Confession: I was a professional pickup artist.
Yes, I read women's palms and repeated ridiculous lines that other men thought was the secret to getting laid.
I even used a “cool” pseudonym, Niko.
But that was a lifetime ago. I have spent the past twelve years teaching men to know each other honestly and to communicate with integrity. I have written healthy and effective dating tips that treat women with respect.
Yet, month after month, men ask me about my journey as a certified PUA.
They are fascinated by what I have learned, the stories I can tell and what it was really like to work as a coach for various companies.
In truth, the pickup community made teach me about the critical roles leadership, non-verbal communication and flirting play in building attraction. It helped me find other men who also wanted to go out and challenge their comfort zones.
But most importantly, it made me believe.
It made me believe that I had the ability to proactively improve myself to become more attractive and social. It sowed the seed that I could learn the art of human connection and talk to whoever I wanted, when I wanted.
For this I will be eternally grateful.
Despite this, when someone asks me, "What was it like to be a pickup artist?" my instinctive answer is ...
Weird. Really weird.
Because during my time as a PUA I experienced a lot of surreal moments that made me question what I was doing. So much so that I ended up getting disgusted with it all and left to start my own practice.
So today, instead of sharing some crazy, crazy success stories, I would like to share the times I saw the major red flags in the industry. I want to show you why i don't teach pickup today.
The leader of the wolf pack
As an impressionable young man, I joined the Boston pickup scene. It was a private club where 200 men shared advice on a forum, met for local seminars, and went out to talk to women together.
Only a few months after my arrival, I became a head coach. I was so proud of myself.
One day we were walking around the city. I joked and laughed with the guys to help them relax. We talked to new people and kept it all light and fun.
This natural ebb and flow of energy was my favorite way to socialize.
Suddenly one of the other coaches pulled me aside. With an incredulous look he said, "What do you think you are doing ?!"
"What?" I was totally caught off guard. I thought I was doing a great job.
"Stop treating them like they're your friends."
"WHO? The other guys?
"Yes!" He pointed to my chest and said, “You are their pack leader. You have to lead them like dogs. You have to show them who the real Alpha is.
I stifled a laugh without success. Before I could even answer, he had whipped himself into another frenzy:
"I can tell by the way you look at me that you are seeking my approval."
"Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about…" And I just walked away, shaking my head, and joined the group.
This interaction was just another example of the pickup's bizarre obsession with competitiveness and being "Alpha" all the time.
I've seen guys debate fiercely who had the best conversational routines and compare their sexual conquests. All they were talking about was the intricate mechanics of getting women to sleep with them regularly.
And there I was, a guy who just wanted to have a good time while being more social. I loved hanging out with friends and talking about books, tech, games, and whatever else was on my mind.
I was completely out of place with the men who were always serious, silent, and plotting their next perfect pickup line. I was done treating social interactions like a game of chess.
The eye of the predator ... I mean the tiger
I attended a weekend pickup conference in NYC. Many famous coaches were there. And the coach who made the final presentation said he had something big in store for us: a “top secret” video.
He was only going to show it a few stops on his tour, then destroy it forever. We all had to turn off our phones and put them away.
All of this suspense had hundreds of men on the edge of their seats. We were dying to find out what was in this video and how we could become legendary PUAs too.
Locate the video projector. "Eye of the Tiger" begins to play, louder and louder. Fade in with photos of the coach as a pale, nerdy teenager. He looked like a young Marilyn Manson.
It cuts a picture of a beautiful woman. Then hidden camera footage of him talking to her in a bar and using a cheesy story to break the ice.
I think about me “Okay, this is a montage video of him talking to beautiful women to inspire us all. It makes sense. "
Abruptly, the bar scene switches to a hidden camera in a room where he is having aggressive sex with this same woman.
I'm like, “Holy shit, okay, that was pretty intense. I don't think she knew there was a camera.
Then there was a new photo of a gorgeous woman. Followed by bar footage with him telling the EXACT SAME STORY. Then boom: him having rough sex with her, clearly filmed without her consent.
And it continued. And on. And on. Same stupid story. Same hidden camera.
I remember having a stomach ache. I looked around and saw the few female coaches and staff with expressions of absolute horror. Some of them just got up and left.
At the end of the video, the lights came on and the coach stood up front with a huge smile. He shouted, "Now who wants to work with me?" and at least half of the men in the room ran to register for his services.
I remember sitting there thinking, "What just happened?"
