The subject of “Game” has many supporters and many detractors. AVfM has historically taken a rather dim view of the subject, for a host of reasons, however, here we present a first-time at-length interview with one of its most noted proponents.–Eds
“Only Nixon could go to China.”
If there is one guy in the Manosphere who’s reputation, for better or for worse, has preceeded him, it’s Roosh V. For more than a decade, he has been sharing his adventures with women, life, love and travel, with men across the globe, via more than a dozen self-published books, three websites and a burgeoning YouTube channel.
I got wind of Roosh way back in 2008 when I was a frequent commenter at a blog then known as “Roissy in DC” and today known as “Chateau Heartiste“; I hopped over to his online spot via hyperlink and became an instant fan – but not quite for the reasons one might think.
Although I greatly enjoyed Roosh’s earnest and honest takes on his experiences with the ladies while he plied his version of Game & Pickup around the world, what I enjoyed even more was the fact that Roosh was, and very much remains, a do-er. Let’s keep it brutally real here: the ‘sphere has a lot of guys who talk a lot of smack, but very little gets done. Roosh set out to achieve a list of personal goals for himself, and by any measure, he not only has done so, he’s done so by a pretty wide freakin’ margin. No matter what you think of him or what he’s about, you just have to respect that.
For the longest time I had wanted to have a one-on-one sitdown with the guy, get inside his head just a little bit and ask him the questions that others either didn’t want to ask or couldn’t ask. I got that opportunity early last month, when he graciously accepted my request for a New Yorker magazine-style interview. Over the course of roughly the past month or so, we communicated back and forth by email, one question a day, from my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, to where he recently moved back to over in Poland from Ukraine.
The resulting in-depth interview – more than 8,000 words – is as far as I’m aware the first and only one of its kind, and we talked about everything. Of all the interviews I’ve done to date, and that’s quite a few, this is hands down the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. I found Roosh, the man behind the hype and the controversy, to be a layered, tempered and earnest guy, who truly wants to help other men in their most basic and primal of life goals; a deep thinker, a powerful communicator and, even now in his more “settled” mode, a driven personality that nevertheless is a gracious host. He never once got curt or angry with me, never said that I was imposing on his time. In short, he was nothing like the misogynistic jerk that he is made out to be by the Cathedral media. I got nothing but respect for the guy, and I say that even as I disagree with him on a number of points. Like I said, he’s a do-er, at a time when far too many men are, to be brutally frank, slackers and whacked. (There, I said it.)
In the interest of full disclosure, and for the record before we begin: back when Return of Kings first got off the ground, I contacted Roosh to see if I could be in the roster of writers; he declined my proposal, on the grounds that I was too controversial. If someone like Roosh says something like that about you, that has to be a huge compliment.
As noted above, this is a sprawling interview, one of the biggest AVFM has published to date (save perhaps the classic Interview with Erin Pizzey). In light of this fact, we’ve decided to present it to you in a two-part installment, this being Part One. In this installment, Roosh and I discussed his “origin story,” his early years in the blogging and pickup game, Game and Pickup more specifically, and his views regarding Race, Feminism, American and foreign women, and more. In the second and final installment, we will discuss an even wider range of topics.
So, with no further ado, I present to you, the AVFM audience, Bang: The Definitive Interview with RooshV:
QUESTION: For those of us out there who don’t know who you are, how’d you get started in the Game/Pickup/”sex tourist” business? And if you don’t mind, with a name like Roosh, that’s rather unusual for an American. What’s your background, and do you think that played any role whatsoever in the guy you would eventually become renowned for?
ROOSHV: I got into Game at 22 years of age because I wanted to get laid regularly. Several years later, once I became unsatisfied with American culture and women, I moved abroad to make love with foreign women using traditional Game. I have termed this behavior “love tourism.” Sex tourism is when men pay for prostitutes, which I don’t do or advise. In fact, I immediately ban sex tourists from my forum.
Developing an internet business centered on Game was an accident. At first I wrote about my experiences on a tiny blog called Rooshlog while working full time as a microbiologist, but I soon attracted a following that encouraged me to write a book. Bang was the first book I wrote, and since then I’ve written over 15 more. The income from those books allowed me to continually travel. After tiring from writing books for several years, I tried my hand at operating a media site by opening Return Of Kings in 2012, which currently reaches one million people a month.
