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Return of the Brute : Relationships: Forget sensitive. Forget nice. What women really want is a big, strong barbarian, according to a new crop of self-help books.

July 19, 1991|ROBIN ABCARIAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hub Thompson didn't used to be too lucky with the babes. A 26-year-old San Diego guitar teacher, Thompson describes himself as good-looking--"real good-looking"--but previously devoid of discrimination.

"I would just go for any girl who went for me," he said. "I wasn't selective. It was a confidence thing."

Then he bought a copy of a mail-order book called "How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed." Now he's humming a different tune.

"I am learning to dump them if they need to be dumped," said Thompson. "This romance stuff is totally trench warfare. It's almost like bargaining for the price of something. If somebody doesn't want what I want, hey, there's the door, babe."

Ah, honesty. Ah, sensitivity. Ah, nuts.

The sexual landscape has always been a treacherous one, but there is a brewing meanness out there, a harsh '90s twist on the war between the sexes. It might be a backlash against feminism and double messages (Be manly! Cry, too!)--or maybe guys are just tired of being told to get in touch with their feelings . Whatever the reasons, in some quarters, honesty is out, manipulation is in. For this crowd, the sensitive New Age male is not just dead and gone, he's been dragged back into the Dark Ages by the Neo-Neanderthal.

Deep down the brute may be looking for love (and someone to do the laundry), but you'd never know it from his approach.

The brief apotheosis of Andrew Dice Clay and the misogynistic lyrics of rappers were perhaps the early warning signs of incipient Neo-Neanderthalism. But recently, brutishness has blossomed all around. Consider:

* It is possible to buy a T-shirt in several stores on the Venice boardwalk that says in huge block letters, "Shut Up Stupid Bitch."

* "Studs," a new show on the Fox television network, features this low concept: "Two men go out on dates with three of the same women. Then, all convene on the set to find out which of the guys is 'the bigger stud.' "

* Last month, Boston Red Sox fans were treated to the sight of bleacher bums simulating sex with inflatable dolls, until complaints caused officials to ban the dolls from the stadium.

* Recently, the world of vanity publishing has spewed forth such titles as "How to Get all the Girls You Want" ("The three main types of women are the "ho," "the freak" and "the good girl.") and "The Bartender's Guide on How to Pick-Up Women" ("I've also included a section for women, because I feel they are the most misunderstood, abused group in terms of relationships--by their own choice.").

For the married brute, there is "How to Cheat on Your Wife and Not Get Caught" ("The best place to meet women who are the most vulnerable and the easiest to conquer is at the Parents Without Partners group. If the organizers make you sign some type of statement that you are single, separated or divorced, go ahead. After all, you're not forging a tax return or killing someone.")

* Even Cosmopolitan magazine is endorsing a return to the old double standard. Last December, it published "How to be a Great Date," a feature that suggested, among other things, "At the table, be a little geisha-like--butter his roll, put the sugar alongside his coffee," and "Say, 'That's absolutely fascinating!' at least once before the evening is over."

An unlikely hero of the Neo-Neanderthal movement is Ross Jeffries, the pseudonym of a 32-year-old Culver City man whose real name is Paul Jeffrey Ross.

The tall, reedy Jeffries, who grew up in Lawndale, has spent the last 1 1/2 years on the talk-show circuit promoting his book, "How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed." He claims to have sold thousands of copies and is planning an info-mercial in the fall.

The book is aimed, he said, at those who do not possess the money or looks that most people presume are natural magnets of the dating scene. He offers some sound advice, but some behavior experts raise their eyebrows at his proposals for psychological warfare.

The book is shot full of hostility toward women, because, as Jeffries explained, they deserve it.

"Well, you have to understand, the animosity comes from being slapped down when I was too nice. But also some of that is a character I get into."

A paragraph from the book suffices to impart its unsubtle flavor: "When it comes to sex, women have a massive power advantage," he writes. "It's relatively easy for even a fat, ugly troll to obtain sexual satisfaction. All she has to do is go to any bar or club, act even mildly flirtatious and be willing to put out. She's sure to get laid, if not by the best-looking guy, then at least by someone."

In an interview at the Sidewalk Cafe in Venice, during which Jeffries attempted to hit on two women (one was "too young," one was married; both seemed flattered), he said his most essential advice to men is this: "Don't be too nice. When you accommodate, you get what the commode gets, which is the crapola."

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