Mutual vulnerability is how trust is built – a woman trusting you enough to have sex with you is a side effect.
You have to accept the possibility of accidentally being creepy, otherwise you have to wait for women to come to you. It goes without saying that this limits your options.
Flirting is the opposite of creepiness. You’re expressing your sexuality to a woman in a way that makes her feel sexually secure, secure enough for her share her sexuality with you.
Flirting using teasing: Teasing generates tension, a “story” without end – the human mind wants to complete that story.
Flirting using boldness: Bold statements are polarizing. They demonstrate desire, non-neediness, and create an endless number of potential exciting situations.
Flirting (and expressing your sexuality more generally) require effective communication. Creating an emotional connection requires emotional self-awareness.
The blueprint of seduction (as defined by romance novels read by millions of women): a strong, high status, fearless, attractive man opens up, and shares his vulnerable side with the female protagonist.
Emotional connections are far more powerful than pickup lines and tactics. A woman might be attracted to a lot of men, but forms emotional connections with very few of those same men.
Become aware of your emotions, motivations, and life story. Take the lead, be vulnerable and share these things. Sharing creates trust, and encourages her to share similar things with you. Your vulnerability, combined with hers, creates a deep emotional connection that builds on itself.
When sharing yourself, challenge yourself to go one level deeper. Always relate what you say back to emotions, not facts.
Communication skills are habits. They can be good or bad, they can be made or broken. Focus on the habits you want to build or break until it becomes second nature. Not too many habits: the less habits you intentionally build, the more room you leave for your personality.
Fixing your external behaviors will make it easier to fix internal mindset problems, and vice versa.
Chapter 12: How to Improve Your Flirting
You’re going to be misunderstood in the long run. You can make this less likely by developing and using effective communication skills.
First impressions are very important. However, what specific words you use when introducing yourself matter less than your intentions and level of anxiety.
Mark Manson’s super sophisticated opener: “Hi, I’m [name]. I wanted to meet you.” Even more sophisticated: “Hi, I’m [name]. I thought you were cute and wanted to meet you.”
First impressions are mostly based on your self-presentation, level of anxiety, and how clearly you communicate.
First impressions best practices: don’t scare her, avoid fancy or creative lines, approach quickly when you see her if possible, walk straight towards her rather than lingering around like a weirdo, smile, and have confident body language.
Common reasons for getting rejected: poor self-presentation, approaching for the wrong reasons/intentions, not following first impressions best practices.
Quality of communication is far more important than quantity. Say more with less. Remove fillers. Pay attention to things like tone and inflection.
Questions are boring, make statements – especially statements that imply you know more about someone than you actually do (AKA cold reading). When you make statements, they’ll either 1. correct you, 2. ask what made you think that, or 3. be amazed at how perceptive you are. Combined with word association, you have plenty of ways to keep a conversation going.
The best communicators are great storytellers, using the basic format of set up, content/conflict, and resolution.
The only two real subjects are you and her – everything else needs to relate back to that.
What kinds of things should you share and relate about?
- What are your passions, and favorite things to do?
- What are your dreams, ambitions, and life goals?
- What are the best or worst things that have happened to you?
- What was your childhood, family life, and upbringing like?
Write down at least 3 things from each of those questions, and be willing to share them. If a woman knows you, remembers you out of all the men she’s met, and is attracted to you, she’s going to text you back.
Humor is a big deal. Being able to laugh at yourself and the world? That’s the core of non-neediness. Humor naturally creates good feelings and emotional connection, which are the foundation of security. But you need to be careful – different people like different kinds of humor.
Core types of humor: Misdirection, exaggeration, sarcasm, wordplay, and roleplay. Be careful with sarcasm and wordplay – they’re very intellectual, and many women don’t like them, while those who do like them A LOT.
Teasing polarizes quickly, and you very quickly find out whether someone likes you or hates you.
Beware self-deprecating humor, or too much humor – both suggest low confidence.
Just because she’s laughing and likes you, doesn’t mean she’s attracted to your or wants to date you. You’re not trying to be a dancing monkey. You still need to display other attractive behaviors, and pay attention to all of the other parts of this process.
Chapter 13: The Dating Process
There is a standard way dating works in the western world. Be aware of it.
Don’t worry about flakes, they happen for a million reasons. Be more concerned about being so attractive people won’t want to flake on you. Just take it as a sign of disinterest and move on.
Only ask for someone’s phone number if there seems to be mutual interest – this isn’t about validation.
