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Meet Pickup101


posted by Donovan at 2:10 PM

You get some dodgy seduction workshops out there. Pickup 101 by Sensei seems more hands on, and successful than most. An article about inside the Project San Francisco mansion...

With sweaty palms and over-heightened nerves, Brandon Jones* musters up every ounce of courage to walk over to the two brunettes nursing overpriced drinks at the MatrixFillmore in the Marina. He sports the generic male going-out uniform: button-up striped long-sleeved shirt and faded jeans. But as he opens his mouth to spout an equally generic line, a case of verbal diarrhea ruins any hope he has of impressing these women. Just another night as an average frustrated chump.

Jones isn't bad looking, doesn't have atrocious body odor or hold the title for world's worst breath. He's just a normal guy who's getting overlooked by girls he would like to get busy with. But being charismatic just doesn't come easy for Jones. Talking and flirting with women is uncomfortable for him, so he simply tries to avoid it all together.

Unwilling to face more rejection or make any more fruitless attempts to meet someone, Jones decides to take the plunge. He forks over $1,500 to learn how to become more "attractive" so that maybe the other side of his bed and that extra toothbrush he keeps around just in case will get some much needed use. He turns over his life for the next three days to the Master Pick-Up Artists (MPUAs) who will be working overtime to mold him into a suave Bond-type guy women fawn over.

In nearly every major city in the world, hidden beneath the eyes of the social norm, is an underground seduction lair. This is not fiction pulled off the pages of Neil Strauss' exposé of the secret society of pick-up artists, "The Game." These pick-up artist havens, called projects, are currently in New York, Las Vegas, London and Sydney. And amongst the plethora of restaurants and bustling stores in Chinatown is Project San Francisco, composed of seven pick-up artists living together and making their own unique contributions to the pick-up community.

The current pick-up community may have its beginnings with the literary success of the 1992 Ross Jefferies’ cult hit “How to Get the Women You Desire Into Bed." But it is now in full-fledged climax with Strauss’ book and making big media waves on The New York Times' Best Sellers list. But the MPUAs are striking while the community is hot, making some serious cash by teaching tricks of the pick-up trade to the dating incompetent through books, videos and traveling workshops.

Lance Mason, 35, started his company PickUp 101 out of Project San Francisco about two years ago, and he says it's been growing like crazy. He offers bootcamp workshops, booked months ahead of time, to teach men dating skills. Word of mouth has made him more sought after than his teacher and master of The Game, Mystery.

"I love and respect Mystery and learned a lot from him," Mason says of the several years he spent learning from him. According to his students, Mason has mastered The Game. He takes it to a whole new level and teaches the tricks like no one else. His successful teaching has branded him The Game name Sensei.

"What makes Sensei different from the others, like Mystery or Style (Neil Strauss), is that he is a real teacher," says friend and fellow pick-up artist Craig Calvert, who helped bring Mason into The Game.

Within the walls of Project San Francisco's eight-room mansion, complete with a 2,000-square-foot dance floor and stripper pole smudged with prints from who knows what body parts, the most devastatingly effective techniques to mesmerize the pants off women will be traded to those willing to hand over the cash.

Twelve wannabes settle into their places on black leather couches with their notebooks and pens in hand and watch in awe as Mason and three other instructors teach them the mysterious ways of courting women successfully. Divorcees, young single guys and professional businessmen from as far away as Australia are in attendance. Some of them are just looking to get laid, while others are searching for long-term, meaningful relationships.

The weekend is packed full of lectures followed by hours of actual practice of techniques targeted at undoing bad habits and forming new confidence levels. An entire three days are devoted to the first few minutes of meeting a woman, because, according to Mason, if you don't attract a girl within the first three minutes, you've already lost her.

Each miniscule step of approaching a woman is thoroughly dissected. Even the simplest things, like how to stand and the placement of the foot, can take up hours of lecture time and practice. "I call this the Feng Shui of pick-up," says instructor Grant on confidence and body language.

They provide style consultations aimed at helping surface level game, physical appearance, by picking apart wardrobes and making suggestions for improvement. A good pair of shoes and high quality jeans are where it's at. "Women spend a lot of money on expensive jeans and they like guys who do the same," Mason says.

