Friday, March 9, 2012

Pick-Up Artist

Miracle of miracles, having found some time today when I did not expect to have any, I shall attempt a post.

It's hilarious that xkcd released artwork on being a pick-up artist today, since that was precisely the inspiration that struck me yesterday on my way home:

Not that I don't fundamentally agree with above genius, but once upon a time I was a pick-up artist.  Not because I had any intention of dehumanizing anyone, but because I was looking for a very particular type of woman, one that was very hard to find, and there was no internet.  If you would like to know approximately how this played out in reality, it was extraordinarily close to the movie, the Pick-up Artist, with Robert Downey Jr. and Molly Ringwald - except that I didn't keep a book, since if it wasn't clear that we were a match from the beginning, I didn't care about calling anyone.

I saw the movie mentioned above in 1987 with my wife, picked up in self-same theatre two years earlier, in exactly the way that Downey tried to pick up women in the movie; the principle difference is that while Downey told his women they looked like Renaissance subjects, in 1985 I asked my wife - kid you not - who her favorite Renaissance painter was.  She had an answer for that, and that began a conversation that lasted over the next thirteen hours and ended in passionate sex.  Yes, this was the mother of my daughter, and we were married for many years before she passed away.

Coincidences.  We laughed very hard through the movie.

This is all a preamble to certain qualities of being a dungeon master that I share with being a pick-up artist.  There are certain rules that apply to both.

1)  Approach your subject in a place where they cannot easily leave.  My logic at the time was that the right woman would recognize I was the man she was looking for IF she had time to see the whole person.  No doubt some people on the net will recognize that I am somewhat grating.  This may baffle some gentle readers, but as a matter of proven fact (two marriages, both lasting more than ten years), this is actually an endearing quality that strong, fearless women appreciate.  I needed more than 10 minutes to bring demonstrate the value of this quality, and so unlike Jack from the movie above I did not hit on women on the street; I hit on them in places of work, at events or - as it worked out - in a movie theater, after she paid her way in.

Similarly, playing D&D online SUCKS.  The principle reason?  It is not my living room.  It is too easy to stage a nutty and storm off, because you only have to close the window.  Similar things might be said about playing in any public space.  Private, quiet spaces in people's homes produce respect which does not occur elsewhere.  In my home, players recognize I'm in charge - because its MY home.  Playing in someone else's home - I can promise you - is not the same.  Humans are programmed to show respect in your home, and they will quiet down and listen to you better there than anywhere.

2)  The first thing you must do upon approaching women is to baffle the living shit out of them.  No, this isn't always going to work.  In fact, if you're not very bright, and you're not looking for a very bright woman, this isn't going to work for you AT ALL.  But I was looking for terrifyingly bright women, and the first rule in dealing with a bright woman is to baffle - by baffling, you cause smart women to wonder, briefly, if they might be confused because you're actually intelligent.  This is why it won't work for you if you aren't intelligent, since they will know almost immediately.  Luckily, I am intelligent, and it worked out beautifully for me - my wife Michelle had an I.Q. of 168.

D&D is similar.  The first thing you must do with your players is demonstrate that you are apparently a lot smarter than they are.  You do this by producing ideas and campaigns which are so remarkably different from anything they've run into before, they become convinced you must be a really good DM for being so damned original.  Of course, it does help if you actually ARE original.  But in any case, you must show it.

Everytime you produce an adventure that seems to come out of left field, smashing their preconceptions of what adventures are expected to be, you're increasing your credibility with your party.  Produce an adventure where the monsters act like they always act?  Heck, you're not trying!  You gotta baffle that party if you want them on your side.

3)  With women, keep your damn hands off.  Seriously.  I never wanted anything but a long-term relationship, and I like to talk.  So when I met women, that's what I did - I talked to them.  I wasn't in any hurry to bed them.  That would come, if they were the right girl ... and it usually did, even if they were the wrong girl.  Hell, you have to have patience - don't rush the girl and give her time to like you, you'll find her rushing you.  When those thirteen hours of conversation ended in sex, it was because my future wife of the time jumped me.

In D&D, don't push your party.  Let them take all the time they need, all night if necessary, to get their ducks in a row.  Let them figure out their tactics.  Give them time, and more time, and more time, until they are ready to move the campaign forward.  As long as your party is talking, you don't need to do a damn thing as DM.  You can start up again when your party stops talking.  When they stop talking, THAT'S your cue.  Otherwise, shut the hell up and let your players have the good time they're having.

Well, I don't have any advice right now about what to do with women once they start having sex with you.  And I'm afraid, for you gay readers, that I don't have any advice right now on how to pick up gay men.  I do know how - I worked as a cook in a gay restaurant over a gay bathhouse for a year, the only straight man in the building, where all the women waitresses were lesbians.

Thank God I was married at the time.


Oddbit said...

Been a lot of pickup artist stuff going around lately. Got some at the conference Wednesday as well.

Danny Peck said...

"Otherwise, shut the hell up and let your players have the good time they're having."

Hear hear!

I generally GM games, but every now and again, some player gives me puppy dog eyes until I play in one of their games. Many of them could definitely benefit from the wisdom in this post!