The men applauded a guy who manipulated and humiliated women. I was in a conference room filled with lonely, horny men who would pay anything to be like him.
Yeah, I got into the pickup because I wanted to feel wanted and fuck. But not like that.
I grew up watching my mom being abused by terrible men. I had a little sister who I practically raised. I couldn't imagine a fucking patient doing the same to one or the other.
It was then that I fully realized, "This is super messed up." Any sane man could tell - it was disturbing behavior.
I knew I didn't want to be like these men, and I didn't want to teach anyone to be like that either.
Men who can only count to 10
One of the guys in our pickup community started dating a woman he was interested in. He wanted some of us to meet her so he brought her to hang out with us at the bar.
The way the other guys started talking about her behind her back sounded like something out of a National Geographic documentary - except actually anthropologists. Things like ...
"Pssh, she's not this hot."
“I would say she's 7 years old at the most.
"She could still lose a few pounds." Etc.
May I remind you: these guys themselves had NEVER dated someone as attractive as this girl !!!
Yet they were so lacking in self-awareness that it didn't matter to objectify her completely and criticize her a minute after meeting her.
Do they care whether their friend is happy or not? Have they tried to know the woman on a personal level? They wondered if she was interesting, funny or smart.
Of course not.
They downgraded its value to how excited they were about its biological symmetry on a scale of 1 to 10.
In pickup, a perfect "10" from a woman is ideal. Followers are obsessed with sleeping with as many 10s as possible.
But it never stops.
There was a coach who had been with over a hundred beautiful women and when he came out and said it didn't make him happy he laughed.
And the antithesis of convincing lots of women to sleep with you is actually enter into a relationship with one of them. How dare anyone do that!
Even Neil Strauss, whose book The game started it all, was avoided when he wrote about falling in love with his girlfriend (model). Many in the community have vowed to burn his books and never look back.
During my time in the industry, I realized this essential fact: not one person could have a real relationship. Instead, they treated all women like throwaway numbers and performed so well that they kept everyone at bay.
They never let anyone approach them or have a chance to make a real connection. Their avoidance behaviors left them alone, tired and bitter.
The way men objectified women and counted them like Pokemon cards never resonated with me. I didn't want to be one of those old dudes who went wild about his prime hitting "broads" and acting kinky towards young women.
Goodbye to strange times
These stories illustrate just a few of the many red flags that I have seen within the truck driver community. They do not include ...
- How some men have obsessively consumed gigabytes of collecting books, courses, and videos while rarely implementing the advice in the real world.
- The thousands of "secular reports" where men detailed their sexual conquests online for other men to live vicariously through them.
- The multiple guys I knew who moved to countries in Asia or Eastern Europe just because they thought they could get laid more easily with poor foreign women.
- The jargon the community coined and how we all spoke in code like we were badasses.
- Coaches who have been literally banned from various countries for harassing and assaulting women. No really, they can't enter the country.
Come to think of it, I wish I had recognized this weird world earlier. But when you want something so bad for yourself, it's easy to justify the behaviors and pull away from reality.
Like everything, however, you have to experience things for yourself before you discover the cold, hard truth. These interactions forever changed my perception of the industry and I'm glad they did.
So the next time you think about asking me, "What was it like to be a pickup artist?"
Know that my response will be, "I went to the rabbit hole and trust me you don't want to go." He's a weird man, really… fucking… weird.
Want to attract more women and build real confidence without resorting to shady tactics? Talk to me for a free and confidential strategy session.
Are you solo and looking for love ? Are you finding it to meet the right person ? When you’re having dysfonctionnement finding a love connection, it’s all too easy to become discouraged or buy into the destructive myths out there about dating and relationships.
Life as a single person offers many rewards, such as being free to pursue your own hobbies and interests, learning how to enjoy your own company, and appreciating the quiet moments of retraite. However, if you’re ready to share your life with someone and want to build a lasting, worthwhile relationship, life as a solo person can also seem frustrating.
For many of us, our emotional baggage can make finding the right romantic partner a difficult journey. Perhaps you grew up in a household where there was no role model of a solid, healthy relationship and you doubt that such a thing even exists. Or maybe your dating history consists only of brief flings and you don’t know how to make a relationship last. You could be attracted to the wrong type of person or keep making the same bad choices over and over, due to an unresolved issue from your past. Or maybe you’re not putting yourself in the best environments to meet the right person, or that when you do, you don’t feel confident enough.