Conversation is a big portion of the workshop, where massive amounts of time are spent developing their routine stack - opening lines, stories and playful teasing (called banter). Banter is a "verbal way of pulling a girl's pigtails on the playground," says seasoned pick-up artist Sean Messenger, 34. "The best way to approach a woman is that you can show her that you are fun."

Students actually go out into the field to practice the new skills they've acquired during the day. Bars in the Marina and SoMa become classrooms at night where they observe their masters in action. "I've never seen someone be so good at dancing and flirting at the same time," says one student while watching instructor Grant at work. By the end of the night, one teacher has effortlessly gotten phone numbers from several attractive women, and Messenger is in the back of the bar lip-locked with a hottie.

Joe Villanueva*, who completed PickUp 101's "Art of Attraction" in July, says, "All of this crazy stuff has happened. I mean, the social circles I have built alone are rad." But he admits that it takes commitment to practice and go out to really improve on a long-term basis or become as good as his teachers.

Struass and other original pick-up artists had no idea The Game and the business subculture would become such a phenomenon. "We never had any idea that it would be so huge with hundreds of thousands of guys," he says. He thinks it's the beginning of a men's self-help movement that's years in the making compared to similar women's factions. "Just pick up a Cosmo," says Strauss. "There has been a culture of advice for women years in the making."

Mason is happy with his growing business and is in the process of expanding to offer more courses and materials for his increasing clientele. In the meantime, he's very proud of the help he's been giving to the average Joes, or in some cases, not-so-average Joes, of our society. "Everywhere I go. I see my students talking to pretty women," Mason says triumphantly.

See the Pickup 101 workshop schedule here.

Related Pickup 101/Lance Mason links:
Watch Live Pickup Videos

posted by Donovan at 2:10 PM Dating Advice for Men


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have a handful of male friends who tried Lance Mason's PickUp101 Course and were extremely disappointed in the results. These men were already high caliber, well put together, intelligent, attractive and successful men, looking to get some tips on how to be more marketable to the ladies. They thought the service overall was mediocre and didn't learn anything new about how to socialize with women since their preteen years. Their overall impression of Lance was that, at best, he didn't really have that much of a clue about women at all. According to their candid feedback, the so called lessons Lance taught couldn't impress any self respecting REAL woman of substance aside from the typical insecure and younger bar fly variety.

Two thumbs way down!"

11:11 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Donovan said...

I'll get Sean to comment on this one. Try giving examples, I've only heard good things.

Ok, I've got to stop you there. Preteen years? WTF, who knew how to talk to girls, PRETEENS?

With all due respect, Lance is highly clued in with women. Obviously. The photo's I've seen, wow.

8:38 AM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Sean said...

Hey man, thanks for the candid feedback. We really do appreciate any and all comments we can get to help us make the courses better for our students.

Just a couple of questions for you, if you can indulge me.

Did your friends take Art of Attraction or Art of Rapport weekend workshops? If so, when did they take them?

We are constantly evolving and getting better at teaching, which is not to say that programs weren't good two years ago, but we have learned so much about how to teach what we know, that the value is even better now.

One of the biggest improvements we've made with the program is in getting guys to follow-up and maintain the changes they make during workshops weekends. As anyone who has done any intense personal development work knows, you get a big boost right after training, but it's hard to keep it up.

We have programs now that make sure these changes stick, and that's one thing we are very proud of.

I really appreciate you sharing this with me. Thanks.

12:01 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't ask my male friends which courses they specifically took, so can't comment on that. But it's a fact that they were unimpressed with the overall service, not to mention Lance Mason's facade. What did they call him again? A joke!?!

That's great to hear that you are constantly evolving and getting better at teaching Sean. And a plus that you've only heard good things about the service Donovan. I can't comment on that either, since I've only heard poor reviews.

Good luck!

12:18 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Sean said...

Thanks man.

I would love to know more about this, so we can figure out what may not have worked for your friends. I know that some guys who try our approach, which relies very heavily on practice and physical presence, and less on theory and scripts than other companies, have some trouble making the switch, but even that we've gotten better at.

