Monday, March 5, 2012

The Telegraph on the "Community"

A member of my forum pointed out an excellent article on The Telegraph: Pick-up artists, online seduction and dating tips. For my followers, none of it will be news, but the content is presented in a somewhat mocking tone. Yet, it does point towards some deeper truths which are obvious to critical people, as well as outsiders. Only guys caught up in the community will disagree.

Here are some excerpts:

The dubious ethics
If you didn't think deliberately targeting women with low self-esteem was bad enough, a lot of PUAs base their techniques on something called “neuro-linguistic programming” or NLP. It's purportedly a form of hypnosis, similar to what Paul McKenna might use on you if you wanted to think yourself thin. In other words, if this actually worked, PUAs would be hypnotising women into sex. How this would be ethically distinguishable from drugging them is not obvious. Luckily for everyone, research into NLP suggests that it is nonsense anyway; see below.

The pseudoscience
NLP seems to be claptrap (one psychiatrist, Dr Roderique Davis, describes it as “cargo-cult psychology”, meaning that it was designed to look like science without doing any of the work). But a misunderstanding of complex ideas seems to be at the heart of a lot of pick-up artistry. One PUA, a fat man called Gem, once told The Times that Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene taught him “everything I know about pick-up”. One of the figureheads of the movement, David DeAngelo (or “Eben Pagan”) claims to be an aficionado of Ayn Rand. There is a lot of talk of “alpha males” and “beta males” and “psychological anchoring”. It is not clear that any of the people involved know what they are talking about. Dr Petra Boynton, the sex educator and blogger, says that there is “no evidence of effectiveness” for any of the PUA claims.
The men
People who have had dealings with PUAs often use the same term to describe them: “trainspotters”. Like trainspotters, they are obsessed with collecting numbers and statistics; many keep detailed records of every “Close”. The terminology often has a militaristic fantasy feel: even aside from the endless US Army-style acronyms, messages in chatrooms detailing pick-up attempts are called “field reports”, and PUAs discuss “field testing” new techniques, as though they were howitzers rather than glorified chat-up lines. Dr Boynton describes users as “the most vulnerable of men”, and says that the PUA industry is a means of making money from vulnerable people.


  1. I read Bandler and Grinder, and yes, their stuff - Trance Formations, Frogs into Princes - reads very much like the miracle stories of various religions. It has that paranoid feel: that they have discovered this simple secret that explains everything.

    The older stuff - Milton Erickson - has that flaw that a person very good at X is often very bad at explaining how they do X. B&G claim to have a technique by which they can "model" behaviour for the purpose of reproducing it. I think they confuse form and substance, or are pretending that substance is irrelevant. You can model a mechanic's behaviors all you like, but you won't be able to fix a car until you know something about cars.

  2. Reading the above certainly brought back some cringe-inducing memories from my time in the PU 'community'. I agree fully with the comments on NLP; it really is mainly hogwash with enough common sense principles of verbal and non-verbal communication thrown in to stop it from being immediately ridiculed by absolutely everyone. My attempts to learn NLP ended quite early on, as it clearly jarred with any standard social interaction where I tried to apply it. As you have described before Aaron, practitioners of such pseudo science just end up looking weird and out of sync with their surrounding as they try to apply their newly learned 'techniques'.
    I also agree that many if not most of the guys in PU are among the most emotionally vulnerable, and prone to doing themselves further harm by hanging round in such a cold and mysoginistic environment. Ironically, I personally don't regret having been involved, as I clearly was bright enough to sort the nonsense from the select pieces of sensible advice I managed to accrue. Consequently, I have much better quality and healthier relationships these days, so I think of my time in 'PU' as a kind of birthing pain, and perhaps I would still be a pretty messed up guy if I hadn't picked up and read 'The Game' those years ago.
    To me, PU is just an extension of the same mindset we have as toddlers, when we drop a sweet on the street and have to be wrestled away by our long suffering guardians, completely oblivious to the bag of confection in our hand as we stamp our feet and scream our heads off. Despite the obsession with eliminating 'one-itis' and the concept of having an 'abundance mentality', I actually there is a kind of meta-state of needines that is propagated by the obsession with relentlessly banging hot girls. The objective of getting the next 'hb10' is a metaphor for the sweet that we dropped. Great opportunities to form healthy relationships and friendships are neglected as guys cruise round club and bar scenes that they really don't want to be a part of, in the quest for the perfect lay. It all seems so juvenile now as I look back on it, but it led me to a much more peaceful state of mind, so perhaps ultimately I should be grateful.