Whatever the case may be, you can overcome your obstacles. Even if you’ve been burned repeatedly or have a poor track record when it comes to dating, these tips can help put you on the path to finding a saine, loving relationship that lasts.
The first step to finding love is to reassess some of the misconceptions about dating and relationships that may be preventing you from finding lasting love.
While there are health benefits that come with being in a solid relationship, many people can be just as happy and fulfilled without being part of a couple. Despite the stigma in some social circles that accompanies being solo, it’s important not to enter a relationship just to “fit in. ” Being alone and being lonely are not the same thing. And nothing is as unhealthy and dispiriting as being in a bad relationship.
This is an important myth to dispel, especially if you have a history of making inappropriate choices. Instant sexual attraction and lasting love do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Emotions can change and deepen over time, and friends sometimes become lovers—if you give those relationships a chance to develop.
Women and men feel similar things but sometimes express their feelings differently, often according to society’s conventions. But both men and women experience the same core emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, and joy.
Love is rarely static, but that doesn’t mean love or physical attraction is doomed to fade over time. As we age, both men and women have fewer sexual hormones, but emotion often influences volonté more than hormones, and sexual volonté can become stronger over time
When we start looking for a long-term partner or enter into a romantic relationship, many of us do so with a predetermined set of ( often unrealistic ) expectations—such as how the person should look and behave, how the relationship should progress, and the roles each partner should fulfill. These expectations may be based on your family history, influence of your peer group, your past experiences, or even ideals portrayed in movies and TV shows. Retaining many of these unrealistic expectations can make any potential partner seem inadequate and any new relationship feel disappointing.
Needs are different than wants in that needs are those qualities that matter to you most, such as values, ambitions, or goals in life. These are probably not the things you can find out about a person by eyeing them on the street, reading their profile on a dating site, or sharing a quick petit cocktail at a bar before last call.
Don’t make your search for a relationship the center of your life. Concentrate on activities you enjoy, your career, health, and relationships with family and friends. When you focus on keeping yourself happy, it will keep your life balanced and make you a more interesting person when you do meet someone special.
Remember that first impressions aren’t always reliable, especially when it comes to Internet dating. It always takes time to really get to know a person and you have to experience being with someone in a variety of situations. For example, how well does this person hold up under pressure when things don’t go well or when they’re tired, frustrated, or hungry ?
Be honest about your own flaws and shortcomings. Everyone has flaws, and for a relationship to last, you want someone to love you for the person you are, not the person you’d like to be, or the person they think you should be. Besides, what you consider a flaw may actually be something another person finds quirky and appealing. By shedding all pretense, you’ll encourage the other person to do the same, which can lead to an honest, more fulfilling relationship.
Build a genuine connectionThe dating game can be nerve wracking. It’s only natural to worry about how you’ll come across and whether or not your date will like you. But no matter how shy or socially awkward you feel, you can overcome your nerves and self-consciousness and forge a great connection.
Focus outward, not inward. to combat first-date nerves, focus your attention on what your date is saying and doing and what’s going on around you, rather than on your internal thoughts. Staying fully present in the moment will help take your mind off worries and insecurities.
Be curious. When you’re truly curious about someone else’s thoughts, feelings, experiences, stories, and opinions, it shows—and they’ll like you for it. You’ll come across as far more attractive and interesting than if you spend your time trying to promote yourself to your date. And if you aren’t genuinely interested in your date, there’s little point in pursuing the relationship further.
Be genuine. Showing interest in others can’t be faked. If you’re just pretending to listen or care, your date will pick up on it. No one likes to be manipulated or placated. Rather than helping you connect and make a good impression, your efforts will most likely backfire. If you aren’t genuinely interested in your date, there is little point in pursuing the relationship further.
Pay attention. Make an effort to truly listen to the other person. By paying close attention to what they say, do, and how they interact, you’ll quickly get to know them. Little things go a long way, such as remembering someone’s preferences, the stories they’ve told you, and what’s going on in their life.
Put your smartphone away. You can’t truly pay attention or forge a genuine connection when you’re multitasking. Nonverbal communication—subtle gestures, expressions, and other visual cues—tell us a lot about another person, but they’re easy to miss unless you’re tuned in.
Online dating, singles events, and matchmaking services like speed dating are enjoyable for some people, but for others they can feel more like high-pressure job interviews. And whatever dating experts might tell you, there is a big difference between finding the right career and finding lasting love.