I understand the confusion. Science is, after all, incredibly incompetent when it comes to helping people with social problems. Psychology has been around for over a hundred years and it’s really infantile in its efficacy. For all its expansive theory, Psychology has rarely improved upon the “ear of an empathic insightful friend.” And when it has, it is always an empathic insightful therapist armed with scientific knowledge that did the trick. So Why Science?
So, the real problem is not that science has nothing to offer, the real problem is the application of science as a source for a solution instead of a tool for a solution.
What is needed to solve a social dilemma (let’s limit it to that, since that’s what we do) is someone perspicacious enough to apply science as a tool. This is noticeably lacking and very needed. Sadly, many Pick Up Artists are still using the nonsensical and completely fallacious evolutionary psychology. And they use it mostly as marketing.
Meanwhile, real science applied to love and romance can completely demystify it, tell you the real reasons you feel scared and take a lot of that fear away.
Most people don’t need to be told “don’t stand too close” (proxemics), “look them in the eyes” (occulesics), “alter your vocal pitch” (prosody) and “stand up straight” (kinesics).” And so why do we need fancy scientific words that focus on those things? Because many people going for more advanced social skills do need to be told “altering your proximity in conversation can create sexual tension” (proxemics), “looking away is as important as eye contact” (occulesics), “vocal pitch can be used to close distance” (prosody), and “how you hold your head influences how people see you more than anything else in the first few seconds of an interaction” (kinesics).
Perhaps most importantly, we as a society need to change how we are interacting with strangers.
Most of our social conditioning is designed to distance ourselves from others and find justifications to avoid other people.
It prevents us from seeing that the nerdy guy who is being a little bit rude is just losing his words because he’s nervous, and the cocky dude who’s being a little too loud is probably just terrified.
This is not to say that those are the people that you need to spend your time on, but there’s no reason to stop a conversation with them when a little bit of calm, fearless, and skilled social attention could change their lives. And possibly yours.
We have helped hundreds of well-meaning socially awkward folks find love with people who would NEVER have looked at them twice and the retention rate of their relationships are about double the national average. What that tells me (and I confess this is not very scientific) is that there are a lot of people out there passing up a lot of really good opportunities.
Science exists with its incredibly rigorous and exacting methodologies for a very good reason. To avoid the cognitive biases that you and I aren’t even aware that we have.
These biases are not only impossible to avoid otherwise, most people don’t bother because those biases are what actually make marketing effective.
But it’s a rejection of pseudoscience like “a woman needs a guy to impregnate her so she will seek out a male who looks like he can protect her” that make me so passionate about extricating all of it from any PUA methodology. It is all evopsych nonsense.
I used to be an evopsych devotee until I learned just how much completely made up hogwash there is in it.
It’s not that evopsych is totally wrong. It’s that it can’t be called totally right. And since polarized thinking is the most common form of cognitive bias trying to help someone differentiate what is and isn’t good science in it is basically impossible. For example, the desire for impregnation plays a role in womens decisions to an unknown (and ever fluctuating) degree and the desire for someone to protect them is equally fluctuating. This kind of pseudoscience is unnecessary to explain what is happening between men and women (or any pair bonding individuals of any gender). So why even bother with it?
I am not trying to undercut the Pickup Artist community with this. I am actually just trying to save them from their own PR nightmare and the slow dwindling into oblivion that they are currently suffering from. I certainly am not claiming I can do it all myself. But I helped create The Attractive Arts to do my part.
We all know that some PUAs are misogynists, not because they have a reason to hate women but because when you gamify attraction you create an us vs them model that glorifies misogyny. If you want to study some science on this, study symbolic convergence theory.
This is where you get PUAs like Jeffy Jeff Allen, who should already been socially ostracized in every PUA circle in order to avoid the PR nightmare that is this very deserved article.
Mystery on the other hand is a scholar turned rogue, I love the guy. He genuinely loves women and even though he came up with the caveman evopsych nonsense about approach anxiety. What he teaches to people both works and can be applied ethically. He has also influence the PUA community more than any other PUA and he now sets an example of reformed ethics in Pick Up that people can be proud of. He deserves a lot of credit.
Vince Kelvin, a great natural presence teaching game on a level most can’t grasp but anyone who can, really could have their lives changed. He might be my favorite. He is unapologetically sex focused yet incredibly ethical and honest. A role model for others.
So there are lots of great PUAs out there, we are just trying to add a dynamic to it that we think is needed and fits our particular gifts. We are scientists by nature and two of our staff are PhDs. We think we bring something that can allow the PUA community to remain as successful as ever without resorting to making men and women play against each other. It can be totally divorced from all sexism and be totally oriented towards simple, natural, honest connection without any neediness.
Our passion is to create a real way for people to stop being strangers, make friends, get jobs and get laid without regrets in the morning.
We are doing our part by applying actual science, avoiding unnecessary polarizing of women and creating a philosophical framework to attraction technology that is divorced from flashy propaganda. It’s not designed as a dogma, we are happy when we are proven wrong and adopt new ideas quickly.
We hope this clears up future questions about why we focus so much on science in our approach and our viewpoint and connection to the Pickup Artist community.
The article is scathing, and insightful, and sums up beautifully why these men feel the need to spend so much of their precious time and energy bashing PUAs and the Seduction Community:
“Because they’re angry and unaware that it’s their inability to see women as anything other than ‘a pair of tits and a cunt’ is what’s impeding their ability to actually meet and charm women.”
