Pickup artists aren’t a particularly likeable bunch. Normally they’re self-described ‘nerds’ who wouldn’t normally be attractive to women, who claim to have discovered the ‘secrets’ to understanding female psychology. They then use these techniques to effectively trick women into bed and to brag to other guys online about how many women they’ve bedded. The particularly cock-sure ones will go as far as to claim that they can get ‘any woman’ to give them their number, married or no.
So this is very annoying, misogynistic and seedy. It manages to come across as both lame and cocky, which is a tricky combination to pull off. What’s more, the smarter women will still see through these techniques which leads to pretty serious embarrassment for the guys involved.
The problem is that it does seem to work to some extent and so for guys who are a bit too shy to approach women, or who aren’t blessed with George Clooney’s looks or George Clooney’s bank account, it can be appealing.
This creates a catch 22. How do you learn from these pickup artists without becoming them? How do you apply pickup techniques without being seedy?
Nasty Examples of Pickup Techniques
The answer is simple: you take the good and ignore the bad. Because the world of pickup artists certainly does have a lot of good and a lot of bad to offer.
Let’s start by looking at some of the bad techniques that you want to avoid, just so you can see why it’s not a good idea to copy these guys in and out.
The idea behind ‘negging’ is that you unconsciously send signals that you are higher on the pecking order than the woman you’re trying to impress. You’re trying to show her that she’d be lucky to have you – essentially by blowing out her candle to make yours shine bright. To do this, you subtly insult her while dressing it up as a compliment. For instance, you say something like ‘Most women would look fat in that dress but you just about pull it off’.
This is a nasty technique because the whole idea is that you’re trying to knock an attractive woman’s self-esteem. Nice. What’s more, it’s so popular these days as to be transparent. Most women will know what you’re doing right away and they’ll think you’re a loser for it.
Pre-selection means making yourself look super-hot by carefully choosing the company you keep. Specifically, you’re going to surround yourself with hot female friends and a few socially-awkward beta males. This makes you the alpha and it makes you look like you must be desirable and fun to be around for women.
The problem? You’re basically choosing who you hang out with entirely to try and get laid. This is how you lose friends.
Kino-Escalation and Sexual Dialing
This is particularly unpleasant because of the implications it carries. The idea is that you’re going to gently and subtle touch the woman you’re talking to. It starts with a flirtatious slap on the arm and moves to a romantic moving of the hair. Sexual dialing means you take it one step further and start getting a bit ‘sexual’ with it, by lightly touching her inner thigh, her stomach, her neck.
Not only is this highly inappropriate but the advice that pickup artists follow is to not stop until she says something to express her discomfort. That’s awkward and unpleasantly intimidating. What’s worse, the idea is that you’re trying to ‘unlock’ her to the point where she’ll allow more touching. This is tantamount to harassment and it’s frankly vile.
It gets worse! ‘The Skinner’ is a technique named after the psychologist who discovered this form of operant conditioning. Basically the idea is that you provide some form of reward every time an attractive woman displays a behavior that you deem positive. Thereby, you create an association and eventually get to the point where she associates ‘good behavior’ with reward and good feelings. In other words, you’re trying to train her like a dog.
Not only is this clearly wrong for reasons I don’t need to explain but it’s also not likely to be effective. It’s based on a misunderstanding of the science: it would take far too long and too many instances using a clear connection between one action and one powerful reward for this to actually work. So yeah…
Good Things to Take From Pickup Artists
But it’s not all doom and gloom and nor are all pickup artists seedy and manipulative. Like all these things, you should never tar all pickup artists with the same brush and nor should you write off all pickup techniques.
In fact, one of the main techniques recommended in one of the seminal texts on pickup artists is something that everyone should practice – even those who aren’t looking for romance.
If you read The Game, then before you get to the ‘good stuff’, you’ll first be given a series of challenges to carry out. These challenges include things like phoning a random number and having a conversation, giving someone intense eye contact while talking to them, asking for the number of the next person you talk to or putting on a funny accent while ordering something in a restaurant. These challenges aren’t even necessarily aimed at members of the opposite sex.
