Being able to fool others can be an advantage; fooling yourself is almost always detrimental. If you are a cruel, selfish bastard, it won’t bother you to pick up, use, and discard women like they’re cheap toys.

It took way too long for me to realize I didn’t like being cruel. Self-knowledge is a lot harder than it sounds. Bias obscures reality. It is almost impossible to NOT be biased about yourself.

I spent most of my adult life looking in all the wrong places because I was completely wrong about who I was and what I wanted. I thought I’d be into whips, chains, and orgies. I was always puzzled why I had so much fun pursuing women but then lost interest so quickly after I caught them. Instead of getting a clue and figuring out the truth—I had completely average non-perverted milk and white-bread-toast sexual desires—I assumed I wasn’t being kinky enough, searched out even more extreme situations, and got progressively more unhappy.

There’s something you need to know about orgies. You WILL make physical contact with a naked guy. That’s fine if you’re homosexual or bi. I learned the hard (I’m using this word ironically) way that it’s not so good if you’re straight.

I’ve always been proud of my intelligence. Looking back, it’s still amazing to me how stupid I was. I wish I’d learned earlier that I had so many blind spots. It took a lot of mistakes and unpleasant experiences for me to understand that more often than not the forbidden isn’t forbidden because it’s exotic and cool—it’s forbidden because it’s disgusting.

There are always a few exceptions (i.e. men who keep journals and write poetry) but most men have never spent any time thinking about who they are or what they want.

If you have a goal, it helps to know who you are. It’s almost impossible to improve at anything if you don’t know your starting point. If you want to become a better skier, it helps to have a realistic idea of what your skills are. If you’re an intermediate level skier, you’re wasting your time taking beginner’s lessons. If you enroll in an expert class, you’ll probably get hurt or at minimum annoy the hell out of your instructor and classmates.

Try to be honest and ask yourself the following question. Am I funny? If your answer to this question is yes, ask yourself a follow up question. Do I laugh after I tell a joke? If the answer to this question is also yes, then I’m sorry but you’re probably not funny.

Really funny people smile or grin after they tell a joke. They listen to their audience laugh. Most of the people who laugh at their own jokes are subconsciously trying to hide from the din of silence coming from the people around them. It’s awesome when you’re trying to pick up women to have humor in your quiver. But if you’re not funny and you mistakenly think you are, you’re walking into battle unarmed. If your goal is to get used to rejection, great—if your goal is to actually get a date, not-so-great.

If you really think you’re funny, see if reality confirms your opinion. Try humor to pick up a girl. If you succeed, you are funny. If you don’t, you aren’t. You can cling to your delusions and never learn anything or you can accept the truth and find another weapon.

I’m going to assume that most of you reading this book haven’t spent all that much time before thinking about who you are and what you want. Most of you will be beginners at introspection. By definition, beginners suck. You will be wrong about almost everything. But you have to start somewhere. You have to make mistakes to become better.

We men like to talk about how crazy women are. And in many ways we’re right. It’s unfortunate but human beings tend to be crazy, and we’re just as insane as women in our own special ways. It’s extremely unusual for an ugly woman to believe she’s hot. It’s not all that unusual (I know from personal experience) for an unattractive guy to believe he’s attractive. The vast majority of men who believe they’re God’s gift to women are honestly wrong.

You may not be as delusional as some, but you will still have delusions; we all do. For example, you may truly believe you’re strong minded and independent, but if you haven’t seen your friends for two months because your girlfriend always has plans, reality is telling you that you’re weak minded and whipped.

You may believe inner beauty is more important than outer beauty, but if after a few dates you keep losing interest in girls with great personalities, you’re more superficial than you thought.

Let’s all agree that it’s a complete waste of time to do the same thing over and over again and always expect a different result. You can’t fix a problem unless you know you have a problem. You can’t learn from a mistake unless you know you’ve made a mistake. Ask yourself who you are, answer yourself the best you can, and let reality and life teach you whether you’re right or wrong. Know thyself and potentially every aspect of your life will improve, not just your ability to pick up women.

Chapter 3: Harness the power of truth