Me: When I was doing the MRA research, I saw so much weird PUA stuff. Man, the internet, you know?
Editor: OK, you can write about that next.
Me: Have I wronged you in some way?
Pickup artists- or PUAs- are dudes who undertake training or follow techniques to perfect their seduction of women. The movement was popularised by books such as Neil Strauss’ The Game, which brought terms like “The Neg” (in which a man pays a women a backhanded compliment to essentially hold her self-esteem ransom) into the lexicon. However, most of the movement is now online and I stumbled across it when researching my superfunhappytimes article on MRAs (speaking of, hello manlumps who have been spamming my twitter account for weeks, you are precious sunflowers all of you and I treasure our interactions). Turns out, there’s quite a bit of crossover between dudebros who think feminism has gone too far and men who feel entitled to sex. So, here’s a little of what I learnt from PUA or “Seduction” forums.
Seddit (Seduction Reddit)
FR: Yogurt Shop Daygame- First Date F-Close
Let’s ease ourselves in, shall we? This is the most recent FR on the Seddit and it tells a gripping tale of a F-Close. Wait, what? Hang on, let’s try this again.
This is the most recent Field Report (guys recounting details of their dates so others can learn from their mistakes/victories) on the Seduction Reddit (one of the major PUA forums) and it tells a gripping tale of a “Full” or “F*** close”. That is, a date that results in sex (not to be confused with a K-Close, which is only kissing and which will usually lead to the artist asking for advice on how to translate that to a F-Close because, like, if you don’t dip your nib in the inkwell are you truly an artist?) (Petition to begin referring to vaginas as “inkwells”, please sign here).
This is far from the weirdest post I found on this Subreddit but I’m using it as an example because it seems pretty innocuous at first glance. I mean, as innocuous as something can be when a man is describing an interaction with a woman as a “Field Report” as though he is an archaeologist and she is some decomposing bones he’s dug up and bagged. And as innocuous as anything which features the comment “I love the ‘We don't have to, I'll just lay beside you.’ I've done this countless times...always works” can be...OK, no, this is creepy as hell.
A list of fun, useful “social games”
This is one of the top posts on Seddit and it lists 9 “games” the PUAs can try to enhance their social skills and aid in seduction.
Uh...cool games, guy! I mean, I prefer Settlers of Catan but, you know, maybe not everyone is as turned on by accumulating wool as I am. Still, as one of your prey/a woman, I feel it’s only fair to tell you how I would react if these “games” were played in my presence.
1. Peacock. OK, look, I own a dress with LITERAL peacocks on it, I have no beef with this game. You work that top hat and cane combo, Seddit-er! Just, like...maybe wear it because you dig the Victorian look rather than as a weird value-adding mechanism when you’re attempting to bone?
2. The Eye Contact Game. “Is that dude staring at me? He is. OK, look away. Look back. Yep he’s still doing it. Um...maybe he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s looking at? No, no, he’s smiling now. OK pretend to read a book. OH GOD YOU FORGOT YOUR BOOK. Your hands. Pretend to read your hands. Still doing it? Damn it, fine, I’ll switch carriages, he’s either creeping on me or trying to imprint, Twilight-style, and either way I am not in the mood for his werewolf shenanigans”.
3. “Hello”. Like...just in the street, even? I would assume you were trying to convince me to give money to charity and scamper like the self-involved 20-something that I am.
4. Asking Strangers For Directions. The OP says that for extra credit you should ignore the person’s directions and go in the exact opposite direction so...congratulations, I guess I will no longer try to be helpful to tourists.
5. Elevator Challenge. Fart. Then leave.
6. Odd Conversations. Not much to say about this one but I love the casual association of Norwegian politics and anal fisting because it really puts a delightful spin on all those Nordic crime dramas.
7. Numbers Game. “No.”
8. House Party Scramble. “Nice to meet- oh, you’re gone? I was just about to compliment you on your top hat”.
9. Freestyling. “I am...so uncomfortable with this.”
OK, let’s leave the amateurs over on Seddit and hear from the experts. This site is run by Richard La Ruina (AKA Gambler), whose book The Natural has been described as “Britain’s answer to The Game” and has a 4.5 star rating on Amazon. He’s legit, is what I’m saying. And his welcome video to the site seems so gentle and warm! What a cutie! He just wants love! So, let’s check out some of his blog posts.
