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.
I can see why they need private lessons.
Mystery’s theories are also outlined in this pivotal book:
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.
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.”
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?
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:
- Luke: He got a lot of screen time and Jojo couldn’t stop talking about him in her People blog today. Good signs.
- Jordan: He did not get as much screen time, but first impression rose + first kiss is still a lot in my book.
- Chase: I think he’s a sleeper but will go far.
- 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).