  3. I think something is in the air because this article has been making the rounds this week also

    1. Thanks for mentioning this link! I hadn't heard of The Rawness before, but that guy seems to be very smart. Good find.

  4. I decide that I am not going to visit your blog again but then somehow come across shit which is so over the top that its shocking (even by PUA standards), that I feel it has to be exposed.

    Have a look at this - If there are people who actually believe Erika Awakening, well then I really don't know what to say.

    I saw some other article on this website where she charges people $100,000 for coaching! For that much money, I can probably get a lifetime supply of hookers in some countries.

    Out of curiosity, I googled erika awakening on youtube and came across other similar people - look at Sasha Cobra as well. She is also similar in teaching hocus-pocus crap.

    1. Erika Awakening is just insane. Frankly, you'd have to have parts of your brain missing to believe anything she writes. I was once sent a link to a post where she was talking about "miracles", i.e. pay her some money, and some "miracles" will happen in your life that will make you even more money.

      People like her could make you lose faith in the human race.

  5. I am feeling particularly pissed off at how much damage PUA caused to my head. Sorry for hijacking the thread with non-exactly-related links -

    Here's some words of text wisdom from Rob Judge

    A piece of gem from this article :

    Rob: lol player play3r how many hot guys named Rob did u mack it 2 this wkend?

    Everything about that text–down to the typos–is carefully crafted. Essentially, you want to give the impression you really don’t it seriously–you actually find it amusing (“lol”). I like using words like “player” and “mack it” because they’re humorous and they help to reverse the roles a bit, making it seem like she “picked me up.”

    1. lol player play3r... Rob seems to have lost it. I thought he was legit.

  6. NLP has some useful stuff, but the guys who sell it like a miracle are just about making money off vulnerable people, and generally don't use NLP themselves. It's something I also noticed with hypnosis: having used it on various anxieties with success, I know it can work well, but it's certainly not a miracle; however, people who never used it properly generally idealize it a lot more, and tend to jump into hocus pocus crap. The one thing that appearantly nobody ever said to PUAs using NLP is that even hypnosis cannot make someone do something they don't want to do. So much for all that time spent "eliciting her values" lol.

  7. @ Johnny. Erika awakening; wow, just plain wow. How do people have the audacity to come up with such irresponsible bile? I know that the only people who are going to buy into her bs are very emotionally vulnerable individuals, who are in need of protecting from such unscrupulous opportunistic harpies as her. I don't like wishing ill on her, but I really would like to kick her ass, along with every asshole scam artist out there on the web.

  8. @Aaron

    I got a comment stuck in junk folder.

    @ Johnny

    Can't click that link since im mobile, but I'm assuming it's rob judge selling over complicated text crap that's PUA-like? That's my fear... Most sane guys eventually sell out and start fluffing and over complicating to earn money.

    1. Alek,

      I've just published that post. It got stuck in the spam folder. Sorry about that. Please do write that open letter!

    2. Please do write that open letter!

      Like you I'm spinning a lot of plates and doing a ton of different projects, sub-projects and things every day and always busy - so I'll probably not come around to finishing it before 2013 lol, or finishing any of the other posts left in my drafts folder...

    3. Actually, I kinda already did write my open-later.

      What I said in these 2-3 comments here

      "treat it as a bonus accidental income",

      "don't be sucked into supporting people out of reciprocity or because they're nice people whom you like, be skeptical of pseudo-science always, otherwise you'll keep having episodes where you support some like frost, and later you have to retreat it".

      "no forgiving people, if someone has even 5% new-age crap or BS in their stuff, you endorsing them will eventually backfire on you"

    4. I'll keep it in mind. Don't worry, I'm going to throw out some more links, and add some different ones. Integrity is my top priority, and I won't let others tarnish it.

  9. I completely lost all respect for Rob Judge. Originally I liked what he had to say about Pickup being dead, yet now, he is so into his own bullshit and coming up with products that are heavily based on techniques.

    Reading his infomercial type emails makes me want to punch him. One thing I have noted is that guys who don't make money off pickup or don't use it as their primary income source have the most value to offer, as they keep it real.

    Erika Awakening is delusional. I personally know a guy who completed her holistic rape your bank account program, and turns out he is now a coach running his own business teaching men the same regurgitated crap. Bear in mind this dude has had less than 3 months "training" and now he is a life/seduction/fix your problems coach. In his posts in Zan's forum, he always bitched about getting rejected and basically having 0 success despite approaching plenty.

