Ah, dat jerkboy charisma. Chicks dig it. If you’ve been a regular guest of the Chateau, you’ll know why chicks dig jerks, and you’ll know why cultivating your inner jerkboy is a pillar of Game teachings.
For a long time, CH was out there, a retreat in the deep wood willing to preach the Rude Word to any lost and yearning soul stumbling along the stony path leading to the ancient oak doors. Few knew of our secretive hideaway, fewer still could grasp the revolutionary nature of our message.
But our mischievous proselytizing has finally breached the sound barrier of the mainstream information gatekeepers (and from the reaction to their first line of defense crumbling, they don’t like it). As one reader who forwarded the following article wrote,
The substance of this article will present no surprises. The tone of the author, apologetic and disturbed by the findings, will also present no surprises.
Not at all. The Atlantic is the latest Hivemind organ to hate itself for falling in love with Le Chateau.
Why It Pays to Be a Jerk
New research confirms what they say about nice guys.
The suspense is killing me! I hope it lasts.
At the University of Amsterdam, researchers have found that semi-obnoxious behavior not only can make a person seem more powerful, but can make them more powerful, period. The same goes for overconfidence. Act like you’re the smartest person [ed: or sexiest man] in the room, a series of striking studies demonstrates, and you’ll up your chances of running the show.
The Atlantic agrees with CH that overconfidence is the heart of game.
People will even pay to be treated shabbily: snobbish, condescending salespeople at luxury retailers extract more money from shoppers than their more agreeable counterparts do.
Seduction is the art of selling yourself to women. And just as it is in the realm of business sales, snobbish, entitled jerkboys are the most successful at selling their promise of pleasures to women.
“We believe we want people who are modest, authentic, and all the things we rate positively” to be our leaders, says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a business professor at Stanford. “But we find it’s all the things we rate negatively”—like immodesty—“that are the best predictors of higher salaries or getting chosen for a leadership position.”
Humans aren’t a rational species; they’re a rationalizing species.
“What happens if you put a python and a chicken in a cage together?,” Pfeffer asked him. The former student looked lost. “Does the python ask what kind of chicken it is? No. The python eats the chicken.”
“You’re like a big bear with claws and with fangs…and she’s just like this little bunny, who’s just kinda cowering in the corner.”
But, careful… all jerk and no softie makes Jack a d-bag.
In Grant’s framework, the mentor in this story would be classified as a “taker,” which brings us to a major complexity in his findings. Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers.
All well and good. You can’t expect to lord it over all the people all the time without attention given to your reception. However… if you HAD to choose between being a niceguy and a 24/7 asshole…
ALWAYS CHOOSE ASSHOLE. To wit:
Consider the following two scenes. In the first, a man takes a seat at an outdoor café in Amsterdam, carefully examines the menu before returning it to its holder, and lights a cigarette. When the waiter arrives to take his order, he looks up and nods hello. “May I have a vegetarian sandwich and a sweet coffee, please?” he asks. “Thank you.”
In the second, the same man takes the same seat at the same outdoor café in Amsterdam. He puts his feet up on an adjoining seat, taps his cigarette ashes onto the ground, and doesn’t bother putting the menu back into its holder. “Uh, bring me a vegetarian sandwich and a sweet coffee,” he grunts, staring past the waiter into space. He crushes the cigarette under his shoe.
Dutch researchers staged and filmed each scene as part of a 2011 study designed to examine “norm violations.” Research stretching back to at least 1972 had shown that power corrupts, or at least disinhibits. High-powered people are more likely to take an extra cookie from a common plate, chew with their mouths open, spread crumbs, stereotype, patronize, interrupt, ignore the feelings of others, invade their personal space, and claim credit for their contributions. “But we also thought it could be the other way around,” Gerben van Kleef, the study’s lead author, told me. He wanted to know whether breaking rules could help people ascend to power in the first place.
Yes, he found. The norm-violating version of the man in the video was, in the eyes of viewers, more likely to wield power than his politer self. And in a series of follow-up studies involving different pairs of videos, participants, responding to prompts, made statements such as “I would like this person as my boss” and “I would give this person a promotion.”
