The Problem With Pickup Artists
I started bumping around in the men’s work circles about ten years ago and it’s been during that time that I have met a lot of different guys pushing a lot of different kinds of agendas, most of which are intended to empower males and help them re-establish some identity. It didn’t take long, at all, before I encountered some adult males who self-identified as pickup artists or PUA’s.
When it comes to PUA’s I’m reminded of one of my favorite jokes. “How do you know if someone is a vegan?” The answer, of course, is: “oh don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” The same is definitely true for PUA’s. Don’t worry, you’ll know that they are one or try to be one because they will be sure to tell you. If you’re not familiar with PUA’s they really had their hay day in the early to mid 2000’s and they claim to professionally pickup women. To be fair, some of them actually do and some of them are extremely good at it and they make it a matter of public display to show that they have a lot of skill for talking to and seducing extremely beautiful women. It is true that some of them are seriously good at getting laid even though all of them will tell you that they are when they aren’t.
The most notable PUA is a guy that goes by the name “Mystery.” A few years ago a came across an article about narcissistic personality disorder in a psychology magazine and I was literally taking my morning dump when I saw that the author of the article was using Mystery as a textbook example of narcissism. There’s an entire book that documents the exploits of PUA’s in southern California, if you haven’t read “The Game” by Neil Strauss, it’s an extremely entertaining book and be warned, I’m going to spoil it a little bit here. The book documents Mystery’s downward spiral into total despair. Despite the fact that he is sleeping with the most beautiful women week in and week out, he still found his life empty, without purpose and without hope.
Despite the fact that his life was still empty and miserable the men’s help circles still see a crop of self-identified PUA’s that were popping up in the self-help and personal improvement circles. They talk as though picking up women in clubs is the path to personal greatness and even though I was familiar with pickup and pickup communities, my own experience with these guys taught me some important things about pickup.
They are Inauthentic and Disingenuous
Pickup artists use methods and routines that have been proven to be effective if you want women to feel attraction but these routines are repetitive and canned. Some of it comes in the form of stories that they have fabricated so that they can make themselves seem interesting which is just lying. PUA’s get laid through tactics that are dishonest and manipulative and I take issue with men who get women to sleep with them through manipulation.
Many PUA’s live their routines starting from how they talk and down to how they dress. The entire thing is a gimmick and routine. They have adopted a persona for one purpose and one purpose only, to get laid. All this dishonesty completely undermines a man’s ability to have integrity and if you’re not sure what integrity means or what integrity is I will just say this for now, without integrity you cannot develop real self-esteem or any level of self-respect. I don’t think it’s possible for a man to love himself if he’s manipulating women for sex. I know there are a lot of guys out there that may be thinking, “yeah but the sex!” If that’s all that matters to you and if you believe that will fix you then you are in the wrong place and reading the wrong article.
Their Leaders are Dubious at Best
The PUA that goes by the handle “Mystery” has already been labelled as a likely narcissist. Narcissists are people too but it can be hard to regard them that way when you watch them manipulate and exploit people without hesitation or remorse. In my own experience, I have had fairly extensive interactions with a self-proclaimed leader of the local pickup community. I’ll just say that I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to have anything to do with him. He is so blatantly dishonest and manipulative. I have watched him, time and again, warp and distort the words and actions of others and his ability to gather his mindless henchmen is even a little bit scary. I don’t clinically diagnose people in my personal life but I am certain that he is also a narcissist. He makes his money by promising other men that he can teach them pickup and get them laid and I personally know a dozen or so adult males that are angry at him because he took their money and didn’t deliver his promised results. One of these adult men confronted me directly, as though I had something to do with it.
I realized a few years ago that this is par for the course and I’ve never met any of these guys that I thought was on the level. In my line of work there’s a word for people that seek others who are vulnerable and take advantage of them and that word is “predator.” Even Mystery admits, openly, that one of his tactics is to put women down in social situations and deliberately diminish their social status as a way to manipulate and dominate them. This is not behavior that you see from men who live powerfully and authentically. They get no use and no value out of putting others down as a means to get what they want including sex with beautiful women.
They Aren’t About Personal Improvement
I think one of my biggest gripes about PUA’s, other than their predatory behaviors of course, is their attempt to portray themselves as people who are extremely well put together and their attempts to establish themselves as leaders of personal improvement movements. They use their success with women almost like a fast pass of sorts to move to the top of the social food chain. They don’t just want to get laid, they want to trump all the other males and as a side effect they tend to develop social hierarchies and unnecessary competition around them.
I’m arguing these days that males need to stand together. That they need to stop seeing each other as the villains but instead see each other as brothers. PUA’s aren’t good leaders because they don’t build people up, they tear them down and determine the value of other males based on their ability to get laid. Unfortunately, I have found that males have fallen into this type of thinking too often. That you are only valuable as long as you can bed women and PUA’s have exploited this social loophole. These are not men that should be in leadership positions. We should not be following predators because when we do it makes us enablers at best and fellow predators at worst.
A Better Plan
I know there are honest PUA’s out there that aren’t predatory but the most public and aggressive ones are what I’m talking about. I completely understand the allure of their ways as I was highly intrigued by pick up when I was younger and more naive. There are those out there, including myself, that believe that the best women out there will be attracted to you when you strive to become the best version of yourself. You will naturally draw in more quality people in general, including women, when you dedicate yourself to your own confidence, personal power and authenticity.
My other sticking point is how PUA’s are overly concerned over social hierarchies. They just care too much about what other people think. They are immersed in their determination to impress literally everybody and in my world that is giving away your personal power. I stand firmly that living powerfully and authentically allows respect to others and I don’t believe that we are being our best selves when we use others as a vehicle for power and status. True power really is living authentically. Living on your own terms, whatever they might be. You must learn to like yourself first and everything else tends to follow.