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The seduction community is a loose-knit subculture of men who strive for better sexual and romantic success with women through self-improvement and a greater understanding of social psychology.[1]

It exists largely through Internet forums and groups, as well as over a hundred local clubs, known as "lairs".[2] Members of the community often call themselves "pickup artists"

Contents

History

The seduction community's origins date back to Ross Jeffries, who promotes a collection of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques called "Speed Seduction" (SS).[3] Other gurus established themselves, but lacked contacts with each other. In 1994, Lewis De Payne, then a student of Jeffries, founded the newsgroup alt.seduction.fast ("ASF").[4] This then spawned a network of other Internet discussion forums, email lists, blogs, and sites where seduction techniques could be exchanged.[3][5]

The original alt.seduction.fast became overwhelmed with spam, and a group called "Learn the Skills Corporation" developed a moderated alternative known as "Moderated ASF" (commonly "mASF"), which reports a membership of 20,000.[citation needed] During the same period, in the late 1990s, Clifford Lee began his Cliff's List Seduction Letter[6] as a central independent voice of the community.[7]

Other seduction teachers emerged with competing methods, and became known within this community as "seduction gurus" or "gurus".[8] The emergent theories coalesced on the usenet newsgroups before being systematically structured and taught by teachers such as Mystery and David DeAngelo.[9]

"The Community" was brought more in to the mainstream when, in 2005, Neil Strauss wrote The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, an exposé of the seduction community. The Game reached the New York Times Bestseller List, and popularized pickup and seduction to a broader audience.[10]

"The Community" was further publicized when in August 2007, Mystery, with his former students Matador and J-Dog, was star of the television show "The Pick Up Artist" on VH1.[11] Nick Savoy was supposed to appear on the show but due to a professional dispute between Savoy and Mystery, Savoy did not appear. He is listed as a consultant to the show.[12]

There has also been a convergence recently between the seduction coaching industry and the porn industry [13]. Johnny Soporno, and Hoobie from Real Social Dynamics typify this trend. Johnny Soporno has worked in the porn industry for almost 20 years and has released products targeting men and women interested in the industry based on his experiences.[14] Hoobie created a website that merged seduction coaching videos with pornography.[15]

Concepts

Supporters of this community typically believe that the conventional dating advice for men is fatally flawed. For example, they reject the notion that men should attempt to woo women by spending money on them (e.g. buying drinks, presents, jewelry), calling it "supplication".[16]

They also discourage flattery.[8] They believe that physical looks are less important to women in selection of a partner than they are to men, as evidenced by top gurus who rated poorly with their looks on a Hot or Not style of website.[17]

Many members of the seduction community work on their "game" (seduction skills) by improving their understanding of female psychology, their confidence and self-esteem (termed "inner game"), and their social skills and physical appearance (physical fitness, fashion sense, grooming) ("outer game"). Many members of the community believe that one's "game" is refined through regular practice,[18] with the idea that the abilities needed to interact with women can be improved.

The seduction community has a unique set of acronyms and jargon for describing male-female dynamics and social interaction.[8] For example, "AFC" stands for Average Frustrated Chump (a term coined by Ross Jeffries to describe males who are clueless and incompetent with women).

"AMOG" stands for "Alpha-Male Of the Group": a reference to a competing male, who is usually either befriended by the PUA (Pickup artist), or, if necessary, ridiculed. Some of the concepts in the community are borrowed from other disciplines, such as the concept of social proof from the psychology of influence, and various concepts from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology (such as the term "alpha male").

Books such as The Red Queen by Matt Ridley, Sperm Wars by Robin Baker, and The Mating Mind by Geoffrey Miller are frequently cited in the community.[citation needed]

The concept of social proof has received more attention now due to the theories that Adam Lyons has developed which he eventually consolidated into the theory of Entourage Game. Entourage Game changes the emphasis of pickup from doing cold approaches to engineering your lifestyle so that you create a large social circle of women whom you then can date if you choose.[19] This method is alleged by Lyons to be a more natural way of meeting a long-term partner and consequently it requires less effort. Lyons has also developed a formula for attraction:

(C – R) + Q + SE = A

which translates as

(Comfort – Rapport) + Qualification + Sexual Escalation = Attraction

This concise modelling of attraction has also been seen with Erik von Markovik with his famous M3 model which was popularized with the release of The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.[20] The innovation of Lyon's formula is the emphasis on breaking rapport to create attraction, a concept that was touched on by Erik von Markovik with his concept of negs, although it was widely misunderstood and parodied in the media at the time.[21]

Practices

In The Game, Neil Strauss documents various practices that occur in the seduction community. Members of the community believe in achieving success with women through scientific and empirical means, rather than by relying on good looks or intuitive instinct, or by following societal courtship conventions. The practice of going out with the purpose of meeting females is known as "sarging", a term coined by Ross Jeffries, after his cat "Sarge". A pickup artist can "sarge" alone, or with a wingman.