Exactly. These PUA-Haters are so focused on sex as a commodity, on getting more of it with women who are high on the male-defined “value” scale, that they can’t see past their own dicks. And who wants to date/sleep with someone who only looks at them as a score on the great scoreboard of online machismo? Only women with similarly low self-esteem, and a similarly misguided belief that sex, and sexual attention = power.
But I also understood their anger. Granted, it isn’t the same frustration and annoyance I have often felt toward the Patriarchal PUA boys’ club. Which, by the way, is also neatly summed up in the Jezebel article:
“We browsed the forums for a few hours and failed to find one user who wondered whether women are unfairly targeted (as well as stereotyped, pigeonholed, and marketed) by the seduction community. Nope! On their predominately male, heterosexual planet it’s the poor, gullible men who are the true victims.”
What? You took an overpriced seminar (or bought a book, or both), and did not immediately get a top-notch blow job from a supermodel?? Oh noes!!
Still, I feel for these guys. I really do. They remind me of myself at the obnoxious age of 13-going-on-30, when I was utterly convinced that without a boyfriend I would die. Worse, I would die without ever having really lived. Because, as every magazine and T.V. show and movie and young adult novel I came across made excessively clear, a girl who couldn’t get at least one boy to fall in love with her was a complete and utter waste of space.
Now, let’s say some uber-popular 9th grade hottie walked up to me at that point in my life, promising she could transform me from an unloved, unlovable, boyfriendless loser into a hot, popular chick like her, with an arm-length list of dudes who would cheerfully cut off their left nut to be near me. Would I have quibbled over her insulting, violent, frankly misandrous terminology? Would I have been skeptical of her qualifications, or wary of her methods? Hell no. I would’ve done whatever she told me to do, no matter how degrading, or bizarre, or seemingly unrelated.
Because here’s the thing: back then, I was convinced that the product pedaled by this imaginary guru was essential to my happiness and well-being. And, had she existed, her existence (along with her sales pitch) would have cemented that reality for me. As in, “This must be a worthy goal, because here is this person who has it, telling me just how badly I need it!”
Let us further imagine that this girl extracts some sort of payment from me. Since I didn’t have much money back, I picture a homework-for-coaching arrangement. Meaning that I would have spent every free moment of every day doing double homework duty, plus practicing her “top-secret” attraction methods.
Finally, let’s picture that the end-of-the-year school dance rolls around, and I am finally ready to put her sure-fire methods into action! I’ve been practicing all year, so obviously, I’m going to be the belle of the ball!
But here’s the thing: I haven’t changed my attitude toward myself or, for that matter, boys.
I still believe, on a very deep level, that I need their attention in order to have any kind of self-worth. And now I need it even more, because I’ve invested so much into finally getting it, and my success will be measured (both by me and by my instructor) by just how much of it I get.
So when I approach them, they can smell that desperation on me even before I open my mouth. And they pull away from me. Again, and again. By the end of the night, not a single boy has danced with me, and I am…
I mean, I feel hurt and humiliated and worthless and all, but mostly I’m just furious at that pretentious bitch who lied to me and made me her acolyte and tricked me into doing all her homework. She swore up and down that if I did what she taught me that I would have boys crawling all over me! Instead I’m crying in the bathroom and listening to other girls talk about what a romantic time they’re having.
I would blame my “guru” for letting me down. And in truth, my anger would not be entirely misdirected or unjustified. She did mislead me, even if unintentionally. And she accepted payment for something that turned out to be useless. To me, at any rate.
As I was thinking about all this, I came across this article by former-PUA Mark Manson. It echoed so much of my own misgivings about taking on the PUA label, even in the jaunty, tongue-in-cheek way that a woman like me can. It solidified for me the difference between my methodology and the standard PUA model, and between my clients and that of a typical PUA.
“A lot of these guys don’t need a pick up instructor,” writes Manson. “They need a shrink and maybe some sort of anti-anxiety therapy. They need some confidence and a push to put themselves out there more and more. The technical aspect of picking up women really ISN’T that difficult. It really can be explained and taught within a few days. But it must be practiced for a long time, and to have that practice, a guy has to have healthy mindsets and an ability to overcome his fears.”
He’s right, of course. In order to be an effective coach, you have to be part shrink, part wing/cheerleader, and part muse. You have to help clients transform from the inside out, and you have to help them discover reasons to feel happy and fulfilled without a relationship, or an endless stream of flings, or whatever it is they are convinced they MUST HAVE before they can consider themselves a successful human being.
My job as a coach is not to be, as Manson puts it, a cool “rent-a-friend,” but a mirror that will allow them to see that they don’t NEED to be an attraction artist to be whole, and good, and worthy. All they really need to is enjoy themselves. In every sense of the word.
And that is what I actually do. That is my job description. I teach people how to enjoy themselves, and others.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: they call it game because it’s supposed to be fun. For everyone involved. That is the only true yardstick against which to measure success in the social realm: how much pleasure you are able to create for yourself and the people around you.
So be wary of any coach (or anyone for that matter) who does any of the following:
In fact, if you meet someone who does anything, or tries to convince you to do anything that is decidedly NOT enjoyable for any of the people involved, run screaming in the other direction. Or better yet, stay right where you are and tell them:
“Dude. You’re doing it wrong.”