There's an awful dating trick men are using against us. And it works.

American author and part-time misogynist Neil Strauss is the man responsible for breaching the divide between pickup artists and nice blokes.

The author set himself a task: infiltrate the ‘seduction community’… and become a pickup artist.

Listen to Jessie Stephens talk about her blind date with a Neil Strauss wannabe on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues after audio…

In 2005, Strauss published The Game – a detailed recount of every step in his journey to becoming ‘Style’, his pickup artist alter-ego. It flew onto The New York Times bestsellers list within months, and with good reason…

Strauss hand-picked psychological techniques used by professional pickup artists to trick women, and he circulated them.

In The Game, he created the lonely man’s Bible.

Neil Strauss (left), with the cover of 'The Game'. via YouTube.

And from this - from the lonely man's Bible - one pickup technique stood out above the rest...


Used on any pickup target and loved for its ease, the 'neg' is a backhanded compliment designed to create insecurity in a person.

The pickup artist will point out a feature of another person they deem 'negative', but frame the insult as a compliment: "The hair on your upper lift is really soft", for instance. Or, "I like that you don't dress as flashy as your friends".

Our face post-neg.

Usually used by men, 'negging' is misogyny of the highest degree.

You see, the initial 'neg' disarms a woman. It makes her feel vulnerable and insecure by pointing out a flaw. Probably one she's noticed already.

It's not framed as an insult; rather a neutral statement, simply letting the woman know he's aware of a feature she's already self-conscious about. It's being mean without seeming so.

Next, psychology kicks in.

The woman, sub-consciously uncomfortable the man has pointed out a 'flaw', feels like she has to work for his approval. She'll justify the hair on her upper lip. She'll qualify her clothing.

"It makes her feel vulnerable and insecure by pointing out a flaw: probably one she's noticed already."

It's not weakness. It's human nature. We want people to like us, even if we don't like them. If someone points out a flaw, we clamber to convince them we're a good mating partner. Even if we don't really want to mate. It's evolution.

One Mamamia staff member was confronted by an obvious one: "You're pretty short, aren't you?"

Another fell victim to, "My ex-wife was stunning... but you're pretty cute too".

"It worked," she admits. "We got married. A***hole."

We shouldn't be falling for this. We need to unite and be able to identify and rise above the power of the neg.

Or maybe 'rising above' isn't enough. Maybe we need to fight fire with fire. Maybe we need to start making men feel as vulnerable and insecure as they do us.

Have you been a victim of negging? Are you a 'negger' yourself? Share your experience in the comments below.