How Your Genius is a Bad Wingman

...take a's Tuesday!I like to observe bar behavior. I find endless amusement from the corner of whatever local I find myself. I’ve witnessed much in the way of the mating dance both towards and apart from me.

We need to stop trying to throw game, start enjoying more and be our own best selves.

My new puttypeep friend The Gutsy Geek and I have had some exchanges of late on dating advice and tips. The “neg” is a post in and of itself – I hate that behavior and will expound another time on the greater whys.

Suffice for now, “the neg” is indicative of what is wrong with having a dating or pickup agenda: it is a blatant tactic.

Tactics to connive your way into accomplishing an arbitrary agenda have no place in dating. Tactics have no place anywhere interpersonal relationships are concerned.

What is the difference then between tips and tactics? I’m glad you asked my dear reader.

Let us enter the realm of advice.

At the advice of @brainpicker I watched the fantastic TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on genius. I’ll wait while you watch. No seriously, go watch because she will say it 100 times better than I.

Ok. The idea of genius as external to ourself is freeing and powerful for artistic endeavors. When it comes to an expression, we can keep a muse-shaped protective barrier between others and our heart, confidence, and innermost self.

The point of dating, however, is to get to the point of shucking shields and opening ourselves up to each other. We eventually want get all nekkid and have sexy time no?

If we desire to get closer to someone, there is no room for the external muse betwixt us.

As I have stated before, I’m not against self-help books. I’m certainly not against – in fact I am for and utilize – business and personal improvement books, posts, podcasts, conversations and summits. Good ideas espoused from a place of experience make you think and, when internalized, make you better.

The scripts are there help us get started. The assignments break us of bad habits, push us outside our comfort zones and help build confidence. An opening line fall flat? We can blame it on the line. “Who was the errant genius that came up with that one?”

We scoff, buck up and try again. That little point of inspiration, motivation and separation eventually allow us to amass little successes and more easily forget any failures.

Eventually though we need to get away from the prompts and go it alone and internalization is the important step in the process.

The athlete studies plays. The painter practices techniques. The coder learns constructs. We learn skills and prepare with information, then eventually the field, canvas, page is before us and we are on our own.

If we try to wrotely retrace the steps of others, hiding behind a muse or blindly following the advice of the expert, we fail. 

Chess is mental torture. – Garry Kasparov

Hating the player and the game

The problem then the concept and practice of attempting to be a “pickup artist.”

There is no “artistry” in attempting to paint-by-numbers your way under my skirt.

Let me say here: I don’t have a problem with sex for sex’s sake. I fall squarely in the “judge not” category. Two people want to have some needs satisfied through simple sex? Fine. Mutually honest, casual sex is different than “pickup” gamesmanship.

When we have a conversation with another, we are entering into a relationship with them. Even if it only lasts the duration of time for us to order and pay for a latte, it is two individuals communing and relating to one another. It is an honest exchange.

Dating – of all relationships – is certainly not a place for gamesmanship, trickery or hackery. I am not object of conquest – none of us are. Our time, phone numbers and personal space are not chits to be won or lost with no relational respect or honesty.

Sex is the ultimate relationship act and profoundly personal – even if it is just a roll in the hay in the meanwhile – we are literally naked, exposed and open.

The least we should expect in any relationship is that the other is just as open and vulnerable as we are.

Just be yourself?

The other point of contention between myself and Mr. Geek is the advice to “be yourself.” What Mr. Geek and other dating advisors do has merit as true coaching and help to unearth the best self of others. Especially in an increasingly online-dominated world, any voices teaching interpersonal skills are needed.

Three's a company

The key is making the transition from advice to internalization and progression.

After some chatter, we came to accords that it shouldn’t just “be yourself” but “be your best self.” Create and show your own best self to the world.

In any skill arena but especially when building relationships, good coaches– the best ones — are ones who encourage their clients to go off book. There is no more room for our genius muse and we have to be our own—alone– best self.

One person enters

If we continue to use someone else’s lines, motivations or enticements, we are ultimately going to fail. At some point the walls have to come down, we have to excuse our genius muse, and we will be on our own.

Our core has to be strong and ready for that moment. Our motives have to be honest and assured. We have to be truly confident in our own self and skin to have a relationship with another.

Even if the extent of the relationship is a quickie after a wild night, it will be infinitely better – free of ickiness or regret – if we are confident and share our own, alone, sans-artifice nakedness.

So throw out the playbook, leave the muse at home, lets have a pint and share our best selves with the world.

Jo Signature

Yes? No? I’d love to know what you think! Agree or offer an opposing argument. Give me your best, worst pickup line. I will read and respond to all non-spamilicious comments.

Image via Flickr under CC license by kevin dooleyPhalaenopsis Aphrodite and Kuba Bożanowski.



  1. Being yourself is a scam! Don’t do it! Instead, men should use pickup lines to meet women, because they’re better.
    You’re welcome.


    The truth is, pickup lines and tactics are a great way for the n00b to get started. It’s so easy to tell someone “hey, just be yourself”, but it’s so hard for them to actually do so when meeting women. Why? Because chances are they’ve been “being myself” for years, and it’s never worked.

    As such, I encourage n00bs to use tactics, because I see them as training wheels. In any interaction, it’s much easier to know where you are, and what you’re supposed to be doing, when your tactics allow you to go on autopilot. If you’re doing everything on the fly, AND you have to keep track of what she’s saying AND reacting to her, as a n00b you’ll be lost.

    The danger lies in continuing to use those tactics when you’re comfortable with women. As one pickup artist put it, “I literally have a scripted answer to every word and situation. The problem is, I have to be incredibly on point to apply them, because one fuckup and it’s over. Much better to just be natural, and congruent with my higher self, where I can just relax, and there’s room for error.” He’s right. She’ll also like him for him, as the song goes.

    It’s why, after a certain point, I stop teaching tactics, and encourage the n00b to be himself. If he’s been practicing a bit, he knows where he is and where he stands in the conversation, and he doesn’t need a scripted line to take him to the next place. This is also important because without the training wheels, he’s obligated to take personal responsibility for himself. He can’t blame the line or tactic for his rejection anymore, and has to wonder if he needs to become a better man, to get the woman of his dreams.

    How’s that for an answer? =D

    P.S. My best pickup line is “are you a dirty girl? Coz I wanna lick your ass clean.” 18% of the time it works every time.

    • Pretty damn good answer and thanks for weighing in Monsieur Geek
      We seem agree on more than most would think at first blush. Teach on on with your super muse-ish self and hope that you inspire many wallflower nerds to find their inner confidence and present their best selves to the world (and the ladies or gents therein). One thing I didn’t think I made strong enough in my post is that this crosses into more than just dating, being personable and comfortable talking to people is a life skill. Establishing relationships isn’t just for seduction, it helps you live a better life. If we need training wheels/guidance/muse advice for a while to get our bearings so be it. As you said there is also a time to move on and stand on our own. 🙂
      PS You almost didn’t get approved for that line. What percentage gets you slapped every time?

      • Wow. That line would have me running for the hills. And by “the hills” I mean twitter to make fun of that line. But, it sounds like Rami’s dating life is going much better than mine, so, good for him. LOL!

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