Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge: Exiting the Game

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What was the relationship between Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge in The Game? How did Neil Strauss and Lisa meet, and what happened between them?

Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge had a relationship that inspired “Style” to leave the PUA community. Neil Strauss and Lisa’s relationship was built on their genuine personalities, instead of the persona he’d crafted.

Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge’s Relationship

One day, two of Courtney Love’s bandmates, Sam and Lisa, showed up at Project Hollywood, looking for Love. Love was not around, so Style sat and talked with them. 

Style had met them once before, but this time he was struck by Lisa, Love’s guitarist. Lisa absolutely oozed confidence—so much so that she was impenetrable to Style’s seduction tactics. 

Society teaches women to be submissive, which causes many women to make themselves seem less imposing and even less intelligent in an effort to appear more attractive to men. This was part of the reason negs worked in seduction, because it played up this power hierarchy between men and women. 

But some women rejected that model—and Lisa was one of them. Lisa had inner confidence that didn’t rely on validation from anyone else. Negs bounced right off of Lisa because she could dismiss them without a moment of doubt about who she was or how awesome she was; if the guy negging her didn’t see that, it was his problem. This was part of the reason Neil Strauss and Lisa were unable to connect due to his PUA strategies.

Soon, Neil Strauss and Lisa began spending more time together. They had common interests and great chemistry, but even after spending multiple nights together, talking in bed, Lisa wouldn’t let Style kiss her. 

Negging didn’t work. None of his routines worked. Freezing her out didn’t help. She was adamant. 

Style began to doubt himself. He prided himself on his ability to kiss-close women within a half-hour of meeting them. Style wondered if Lisa saw through his techniques to the man he’d been before he joined the community, the man who was insecure and afraid of women’s power to reject him.

Style’s Seduction Tactics Push Lisa Away

When Lisa went out of town to play with the band, she asked Style if they could have dinner together when she was back in town. Still relying on his seduction strategies, Style gave a cocky-funny response—but it backfired, and Lisa was turned off by Style’s obnoxious reply. 

Style managed to salvage dinner plans, and he eagerly prepared for the night Lisa was scheduled to return to LA. Style waited at the airport, but Lisa never showed up. He called, but she didn’t pick up the phone or return his messages. 

Style found out later from Love that Lisa had come in on an earlier flight. He was still confused as to why Lisa had stood him up. 

A couple days later, Neil Strauss and Lisa did get together. Lisa called Style to say she was back in town. She offered no explanation or apology. Style felt sure that things were over between the two of them—she clearly wasn’t interested. 

Style was on his way to Miami with another PUA, so he spent his trip sarging and sleeping with women in an effort to get over Lisa. He used the massage routine to instigate another threesome, and, for a moment, he was on top of the world. But as soon as it was over, he felt empty. Style realized that he had no real connection with any of the women he’d spent the last two years sleeping with. 

Lisa Is Hot and Cold With Style

One day, as Style was leaving the mansion, Lisa came driving up. She and Sam—Courtney Love’s other bandmate—were on their way to a bar, and they were on their way to Project Hollywood to invite Style to join them. 

Style went back to the house to change, and then hurried to the bar to meet them. He was eager to find out why Lisa had stood him up after her trip to Atlanta, but when he got to the bar, Lisa and Sam were sitting with two men. 

The men were intimidating, not just because of their tattoos and rock-and-roll style, but also because they were exactly the type of men Style assumed Lisa would date. Style felt invisible next to the men; this was another way Neil Strauss and Lisa struggled to connect.

Disappointed that he couldn’t talk with Lisa, Style got up from the table and sarged to make himself feel better. He wanted a jolt of positive feedback from a woman to ease his feeling of rejection. 

However, as he approached one set (group of women) after another, he discovered that they all knew his routines already. Project Hollywood had been pumping out so many PUAs-in-training that all the women who went to the clubs in that area had already heard all of the same lines and routines. The same thing was happening in other seduction hubs—from New York to San Francisco to Montreal. 

