The term Pickup Artist (PUA) refers to someone who is skilled at the art of beginning conversations with groups of people. More specifically, it typically refers to a man who is comfortable approaching and introducing himself to women, with the goal of initiating a romantic encounter.
Erik Von Markovik, better known as Mystery, was first introduced to the mainstream public as one of the main characters in Neil Strauss’s generational book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists.
Mystery is considered one of the world’s premiere pickup artists and has hosted courses across the world in which he teaches men various strategies of exuding confidence and approaching women.
A cold approach is the act of going up to a woman you did not previously know and engaging in some form of conversation. This could be in the setting of a bar, a café, or really any public setting.
As Mystery explains, one of the most important steps in approaching a woman is the first line you use to initiate conversation, known as “the opener”. Generic introductions such as “Hi, I’m Zale”, or “How are you doing tonight?” don’t typically do the trick. Such statements aren’t interesting, don’t peak a woman’s curiosity, and are too obvious in their intent of hitting on the woman.
Openers do not always need to be questions – they can simply be statements designed to initiate conversation. Here are some examples of openers that Mystery used on the podcast.
“Nothing can wreck this day. My friends and I today conducted a project, and now that it’s over, we are celebrating like Ocean’s Eleven. Nothing can wreck this day.”
“Happy 2020. We’re in the future! How cool is that?”
Pickup artistry advocates the use of “personality conveying material” to demonstrate social value. These are pre-rehearsed stories and routines that communicate your personality to a woman in whom you are interested.
A neg is a statement, or action one makes, to briefly disqualify oneself from briefly being considered a potential suitor. Think of it as a subtle form of “playing hard to get”.
Here are a couple of examples:
“I’m not sure about you. Is there more than meets the eye?”
“You are drop dead gorgeous. Is there more than meets the eye?”
One of the key tenets of pickup artistry is that it a skillset needs to be taught in order to equip men with the proper strategies to effectively approach women. Any man can learn these skills and become comfortable in approaching women.
Some people certainly might scoff at this idea of approaching women as a “learned skill”, arguing that it should be natural and organic. Some might argue that all you need to do is just “be yourself” and your best qualities will come forward. But is that really the truth? How many times have you gone up to someone and fumbled your words because you were nervous or unprepared? How many times have you tried to “wing it” for a brief toast or speech, and it came out all wrong?
Pickup artists believe that practice and skill development are critical. If we want to put our best foot forward, we must go into a situation as prepared as possible. The same way we prepare before attending a job interview or delivering a speech, men should put that same preparation into meeting women.
Men like to think they are good at approaching women. But the reality is, most guys are very nervous and apprehensive when it comes to dating. Yes, there are some guys who are quite comfortable working a room and establishing rapport with women at a bar. But the vast majority of guys are not. So should men just accept that trepidation and fumble up conversations in the hope that eventually someone will appreciate them for who they are? Perhaps. But maybe applying some of these principles, or at the very least, acknowledging that some level of preparedness and rehearsal might help you in conveying your best self, would be valuable to consider.
Pickup artistry isn’t for everyone. Frankly, it probably rubs some people the wrong way, as it seems overly formulaic. But what if more men learned some of these skills and it translated into more guys being more comfortable approaching women? Wouldn’t that lead to more overall interactions and romantic relationships? Wouldn’t that ultimately be a good thing for everyone?