This is a gonzo book review, defined as a description of a book that includes the reviewer’s own opinions, insights, prejudices, rants, raves, and other stuff that the reviewer feels like tossing in. Once again, I’m indebted to the inventor of the gonzo paradigm, the late Hunter S. Thompson.

The previous book I reviewed stands in hostile contrast to the subject of this post:

UNDATEABLE  was a snarky list of 311 things that render a man repulsive to women. Since most men are guilty of at least one of these things, almost all men are therefore “undateable.” The authors, two beautiful, glamorous, rich and smug diva-style executives  wouldn’t settle for any man who was not wealthy, handsome, romantic, stylish, polished, confident and respected as an ubermensch–in other words, an archetypical Alpha Male.


THE GAME:  PENETRATING THE SECRET SOCIETY OF PICKUP ARTISTS  by Neil Strauss is written for lesser men: the Beta, Gamma, Delta and even the lowly Epsilon men. These are the underdogs. They spent their adolescence cringing through high school hallways, shoulder-butted by jocks, snubbed by girls. They graduated to bars, only to be slam-dunked by cleavaged barflies. Seething with hang-dog horniness, they became desperate.

Enter the PUA (PickUp Artist) gurus. Spawned by the Internet, these entrepreneurs taught slack-jawed, mouth-breathing, scrawny, scraggly-haired, squeaky-voiced, pimply, balloon-bellied, wimpy and otherwise socially-challenged gents how to pick up busty, curvaceous, big-eyed, pouty-lipped centerfolds.

Author Strauss was one of these customers, schooled by an egocentric, six-foot-five pickup master code-named “Mystery.” Strauss went on to become a revered PUA guru himself, under the moniker “Style,” claiming that at one point he had simultaneously juggled ten MLTRs–Multiple Long Term Relationships (Terms from the book are in bold type.)

THE GAME is bound in soft black leather, like a Bible, since it purports to be The Bible of the Pickup Artist.  Because it is a complex, 600-page tome, this entry will be only Part 1 of the review.

The book  opens with the author (“Style”) trying to help his former pickup mentor “Mystery,” who has plunged into a shattering, suicidal depression.

Before revealing how mastering the pickup game leads to the downfall of both Mystery and–later–Style, the book delves into what, for most male readers, is the “meat” of the issue: HOW TO DO IT. The object is to turn AFCs (Average Frustrated Chumps) into skilled PUAs (PickUp Artists).

The toughest thing for most men in approaching beautiful women in bars, restaurants, malls, etc. is how to start and escalate a conversation.  An elementary principle in the book is Get used to rejection. Pro salesfolk know that if they get a 10% success rate on their pitch, they’re doing well.  Another principle: any approach is better than none. Some of The Game‘s PUA  masters send their newbie students on “tune-up” missions: “put on nice clothes, go to a mall and say ‘hi’ to women.” One PUA instructor advises neophytes to overcome their fear by walking up to a girl and saying, “Hi. I’m Manny the Martian. What’s your favorite flavor of bowling ball?” At least, you’ll get her attention.

I’m reminded of what my late karate sensei, Bob Ozman (subject of a previous entry), used to say: “The best street fighters are those who ‘don’t give a shit.'” In other words, they don’t worry about getting their ass kicked. They just focus on their target and attack. The same principle (hopefully with less violence) applies to “sarging” (PUA  slang for trying to pick up women. The term was coined by a PUA guru whose cat was named “Sarge”.).

“Anyone talking to a woman while simultaneously worrying about  what she thinks of him is going to fail.” (Quotes from the book are in italics.)

Well, beautiful girls won’t kick your ass (unless they’re students of teachers like Sensei Ozman). But the ones who are gorgeous enough to be hit on all the time get bored with men going into slobber mode. And the meaner ones might make you feel knee high to a toadstool.

Never fear. Follow the techniques detailed in THE GAME. First, use patterns, not lines.  Patterns require a woman to respond with more than a “yes,” “no” or a “Fucking get lost.”

Act like you want her perspective on something you’re seeking information about.  “Hi. Let me get your opinion on something.”

“Would you date a guy who was still friends with his ex-girlfriend?”

“Do you think magic spells work?” 

“I’ve been taking a course in handwriting analysis  While we’re waiting for our food, do you mind if I practice on you?” (Use cold read techniques to amaze her with how “accurate” you are in describing her, based on “analyzing” her handwriting.)

Or use something alarming like “Oh my God, did you see those two girls fighting outside?” (No, she hasn’t seen them. She’ll want details, so have a good story ready.)