“I would open my legs for this jerk.”
Ok, if being a jerkboy is so personally rewarding, the inevitable question follows,
Instead of asking why some people bully or violate norms, researchers are asking: Why doesn’t everyone? […]
“That’s a complexity of humans,” Faris says: it was not until after the human-chimpanzee split that Homo sapiens developed a newer, uniquely human path to power. Scholars call it “prestige.”
There are different kinds of ways to project power (and consequently arouse women). “Prestige” is better-known to students of Game as Demonstrating Higher Value.
The Atlantic even goes so far to wonder if the Game axiom “Fake it till you create it” is a real thing:
I did wonder, though: Could the apprentice actors [tasked with acting irrationally confident], given enough time, come to inhabit their roles more fully? Anderson noted that self-delusion among his study’s participants could have been the product of earlier behaviors. “Maybe they faked it until they made it and that became them.” We are what we repeatedly do, as Aristotle observed.
Ripped from the Chateau headlines.
In fact, it’s easy to see how an initial advantage derived from a lack of self-awareness, or from a deliberate attempt to fake competence, or from a variety of other, similar heelish behaviors could become permanent. Once a hierarchy emerges, the literature shows, people tend to construct after-the-fact rationalizations about why those in charge should be in charge.
“Once a woman falls hard for a charming jerkboy, she tends to construct after-the-fact rationalizations about why the jerk she loves should be her soulmate.”
Likewise, the experience of power leads people to exhibit yet more power-signaling behaviors (displaying aggressive body language, taking extra cookies from the common plate).
Success with women breeds more success with women.
It is possible, of course, to reframe Anderson’s conclusions so that, for instance, initiative is itself a competence, in which case groups would be selecting their leaders more rationally than he supposes. But is a loudmouth the same thing as a leader?
aka the “bustamove” theory of Game.
So what is that special sauce that jerkboys have which flavors a woman’s life? Or anyone’s life?
When I thought about whether I had friends or associates who fit Aaron James’s definition of an asshole, I could come up with two. I couldn’t pinpoint why I spent time with them, other than the fact that life seemed larger, grander—like the world was a little more at your feet—when they were around.
“I want more LIFE, fucker!”
Then I thought of the water skis.
Some friends had rented a powerboat. We had already taken it out on the water when someone remarked, above the engine noise, that it was too bad we didn’t have any water skis. That would have been fun.
Within a few minutes, an acquaintance I will call Jordan had the boat pulled up to a dock where a boy of maybe 8 or 9 was alone. Do you have any water skis?
The boy seemed unprepared for the question. Not really, he said. There might be some in storage, but only his parents would know. Well, would you be a champ and run back to the house and ask them? The boy did not look like he wanted to. But he did.
The rest of us in the boat shared the boy’s astonishment (Who asks that sort of question?), his reluctance to turn a nominally polite encounter into a disagreeable one, and perhaps the same paralysis: no one said anything to stop the exchange. But that’s the thing. Spend time with the Jordans of the world and you’re apt to get things you are not entitled to—the choice table at the overbooked restaurant, the courtside tickets you’d never ask for yourself—without ever having to be the bad guy. The transgression was Jordan’s. The spoils were the group’s.
The transgression is the jerkboy’s. The romantic spoils are the women’s.
Isolating the effects of taker behavior on group welfare is exactly what van Kleef, the Dutch social psychologist, and fellow researchers set out to do in their coffee-pot study of 2012.
At first blush, the study seems simple. Two people are told a cover story about a task they’re going to perform. One of them—a male confederate used in each pair throughout the study—steals coffee from a pot on a researcher’s desk. What effect does his stealing have on the other person’s willingness to put him in charge?
The answer: It depends. If he simply steals one cup of coffee for himself, his power affordance shrinks slightly. If, on the other hand, he steals the pot and pours cups for himself and the other person, his power affordance spikes sharply. People want this man as their leader.
Women want to join a jerk’s world because they want to be taken on a mutually satisfying adventure.
I related this to Adam Grant. “What about the person who gets resources for the group without stealing coffee?” he asked. “That’s a comparison I would like to see.”
