Readers, you know how low I’ll stoop — I mean, diligent I can be — when it comes to researching dating relationships. Well, I won’t stoop to speed dating, but you know I’ve read bad, but popular books, watched 1950’s marital advice films, listened to dating CDs of dubious value, and dated 77 — soon to be 78 — men. All for you, dear reader. Well, okay, it’s all for me — but I’ve taken you along as my research assistant. Or at least you are the recipient of the lessons I’ve learned.
So, with this leave-no-stone-unturned attitude, I decided to see what society was passing off as ways socially challenged men could learn to woo women. So I watched “School for Scoundrels.” Let me save you 94 minutes of your life that you’d never get back.
I was mildly interested in this film because supposedly it is loosely based on the concepts in the book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss. I’ve not read this book, but have read enough about it to know it is based on a seminar run by a pick-up-artist guru for men with low social skills. (Evidentially, there is another movie in the works based more closely on the book, staring Jack Black and Kate Hudson.)
It didn’t have the “woman is mean to man at first, then he wins her over” theme we’ve discussed in the past. It was, however, filled with sophomoric scenes. This flick was clearly designed for high-school boys, so to get its PG13 rating it is without nudity, T&A and foul language. Which is possibly the only positive thing about this film.
The course instructor, “Dr. P,” played by Billy Bob Thorton, drills basic tenets of woman wooing through his “From the bar to your bed” rules:
- Be dangerous, it’s cool.
- No compliments, ever.
- Get the girl alone.
- Parallel her values
- Relate to her.
- Lie, lie, and lie some more.
The intrepid “hero,” played by Jon Heder of “Napoleon Dynamite” fame, even makes himself flash cards of the above rules which he employs during a first date with the girl of his dreams. Somehow, she’s not incensed, but his ruse endears her to him even more. Ain’t fiction great?
I wonder how many impressionable boys will take this list to heart. While “relate to her” certainly isn’t a bad habit, it is when it is done insincerely only to manipulate. Interestingly, “No compliments, ever” does reinforce my findings in “Why men don’t tell you you’re pretty.” So since midlife men are employing some of these, clearly these rules have been around for longer than the woo gurus have been teaching.
So why am I wasting ink (pixels) on this? Because I think some men, even beyond high school and college, think that employing these techniques will get them more horizontal happiness. Perhaps that is true — with women who have the self-esteem or emotional development of high school or college girls. So even though we wouldn’t fall for such scoundrels, it’s good to be armed with knowledge of what some men have learned are acceptable behaviors.
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