Once you have her attention, that’s when the real “artistry” begins.  You learn how to Demonstrate Value, showing how you’re different from the last 20 guys who hit on her. You employ The Maury Povich Maneuver, the False Time Constraint, the IVD–Interactive Value Demonstration, The Yes-ladder, or The Evolution Phase-shift Routine. The book explains these and plenty more, as evidenced by a ten-page glossary.

You learn how to keep a woman interested through applying The Cat-string Theory. You ply her with “Chick Crack”: things like handwriting analysis and tarot cards. According to the author, women respond to “routines involving tests, psychological games, fortune telling, and cold readings like addicts respond to drugs.’

Strauss points out that beautiful women are rarely found alone. Your target is almost always in the company of other people. If she’s with one other person, the duo is called a “two-set.”  If she’s with two other people, the trio is a “three-set.” If she’s included in a four-some, it’s a “four-set,” etc.

A daunting challenge faces the PUA when the set includes an AMOG (Alpha Male Of the Group). The book teaches students how to pry targeted beauties loose from these square-jawed alpha men–and to do it without losing teeth. (Well, at least one of these fledgeling PUAs suffered the result of alpha rage, when the woman’s husband came along, tossed him on the floor and stomped his face, fracturing an eye socket.)


You learn the value of sarging with a pivot, a platonic female friend who validates you as not being a loner serial killer.

You learn peacocking: wearing cowboy hats, rings, necklaces, fake piercings, etc.–items to use in starting conversations.  Here’s a description of Mystery’s peacocking:  “…he wore 6-inch platform boots and a bright red tiger-striped cowboy hat…skintight black PVC pants, futuristic goggles, a plastic-spiked backpack, a mesh see-through shirt, black eyeliner, white eye shadow, and as many as seven watches on his wrists…Girls followed him for blocks. Some grabbed his ass; one older woman even bit his crotch.”  (This was in Hollywood. Not in the real world.)  Mystery says, “I’m dressed for the outrageous club girls, the hot slutty girls, the ones I never could get. They’re playing groupie, so I gotta play rock star.”

As you sarge a girl, you look for IOIs (Indications of Interest), such as her use of your name while talking to you. You know you’re succeeding when she gets “the doggy dinner bowl look.”

So, do the techniques work? (Even the best PUAs  encounter the Shit Test: something you say that is a secret red flag in a woman’s mind and—presto—you’re as welcome as “dog shit on her Prada pump.”)


Author “Style” recounts his first, hesitant, use of Mystery’s teachings. He engages a pretty girl in a store. “Maybe you can help me settle a debate I’m having…”  He proceeds with The Maury Povich Routine.  He gets her phone number. Then he Googles her name and finds out she is Dalene Kurtis, Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Year!  He freezes, too chicken to call her–kind of like winning the lottery but not cashing in the ticket.

So, what does the preceding have to do with my historical memoir, SKINFLICKS: The Inside Story of the X-Rated Video Industry? Well, without the patronage of AFCs (Average Frustrated Chumps), the porn industry wouldn’t survive.  So, thank you, gentlemen.

My next entry about The Game will include Fleecing the Chumps; Sarging the Stars–Courtney Love, Heidi Fleiss, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears; The PUA’s Insidious Mode of Self-Destruction; and Attack of the Zombie PUAs.


David Jennings is the author of SKINFLICKS: The Inside Story of the X-Rated Video Industry, which chronicles his rise from filmmaker for a large Mafia-controlled porno company to “mini porn king” with his own Superior Video, Inc. This personal memoir also traces the flourishing of the home video trade from the late1970s to the end of the 20th Century.

Review of UNDATEABLE: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They won’t be Dating or Having Sex

I’m back. Finally. After a long layoff.  (You missed me, right?)

Since I’ve blogged about every aspect of SKINFLICKS, inside out, upside down and backwards, I am expanding the scope of this blog to include…anything.

I’ll start with reviewing two contrasting books that I’ve read lately, on the subject of sex and seduction (big surprise).

This is a gonzo book review of
UNDATEABLE: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating or Having Sex

By Ellen Rakieten and Anne Coyle

The authors are both beautiful women with long, flowing, blondish hair.
Rakieten, president of Ellen Rakieten Entertainment  has been “a key force in creating, developing, writing and producing The Oprah Winfrey Show” for over 23 years (If her photo was taken after those 23 years, she must have started there at age 2.) She is shown wearing a Jackson Pollock-like splatter of desultory colors that would render any man who wore a similar scheme “undateable.”

