Nagging vs. Negging

Anyone else tired of the Chad show?  Unfortunately, ABC isn’t giving us much else to work with, so we’ll do what we can with the Chad material.  Luckily for this post,Chad is not just a meathead.  He is also a perfect case study of someone displaying classic manipulation moves designed to place him in a position of control.  I’m talking about tactics used by pickup artists, also known as the seduction or pickup community.  Chad is attempting to place himself firmly as the alpha male with respect to his co-contestants, and exhibits overt pickup artist tactics, such as “negging,” to Jojo.

First, a bit of background about pickup artists and the seduction community.  I initially learned of this concept when stumbling upon a now canceled VH1 show called The Pick Up Artist, where a pickup artist named “Mystery” counseled hapless men on dating.

Pickupartist1_cast

I can see why they need private lessons.

Mystery’s theories are also outlined in this pivotal book:

The_Game_-_Penetrating_the_Secret_Society_of_Pickup_Artists

Designed, on purpose, to look like the Bible.

Basically, the community is based on the belief that conventional dating advice for men is flawed.  Instead of trying to woo women, men need to work on their game with respect to women, and to become the one in control of those interactions.  Pickup artists look down on men who they view as weak, or in Chad’s terms, “suck-ups,” and try to either be the alpha male, or take down the alpha male.

Chad exhibits these behaviors as soon as the episode begins.  Before the contestants even receive the first date card of the season, Chad leads the men in a toast like none other we have seen on this show:  “To a beautiful girl, a beautiful life, f*ck you guys, I’m going to make her my wife.”  The men are taken by surprise and forced to drink to Chad’s promise of conquest, cementing, in Chad’s mind, his dominance.  Not to mention objectifying Jojo straight off the bat as a prize to win and take from the other men.

To further demonstrate his manly status, Chad chooses to strap a suitcase on to a weight belt and do pullups right in front of the men.

pullups

We see you, Chad.

We’ve had a lot of fitness freaks on this show before.  I’m pretty sure at least half the contestants on Kaitlyn’s season were personal trainers.  I’ve never seen any of them attempt this work out before, and I don’t think Chad is in it just for the muscle gain.

Chad attempts to ridicule the other men throughout the episode, calling them them dishonest for playing along with the purpose of the group date, and really the whole show, which is to impress Jojo.  Before the cocktail party, Chad waits outside of the mansion to meet Jojo.  In Jojo’s eyes, it might look like he’s going out of his way to stand out or to get more time with her.  But at least part of his motivation likely stems from the entrance he gets to make with the girl on his side while the rest of the guys have no clue where he’s been or what he’s been doing with Jojo.

The pickup artist community focuses not just on a man’s interaction with his peers in his quest for control, but also on his interactions with women.  In the pickup world, “women are all the same: submissive, choosier than men when picking sexual partners, [and] entranced by shiny objects.”*  To a pickup artist, “[w]omen want limits to be set, they want to be played with, they want manliness – and it’s best to establish the dynamic right from the start.”**

Chad says, throughout the entire episode, that Jojo needs a “real man.”  He doesn’t think any of the other guys have dated someone of Jojo’s “caliber,” and questions if they’ve ever talked to a pretty girl before.  In Chad’s mind, someone like Jojo, someone who likely receives her fair share of male attention, needs to be brought down rather than raised up.  Chad expresses dislike, and even distrust, of men who operate as “nice guys.”

giphy

I’m not sure why Chad feels this way.  Perhaps everything is a game to him, so the nice guys are even worse than he is, because they’re just pretending?  Perhaps he’s been burned in the past?  Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because whatever Chad has experienced, it has led him here, and he refuses to build Jojo up.

During the group date when the task was to propose to Jojo, Chad makes fun of all the other guys who say something specific about Jojo, and instead gets down on one knee and asks, “will you marry me?”  Jojo tells him that he needs to say something more.  His response?

nagging

This is a prime example of negging, which is the practice of either insulting a woman or giving her a backhanded compliment to weaken her confidence, thereby rendering her more vulnerable to the pickup artist.  By taking the opposite approach of the other guys, Chad hopes to stand out and to put Jojo in “her place,” which will make Chad become a more interesting person in Jojo’s eyes.  Chad can then proceed with the conversation on his turf, which he couches in “honesty,” versus what the other men were doing, which is lying.

