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Pickup artists unite


posted by Donovan at 8:10 PM

By Mark Wolf, Rocky Mountain News September 24, 2005

You're a young single woman in a bar and a guy sidles over and asks, "Did you see those two girls fighting outside?"
Neil Strauss author of The Game: Penerating the Secret Society of Pickup ArtistsTruth be told, there probably weren't two girls, and if there were, they almost certainly weren't fighting. Even so, you probably reacted with interest, perhaps engaged the guy in conversation. This wasn't just a clever pickup line. You've been "opened." You may have responded with an IOI (indication of interest). Give him your phone number? You've been "number-closed." And introduced to an aspiring PUA (pickup artist) trying to escape the cocoon of the AFC (average frustrated chump).

This shorthand of seduction is the working jargon of a nationwide community of guys dedicated to the proposition that any woman can be engaged by most any man who has the right routine.

Neil Strauss, former pop-music critic for The New York Times, contributor to Rolling Stone and other magazines and the as-told-to author of volumes by Motley Crue and adult-film diva Jenna Jameson, dropped into the PUA community to write about it and stayed to become one of its masters.

"I didn't go into it skeptically. I went into it with embarrassment. I had nothing to lose. I thought I'd get some tips. I was the guy who'd always get the 'Can't we be friends?' line. I ended up on this roller-coaster life living in a pickup house with Courtney Love. It was beyond my wildest dreams. I got in too deep. It was seductive," said Strauss, who was in his late 20s when he spent two years in the pickup community.

Strauss' book, "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists" ( is a fascinating, funny and eXplicit peek into a community where the first rule of romance is manipulation.

"Everything is counterintuitive. Things I thought would never work do work," he says. "For example, you're at a bar and you get excited if a girl starts touching you. Instead, if you say, 'Hands off the merchandise,' and brush her hands away, she starts touching you even more. It shows your value and that you're not out for sex.

"The great irony of dating in these times is that, for a man, the best way to get sex is to act as if you don't want it."

Then there's "the neg": a mild negative comment about a beautiful woman's appearance. An example from the book: "Those are nice nails. Are they real?"

"It's horrible that it works," said Strauss. "It only works because we live in a society where women are judged by their looks, where men are constantly throwing compliments at women to try to sleep with them. (With 'the neg') you're showing higher value, actively showing disinterest. Her friends like you because she's always getting hit on. You make her work for it a little bit."

Master pickup artists shuffle their routines and bits into a virtual flow chart of pickup strategies. Ultimately, it's like teaching someone how to develop a couple of good minutes of standup comedy. Eventually, they have to be able to expand on the opportunity.

Strauss learned fast. At one point, an aspiring PUA compared Strauss' technique to John Elway's running of a two-minute drill.

"They're just excuses to show your personality. By the third date you have to be confident, have to be a good persona, interesting. For a lot of these guys, it's easier if they're running around doing a great opening set, but they're getting flakes," said Strauss, whose book includes a 10-page glossary of PUA terms.

"The goal for all these guys is to let these routines and techniques be training wheels they can drop off when they finally become naturals."

Women will probably find The Game by turns horrifying and edifying.

"They would say, 'This would never work on me.' It's an arrogant thing to say, but it was designed to work on you. The smarter and classier you are, the better it works, because you're paying attention. You're not some ADD club girl," Strauss said.

Some of the men he encounters are fairly pathetic; others are regular guys who admit they don't have a clue about how to approach women.

He estimates that several thousand active PUAs are posting in the community's online message boards and going out more than three times a week. Tens of thousands more are peripheral members, and more than a million names are on message lists worldwide.

About 10 guys are making six-figure incomes from seminars, books and tapes, Strauss said. One of the industry leaders, known as Mystery, gave a seminar in Denver last year, but Strauss said he doesn't know of an organized Denver PUA group.

Through it all, Strauss said, he felt more honest as a pickup artist than as an average frustrated chump.

"Love is supposed to be this natural thing that just happens and here's a guy learning this method; but in the past, you'd tell girls you want to have a relationship when you don't," he said.

"That's more hurtful than knowing how it works. I wasn't lying to anyone. I told them about the community at some point."

More info about Mystery, or Neil's book "The Game".


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posted by Donovan at 8:10 PM Dating Advice for Men


Anonymous Magnum said...

One more proof that Neil's book was a HUGE suicidal mystake for the seduction community...

3:58 PM, December 03, 2006  

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