Will dorks pay women to play video games with them?
Via Tyler Cowen, here's a news item about an online service where video gamer shut-ins could pay to play video games with a woman. As if the concept itself didn't reek of desperation, the article is full of lame words like "hot," "ladies," and "buy her a drink." For just over $8, he would get 10 minutes of faceless play or 6 minutes of face-to-face online play.
Interestingly, all of the comments (well, I only looked through the first couple pages) slam the idea, calling it pathetic, a small step away from prostitution, etc. Doesn't sound too promising for the service. None mention costs and benefits -- like is it worth $8 or perhaps only $1.50 to slaughter zombies with a chick partner? Or perhaps some would say, "Damn, only $8 -- what a steal!" The very act of paying someone to be your friend violates the separation that people have in their minds between social relations among fellows and among market participants.
If your mother makes an especially good Thanksgiving dinner, your family members don't pass around a tip jar and tell her, "This is for a job well done." Conversely, no one walks into Starbucks and asks the cashiers to cut them some slack in paying for a month or two -- they'll get the money sometime and pay them back, but just not right now.
That's why no one pays for friends, dates, or sex partners. It's an admission that you can't get it by being worthy of having friends, dates, and sex partners. We don't care about the ultimate reward so much as we do about deserving that reward. Man does not only want to bang, but to be bang-worthy.
Incidentally, I think that's why some guys are turned off by the pickup artist lit. In their minds, using such techniques feels like getting the reward in an undeserving way. I don't see it that way at all. If game gurus really were focused only on the ends, they'd write instead about how to best evade laws against buying a prostitute's services. Rather, they write about how to best re-shape yourself into someone more deserving of girls' attention.
Speculation aside, here is how the author of the article describes his experience with the service:
She was a nice girl (and totally kicked my ass in both pool and Battleship, btw) but her boyfriend was hanging out behind her and she made mention of him a couple times. Her game mood is set to "flirty," but there was zero flirting going on. I can imagine some guys might be disappointed if they paid to play with a girl, only to hear her go on and on about her boyfriend -- and even have to see the guy during a video chat.
If I were the boyfriend, I would've interrupted by wrapping my arm around her shoulder, staring straight into the camera, and saying, "Sup brah, thanks for paying for our date later tonight. I sure am glad that [pointing to her ass] I'm gettin' it for free, BITCH!"