Ever since the release of Neil Strauss’s bestseller The Game in 2005, millions of single men have incorporated the teachings and techniques of various Pick Up Artists (PUA) into their communications with women. At first, all of these techniques and products seemed like a revolutionary idea. Men, being the logical creatures that they are, love it when complicated things such as talking with women get broken down into a simple, easy to follow formula. Formulae are great. You plug in a particular set of values, and if you work those values in the correct way, you get a nice, sensible and predictable solution 100% of the time. With what seemed like a new book, online course, or podcast being released every month, men had no shortage of potential formulae to use. It seemed like all the average, frustrated men finally found their secret weapon in the quest to become successful with women. Of course, men had been “picking up” women long before 2005, but this was a result that was reserved for only the most suave, charismatic, confident and handsome men. The release of these products marked the first time that the average to below average man could take advantage of what the most desirable men knew and use it to his benefit.
For several years afterwards, things seemed to work just like the formula said they would. Many men were reporting a great deal of success using these techniques, and sales of the PUA products skyrocketed. Pretty soon, famous PUA’s were being invited to speak on late night talk shows, some of them were getting their own shows on VH1, and many men were signing up to attend weekend seminars, or “bootcamps” in order to learn directly under the gurus they read about and saw on TV.
However, soon after the popularity of these programs began to enter into the mainstream consciousness, cracks began to appear. Even from the beginning, many women could sense that the men who were approaching them using PUA tactics were being inauthentic at best, and downright creepy at worst. Even in the beginning, when men would approach women “cold” (without knowing them previously) in a grocery store, coffee shop, or mall, saying such things like, “You know, I know this is random, but, I just wanted to tell you that I think you’re beautiful, my name’s ______, what’s yours?” women would tend to ask themselves, “Why is this random person talking to me? What does he want? He must just want to get me in bed. What a creep.” It turns out that, many of the “cold approach strategies” that PUAs taught don’t really work out that well in practice, even for the gurus themselves, because they rest on a lot of false assumptions about women. The key assumption being that “all women” think mostly alike. They all value the same things, they all appreciate the same qualities in a man, they all like men who walk, talk, think and act a certain way. It’s almost as if these experts assume that women are somehow a Borg-like hive mind, all sharing the same thoughts, feelings, and underlying consciousness. This of course, couldn’t be further from the truth.
In addition, another assumption that these practices rest on is that men, by virtue of being the “pursuer,” have a unique privilege, almost like a birthright, in the dating game as being allowed to, at any time, and without warning or permission, interrupt a woman’s day and proceed to tell her any and everything that he feels about her, whether that be her looks, her dress sense, or what he perceives about her personality. The man feels entitled to this, and hardly ever does he stop to think and consider what the woman’s feelings are about the sudden interruption of her day, and the invasion of her personal space. Of course, sometimes, the woman is happy to stop and exchange a few words, and possibly phone numbers, with the handsome stranger who stopped her on the street. However, in many, if not a majority, of cases, women are not exactly thrilled to have their plans interfered with by these men. Sometimes a woman will be polite and friendly so as not to anger or upset this strange man whom she knows nothing about. Other times bolder, more unscrupulous women will directly tell her pursuer to F_ck off, which is designed to shock the system of the man, stunning him in his tracks so that the woman can escape without further incident.
As I talk to more and more women, and take on more and more female clients, I am realizing just how many normal, everyday women absolutely hate being approached randomly by guys. This runs counter to the narrative that many PUA experts have painted over the course of the last 15 years. However, one only needs to take a look at these experts “in the field” to see their arguments fall apart. It has been reported by many students at the “bootcamps” that many of their heroes have fallen flat on their faces, often a majority of the time, with women they have approached in front of the students. Of course, when you go on YouTube and watch an “infield” video of these self-professed casanovas, you will only see the two or three successful “approaches” that they have done in a particular day. What they don’t show you, however, are the dozens of other approaches they did, where the woman either ignored them outright, told them off, or politely brushed them off in short order. When the success rate of “cold approaching” is this abysmally low, even for an “expert,” you can start to see through the fog of exaggerations and half-truths that the industry has told you for years. On top of this, women have been actively fighting these situations, with movements such as #MeToo and the HollaBack street harassment video, women are talking to us, and what they are telling us is that what we’ve been doing as men is not OK. Knowing this, how exactly can and should we approach women in this day and age? How can we let out interest in them be known without making them uncomfortable? How can we remain ethical? What is our responsibility towards women in the opening phases of dating and courtship?
“But, but, if approaching women is now bad, how can I even meet women, then?” you might be saying, throwing up your hands. “It’s not like women approach guys, we’re expected to do that. If we’re expected to initiate things, yet women complain when we do initiate, what can we do?” While I can understand the frustration, if you take the time to look past the surface and go deeper, you can see that the traditional way of approaching women cold is not the only way to initiate interaction. Online dating, while certainly not the ideal solution for a number of men, is now one of the most recognized ways of meeting one’s partner. If we’re looking to meet women in 2018, the best way to do it is to learn how to fill out a good online profile, take high quality pictures that show who you are, and learning how to open and sustain an interaction through text. If you can master these areas, you will no doubt be successful at dating in the current climate. Even when accounting for dirty pictures sent by men and crass, distasteful text messages, women are still much more comfortable meeting men online these days, where the threat of physical conflict is diminished. Of course, all online dating sites are not created equal. I will be giving my master list of best online dating sites (for both men and women), as well as my reasons why, in an upcoming post!
“But, Michael, you’ve said that online dating is so looks driven. I’m ugly! How can I hope to meet someone online with that going against me?” Of course, online dating is not going to work for everyone, especially when the competition level is so high. Some guys are not going to see the success that others will, that’s just the reality. So what can you do? I am of the belief that one of the biggest reasons why guys fail online is not necessarily due to their physical looks, but how their lives look online. If you are a boring guy who has nothing going for him, no social life, no friends, no hobbies or interests, of course that is going to show online. Your first order of business at that point is not to find a date, but to find a life! Find hobbies and interests where you can go out, socialize, and meet lots of people. Find your tribe! Through building your social circle and networking with more people, you will be introduced to more and more people, including compatible women. Meeting women through your social circle has three advantages:
-First, social circles tend to contain people who have similar interests and values, which is good for you, because that’s a big thing to look for in a successful relationship.
-Second, the approaches you do there will be “warm” rather than “cold,” so there will be a level of comfort and familiarity, even when you talk for the first time. It is much less likely to make a woman feel uncomfortable when you first speak to her.
-Finally, meeting someone in person helps to showcase all of your strengths outside of the physical. You can display a confidence, charisma, and charm that you might not be able to show online. This will help you if you feel that you aren’t as physically attractive as other guys, but have a killer personality.
So there you have it guys. There are ways to succeed in 2018, even in the current sociopolitical climate. Remember, have fun, but be respectful!