My parents are Middle Eastern immigrants so racially I’m not American but Iranian and Armenian, though I don’t speak their languages. When I look in the mirror I don’t see a particular ethnicity staring back at me, for better or worse. My lack of ethnic identity probably explains why I can easily fit into other cultures without missing my “home” culture, and I think my background has led to a lack of attachment to America and the ability to view it more objectively than most. I don’t think my background affected my game development, for a man with normal testosterone levels should have an intense desire to fornicate.
Q: That’s something I’ve always had a difficulty in understanding: what appears to be widespread resistance, or at the very least, apprehension, to the very idea of Men learning how to sexually appeal to Women – for example, I’ve encountered this fierce resistance and at some turns, outright hatred, on the part of Men’s Rights Activists, and Feminists alike. In my experience, there seems to be fierce resistance to this idea, as if it is verboten for Men to actually learn the nuts and bolts of making seduction happen. (On the flipside, Women have always enjoyed a “leg up” in this regard – there are entire magazines and the like devoted to the enterprise Cosmo immediately comes to mind). Have you encountered this mindset in your travels, and if so, what do you attribute such a mindset to? Why do you think there is such a strong visceral reaction to the very idea of a Man learning how to be more appealing to Women? As for your books, perhaps the best known among them being “Bang: The Pickup Bible That Helps You Get More Lays,” it seems to have really shaken up the industry; why do think this is? Of course, there have been quite a few books written on or about Game/Pickup, perhaps the best known of the lot being the 2005 memoir by Neil “Style” Strauss, “The Game“. What is it about Bang that makes it unique from other offerings out there, and what are your thoughts on the overall state of the Game/Pickup book business?
R: Women take for granted that their very existence is seductive to men. Even when they don’t try, they are getting hit on by men who want to take them out and have sex with them, so when they read about men trying to manually create attraction, they think it’s manipulative or creepy or what have you. At the same time, however, they read psychology self-help to better understand people’s feelings and intentions (to manipulate them), which is a form of Game.
When a woman increases her value it’s empowering, but when a man increases his value–in a way that he surpasses women that were previously above him–they cry foul. Game haters don’t understand that the alternative of Game can mean no sex… possibly ever.
I think Bang did well because it was practical without the PUA jargon that was in style at the time with Mystery and the others. I spoke in plain language and approached the problem logically without advising guys to make drastic changes that would make them feel weird, such as wearing fuzzy hats or approaching massive groups in clubs by acting like a stand-up comedian. My approach to Game is not designed just for extroverts.
Game alone as a movement or lifestyle is dead, even though many Game marketers continue to make a lot of money with cheesy “never get rejected” sales copy. Many Game bloggers of the manosphere realized by 2010 that Game is one component of being a high-value man, and no Game in the world will help you if you’re massively overweight with nothing interesting going on in your life. It’s a prerequisite for being a successful man in the West.
Q: I’ve written elsewhere how and why when it comes to mating, Women as a group and in the aggregate, have an innate upperhand over Men, which was in direct response to critics of the Manosphere, who have always held this view. But your remarks about “fuzzy hats” was interesting to me, because there’s this perception among Game/Pickup critics, that somehow one MUST do EXACTLY as Mystery, et al, advise, or something. They never seem to be able to grasp the idea that even Mystery himself advocated an “a la carte” approach for each Man when it came to Game/Pickup – to apply what was useful to each Man individually, and, to tailor things to suit his particular circumstances. Yet, the stereotypes about PUAs doggedly persist, and I cannot figure out for the life of me how/why. What say you?
R: Those negative stereotypes persist because feminists want to inoculate the general public against Game’s effective teachings. By portraying Game as something like a freak show for guys who wear funny hats, they will prevent men from diving in and using techniques and tactics that decrease their dependence on low quality women who want to keep the attention party going. Feminists will vehemently criticize any behavior which increases a male’s sexual options while praising a behavior which increases a female’s sexual options. Game does the former.
Unfortunately, a lot of confused men buy into the anti-Game arguments and don’t even give a honest chance to a field of study that would greatly increase their mating success with only moderate levels of use.