It was a comparison, actually, that van Kleef had run. When the man did just that—poured coffee for the other person without stealing it—his ratings collapsed. Massively. He became less suited for leadership, in the eyes of others, than any other version of himself.
If you’re nothing but a niceguy, people will come to despise you because you will be giving away your generosity as if it was worthless.
[C]ould rudeness cause other people to open their wallets too?
The answer was a qualified yes. When it came to “aspirational” brands like Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton, participants were willing to pay more in a scenario in which they felt rejected. But the qualifications were major. A customer had to feel a longing for the brand, and if the salesperson did not look the image the brand was trying to project, condescension backfired. For mass-market retailers like the Gap, American Eagle, and H&M, rejection backfired regardless.
This qualification exists in the field of pickup too. Acting like an egotistic jerk while hitting on fatties projects an incongruence. Hotties will scorn you, and the fatties will feel even more “devalidated” than they did before you leveled your very special attention on them. Interestingly, this aspect of jerkitude verifies the game technique of peacocking. If you stand out in a little way from the crowd of betas, your jerky charisma will be better received because you’ll be projecting a “brand image” of a man who breaks norms.
Luxury retail is a very specific realm. But the study also points toward a bigger and more general qualification of the advantage to being a jerk: should something go wrong, jerks don’t have a reserve of goodwill to fall back on.
This is why you’ve gotta mix up your jerkballs with some slow pitches, especially if you want a long-term relationship with a girl. A jerkboy can keep a woman spinning in a dizzying drama orbit for a long time, but eventually, should a major fault line erupt, she’ll come back down to earth, and if you haven’t provided at least a little padding for her landing the crash could be spectacular.
([Being a jerk] is also marginally more likely to fail you, several studies suggest, if you’re a woman.)
Contrary popular but embittered feminist belief, men don’t dig bitches (unless they’re smoking hot).
Yet in at least three situations, a touch of jerkiness can be helpful. […] The third—not fully explored here, but worth mentioning—is when the group’s survival is in question, speed is essential, and a paralyzing existential doubt is in the air.
Jerkitude is really helpful to your game right at that precarious decision-making point of your first meeting with a girl. When she’s wondering if you’re an interesting man she’d like to get to know is when being a jerk will nudge her in the direction of wanting more of you.
But can you become the jerk women love? There’s an anecdote in the article about an entrepreneur whose life changed after he joined the Marine Corp. His time in the Marines made him more aggressive. He learned how “to go from 15 to 95 real quick”. He did this so often that his personality permanently changed to a new, jerky valence, and it carried over later into business success.
Learning to become a jerk is just like learning Game,
Without that kind of modulation—without getting a little outside our comfort zone, at least some of the time—we’re all probably less likely to reach our goals, whether we’re prickly or pleasant by disposition.
You have to get outside your comfort zone. Not a lot. Just a little push against your comfy boundaries is enough to mold you into a better man.
He believes that the most effective people are “disagreeable givers”—that is, people willing to use thorny behavior to further the well-being and success of others.
No man is a jerk store unto himself. Speaking of “disagreeable givers”, that appellation fits a lot of natural players I’ve known. They are rude and shocking and arrogant, but are also sometimes surprisingly generous, and the recipients of the jerks’ generosity value it so much more than they would from a niceguy because they are preconditioned to assume the jerk had to sacrifice a lot more “character capital” to be generous with them. It’s like getting a pat on the back from the CEO versus getting slavish praise from the mailroom grunt.
Smile at the customer. Take the initiative. Tweak a few rules. Steal cookies for your colleagues. Don’t puncture the impression that you know what you’re doing. Let the other person fill the silence. Get comfortable with discomfort. Don’t privilege your own feelings. Ask who you’re really protecting. Be tough and humane. Challenge ideas, not the people who hold them. Don’t be a slave to type.
And above all, don’t affix nasty, scatological labels to people.
I dunno about this one. I’ve found that girls love my occasional streaks of sadistic cruelty. Ever play the “marry fuck kill” game with a girl you’ve just met?
It’s a jerk move.
wait for it…
chicks dig it!
(this post was very meta-jerk.)
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