It’s just another night in Ponsonby. It’s a summery Friday evening and I’m out with a bunch of friends. We’ve been dancing in a courtyard bar and generally having a great time when a man approaches me. My friends and I have decided to sit down to take a breather, so the unidentified stranger takes a seat beside me. We’re a friendly bunch, and we begin to chat to him. He’s had a bit to drink, but he’s coherent and we have a few laughs. Until, in amongst the small talk, he starts saying increasingly odd things; commenting on my clothes, my appearance and even my attitude.
I’m boring, he tells me, when I decline his offer to dance with him. I shoot a poignant look at my friend. You’re no fun, he says as he stands up. You’re being mean. He reaches down and grabs my hands, trying to haul me to my feet. He’s stronger than me, but I have gravity on my side, so I use my leverage to remain sitting. This doesn’t deter him. He simply pulls harder, ignoring my increasingly serious tone as I tell him to “stop it.” He eventually gets me to my feet and I manage to yank my hands free. My friends are all watching now, poised to intervene. I’m done trying not to make a scene so I tell him, resoundingly, to “fuck off.”
He shoots me a look of surprise that quickly morphs into loathing and skulks off into the crowd. I try to shake it off, grab another drink and return to dancing with my friends, but I’m unsettled, the spell has been broken, and I leave soon after.
Wtf? Baffled doesn’t begin to capture the way I felt about that night. I turned it over in my head, trying to understand what on earth had happened. Had I been giving off some kind of signal? Is this something people now do, say nasty things to complete strangers? Has that yank-a-girl-to-her-feet trick worked for him before? It wasn’t until months later when I was introduced to the concept of ‘negging’ that it finally began to make sense.
Negging, the intentional insulting of women in an attempt to lower their self-esteem, has apparently been around since the 90’s. It was evidently still going strong when I encountered Mr Grab-and-Dance in late 2014. While actual physical yanking seems to be outside of the usual bounds of negging, the rest of his behaviour could’ve been taken directly out of a pick-up artist’s playbook. And boy, are there some interesting playbooks out there.
Utterly perturbed by the creepy, grabby, weirdo who’d ruined my night, I decided to take a deep breath and dive into the cesspit of the online negging/PUA sites. It’s not something I’d recommend. Among the gems I mined from the quagmire were these stunners:
“By negging women [sic], you’ve indicated to her that you’re not interested in her over anyone else in the group. This is a new thing for her. She’ll feel the bitter sting of being just like everyone else. Her looks no longer give her all the power.”
“First, it brings the woman (especially very attractive women, who are used to getting compliments) down a notch and shows that the PUA is not overawed by her beauty. Second, it creates a bit of a challenge, so, if the woman is at all interested, she will start chasing the PUA and trying to win his approval.”
“Many men, when approaching an HB [sic], make the mistake of immediately lavishing them with compliments. This rarely ever works because it is a) not genuine, b) places the girl on a pedestal, and c) what every other guy does.”
At this point I went to Urban Dictionary to verify my suspicions about ‘HB’. It charmingly confirmed that ‘HB’ stands for “a hot bitch. A girl 7.5+”. Natch.
Common examples of ‘negs’ can include things like:
The possibilities are truly endless. But how on earth did we get here? When did the dating world become so screwed up that we started insulting each other in an attempt to attract a potential partner? What happened to the simple, “hi, how are you?” And when did “lowering a girl’s social value” become a necessary exercise in the quest to find love?
It seems to me that actively trying to make someone feel insecure and vulnerable is not just creepy and morally bankrupt, it’s also a rather flawed premise. If you have to resort to tricks and mind games to manipulate someone into being with you, how on earth do you sustain any resulting relationship?
Then there are the women like me who simply won’t have a bar of it. Any man (or woman) who insults others should be called on their crap immediately. Any person who makes you feel bad about yourself isn’t worth your time. The dating scene is complicated enough without adding insult to injury.
So yes, my nails are real. I’ll wear as much makeup as I want. I have fantastic taste. And my friend is a smoking hot fox.
And if you fancied me, maybe you should’ve treated me like a human being rather than some stereotype you read about on the internet.
Game over.Support Villainesse