I wouldn’t call them ‘pickup artists’ I argue the term ‘pickup scientist’ is more appropriate. To these men, that is what seduction is – a science. Speaking with a new woman is not so much an interaction, as it is an experiment. Similar methods are used: If she says this, reply with this. If she touches her face like this, do this. It’s cold, it’s calculated. And, whether fortunately or unfortunately, it works. But it’s not a fix-all solution.
The Pickup Artists ‘Community’
I had been observing the self-titled ‘pickup community’ since I was 15. As an awkward, introverted, prefers-books-over-sports kind of kid, being able to read social interaction like words on a page came in handy. It gave me false confidence that thankfully turned in to true confidence as the years went on. And now, 7 years after reading Neil Strauss’s The Game, I was going to my first pickup artists workshop (albeit, as an observer, not a participant).
‘Yeah bro, worked like clockwork. I just said, ‘those pants are so tight, can you even fit anything else in them?’, then just pulled her over to me. She loved it.’
This was a leading example of the conversation I heard as 15 men, aged mostly in their mid-late 20’s, crowded a small elevator heading up to what would be an even more packed hotel room. I couldn’t help but chuckle and wonder, ‘what does he say when she’s wearing a dress?’ The men around me were average in appearance, average in height, but far from average in attitude. Each swapping stories of ‘pulls’ (PUA term for sleeping with a woman) from previous weeks, and giddy with excitement at the thought of the opportunity to learn more.
Pickup Artists Getting It Wrong
Prior to the event, attendees were encouraged not to approach women outside the building, nor alert staff of their presence at this event as this may lead to some ‘unwanted’ attention. Sounds suspicious, I know, but I couldn’t blame the event organisers for their anxiety. Nearly four years have passed since Real Social Dynamics’ dating coach Julien Blanc dominated headlines in Australia and across the world for his notorious pickup artist antics. According to critics, Blanc was encouraging what was understood to be ‘rape culture’. Other buzzwords such as ‘patriarchy’, ‘hegemony’, and ‘toxic masculinity’ peppered the headlines. As a near-disciple of Blanc’s at the time I could not understand the media’s misunderstanding of a man – whom I had never met – had taught me to believe in myself, understand my worth, and become a social everyman. In retrospect, I could understand why it looked bad from the outsider’s perspective. Blanc often shared stories of thrusting women’s heads into his crouch, among other antics. There was nothing wholesome nor healthy in his approach to male-female relationships. Julien Blanc had become the Icarus of the pickup artists world – he had been too brave, flown too close to the sun, and he paid dearly.
Thankfully for pickup aficionados around the world (not to mention the RSD company), Blanc restructured and repurposed his content, offering a more holistic opinion on dating. He was humbled, and through a series of spiritual enlightenment, RSD Julien offers courses and advice on living a life that is grounded, meditative, and positive. A common theme among this content is: focus not on the prize (the girl) but on yourself. The prize shall come in time.
Getting It Right
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck author Mark Manson, before his worldwide critical acclaim, wrote a book titled Models: Attract Women Through Honesty and echoes Blanc’s new perspectives. Manson’s book is still, technically speaking, a guide to picking up girls. But he reiterates time and time again that there are no tricks, gimmicks, or one-liners that will attract your partner of choice – only honesty:
“The catch is that everything you say must be as authentic as possible. There’s no shortcut. There are no tricks. You say it because you mean it and mean it because you say it. The more nervous it makes you, the better because it means you’re being authentic and making yourself vulnerable.”
In my limited, yet laborious time in the dating world I agree fully with Manson’s views. This book allowed me to move away from what I consider to be an odd and inauthentic pickup artist community. I shall always be thankful for this community and the advice they produce for it encourages men to take action within their lives. Often the desire to attract others is the catalyst for greater change in a man’s life. They soon realise that to lose those extra pounds, eating healthy and going to the gym will help. Women appreciate fashion and a wholesome home, so they begin to refine their cultural tastes. Women also prefer the provider, so a focus on career development is an advantage. The domino effect can continue indefinitely.
My highest criticism of the pickup artists community is this: men find themselves aching and longing for the approval of strangers they’ve never met. For them, rejection is a sign of failure and something that can and must be addressed. Every woman should desire them – if not, something is wrong with the science. The end result of this mess is a broken man, spending his weekends walking down city streets at four in the morning after a ‘successful lay’. But, ‘she was an easy 10/10!’, he’ll say to his friends. Yet, something is missing. A genuine connection or confidence cannot be created through lines and gimmicks and this man, emotionally or otherwise, is the same man he was many months before – he just wears a nicer watch and can bench press 100kg.
Many successful businessmen often tell their young proteges to stop focusing on the money and to channel their passion into their business to create success. The money will come. Success with women, as I have experienced (and now theorise), is no different. Focus on yourself, your life, and your success – completely and fully.
Develop your character, your confidence and your career. The women, in time, will come.