Q: Also, what do you say about the recent story of PUA Julien Blanc (and we can also include here Ken “Tofu Tofu” Hoinsky from a few Summers back), who seems to have run into some trouble overseas for what Game/Pickup critics charge is his de facto sexual assault on Women; that Game/Pickup on a whole instructs/condones/endorses sexual assault, even rape, and so forth? I suppose it should also bear mentioning that you have encountered a bit of trouble overseas for being accused of being a rapist by your detractors. Why do you think Game/Pickup is so often associated in such a manner?
R: Julien Blanc seemed to be pushing the envelope to get attention. It worked, but his company RSD didn’t have the PR skill to properly drive that attention into more business, so it cost them quite a bit of money instead. A lot of RSD refugees come to me eventually because their teachings focus on unsustainable approaching and techniques that are more suited to naturally extroverted men.
There were periods of international anger against me whenever I released a travel guide, mostly because foreigners thought I was disrespecting their culture or women. Perhaps they were right, but the information I shared was valuable to American men who wanted to develop sexual relationships with foreign women, and I’m still frequently asked to put out a guide for popular countries.
I’ve announced my whereabouts in the past year in several countries but haven’t received any backlash, so either I’m losing my touch or the methods I teach are too tame compared to the Julien Blancs of the world.
Q: Finally, there seems to be as much visceral dislike aimed toward Evolutionary Psychology, which greatly informs much of Game/Pickup instruction, as Game/Pickup itself; my experience has been that, without fail, those who have the most to say about the matter in the most derogatory of terms, are also those who know the least about EvoPsych – it’s almost as if their very lives are at stake in trying to paint it as utterly disreputable or something. What are your thoughts on this?
R: I’m not a big fan of evolutionary psychologists. They start with the end result and then back rationalize a logical reason which can’t really be proved or disproved. The evidence they provide is almost never sufficient to accept as fact, especially when non-human species are used as part of the explanation (birds, insects, rodents, etc). I’m sure evo psych will some day be vindicated on a lot of things, but until then they’re simply taking a stab in the dark, and so should be viewed upon as theory, not undeniable truth. I don’t use their conclusions as the foundation of my teachings.
I prefer to get my working model of human relationships from what we can see and experience in modern times (empirically based) or what we saw in recent history, where there’s a sufficient document trail from first-person accounts to describe human relationships and experience, especially in the last 100 years. I use the traditional way of life in Western societies as near back as 1950 as a model we should strive towards, because they were able to increase their population without using immigrants while having defined roles for each sex that suited their natural genetic strengths. Modern Western societies do not currently do this.
Q: I know we’ve discussed a bit about Game/Pickup, but I just saw a recent post of yours that made me ask the following question:
As I’m sure you know, Game and Pickup has the very real perception of being geared toward younger guys – you know, those in their 20s and maybe early 30s. But what about older guys? In my case, I came across Game when I was turning 40, and while I was able to tailor it to my particular situation and circumstances (Black, urban, working class, etc.), I’ve found that very little is written or presented for the older guys out there. What do you have to say about this?
R: A lot of the differences in older man game seems to be based more on the man himself in regard to his decreasing horniness, energy, and tolerance for typical pickup venues like clubs and bars instead of women finding him less attractive. An older man with Game and a high-value lifestyle can access not only younger girls in the 21-25 age range but also slightly older ones nearing 30 who are looking to settle down after not being able to secure their bad boy fantasy, so therefore I see no reason why a man over 30 can’t regularly date girls 5-10 years younger than himself. In Eastern Europe, I’m able to date girls 15 years younger if I pursue it, but I find girls in the 23-25 range to be preferable from a maturity standpoint assuming she has a low notch count and has never had a one-night stand.
As long as a man is willing to learn new skills like day Game while keeping himself in shape, he should continue to do well with women even beyond 40.