5 Reasons You Need To Break Rapport
“Without breaking rapport, you fall into the comfort trap. Meaning she will put you in the dreaded friend zone!” Ah, the friend zone, enemy of dudes who think women are only valuable as places to temporarily store their dicks. MEN are for friends, WOMEN are for holes, it’s just science you guys. Apparently the best way to avoid landing in the friend zone is to wait until a woman is enjoying your company and then become a STRAIGHT UP NIGHTMARE, so she will no longer like you but she will want to bang you? I know that if I’m eating cake and the middle layer is poison I will definitely be keen to finish that cake- after, I guess, vomiting violently- so, yeah, either this theory checks out or I have a problem with food.
7 Subtle Hints Girls Give That Shows They Like You And Want To See You Again
In which you'll find an exhaustive list of things that all seem like basic manners. Is being polite now considered an invitation downtown? Number 3 suggests that a lady breaking an awkward silence is an sign she wants to have sex with you... OK, dude, I have definitely broken awkward silences when I haven’t been attracted to a guy but that is because they are AWKWARD SILENCES. It’s either end them, stand up and leave, or burn that place to the ground and salt the earth. Thanks to your website, I will start carrying matches.
Question: How Long Should I Leave It Before Getting Back With My Ex
Answer: 3 to 5 weeks.
Question (from me): Wait but it says she broke up with him so maybe she doesn’t want him to keep contacting her and…
Answer: WHAT IS IT ABOUT 3 TO 5 WEEKS THAT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND?
Speed Seduction, NLP and Hypnotica
Full disclosure: I thought this was a parody site when I first found it. I mean, this guy, Ross Jeffries (AKA Doc, seriously, these dudes have full on Madonna-complexes when it comes to choosing names) (and Madonna-Whore complexes just generally), is genuinely advocating mind control when it comes to getting laid. That’s some Trio from Buffy level sci-fi rapey behaviour right there. It can’t possibly be real. Also, the website appears to have been created by typewriter… sometime in the mid-70s. So I disregarded it, as I assumed everyone would.
But Ross Jeffries’ name pops up all over PUA sites and forums, where he is hailed as a pioneer of PUA Hypnosis (wha?) and NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming (wha WHA?). Basically, Jeffries advocates the use of Ambiguity, in which you use “normal” words that sound like sexual terms in an effort to trigger horniness in your target. Following this logic, beware any guy who invites you to play badminton with him. He’s just dying to say “shuttlecock”, which will lead to you instantly removing your bra and suggesting a round of mixed doubles.
It was hard to find specific uses of PUA NLP (fun with letters!) online because most advocates want you to pay for the privilege of their wisdom and I just don’t know that guys like Hypnotica (yeah, that’s the name he decided to go with, let’s take a moment here) deserve my cash. But needless to say, using hypnosis and psychological programming in order to trick a woman into sleeping with you is one of the darker underbellies of PUA culture, which is saying a lot given that, as a movement, it consists almost entirely of underbelly.
You know one of the worst things about diving head first into this lake of muddy gender relations? I can’t hate all these guys. The major players who are profiting from an industry that treats women as merely targets to be brought down and bedded, without any recognition of them as actual nuanced humans? Yeah, sure, I can hate them. But a lot of guys on these forums seemed desperate for advice and, presumably, lack a big sister/female best friend/not-douchey-father to say “Women are people. They’re humans. Treat them as such and try listening to them rather than spouting off pre-planned insults and spending all your money on, like, neon leg warmers”. These lonely guys are being manipulated by the “legends” of PUA culture and, in turn, are learning to manipulate women rather than connect with them. I think the final word should go to Sophos, who provided me with this alternate definition of your standard PUA.
Except change “Potentially” to “Definitely”. Maybe if we all started adopting this attitude we can finally leave the glorious peacock in peace.
Want more from SBS Comedy:
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