HUB THOMPSON didn't used to be too lucky with the babes. A 26-year-old 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," Thompson said. "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 relationship 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 has been dragged back into the Dark Ages by the Neo-Neanderthal.
Deep down he may be looking for love (and someone to do the laundry), but ou'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:
* "Studs," a new show from the Fox television network, features this 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.' "
* Recently, the world of vanity publishing has spewed forth such titles as "How to Get All the Girls You Want" and
"The Bartender's Guide on How to Pick-Up Women." For the married brute, there is "How to Cheat on Your Wife and Not Get Caught."
* An unlikely hero of the Neo-Neanderthal movement is RosJeffries, the pseudonym of a 32-year-old Culver City, Calif., man whose real name is Paul Jeffrey Ross. The tall, reedy Jeffries has been 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 informational commercial 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.
Jeffries says women deserve the hostility that fills his book.
"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."
Jeffries advocates covert hypnosis to induce trancelike attention a woman, using such techniques as the mirroring of speech and breathing patterns pioneered by psychotherapist Virginia Satir and psychiatrist Milton Erickson, neither of whom is alive.
("I bet they would have been appalled," said Kate Wachs, a Chicago psy
chologist who founded a center that specializes in romantic relationships. "You can use any good technique to con people, and this is certainly a very unhealthy use of a very good technique.")
But Jeffries, who says he was recently dumped by his girlfriend of several months, equates courtship to street fighting, an arena in which all is fair.
"I am trying to get these guys to protect themselves . . . Women love a guy who will listen, but the problem is when they aren't interested in you sexually, you wind up getting slapped around. I put up with that for years, and finally I said, 'No more.' That is why when a woman starts telling me her problems, [he snaps his fingers], adios!"