We all know pickup artists are a major gross-out. On its own, being able to win someone over and spend the night with them is pretty cool! But we all know that isn’t what pickup artists are about. Their techniques are aimed at overcoming the byzantine rules of social interaction and bypassing bullshit that women pull like “not being sure they want to sleep with this guy,” and “just wanting to get drinks with friends.” To them, sex is part of a power game, and rejection isn’t an option. The interaction only ends when the Artist says it does. The pickup system operates on an adversarial worldview where women are the enemy, denying access to men’s sexual gratification, and this comes through clearly enough that basically anyone paying attention will “pick up” on it.
It’s bad enough that PUAs are so sleazy and ruthless, but there’s something deeper, something viscerally repulsive about what they do. Many of their problems stem from a society that has rigid sexist expectations for each gender, and while they do understand this, they don’t make an attempt to rise above. Species can develop into vermin if introduced into regions where they find favorable living conditions, and if they face few or no natural enemies there. They are defined by their adaptability, their tenacity and will to survive. PUAs fail as men in a patriarchal society, and instead of redefining what a man is, they are satisfied with moving to the margins, living in garbage, and becoming rats.
Pickup Artists Constantly Live in Survival Mode
You know those ads you get on porn sites that are like “Sleep with ANY woman, GUARANTEED”? You know those, right? Like, everyone does, right?
It’s one of the archetypal male fantasies. It suggests that women saying “no” will never be a problem for you. The ad also appeals to the idea that women aren’t supposed to say “no,” that their sexuality is an open commodity (salesman “GUARANTEED”). This is of course not practically the case, however strongly the concept is socially reinforced, and it causes problems for a lot of men when they bump into the reality of women turning them down. Nobody likes being rejected. But many people HATE being rejected, and just about as many are afraid of it.
PUA can be and is used by men who are already sexually successful. It “steps up their game,” as they would say. But the way it’s constructed, with the smallest details such as eye movement and position accounted for, is for men who are not successful. It’s comprehensive as FUCK, because that’s the level of dysfunction it’s attempting to address. Possibly these men don’t understand how to talk to or approach women. They’re shy, just generally clueless, or frustrated that for all their efforts they haven’t achieved a single f-close.
It comes down to a fear of rejection. PUA is built around techniques that are aimed at breaking down defenses and easing women into things and moving steadily forward in a way that prevents them from ever saying “no.” This objective, again, seems fine. There’s nothing wrong with being so smooth that you get from introduction to bed with no hitch. The point, though, is that pickup is the art of avoiding rejection.
Pickup is also arranged like a game. Women are scored (HB 1-10), techniques and strategies are named and heavily regimented, trip reports are made to analyze weaknesses in game and congratulate victories. Each interaction ideally ends with a “close,” Which is generally kiss- number- or fuck-. This structure means that every misstep is a potential crisis. PUAs are fighting to survive.
Pickup Artists Think They’re Leveling the Playing Field
Rejection is seen as one of the ultimate weapons when it comes to sexual interaction. Supposedly, when a woman tells you she’s not interested, that’s the end of it. They have the power to definitively end things (though the man often has the actual power here, as it’s up to them whether they accept it or persist). Because of this power, PUAs, and a lot of men in general, feel at a disadvantage because they don’t have a magic button that gets them what they wanted. So they turn to pickup, whose entire purpose is to nullify the power of rejection by ensuring it never gets used. It’s a counter to women’s many defenses such as Bitch Shields, Shit Tests, and Last Minute Resistance.
People will often include in their anti-PUA screeds qualifying statements that PUA techniques work. They’ll say “it’s good for men to gain confidence and know how to present/sell themselves, learn how to get over the fear of rejection and accept it when it comes.” And this is true. There’s elements of self-help to PUA that are generally good life advice. But while the techniques can work, they need to be used properly, in that they need to seem genuine and natural, making PUA an exercise in sociopathy. Worse, such acknowledgements often leave out where PUAs got this information in the first place. What insights do they have that they can construct a system like this, that, performed correctly, is fairly successful?
Pickup Artists Thrive on a Poisonous System
The rules of the seduction community were written specifically to take advantage of cracks and problems in the patriarchal system. Kino, the usage of physical contact to progress a flirtation, directs PUAs to touch women in an escalating way. Starting from touches that “no reasonable woman” would object to, and moving up the scale on the assumption that the woman will continue allowing it, Kino works with the knowledge that it’s expected of women to be nice and friendly (“smile!”) and not reject people. It works with the feelings induced by these expectations. The escalation scale is not only an attempt to slowly ramp up physical contact, but also an attempt to play off women’s fears of looking inconsistent, frigid, or unreasonable.
“Don’t assume she doesn’t like being touched, just keep touching until she pulls away or says something.”
PUAs understand (or have been taught) the mechanisms of patriarchy to such a degree that they “meta-game” and carry out interactions with the opposite sex not inside the particular set of rules we live under, but USING those rules. They can see the full face of patriarchy, how it directs women to act, how it limits the ways women can respond to unwanted attention. And instead of adjusting their behavior to make everyone more comfortable, they use the profound problems of a male-centric society to get laid. Instead of passively benefiting from patriarchy like the average man, PUAs actively latch on and carry out all of their romantic interactions fully aware of the advantages they’re afforded.
They are completely at home in this environment. PUAs are broken examples of patriarchy’s model man, but they are a perfect product of patriarchy itself. They fill a niche by occupying the shittiest parts of a garbage-ass system. Their misguided view that women have all the power leads them to seek out more power, by understanding the rules of the game in such a way that they don’t simply benefit from patriarchy, but live it.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
There’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to PUAs, but to be honest I just wanted to make the argument that they are human cockroaches.