The Sexist

Why Pick-Up Game Hurts Everyone Except the Guy Shilling Books

In the wake of George Sordini's killing spree last week, the mainstream media has criticized Pick-Up Artist community for promoting misogynist cultural attitudes that hurt women and girls. (Sordini was a sometimes-devotee of R. Don Steele, author of such douchebag manuals as Date Young Women: For Men Over 35). Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, meanwhile, has tackled the more difficult task of arguing why Pick-Up Artist rhetoric hurts men, too. Pick-Up Artist devotees scam women to extract sex; Pick-Up Artist "masters" scam the devotees to extract money.

The two exchanges are surprisingly similar—both target those with low self-esteem to exploit them for personal gain. Here's how it works: The Pick-Up Artist devotee feels worthless. He is informed that self-worth may be secured by having sex with women agreed to be attractive by the Pick-Up Artist community. He is told that in order to have sex with these women, he must not "be himself"—remember, he is worthless. Instead, he must pay exorbitant amounts of money to learn the correct "tactics" not to gain self-worth—but to convince the women that it is they who are truly worthless. Only the Pick-Up Artist "master" wins here—he gets the cash regardless of the outcome of the sexual conquest, while feeling superior to his male devotees (who are, in turn, superior to all women).

"How to Date Out of Your League"—a very elementary-level, college age version of game written by COED Magazine's Michael Dance—makes this dynamic perfectly clear.

Dance writes:

The holy grail of dating is to actually find a girl who’s hot but is still willing to go out with you.  And as you’ve already figured out, that’s really hard.  But even if you’re not as attractive or as suave as that friend who has so much sex you want to punch him, even if you “have no game,” there are a few ways to tip the scales in your favor.  These aren’t magic bullets.  They’re practical, actionable things that you can do to help you snag that gorgeous girl who it turns out has low enough self-esteem to actually go for you.

And so it begins. It is not enough for the Pick-Up Artist devotee to date someone who is his equal; in order to receive respect in the community, he must date someone who is somehow "better" than him ("hotter"). At the same time, the Pick-Up Artist  operates on the assumption that women who don't want to have sex with him—even these "better," hotter women—are conceited bitches. The Pick-Up Artist must find a woman he deems superior who, in turn, deems herself inferior. In order for the scam to work, both parties must believe that they are less-than the person they're sleeping with. Only the Pick-Up Artist master—the guy selling the books—is superior.

1. Actually Ask Girls Out on Dates Look, you can’t date out of your league if you don’t have the balls to actually ask a girl out on a date.  Sure, you might be able to get lucky at a party with a drunk girl, but as you’ve already experienced, it’s harder to do that consistently than you fantasized about in high school.  So many guys whine inwardly about not being a chick-magnet and forget it’s because they don’t actually put themselves out there and talk to any girls.

. . . The key is to be perceptive.  The problem for most guys who are unlucky with girls is not that they’re bad looking, it’s that they’re oblivious.  Girls make it very obvious when they don’t like what you’re doing (and for the record, pick-up lines and transparent attempts to impress her never work).  If she’s interested, she won’t be looking around the room for her girlfriends to save her.  She won’t be responding to your questions in polite two-word answers.  In fact, she won’t have to respond to too many of your questions, because she’ll be asking you questions, too.

Do you see how he talks down to you? You have no balls. You're so pathetic that you fantasize about having sex with drunk girls. You're oblivious. You think that "pick-up lines and transparent attempts to impress her" will actually work? Of course not—you need much, much more help than one lousy pick-up line can provide (buy the book). The actual advice—talk to girls—is so obvious that only a man with the lowest self-esteem could regard it as a revelation.

2. Don’t Talk About Yourself.  At All.

“When I was in seventh grade, I was really into Magic: The Gathering.”

“Yeah, I love movies!  I even went to the midnight opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  Sat in the front row.”

“While I was masturbating this morning I was thinking about my mom…”

. . . But the “don’t talk about yourself” rule extends beyond just the obvious.  I really mean don’t talk about yourself at all.  You know why?  You’re not interesting.  You work in the scheduling department of a non-profit?  You taught yourself web design?  Your football team made sectionals in high school?  Your professor is just super, super lame?  Don’tcaredon’tcaredon’tcaredon’tcare.

Depending on exactly how “out of your league” the girl is, she’s probably not interesting either.  Unless she’s Mary-Louise Parker’s illegitimate daughter who got the hot genes from her mom and currently works as a spy for the CIA, chances are she’s just some random bitchy princess you want to sleep with, in which case — pat yourself on the back — she’s even less interesting than you.  If you ever want her to go down on you, just shut up and listen.

