This article has been contributed by Sasha Ferreira
Yes ladies, pick-up artists are in Singapore too. Never fear, Sasha Ferreira knows how they work, and she’s broken it down for you, here.
Ten years ago I followed a pick-up artist and his gang out on the prowl in Singapore. We went to Loof the first time and Ministry of Sound the second time. I had just read The Game, a book by Neil Strauss about the world of PUAs. Could you blame me? I was a woman in my 20s who wanted to understand how these guys think – I couldn’t help wondering if The Game was real? Very much so, as I found out.
Eventually people forgot The Game, and the PUA community fell back under the radar, operating their workshops and trainings undisturbed. But then… Julien Blanc happened.
Before he revealed his true assh**le nature by posting that pic on Twitter, Julien Blanc was a hugely successful pick-up artist (PUA) who taught workshops how to pull women. Notice I did not call him a dating coach. This is not some real-life Hitch. The friendly character played by Will Smith would not recommend techniques that physical abusers use to control their victims. Wedding Crashers is probably closer to the truth, except they don’t look a thing like Owen Wilson, and nobody marries guys who lie about their identity.
Classy as always
PUAs aren’t some silly group on Google hangout. This is a massive industry involving straight men all over the world who want to sleep with as many women as possible. They spend spend thousands dollars and attend workshops to learn to do this. Blanc charged a reported 3000 pounds per person in the UK. Guys like Blanc recognise that some men have these skills naturally and PUAs spend their energy quantifying and dissecting those skills and copying them.
And hell yes, they are in Singapore.
From the video they look like they’re regular guys, right? Just going through the world? Well, almost. Except they’re like a top salesperson trying to close the deal, and the deal is no-strings-attached sex with you. Granted not all of them are as blatantly misogynistic as Blanc. But they’re still worth watching out for..
Here’s what I learned from my time with PUAs:
- He approaches you out of the blue in a public place. With some line about how attractive you are. Look around – his coach or wingman will be standing nearby observing. They tend operate in pairs.
- You keep getting chatted up all night. When they are at workshops their coaches take them “out into the field” to practice what they learnt. One night my girlfriend and I couldn’t figure out why we kept getting approached. When the following things kept happening, we put two and two together.
- He negs you. This is a backhand remark designed to make you feel a little insecure and usually targets your appearance. For example “It’s so cute how big your feet are”. One of the PUAs in Ministry of Sound said to me: “You’re pretty but I don’t like girls with dark skin.” In my naivete, I perceived him as ’not a threat’ (because I wasn’t in danger of being hit on by him). This was exactly what he wanted – for me to let my guard down so he could weasel his way in. More recently someone tried a line like this one me and I told him where to shove it. What an ass!
- He peacocks. This is becoming less popular, but some old-skool PUAs wear bright crazy clothes so that when they enter a room they get a lot of attention. Mystery (www.venusianarts.com), one such old hand who features heavily in Strauss’ book, is a big advocate of this.
- He gets you to prove yourself. He’ll ask you what’s so special about you, or what are the qualities you have that make you a great girlfriend – in order to turn the tables. In a traditional courting situation, women subconsciously do this to men as part of our natural screening process. Reversing the flow reverses the power. And PUAs are all about power.
- He never asks you on an actual date. Group social situations, parties, wakeboarding with friends, but never, ever dinner and a movie. PUAs consider real getting-to-know-you dates the arena of Average Frustrated Chumps (AFCs).
- He tries to get you to a second location Often another bar or a friend’s party. This is about taking control of the situation, and is also a test of your interest level.
- He uses magic tricks or plays a game with you. Yes magic. I know. Think of those bar tricks bartenders love to use involving coasters, cherries etc – totally lame but they still get a “wow”, don’t they? An experienced PUA might pull a coin out of your ear or some variation, just to keep you engaged. Another Neuro-linguistics programming trick is saying something like: “Imagine you’re in on a beautiful beach and feel completely happy”. It’s compelling at the time because it’s so different from what every other random at the club is saying to you. But in retrospect, it’s completely try-hard and contrived.
- He’ll try to “read” your personality. By saying things like “You seem really artistic” or “you’re not a tomboy at all you’re really a girly girl.” This hit-or-miss personality analysis makes him seem wise, like he really gets you. It also builds rapport – another huge tenet of picking up.
- After you reject him, he moves right on to the next mark. It’s a numbers game after all. But don’t discount that he might come back to you later, especially if he sees that you’re jealous of the other girl.