Jojo seems to be somewhat into it, in the sense that she did not kick him off the show immediately.  However, I think she has the sense to understand what’s going on, and the fact that she gave him a rose means Chad lives to see another day, but does not mean he won the war.  I will be very interested to see how Jojo deals with him in the future, especially as his tactics appear to escalate, based on previews.

But enough about Chad.  There were a few other standouts this round, so let’s end this post on a brighter note.  Wells was a breath of fresh air (for the viewer, not for Wells – he looked like breathing was a bit of a problem for awhile there).  With all these manly men, it was heartening to see someone much smaller get some much needed time with the Bachelorette.  I’m a Wells fan.

I also enjoyed her time with Luke, and you can tell that Jojo is into him.  Not only did Luke get a lot of screentime during the firefighter date, which at this point in the season signifies someone who will go far, but he also got some one-on-one time with Jojo away from the other men.  If you pay attention, it looks like Jojo had a bench where she brought most of the guys for their breakout sessions.  For Luke, however, Jojo decided to bring him to a separate room with a private balcony.  The lead only does that with the contestants he or she really likes.

The same reasoning applies to Chase.  Chase did not get a date the first week.  I think I read in Emily Maynard’s book that the lead has input on dates for the first week, and she left someone home because she already knew she had a connection with that person.  Chase got some special treatment during the cocktail party.  He did not just come up with snow on his own – I’m sure he had a lot of producer help with that one.  Although Chase did not get a lot of screentime, I also think he will go far.

My Top Picks:

  1. Luke:  He got a lot of screen time and Jojo couldn’t stop talking about him in her People blog today.  Good signs.
  2. Jordan: He did not get as much screen time, but first impression rose + first kiss is still a lot in my book.
  3. Chase:  I think he’s a sleeper but will go far.
  4. Wells: He was a breath of fresh air and I want him to stick around, even if it’s just as an antidote to Chad.

 

*See Katie J.M. Baker, “Cockblocked by Redistribution: A Pick-up Artist in Denmark,” Dissent Magazine (Fall 2013) (available at https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/cockblocked-by-redistribution).

** See S.G. Belknap, “Love in the Age of the Pickup Artist,” The Point Magazine (2010) (available at http://thepointmag.com/2010/examined-life/love-in-the-age-of-the-pickup-artist).

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JoJo is my Jam

Last night’s premiere was exactly the same as all premieres of this show.  Some guys swung it out of the park (Jordan, Luke), others crashed and burned (drunk Daniel), and we didn’t get to see enough of the rest of the guys to form any real judgments.  Except for their entrances, which were just as cheesy as always.  I liked Jordan’s for his honesty and ease, and Robby for the joke about JoJo’s mom chugging wine out of a bottle.

jojo's mom

Classic hometown moment.

But recaps are kind of boring.  This show is already two hours long and I’m not sure the world needs more content on what happened during a two hour show, every week.  Even if I wouldn’t mind ripping Jake Pavelka a new one.  Anyone remember this interview?

Jake Pavelka is the stuff of nightmares.

So instead of breaking it down one guy at a time, let’s focus on the woman of the hour – JoJo!  JoJo is seriously made for this job.  She’s gorgeous, confident, has a good sense of humor, and, based on last night, can roll with the punches.  Also, she gives us gems like this:

 I agree.  True friendship.

JoJo is actually so good that she seems to be making the men extra nervous.  Remember last year when Kaitlyn was so nervous she said she thought she might vomit?  JoJo, on the contrary, is cool as a cucumber and is making butt observations off the bat.  That confidence, coupled with her looks, seems to be pushing these men over the edge.  JoJo feels like she deserves this role, and it’s putting these guys off their game.

