Are men running out of ideas for wooing women?
So far in dating evolution, we’ve seen a full gamut of techniques, from dragging cave women back to the cave, reading sonnets, wolf-whistling and tooting car horns, sleazy one-liners (“Is there a mirror in your pants?”) and, in most recent years, the insult.
“Negging” is the official name for this technique, coined by Neil Strauss in man pick-up manual The Game.
A “neg” is when a guy delivers a backhanded compliment to a beautiful woman, with the aim of disarming her from her (and I quote) “self-imposed pedestal”.
Theoretically, instead of the usual complimentary pick up lines, women will respond better if you say something that includes a subtle put-down.
An example: “I like your hair. Is that your natural colour?” will demonstrate a certain confidence to your pick-up “target” while simultaneously tapping into inherent female insecurity.
Another: “I like your skirt. I just saw another girl wearing it a moment ago.”
Or, as my friend E. copped the other night, a guy approached her and her girlfriends (all stunningly beautiful, I might add) and opened to the group with “So, are you ladies single?” before they could respond, he followed with “Of course you are – who’d go out with you?” and went to walk away.
Luckily, the girls thought it was hysterical and it opened the conversation to much laughter and good-natured teasing for the night.
Which just goes to show how – done right, and with a good amount of humour – this technique really can be refreshing.
Negging is one alternative to sucking up with compliments, which can be awkward. Heaping praise on a girl is when you’ve never met her before is not the way to get attention. Few people are good at accepting compliments.
Unfortunately, with all the confusion going on about this relatively new pick-up technique, some men aren’t getting it quite right, opting instead to be downright insulting. Guys who do this – you don’t stand a chance.
Personally, I’m a fan of a witty and engaging remark that catches me off-guard and playful banter is one of my favourite ways to flirt. Others agree: “I like a man that challenges me,” says K.
But as one insightful Twitter friend put it. “There’s fine line between good-natured teasing… and being an obnoxious ass.”
Other Tweeps are against the technique completely, saying it’s nasty and “No one who would do that to a woman is worth dating.”
It’s a polarising technique and I advise using it with caution.
If you pick your conquest wrong, you risk really hurting her feelings. (Or you may even find yourself with a drink in your face).
Have you ever been negged? My husband is one of those naturals at it. He never “learned” the technique from anywhere. That’s just the way he engages with people. To be honest, most girls love it when he does it. I think it’s because he doesn’t have an ulterior motive about it, he’s just being playful.
This column was originally published in mX newspaper on Friday 20 August, 2010.