While women scan society for their ideal man, 30 million males worldwide are learning how to become players.
Imagine being the only woman in an auditorium filled with 300 men, all learning how to seduce the maximum number of women in a minimum amount of time. It makes you want to dash out the nearest emergency exit, doesn’t it?
Well, there they were, willing to pay up to $450 to attend the Pick-Up Artist (PUA) World Summit, a conference dedicated to teaching men how to attract more women. This annual Hollywood-based event, held this year on Sept. 25-27 at the Highlands Night Club, consisted of two days of seminars given by dozens of specialists. On the third day, they hit the streets with their “sexpert” teachers to test their newly acquired predatory skills and receive constructive criticism of their performance.
At first glance, this provocative program seems like a sinister underground community of womanizers, but look closer and you’ll find hundreds of socially awkward males, just trying to learn how to be outgoing and more confident. One participant explained, “Women have etiquette school, Cosmopolitan magazine, and an innate social awareness, but most men don’t. PUA is finishing school for men but it’s marketed as a way to get more sex — otherwise it just wouldn’t sell.”
The common theme among PUA teachings is to build self-confidence but the methods of seduction are as varied as the gurus presiding over the event. One such guru was Adam Lyons, voted World’s Best Pick-Up Artist. Lyons’ modus operandi is not to approach women directly, but to keep broadening his social circle by perpetually making acquaintances with friends-of-friends.
In essence, his future conquests present themselves because he’ll invite his female buddies for a night out on the town and ask them to bring their BFFs. It’s a Ponzi scheme turned “Fonzie” scheme. This must be multi-level muff marketing.
PUA World Summit founder, Vince Kelvin is the author of Same Night Sex and creator of Integrated Game, an in-your-face pick-up technique. This energetic Frenchman arms his students with directives to negotiate around the common acts of female resistance.
For example, if a player tries to get a woman’s contact information and she says “I don’t give out my number,” the player must then respond with “That leaves us only one option; psychic communication.” The player is then supposed to grab her hands, smile, and say, “No not that kind of thought, you pervert!” and then spank her playfully.
Whoa! If a stranger did that to me, you’d soon find me on trial for manslaughter and I’d regret nothing.
PUA presenter “Bad Boy” is considered a tour-de-force in the pick-up industry with a formidable success rate. And although he comes across as every mother’s nightmare, Bad Boy maintains that he only targets the night club scene’s horny, end-of-the-night, drunken damsels who want an “insta-f**k” — his own term. This Croatian Casanova feels he’s providing a service for a specific category of women. And to think some people never find their niche!
David Wygant is perhaps the most famous dating expert and says the quality and pitch of a man’s voice is crucial. Wygant said that men should practice reading children’s books, out loud, every night, to learn to sound dynamic, upbeat and cheerful, which he insists is the way a man should tenor when approaching a woman. One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish — kiss me, you fool!
The PUA Summit had a panel of female speakers, composed of attraction consultants, life coaches and fashion stylists. Marni Kinrys, one of the guest speakers at the event, is known in the PUA industry as a highly established “attraction coach” who teaches men about the female mindset. Marni said, “I help the guy get the girl.” She describes herself as a “secret weapon,” a “female translator,” and the “best girlfriend a guy will never date.”
A large percentage of PUA coaches are only in their mid-twenties to early thirties. It seems unlikely they’d have enough wisdom or life experience to warrant such adherent patronage.
Curiously, many of the PUA instructors are married or in committed relationships but justify their pick-up professor status by telling their followers that the PUA is not meant for lifelong membership. The goal is to find their ideal relationship, but in the meantime, sample the merchandise along the way.
I joined the breakout sessions as groups of eager-beaver-retrievers hit Hollywood Boulevard to test-drive their new seduction systems. As I observed some of the PUA instructors in action, their thrill-of-the-hunt lifestyle seemed like a form of adrenalin addiction, approaching woman after woman, unable to satiate their ravenous need for validation. I wasn’t surprised to learn that many successful pick-up artists have been clinically diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
On this day, the professional pick-up artists’ success rate at getting phone numbers wasn’t any better than the amateurs. Women, mostly tourists, were suspicious and impatient.
There is a movement to shift the PUA into a more sophisticated light. Credible instructors in the PUA community are making a push to blur the image of women as the target, and instead place the focus on a man’s “inner game” with different facets of self-improvement such as meditation, exercise, and training to be more assertive and humorous.
“Sexual transmutation” is also encouraged — the practice of avoiding masturbation and then directing that conserved energy towards the cultivation of superior personality traits. Thus begins an organic process … when men feel self-assured, women gravitate towards them. Hallelujah.
A handsome, shy attendee named Rob said that as a varsity football star in college, girls desired him so he never had to develop seduction skills. That blessing became a curse. Nowadays, even though Rob is very good-looking, well dressed, fit, successful and intelligent, he feels he doesn’t possess the where-with-all necessary to work a room — hence his interest in enhancing his social skills through the PUA community.
A good percentage of men in this underground society take part in “crews,” support groups whose members gather to exchange pick-up tips and can voice their insecurities in a non-judgmental environment. Crews also help each other as “wing men” in the field, either by observing their peers during the act of the pick-up and critiquing technique, or by working as a team to make the player look more desirable to the target.
PUA tricks of the trade include using a “neg,” which is a backhanded compliment meant to shake a woman’s confidence, thereby making her more open to influence and seduction. For example, a player will approach a woman and say, “I like your blond hair but you’d look better as a brunette.”
Another attraction technique is DHV (Demonstrating High Value). Rather than telling a woman how impressive he is, the player sets up his environment to reflect his status. For instance, by getting friendly with bartenders and club managers, the player develops a rapport that will get him special treatment when he walks in. He’ll be singled out of the crowd and catch a woman’s eye.
Yes, the PUA teachings can seem manipulative but if the evolving PUA industry succeeds in propagating a refined route for men to become successful suitors, perhaps men and women will start interacting on more harmonious frequencies. Lance Mason, founder of PickUp 101 maintains he doesn’t teach people to be sleazy pick-up artists — he teaches people to be cool guys with lots of people in their lives.
Being approached by a man who knows what he is doing, and who does it well, is a beautiful experience. Maybe some of these gurus are teaching men to provide women not with what sometimes works to get us into bed, but what we want to get us into bed.
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk down the street knowing that everywhere you turn, men would know how, and when to talk to us? Sounds like paradise to me.
Copyright © Barbara Bloom/2010 Singular Communications, LLC.