YOU KNOW, I’ve never bought a drink for a strange woman. Not now and not when I was single. That’s for suckers. Are there really men who don’t know this? Apparently.

UPDATE: Phil Bowermaster emails:

You link to these game sites every now and then. Do you buy into their worldview?

I think it’s important for a guy not to be taken advantage of. But I find the arrogance of these game douchebags unbearable, and their contempt for the majority of the human race — virtually all men are sniveling “betas;” virtually all women are manipulative gold-digging whores — has a kind of Taliban ring to it.

Imagine the Taliban was totally focused on getting laid, rather than enforcing Sharia. I think they’d sound a lot like these guys.

The “game” stuff pretty much is for douchebags, or at least the otherwise hopeless. It involves taking the sophisticated approach that someone with actual interpersonal skills might employ, and boiling it down to a set of simplified rules that produce a sort of cartoon version — much as you might boil down social interactions into rules for an autistic person; the result is better than nothing, but not the real thing. But although it’s a cartoon — and focused largely on picking up women in bars, a fairly limited and artificial environment to begin with — the simplification process does reveal things that might otherwise be obscured or ignored. And it’s interesting to see some of these insights going mainstream. (The other thing you learn from perusing some of these sites is just how much some men need the help. And I’m not sorry to see them get it.)

The Taliban are about cartoonishly oversimplified rules of a different sort, but hey — if we could get them to start cruising singles’ bars instead of dynamiting them, that would be progress. As with all the Islamist fanatics, much of their energy comes from blocked and distorted sexual impulses, after all.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some surprisingly non-profane thoughts from Ace. And reader Anthony Argyriou writes: “I’ll cop to having bought drinks for strange women, but only after I was already dating them.” Heh.

MORE: Reader Jeff Younger emails:

You’re uncharitable towards “game” and PUAs. You shouldn’t be. Here’s why:

* Boys aren’t taught basic social skills, because they lack males to teach them.
* Most boys are raised by divorced women with an axe to grind against men. These women teach boys to be the perfect romance novel, self-sacrificial clod. They teach boys to put women on a pedestal.
* “Game” fills the avuncular void and educates young men about how modern women really are: hypergamous.
* Every new skill is broken down into rules, at first. You progressively gain judgement until you become prudent, and then you know how and how to apply and break the rules to achieve a good outcome. There’s nothing wrong with teaching rules to learn successful social behavior.

Well, I thought that was more or less what I said, but all of this is basically right. It’s a second-best solution, but much of the world runs on second-best solutions.