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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-08-30 07:33:52

tatler man game changer

game changer
UPLOADED

d

Life s tyle

firstperson

He rose to infamy as the author of
The Game, the internationally

bestselling book about chatting up
women in bars, but with the release of
his follow-up, The Truth, professional
pick-up artist Neil Strauss insists he

is now older, wiser and a reformed
character, writes Tanya Sweeney

GcAhaMngeEr
Neil Strauss doesn’t look like a man
who could, in theory, have any woman son. As he recounts in his latest book, The Truth: An
he wants. Slight, shaven-headed, Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, no one is more
bespectacled and casually dressed shocked at this twist of fate than the man himself.
he doesn’t quite cut a swathe through the Gresham Hotel,
where he is enjoying a fry-up. But while the Chicago native “I was really surprised by the ending [of this book],” he
goes relatively unnoticed, his infamous book The Game: laughs. “I thought the ending would be me in a free love
Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists is shrouded in commune with about 20 men and women in different kinds of
infamy worldwide. relationships. It definitely would have been better talk show
Clearly a portrait of a dysfunctional man who saw women fodder than this, but I’m definitely happier this way.”
as commodities to be won, The Game – which was
published in 2005 and went on to sell over 2.5 million copies But make no mistake, The Truth is not a cosy walk detailing
worldwide – was part-memoir, part instruction manual and a man’s effortless stride from bachelorhood to smug marriage.
was embraced as a sexual handbook for the average beta-male. For all his charmed existence, Strauss had to put many hard
After Strauss, a Rolling Stone music journalist, observed yards in to find personal happiness.
pick-up artists in their natural habitat, the book’s main “Even when I wrote The Game,” he recalls, “I always wanted to
premise was to instruct shy and socially awkward men on get married and have a family, so The Game is about solving a
the art of seduction. more adolescent problem of social anxiety and meeting
However, romance and chivalry fell by the wayside in women.
favour of trickery and ‘technique’. Chief among them was
‘negging’: giving a woman a backhanded compliment in a “This book solves a more later stage problem –
bid to get the upper hand, but also to make her yearn for a commitment and family. I see it as part of the same
man’s approval. Men were thrilled, naturally, at a book continuum. Ten years later, I look back with embarrassment at
claiming that with the right moves, any man can seduce any the stuff I’ve written and The Game is certainly among that.
woman he wants. Women perhaps less so.
As Strauss lived every man’s dream, putting his teachings to “I did an interview with Dave Fanning, and he was like, ‘So
work and having a grand old time, few could have predicted you’ve sold out!’ I was like, ‘No I grew up!’”
just where he would be a decade on. The biggest surprise is
that he is now faithfully and happily married with an infant Strauss met his now-wife, the Mexican-born model Ingrid
De La O, when she sent him an entertaining email
2829 IRISH TATLER MAN complimenting him on The Game. They began to hang out,
then date. But their happy ever after was, at that point, far from
secure. Unable (or unwilling) to give up his carousing ways,
Strauss cheated on Ingrid – once with her best friend, in a
church car park.

Strauss recalls: “My friend Nick was like, ‘You have

I always wanted to get
married and have a family

Happily ever after: Strauss is now
married to model Ingrid De La O

firstperson

everything you wanted and you can have any woman you it, like, ‘Wow, did you really think those things
want, so why are you still unhappy? Why hasn’t it solved all
your problems?’” and do those things?’, but talking through it

At Nick’s behest, Strauss went into a rehab clinic to was the best thing that ever happened,” says
acknowledge his issues. That was where the problems really
started for him. Once Strauss arrived in rehab, he was Strauss.
diagnosed not just with two forms of sexual disorder, but a
host of other conditions, among them depression, ADHD “We’re really open and transparent, and
and anxiety. It was the start of a highly painful, revealing
recovery process. there’s nothing to hide. Even if I’m on the road

“If you’re not in discomfort and pain, you’re not on the and tempted to do something, because a book
journey,” he says today. “Pain is a good thing, because it
means you’re really getting into the wound and seeing what’s tour is the hardest time for that, I’ll call her and
going on. It’s not fun at the time, but everything worthwhile
is difficult.” If you’re not in tell her that this person hit on me, and we talk
discomfort and it out. It’s pretty cool.”
It transpires that Strauss had a difficult path to pain, you’re not
adulthood. His father was an amputee fetishist, while a on the journey It’s a dramatic evolution for the 46-year-old
therapist explored the idea that he had an ‘emotionally Strauss, whose previous metamorphosis saw
incestuous’ relationship with his mother. him go from a shy loser to a master Lothario
with moves revered and repeated by the
Strauss didn’t lose his virginity until his early 20s, but pick-up artists he coached through his writing
once it happened, he bedded hundreds of women. While he and appearances. His latest change – an
enjoyed the spoils of The Game, not to mention the
trappings of life as a rock journalist, emotional difficulties epiphany, in fact – is arguably more significant,
appeared to be just below the surface.
though, and sees him acknowledge the errors
Once he got to rehab, one doctor told Strauss that his
playboy lifestyle had corrupted his brain to such an extent of his past while revealing a more mature
that getting back to ‘factory’ settings was going to be a
barely surmountable challenge; that pursuing women was perspective.
“so deeply ingrained, you’re not going to be able to just walk
out of here and stop it”. As he writes in the epilogue, which is set on

Pretty soon, the question began to loom large: is his wedding day: “I’ve come to realise that
monogamy even possible? Ever the investigative journalist,
Strauss went on an investigative journey, visiting orgies, there’s no so-called natural way to be in a
harems, love communes and interviewing those in open and
polyamorous relationships. To bolster his research, he also relationship. The whole idea that we can study
sought out scientists, geneticists and experts.
the past or other cultures to determine what’s
In some cases, Strauss – by then on a break from Ingrid
– partook in some of the sexual activity in front of him; in right for us today is ridiculous. Because nearly
others, he was a perplexed bystander. Make no mistake; for
all of The Truth’s confessionalism, there are some fairly every society of simians tells a different story of
eye-popping and graphic passages too. He may have
swapped a sprawling Hollywood man-mansion, that (by his mating and sexuality – and every point of view can be
own account) often had used condoms floating in its
Jacuzzi, for domestic seclusion in Malibu; and may be keen supported with evidence from some other tribe or species.

to put The Gamebehind him, “There isn’t just one true and proper way to love, to relate,
but he doesn’t come out of
The Truth looking like much of to bond, to touch. Any style of relationship is the right one, as
a saint either.
long as it’s a decision made by the whole person and not the
“There was some
awkwardness after Ingrid read hole in the person.”

Certainly, Strauss appears to be in the best emotional

shape of his life, but he still receives plenty of correspondence

from young men (and occasionally, women) about his

teachings in The Game. Many of them come from Ireland, he

mentions, though he has also received letters from as far as

Ghana.

As to the idea that monogamy is for life, Strauss says that

his marriage is so open and transparent right now that no

topics are off-limits.

“I don’t tend to ask ‘what if’ questions because they don’t

from left: serve me,” he surmises. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get

Fans show off signed to it. If it comes to a point where the right thing for the
copies of Strauss’ new relationship is to have other experiences, maybe we’ll look at
book, The Truth; that.” ITM
Strauss and De La O

at a book signing; The

newly-weds at home * The Truth by Neil Strauss is out now

3031 IRISH TATLER MAN

Pain is a good thing, because it means you’re really getting
into the wound and seeing what’s going on. It’s not fun at
the time, but everything worthwhile is difficult

A new chapter: now
happily married,
Strauss has embraced
fatherhood


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