Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dispatches from My Brief and Terrifying Forray into The Pick Up Artist Corner of the Web

[Image text: Some of the "stars" of VH1s
short lived TV show about PUAs]
So, someone recently asked me about pick up artists (PUAs).


Sorry, had to get that out of the way, because I had (happily) forgotten that PUAs were a thing. But because of this reminder, I did a little research and Google led me to some awesome sites and forums (awesome said with the most possible sarcasm that you can imagine.) I'm totally not linking to them, because why give them traffic or draw attention to myself? But you can just Google around and find this stuff for yourself, if you want.

But yeah, as I mentioned, I had totally forgotten that PUAs existed. I used to be more familiar with it all. As I've blogged about before, I watched a lot of trash VH1 shows when I had cable, which, unfortunately included "The Pickup Artist" and the atrocious Mystery. WHOA HOLD ON. In getting that Wikipedia link about the show, I just learned the first season was filmed in THE VERY CITY I NOW RESIDE IN AND LOVE?! That breaks my heard a little.

Sorry, I'm back on point. The distractions are thick with this topic because it's exceedingly crappy.

So, I watched that show back then with some morbid curiosity, and despite being a feminist at the time, the most I did was roll my eyes at it all instead of feeling the intense rage that consumes me about this topic, now. I knew that crap like "negging" was misogynistic and just down right assholish, but I didn't give it much thought. I was more like, "Oh, those nerd guys are painfully awkward. Ha." and I moved on, not even really noticing when the show didn't get a third season.

But on this new tour into pick up artistry through their websites, I can't help but notice, with complete and full attention, how deeply problematic it all is. Pick up artistry, at its root, all depends on two basic things:

1) Hypermasculinity which encourages men to become "alphas" who control every aspect of a dating and hooking up. Here's a great snippet [tw: rape can skip this paragraph.]
If you allow a woman to make the rules she will resent you with a seething contempt even a rapist cannot inspire. The strongest woman and the most strident feminist wants to be led by, and to submit to, a more powerful man.
You can even take "tests" which attempt to point out how worthless you are as a man if you don't behave like an "alpha." Here's how they describe men who don't display "alpha" behavior:
  • You actively repulse girls. Your kind will usher forth the sexbot revolution.
  • Lesser beta. You don’t immediately disgust girls; they just don’t notice you. With much painful effort you can redeem yourself. 
  • Classic beta. You catch some girls’ eyes, usually the ones you don’t want. Try not to make fatty fucking a lifestyle.
2) Viewing interactions with women as "The Game" and trying to ensure that the man maintains the upper hand and control in literally every interaction. This mentality is not just limited to dating and hook ups. They also encourage men to carry this mindset into relationships (Google "relationship game PUA.") They advise things like:
  • Never say I love you first.
  • Make the mission, not your woman, the priority.
  • Don't play by her rules.
  • Resist the temptation to spill your guts out, even when she asks.
  • Make her jealous/flirt with other women in front of her
As I'm sure you can see, this mentality flies in the face of every good piece of advice about healthy relationships. It literally asks men to go against their actual feelings in the relationship and instead stay in their mind, coldly calculating every move. It advocates for a hidden agenda, hiding your true feelings, and the exertion of control by manipulation.

In other words, it's seriously fucked up. And really, that's all I've learned about pick up artistry from this forray. It's perverse. Here's some other stuff to Google so you can keep an eye out that some douchebag isn't trying to "game" you or a friend:

-Demonstrations of higher value
-Comfort building
-Compliance test
-Pre Lay Relaxation Mode

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  1. There are also forums devoted to men who are frustrated PUA artists - disillusioned about The Game and wondering why it hasn't turned their life around. Some of them still don't understand why they aren't happier or "getting results."

    Another thing with PUAs: women are interchangeable. To some extent, so are men. If there's only one script to follow, and one way for women to react to that script, then you've said good-bye to the beauty and unpredictability of individual differences (except for extremely broad categories like betas and fatties). But individual differences don't just go away. They're always there, frustrating the PUA who wants a set script to follow.

  2. For a thorough examination of PUA culture from a feminist point of view, I highly recommend the book "Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser" by Clarisse Thorn. You can get it on Amazon, Smashwords, or pretty much any online ebook seller.

  3. I recently learned of the existence of PUA culture after seeing a (to me) horrifying video shot surreptitiously by a PUA at a table outside a book store. This man's bullying behavior toward his intended victim made me so angry I started thinking about ways to expose this guy and use the disturbing video to try arousing popular anger against him. If anyone here would like to watch the video, please let me know here and I will send you the URL.

  4. Continuing on the subject of the YouTube video, I have also realized that it perfectly illustrates the transition from pickup-type interaction to rape-type interaction. I think this is an important moment, one which I don't think I've seen on any other video. That is why I'm trying to get feminists to watch it, hoping to find people who see the abusive behavior as clearly as I feel I do.


This blog has strict comment moderation intended to preserve a safe space. Moderation is managed solely by the blog author. As such, even comments made in good faith will be on a short delay, so please do not attempt to resubmit your comment if it does not immediately appear. Discussion and thoughtful participation are encouraged, but abusive comments of any type will never be published. The blog author reserves the right to publish/delete any comments for any reason, at her sole discretion.

TL;DR Troll comments are never published, so don't waste your time.