The Onus Is On Us.

August 28, 2007

I used to work at the NYPress alongside Neil Strauss, who went on to co-write Motley Crue’s The Dirt. All of us freelancers were given scorning nicknames–it was a thoroughly Mamet-ly environment–mine was “Little Doughty.” Neil’s was “Worm Boy.”
Neil went on to write The Game, a book about pick-up artists, one of which was that guy Mystery, the guy from VH1’s The Pick-Up Artist. It’s a creepy show, with a kind of jarringly touchy-feely core. Nebbishy guys are taught to be confident. That’s good news, right? What skeeves me out is that the pick-up artists have a jargon–“two-sets,” “I.O.I.s,” “kiss-closing,” “negs”.
On the other hand, I’m a rock star and I don’t have the brass to walk up to the cutest girl in a bar and chat her up.
Neil Strauss, it seems to me, genuinely cares about the guys who read his book looking to learn, at last, how to meet women. The book is largely Neil’s own tale of transformation, from nebbish ness to confidence. It’s a little disingenuous, considering the average guy can’t walk up to a woman and say, “Hi, I wrote a best-selling book with Marilyn Manson.”
But he’s got some good advice, actually. For instance: if you want to meet a woman in a bar, don’t walk up behind her, because that will seem weird to her; wait until she’s facing forward and walk up to her from the front. That’s good stuff, right? Common-sensical.
This guy Mystery is a piece of work. He dresses like Al Jourgenson’s gofer. Eyeliner, leather pants, etc. And he’s got this nerdy Canadian accent (sorry, Canadian friends) that render his ultra-serious scientific booty jargon goofy.
But, c’mon, let’s be honest; we who consider ourselves better than this guy player-hate the bejesus out of him. Because his shit works. He circumvents that natural male fear of rejection–the onus is on us to walk up to women, vibrating with anxiety, to be judged–accepted, or dissed.
I saw him appear on Conan, and though I did find him cringeworthy, there was a telling moment; cutting to commercial, fellow guest Kevin Pollak mouthed “Wow” to the camera. It was forced, and sour-grapes-y. Because Kevin Pollak was thinking: I’m a movie star and I can’t walk into a bar and talk to any girl I choose to.
Ultimately I look at this guy and think of a line from Superbad; Jonah Hill is talking about how all girls have a hook-up they regret, and he says imploringly, “We could be those mistakes!”
I’m cooking up a DJ set. I’ve been programming kind of Atari-esque house tracks for a couple of years; I also have ideas for samples, ideas that I’ve been storing up, as I haven’t had the chance to use my loop-seeking skills since Soul Coughing.
I’m trying to learn Ableton Live (a piece of production/mixing software)–I have no intention of learning how to rock turntables–I want to play the whole set from a laptop. I haven’t traveled much in dance-music circles lately, so I don’t know if that in fact is the standard. I guess it might be considered cheating, but I’m a guy that really has no interest in authenticity or credibility–I just want it to sound good.
Anyway, there was a time when turntables themselves were “cheating”–have I told you this story? A friend of mine went to see George Clinton in the early 80s, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five opened. A lady standing behind him was yelling indignantly, “He’s just playing the record! He’s just playing the record!
Later, as my friend was flying on L.S.D., George Clinton leaped from the stage and crashed into the folding chairs in front of him.
Who knows how long it’ll take me to be able to DJ competently? Don’t hold your breath. When I cobble something together, I’d like to throw some discreet rent parties as practice.