On the surface, Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women seems like your average terrible pamphlet about picking up ladies. It’s written by a self-professed former nerd-turned-generous guy who just wants to teach other men how to be more confident and seduce women with ease. And why not? Dating is hard, and for guys who aren’t comfortable with it, a how-to guide may be sorely needed. I know a lot of women who wouldn’t mind having the same resources.
Its author, Ken Hoinsky, launched a Kickstarter for his project asking for just $2,000. It’s already surpassed $16,000, thanks largely to Reddit, where he garnered overwhelming support.
There’s no shortage of garbage on Kickstarter—god bless you, Shoshanna—but Above The Game is remarkable for its utter atrociousness. From what’s available thus far, it seems to stop just short of telling readers to commit grievous sexual assault.
“Even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her,” he wrote in an excerpt on Reddit. “That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”
I personally get really turned on when someone sexually harasses me.
“Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”
Not only is this weird and reminiscent of the bossy Santa Clauses of my youth, it makes me fear for my personal safety. Where can I sign up?
And perhaps the best one yet: “Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”
I don’t remember this being mentioned in Lean In’s leadership lessons, but boy, do I ever feel empowered.
Hoinsky seems to be writing, at least in part, for a certain type of a man—the “nice guy” who thinks he always finishes last. The guy who, somehow, thinks he’s entitled to having a girl sleep with him just because he considers himself a “nice guy,” despite displaying no such qualities. Just like those Nice Guys of OkCupid, there seems to be confusion over what the word “nice” actually means.
The Kickstarter has already made so much more money than expected that Hoinksky has offered bonus items to accompany the book, including a “bonus chapter on JUGGLING MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS,” as well as both a San Francisco and New York City free seminar.
There seems to be easy money in the self-marketed, self-published seduction industry. If some guy can make $16,000 from home, I should be able to make even more money offering my own advice. I, after all, am an actual woman, and therefore know what all women want, everywhere. Some hot tips:
1. Do not rape or sexually assault her.
2. Hold a door open for her. That’s just good manners.
3. Never use Reddit. Ever.
4. Don’t wear too much cologne. One spritz is just fine.
5. Do not rape or sexually assault her.
6. Do not talk online or privately or anywhere about raping her.
7. Unless she says it’s okay, don’t pick her up and put her on your lap. She isn’t an Affenpinscher.
8. What are you, an animal?
9. Do not—and this is important—pull your dick out and put it in her hand. If you absolutely have to put something in her hand, do it with something else. Flowers. A sandwich. Literally almost anything else in the world is better than your dick.
10. Don’t check your phone so much, make eye contact, and have fun!
Being a “nice guy” doesn’t entitle you to having a girl to say yes to a date, yes to being touched, or yes to sex. All of the complaints or angry victimhood fantasies in the world won’t help your cause—Kickstarter or not. You know what nice guys do? They don’t moan about being too nice. They don’t write about how to trick or influence women into going out with them. Even the very idea of the “nice guys finish last” trope is flawed: it isn’t about nice guys vs. bad guys. Dating or picking up women isn’t a sport—there is no “winner.”
To be fair, Above the Game does have logical portions. He talks about not being too negative, helping people less fortunate, enriching the lives of others, and all in the name of being the “Modern Alpha Male.” But none of this is actually about being a dominant, stereotypical male, it’s just about being a decent human being. Learning how to converse with someone new is a fine skill to have, and even better to teach, but it has nothing to do with picking up women. Women, frankly, should also be “value givers.” Gay men. Pets. Your smartphone. Things in your life should have value. This portion of Hoinsky’s description of how to be the ideal man is just a description of how to be reasonable.
That portion, however, doesn’t mitigate or justify the rest. You don’t get to call yourself a value giver and then suggest that infringing on personal space is perfectly acceptable.
So let’s make a distinction: if you have to bully, prod, abuse, force, assault, rape, drug, dominate, constrain, harass, threaten, command, or violate a woman to get laid, you are not Above The Game. You are far, far beneath it.