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Unfortunately, the only way to really show you the difference between a socially comfortable conversation and game is to give you two rather long examples. Apologies to the other readers here. Unavoidably long post ahead. First example. Socially comfortable conversation:

guy: “I get the feeling you do something creative. Am I right?”

girl: “I’m in marketing.”

guy: “Oh, cool. You dig it?”

girl: “Eh, sometimes. It’s a lot of work but I blah blah blah… ”

guy: “Awesome. I’m a math professor. 16 years.”

girl: “Nice. I’m terrible at math.”

guy: “Well, we can’t all love math. You’re a people person. I’m a numbers person.”

girl: “That’s true”

guy: “So what do you love to do when you’re not working?”

girl: “I read a lot.”

guy: “That’s great. I’m a big reader, too.”

Nothing wrong with the above. It’s a comfortable conversation, and I can go on like this for a long time, giving her validation, making her feel good about herself, being friendly but non-sexual. That’s social comfort. Here’s game.

guy: “What do you do, sister? Do you sing, do you dance, do you read, do you write?”

girl: “I’m in marketing.”

guy: “Marketing? (Pause) The way you said it, I’m getting the feeling you’re not thrilled about it.”

girl: “Oh, no. I like it. I work for a magazine, on the client side, and it’s actually pretty creative.”

guy: (Nods his head. Not too much validation.) “Your turn. What about me? What do I do?”

girl: “What do you do?”

guy: “I teach the sexiest subject in the world, the secret language of the universe.”

girl: (Confused look)

guy: “You don’t know the secret language of the universe?” (Pause) “It’s called mathematics. I’m a Math professor at…” (Blah blah blah)

girl: (Laughs)

guy: “You good at math?”

girl: “Terrible. My worst subject.”

guy: “Check!” (With his hands, pretends to ask for the check. They’re not in a restaurant.)

guy: “I love math. When I meet a woman who will whisper the word heuristics to me during lovemaking, there’s a 5 carat diamond under my bed…” (Makes the motion of reaching around, getting the diamond, and putting it on an imaginary girl on top of him…) “Done!”

girl: (laughs) “Well, if that’s important, you’ve got the wrong girl.” (This is the first major indication of interest. She imagines herself to be a candidate for the woman I’m looking for. Of course, I just disqualified her.)

guy: “So for me the word is heuristics. You don’t even know what that means. What about you? What word would do that for you?”

girl: “I don’t think there is one. I’m a woman. It’s more complicated than that.”

guy: “Fair enough. So you said marketing, right? I have a friend who’s in marketing. Internet stuff. Very bright guy but he hasn’t cracked a novel since high school. Is that you?”

girl: “Oh, no. I read all the time.”

guy: “Really?” (Skeptical look.) “What have you read?”

girl: (Blah blah blah. Talks about her recent favorite book.)

guy: “Sounds great, but have you ever read The Brothers Karamazov?”

girl: (Most of them.) “No. What’s that?”

guy: (Surprised) “No? It’s only considered by some to be the greatest novel ever written. Dostoyevsky.” (Smiles) “Well, now we know why you need me, and all we have to do is figure out why I need you.”

girl: (Laughter) “There may be other reasons you need me.” (Second indication of interest.)

guy: “There are three pages in that book that every woman should read to understand men.”

girl: “Really? What do they say?”

guy: “Well, let’s start with this: do you think you understand men?”

girl: “Yes, I think I do, more than the average person, anyway.”

guy: “Ok, good. So if you really do, answer this question for me: why do men cheat?”

And it goes on and on and on. Inappropriate references to sex. Tons of qualification. Disqualifying her as a potential romantic prospect. It’s an entirely different dynamic than in the first conversation. The man is skeptical, challenging, a little inappropriate, unafraid of pissing her off, etc., etc., etc. When desirable women get this kind of treatment, they behave entirely differently than when they get guys complimenting and chasing them. The beautiful thing is that I am actually talking about things that are meaningful to me: literature, social dynamics, psychology, science, etc., etc. None of this is made up. This isn’t banter. I’m not trying to entertain her. These are real topics from important parts of my life, and she knows it. I have standards. She can feel the pressure.