    Check out his website:

    Stay away from mainstream pickup.

    1. Reading his infomercial type emails makes me want to punch him. One thing I have noted is that guys who don't make money off pickup or don't use it as their primary income source have the most value to offer, as they keep it real.

      It's a given. If you have even one iota of hope or desire to make dolaros off of this venture, you will eventually sell out, even if you started out sane and with integrity.

      My advice to aaron, GLL and the few guys left with integrity is this "Treat any sales as an accidental bonus". If you allow thoughts like "how do I increase sales" or "how do I get more books out there" to enter your mind for even one second, you're doomed - it's a slippery slope.

      So just have those books/coachings out there on offer, and if anyone gets them, cool, nice bonus - but never ever go down the path of thinking about how to sell more.

    2. Dirk,

      what other (more or less) non-commercial guys are out there? Last time I checked, most people either sold out or disappeared. Right now, I think there's only me and Assanova (Real Made Men) left.

      The tendency for people who want to make a living off PUA to shell out product after product is impossible to neglect. Sixty used to have a couple of ebooks, and these days he's just like all the others, and talks about how people can "create attraction" etc.

    3. Alek,

      don't worry, all of this is just a "bonus" for me, and I occasionally ask myself whether it is really worth my time, not because of the meagre financial payoff, but because I am quite tired of repeating myself over and over when talking about pickup.

    4. Aaron,

      You are right there are not many more non-commercial guys out there. Right now, besides you and Assanova I just know of Alek Novy, the seduction myth and The Kidd! and Peregrinus who offer advice in the forum

      They have a series of posts and usually offer their insights and advice for free, which is along the lines of what you point out.

    5. Right now, besides you and Assanova I just know of Alek Novy, the seduction myth and The Kidd! and Peregrinus who offer advice in the forum

      I don't have an advice site. In fact, my own blog doesn't have a single piece of advice.

      All I do is dismantle scams, bs, lies and deception. I don't (and am not qualified or interested) to give advice.

      I am qualified to say what is pseudo-science, what is BS, what's a logical impossibility, and what's a scam - and that's all I do.

      Sedmyth is also just a debunking site. The only reason it included one single page on "what to do instead" is merely to settle the charge of it being "just a negative defeatist site that offers no alternative".

    6. Dirk,

      thanks for those links! Of course I knew of Alex Novy and Seduction Myth, but those other people I was unaware of. They seem to be regular forum posters who have no separate web presence, though. Otherwise, I'd consider linking to them.

  10. My friend downloaded Rob Judge's latest Android app on his mobile. Apart from being a badly programmed, buggy car crash of an application, it was just a bunch of articles containing all the same material that has been floating around for years now. Strange, so many people have spoken well of him, but every time I come across his work he really doesn't seem different from any other PUA.
    This industry is a very clear example of the typical current attitude to self development/self help/self improvement. Everyone wants to 'fix' themselves as quickly as possible, with the minimum effort and inconvenience, presumably so that they can proceed to enjoy a life of idle abandon, living off the earnings from their 'passive income' (ha ha yeah right). They're totally missing the point, that self improvement itself is the lifestyle choice you make. You have to apply yourself to being a better person every day for the rest of your life, and you'll reap the rewards accordingly. There is no Royal road or shortcut of any kind, just as all the promises of schemes to help you gain rock hard abs in just 4 weeks are a different flavour of the same snake oil. You have to develop a mindset that positive changes are a matter of time, effort and patience.
    Ho hum, common sense is king as always. If it sounds too good to be true...

    1. Yah, anyone who dreams about living out "freedom porn lifestyle" is in a for a rude awakening.

      The only way to live off of this stuff is to become an overcomplicating, manipulative scammer who uses fearmongering tactics to sell an ever increasing number of products.

      I wish there was an honest way to live off of this stuff - but there isn't. So my advice to anyone who wants to remain honest - never even ponder the idea of living off of this stuff - because it leads down a dark path.

    2. As a guy who took a bootcamp with Rob and Zack, I actually don't know anyone who actually benefited or says very positive things about these guys (Rob and Zack). I genuinely now believe that they just claim this based on post-bootcamp highs.

      The guy who was with me on the BC now tells me that it was useless. Did not hurt nor did it benefit. Met one other guy who says he was pissed off as he realized that they did not teach anything and felt conned! These reviews are coming from people few months after the BC.