You're worthless. She's worthless. You're all worthless, except for me. Only I deserve to be heard; only I am worth listening to. I am a worthwhile person; you are a sad, pathetic loser who might be allowed to receive a blowjob from another sad, pathetic loser if you listen to what I have to say.

3. But At the Same Time, Don’t Be a Pussy.

There’s shutting up and listening to her stories, and then there’s letting her whine to you about this guy who’s mean to her and she’s so glad she has a really, really great friend like you.  If you’ve gotten to the latter point, you’re beyond saving.

It’s not a secret anymore that in general, girls are attracted to guys who don’t treat them well.  . . . But there’s two things wrong with that rule.  First, you can only really pull it off if you’re good-looking.  If you’re a hot jerk, you’re a badass; if you’re an average-looking jerk, you’re a tool.  It’s not fair, but such is life.

The other problem is that most of you who need to read articles like this one are too nice.  You literally cannot be a jerk to a girl.  Your parents taught you manners, thank you very much, and there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.

There’s not.  The solution?  Just be assertive. That means, simply, that you should come across like a man who knows what he wants.  When you ask her out, give her a specific time, place, and activity.  Never say “I don’t care, what do you want to do?”  If she asks your opinion on something, give it to her.  Etc.

If she does specifically ask you about yourself, you’re permitted to tell her that you have a steady job or are well on your way down a lucrative career path.  No, she’s not seriously considering you as a mate yet, but if you think there’s no difference between “I’m studying to be a lawyer” and “I’m an English major,” you’re wrong.

"Nice." Nice is the classic marker of a girl who's not interested, and when administered from a Pick-Up Artist master to a Pick-Up Artist devotee, it's a very effective neg.  As is clear from the title of this tactic, being "nice" really means being a "pussy." Let's go ahead and sub that in to make sure we're not softening the blow: "most of you who need to read articles like this one are pussies." Sure, there's nothing wrong with being a pussy. Just be sure that you act like a pussy who knows what he wants (which is pussy). Thankfully, the Pick-Up Artist master is here to step in and tell you how to be the right kind of pussy: Just lie. Hey, it's what the master does best.

  • jules

    ......It’s not a secret anymore that in general, girls are attracted to guys who don’t treat them well. . . .

    guys, that is a fucking myth. An urban legend. Be nice to us.

  • PlethoraOfPinatas

    Jules - it isn't about treating women like crap, it's about not folding over and appeasing her every whim like a little puppy dog. Women need challenges and will respond to a man that asserts himself.

    You don't like goat cheese on your pizza at Two Amys? While a beta would keep quiet and acquiese in order to appease his date, an alpha would refuse to order it. The difference between an alpha and a weirdo is that the alpha knows how to refuse to compromise on goat cheese and make her laugh about it at the same time.

  • jules

    Right. Order whatever you fucking want on your pizza. But be fucking nice to me. I never said I wanted a fucking doormat.

  • Q™

    All three of you (Amanda included) are hilarious.

    “When I was in seventh grade, I was really into Magic: The Gathering.”

    {What if the girl he was talking to was a Level 7 Elf, LOL!}

    “Yeah, I love movies! I even went to the midnight opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Sat in the front row.”

    {Once again, there are more women into Sci-Fi than you think.}

    "The difference between an alpha and a weirdo is that the alpha knows how to refuse to compromise on goat cheese and make her laugh about it at the same time."

    {So what does the weirdo do? Make a scene or scrape the goat cheese off his slice?}

    Amanda, the sentiments of your article are good, although there's some pretty stereotypical Anti-Mars/Anti-Venus things to take from this. Also, this is the heterosexual angle. What about the GLBT community?

  • Darrow Montgomery

    Everyone should order their own pizza at 2Amy's and some starters, which may be shared.

  • PlethoraOfPinatas

    Haha, thanks for being so honest Jules! Now I won't have to waste any money or time with you over dinner just to find out you're a frigid bitch in bed.

  • daisy

    Wow, Jules, obviously POP isn't the man for you, (or me). Oh well, we'll survive.

  • jules

    right. missionary only. I hope you come quickly because I've never had an orgasm in my life and I don't want to waste much time. Thnx.

  • Former Staffer

    I like goat cheese. Who doesn't want that on their pizza?

    That "Alpha" is just a douche with no taste or class.

  • PlethoraOfPinatas

    See Jules, you made my point. You don't want a nice guy, you want someone who will tell you like it is. I insult you and you tell me to make it quick. Can I still try for your first orgasm though?