Approaching and opening

Pickup artists generally assume the mindset that women are passive and will not initiate, requiring men to begin any interaction by approaching them, but many have also cultivated a sensitivity to direct and indirect signals of sexual interest.

There are many different types of "approaches." Approaches can be directed towards women who are in groups, or alone, and pickup artists can approach on their own or with their wingmen.

Approaching can be "direct" (in communicating sexual interest), or "indirect" (appearing indifferent towards physical intimacy). Approaching can also happen when a woman gives an "approach invitation" (abbreviated "AI"), a favorable body language signal, like eye contact or a smile.

PUAs believe that reading signals like the woman touching her hair, laughing, (termed IOI – Indicators of Interest) and knowing when to "escalate" the interaction to more intimate levels when windows of opportunity arise are essential skills for having success of any nature. The timing of these escalations is thought to be critical because a missed window of opportunity due to tentativeness can serve to dampen attraction.

Alternately, a window can be playfully skirted or even ignored to build tension, providing emotional space in which people can feel comfortable and unpressured. To calibrate interests from a woman, one can ask the AIA question: "Am I Interested". If the woman is, the player can calibrate accordingly and escalate touching and logistics.

"Cold approaching" occurs when the "target" has not given such a notice to the pickup artist. Cold approach can also refer to approaching a person you know nothing about, irrespective of whether they're displaying IOIs. Pickup artists approach either verbally, or nonverbally.

Nearly every pickup artist, even those most experienced, admits to feelings of "approach anxiety" when approaching women; this feeling is exacerbated the longer the approach is delayed. Initiating a conversation is called "opening," and whatever the pickup artist says while opening is called an "opener." Openers can be "canned" (prepared in advance), or improvised.

Members of the seduction community often practice approaching and opening repetitively; some have done thousands of approaches. Strauss describes a pickup artist who did 125 approaches in one day.[22]

Field Reports

Some pickup artists in the community write up "Field Reports" ("FRs") and "Lay Reports" ("LRs") detailing their experiences with women which they share on Internet forums for constructive criticism, or to serve as examples for others.[22]

Controversy

The seduction community has been receiving increased media attention,[23][24][25][26] especially since the publication of Neil Strauss' article on the community in The New York Times,[3] and his bestselling memoir The Game. Response to the seduction community has been varied; it has been called misogynistic, and a review of The Game in the San Francisco Chronicle characterized the community as "a puerile cult of sexual conquest," and calls its tactics "sinister" and "pathetic."[26][27] According to the review, "if women in the book are sometimes treated as a commodity, they come out looking better than the men, who can be downright loathsome — and show themselves eventually to be pretty sad, dysfunctional characters."

Feminists tend to be critical of the seduction community. Beatrix Campbell has stated that The Game "sexually objectifies women," arguing that "in a way these courses are helping men to be a bit less useless in their engagement with women, using charm and a bit of ingenuity to seduce. But the only thing that will help them in relationships is empathy and liking women."[28]

According to an article in Eye Weekly, some feminists believe that pickup "isn't just cheesy; it's offensive."[29] The article cites a proposal put forward by a feministblogs.org writer as an alternative to the formula used by expert PUAs: "Shake my hand. [Say] 'Hi, my name is…' Treat me like a human being. Avoid seeing women as conquests and men as competition." In reference to the proposal, Strauss retorted that "If that worked, I wouldn't have had to write this book."[citation needed]

An article in the Houston Press claimed that the seduction community "isn't the lechfest it might sound like." The article quotes the webmaster of fastseduction.com defending the community: "It's no more deceptive than push-up bras or heels or going to the gym to work out…This isn't just a game of words and seduction, it's an overall life improvement."[30] Strauss says, "I really think all of these routines and manipulations are just a way for a guy to get his foot in the door so that if a woman connects with him, she can still choose him," and that seduction techniques "can be used for good or evil!"[18][25] He argues that "women are incredibly intuitive — the creepy guys with bad intentions don't do nearly as well as the guys who love and respect women."[26]

