“A decade ago, Strauss was a notorious figure: the guy who wrote that book The Game, the one about seduction, which seemed to endorse all manner of queasy notions about what it was OK for men to do on the pull. The Game promised to teach its readers how to become better “pick-up artists,” and in doing so have more sex. It sold 2.5 million copies and Strauss, who all his life had been a dweeby music journalist, was transformed. He became a Corvette-driving wearer of flash suits, a serial dater of models, admired by those he’d influenced and reviled in other quarters – thought to be an advocate of sleaze who’d only help blur the lines of millennial bro culture.”
“Around 2010, he met and fell in love with a Mexican-born model named Ingrid De La O. She was perfect, Strauss thought, their relationship together ‘the best I’d ever had.’ Yet he found he couldn’t stop pursuing other women and cheating on Ingrid. When she learned about the cruelest of his infidelities (her best friend, a church car park), Ingrid agreed to forgive Strauss only on the condition he be treated for sex addiction. So he entered rehab for three months. Here his problems really began.
By opening up his psyche to trained therapists for the first time, Strauss learned he had quite an assortment of mental and emotional conditions. In short order, he was diagnosed with anxiety syndrome, depressive disorder, two forms of sexual disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ‘It was like a hammer hitting me on the head,’ he says. ‘I really thought I was normal.’ … He came to see that his years researching and writing The Game had made him manipulative and selfish, ‘following a shallow path to self-esteem,’ as he describes it now. ‘My thinking was, “If this woman’s going to be naked with me, I must be OK.” But it doesn’t last.’”
“‘It [The Game] was really a book about scared men who were afraid of women.’”
“… when I suggest it would be quite some act of cosmic bean-balancing if he could take that Game-steered generation and convince them it was impressive to be a steadfast partner and parent, Strauss nods eagerly. “I think I do that.” The seminars he arranges these days tend to focus on ways for men to become more content or confident without resorting to cynical bar-trawling. ‘It used to be that, if I wasn’t OK with myself, she was going to make me OK with myself – because she’s beautiful, because she likes me. But if she doesn’t like me or respond to me, then I’m not OK, I’m a failure. The goal now is really to be OK with yourself, to not need anything else. And maybe once you’re OK with yourself, you can see people as they are, without them having to give commentary on who you are or what your status is.’”
Excerpts from Lamont, Tom. 2015. “Neil Strauss: ‘My thinking was: If this woman’s going to be naked with me – I must be OK. It doesn’t last.’” The Guardian, October 10. Retrieved February 10, 2019 (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/10/neil-strauss-the-game-book-truth). Emphasis, italics, hyperlinks, and pictures not in original. Pictured above is Neil Strauss with his son, Tenn. He is now married to Ingrid.