Remember poor, sweet Peter?  He didn’t even have a chance to get his heart broken.  By the snippet of airtime he received last night, he barely managed to get a sentence out!

peter and jojo

We’ll miss you, Peter!

Others seem to be overcompensating.  Take Chad.

chad gif

Whatever you have to tell yourself.

And of course, some just got blackout drunk.

drunk daniel

At least that gives Daniel an excuse for this:

daniel gif flex

Daniel needs to look for a dayjob.

Listen, night one is always filled with antics, but when faced with a confident beautiful woman, these men basically imploded.  Let’s compare this with last year’s premiere.  For those who don’t remember, ABC decided to pit Kaitlyn against Britt and let the men pick who they wanted as bachelorette.  Not surprisingly, the men entered the evening feeling empowered and pretty much forgetting that they were the ones on the chopping block until Britt got sent home.

One of the upshots of The Bachelorette as opposed to The Bachelor is that we get to “switch” the gender roles and put a woman in the place of “power.”*  But it’s been awhile since we’ve seen a bachelorette who unabashedly embraces this power.  Kaitlyn had to be picked by the guys before she could continue on her journey.  Andi had the confidence, but was a bit too self-aware for the role.  Desiree did not command the screen, and was almost left heartbroken by a guy who left right before the finale.  Emily was a boss, but was portrayed as the sweet, Southern mom.  And Ashley spent the first half of her season battling the insecurity that all the guys wished the bachelorette had been Emily instead.

JoJo suffers from none of these drawbacks.  She’s young, she’s hot, and she is used to getting the attention she commands.  I look forward to a season of her handling all these crazy men with grace and wit.  You go JoJo!

*Deconstruction of this show and the ways it plays into heteronormativity despite this switch forthcoming, promise.

Anatomy of a Draft

Well it’s that time of the year again.  JoJo’s path to love begins tomorrow, and we all get to watch as she either finds love, or gets her heart broken on national television, again.  But perhaps even more importantly, it’s the time of the year for groups around the country to place their bets on the lucky men who will be competing for JoJo’s attention!

group

And with that comes the time-honored fantasy draft.  I am part of a fantasy league for both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, and one of my favorite parts of the season is before the show starts airing and we get to judge 25 men or women based on one picture and a few answers to a questionnaire.

I spend some time thinking about this draft, and the show generally – probably too much time – and have decided to share my draft notes and thoughts, along with my final team.  So without further ado, I present to you an annotated list of JoJo’s men.

alexMeet Alex.  Alex is a 25-year old (strike 1) U.S. Marine (potential strike 2), who is 5’7 (major strike 3).  Although JoJo is on the younger end of the Bachelorette spectrum, I see her going for an older man.  More importantly, however, I see her going for someone tall.  Height is a factor that cannot be underestimated.

aliAli is a little more exciting.  He’s a 27-year-old bartender who is an inch taller than Alex.  Probably not making it to final four, but he has that dark and handsome thing going for him, and he kind of looks like JoJo’s brother, which, given their “closeness” as evidenced in last season, might work in his favor.

brandon

Oh Brandon.  Poor sweet Brandon.  What are you doing on this show?  Brandon is someone maybe Britt would like, but he is no match for JoJo.  Despite his very tall stature of 6’4 and his appropriate age of 28, his occupation is “Hipster.”  He also has no tattoos, so I’m not sure I believe that he’s a real hipster, but we’ll let that slide.  Brandon, I hope you make it past night 1.

chad

Here is Chad.  Chad looks like he could be someone JoJo might be into, and he happens to share the same name as her pesky ex CHAD from last season.  He’s 28, 6’2, and he’s in real estate, just like JoJo, so all signs point to yes.  Note that up until now I still have not bothered with any of the answers to the dumb questionnaire.  Those answers factor maybe 5% into my choices for who will win, and usually only serve to work against people.  Case in point, Chad.  When asked who he admires most in the world, he answered himself in 10 years.  When asked who he would be if he could be someone else for a day, he answered himself in 10 years.  When asked who he would have lunch with he answered HIMSELF IN 10 YEARS.  He was witty enough to add in an “alright, alright, alright” after each statement.  Listen Chad, we get the callout to Dazed and Confused, but I’m still not buying what you’re selling.  However, I think he will be around for a least a little bit.  Not hometown-worthy though.