Don’t overthink this or make a big deal out of phone communication. Don’t use fancy lines or made up reasons to ask for a number – you want a phone number, it’s no big deal. Don’t use complex rules about when to text, or get fancy with text messages. Text her pretty soon after getting her number to set up a date, and only use texting for logistics – seduction doesn’t happen over the phone.
Avoid lunch time and afternoon dates if possible. Aim for the evening, around 6-9 PM. Ideally you’ll have time for multiple things.
No movie dates early. Avoid dinner dates early (you want her to have fun, not stress out about eating in front of you). Look for dates that are participatory and make flirtation possible. Find interesting places near you that are a short drive from where you live, or better yet within walking distance.
Your ideal goal, besides having fun and getting to know them? Have the most experiences in the least time possible. Do multiple things, get to know each other in multiple contexts. Go on a date worth remembering.
As a man you should be leading the date, making decisions and expecting them to be followed. Interact with them. Aim for deep and personal conversations, talk about the important issues. This isn’t supposed to be a job interview, but you need to talk about the deep issues and look for friction.
Manson says that unless your date is physically pulling out her wallet (not just offering), you should pay for the date. Manson considers it a “no-lose move” and will win you points with many women.
Chapter 14: Physicality and Sex
Women want sex – just not for the same reasons that men do. Many women have a wide variety of sexual fantasies that would confuse and shock men if they knew about them (Manson references “My Secret Garden” as an example).
Getting physical with women, and getting physical quickly and comfortably, is ultimately the difference between having a lot of female friends, and having a lot of girlfriends and dates.
Manson makes it very clear: if a women stops you, either verbally or physically, you need to stop. Otherwise you are a rapist.
Physical touch isn’t just bold, it’s polarizing. Integrate physicality into your conversations.
Touching happens in a progression – from the outer parts of the body, then inwards. Don’t skip ahead.
Men are in kind of a weird place when it comes to touch – men are expected to initiate, while also reacting to a woman’s desires, along with her fundamental right to her own body.
Once again: women give different signals for how receptive they are to your advances. They give different signals before you talk to each other, during conversation, and when she wants you to escalate. Watch for these (a stream of them, not just one in isolation).
Kissing: How do you know when she wants you to kiss her? Men, the bad news is that we’re really bad readers of this. Really bad. So bad, that chances are if you’re confident that you could go for it, you could have 10 minutes ago. Manson says when in doubt, go for it.
If she pulls back, respect it. Find out why, and how she’s feeling. See if it’s too public, or if there are too many people (or if she’s not interested).
There’s good kissing, and bad kissing. Learn the difference. Don’t be afraid to touch her while doing so – just don’t get ahead of yourself.
“Moving Forward and Consent”
Men are like a microwave, women are like an oven. Women need to be “warmed up,” and men by comparison are ready at the push of a button.
If a women tells you she doesn’t want to have sex, there’s only one thing you should say: “That’s fine. We’ll do whatever you’re comfortable doing.”
Sometimes women will change their mind out of nowhere, and will want sex when they didn’t earlier (and vice versa). “Just accept that these things are often fluid and both you and her can opt in or opt out at any time without shame or judgment.”
For a second time: Don’t be a rapist.
“The important thing is to see sex as not something you are earning or taking from a woman, but rather something you two are participating in together. It’s a team effort. Because, believe it or not, women want sex too. They want wild, passionate, crazy sex, just like you do.”
Foreplay: it’s a great thing. Do it. Go slow, be teasing, create expectation.
Sometimes things are going to go wrong or be weird. “Have a sense of humor. Be understanding. Relax.”
Be honest. Honest feedback and honest compliments are the foundation of good sex (and a lot of other things, for that matter).
Chances are if you’re reading this book or books like it, you’ve faced or have sexual anxiety. There are lots of potential causes: maybe you’re inexperienced, you had a strict religious/cultural upbringing, negative past sexual experiences, past emotional trauma, low self-esteem.
Two major symptoms can emerge: premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction. The larger problem is not being comfortable with sexuality.
There’s no quick solution to this, you’ll need to work on making yourself secure and comfortable until you’re able to have sex. Find ways of dealing with your individual issues.
If it’s not clear already: this book isn’t about long-term commitment, and it’s a topic beyond the scope of this book.
Closing and Epilogue
Manson provides a small action plan for how to move forward, with steps to complete after reading (completing one of the parts years ago doesn’t count, complete it with your knowledge from this book).
There are going to be weird, uncomfortable, even tragic things that will happen in your life. Everything that happens, good or bad, ask: “What if it was a gift?” Make the most of your time here, even the tragedies. Accept the gifts that life gives you, and make them into something great.