This week I did a deep dive into pickup artist culture and wow, there’s a lot to unpack. For those unfamiliar — pickup artists (PUA) are part of a movement whose goal is to seduce women and get laid.

The Rise of Pickup Artists

Since the 70s, there has been an onslaught of self-proclaimed seduction gurus writing books and leading workshops about how to land the ladies. But it wasn’t until 2005 when Neil Strauss aka “Style” (it’s a thing to give yourself a weird ass nickname to standout in the PUA community) published an exposé of the PUA community titled The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists that PUA really came into the mainstream. His book became a New York Times bestseller and inspired a reality tv show on VH1, which starred the so-called master of all pickup artists, Erik “Mystery” von Markovik.

How to Play the “Game”

Sensuali Blog: Pickup Artists
Mystery (in the top hat) and Style (in the brown suit) hit the town with their PUA minions. I don’t know what I miss more about the early aughts — the grainy photo quality or the questionable fashion choices. (Photo Source: pualib.com)

Style, Mystery and their gang of PUAs work on their “inner game” — confidence, self-esteem, and understanding of psychology — and their “outer game” — social skills, fitness, and style — in the same way an artist hones his craft. I’m all for self-improvement and if this was all being a PUA was about, I could get down.

But life is never so simple. To really get into the whole “this is a game” mentality, dehumanizing terms are doled out. For instance a group of three women becomes a “three set” and the woman who most intrigues you is dubbed “the target.”

From there, mind games are played to win over women and “close the deal.” While much of this stuff is fairly innocent (i.e wear a wild hat as a conversation starter) and targeted towards clueless men with no interpersonal skills who could use any leg up they could get, something more sinister lurks beneath the surface.

One approach to get your target’s attention is by ignoring her and engaging with everyone else in the group so as to make her jealous. Another tactic called negging involves giving a woman a backhanded compliment to lower her confidence and make her more susceptible to your seduction. An example would be, “Nice nails — are they real?”

Analysis of Pickup Artist Culture

Sensuali Blog: The Game of Push and Pull
At what point does a man hitting on a woman go from pure and heartfelt to performative and manipulative? (Photo Source: Katerina Holmes)

Regardless of how easily a woman brushes off such advances, the PUA ethos is hella shady in my book. This method has essentially been created by men to trick women into sleeping with them so that they can rack up an impressive body count. I know on some level, heteronormative dating is centered around games of push and pull.

The second a man comes on too strong is the second he loses his chance altogether. Whether that comes down to biological instincts (i.e stalker vibes puts my safety at risk) or socialization (someone so eager must not have many options and what does that say about him?), I don’t take fault with men who play coy when it comes to pursuing the ladies.

But to be in cahoots with some brotherhood of players with whom you use hookups to keep score is not only deceptive but pathetic. No human being — regardless of gender — deserves to be reduced down to a sexual conquest. The fact that these guys share different pickup lines with one another and go around asking women the same questions over and over again makes this whole thing even lamer.

If a guy needs a playbook to get through a conversation, he is not worthy of my time. I get that social anxiety is a thing and sometimes it can be helpful to have some bullet points on hand in case the conversation lulls, but using the same few lines on multiple women is unoriginal and lazy.

Closing Thoughts

Sensuali Blog: Become Friends with Women
Trying to get more pussy? How about just befriending women and learning to understand the female perspective. (Photo Source: Pavel Danilyuk)

If you are a man who has trouble getting laid, maybe you would be better served making friends with women and getting their perspective on what makes a man desirable, rather than surrounding yourself with a bunch of other dudes who also struggle to get laid. Or, you could fairly compensate a woman for her time by hiring an escort for the night.

At the end of the day, most women just want a man who sees them as a unique human being, not just another piece of ass. They want a man who treats her well in a non-nice guy™ kind of way — aka he does kind things without having expectations around what he is entitled to for doing them. Style and charisma will certainly work to your advantage too, but you know what won’t? A history of being involved in the PUA community.

Now that I’ve gotten my moral judgments out of the way, I would like to take a minute to pay homage to the highly problematic yet comedically genius reality show that captured the PUA movement at its peak: The Pickup Artist.

If you are looking to escape from the chaos that has been 2022, I recommend rolling yourself a fat joint and binge watching with friends immediately. Not only will it make you feel way better about yourself (merely because you are not any of the people on the show), but it will also remind you of how far we’ve come as a society over the last 15 years.

Culture
Dating
Feminism
Jules

Jules

Author

Based in Brooklyn, Jules has dedicated her twenties towards harnessing her pussy power, exploring the muse, whore, and wild woman archetypes along the way. When not blogging, you can find her sweating the toxins out in a hot yoga class or sipping a matcha latte at a pretentious coffee shop, whilst she scribbles away in her journal.


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