Q: As a followup, I wanted to get your reaction to the following pet theory of mine – that Game and Pickup, are in truth Sex Positivity for Men – that both teaches men that it is not wrong to seek women out for sexual relationships; that it is not wrong to have sexual desires for women; and that women actually are receptive to the right kinds of approaches from the right kinds of men (those who work on their appearance, body language, making themselves successful in life, etc.). I share many critiques of Feminism with you, but what I do think they got right was the notion of “sex positivity” – the idea that, with education, advocacy and understanding, we all as a society would benefit from these things. My only beef with the third wavers is that they seem to be for sex positivity for everyone BUT straight men; I honestly see Game and Pickup as the much-needed corrective in this regard, and it is interesting indeed to see the response of supposed sex-positive feminists to that. What are your thoughts on this?
R: Sex positivity is used by women to rationalize their sluttiness or to “discover” their “inner self” and beauty. Game is not used by men as a means to rationalize their sexuality or to learn about themselves but to achieve the very concrete and definable goal of having sex with a woman or entering a relationship with one. Game teaches a man how to get laid while sex positivity teaches women how to open their legs without feeling guilty.
While many men study game to sleep with a lot of girls, the skills they learn while doing so helps them meet and keep a girl when they are ready for a long-term relationship, but when a girl sleeps with a lot of men, she actually loses her feminine and nurturing qualities while becoming more cynical and emotionally cold, making her worse off for long-term pair boding. This is because experience incurs benefits to men while doing harm to women, and I’m sure you’ve seen the studies that divorce becomes increasingly likely the more sexual partners a woman had before marriage.
Game is a functional strategy to achieve sexual relations with women, including family formation, while sex positivity is a feminist paradigm that aims to masculinize women with the inevitable result of delaying family formation. Therefore I can’t agree with your theory.
Q: One last question – for some strange reason, and I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but over the years, I keep encountering people, some guys but especially women, who claim that PUAs and Game/Pickup writers never address the physical aspects of a man, i.e., his appearance, grooming, etc. Now, I know for a fact that’s not true, because just about every Game writer of any consequence I know has if anything, stressed it to the point of ad nauseam, including you. I can only conclude that these are statements and claims are coming from people who haven’t even taken the time to be bothered with reading anything you and other Game writers have said on the matter. What do you say about this? Why do so many people seemingly persist in claiming these things when it’s so very apparent that a man’s appearance and grooming, style and mannerisms (body language, etc.) are like the very first things a man learns about when taking up Game? What is up with that?
R: The opposition to Game uses teachings and ideas that haven’t even been advocated in the 21st century. A lot of Game critics are still harping about version 1.0 of Mystery Method that he shared in alt.seduction.fast, of which not a single man I know has even tried in the past decade. They do this because they need to misinform sexless men that Game is dangerous so that they don’t become future enemies of a narrative that is doing everything it can to squeeze out whatever remaining drop of masculinity Western society has left. They create a ridiculous picture of Game, coordinate to propagandize that image to men who could’ve been helped, and then become satisfied when those same men serve as parachutes for feminists and Jezebel readers who decide to settle down at the ripe age of 34.
As for looks, it definitely matters when it comes to a man’s success rate, which is why I teach guys to optimize their appearance as much as possible while starting a bodybuilding program. Some men are born butt ugly, unfortunately, but a Game program will at least increase their results than if they did nothing. Of course it will never match a naturally good-looking guy, but he’ll have a lot more sexual success than if he listened to feminists and became a beta orbiter who begs for scraps.
Q: Let’s discuss Race – and in America, what that really means is Black and White. One of the things I’ve found truly fascinating over the past roughly five years or so that I’ve been involved with the seduction community and wider Manosphere, is the relative lack of participation on the part of Black Men. I have some of my own ideas as to how and why this is, but I am wondering what your thoughts on it is? For example, why does there seem to be little demand for instructionals and the like in terms of Game/Pickup when it comes to Black Men? Even well known Black relationship experts, like Steve Harvey, have gone on record in saying that they have no intention of writing books geared to Black Men in this regard. I’ve quietly shadowed a number of fairly well-known Black relationship experts, and they’ve privately told me that they simply cannot make any money by marketing to Black Men in the same ways they can to Black Women. Is this really a matter of finances, or is there something else at work?
R: I disagree with your assertion that there is a lack of black participation. Maybe this is true for the men’s rights sphere, but there are many that read my blog and participate on my forum, many of whom I’ve met. I wouldn’t be surprised if their representation on my sites is greater than the general population.