Coyle is equally stunning. In her photo, she wears shimmering blue with nipple outlines.  She owns Anne Coyle Interiors, “a nationally acclaimed interior design firm.”

Both women live in the Chicago area.

The concept of “gonzo,” taken from the jagged journalism of the late Hunter S. Thompson, frees the commentator from traditional constraints. Therefore, in my review of UNDATEABLE, I inject my own snarky, prejudiced, and/or questionably sagacious comments.  I feel these are needed in order to shield the delicate sensitivities of male readers from the slings and arrows of these Authors. For example, here’s how they respond to a man who wears a sleep mask: “Oh yes…and will we be slathering scented moisturizer on our hands and covering them with rubber gloves before we turn in as well?” And don’t call a woman “my lover.” “We’d like to enact a new law: Any guy who uses this term immediately gets punched in the face.” If you wear an apron (un-masculine) while cooking a scrumptious dinner for her, “Your pumps better match your apron or we’re going to have to come in there and beat you again.”

Shades of SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men—the invention of Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Andy Warhol.)! At first, I thought the Authors were parodying the snooty, overly-picky SAP (Spoiled American Princess). Sort of like Steven Colbert (The Colbert Report) pretending to espouse the very things he is ridiculing.  But, no. The Authors are serious. In the Introduction, they write, “Perhaps, after reading the first few pages, you’ll think we’re just a bunch of uptight, judgmental nightmares.  And maybe we are.”


So, let’s start with some of the items under the category…

WHAT NOT TO WEAR (Authors’ words in bold, mine in unbold.)

Jorts. (Jean shorts that end above the knee. Below the knee is bad, too.) Khakis are OK, as long as they end at the knee. Precision is critical.
Bad Facial Hair. Actually, any kind of beard/mustache/soul patch is bad. But they don’t diss that dirty-face, three-day-old stubble look, so give it a try.  That way, you’ll get more mileage out of your Gillette Mach 3 Turbo.
Hairy Body. So wax it. Ouch!
Hair plugs, toupees (unless you’re a Sean Connery clone), and bald on top with hair on sides is no good. Go full cue-ball, instead.
Overly cologned.  Recommended: “…aftershave with a hint of geranium, citrus, lavender, sage, rosemary, cedarwood, or cucumber.”  In other words, smell like a spice factory.
White briefs. Boxers preferred. (I say: If you’ve gotten as far as the underwear, don’t worry about it.)
Black jeans, embellished jeans, dad jeans, acid-washed jeans, pre-ripped jeans, sky-blue jeans. Also Dockers and pleated pants. So, what’s left? Scottish kilts?
Sports jerseys. So find a girl who also likes Da Bears.
Weekend White Guy. (Whatever the hell that is.)
Hawaiian shirts. Even if you’re in Hawaii, go with “polo shirt or lightweight cotton oxford shirt in white, pale blue, or mild stripe.” And “keep it untucked and un-ironed.” (Sorry, Mom.)
Cell phone on waist.  They belong in your manpurse (which they also don’t like—they call it a “murse.”). So, wear big pockets or use a body cavity.
Longish fingernails. Trim weekly, unless you moonlight as a transvestite.
Apron while cooking. Ladies, if the guy cooks for you, why do you give a damn what he’s wearing? Besides, do you want him to splatter his pale blue, lightweight oxford shirt?
Turquoise jewelry. I would say try fake diamonds, but the Authors also don’t like men with bling.  So, no jewelry.  Save your money for that Rolex.
Camo.  I agree, unless your date is for bear hunting.
White socks with non-athletic shoes. Tube socks. Black socks without black dress pants. Navy blue is OK. Also, they like going sockless. (Just remember to use your Odor Eaters.)
Transitions sunglasses.  What?  My ophthalmologist says they’re better for the eye.  Maybe the Authors prefer a manly, Clint Eastwood squint.
Speedos. I agree. Don’t reveal your size, or lack of same, until you’re in your briefs–or boxers.
Comb-over.  See preference for cue-ball look, above.
Multiple tattoos. Authors admit some women like ‘em, some don’t. Authors admit content of tats makes a big difference.  Here, I insert a marginally off-color joke: A sporting goods salesman loves his products so much that he has their names tattooed on his body. As he strips, he shows them off to his date. On shoulder: NIKE. On chest: SPALDING. On stomach: RAWLINGS.  He takes off his underwear and on his penis:AIDS. The girl reacts with a sound of horror. The guy says, “Wait a minute.”  He strokes himself up to full erection: ADIDAS.
Mullet.  Try ponytail instead.
Tank tops.  Only for beach or gym with requisite buffed body.  If badly built, use shoulder pads under Spandex.
Bad tie. “For a guy, his tie is like a woman’s breasts.”  Because it’s the first thing that attracts the eye. So, in the spirit of breast alteration, get a tie-ectomy. Or tie reduction—snip it in half. (For “tie help,” the Authors plug their website,
Tie with short-sleeved dress shirt.  So? It’s hip to be geek. Ladies, be glad it’s not a tank top.
Stupid T-shirts.   Authors’ example: FBI  Female Body Inspector. (In other words, the invisible T-shirt of Everyman.)
Gold chains.  Tell women it’s an heirloom from your late grandmother.  Or find a pawnbroker who’s nostalgic for 1979.
Overly tan.  That John Boehner look. Or desert hobo. Out of place in Seattle, but OK in Las Vegas, where Hawaiian shirts and indoor sunglasses also help you score with hot, blue-haired grandmas.
Dyed hair. Gentlemen, women are good at spotting this. They’ve spent years examining it on other ladies and themselves.


