Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Euvoluntary PUA?

By request, the euvoluntarity of pick-up artistry.
 And before you ask, yes. I did indeed have to look up the acronym. It's probably not so much that I'm too old to know what's going on in the world around me, it's more that the language adjusted while I wasn't looking. Much like yesterday's stewardess is today's flight attendant, yesterday's sleazeball is today's pick-up artist. It appears to be a term of political correctness. I for one appreciate the gentler, more civil tone of the new term.

Here's the story from The Peej [link]. Evidently, the welfare state in Denmark travels well with women's self-esteem. They're not prone to the predations of self-styled Casanovas. It's beyond the scope of this piece to mull the arrow of causality here, so zip up your quiver, Mr. Tell. Instead, consider whether the behavioral arts applied to obtaining strange constitutes a euvoluntary transaction.

Does moral suasion constitute coercion? In the eyes of the law, nope. To count as forcible rape, law enforcement... well, here's the FBI's definition. Judge for yourself.
Forcible rape, as defined in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, is the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included; however, statutory rape (without force) and other sex offenses are excluded.
Does something about that strike you as odd? Leave a note in the comments section.

Anyway, the pick-up artist uses psychological tricks, flim-flammery, patter if you will to flounder and woo. His skill is reminiscent of adept carnival barkers. But it's all talk, all body language, all communication. There are clear lines not to be crossed: no roofies, no physical force, no intimidation. Most importantly perhaps, no exchange of money for a night between the sheets. Just sexual kayfabe.

And even without any regrets, the endeavor will still strike many people as sordid. It's not classical exploitation, but it does explicitly endeavor to exploit psychological weaknesses. Contrast this with prostitution. In that case, there's a mutually beneficial business transaction with no deception, no trickery, no emotional fraud. It seems to me that but for an accident of history, prostitution is probably more euvoluntary than pick-up artistry. Yet one is illegal, the other is not. And I suspect it's a matter of cash changing hands.

So to answer Adam's question, I don't know for sure. For PUAs to be firmly euvoluntary, I suppose you'd have to assume strict rationality, no cognitive biases, no psychological weak spots. But that's wishing for a perfect egg. No such thing. Humans are beautifully flawed and as such are prone to illusion. Still, even if the practice is just off the shore of the land of euvoluntarity, the most reasonable response is to do as the Danes do: help your daughters and your sisters to be psychologically tough. Counter kayfabe with Truth. And then if she wants to have some fun while the getting is good, it'll be less likely to retain coercive overtones.

The same is basically true for any sort of contract. It's all in the offer and acceptance. You can't fault a guy for making an offer, but neither ought you fault a girl for her (informed, rational) response.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?