A month or two ago, I started following some pickup artist blogs, mainly Chateau Heartiste but also the Rational Male and Postmasculine, among others. I’m pretty far along on a longer essay about the PUA community and the real-world context in which it somewhat obliviously exists. That essay has been unusually draining to write. Although I haven’t invested an inordinate amount of time planning and writing it (probably eight hours, give or take), the subject matter has made up for the short duration of my writing sessions by being exceptionally distasteful and disturbing.

Maybe the most striking thing about the research and writing process for that essay (if it can even be written off as “research”) is how much it has altered the language that I use in my thought processes. When I climb out of the fray for a break, I feel as if I need to reacculturate myself to the vocabulary of mainstream English. It’s as if I’ve been hanging out with racists, which is exactly what I’ve been doing, since it seems impossible for the paranoia, chauvinism and misogyny (I use the last two terms intentionally, as, contrary to popular belief, they have different meanings) to coalesce without magnetically attracting racial and ethnic bigotry and paranoia as well. This is what one would expect of a leftist caricature of these groups, but it comes straight from the horse’s mouth in these cases, so really it’s a self-parody. These people use language that is completely foreign to people outside their subculture. I envision a virtual community of resentful, abrasive kooks and equally resentful, socially maladjusted dweebs hanging out in the basement and emerging periodically, unable to carry on a normal conversation with their relatives, so addled are they by the weirdness of the language that they use in their virtual lives. Since I’m exceptionally good with languages (speaking fairly proficient Russian and French, both learned as second languages in my teens) and exceptionally deliberate in my speech, although not as deliberate orally as in writing, extrapolating my own difficulty to people who are inarticulate and inattentive to their speech is a cringeworthy mental exercise.

I’ve had a similar experience reintegrating myself into mainstream, bricks-and-mortar life after reading sex workers’ blogs and some non-paranoid political blogs, but in those cases my only serious concern has been that I would say something politically incorrect because I was hanging out on a fringe where the Overton Window had been closed by the peddlers of America’s official social control mechanisms. This was basically a fear of uttering Bidenisms about a demimonde that I consider wrongfully smeared by polite society. My reaction to the PUA blogs, however, has been darker. They don’t seem merely louche or seedy, but evil in ways that I can’t exactly identify or articulate. I don’t consider it much of an exaggeration to say that there’s something Satanic about their worldview. The appearance that they actively foment war between the sexes certainly doesn’t help their case. Nor does their steeping socially marginal people in a shop talk that mainstream people would find confusing at best and evil and unhinged at worst.

These freaks exceed the military in their use of impenetrable acronyms, an important caveat being that the US military resembles a mainstream American society much more closely than the pickup artist community. More importantly, even in neighborhoods and social circles insulated from the military and its culture, military service is rarely regarded as a scarlet letter. I imagine that much of the flak that veterans catch from civilians and ascribe to civilian bigotry is in fact the result of their being stupid, vulgar and sadistic; I also imagine that the shit disproportionately hits the enlisted, for reasons that you’ll understand if you’ve spent much time on military bases, ones that our family friend Captain Bones finds compelling. There’s also the matter of military personnel, especially officers, being trained to be unfailingly polite in their dealings with superiors and civilians. The kind of language that predominates on PUA blogs wouldn’t fly at inspection. At least I hope it wouldn’t; I’m sure military personnel and veterans could provide plenty of counterexamples that they’ve witnessed, so feel free to have at it in the comment thread. That said, I’m pretty sure that the US Armed Forces do a better job than most American institutions do at socializing their personnel into something presentable, and that such a thing doesn’t happen on PUA blogs.

Hanging out with strangers in a sort of committee of correspondence and being trained by them in the use of vulgar, depraved language that is incomprehensible to normal people to the extent that it isn’t repellent doesn’t seem like a good idea for socially atomized, sexually frustrated men with deficient interpersonal skills. On the other hand, the bar scene where these beta-omega spectrum recluses are supposed to be applying their “game” tends to be disgraceful, too. That’s why I close by repeating an old encouragement to reasonable women of goodwill to consider improving the nightlife pool, but this time in somewhat more colorful language:

All the slutty ladies, all the slutty ladies/

If you like it then you shouldn’t let the skanks monopolize it, if you like it then you shouldn’t let the skanks monopolize it/

Oh, oh, oh, I’m not even gonna try to transliterate any more of that idiocy/

But get your not-exactly-chaste, not-exactly-sleazy asses out there on the dance floor/

And move it like Jagger, or something/

Cuz we may not put a ring on it if you do, but give us a chance and we’ll show our gratitude/

At least those of us who aren’t deranged enough to prefer a manipulable bimbo to a smart chick who rubs up on her friends sober/

So, in conclusion, move it like Jagger, or something/

Because even if that isn’t music, neither is that shit you’re listening to on the radio.