  • Ray Gordon

    Sure, tell the truth to guys like Sodini.

    Then what happens? He can't be exploited for money,m favors, free dates, he can't be strung along with false hope, and the women who exploit him with sexuality sudenly find their meal-ticket isn't being punched.

    Women want it both ways: they want guys to remain hopeul, so they'll remain invested, yet don't want to actually KEEP all these implied promises.

    Women DO want lousy men. They think they're putting one over on the world when they do it, by taming the badboy. When women are rude to decen tmen, they create free advertising for thee gurus. They just thought before that guys like Sodini had no one to turn to to teach them how the world really works.

    He hates women? Well, maybe he doewsdoes, but hate doesn't usually come from nowhere. Maybe women had more to do with this guy than they realized.

  • Q™

    Ha Ha Ha. What about the date who's a vegan? No cheese, butter, or animal products. Are you saying that the fight would then be over wheatgrass and sprouts on your barley crust? You guys and gals are missing the point. This isn't about culinary items that you can find out prior to dating.

    This is about the cat-and-mouse came that people play. Men don't want to be submissive but deep down have those qualities. Women don't want to be dominant, but deep down have those qualities. Yet they pretend they don't have these qualities and play cat-and-mouse and other one-ups-manship on each other.

    Make it plain, leave the coyness and innuendo out the door, then MAYBE...just MAYBE we won't need these relationship hacks pushing books.

  • Rachel

    "Pandagon’s Amanda Marcotte, meanwhile, has tackled the more difficult task of arguing why Pick-Up Artist rhetoric hurts men, too."

    Another way this bs hurts men too is that it makes women like me want nothing to do with any of them.

    Yes, I do understand that it is wrong to stereotype all of any group however, I am so beyond sick of men scamming for ways to con women into sleeping with them that I've decided investing in a really good sex toy is way smarter than letting some lame guy even attempt to manipulate me.

    I'd really rather not even bother with men anymore because it just seems like if there are any truly good ones out there, they're so few and far between as to be mythical.

  • Ray Gordon

    Right, the women are now going to "give up on all men."

    Until, a fw months down the road, some guy surfaces, usually a jerk, and they asy it "just happened!"

    That's another one that sends guys like Sodini over the edge. They'll be kept at bay with some platitudes for six months, about how she has to get to know a guy, etc., then some guy she met at the club last week turns up her boyfriend.

    It's not the rejection these guys can't handle, since they've been doing that since their teens. It's the sense of BETRAYAL at realizing that they've been lied to, actively, by women who really don't have their best interests at heart, but who would go ballistic when called the liars they obviously were.

    If men behaved the way women supposedly wanted, pretty women would have NO social advantages, and have to do real work. Don't hold your breath.

    Women want to be objectified, because it's profitable. Even when women are sexually harassed on the job, you dno't hear them complaining about what GOT them the job, and cost the job to other, les attrcative women, etc.

    What they don't want is what they got: guys like questioning the "system" and how it works.

    If we tell men like this just how hopeless everythign is, they stop spending money on hot women.

  • K

    MEN: I will tell you the big secret to getting girls to fall for you.

    BE INTERESTING. Have hobbies, even if they're weird. There are girls in every social circle (except PUAs, ironically enough--that's a sausage-fest), and guess what: Some of them will like the same things you do. Just as long as you like SOMETHING besides coming up with ways to manipulate women into giving you pussy.

    But of course that requires effort and doesn't guarantee the girl you wind up with will improve your social standing among your idiot friends.

    Also: You don't have to be a doormat type who secretly seethes with resentment every time he compromises about something. That is not what women are talking about when they say "nice." Real nice guys--not the Nice Guys that PUAs claim they once were--just have a basic kind of human decency toward other people.

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  • Justin
  • Victor

    You're kidding, right? "The seduction community"?
    If the goal of the "seduction community" were to find a "higher quality woman" then there wouldn't be a community. One would find their high quality woman and then leave. The only thing that makes it a community is that it is a "catch and release" mentality.

    I have nothing wrong with promiscuity, it was a hobby of mine as well when I was young and good looking. But don't try to couch it in this crap.

  • Jack

    Has it occurred to the person who wrote this article that some men are not that successful with beautiful, intelligent woman and need advice and are not necessary seeking this advice to be womanizers and liars? Probably not.

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  • Dave

    Post-Sordini I keep reading about the pick up artist community. I never realized it was so insular. I heard about "The Game"(probably the best book, in that it's the least disgusting) years ago, and have encountered followers on a regular basis since then. Some of them are skeezy playboys out for a new score every night, some of them are geeks who can finally talk to a girl in a social situation, and some of them are very charismatic people interested in bringing a vocabulary to the things people have already been doing since there were bars to pick up girls in (see "The Proposition.") There have even been a few girls who swear it's a great way to pick up guys.

