Books | World

January 11, 2007

Danish Women, Beware

Pickup guru Neil Strauss, author of The Game, brings his wooing advice to Copenhagen, along with a new Danish translation.

Sarah von Essen

The Game, Neil Strauss's chronicle of his ascent to the top of the subterranean world of pickup artists, was news to me before I learned of his visit to Copenhagen. I didn't think I would find it interesting. It seemed so banal. I agreed with my friend who asked, "When will the men who were geeks in high school get over it?!"

Searching in the Borderline Bookshop at New York's Penn Station, I found that the Relationship section's shelves are packed with books on religion. I smiled as I realized that in my world the two—Relationships and Religion—certainly belong in the same section; however, that section would be Mystery. The Game was in neither Relationships nor in Mystery, but with some further digging the sweet shoplady found the leatherbound book for me. I leafed through it and was intrigued by the strange pickup lines, outlandish outfits, and intricate social strategizing. My God, are men really ready to make all that effort?

In a Copenhagen bookshop a few days later, about 50 Game-disciples await Neil Strauss, hoping to emulate his evolution, as chronicled in his book, from a schlub who couldn't get laid to a regular participant in threesomes who took hundreds of women to bed. Some of these eager wannabes look and act like they might have been geeks in high school, but others enjoy the facial benefits that good Scandinavian bone structure bestows, and almost all have nice hair and good clothes. Eat your heart out, David Beckham, I think to myself as I look around: Danish men were metrosexuals long before Posh braided your hair!

Neil Strauss
Sarah von Essen
Neil Strauss hawking Spillet.
According to publisher Bazar Forlag, the Danish translation (entitled Spillet) came out in September and had a bit of a slow start. This weekend, though, the Danish press wouldn't leave Strauss alone. And at today's event it becomes clear that the slender writer with the warm and ready smile has made a real dent in the lives of several Danish men. They've brought their cameras, and their smiles and eyes are wide with happiness and anticipation. The fellow next to me seems slightly appalled that I haven't actually read the book. Nevertheless, he is happy to tell me that The Game is all about having a stable and confident core and, when I ask, he assures me the technique is also useful in one's professional life. But, he adds, it is really all about the women.

I ask another man if The Game works in Copenhagen; the scene here must be different than the Los Angeles stage of nightclubs and aspiring actresses on which Strauss performs in the book. "Oh, The Game works everywhere!" His smile is eager. This young man actually started out in L.A. but relocated to Denmark because of work. He does add, though, that the Copenhagen scene is a bit more closed, and thus the IOIs [indicators of interest] are not as plentiful.

Only a few women have found their way to Arnold Busck bookstore in the heart of Copenhagen this afternoon. I count three; just one has brought her own copy of the book. The other two seem to have stopped by to see what it was all about. And after Strauss's talk is over, the fellows next to these women make them laugh and wonder aloud about the book's guidelines. It is hard not to feel very aware that one is being hit upon at an event like this, and I'm happy I can hide behind my notepad. Being short-legged, prim, and brunette has given me a very quiet life in Denmark—land of the long-legged, blonde, and brave, home of the sexually free—but today even I feel I'm being eyed and sized up.

Neil Strauss, before and after
Courtesy Bazar Forlag
Strauss before (right) and after his transformation into a ladykiller.
Strauss is very encouraging, his humor kind and self-deprecating. He opens with a story about how he used to belong to that rare species of music journalist who never gets laid. The only kiss he landed while covering Motley Crue was planted on him by Tommy Lee. When asked, Strauss says he's still with his girlfriend, and even though she doesn't particularly like him spreading the word and wisdom of The Game, he doesn't stop. For clarity, he adds that his swimming coach can't actually swim because he's in a wheelchair but that he's still the best teacher he's ever had. Strauss speaks at the occasional seminar: The grateful emails that flood his inbox are his motor; he says he wants to give something back. (Could this really be the same guy who, as I later find out, in the most prima donna-ish fashion possible sold his so-called Annihilation Method to a chosen 375 few at $3,779 a piece?) I don't speak to Strauss but am touched to see the reaction he brings out in the men present and how he deals with their love. Neil Strauss is over being the geek in high school. So, a request from this former skeptic: Let The Game be translated into a million languages, if this is the magic it works!

Sarah von Essen is a journalist based in Copenhagen. She is currently working on a very balanced book about Hillary Clinton.

Related on the web

•A glossary for students of the pickup game.

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- Books
- posted on Jun 17, 10

Im 43 years old,black hear,brown eyes,169h,60kg,Im living in finland,I wuold like to meet women for relationship,Im kind,caring,understanding,honest,educated man.I like Danish people.

Article by Sarah von Essen

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