Josh Pellicer is a man on a mission. A mission to (make money by pretending hell) help guys get laid. You can tell its dodgy right from the get-go, because there are no controls on the video. You cant stop it, pause it, or even change the volume. You can only watch. That tells you straight away, same as a telemarketers pitch, that this person cant afford to let you stop and think before you commit to what hes selling. At the beginning the voice-over tells you the video will be taken down after 24 hours. Ive now seen it three times, weeks apart no, I only sat right through it once, but Id say thats a pretty good gauge of the quality of what Pellicer has to hand out.
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Being as how he is in this to make a quick buck off the gullible, Pellicers presentation is light on content. He kind of hints at what some of the secrets are; the main one seems to be that if you convince a woman that there are a bunch of other women after you, itll get her interested despite herself. His supporting evidence is that this is what happens with fish. Another thing that happens with a lot of fish is that they spontaneously change sex if they find themselves in single-sex groups, so, you know, if youre a guy living and working in an all-male environment you might want to start buying menstruation products just in case. Unless of course not everything thats true of some species is automatically applicable to all species. Just saying.
But lets admit that it might apply. Pellicer doesnt stop there. Repeatedly, he promises that the secrets hes revealing are hard-wired into the female brain. In other words, say these magic words and women will drop their pants for you. Theyll have no choice. Need I point out that this isnt how it works? Actually, to the kind of guys Pellicer is preying on, probably, yes.
Now, I do try to mount the best opposing case I can think of, because that makes for the strongest rebuttal; so heres the most plausible defence I can muster. Humans of all genders are animals, and animals are driven by reflexes, instincts, urges, and desires, some of which can override prudential considerations when they are strong. (For instance, people who are trapped underwater cannot prevent themselves indefinitely from inhaling, with lethal consequences.) Getting laid is not a matter of life and death for us as individuals but brains arent built by individuals, theyre built by genes, and your genes are just as dead if you fail to have sex as they are if you neglect to eat or breathe. Many men have been disturbed to discover their own capacity for self-deception as to the advisability or otherwise of a given sex act when theyre in the moment, especially during adolescence; this is one major reason why abstinence-only sex education is such a flop. Theres no logical flaw in supposing that women might have similar experiences.
However, (1) thats when youre already aroused, and (2) being manipulated by someone youre not interested in is an instant turn-off. Pellicer claims that he can get you past (1) for women, with no evidence beyond a bunch of e-mail testimonials that he probably wrote himself, plus he says hes read lots of textbooks. This makes him dubious on the face of it. His advice is, in fact, far more likely to run you headlong into (2), because women, like most men (though perhaps this is less true for men likely to be taken in by Pellicer), keep an eye out for dishonest and manipulative intentions in those they interact with. And make no mistake, Pellicers prescriptions amount to blatant manipulation.
Im not clear whether Pellicer himself thinks his theory of womens sexuality is true or not. It is clear that he doesnt care. Pellicer is, in short, bullshitting, to use that philosophical term as defined by Harry G. Frankfurt. Whats disturbing about Pellicers sales pitch is not the parts he doesnt believe in, but the parts he does: namely, his ideas about how women and men relate to each other and what roles they play.
To explain how he came to be the great expert hes claiming to be, Pellicer tells a big sob-story about a previous relationship. He was living with his girlfriend, and paying for their flat, and then one day her father came to town for a surprise visit, and she hadnt told her father that she had a boyfriend let alone lived with him, so she made him pack up all his things and leave town for three days so she wouldnt have to let on. Quite reasonably pretending for the sake of argument that I believe the story Pellicer decided, after being caught by the police sleeping in his car behind an abandoned house, to break up with her. Id entirely agree that her actions there signalled gross dishonesty and a fundamental lack of respect. Id agree, that is, if that was in fact what Pellicer is complaining of. But thats not how he puts it. What he says is that he was whipped, and that after the encounter with the police he started to think Ive got to get this attraction thing sorted out.
This is highly revealing. The absence of respect and trust in their relationship seems to have bothered him not at all. By whipped he means he was doing what she wanted because he wouldnt get sex otherwise; by getting this attraction thing sorted out he means figuring out how to get sex from other sources so that he wouldnt have to depend on her as his sole supplier. The same attitude is evident throughout Pellicers presentation. He promises, for instance, to help his marks get out of the Friend Zone. The Friend Zone is when one of a pair of friends hopes that the friendship will blossom into a romantic and/or sexual relationship, but the attraction is not mutual. A disappointing and frustrating experience, to be sure, and if that was all there was to it I wouldnt object to the term, but it also connotes and shes stringing him along on purpose and she keeps going out with douchebags instead and isnt it mean of her... with a strong subtext of If I cant boink her whats the good of being her friend? Exactly how guys who think this way define douchebag to exclude themselves, I couldnt tell you.
