Sep 24 2007
There is nothing more bonding than successfully picking up girls together. It is the basis for a great friendship. Because afterward, when the girls are gone, you can finally give each other the high-five that you’ve been holding back since you met them. It is the sweetest high-five in the world. It’s not just the sound of skin hitting skin; it’s the sound of brotherhood.
-Neil Strauss, The Game
By THEBOSTONBACHELOR.COM / September 24, 2007
Asking a guy how often he cries is like asking a woman how often she masturbates; the answer you get will always be a severe underestimate.
Even still, many of you who have been following VH-1’s “The Pick Up Artist”—reality TV’s tale of 8 hopeless romantics trying to master the one area of life that’s forever eluded them—are probably befuddled at all the male tears being shed each week. After all, aren’t guys emotionally mechanical and closed off—especially in the presence of other men?
The answer is a bit more complicated than you think.
As Frankie and I discussed in last week’s interview, there is a big difference between male and female rapport. A woman can meet a random woman in a restroom and swap life stories within a matter of minutes. If a guy ever tried to do this, punches would be thrown. But that doesn’t mean that men are incapable of bonding and exchanging deep rapport.
The difference lies in the medium, not the message. Men bond through shared experiences rather than words. A guy will never ask a guy to come over for a cup of coffee and just talk; that shit don’t fly. Why waste time with that when a one-armed “man hug” is much more efficient?
So to give the ladies out there a better understanding of what constitutes male bonding, I’ve come up with a much simpler solution: The Male Bonding Index.
The Male Bonding Index (lower numbers = more bonding)
1. Going through war together.
2. Going through a socio-academic war (i.e. undergrad at an engineering school) together.
3. Going out and successfully picking up women together.
4. Surviving a plane crash in the Andes for 10 weeks.
5. Saving a fellow fireman from a Backdraft-esque fire.
6. Being stuck in a mine shaft for several days.
7. Getting into a fistfight with a rival entourage.
8. Taking a road trip.
9. Winning a professional sports championship.
10. Visiting a friend in the hospital.
13. Watching Stand by Me.
21. Attending a friend’s bachelor party.
29. Attending a friend’s wedding.
77. Playing in a band.
Now I had to disagree with Neil Strauss a little bit; there are a few experiences that are more bonding than picking up girls together—but not much. Because when you and your best buds head out to a bar on Saturday night with the intent of meeting women, there’s a certain vulnerability that’s impossible for you to mask. That’s when you have to put your ego, pride, and balls out on the rail for everyone to see. That’s when you know that even if you completely fuck up and the whole bar turns to laugh at you, your boys will still be there waiting for you with an extended drink in hand. For it’s not just the victories that forge lasting bonds, but the defeats as well. The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.
It’s this mutual journey from heartbreak to redemption—that long road out of hell—that the men on “The Pick Up Artist” to break down in tears. It’s the realization that it is possible to go from hating who you are to being able to look in the mirror without averting your eyes. It truly is much more than just about picking up girls.
It’s about taking control of your life, once and for all.
And it’s an experience that must be lived to be understood. You can’t explain those feelings of anxiety, loss, pain, love, and elation to someone who’s never fought in those trenches, who’s never reached those highs and lows. In fact, I’m better off once again letting the words of another author do the talking, this time those contained on the pages of Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam War masterpiece The Things They Carried:
“Try to tell them about it, they’ll just stare at you with those big round candy eyes. They won’t understand zip. It’s like trying to tell somebody what chocolate tastes like.”
I can’t put it more eloquently than that.
-The Boston Bachelor
The season finale of “The Pickup Artist” airs tonight on VH1 at 9 pm EDT.