Thursday, January 27, 2011

Being a Pick-Up Artist

I know I'm rather late with this one, since Neil Strauss' now infamous book The Game came out about a thousand years ago. Guess I better get on the Tiger Mom's book before it becomes dreadfully last year. In any case, I have finally read at least part of The Game and feel I can debunk this whole "pick-up artist" business pretty easily, so that's what I'm going to do, pass√© or not.

For those who don't know, The Game describes the author's experience joining a community of men who read literature and attend seminars on how to pick up women. Some of the techniques associated with this community include "negging," which is putting a girl down in front of her friends so that she feels she needs to win your approval, and being "cocky and funny," which is pretty much like it sounds. As I have just been advised, the author concludes that these techniques are not the key to happiness, but the part I read indicated that there is a fair amount of success associated with using them.

Obviously, I am in no position to test any of these practices myself. However, it seems to me that this is sort of like the male version of a 90s-era women's relationship advice book called The Rules. That book sets out tenets which, if followed, will allegedly get you the relationship of your dreams. The tenets include "don't ever approach a man first," "don't call him first and don't always return his calls," "don't accept a Saturday night date after Wednesday," and the like.

I understand why this type of advice sells. It's because it provides a seemingly easy-to-follow set of guidelines for people who have no real insight as to why their relationships don't succeed. However, here is the problem with The Rules: while there are certainly men who will aggressively pursue a woman even when they are getting nothing more than a totally passive response from her, these men are known in common parlance as "weirdos." So if you really go for weirdos, you might do well with The Rules.

Likewise, if you really go for "frat boy groupies," you might have a lot of success being a pick-up artist. Although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit jealous of how the frat boy groupie's lithe body typically belies her beer-drinking aptitude, I can at least commend myself on knowing there is never any good reason to wear a thong under sweatpants. However, if this is your taste in girls, far be it from me to question you.

If, on the other hand, you want to attract a girl who is not a frat boy groupie, you are in luck because I'm going to tell you how to do it. But be prepared, because what you have to do will probably be far, far more difficult for you than negging or being cocky and funny.

To attract a girl who is not a frat boy groupie, you have to listen to Carole King. And you have to like it.


  1. Jennie,

    Interesting and thoughtful post. I'm not sure we read the same book. The main message of The Game was that following a "pickup artist" lifestyle will *not* lead to a "relationship of your dreams." The author ends up in a monogamous relationship in which he does not have sex for several weeks in the beginning. He is much happier than when he was "playing the field."

    A female friend recommended the book to me for dating advice. She wanted me to read it not so that I would become a PUA and pick up girl after girl, but that I would gain insights into female psychology and flirting.

    You can deny it, but many of the techniques in The Game work for all kinds of girls, even smart and sophisticated ones. Being "cocky-funny" works. And doing it with a smarter girl is more fun--that's what brings about "witty banter" that girls gush over, and I enjoy as well. Girls and guys show subtle signs of interest that one can be taught to pick up on. And NLP is real; there's always a subtext to conversation. At the very least, using positive words creates positive feelings.

    My dad loves Carole King, so I guess it worked for him.

    -M (cont.)

  2. As for The Rules, some of them may be good advice, some may be irrelevant. But I will tell you: if he doesn't call, he's just not that into you. 100% true.

    Finally, you'll appreciate this:


  3. Haha! You totally caught me. I didn't read the whole thing because I was like "ok, I get the idea." I actually just edited this post a bit after reading your comment. See, this is what studying English literature at the undergraduate level makes you think you can do.

    It may work on all kinds of girls, I couldn't say. However, I think the premise that any "technique" will work on all or even most girls is flawed. As for The Rules, what I'm saying is that we shouldn't be overly simplistic with these things. You may think you're protecting yourself by never expressing your interest to anyone, but the thing is, if you do that, nobody who is normal will make an effort with you because normal people need positive signals.

  4. Urgh. I hate playing games with things, and I hate when I can see someone is doing it to me. My only tactic for picking up girls is smiling across the room, then getting too shy to speak to her. x

  5. " have to listen to Carole King. And you have to like it." <- This explains a lot.
    The only "Rule" I can think of as advice for women is this: Bring Cake.

  6. I could see how this book would help people in the sense that it would make them actually talk to girls. Rather than getting shy and avoiding them, they'd actually be engaging in conversation trying to follow these "tips". Even if they're saying goofy things, actually talking to people is bound to increase their success rate.