Several writers describe observing men in the seduction community first-hand. Some women recount experiences with men they believed to be pickup artists who tried to "pick them up," and some men recount trying out pickup techniques. A columnist for The Independent describes a negative experience with a man she believed was a pickup artist and used a lot of "negs" on her: "The problem is that some guys clearly don't know when to quit."[31]

An article in San Francisco Magazine recounts the experience the blogger "Dolly," who is the "author of the popular sex blog The Truth about Cocks and Dolls" had with the seduction community. According to the article, Dolly was:

[...] put off by PUAs at first. But after she met more, including two from San Francisco, she wrote a letter to the Village Voice defending them, in response to the paper’s negative article on the subject in March. “PUAs try to create a fun, positive, and exciting experience for the woman,” Dolly wrote. “The credo many follow is ‘Leave her better than you found her.’ What’s so bad about that? That they want to get laid, too? Guess what? Guys have always wanted sex and will continue to want sex. You can’t fault them for finally discovering methods that are successful.[32]

Jaimal Yogis, author of the article reports trying out some of the teachings of PickUp 101 and describes "having an epiphany: I can talk to anyone."[32] For an article for the Times Online, Hugo Rifkind participated in a seminar by Neil Strauss.[24] Rifkind describes initially struggling with seduction techniques, eventually learning to attract women's interest, and then feeling guilty. Rifkind writes, "After a little more practice, my 'game' is improving dramatically. I can open with fluency, and there’s an injection of confidence which comes from knowing exactly what you are going to say next." When he attracts a woman's attention, "she is — quite honestly — looking at me like I’m the most fascinating person she’s ever met. As a human being and, perhaps more crucially, as somebody with a girlfriend, I feel like absolute scum."

After spending three days immersed in a Mystery Method seminar, Gene Weingarten expressed his uneasiness about "a step by step tutorial for men in how to pick up women, make them comfortable in your presence, and bed them, ideally within seven hours of your first meeting" and wondered aloud, "Is there something inherently wrong with the notion of seduction as a classroom-taught skill, complete with a long hierarchy of 'lines' that work, seemingly spontaneous topics of conversation that are anything but spontaneous, tricks for seeming 'vulnerable', and tips on how to behave so as to deliver subtle but effective nonverbal inducements to intimacy?"[33]

Commercialization

The media attention and rapid growth of the seduction community has led to commercialization and competition. Teachers of seduction tactics sell workshops, books, e-books, DVDs, and CDs over the internet. In The Game, Strauss describes the competition between seduction gurus.

In popular culture

  • The movie Hitch, February 2005, starring Will Smith, directed by Andy Tennant, shows the life of one-on-one dating coach that portrays the good nature of the pickup lifestyle and business.
  • The episode "The Score" in season 4 of CSI: Miami involves a guru teaching his students.[34]
  • Channel 4 produced a single episode of a TV show called "Seduction School", in which three guys, one short, one tall, and one fat, were instructed by Juggler.[35]
  • Channel 4 produced a documentary called "First Cut: The Rules of Seduction", which followed the progression of Ian on a bootcamp lead by Richard La Ruina of PUATraining as well as documenting PUA Training's Adam Lyons' appearance at the World PUA Summit in Los Angeles.[36]
  • In Summer 2007, VH1 aired a program called The Pickup Artist (TV series),[37] where Mystery teaches eight "socially inept men" his techniques for attracting women.
  • In the movie Magnolia, Tom Cruise stars as seduction guru Frank T.J. Mackey, author of Seduce and Destroy, a character Ross Jeffries claims was based on him. In The Game Strauss interviews Cruise who stridently denies his character was in any way based on Jeffries, although he admits director Paul Thomas Anderson was aware of Jeffries.
  • In the show "Keys to the VIP" (a show where men compete as "players"), the pickup judge "Peachez" uses the term "seduction community" (episode 5) and he regularly uses concepts from it (e.g. "rapport" and "closing") while commenting on the contestants. Cajun, an instructor with Love Systems recently went on as a contestant and won. The video can be seen here
  • In 2007, Zan Perrion played himself in the movie Let the Game Begin, starring Adam Rodriguez (of CSI: Miami), Thomas Ian Nicholas, Stephen Baldwin, and Lochlyn Munro.
  • In 2008, Richard La Ruina played himself (Gambler) in the movie We Need to Talk About Kieran about a man who turns to Pick Up Artists after being cheated on by his girlfriend.
  • On October 17, 2008, Sirius Satellite Radio launched "Game On" with hosts Jordan Harbinger and Joshua Pellicer from The Art of Charm, teaching listeners how to improve their "game," and master the social skills to attract and interact with the opposite sex. [38]
  • The webcomic Least I Could Do follows the antics of a Rayne Summers, a successful pick-up artist.

