What comes to mind when you hear the words “Pickup Artist”?
Do you think of a 20-something male scouring bars at night, dressed in attention-getting clothes and dispensing pickup strategies that are unconventional at best? Or, do you think of a douchey guy who trolls about looking for girls to fuck so he can brag about it to his cronies on some misogynistic PUA forum? Or, perhaps you think of a guy who enjoys meeting women and has developed a few techniques to attract them and succeed with them…
So which of these Pickup Artist examples is actually correct? Answer: they all are. PUAs are a heterogeneous group of (mostly) men, some of whom are great guys who like women and want to teach other men how to meet them, and others who don’t know the difference between being a confident leader and promoting misogyny and sexual assault. Unfortunately, it’s the bad ones that get all the press.
A PUA gets [Bad] Press
Pickup artistry made recent news when a PUA [I’ve never heard of] sought to raise money on Kickstarter, a place to get funding for your creative or entrepreneurial endeavors. Some of his techniques were reflective of the usual “be an alpha male” crap you’ll see from some PUAs, but he went even further than that. For example:
“Decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”
“Pull out your cock and put her hand on it. Remember, she is letting you do this because you have established yourself as a LEADER. Don’t ask for permission, GRAB HER HAND, and put it right on your dick.”
This [lousy] advice, which essentially promotes contact without consent and a general disrespect for women’s boundaries, got this dude kicked off of Kickstarter. The entire thing became news, generating lots of talk about PUAs, what they do, and whether or not it’s a good thing. You can read the article that called out this PUA, and Kickstarter, here. Kickstarter apologized and banned any and all projects involving pickup artistry or seduction.
Female Pickup Artists?
So fast forward a few days: Kickstarter rejects a proposal for a seduction guide from pickup artist Arden Leigh and two coauthors Amy Van Doran and Madame Rosebud. Yes, women – women who want to teach pickup and seduction methods. Just as there are male PUAs who dispense good advice, there are women who do as well. I happen to know Amy Van Doran – a Brooklyn-based matchmaker and amazing woman. You can read more about them and what happened here. In essence, Kickstarter appeared to do what many others (including dating experts) have done: condemn all pickup artistry.
To some extent, you can see why. With techniques like what I quoted above, and some of the awful advice that comes from some PUAs, it’s easy to dismiss pickup and seduction arts. I’ve done my share of lurking on PUA sites and have been pretty disgusted at some of the misogynistic attitudes and/or stupid advice; however, I’ve also seen some sites that dispense good advice and help men to develop the confidence and skills to pick up women.
Pickup artistry isn’t for everyone. I wrote Changing Your Game as an alternative to PUA methods for men, and I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the book. But there are PUA experts out there who do offer worthwhile pickup and dating advice.