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love in the time of gonorrhoea July 18, 2009

Posted by eatnorthamerica in farcical review bullshit, things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.

Everybody is reading that book about the pickup artist, Neil Strauss.

More than a mack textbook, it is a memoir, a study of the ins and outs of the social condition. The man who wrote it wrote also for the New York Times. Make of that what you will.

The book’s prevailing mantra is: Attraction is not a choice, and you and I and we can have everyone via hamfisted palmistry, spoon bending and ESP.

It’s not too hard to see why people buy into the mystique. We pretend to be a collection of on/off switches, unanalogue, discrete.

What a beautiful conceit, that you can reduce seduction into a set of techniques that will guarantee you entry into anyone in the world. Are we waves and tremors, or sticks and holes? There is nothing absolute about being human, about neocortical impulses that feed our hearts to head.

There is nothing human in the objectification of an adversary; the gaudy prizes of bars and clubs are just ticks on a list, 8s, 9s, 10s, 11s. The more you play the game,  the more you realise the game means nothing. Strauss has no small dose of pity and revulsion for the creepers trapped in their own webs, not least himself. These are some of the unhappiest men you’ll meet.

Isn’t it strange, that certain truisms apply to all fields? Those who blindly follow preset routes rarely achieve greatness; he who only learns by rote never grasps the whole.

Seduction, one supposes, is all very well. Then comes a point where one thinks hard and long of love, in the time of gonorrhoea.

Not much has changed since we sat in school and wondered why some lead, and others follow. We make our way through life and find the game never changes; we want what we are denied.

To those who believe we can bypass the random variance of the human heart, note this and note it well: in the end, the only woman who stole Strauss’s heart was the one he could not snare with strings of theory. He played the game. She played him better.

Along Burrard after dinner, I watched a girl pose for a man, silhouetted by the splash of fountain spray. He said something that made her laugh; in the binary light of the camera, his smile seemed real. He blushed, or the red focus stung his skin. I didn’t know.

It’s for all of us to turn things over and around. The oldest friend comes out with the newest things; maybe we’re too fast to fix an image in our heads. Now I understand Cubism as never before; I see Picasso struggling, presented with the problem of presenting all sides all at once.

Irrational people do rational things, rational people do irrational things. All people are unknown quantities, now and forever.

Sitting in the semi-dark, bathed in the soft penumbra of the screen, I close the game and shut my eyes. I chase the awkward beauty that only exists when we race toward a goal, unscripted, unfettered, unaware.



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