    The scene can certainly be sexist, the authors usually are, but the material at its core is universal to all people. There's just not much of a market for books that teach women how to pick up guys.

    I know most of the ladies out there think that these books are a way for guys to be fraudulent and cheat their way into your pants, but the truth is in a public setting a guy has a very brief window to appear wonderful and get your attention. These books teach guys how to get your attention. What a guy does with that attention is up to his personal ethics.


    "Pick-Up Artist devotees scam women to extract sex; Pick-Up Artist “masters” scam the devotees to extract money."

    That's like saying the car dealer scammed a guy by selling him a car that doesn't run... and the diver is endangering people by driving the car so fast. Which is it.... can't have it both ways.

    Either the methods work and scam women out of sex... or the methods don't work and the "guru" is scamming the students.

  • Critic

    This article is full of misinformation, and downright stupidity. The so-called "advice" given here is little better than the bullshit men have been told all along.

    You love to dissect men's attitudes and how they need to change, but do little to put women's attitudes under the same microscope:

    "If you’re a hot jerk, you’re a badass; if you’re an average-looking jerk, you’re a tool. It’s not fair, but such is life."

    You rail against men who follow the Pickup Artist route without realizing that it's a response to the bullshit that you spew above. You better get used to it, because this PUA bullshit is here to stay, and men will keep going for younger & "hotter" women. It's not fair, but such is life.

  • Amanda Hess

    Um, Critic, that "bullshit" that you quoted was from the PUA's piece, not mine. See where I indent whole paragraphs? That's a quote. It's interesting, though, how you so easily reject the PUA bullshit when you think it's coming from a woman! Maybe this is progress.

  • Mrs. D

    If a guy ever flat-out refused to take a suggestion of mine without even a discussion of compromise (referring to the goat cheese incident), I would drop him like a bad habit. Just to pose a hypothetical: what if she suggested goat cheese, and you vetoed that, but then you suggested sausage, and she said she didn't like sausage? I'm willing to bet you would ignore that, as well, and get the sausage anyway (probably promising her that she'll like it, like a mom does to her 6-year-old). Life is about compromise, not being a selfish prick. And that's what you self-proclaimed "pick-up artists" are, selfish pricks. You want the hottest, youngest woman in the joint, with no regard for your own shortcomings or her preferences.

    And I love how you all claim to want intelligent women, when that is the furthest thing from the truth. My days of dating are not that far gone, and when someone like you approached me I can tell you, they were gone faster than Speedy Gonzales the second it became apparent I was able to express my thoughts in complete, coherent sentences. Truly smart women can see through your bullshit games and that's the LAST thing you want to deal with.

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  • Beth

    I taught myself webdesign and did not hide this fact from my dates and now I am married to someone who also taught himself webdesign. I shall now write a dating book specifically for people who taught themselves webdesign and/or want to date someone who taught themselves webdesign.

    Come to think of it, I could skip the book and just start a dating site. It can be called "Asynchronous XML Or Better" and only people whose Javascript degrades gracefully will be allowed to use it.

  • JD

    Hey -

    "The actual advice—talk to girls—is so obvious that only a man with the lowest self-esteem could regard it as a revelation."

    I suppose *that* is a misconception. Most men don't seem to see this as "so obvious". In general, it seems to me, men do need the advice in a lot more broken down pieces than women. They actually need a "manual" until they develop some kind of intuition about social interactions. I think it would be interesting to debate why that is the case and why social skills aren't seen as teachable and aren't taught to everyone, say, in school, instead of leaving this to a slightly shady market, but I'd still say this level of advice is what many men will need - and they will also appreciate the impression of authority communicated by the instructor's language. The hierarchical setup apparent in the language that you criticize will likely positively affect many guys willingness to actually try to change, and say, actually talk to women.

    There's a lot of problems with "the community", but there's also positive aspects - particularly if one looks at it from a meta perspective.

    "“Nice.” Nice is the classic marker of a girl who’s not interested, and when administered from a Pick-Up Artist master to a Pick-Up Artist devotee, it’s a very effective neg."

    Isn't it interesting how feminist assertions about "nice guys(tm)" always include references to their lack of ability to assert themselves sexually and instead tried to come in "under the rader and create an emotional bond" without explicitly declaring their sexual interest? So feminists are saying the same thing as this guy, in pretty much the same words. Is that equally bad?