      These are the only two guys I have met who took any sort of coaching with these guys. I too had a massive post-bootcamp high. It slowly degenerated into feeling that they are nice guys who don't know why they or any of their clients get any success. Slowly that degenerated into a feeling that they just wasted my time and fucked my head with shit.

      The only example of their "verifiable" success story is one of JT, which they keep bringing up again and again and again. I still feel Rob is a relatively nice and somewhat legit guy in real life, but his partner-in-crime Zack is a total scam/con artist.

  11. @Johnny

    I would love to see you go into more detail about your bootcamp. You would be doing plenty of people a great service. Like I said, I had a high opinion of Rob when I read his articles but I then saw his videos and something didn't feel right. I then watched his advanced series and it was utter bullshit spilled by a nerd. Techniques on how to spike attraction and similar bullshit presented in a "implement these attractive behaviors" angle.

    Reading about stories and comments like yours Johnny reminds me of how I bought into the whole pickup thing. My story is basically like many of those who got reeled in and scammed.

    I took a bootcamp with Vin Dicarlo and did the Ars Amorata program with Zan. Even though I did like the guys and they were nice (no shit I paid them for that), I got virtually no value from either program. Looking back I get pissed off at how naive I was and how I bought into the premise of getting any girl by improving pickup/seduction skills.

    Load of crap.

    One of the biggest wake up calls for me was when my brother caught me listening to seduction material on speakers. He gave me so much shit and called me a loser for listening to that crap. At the moment I was defensive, but he couldn't comprehend how I would follow such stupid and inane advice.

    It's kind of obvious now, especially when I look at some of my friends who get laid plenty. This shit is getting way out of hand and doing more damage than anything else.

    So Johnny, I encourage you to post your honest experience and have others you know do the same in the most real and blunt manner you possibly can.

    1. It's kind of obvious now, especially when I look at some of my friends who get laid plenty. This shit is getting way out of hand and doing more damage than anything else.

      I think it would be helpful to recovering game-ers if you went into detail about how you woke up. What was it that you saw in guys who get laid a lot that awoke you and what made you go a-ha.

  12. APB's PUA Bootcamp is not just about getting laid. It is about smashing stereotypes and becoming confident. From what I saw on the Nightline interview of APB, he looked like he really cares about his students

  13. First of all it's a PUA Bootcamp, so if it isn't about getting laid why pay for it?

    Smashing stereotypes? Becoming confident? Sounds like hurray hoo ha type of shit to pump up people in order to overcome their insecurities.

    Look man, there are tons of racially prejudiced people out there. A dude telling you there aren't is either delusional or just trying to feed you feel good stuff.

    But, fuck it if it makes you feel good, lets pretend there isn't any poverty in the world. Lets pretend there are no stone cold bitches, and gold diggers out there! Lets pretend all women have no prejudice or ethnic preference for a certain type of person. Go on and smash these stereotypes!

    Just because Asian Playboy hooks up with white women doesn't mean he is smashing the stereotype and making it non-existent. It is still out there. Donating to charity to build up a community in Congo is going to eradicate poverty altogether.

    Knock em dead Asian Playboy. You can do it!

    "He looked like he really cares about his students". Really? Think about this critically. He is on Nightline on ABC, on national broadcast, and you think he would want to portray an image as if he doesn't care about his students? It's PR for crying out loud! He'd be a fool not to exploit it.

    Does this mean he actually doesn't care? No it doesn't, but you should take it with a grain of salt. He makes money from this, he profits from his students. Treating them like shit or not caring about them is BAD BUSINESS. This is his priority, otherwise he would not charge for this, or at least not live off this.

    Think about it. He lives off of teaching bootcamps. If he doesn't rake in the money from this he doesn't get to live comfortably.

  14. I started writing a comment describing my experiences but it became way too long. I have decided to instead put it on a blog containing a few posts so that it is easier for people to read and understand where I am coming from. It will be simple thing just describing my experiences. Let me get that up and running and I will post the link here.

  15. I have started a blog - I will be describing my experiences there. Won't contain too many posts, but just enough to share my story. Let me know what you guys think.

    1. Johnny,

      this blog series is fantastic (as I said on my forum as well). I'll make a blog post too.

  16. @Johnny I started reading your blog and I am quite curious. Where are you from? I live in a small country in Central America and what you describe is quite common over here as well. Cold approach is non-existent.


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