chase

Alright Chase, now we’re talking.  Chase is nice and tall at 6’3, is a solid 27, has a normal job (medical sales) and doesn’t look like he bathes in muscle milk.  Honestly, that alone puts him towards the top of the pack for me.  No need to read the rest, Chase, you’re going far.

christian

We have our first minority contestant, Christian!  Christian checks the boxes for age and job, but might be a tad short for JoJo.  Christian’s profile is just fine, although I do question his number 1 thing on his bucket list, which is to “build a relationship with Mark Cuban and earn his respect.”  Christian listed that over taking a trip to space.  I think Christian needs to dream a little bigger.  Christian will probably make it through the first few weeks, but ultimately JoJo won’t feel the romantic connection, sparking another round of discussions about the role of race in this process.  Can’t wait.

coley

Here is Coley.  I hate Coley’s hair, and according to ABC, Coley’s real name is Colin.  Why would you make a nickname that is not at all shorter, and is magnitudes weirder than your normal name?  Pass on Coley/Colin.

daniel

Daniel is a male model.  I did not notice the redundancy there until we were drafting for fantasy, but astute observers questioned the need to specify “male.”  That’s how this show works, Daniel (for now.. fingers crossed for a gay Bachelor one day).  Daniel is also 31, which makes me wonder what his backup plan is once his modeling days are over.  I could probably write an entire post on the reasons I think Daniel’s questionnaire answers are problematic, but in a snapshot, he refers to himself, and his body, as a “lambo.”  Twice.  Not going far.  I hope he gets in a fight with Chad.

derek

Finally, a breath of fresh air!  This is Derek, and I’m a huge fan.  I’m not alone, he was one of the first guys to go in our draft.  Must be those baby blues.  He’s a commercial banker who’s 29 and he’s the perfect height for JoJo at 6’3.  Unfortunately he’s from Ft. Lauderdale, which I think will cut against him longterm (more on that later), but I’d pick Derek for hometowns.

evan

Evan here decided to go the route of joke profession as an “erectile dysfunction specialist.”  He may actually do that work, but what’s wrong with saying medical specialist?  These types of stunts work very rarely, and only if you’re attractive enough.  I don’t have a good feeling about this one.

grant

Alright team.  Grant is a 28 year-old firefighter from San Francisco.  Check, check, and check.  He’s also 6’2.  Grant intrigues me.  On paper, I would say this is a GO for JOJO.  We’ll see how it works out.  Yes to Grant.

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Not feeling Jake here.  I extremely dislike his short sleeve button up with the dark v-neck underneath.  He’s a landscape architect, which seems fine.  His answer to where he saw himself in five years was married to the Bachelorette (note, he did not say JoJo because he likely did not even know who the bachelorette was when he filled out this questionnaire) and with their first child.  Meh.

James

James is 34, which is like a decade older than JoJo.  Nope.

james s

At first glance, James S. seems just fine.  However, things quickly take a turn for the worse.  His occupation is listed as “Bachelor Superfan.”  He sounds like a virgin (his words, not mine) and hates eating fish.  Oh, and he also includes this gem: he loves it when his date “doesn’t attempt to pay for the bill.  Two things women shouldn’t touch on a date: the door and the bill.”  Admirable sentiment but delivery is off – why are you telling women what they can’t do when you’re trying to be chivalrous.  Hard pass.