Anal Andy.  Dream husband. Does dishes, laundry, shopping. Takes out trash, vacuums, cleans. Great cunnilingus—oops! I added that. Sorry.  Downside: Frets over wrinkle in shirt, needs weather report before leaving house…you get the picture. He’s not sexy!  (Ladies, go for the slob watching football with stinky socks.)
“Pregnant” man.  That slob mentioned above, taken to extremes. After mega-doses of sports TV and Budweiser, he looks like he’s in his third trimester. Cure: Adopting Anal Andy fixation with exercise. Or—failing that—turn to liposuction.  (Girls, seek a happy medium between the two above-mentioned types, but don’t try to reform either one.)
Benchwarmer.  Dresses in his fave team’s uniform. Emotes loudly with every play/pitch/basket/groin kick. Solution: Slip Valium into his beer.
Mr. Softy.  AKA couch potato. Ladies, to get his cardio going, tickle him.
Meathead.  “…roided-out, over-buffed physique.”  As if “Pregnant” Man’s bulge had been squeezed up into his biceps.  And you know what steroids do to the cojones.
Bitterboy. Angry white male. Maybe made so by trying to date one of the Authors.
Wimpy drinker. Gets drunk after two beers.  Authors say, “You need an infusion of male hormones.” No, you don’t.  You just have to practice drinking booze until your tolerance level goes up.


(Note: So many of these are obvious, such as “Bros before hoes.” “Get your rocks off.” And “Gotta take a dump.”  So, listed here are the questionable ones. Trying to avoid them will turn you into “the strong, silent type”–minus the “strong.”)

Make Love. They prefer “Have sex.” OK. That cuts out the B.S.  As Tina Turner sang, “What’s love got to do with it?”
Fake swearing.  Such as “Heck.” “Jeez!” “Sheesh!” “Goldarn.”  The Authors want manly talk, like %#^&*,  *+@(>), or ^</!)*.  Do I have to spell it out for you?
Base names for breasts.  Examples: “Knockers.” “Jugs.” “Headlights.”  The Authors offer no alternative suggestions.  So, when referring to your lady’s cleavage, just use the word “breasts.” Or, better yet, don’t refer to them at all.
Clit.  Alternatives?  None. “Clee-toe-russ” sounds too formal, especially when confronting the item.  Gentlemen, when facing a clitoris, talking is the wrong use of the tongue.
The Family Jewels.  Say that around the authors or their Facebook followers and you get “a good knee to the groin.”  Besides, male genitalia are now referred to as “junk.” The Authors use that term when they say, Don’t Rearrange your junk in public.” ( Instead, walk bowlegged to a men’s room.)
Slang terms for vagina. (Examples not repeated here.) Hmm…If male genitalia have descended (so to speak) from jewels to junk, then could the vaginas of dateable women be referred to as “junk collectors?”
Business clichés. “…pushing the envelope…run it up the flagpole…think outside the box…” Instead, say “My IPO has just made me a millionaire.”  By the time she finds out you’re lying, your family jewels will already have shown their bling.
Sports metaphors.   “Knock it out of the park.” “It’s a slam dunk.” “Let’s go for the goal line.” The Authors quote Jack Nicholson in As Good as It Gets: “People who speak in metaphors ought to shampoo my crotch.”  So, the Authors hate metaphors. Would they make the same offer as Nicholson?
Boner.  Or any other word for erection including “erection” itself.  Gentlemen, this is no time for “show and tell.” Just settle for “show.”
Pet names for your penis. See above advice for “Boner.”
Brewski.   Instead, call the beer by its formal name, as in “I’ll have an Arrogant Bastard Light.”
Bayotch.  “Bitch,” as said by a gangsta practicing multi-syllabic vocabulary. As a general rule, don’t say “bitch” unless referring to someone your date has already labeled as such.


