The New York Times ran an article about pick-up artists and their trade. The article is full of terms like AFC (Average Frustrated Chump), neg (a comment to a woman intended to momentarily lower her self-esteem and create an impression of uninterest), and PUA (Pick-Up Artists), with the main kick being that there are men out there that, believe it or not, will pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars to other men in order to take lessons from them in how to meet women (mostly, I’m assuming, in places like bars and coffee shops). Despite the fact that we’re living in the Information Age, with communication between people being easier now than at any time in human history, some (if not many) men feel so alienated by the opposite sex that they need to pay others really good money to learn how to start a conversation in a bar.
This is not to say that things like online matching services and the like are at all a bad thing; indeed, it’s how I met the CI (Civilizing Influence). Eventually, many of us tire of the bar scene, and places like Match.com can be very helpful in finding people who are like-minded. Same as church/temple groups, clubs, and similar organizations: people with common interests getting together. That’s fine. There’s a difference, however, between emailing someone on EHarmony.com and, say, flying to New York City to take a class in how to do a proper neg in a nightclub. People who take these classes aren’t interested in finding a quality individual with which to have a meaningful relationship; rather, they simply want to get laid. Is there something wrong with that? No. Is it just a little bit pathetic? I think so. It’s the next best thing to befriending a pimp on order to get close to the girls. Whoops-scratch that. It’s renting a pimp, because you pay for it.
Those [pick-up instructors] who manage to earn the respect of their peers through online postings or real-world prowess can make money writing e-books or running workshops. This has given birth to a seduction industry marketed almost entirely through online newsgroups and mailing lists. Some have turned it into a full-time career with six-figure incomes, others into a lucrative sideline allowing them to collect a few thousand dollars here and there.
Six-figure incomes. A few thousand dollars here and there. Holy cow. No wonder the Democrats are angry about tax cuts for the rich.
The fellow above is Mystery, one of the top PUA’s in the business, and the man people pay to learn secrets from. He’s 28 years old, 6′ 5″. Check out the painted fingernails, the hat, the bracelets, and the soul patch: apparently, Mel Gibson got it all wrong in What Women Want. As part of the class he was teaching, he ended up stealing Scott Baio’s girlfriend at a local bar. Not for nothing, but that’s asshole behavior, and combined with the concept of the neg, we end up with the “treat ‘em like shit and they love ya” approach to male-female relationships. Poor Scott: played by the playa.
I’m probably coming off as some kind of puritan here, but this whole “industry” sounds like bullshit to me. The problem is that it works, because nobody does something because he thinks it’s stupid. If it didn’t work, there’d be no industry devoted to it. There are scads and scads of women out there who eat this shit up. I’m just glad I’m no longer driven to meet them. Heck, I’m no different: in my youth, I played the field too, but eventually, I grew out of it. And, working class puke that I am, I never had the money to rent a PUA. So, for all those others who can’t afford black nail polish and a stupid hat, here’s some free advice: learn to love rejection (because why the hell would you care about what some woman who doesn’t even like you thinks about you), treat people you think you’d want to sleep with with respect (because they’ll be nicer to you both in and out of bed if you do), and figure out what you really want before you try to get it (because there are literally thousands of lonely, decent folks out there who want the same things you do, but they’re also burdened with the kind of social baggage created by PUA’s and their students everywhere).
(Thanks to Michele at A Small Victory for the pointer.)