Instead, the whole point of this exercise is to train yourself to get over any social anxiety you might have. You do this by proving that even awkward social encounters don’t have any lasting negative effects, as well as by gradually exposing yourself to more and more of them so that you can learn to stay calm in that situation. Eventually, you train your sympathetic nervous system to stop activating ‘fight or flight’ every time you’re talking to a new person or you think you might get embarrassed. The result? Easy confidence and charisma no matter who you’re talking to. Applied to dating this is about the most powerful tool at your disposal but it will also serve you very well in your career and in any other scenarios too.
A Safe and Pleasant Approach
I have also devised a strategy of my own, which I used to use before I met my wife and which I believe is just as effective as those pickup techniques but a lot less seedy and unpleasant. I call it ‘The Smile From a Distance’.
This technique is based on the idea that dating is largely a game of numbers. That is to say, that if you were to approach 1,000 different women in a night, you would almost always get yourself at least one positive conversation. The problem is that you’d look like the most desperate guy in the club and your ego would take a severe battering in the meantime.
So instead, you ‘test the water’ before you go ‘all in’. This is a little like the business concept of verifying an idea before investing in the manufacturing of a new product or setting up a new service. In other words, you’re going to check whether a woman might be interested before you approach here. And you’re going to do it quickly, such that you can do it ‘en-masse’ and thereby keep playing.
The idea is that you set yourself up somewhere in a bar, looking sexy with a glass of whisky or just chatting with friends (either is fine). From there, you then just look around for women you like the looks of and you try to catch their eye. When they look back, you smile.
The worst case scenario is they ignore you. Or perhaps that they put their middle finger up at you, though I really doubt that will happen often… If this happens, you then simply move on and try to find someone else.
But in the ideal scenario, they might look back at you and smile. And if that happens, you now know that they’re at least open to the idea of chatting and more likely, they’re interested in you. You can then go over and chat with a very high chance of being successful, or you can wait until you see them later on the dancefloor (your chances of a snog are now much higher) or you can let them come over and find you!
The Fun, Sociable Guy
I have an even better ‘next step’ though. That is to go over to her group of friends with your group of friends and to encourage everyone to introduce themselves.
This is highly effective for a number of reasons. For starters, it makes you look friendly, confident and outgoing. All these ‘self-improvement, dating guru’ types are very focussed on looking arrogant and ‘alpha’ when actually most women are even more impressed by someone who just seems friendly. You bring your group over, everyone gets on and you look like a fun person to hang out with.
What’s more, if you introduce yourself to all her friends and you all chat in a group, you appear about 100% less seedy. Now you seem like a guy who just wants to have a good night out, not like a guy who is doing whatever it takes to pull.
Better yet, in the back of her mind, she is going to suspect that you came over because you wanted to get to know her. After all, you already smiled at her across the bar. Chat to the group for a while and then ask if she’d like a drink and if she’d escort you to the bar. If she says yes then mission accomplished. If she says no, then you’ve not lost face and you can carry on hanging out as a group.
If you want to turn this into a bit of a smooch, you simply suggest moving to the dance floor after you’ve had the drink and slowly move closer as you’re dancing.
The Number Close
Pickup artists would then normally move on to a move they call ‘The Number Close’. Here, they pretend they have to rush off but ask if they can have the woman’s number before they go. They leave her wanting more and they put her in a position where it’s awkward to say no. Plus, they look ‘in demand’.
A better and easier approach that’s a lot more organic these days though is just to ask her her name. Then you make the effort to actually remember what she said. And then you look her up on Facebook later.
And there you go, you’ve successfully established a new contact with a hot woman and probably impressed her in the process. Best of all, you’ve done it without trying to belittle her confidence, ‘program’ her responses, or in any way trick or mislead her. All you’ve done is been friendly but in a confident way, while at the same time making sure there’s no scenario where you come out of it embarrassed. If nothing happens, then worst case scenario is that you’ve smiled at a few people and maybe made some new friends.
In fact, try making this your aim next time. You’re likely to find that things come a lot more naturally!