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Discount bin answer: Never.
Gamers’ Edition Bonus Pak answer: It depends.
I was at a small-ish film fest party for a guy who directed a couple of short documentaries. Crowd size: ~80-100 peeps, skewed toward women, most of whom were cute artsy scenesters who liked to wear woolen caps and scarves indoors. Because, you know, it might snow.
Three girls, all 7s, approached me and my friend to ask if we were “part of the creative scene”.
Clearly, a significant subculture of the residents are starving for the company of unconventional people who aren’t yuppie whores. And so, I give them that. I aim to please.
After a few minutes of light chit chat about my latest blockbuster mega-grossing film, I felt the energy of the set wane. They were slipping away. Girls are born with a self-entitlement region of the brain that causes them to assume all men were put on the earth to continually entertain them. This region is connected to the pussy through a single major nerve called the tingleginaceptor. When the pussy deteriorates through age, so does the entitlement region of the female brain. This is why many older women are so engaging in conversation; they have to be.
A player adept at seducing women knows to flip this entitlement script and demand entertainment from the women in his company. Game is the tool that helps with the script-flipping. But this time I ran no game. Instead, I let the chit chat dissipate, smiled warmly, and told them to enjoy the show.
I could’ve made fun of one of the girl’s scarves (“That scarf is all wrong on you”). I could’ve negged the hottest girl (“You look like the girl in the movie who got dumped by the guy. Are you her? Well, chin up”). I could’ve kinoed, isolated, made out. But I did none of these things. Why?
Because in certain specific contexts, I believe game can backfire. This was one of those times. A small, insular indie scene such as at a film screening, filled with people who likely are friends, or at least acquaintances, with everyone else in the room, and who have certain social codes that they follow and are only understood by themselves (e.g. don’t be a douchebag) are more apt to react suspiciously to game run on them by a relative outsider. (I do hang in the indie scene, but not this particular one.)
My spidey sense was telling me that had I negged one of the girls in the three set, it would have confused her. And not in a good way. Tightknit groups of people tend to want to feel newcomers out, to see if they’re cool, i.e. socially savvy. A neg right out of the gate might have tingled ginas, but it also ran the risk of emphasizing my outsider status. It’s best to demonstrate your in-group cred first before hitting them up with the thermonuclear love bomb of game. With very provincial groups, this getting-to-know-you process can sometimes require attendance at three or more events where you’ll see the same girls and they’ll have an opportunity to become comfortable with you. Blogger happy hours used to work this way.
There is a trade-off to every decision. The girl who interested me may not ever again go to one of these events. Or she may have been sufficiently bored by the non-game “normal” conversation between us to write me off as a future contender. If I had properly gamed her, I had a chance to initiate the short road to intimacy. But gaming her also posed the risk of stamping me persona non grata within the scene, possibly polluting my chances with other girls who knew my primary target peripherally.
Pickup is about experience. After enough time and practice, you’ll get a feel for these kinds of social riddles. But all in all, I prefer this rule of thumb –
Maxim #13: When in doubt, game.