Own a cat.  You’ll look like that dork, Jon, in the Garfield comics. Explain to her that it was a starving stray that you felt sorry for.  The Authors’ choice of words here begs the rhetorical question: Does anyone actually own a cat?
Own a violent dog.  Agreed. But if you need that Doberman to scare thieves away from your pot farm, tell the dog that if he behaves himself around your girl, you’ll set him up on a date with a Bichon Frise.
Own a rodent. Explain to your date that you only keep the cute little critters around as food for your pet python.
Own a reptile. OK, so the pet python is out.  Maybe a small turtle?
Own a PT Cruiser or a Corvette or a minivan or a Hummer.  The Authors don’t diss Ferraris—so, get one.
Attend Star Trek conventions. The Authors do not want to be beamed up. Or upped any other way.
Bring a glove to a baseball game.  In the film Fever Pitch, the Drew Barrymore character gets knocked out by a line drive. Show your date this movie before exposing her to Seattle Mariners’ foul balls (which is about all they can hit).
Leave porn lying around the house. The Authors especially detest Juggs, touted as “the dirtiest tit-mag in the world.”  (How much did the publisher of that rag pay the Authors for the plug?)
Go shirtless in public.  After all, the Authors would never do that to you.  Does “public” also include beaches?
Order a girlie drink. No Kahlua  and Cream, Grasshoppers or Mango Martinis.  Recommended are vodka and tonics, scotch and soda, etc.  And if you happen to date one of the Authors—or their followers—order a double. You’ll need it.
Be Lactose-intolerant.  If you are, date vegans, not the Authors, who might poison you with mozzarella pizza.
Open-mouth breathing.  Before a date, use nostril-clearing inhalants like cocaine.  And offer some to your date so that her nostrils will be clear, too.
Sell blood for money.  It proves you are too poor to date women.  But what if you are simply altruistic and you want the ER to have enough plasma on hand for the next mass shooting?  (Maybe the Authors and their followers want to keep all your blood in your body so there’ll be more to suck out of you.)
Not owning a TV set.  A quote from the Authors: “We like talking about The Office. Everybody does.” I say if you have better things to do than watching TV, you should find women who also have better things to do than watching TV.
“Not feeling well” and whining about it.  Authors’ quote: “For all our talk about equal rights, no woman wants to date a wuss.”  So, suck it up, big guy. That knee to the groin she gave you is just a test of your machismo.
Order wine at sporting event.  Only beer will do. Wine protects your heart, and women such as the Authors may not want that—especially after becoming your life insurance beneficiary.

I have just listed 61 of the things that render a man “undateable.”  Believe it or not, there are 250 more.

Can an “undateable” shlemiel be saved? Yes! The Authors provide a before-and-after makeover.  On page 14 is a photo of a guy with a Fu Manchu and a soul patch beneath his lower lip. At the end of the book, we see the same guy, clean-shaven, in the arms of his pretty, new wife.  But that worrisome mole on his cheek is still there.  Maybe he’ll get it removed through his wife’s medical insurance.

A Note to the Authors:  I trust that you attractive, polished, successful professionals have managed to find the only two men alive who have evaded all of the items that make men undateable.

But, no.  Rakieten is married, but—if Google has the latest bio information—Coyle is still searching for that elusive, thoroughly dateable Mr. Right.  Maybe her co-author has snapped up the last one available.

I recommend UNDATEABLE as a highly entertaining, fast read. The writing is witty, and you will learn new slang terms (that you must avoid) for sex organs, breasts, masturbation, excretion, and for sex itself.

Gentlemen, though you might be intimidated by the myriad things the Authors ask you to do or not do, I leave you with this quote from Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map: “You will always be too much of something for someone, too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy.”  Her advice is to just be who you are and don’t “round out your edges.” And Rakieten and Coyle close out UNDATEABLE with this statement: “And remember, SWAGGER and CONFIDENCE can almost always counteract the damage caused by a really bad pair of Dad Jeans…”

So, Mr. Undateable, go boldly forth to your Star Trek convention, wearing your SPOCK ROCKS T-shirt. You just might meet a beautiful Vulcan maiden.

NEXT BLOG POST:  I’ll review THE GAME: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss.