In case you’re not familiar, allow me to explain what negging is.
A guy goes up to a girl who is very clearly out of his league and attempts to shake her self-confidence down a few notches by throwing out some subtle, low-grade insults that aren’t mean enough to deter her from speaking to him, but affect her just enough that she actually wants to keep talking to him … in order to prove herself worthy.
(I know, right? What will these geniuses come up with next?)
Unfortunately, there must have been some guy who claimed that his friend’s roommate’s older brother’s cousin used this tactic and it worked like a charm, because negging’s a legit thing now, mostly done by douche-y men (of course).
But the golden question: Does it work?
To find out if negging works with gender roles reversed, I convinced my friend Andrea (OK, she actually volunteered) to come along on a bar crawl where we picked out the best looking, cockiest dudes we could find and gently insulted them to see how they’d react. Here’s how it went down:
Negging Experiment #1: The Dodgeball Team
I arrived late to meet Andrea at the first bar, where she had already scoped out our first three victims. She sent me a text saying, “This one guy is so cocky,” so upon my entrance, I promptly made him my target.
We made introductions, and when I shook the hand of the way too confident Steve* I made eye contact, smiled at him like I was looking at a newborn kitten and said, “Awww, you remind me of my little brother!” Andrea backed up my claim. He shrunk back a little in his chair and when I asked him how old he was, he lied to my face and added three years to his age — which his buddies called him out on.
There was an “age is just a number, baby” reference made at this point, and even though it was clear by Steve’s body language (and the lie about how old he was) that the neg had taken somewhat of a toll on his previously über-confident attitude, he didn’t relent. In fact, he turned up his game.
Andrea and I went to the bar to get drinks and reconvene as we both tried to think up more negs to use. All three guys were wearing what looked like gym attire, so I ran with it.
“So … did you guys just come from a dodgeball game or something?” I asked them.
They all actually got a kick out of that one, and then explained that they work together as coaches at a college.
“Oh, so these guys have to hang out with you,” I said to Steve, “That explains it.”
Steve then went on to say that you only need a few good friends in your life, and that he has three.
I’m not sure if guys reach a similar point while they’re negging women where they feel like just too much of an asshole to continue, but at this point I felt too mean to call Steve out on the fact that he only has three friends.
So, we said our goodbyes. Steve didn’t ask for either of our numbers. Neither did his buddies.