Louts who might as well be clad in bearskins and wielding spears trample over every nicety developed over millennia to mark out a ritual of courtship as a prelude to sex: Not just marriage (that went years ago with the sexual revolution and the mass-marketing of the birth-control pill) or formal dating (the hookup culture finished that)—but amorous preliminaries and other civilities once regarded as elementary, at least among the college-educated classes.It helps, of course, that there’s currently a buyer’s market in women who are up for just about anything with the right kind of cad, what with delayed marriage (the average age for a woman’s first wedding is now 26, compared with 20 in 1960, according to the University of Virginia-based National Marriage Project’s latest report); reliable contraception; and advances in antibiotics (no more worries about what used to be called venereal disease). On the one hand, she decried the double-standard unfairness of labeling a girl who fools around with too many boys a “slut,” and, on the other, she lionized “the Slut” (her capitalization) as the enviable epitome of feminist freedom and feminist transgression against puritanical social norms. It’s the underlying theme of Eve Ensler’s girls-talk-dirty titled “Sluts” has made so many women’s studies reading lists that term-paper mills sell canned essays purporting to dissect it.
Max, mugging for the camera, has his arm draped proprietarily, if not exactly affectionately, around her shoulder as she leans into his chest. When Courtney left her apartment to meet Max at the bar, her roommates called after her, “Make sure to bring him back.” She and Max rode off to the inn “with everyone at the bar waving and giving the thumbs up.” elcome to the New Paleolithic, where tens of thousands of years of human mating practices have swirled into oblivion like shampoo down the shower drain and Cro-Magnons once again drag women by the hair into their caves—and the women love every minute of it.
And buyer, beware: Although nearly all the master PUAs, including Mystery himself, insist that in their former lives they were socially hopeless geeks who had scarcely ventured within five feet of a nubile woman, many of the trainers, at least at Love Systems, have backgrounds in sales or show business and may not really resemble the introverted IT guys and cubicle nerds who seek their advice.
Watching video-clips of workshops in session, with flashily attired mentors strutting and spurting acronyms in front of earnest pupils in search of arm candy will remind you of nothing so much as those all-day “Get Rich Buying Foreclosed Property for Pennies” seminars that target another male yearning.
(Friedman derived that extraordinarily high figure by counting drunken sexual encounters between students as rape.) Amanda Marcotte, the feminist blogger briefly hired by John Edwards during his presidential campaign, chimed in, accusing Max of a “bone-deep hatred of sexual women”—and also of possible “sexual assault” because he had bragged on his website about sleeping with a drunk girl while a friend hidden in a closet filmed the encounter. Next to her story she posted a photograph of her with Max that she had a friend take at the bar.
In May, feminist picketers so disrupted an appearance by Max at Ohio State University that he needed a police escort to get away. The photo shows a rosy-cheeked strawberry blonde who, although no Scarlett Johansson, is no Ugly Betty either (her C-cup bustline, much in evidence both underneath and spilling over her strapless top, doesn’t hurt).