That said, I have noticed that black men tend to be more detached to the manosphere because of the presence of pro-white sentiments that they see as anti-black or even racist. Many manopshere bloggers are sympathetic to white nationalist causes and sometimes make openly hostile sentiments towards minorities, especially when it comes to inter-racial relationships involving white women.
The liberal elite today make a good talk about helping blacks, but they provide no answers for an educated black man who wants to succeed in love and business without being looked upon as a welfare case or victim. Then you have conservatives who are worried about “white genocide,” and you can understand that black men today are a bit lost, finding no community that caters specifically to their needs. As time goes on, however, I think this group will get so large that more organization will take place.
Q: As for the Manosphere: in my personal experience, there is definitely something to be said for an anti-Black element in its midst, but this cannot be said for the Manosphere overall. Nevertheless, the space seems to be fairly low when it comes to Black male participation in the Manosphere; I can literally count on one hand, the number of Black male writers/bloggers of stature in the Manosphere presently. Again, why do you think this is, or maybe you don’t see it as much of a problem at all?
R: You’ll have to ask black men, because I’m not finely tuned to exactly what they’re looking for, but my gut instinct is to say that there are so few red pill black men (compared to white men) that there isn’t yet a critical mass for a strong black section of the manosphere.
Q: Let’s talk a bit about some of the more controversial things you’ve said and that you’re more known for outside of the Game and Pickup realms. You’ve said some pretty pointed and some would say, harsh and possibly inaccurate, things about American Women in particular, which is best summed up in your YouTube video, “36 Things Wrong With American Women.” You’ve also said quite a few things along these lines over the years on your personal blog. For the record and for the benefit of our readers who may not be familiar with your views along these lines, exactly what is your position here, and why do you take the seemingly hardline view that you do of American Women?
R: My prior writing and videos speak for themselves since I was clear and simple in my criticisms (my most recent entry into this topic was 35 Things Wrong With America). All I can add is that my views are based on first-hand experience, either from living in America for nearly 30 years or dating a large number of American women. I can’t help but conclude that many of my detractors have not accumulated the experience that I have.
Every country has its flaws, which includes its women, and so I aim to offer an objective and unemotional analysis of those flaws. I have not spared other countries in my criticisms as well, such as Denmark, and more recently, Poland. If I can be blamed for anything, it’s that it is easier for me to see the bad than the good, but that fact doesn’t take away from accurate observations that a large percentage of experienced men agree with.
Q: You’ve also said some pretty pointed things about Feminism, in particular, a widely read article you wrote sometime back where you made the case that feminists in general were unattractive that garnered a great deal of attention and controversy; for the record, could you just briefly layout your position on Feminism, what your chief problem with it is, and what you see as its effect and impact on society?
R: Feminism is an ideology that wants to remove all accountability and responsibility of women for their actions, no matter how immoral, reprehensible, or damaging to society. A feminist society is one where nothing a woman does is wrong. This is being proven with the latest push to eliminate imprisonment of women for any crime, a viewpoint that was recently pushed by the Washington Post.
Whenever a woman is unhappy, sad, or not pleased with her salary, men will be blamed. If she commits a crime, she will be painted as a victim who had no agency of her own, as is she’s a helpless child. When women are not happy with their intimate relationships, men will be blamed for rape or emotional abuse and have to suffer a judicial system that wants to remove due process against men. If a woman is not happy with her marriage, it’s solely the man’s fault. All of this places an undue and unfair burden on men to bend over and please women at a cost of being labeled a misogynist or, in the worst case, being outright imprisoned.
The end result of this is that men stop interacting with women. Currently, many men are opting out of marriage because of unfair divorce and child custody laws. It won’t be much longer until we hit a tipping point where men drop out of sexual relationships with women as well, something we’re already seeing with the MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) movement. The stronger that feminism grows, the more that men will run away from women.
Therefore, a feminist victory will be a lonely one for women indeed. “Where have all the good men gone?” They’ve been scared off by your anti-male war.
Next up: Roosh and I discuss his views on the Paris terrorist attacks, Bill Cosby, Social Justice Warriors, the Manosphere and what he sees as the road ahead. Dropping this Thu, Feb 19, 2015!