Now doubly discouraged, Style told Lisa and Sam that he was heading home. 

Style Breaks Up With Isabel

When Style got back to Project Hollywood, Isabel—one of the many women he’d been casually dating, whose jealousy impeded Style’s first threesome attempt—was there waiting for him. 

There was nothing wrong with Isabel, but Style’s feelings for her paled in comparison to how he felt about Lisa. Nonetheless, they had sex and she spent that night with Style. 

The next morning, Isabel pressed Style about whether he was still dating other women. He confessed that not only had he started seeing Lisa, but that he had feelings for her. 

Isabel gave Style an ultimatum: leave Lisa or lose Isabel. There was no question in Style’s mind—he chose Lisa. 

Style Gets Clarification From Lisa

For all the difficulty Style was having trying to break through Lisa’s tough exterior, he wondered why he kept coming back. 

  • He thought that she might be using the same hard-to-get seduction tactics on him, and that they were working as well for Lisa as they had for Style time and again. 
  • He considered whether he’d internalized the alpha-male principles to the point that he was determined to sleep with Lisa because she posed such a challenge, simply to prove that he could.
  • He wondered if she saw who he truly was, and if there was a part of him that sensed that he could be fully himself with her

Style wanted to take a leap with Lisa. He put his PUA moves to the side and asked Lisa out for a traditional dinner date. She hesitated, but agreed. 

The date was harder than any pickup. Style had already tried all his routines on Lisa—and they didn’t work anyway—so he was on his own. No techniques. No scripts. Just Style. 

Style mustered the courage to ask Lisa why she’d stood him up after her trip to Atlanta. Lisa told Style that he’d been rude and aloof, and it had turned her off. Again, Style’s seduction strategies had backfired with Lisa. 

Style wanted more clarification on what had happened between them. He wanted to know if she was really running game on him, as he’d suspected. 

The reality was that, although Lisa thought Style had acted rudely, she had missed him when he was in Miami. Lisa was hoping to catch up with Style when she invited him to the bar, but she was frustrated when Style had immediately clammed up around the two men and then promptly left. 

Making matters worse, the following day, Lisa’s bandmate Sam had used Style’s bathroom and seen the condom he’d used with Isabel on their final night together. Sam told Lisa, and Lisa assumed things with Style were over. 

When Style asked Lisa to dinner, she had hesitated because she was fed up with his mixed signals. The only reason that she ultimately agreed was because he was asking her on a real date—and because he seemed nervous, which she took as a sign that he genuinely liked her. So, Neil Strauss and Lisa had genuinely connected—he just didn’t know how that worked anymore

Finally, Style and Lisa had stopped playing the game: Style wasn’t using lines, and they were both being up-front about their feelings for each other. They shared their first kiss, and then they spent the next few hours talking and kissing. 

After that night, Style broke things off with all the women he’d been seeing casually. 

Style and Lisa Finally Get Together

When Style had sex with Lisa, he discovered a new kind of intimacy. For the past two years, he’d been using sex as a form of entertainment and a validation. But Style had such a deep connection with Lisa that it felt like the whole world stopped when they had sex. 

One night, Style told Lisa everything about the community—the PUAs, the tactics, even the acronyms. Lisa told Style that everything she liked about him was already part of him before joining the community; in fact, the game almost ruined their chances of getting together. 

Style knew that Lisa was right, but he also recognized that, before joining the community, he wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue Lisa. So much of the game was artificial—the scripted routines, the peacocking outfits, even the aliases—but mastering the game had helped Style develop the inner confidence to be himself. Style could now graduate from the community. 

Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge weren’t meant to have a long term relationship, but Lisa did help Style realize he had the confidence to leave

Neil Strauss and Lisa Leveridge: Exiting the Game

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Neil Strauss's "The Game" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Game summary:

  • The secrets of the Pickup Artist community in seducing women
  • How key Pickup Artist leaders fought with each other and split the group apart
  • What author Neil Strauss took away about women from his years of training

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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