But if traditionalists are to reject Game as a solution, then we have to suggest a different strategy for young men. The temptation here is to recommend what was sufficient in the past. I've noticed, for instance, the idea being raised that young men should wait for a good woman to love them for being a good man (or for being a masculine, romantic man). It has also been suggested that the men who take up Game should be called out on their masculinity.
What's wrong with the idea that a man should wait for a good woman to love him for being a good man? Simply that it's not adequate as it stands and that it could potentially confuse and demoralise men.
There are certainly good women out there. But do they really select a man for his goodness? Do they even really select a man who best represents the masculine virtues?
A man should cultivate the masculine virtues because they are inherently good, because they develop his own character to the highest level and because they are needed for his role in the family and in society. If he wants these virtues to be recognised by others then he should look to other men to do so.
It's a mistake to expect women to reward you. Most women will have trouble "getting" what masculine virtue is about, let alone selecting for it.
This will be a common experience for married men. As a married man, your masculine strengths will often be called upon: you will certainly need emotional strength to stand firm when your wife is in an emotional tailspin, you will need resilience and fortitude to successfully negotiate a 30 or 40 year career, and you will need masculine leadership qualities to steer your relationship in the right direction and to take active responsibility for its success.
Will your wife give you credit for having cultivated these virtues? It's unlikely. She will probably take them as a given. I don't mean by this that she won't appreciate what you do for the family. But the higher masculine qualities that your contribution relies on will remain largely invisible to her.
So a man who thinks he will somehow link with a woman through the masculine virtues is likely to be disappointed. There is no direct link. A woman is oriented to other things. At her best, to love and family. In her everyday self, to home comforts, to back rubs, to trips to the country, to shopping, to conversation.
And what about goodness? We have to be careful here too. A good man can be successful with women. But women don't really select on the basis of goodness. In fact, it can be ruinous to a man's chances if he takes too far a feminine goodness he learns from women in his childhood. If a man is too other-regarding, too self-effacing, too deferential - in other words too "nice" - he is likely to be admired in the wrong way. He will be admired as a "friend", as a man who has been placed outside the category of possible suitors.
Imagine it with the genders reversed. Imagine a nice woman who does not project much feminine charm or appeal. She does something nice for a man she knows and he responds by saying, "Hey, you have a nice personality. Thanks." It's not really a compliment - not if she's looking to get men interested in a relationship. It's his way of saying, "You're not really on my radar as the kind of woman I'd go for. But as a woman in the non-category, I give you credit."
If she were on his radar, then he wouldn't tell her she had a nice personality. He'd be flirting a bit with her, trying to turn on some masculine charm, trying to tease out a response. What might lead him to do this? It could be a number of things: the way she walks, the way she says cute things, the way she dresses, her playfulness, the way her slender arms reach back to tie the ribbon in her long, lustrous hair.
If a man isn't after a relationship, he might not even look beyond these things. Of course, if he's looking for something serious, then (if he's wise) he'll consider a range of other qualities.
That's the level at which initial attraction operates. Being nice isn't even enough for a woman even though it's a positive feminine quality. So how can it even begin to be adequate for a man?
So here's some advice. If you think a woman is shunting you off into a category of men she's not sexually interested in by calling you nice or sweet or a friend (or by talking to you about her relationship difficulties or experiences with other men etc) then listen to your instincts - something is going wrong. You're not presenting right to her.
I think as well that it's possible to be too romantic as a man, at least in the sense of being overawed by the beauty or the idealised goodness of women. Again, this is likely to make a man too deferential and too supplicating, which then makes it difficult to project a confident masculine "play" with a woman. Most men are going to be struck at times by female beauty (it's a good thing to be responsive to this), but after the initial momentary "strike" there's no reason why a man can't then find within himself or within men in general qualities to match what women have.
Finally, there's the issue of attempting to call out Gamers on their masculinity:
And here's something that struck me in this conversation: many of these men appear "alone" not only in the sense of not having a woman. One wonders whether there are any normal male friendships here. Would your compatriots have allowed you to whine publicly in this way without calling you on your manhood? I don't think mine would have. There would be no need to bring social responsibility in, just simple taunts relating to how needy and weak you were appearing.
I think this is a dangerous strategy. It is no doubt true that the most masculine thing to do is to find a wife, raise a family and battle politically against Western decline. But the above quote suggests that the problem is with the men themselves, that they are alone because they aren't masculine enough and they just need to man up and be socially responsible and quit whining.
A lot of the men attracted to Game will have spent years doing the masculine thing, not complaining, being socially responsible and watching more feckless men reap the rewards. In fact, many will have worked harder for much less with much less encouragement than older generations of men. To then be told to man up and quit whining is just likely to provoke an angry or dismissive response.
These men will also have already experienced and rejected the shaming technique. Feminists use it all the time (e.g. if you were a real man you would accept your new androgynous role in the family etc). It's effective because men do have an instinct to stoically take whatever is thrown at them and to prefer to battle through alone to a solution. I remember trying to open up discussions with other men about feminism on campus in the early 1990s. It always failed because even if you got one or two men talking there would be a third who would pull out the shaming card: quit whining and just get on with things.
The only reason an opposition to feminism has begun to emerge is because enough men refuse to be shamed in this way - they've learned see through it.
Finally, there is one other danger for traditionalists in all this. We can too easily mirror liberals in adopting a politics of "hopefulness". Liberals commonly proceed on the following basis: policy X is just and right, therefore we must implement policy X, therefore we must adopt a stance of hopefulness that policy X will turn out alright, regardless of past experience or experience elsewhere.
Hopefulness can be misplaced. The dating situation is probably a little better now than in the early 1990s. But it will probably get worse again, once the effects of paid maternity leave schemes kick in here in Australia and once enough people forget what the early 1990s were like. We'll most likely experience another wave of feminism and a further decline in the culture of marriage - before we're in a position to do much about it.
The answer is not a philosophy of Game, but we do need to listen to men who describe the difficulties they face in partnering and to develop a realistic message of our own to improve the immediate situation these men find themselves in.