James Taylor

James Taylor is the THIRD James, and perhaps the most interesting.  He is a musician.  Who is named James Taylor.  He also sounds like he might be an interesting novelty.  He has two tattoos – an American flag and an eagle.  I predict James Taylor will be taking advantage of the free alcohol and pool time.

jonathan

Hi Jonathan!  We finally get to see an Asian man compete.  I can’t remember the last time we’ve seen an Asian man – we’ve had a few Asian women in the past – but I’m excited to see the show diversifying, even if it’s just a bit.  Unfortunately, I hate Jonathan’s shirt.  He is Canadian, which has worked well in the past for women, but he also has his grandma tattooed on his inner arm.  I am interested to know more about this.  Like, her face?  Her name?  Her birthday?  I hope it’s her face.  Jonathan, welcome to the party.

jordan

This is Jordan.  Jordan Rodgers.  The brother of Aaron Rodgers, and a former pro football player.  This guy is going far.  He also is the right height, age, and has a hair swoop that cuts against him being a total meathead.  I think JoJo will like him, and he’s at least guaranteed hometowns, in the offchance Aaron shows up.

luke

Luke has me all confused.  He looks the part, but he’s 31, which is a bit old.  He’s a war veteran, which is cool (and I assume not his current occupation), but he’s from Burnet, TX.  I’m not sure how a Dallas girl will deal with that, it could go either way (same state, yes!  small town, no!).  He also wants to have lunch with Mark Cuban.  What is the deal with this group?  Anyway, I’m putting him in the middle.  Too soon to tell.

Nick B.

Nick B. is just fine.  His whole profile also seems like a joke, except for his favorite movies, which are likely the most cited male movies of all time – Braveheart, Gladiator, and Saving Private Ryan.  This guy couldn’t get more “guy” if he tried.  He plays rugby, which is cool, but his favorite magazine is Ducks Unlimited and now I’m confused.  Can’t make a call, which is usually not a good sign.

nick sThis is Nick S. but it honestly doesn’t matter because full stop, that is either a necklace or a bandanna but that was a CHOICE Nick S. made and I cannot forgive him.  Goodbye Nick S.

peter

Peter, sweet sweet Peter.  I’m oddly a fan of this young man, even though he is only 26 and only 5’11.  His mustache makes me think he’s a pledge and is being hazed.  He is from Chicago though, and he looks so sweet.  However, I think he’s a bit young in the face for JoJo.  I hope you don’t get your heart broken Peter!

robby

Such a fan of Robby here!  He’s a former competitor swimmer who is 27 and 6’1.  He seems really genuine in a non-lame way in his questionnaire, which is a hard balance to strike.  He kind of reminds me of Marcus from Andi’s season – eager to please.  I think JoJo will like that.  Calling Robby for hometowns.

sal

At first look, Sal seems like a good pick.  However, his questionnaire is so incredibly boring that I hope he was kidding.  For example, if he could have one superpower, he would choose to fly.  But he wouldn’t fly, say, across the ocean, or to a vacation destination, or to hover outside of  tall apartment buildings to totally freak people out.  Sal would fly so he could “beat traffic.”  The most outrageous thing he has ever done in his whole life was egg someone’s house.  If stranded on a desert island, Sal would bring a cell phone and an air conditioner.  He would also bring a gun.  All in all, pretty weird answers Sal.

vinny

Vinny is a barber, which is fine.  Vinny has a terrible haircut, which is kind of not fine.  But the fact that Vinny is a barber AND has a terrible haircut is inexcusable.

wells

Wells is cute.  He’s 31 and a radio DJ.  All seems fine with Wells, and I even like his name, but I do NOT like that he is wearing a jean jacket with buttons and an iron on patch.  I dislike this jacket so much that I am not even going to read his profile.  Actually I did, but closed it when he spelled because as “cuz.”  Maybe he has Peter Pan syndrome, but I’m not into it.

will

Last but not least we have Will, a 26-year old civil engineer.  I was a big fan of Will until I read his three worst attributes – that he’s competitive, argumentative, and stubborn.  Listen, kudos to Will for letting it all hang out on the first day, but those are three red flags off the bat.  I have a feeling he’s not going to deal well with this process.

JoJo has her hands full this season, lots of characters.  My ideal draft team is Jordan, Chase, Robby, and Derek.  But we can’t always get what we want, so my actual team is Jordan, Robby, Luke, Grant, and Ali.  We’ll see how it goes.

Cheers to the new season and looking forward to sharing it with you, on this JOURNEY.