See also

References

  1. ^ Pelling, Rowan, "Seduction? Any woman with her own hair and a bottle of vodka can do it", The Independent, Sept 4, 2005.
  2. ^ "Official List of Worldwide PUA Lairs"
  3. ^ a b c Strauss, Neil, "He Aims! He Shoots! Yes!!", The New York Times, 25 January 2004.
  4. ^ Who is Lewis De Payne?
  5. ^ Forman, Bill "Working Overtime on the Seduction Line", Metro News, February 8, 2006.
  6. ^ Cliff's List – Private Seduction Letter
  7. ^ Yuen, Jenny, "Disgraced doctor is T.O's seduction guru", Toronto Sun, April 13, 2008.
  8. ^ a b c Gravenor, Kristian, "Seduction for Dummies", The Montreal Mirror, July 14, 2005.
  9. ^ Who Is David Deangelo?
  10. ^ Levitt, Aimee, "Cock and Awe", River Front Times, April 9, 2008.
  11. ^ IMDB THe Pickup Artist (2007)
  12. ^ Official Savoy-Mystery Dispute Documents
  13. ^ xTimeline: History of the Seduction Community
  14. ^ http://realmanconference.com/?speakers,4&ref=9b19a95d#johnny
  15. ^ http://pickuppodcast.com/blogs/pickuppodcast/archive/2009/03/23/pickup-podcast-ep-85-hoobie-interview.aspx
  16. ^ Q046
  17. ^ Beautiful?
  18. ^ a b George, Lianne, "Q&A with Author Neil Strauss, Maclean's, August 29, 2005.
  19. ^ http://www.seduction-chronicles.net/2009/03/23/afc-adam-lyons-interview/
  20. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/11/books/review/11jacobs.html
  21. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgsHV9FEJdU
  22. ^ a b Strauss, Neil, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (2005), ISBN 0-06-055473-8, p. 298
  23. ^ Netburn, Deborah, "Danger: pickup artists ahead", LA Times, August 31, 2005.
  24. ^ a b Rifkind, Hugo, "Operation pick-up", The Times, September 3, 2005.
  25. ^ a b Spencer, Liese, "Revealed: the dark arts of the ladykiller", The Scotsman, September 12, 2005.
  26. ^ a b c Ganahl, Jane (2005-11-25). "Ahead of the game". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/25/LVGPHEQA941.DTL. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  27. ^ Behr, Rafael, "Girls, if you see this man, run a mile", The Guardian, September 25, 2005.
  28. ^ Johnson, Andrew (2005-08-28). "Passing on 'foolproof' pick-up tips. Is this 'grooming' for adults?". The Independent. http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/news/article308631.ece. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  29. ^ Morris, Dave (2005-10-13). "Get laid, get fucked". Eye Weekly. http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_10.13.05/arts/artsweek.html. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  30. ^ Malisow, Craig (2005-06-02). "Keeping Score". Houston Press. http://www.houstonpress.com/2005-06-02/news/keeping-score/2. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  31. ^ Townsend, Catherine (2006-03-28). "Sleeping Around". The Independent. http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article354165.ece. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  32. ^ a b Yogis, Jaimal (2006). "What does it take to get a date in this town?". San Francisco Magazine. http://www.sanfran.com/archives/view_story/1306/. Retrieved 2006-12-22. 
  33. ^ Weingarten, Gene, "The Gene Pool: Sex and Deceit", The Washington Post, March 5, 2008.
  34. ^ della Cava, Marco R., "Pickup artists point the way", USA Today, August 15, 2006.
  35. ^ "Seduction School: Size Doesn't Matter." Channel 4. 2006 – 8–3. Retrieved 2006 – 11–27.
  36. ^ "First Cut: The Rules of Seduction" Channel 4. 2007 – 11–3. Retrieved 2007 – 11–27.
  37. ^ The Pick Up Artist, VH1.com.
  38. ^ Newswire, PR (2008-10-15). "SIRIUS' Maxim Radio Launches 'Game On,' Exclusive Weekly Show Devoted to the Art of Meeting and Attracting Women". SOA World Magazine. http://in.sys-con.com/node/711201. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 

Further reading

  • Neil Strauss, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, 2005, ISBN 0-06-055473-8







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