Please tell your friends to send me an email at so we can see if there's anything we can do to improve their results. We really pride ourselves on making sure the changes really work, so I'd hate to think they didn't get what they should have for all the effort they put in.

Me and Lance and everyone at PickUp101 is in this for real. No jokes. No tricks. No games. Just constantly getting better at helping men find what is already cool and fun and sexy about them, and learning how to share it with the women they want so they can have the relationships they want.

It's not easy, but it's our quest. And we're getting there... just a few billion more men to go! :-)

1:06 PM, June 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sean, thank you for offering your contact information for my friends to get in touch with you. However, it would be a complete waste of their time to contact you at this point, since they personally considered your 'Sensei' and services to be a sham and entirely ineffective. Since the disappointment of taking your class, they have, by their own means, met and established high quality relationships with women. Perhaps, if they weren't so busy developing these relationships, you could expect a response from them. Regardless, I will send them your contact information should they feel compelled to contact you.

I thank you for your time. These forums are a great resource for interested individuals to voice their opinions on these types of services. I look forward to posting their opinion on your services of future discussion boards. Thanks again for the opportunity!

3:22 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Sean said...

That's cool. As long as they have relationships with women that make them happy, that's all we can ask for.

No teacher, no matter how good, can get his message to everyone. I know that I learned a lot from Lance, not only because he knows more than anyone else I know about women, but also because he cares about helping men. That's why I'm working so hard to keep getting this message to guys, and to improve the teaching we do.

If your friends do have any feedback for me, good or bad, I would love to hear it, so we can keep improving and make sure guys leave our workshops feeling like they did get the changes they were hoping for.

It's funny, because one of the reasons I love teaching this stuff, and why I have any kind of ability to help guys figure out how to attract and keep women is because I FAILED so many times before. I mean, I've had lots of great times and great girlfriends, but I've screwed up literally hundreds of relationships. And now I can look back on each one and see just what I was doing wrong, and help other guys avoid those mistakes.

Teaching is very similar to attracting women. The best is not the one who gets it right from day 1. The best is the one who makes mistakes, but is humble enough to acknowledge them, and then smart enough to learn from them and not make them again.

7:52 PM, June 20, 2006  
Blogger Yukonese said...

Sean, you are so hot!

"The best is the one who makes mistakes, but is humble enough to acknowledge them, and then smart enough to learn from them and not make them again."

This is really the motto that I see in Pickup101 community. The community gets better and better, not only at attracting women but also at presenting who they truly are.

I've been around pickup101 for a year now and have gotten to know almost everyone who have came to take the workshops. I'm having the hardest time believing what the anonymous' guy friends are saying.

"The course was extremely disapponting"?
The last day of each workshop, all I see are the happy, satisfied faces in both students and insturctors. Students all sign up for the next course, become friends with instructors and stay late just to thank the community.

"Lance can't impress any self respecting REAL woman of substance aside from the typical insecure and younger bar fly variety."?
A minute you meet him, you know that is a bullsh*t.
Lance is the best person/teacher/friend I've ever met in my life. He cares about his students, instructors and people around him.

Anyway, I'll try not to get too emotional here...

Sean, Pickup101 must be lucky to have you as an instructor. =)

I support Lance and Pickup101 all the way.

11:38 AM, June 27, 2006  
Anonymous Renegade said...

I guess I've seen different things.

Lance is one of the most congruent PUAs out there. Interesting also about the bar fly girls - Lance often says he meets 90% of his women during the day. These are San Francisco women as well - independent, intelligent and with their shit together.

I'd consider them to be "real women of substance."


2:16 PM, July 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, you're all wrong in my opinion. The guy's a total sleaze ball and a walking STD from what I hear...stear clear ladies!


2:46 PM, August 03, 2006  
Blogger Donovan said...

Doubt it. I met Lance two weekends ago and he's been dating one girl for the last year.

2:54 PM, August 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I know his other girlfriends and they tell a whole different story about his promiscuity. Apparently, he's a liar too, surprise, surprise...


3:29 PM, August 04, 2006  
Blogger Donovan said...

Ok, guys, don't listen to Lance! This guy has wild promiscuity in his life and he teaches men to meet women.

Stop posting stupid comments under different names.

3:32 PM, August 04, 2006  

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