Pellicer ranks women on a hotness scale from one to ten. Worse, he doesnt actually say so, he just refers to it from time to time (his ex was not even that hot, no more than a five or six; he claims to be able to teach men how to score with the nines and tens), which means he thinks its something that doesnt need saying because anyone can see it already. Im not claiming to be any less visually-oriented than most guys but I have at least figured out that my tastes and attractions are in my head, not objective standards that can be applied to other people.
The one that pulled me up sharpest, though, was when Pellicer started talking about how guys think they have to meet all these standards to attract women. Its just like what women do, he explains: women think they have to jump through all kinds of hoops to attract men, all those things that the womens magazines promise to help them with, the endless time they spend on their make-up and what not, when any guy knows we dont care about that stuff. Up to there I was kind of Well, thats true, at least. Then Pellicer goes on to say that guys only want two things from women: One, be hotter, and two, give great head.
Theres so many things wrong with that I dont know where to start. I guess what surprised me, even having seen Pellicers attitude to women quite a bit already, was the sheer lack of understanding. Empathy is about getting it right as well as being nice. To the extent that all the make-up and clothes and the tips and tricks in the womens magazines are aimed at attracting men, they constitute attempts precisely to be hotter. Now, if I were inclined to be charitable, I might note that hotness has more to do with attitude than anything else at least, attitude better accounts for my own attractions, and what I gather about other mens, than any particular feature I could put my metaphorical finger on so perhaps Pellicer is merely recommending that women be more confident and more comfortable with themselves; in which case, way to undermine yourself, dude, but half a point for trying. But I dont seriously think thats it. To Pellicer, sex is a service that one purchases from women by doing boyfriend-y stuff, and its market value is determined solely by the physical sensations accompanying it, not what it means in the relationship or anything like that.
In case you, dear reader, are also a guy who thinks that, this is whats wrong with it. Id guess, just as a matter of probability, that you have male friends, and that theres at least one guy in your social group whos particularly good at making people laugh. Yes? A real funny guy. Youd pay to go see him if he decided to go into stand-up. Now imagine something bad happens in his life, his dad is diagnosed with cancer or something, and for a wee while he cant joke the way he usually does. How do you respond? Do you hang out with him less, make him buy his own beer, because youre not getting as much out fun out of his company as youre accustomed to getting? Do you go out and Google for a book called The Tao of Funny to figure out how to get comic geniuses to tell you better jokes?
Yes. Sex is the same. Yes it is. Yes, it is. Yes, women are people you can socialize with. Sometimes at the same time as having sex with them.
Oh, all right, no analogy is perfect. Youre quite right, your hilarious friend probably wont mind you getting your laughs from other people, and you dont mind that hes entertaining other people besides you. Thats an important difference. But that makes sex less of a commodity, and more of an intimate personal relationship thing, than laughter.
Look, I get it. I really do. I am a male with a social disability whos attracted to females, which means I have extensive experience of unrequited love and sexual frustration. Thats just the way the world works. Women might desire sex just as much as we guys do, but desire is only one side of the ledger; the other side is risk, which falls far heavier on women than on men. I dont have to explain why, do I? (Do I? Starts with P. Rhymes with regnancy.) On my twenty-first birthday I had yet to go on a date, let alone hold hands or kiss or anything more physically intimate, and I was seriously scared that thats how life was going to be. That fear had already fuelled the longest and heaviest depressive episode Ive ever had, which started in 1997 and went most of the way through 1998. My point is, I know where guys who fall for bullshit like Pellicers are coming from.
But now? Now, Ive been with my partner for eight years, and weve been living together for five of those. Before we met Id been with a number of other people. Im in no position to boast of either my prowess or my continence, they were all brief flings because I needed a few learning experiences before I was ready for a long-term relationship. So how did I get there? Im afraid theres no magic formula. Thats kind of the point, really. I can remember being disappointed, and eventually angry, back when I was still undiagnosed and desperately reading self-help guides in the back of the University Book Shop to see if I could find any insights at all into my relationship woes, to find that none of them even pretended to offer advice on how to approach women in such a way as to be reasonably hopeful of a yes answer. Thats because there isnt a way to do it. Nothing works. If a woman agrees to go out with you, or go home with you, or go to bed with you, it means she thinks youre an exciting enough person to be worth her while, not that you tried something on her that worked. All my partnerships grew out of talking to women as if they were people. Theres a reason for that, which youll think of if you ponder it really carefully.
And, having now given Pellicer and his bullshit more time and attention than either one deserves, I shall leave you to do just that.