    I also have to imagine that saying, "Baby, I listen to TONS of Carole King" isn't going to meet with a lot of success.

  7. Haha! No, I would agree using the Carole King thing as an actual line wouldn't meet with much success at all. Suggesting that was sort of a joke but sort of not, because I think if you can appreciate Carole King you probably have some sensitivity, which is good.

    Hey, if people are afraid to talk to girls, then I suppose anything that helps them out is good. But nobody should make the mistake of thinking they can learn to make tons and tons of girls fall hopelessly in love with them if they can just master being cocky and funny.

  8. You make a very valid point. I totally agree about the mistake of being overly simplistic.

    But being cocky and funny does wonders for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. It also accounts for pretty much all of Vince Vaughn's appeal. No, it won't make girls "fall hopelessly in love." That's not the point. Being cocky and funny facilitates initial attraction, that's all.

    The Game and The Rules are for generating interest in the short term. One cannot be cocky-funny or flaky/hard-to-get forever and expect a healthy relationship, or even someone to get to know "the real you." If a relationship is like driving a car (yeah, I'm a guy so I'll make the analogy), the techniques in The Game teach a guy how to turn on the ignition and step on the gas. If you're running a drag race, that's all you need to get to the "finish line." But if a guy needs to navigate a windy road in unknown territory (or curves, hehe), "running game" will lead to a spectacular crash.

    I will admit that if a girl plays a little hard-to-get in the beginning, it makes me more interested.

  9. @Eric: Just thought of this now. You know, I don't think the worst part of the line you wrote is the part about Carole King. It was pretty much all over right from "Baby."

    @Anonymous M: I question the soundness of using fictional movie characters as models for any kind of behaviour, because the world they inhabit is, well, fictional. Captain Jack Sparrow can manipulate everyone around him because that is the world of the movie, not because it's something a real person could learn to do. But, you have all got me thinking. I will be writing another post on this topic soon.

  10. My understanding of The Rules was that they are for weeding out guys who are serious and guys who are just out for some fun. Also I feel like the Rules was written long enough ago that some don't apply simply because what is socially acceptable for girls to do has changed. Someone should re-write them.
    I don't play games if a guy likes me and I like him back I just go with it and if he starts being a dick it's time to find someone better.

  11. Well, I think that's what the authors of "The Rules" say is the idea, but the reality is probably more that you would appear to be turning away everyone, including guys who are serious. I personally would try to forget about someone who was only being semi-responsive to me no matter how serious my interest was, and I assume guys are the same in that way. Also, The Rules came out in the 90s, which isn't that long ago considering the feminist movement really took place in the 70s.

    But anyway, none of that probably matters for you since it sounds like you've got the right idea. :)

  12. I love games! I both use them and appreciate a man who knows how to play them. After all, games make life fun. They aren't antithetical to sincerity- at least not always. Some people, myself included, just prefer a more playful approach to romance. Playing games reminds me of flirting in elementary school-- you push her because you like her, she acts upset and tells on you because she likes you... You both know you like each other, but a tussle on the playground is a more fun way to get to the point than him asking you out in front of the whole class (not to mention, it provides more cushioning for those who get rejected- if you don't respond to his shove, he can move on to the next girl relatively unscathed; if you deny his date request, the shame is inescapable and the whole 'i pushed her cause she's stupid' excuse is totally unusable).

  13. I'm not saying "don't flirt," "don't flirt playfully," or "ask a girl out in front of the whole class." I'm saying "don't think you can manipulate someone into wanting you" and "don't think there is something you can say or some way you can act that will make practically anyone become attracted to you right away." Considering practically none of us had a relationship in elementary school, I think we all learned the hard way that whatever we were doing then didn't work.

  14. Pick up artists have been successful in identifying the tactics that can exponentially increase your success with getting laid.

    Unfortunately, long term relationships are out of the picture as the individual using pua tactics must continue to live as someone they truly are not. How alienating to live a lie, pretending to be someone you are not.

    I have documented my foray into the pick up artist world at

  15. Maybe, I don't know. But you will probably be getting laid mostly by girls who are drunk or crazy, which is probably why it won't help you get a long-term relationship.

    You can see the post I wrote right after this one on that, right here.

  16. Jennie,

    You'd find that most guys would respond well to a woman winking at them while wearing a push up bra and a tight sweater. Do you not agree? Well, game is the guy equivalent of doing that.

  17. Most guys would respond well to that???? Now I see where I've been going wrong all this time!