- You’re curious about him, but you don’t know why. That’s because he’s playing mind games and using psychological techniques to manipulate you. He has studied these and practised them. That is his gig. Back away slowly.
- His confidence seems a little put-on. Because it is. He’s faking it til he makes it. Any guy who needs to play games with women like this is pretty insecure.
- He ignores you all night, flirts with your friends, then makes a move on you. You were probably his mark all along and he was ignoring you to make you feel isecure and increase his chances later. Really, really classy.
- He’ll AMOG other guys. In order to establish his role as alpha male of the group (AMOG) he will light-heartedly belittle or physically challenge other men in order to establish himself as superior. Thsi can be putting an arm around a guy he barely knows, mussing their hair, or passive aggressiveness like pointing at the rival and saying “Isn’t this guy great? What a cool guy!” The worst AMOGing I witnessed, Guy A pointed to Guy B and said “This guy has a HUGE…” Could be viewed as a compliment but really it was designed to embarrass Guy A and throw him off.
- He’ll reject sex… at first. A classic con to make you want it more. He’ll come up with some story about how it’s going too fast and he’s not over his last relationship. Again this is to turn the tables and get to you to “beg” for something that actually he wants.
The bad news? It works. It’s all very subconscious and you don’t notice it in the moment. Whether he’s studying to be a PUA or he’s just a born playa who knows how to handle women, these boys keep singing this song because we keep singing along. If your gut instinct says he’s playing games and you see several of the above happening – my advice is to stay away.
The good news: Women hold the power. Until we choose to give it up.This time-honoured truth is what drives their fear and need for control.Why would else they spend all this time and money to try to win us over? At least in the beginning, we control the situation and decide what happens, how, where and with who. Their game, over the eons, has been to convince us to give up this power. Don’t! Keep your dignity!
Bottom line: Good guys who are genuinely interested in you don’t play games.
Hey, we’ve all fallen victim to a guy’s tricks and lies, but thankfully, there comes a point when you live, learn and see through the bullsh*t.
If you’re after a little sportfishing for a night or two, you may think these PUAs are harmless, but rest assured they will try to mindf*ck you in order to stay in control. Also – the likelihood that these dudes actually know what they are doing in bed is pretty slim. Just because he’s learnt how to pick up a woman does not mean he knows how to please a woman. Whatever you do, Do NOT try to enter a relationship with guys who exhibit the above behaviours! They will string you along, even if they genuinely like you.
They call falling in love “Oneitis” and consider it a disease. And their solution to Oneitis is GFTOG – go f**k ten other girls.
So ladies, be warned.
And to PUAs who are reading this to see how accurate it is, feel free to comment and correct anything I might be wrong about. Seriously though, I have a question: Is this lifestyle truly giving you peace and happiness? Sure, there’s a temporary thrill. But is it worth acting out of integrity, and messing with someone’s feelings? What need are you really trying to meet? These coaches and websites and forums don’t care about your peace and happiness, they care about making money for themselves and their advertisers.
Hey PUAs I have a question: What would happen if you spent all the money and time and energy you invest in picking up on self-care, developing your skills, talents, health, self-esteem and career?
What would happen if you worked on being yourself, your most authentic self – not some rubbish some YouTube guy tells you to pretend to be? The real close, the lasting close that no one can take away from you is mastering yourself, instead of trying to master other people. That’s the difference between being empowered and being powerful. Real intimacy and connection comes from being real, being brave, being vulnerable. Power and control the way Julien Blanc and his band of merry men sell it may seem bright and shiny in the short-term, but, it will leave you cold in the end. Just like Blanc, who’s been forced out of Australia, is being petitioned against in Singapore, (http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/more-singapore-stories/story/online-petition-against-pick-artist-julien-blanc-gathers) Canada and Britain. He isn’t getting lucky anytime soon.
And what about me? Well over the years I fell for my fair share of power players, PUAs and losers. All of whom taught me the valuble lessons in this article. I’m still reading, still trying to understand how men work. I think I’m getting there – I highly recommend Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man! But more importantly, I’m working on me, my baggage, my self-love, my self-respect. I continue to hope that there are some good guys walking the planet. And now I understand that before I can identify the decent ones, I gotta learn how to spot the dodgy ones, say no thank you, and hold out for what I deserve. That’s my power, and I ain’t letting that go for no one.
Dating is a bloodsport, I choose to protect myself before I next get into the ring. Keep the gloves on, readers, and take care out there!
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