Sebastian used to have manboobs, but he got them removed and now he’s living it up in Montreal. Unfortunately, his wingman is a cokehead closeted homosexual who likes to pick fights with guys in clubs by kissing them and then accusing them of being homophobes.
“What the fuck dude!? Why did you hit me?”
“You called me a homophobe”
“Well, aren’t you?”
And then Eric jumped up, grabbed the hipster’s face, pulled it in and they were making out. The crowd gasped again, and instantly dispersed. Just like that. Eric had a game plan. He’s purely Machiavellian in his quest; sniffing pills, engaging in random combat, and pulling emotional strings like a debauched puppet-master-guru.
– Excerpt from A Thousand Tiny Failures By Tony D
Sebastian is caught in the middle of this, trying to put out the fires, literal and metaphorical, that his seedy friends are lighting around him. He’s stuck in a dead end call center job, in a city where he knows nobody, and he needs to build a life around himself. All he has is his wits.
Tony D’s new book, A Thousand Tiny Failures, is a dark, sad and funny look at modern male culture, and the “pickup” subculture in particular. It’s funny, rude and honest, and explores both the good and the bad of what it’s like to be a guy in this day and age.
Some reviewers have trashed it as a “Narcissistic Sex Romp” – a perfectly accurate description, and exactly what I enjoyed about the book. Sebastian – Tony’s alter ego, rejects the grey life of the corporate cubicle dweller, and the social relationships that come with that. Sebastian starts the book with bitch tits, an adolescent case of gynecomastia that makes his high-school experience hell. Eventually, Sebastian decides to take his life into his own hands; he gets surgery for the man-boobs, and swallows “the red pill”.
The result is sort of an anti-growing up story. Sebastian enjoys life and goes from one girl to the next, learning a bit along the way. There are some great stories, including the not-so closeted homosexual wingman in Montreal, the tragic story of the first girl he really falls for, and numerous pickups along the way described in cynical, dirty detail.
Reading the book, I couldn’t help but find myself relating to Sebastian, from his bad experiences in high-school, the failure of his male role models, the ridiculous pick up guys he met along the way, and the difficulties of keeping a good relationship while being a professional pick up coach (Dating Coach as we to call ourselves, but lets be real), I felt Sebastian’s experience really mirrored my own.
In the end though, while Sebastian’s story is funny, entertaining and at times uplifting, it leaves you with a sad note. Tony D’s writing has a sort of nihilistic cynicism that reminds one of Bukowski or Chuck Palahinuk, and plot is laced with themes of futility, frustration, and unrequited love. Sebastian moves from dead end job to dead end job, all the while writing and chasing women in his spare time.
As the story comes to an end, you get the feeling that Sebastian hasn’t really changed. He’s living the same story over and over again.
Like Neil Strauss’s The Game, A Thousand Tiny Failures is part adventure, part tutorial, part warning. Learning to pick up can be a lot of fun, and lead to some great adventures, but if you make your life revolve around it, you can find yourself spinning out of control.
Anyway, I highly recommend the book for anyone who’s into game. It’s funny and entertaining, and a bit educational. Most of all, it’s a book that is honest and real and moving.
You can check out a free sample of A Thousand Tiny Failures at Amazon.com – just click the “look inside” graphic.Disclosure: Tony D is a friend of mine, and has given me some great writing advice over the years. I might be a bit biased.