Addressing the dilemma – game or be gamed. But no kids and your bloodline is out of the game.
I preface this review with a comment about the author. He is a man of 24 addressing topics that few of us figure out in a lifetime.
The first two paragraphs appear contradictory. First, "Do you wonder if you've had sex with enough girls in your life?" Next: "it's a common dilemma for a modern man, considering the fact that the days of marrying your high school sweetheart, losing your virginity to each other, then growing old together are long gone."
He resolves this with the promise that "This book gives you the best chance of overall happiness in the modern world of dating." A couple of sentences later he writes "I'd probably just be 'Dad'" if things work the way they should.
But they don't work out that way – which is why Kyle Trouble blogs at Return of Kings on the manosphere.
He writes "Back then, it was okay to be 'average', because there was a certain happiness to it. You could have a boring job, but there wasn't the HR bullshit to deal with, and you got to come home to a sweet, cute wife and your family every day. Even if you weren't 'great', life was good. Your wife would be thin and feminine, happy to clean the house and prepare home-cooked meals, and your kids would grow up as healthy adults, rather than having their young minds poisoned by a rapidly-failing education system."
Trouble is onto something. I grew up "back then" and although it wasn't perfect, it was far closer than today.
Chapter 2 chases the harem thread. Trouble describes how he balances several women in his life at one time. It is both titillating and sad. Titillating, because every man has a bit of lust in his heart and we all have a prurient interest in other people sex lives. Sad, however, because the more you let make your life just about sex, the less inclined you are to get down to the serious business of raising a family. More than that, the less inclined you will be to accept the flaws inherent in whatever woman you happen to marry.
In Chapter 3 Trouble acknowledges the downside of game, the business of being constantly on the prowl. It is expensive, hard on your liver, and doesn't build toward anything. In Chapter 4 he goes on: "Women should not be the be all end all, which seems contradictory to the fact that this is a book about building a harem. Setting up women as your only source of happiness or goal is bound to leave you disappointed, for multiple reasons."
After which follow a few chapters on just how to pursue those women, who turn out ultimately not to be the primary source of happiness in life.
I will add a little bit of historical perspective. Although humans have always been interested in other people's sex lives, it became more accepted to talk about it in the early 1950s. There were the Kinsey reports on male and female sexuality, Supreme Court decisions allowing the publication of Lady Chatterley's lover and the Henry Miller books, and the appearance of Playboy magazine in 1952. It took a generation for the changes to sink in, but so they did with a vengeance in the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Poet David Lodge wrote “Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children; life's the other way round.” Unfortunately, we have twisted it around. Life has become all about sex and we are doing a rotten job of forming families and raising children.
Trouble is dealing with a dangerous two-edged sword. He pursues "game" in order to expose himself to the best possible range of marriage prospects. He always has a stable full of women that he rates quite conservatively as 6.5 and up in terms of looks and who are willing to bed him.
He does not delve deeply into what goes on in a relationship outside of the bedroom. He has practical observations on logistics. You should not spend a lot of time and money on a woman just to get her in bed. Strategically, it is better to keep them somewhat off balance, them chasing you rather than you chasing them. In terms of managing your scarce resources of time and money you should chat them up during the day, at grocery stores or other places that cost no money at all, or at night over drinks rather than dinner.
Conversation across the Mars–Venus divide is difficult under any circumstance. Trouble does not go into it in much depth. If the objective is simply to bed lots of women, presumably small talk is not a major issue. It becomes one if you want a relationship to become a bit deeper.
Trouble has some wise observations on dealing with the "Define the Relationship" question. Most women want to know at some point. This belies Trouble's point that women are as free and unencumbered as men. No, he observes elsewhere, they do have more of a nesting instinct, more of a desire to find a single man who treats them well and is good in bed and to form a relationship.
A chapter subhead early in the book is entitled "Why Are We Here?" I was expecting something profound, smacking of Descartes, but his question is nonetheless profound enough. It amounts to "why are we at this impasse between men and women?"
I will address the bigger issue. We are here as the latest generation in an endless chain of self-replicators going back billions of years. We are here because all of our ancestors were able to reproduce. Therefore, the teleological answer to the question "why are we here?" has to be that we are here to reproduce. By induction, evolution has brought us up to Generation N and it is our mission to create Generation N+1.
We are not going to succeed by following the Hugh Hefner or Cosmopolitan Magazine model of banging everything in sight. Somehow man and woman have to find an accommodation through which we can get married, form stable families and carry forth our genome and culture. Trouble has an inkling of a coming change in his own life. In his final chapter he writes "In fact, I believe that a man’s life as a player has a finite shelf life. I already feel flashes of desire to settle down, and I know my older player friends (mid 30s) are definitely feeling these urges too."
I find Trouble's self reflection to be refreshing. Unlike the feminists or social justice warriors, he looks beyond himself and his present situation. It is delightful that he has established himself as a blogger at this young age and will be able to chronicle his his perceptions as they evolve over time. Five stars.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Graham H. Seibert. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.