Pick-Up Artists: The Leonardo da Vinci of the Bar Scene?


Recently a fellow blogger asked me what I knew about Pick-Up Artists (PUAs) and I thought this would be an interesting topic to write about.  I first discovered the existence of the secret society of PUAs almost ten years ago when I was in my mid-20’s when a buddy of mine passed along a website he had come across.  It was a forum where thousands of guys post, collaborate, and share ideas on how to attract/seduce women.  They have hundreds of acronyms and terms that they use, which can seem so overwhelming at first sight that it feels as if they are speaking an entirely different language.  However, they make promises that any Average Frustrated Chump (AFC) that follows their guidelines can become a PUA and eventually into a Master Pick-Up Artist (MPUA) or Pick-Up Guru (PUG) and seduce nearly any woman they want.  This group went into the spotlight in 2005 when The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss became a New York Times bestseller.  To summarize, they attempt to use physiological techniques to get women to do something they “secretly want to do already.”  Since then, PUA techniques get referenced on television from time to time, most notably coming to my mind is Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother (although not everything he does is considered PUA techniques, he does some of them their techniques on certain episodes).

A Pick-Up Artist has endless techniques/strategies, but the three that most come to mind are: opener, neg, and peacock.
1. OPENER: This is pretty basic, but much discussed on their websites/books.  This is the statement or question a PUA uses to initiate a conversation with a girl of interest, or the group she is with.  These can be “canned” (planned out in advance), or spontaneous, but the end goal is to intrigue an attractive girl into further conversation.
2. NEG:  An insult given to an attractive woman in a way that is meant to seem accidental in order to demonstrate a lack of interest.  Example of this could be, “Hey, your hair is beautiful… is it real?”  The main goal here is for a PUA to establish that he noticed an attractive woman, but without showing interest.
3. PEACOCK: This is the most entertaining of the three.  Peacocking is when a person dresses in a ridiculous outfit (or an eye-catching accessory) of some kind in order to gain attention of women.  Instead of guys having to all of the approaching, women will come up and talk to the PUA out of sheer curiosity.

So, did I ever use Pick-Up Artist techniques to aid my dateoholic ways?  I’d be lying if I said I never made the attempt, but to me it just didn’t seem to genuine, so my try at these methods was very short-lived.  Right about at this same time I was already coming up with my own ways that were working for me.  This included:
1. HAVE FUN: Go out with the intent of having a good time and spending time with those who will put you in a good mood.  If you aren’t having a good time at the bar you are at, switch to a different place that you think would be more fun.  When someone is having a good time makes others want to join in (perhaps an attractive woman), and in the event you don’t meet a new lady that interests you that night, at least you enjoyed the company of good people, had some drinks, and enjoyed the evening.
2. EYES ON THE PRIZE: I’ve written about this in more detail recently, but basically make sure you are not gawking at every girl that walks by.  Avoid becoming part of the Circle of Death in order to obtain more meaningful eye contact to establish…
3. THREE SECOND RULE:  As mentioned several times before, if a girl makes eye contact with you for three seconds OR multiple times, you have the invitation to go up and talk to her (if she hasn’t come up to talk to you already).

So what do you do after establishing the Three Second Rule?  Pretty simple.  If someone has shown that much interest in you, all you probably have to do is go over and introduce yourself and ask their name.  After that you can talk about how your weekend is going, about the band/DJ that is playing, the drink they are holding, and each of your careers.  Just make sure to keep it fun and upbeat- that’s why you are out after all!

Oh, if you’d prefer to use a PUA “opener” instead, feel free.  But from my experience you’re best case scenario would be that the two of you end up laughing about it later.  I’m not saying PUA techniques don’t work because they often do.  I’ve seen many times when peacocking works for a guy (or group of guys) and girls constantly come up to talk to him/them because of what they are wearing.  As much as I really dislike the neg, I accidentally did it once with a really cute girl and she ended up sneaking off with me to make out.

On the surface, I think there are positive aspects to PUAs, as they promote the improvement of male self-confidence, physical fitness, fashion, and conversation skills.  However, looking at it more deeply is why I chose not to follow in that path.  The conclusion I came to is that the underlying message was “be someone else, because what you are isn’t good enough” and in the end their main goal is to get a girl into the bedroom.  Not that my intentions have always been on the up and up, but I’ve never go out for a night with the intent to have a one-night stand, and have twice had relationships that have lasted two or more years (as well as my current relationship that is now approaching seven months) from doing my three steps.  Better yet is the fact that I can live with myself at the end of the day and don’t feel I’m pretending to be something I am not.

So fellas, whether or not you decide to become a Pick-Up Artist is up to you, but have a try at my approach before you do.
Ladies, if you weren’t aware of the PUA community before, consider yourself warned! 😉

Thanks for reading- I would appreciate comments and questions from anyone.  If you are curious to read through a more complete list of PUA terms, go HERE.


10 thoughts on “Pick-Up Artists: The Leonardo da Vinci of the Bar Scene?

  1. I read the post but I will disagree with you on the techniques working. In my experience I have found that guys who try these come off as try hards and often creep girls out or turn them off.

  2. Lol I had to laugh @ the correlation between Mystery and the Da Vinci painting.

    As a PUA (coach), I applaud your breakdown of the community and what we stand for.

    Tactics as the “3 second rule” is a powerful concepts that I still abide by today after years in pickup.

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