For those who are unfamiliar, American Psycho is a late 1980s satire that tells the story of successful Wall Street executive and serial killer, Patrick Bateman. Released by author Bret Easton Ellis in 1991, the novel was met with extreme controversy by feminists and women’s rights groups alike, mainly due to its graphic violence and strong misogynistic undertones.
The novel was adapted into a film in 2000 (directed, ironically, by a feminist) in which Christian Bale played the main character. Despite much of the negative criticism both the book and film received, many viewers were able to see the obvious humor in the story, and many men in particular found themselves identifying with its neurotic, image-obsessed protagonist.
The film and novel have developed a cult following in the couple of decades since their release, and it shows. There’s no denying that all popular blogs in the manosphere contain hints of “Bateman-esque” characteristics. Bateman really was manosphere before there was a manosphere. Let’s take a look at some of the things we’ve learned from Patrick Bateman in terms of living a better, more productive life.
1. Appearance Matters
Image was everything for Bateman. His face, his body, his clothes, his apartment, his business cards, it all had to be held to the highest degree of perfection. He knew that amongst the yuppie Manhattan crowd in which he thrived, appearance was the first thing he was judged on.
And the trend seems to have caught on in real life as well. Male grooming has seen a huge explosion in popularity in the past 15-20 years. Although I wouldn’t advise you to take it to Bateman-levels of extremity, a basic level of grooming and self-care is a must for any man looking to maximize his sex appeal. Take care of your skin, take care of your teeth, take care of your hair, get somewhat of a tan, remove excess body hair, and you’re already ahead of most men in the game.
2. Nutrition And Physical Fitness Matter
Although a lot of mainstream nutritional advice has changed since the low-fat crazed 1980s that American Psycho is set in, the basic principal hasn’t; Eat healthy and exercise. Bateman was a total fitness junkie, oftentimes working out for two hours at a time and stressing the importance of healthy eating. He knew that a well-fueled, fit body was important not only for aesthetic purposes, but for optimal performance in any endeavour.
3. The Clothes Make The Man
In one particularly memorable scene of the film, Bateman lures a drunken co-worker back to his apartment to murder him. Before dismembering the man, Bateman puts on a raincoat to avoid any of the man’s blood splattering on his suit (as well as strategically covering his floor with newspapers to avoid any blood spilling onto his pristine, oak wood floor).
Readers of the novel will recall having to painfully trudge through Bateman’s meticulous descriptions of what every character he encountered was wearing, right down to their brand of socks. While you don’t need to don a $3,000 Armani suit to look presentable, every man should own a wardrobe consisting of at least some high quality, well-fitted clothing.
4. The Importance Of Your Social Circle
When Bateman wasn’t out raping, torturing, and murdering his victims, he usually wasn’t to be found without some sort of entourage. He knew the importance of running with those that had similar values, interests, and status as he did.
It’s been said time and time again, the company you keep is a direct reflection of the person you are, and those words couldn’t be truer. Although Bateman was guilty of trying a little too hard to emulate those that he ran with, it was essentially the only way he knew how to “get by.”
In fact, when he encounters someone not amongst his elite, Wall Street crowd, Bateman finds himself in a very uncomfortable, volatile situation (“I don’t have anything in common with you,” he declares to a homeless man before stabbing him to death). Choose your friends carefully. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded, people that inspire you and drive you to be productive.
5. Never Supplicate To Women
Throughout the vast majority of American Psycho’s non-linear storyline, Bateman is engaged to his vacuous, spoiled, entitled bitch of a girlfriend. In the world of American Psycho, everybody is cheating and sleeping around with one another, and the only reason it seems any of the characters are in relationships is to maintain appearances. Bateman is no exception.
Despite his overwhelming need to maintain appearances and put on a good show, Bateman is never one to cave to a woman’s needs. At any given moment, he puts not only his fiancée in her place when necessary, but also the women with whom his relationships are purely sexual.
6. The Importance Of Having Your Own Hobbies And Interests
Although it’s important for all men to maintain healthy relationships in their life, both with men and women, I think we can all agree that a self-reliant man never should never rely 100% on the company of others in order to keep occupied. Bateman was no stranger to this rule.
When not spending time with his friends or feeding his sick addiction, he had other hobbies and interests which included skiing, boxing, watching sports, watching movies, and in particular, listening to music.
With the advent of social media and overall advances in technology, I think the general nature of having hobbies has declined over the past decade or so. Having a hobby is not only important for a man, I feel it’s crucial. Not only does it ensure you won’t be a needy pest every time you’re feeling “bored,” it builds character and gives you something interesting to share about yourself when you are socializing.
7. It’s Always Good To Have Some Competition
Despite the fact that Bateman was a homicidal maniac, by and large he had limits when it came to his victims. Generally speaking, he wouldn’t murder anybody that had ties to his social circle, as this could implicate him in their murder. he exception to this is when one of his co-workers upstages him in every possible way, and the only solution is to murder him in the ultimate act of rage (the aforementioned axe murder).
Bateman and his crew are constantly trying to one-up each other with who has the biggest condo, the best suit, the best business card, the best tan, the hottest girlfriend, the best restaurant reservations… the list is endless. Again, this behaviour borders on extreme, but I do think some competition is healthy, and when approached with a positive mindset, can help inspire young men to achieve their goals.
8. “Just Say No”
The ability to simply say “No” to people without feeling the need to follow it up with a justified reason is one of the most powerful weapons a man can have in his arsenal. Easier said than done, but once mastered, you’ll be shocked at how effective it is to getting more of what you want out of life. A lot of people will think you’re an asshole, but you’ll be a respected asshole.
While anyone familiar with the story knows that much of Bateman’s behaviour stemmed more from the need to fit and be accepted by his peers, that doesn’t excuse the fact that a lot of his mannerisms were in fact traits of a confident, self-assured man.
Mimicking Bateman’s level of obsession will only result in insecurity and a constant feeling of inadequacy, but taking the advice above applying it within reasonable, appropriate amounts can and will result in improvements on all fronts.